Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Updates

I can't believe it's been close to 4 months since I last posted.  It's been a long tough 4 months in many ways.  But then this entire journey has been tough.

I have been in the depths of a mean depression. It's mostly situational---but also affected by toxins and this freakin miserable fog/inversion layer. Inversions trap toxins which creates an increase in inflammation causing an increase in all my symptoms.

There are times when it all feels intolerable--the financial situation, the isolation, not being able to afford the medical and dental care I need, not being believed, the stigma, difficult living situation, and a lot more that is simply too much to write about.

I find myself continually adjusting to the persistent winnowing away of money, things, relationships, expectations, hope. It feels like it never ends.

Abraham Maslow wrote about 5 fundamental hierarchical human needs. The lower the needs in the hierarchy the more important they are and if not met can make it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue other needs. The most basic need has to do with physiological needs such air, food, water, metabolic processes. The next level has to do with safety and security--things like having enough money, shelter, resources. I'm dealing with the most basic human needs--in fact, I can't even meet my most basic needs---can't afford the medical/dental/vision care that I need nor do I have a reliable car nor can I afford to eat like I should eat.

I've been struggling for a long time with having enough money for groceries due to all the medical bills, dental bills, car expenses, cat illness. I tend to run out about 10-14 days before my check which isn't so bad. It's that I don't have enough money to eat 3 full meals a day. For my birthday my sister took me grocery shopping at Whole Foods. I was overwhelmed with all the choices and couldn't think. Everything seemed so expensive. Quite a contrast to how things were prior to getting sick when I didn't have to think twice about what sort of food I could afford.

It was heaven to eat like that! For one week I had healthy, yummy things to eat.  The things I ate tasted so incredibly good. I enjoyed every bite.  And it made a difference in how I felt emotionally. For one week I didn't have that constant sense of deprivation. I didn't stare longingly at my housemate's orange juice, or enchiladas.

Financially things continue to be difficult. I think I talked about my car going out and buying a van. I thought I could trust the woman who sold it to me so I didn't do the usual have her meet me at a mechanic's shop. She was 72 and a therapist so I believed all the great things she wrote in her ad on craigslist.  She told me it was in great shape--had new brakes, new battery, never been in an accident, and so on......and wouldn't need any major repairs.  I should have trusted my gut because I've had to replace the front brakes (including rotors), the battery, it needs tires, runs hot, and it smells like mold something which didn't become apparent until the first time it rained. I'd had the seats taken out so I could convert it to a camper van but the mold........it's sort of unbelievable that it smells like mold given my history with mold but there you have it.

I'm having teeth issues. I need to have an upper tooth pulled due to a failed root canal. I also have a cracked bottom tooth.  

I'm dealing with medical issues unrelated to ME---my thryoid went completely hypo so I had to double the Nature-Throid.  My back is as disabling as the ME but I'm unable to take NSAIDS due to chronic gastritis. I'm also dealing with a bunion, bone spur, and arthritis on my big toe and still dealing with whatever I did to my knee when I fell about 5 months ago. The knee thing is getting worse. I seemed to have developed arthritis suddenly in both knees but the left one at times is so painful I'm unable to put weight on it to climb stairs which makes it a bit difficult since I have to climb stairs to get to my room.

I saw my ME doctor in September. EBV went sky high again, Calcium was high, Vitamin D was high, IgG subset 1 and 3 still low.  More on the appointment in a later post.

I've definitely taken a hit in functioning since the fog/rain/Inversion. My MCS has increased again.

I have to find a way to move to a drier climate and I could really use some hope.

I have a number of posts I want to write----on not being believed and how that eats away at one's spirit---emotional regulation (I think the parts of our brains that are affected make us susceptible to not being able to regulate emotions all that well).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Battles

Since getting sick it feels like I've been fighting battles but life was easy compared to how its been since dropping into the poor bucket.

The good news is I heard back from Stanford. There are still 2 studies ongoing which explains the delay in publication. All three will be linked and important to I'm glad they are being thorough.  I mentioned I hadn't received my results because I had moved. The researcher was kind enough to look up my information and said based on my scores I fell into the 'severe' category.

Given how severely sick I was I have felt lucky to be one of the one's to have significant improvement with the use of antivirals, thyroid/immune support, etc...combined with getting out of toxic mold.

However, I'm lapsing back into the moderately severe category now. It's alarming. There are a lot of contributing factors. It appears the manufacturer has stopped making Imunovir, there has been ariel pesticide spraying, my antivirals have stopped working, as well as increased stress with all the financial crap, my kitty being sick, tooth needing to be pulled, housemate stress, etc...

It's not good to have housemates when what my body needs is rest and no stress.

Unfortunately, despite my asking my one housemate continues to use dryer sheets that send my MCS through the roof. In addition he just started using a plug-in air freshener that is also sending me through the roof. I thought we had an understanding the last time he did this that it would not reoccur again but apparently not.  Because he's co-owner of the house I'm reluctant to ask again for fear of being asked to leave. I"m now housebound 85% of the time again so I don't want to push it.

I'm feel like I'm being assaulted by chemicals which is just exacerbating all my other symptoms.

My labs came back with chronic reactivated Epstein Barr. My titers were very, very high. My doctor had predicted the Valtrex would stop working at some point. I'm lucky that it worked for almost 4 years but boy am I feeling the effects of EBV.

I'm having big time issues with shortness of breath and feel lightheaded along with what feels like my heart is straining. It's no unfamiliar. It's exactly what happened when I first got sick except the SOB is worse and the heart strain is worse.

My doctor wants me to try Viread which is an antiretroviral. It put Andrea Whittemore into remission at one point until she developed metabolic acidosis which is a potential side effect of Viread.

However, the copay is $227 which I cannot afford. There is a patient assistance program that my doctor's office forwarded to me. I'll apply. My dilemma is that Viread costs over $1200 per month which would mean I'd hit the Medicare Part D donut hole very early in the year so I need to think about it.

I'm also now clearly hypo-thyroid so have increased my dose of thyroid medication.  I'm not sure why my thyroid has become worse.

HHV-6 is 4 times the normal range but my IgG subclass deficiency remains pretty much the same.

Clearly I need to move so I can get away from all these chemicals.  My housemates happen to do a TON of laundry and the vent is below my window. Closing it doesn't help. The neighbors laundry vent also comes into my bedroom so it's simply a losing battle.

I'm responding to house share ads which also feels like a losing battle because again--once I tell people I'm home all the time or other information they need to know (since we'll be living together) they drop out. I don't tell people I have a chronic illness anymore-just that I work from home although that feels dishonest because when I'm sick like I am now it's really hard to socialize.

I'd prefer to live alone simply because it's less stressful all around but I need to move far away and I can't afford that expense right now.

My poor kitty is not feeling well. It must be side effects from the hyperthyroid medication. Or maybe he's feeling the assault of chemicals too. Or maybe a mold problem has developed. Who the heck knows?

So all around I feel like I'm fighting losing battles.  I wake up very, very depressed each day--like omg another day of THIS.

Thank goodness for Netflix streaming (can't afford to replace my broken DVD player), my cat, and my friends on Facebook.

I'm just taking things one day at a time right now.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Every Which Way

I'd like to be posting about other things but life issues are getting in the way.  The financial aspect of everything is overwhelming.

My cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism on Friday. I thought it would be a simple thing of merely giving him a pill with some follow up testing. Nope. It turns out he needs follow up labs every 3 weeks for the first 3-4 months.  If I don't treat him his quality of life will be poor and short and I just can't bear that.  His T4 level was really high and one of his liver enzymes is elevated. It broke my heart to hear it.

The van I bought has all sorts of issues. Brakes, tires, the dash lights don't work. That 72 year old woman will be visited by karma I'm sure. I told her my financial situation and asked repeatedly if she was sure it didn't need any major work.  It's really my fault though. I should have taken it to a mechanic.

I still need my tooth pulled and have set money aside for that. I won't touch that money. I have to wait until after my doctor appt to have it out. I can't afford to get much worse right now. I have enough to just be able to afford the monthly payments as long as I have no other financial issues.

I need to see my ME doctor in order for him to continue prescribing medications which is fair. He's been more than generous to me. I scheduled an appointment for September 5. I just have to figure out how to make the 2 hour trip.

In making my list of symptoms for him so we could do some testing prior to the appointment I realized I'm doing a bit worse than I thought. Quite a bit worse in fact.

I emailed a list of symptoms--a long list so he sent a lab slip back for testing. He wants to test for EBV--thorough testing including a test I'd never heard of before called Chronic Active Infection.

He's also retesting Vitamin D--not to see if my levels are low but because EBV and Vitamin D deficiency are related. T cells which are one of the cells involved with EBV (along with B cells) cleave Vitamin D for some reason that I can't remember.

Along with hormone testing (thyroid, adrenals, progesterone, etc), HHV-6, he's retesting Immunoglobulin subclasses 1-4 again. I'm glad he's doing that. I had low markers for subclasses 1 and 3. My doctor said it needed to be treated--ideally with IVIG but it's too expensive given I have Medicare.

I'm having a lot of shortness of breath, some balance issues, drastic increase in fatigue, swollen painful lymph nodes, burning eyes, pain behind my right eye, sensitivity to light at times. swelling in my left foot,  the regular 24/7 Tinnitus, and more. I've become 70% housebound.

If my kitty didn't need such close monitoring right now and if my van didn't need safety work such as brakes and tires, I'd be out trying a mold sabbatical. Everyone I know who has tried it has had significant improvement.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tooth Dilemma

The financial stress is causing an increase in symptoms (swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, increased fatigue, cognitive issues).

I saw the oral surgeon today. When he looked at my x-ray he said "how much pain are you in?" I said virtually none. I have intermittent pain but nothing substantial. Nothing like the back pain I experience daily.

He said he didn't see signs of a blatant infection in the x-ray but said "I know Dr. **** and he's very conservative. He wouldn't have referred you if he didn't have good reason". I said but he based his decision on the x-ray.

The surgeon said he must have had a clinical reason and said this tooth isn't viable.  I told him that what started this whole thing was my crown fell off. He said there must be decay or maybe the dentist suspected a cracked tooth. I said "he never mentioned a cracked tooth" and again repeated he based his decision on the x-ray and told me the tips of two roots were infected and it had gone into the bone to which the oral surgeon repeated "he wouldn't have referred you if he didn't think it were necessary". The dentist did mention he could see decay at the top of the tooth and suspected there was leakage into the canals which caused the infection.

Anyway we proceeded with the consult. The oral surgeon said one of the roots extends fairly far into the sinus which might mean that I end up with a hole in the sinus so I need to be careful not to blow my nose for two weeks after the surgery. My anxiety shot up at that point.  He also said because it's an old root canal that he would recommend I go under general anesthesia vs the light sedation because "we have to dig and there will be bone cracking" and more painful so best to be under. I asked what the general anesthesia included and he said "propofal, fentynal, versed" and a couple other things.

The oral surgeon had never heard of POTS so I had to explain it to him. He didn't look like he believed me. He said that makes more of a case to go under general anesthesia because otherwise I would feel it because the options without epinephrine aren't that effective for a procedure like this.

He recommended a bone graft because I don't have much bone there.  My options for what to do in place of the tooth are 1) implants which are ridiculously expensive at over $4000 2) a bridge which means filing the teeth on adjacent sides down. One of them has a crown so that isn't a good option and I'd be at risk for more decay because you can't floss with a bridge so it ultimately might be more expensive plus would last only 8-10 years. I don't think I will be around that long so that part doesn't matter but the discomfort of filing down two teeth doesn't sound fun. Plus I don't think the tooth with a crown has enough tooth left. It was close to needing a root canal about 18 months ago.

The third option is a retainer type device that has a tooth in it. For some reason the sound of it sort of creeps me out. Anyway he said people tend to have a hard time tolerating having a big device like that in the mouth all the time.

The fourth option is to do nothing but it would mean the back molar would start to lean in.  And the tooth that needs extracting a prime chewing tooth.

So I don't know. I contacted the dentist who referred me and said the oral surgeon didn't see the same infection so he reviewed the x-ray again and said "there is an infection and oral surgeon's tend to see very bad infections". But they are contacting the surgeon's office and will wait for their report and contact me so I know how to proceed. They also said I could go to an endodontist for confirmation of the infection. But that would cost more money.

I don't want to get a procedure done that isn't urgent but I also don't want to wait until it's bad enough to need antibiotics. I'm now allergic to Penicillin. I told them that I had a weird reaction to it about a year ago where my lips started tingling as well as my tongue and that I felt like passing out so they said "that's a clear allergic reaction".  Bummer.

The referring dentist said the infection will progress and that my immune system is already fighting it. Not having a very good immune system in the first place doesn't bode well.

The thing that was disturbing aside from the sinus issue is the financial part. It will cost $1385 which isn't as bad as the dentist had said but this doesn't include implants/bridge or follow up appointments.

I asked if I could use my Care Credit card. They said yes but they will only extend payments out for 6 months which means a monthly payment of $280.33. I can't pay that amount. That would mean having less than $75 per month for groceries.  If I don't have a bone graft it's about $400 less.

The other bummer was that I had to pay for the entire consult fee today which means my grocery budget for the next two weeks is down to $50 or less.  I was hoping I could put it on Care credit but they said they only allow that for over $300.  It's crazy.

I'm already paying for medical bills plus the emergency dentist appointment I had last week to put the crown back in. They were clear the crown would last anywhere from 1-3 months.

If anyone out there knows anything about these things I sure could use some advice about what to do.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Unbelievable

I apologize for the tone of these posts but I'm so tired of trying to do the right thing or trying get things figured out only to be knocked back down again.

On April 30, 2012 I had a lumbar epidural for my spine. It helped my back but the doctor that performed it works for Northern CA Spine Institute. Good doctors but billing practices are questionable at best. I thought everything was had been worked out well over a year ago after receiving a bill for over $9000.  I spoke with the chief financial officer at the time and we worked out a compromise so I assumed everything was taken care of.

I received a phone call tonight from a COLLECTION agency saying I owed over $8000 for this same procedure and they'd been sending bills to my sisters' house where I was living at the time.  This bill was from the surgery center where the procedure was performed.

Not once did my sister or her husband forward the bills to me so I could have had a chance to get this resolved before reaching collections. Not to mention when I had the money in savings to pay the bill or what would be left of the bill if Medicare pays their share.

I'm so pissed off. This affects my credit. I have Care credit which will enable me to to make monthly payments on upcoming dental procedures. I need to ask for a higher credit limit so I can have the procedures but now I'm worried I'll be denied because I have such a big bill that will show on my credit report.

Do they have such little regard for me that they don't even bother to forward a bill? This is just not okay because it directly affects my credit which could also impact future housing as well as my ability to get a higher credit limit on the Care credit. Since I don't have dental coverage or eye coverage Care credit is what I need so I can see the dentist or get new glasses (which I also need).

Plus I had the money in my savings account at the time had those bills been forwarded to me so it wouldn't even be an issue now!

I'm also completely freaked out that I owe that much money. The guy said they didn't know I had Medicare so they will make a note to bill Medicare but Medicare will only pay 80% which means another medical bill for over $800.

This was from OVER TWO years ago. It's ridiculous. I don't understand. And I don't understand why the bills never got forwarded to me. The guy acted like he didn't believe me when I said I've never received any bills. I'm sure they hear that sort of thing all the time. I never got the damn bills.  I asked him what address they'd been sending the bills to then got pissed off when he told me and said "I haven't lived there in over two years"!

I just can't believe this is happening on the heels of feeling the most depressed I've ever felt while also dealing with other huge financial concerns.  There's simply no way I can pay all of this. Absolutely no way can I afford it. My food budget is about as low as it can go right now.  I don't even eat 3 full meals a day as it is. It's a freaking nightmare that never ends.

Like many ME patients I can't tolerate antidepressants. I've tried all of them. Ones I used to be able to tolerate I can't anymore. I'm on Lamictal but clearly it's not helping anymore. If I had the money I'd smoke pot. I've been reading about some good results some people have had with it on one of the message boards (Healclick--a good message board btw).  All I want is some relief from the depression (it's really, really bad) as well as from the financial burdens.

Last night I had another episode of feeling like I was going to pass out every time I stood up and walked a couple steps.  I don't understand why this is all happening--the money stuff, the wanting to pass out. With the tooth infection I could barely see anything on the x-ray so it can't be that bad to affect my functioning.  It wasn't there when I was at the dentist 18 months ago (different dentist).

I see the oral surgeon Tuesday and will ask him if I can postpone this. I emailed my ME doctor about it and he said I needed to get the tooth out. I know a lot of ME patients end up with this sort of thing--healthy people do too but it seems more rampant among people with problematic immune systems.

I've been beyond fatigued again today but now my nervous system is so riled up I can't get it calmed down. I feel like the only thing I can do is talk about what's going on in this blog because it's something only ME patients can understand. I'm just incredibly stressed out over all of this.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Keep Going?

I've been aware for awhile now that there is a part of me that has wanted to avoid this blog because having regained some functioning I haven't wanted any reminders of how bad things can get. And this blog is a reminder for me of how bad things once were physically and then after the break up how bad things have been emotionally.

Lately I've been experiencing how bad things can be financially. They are beyond bad right now. I'm so close to homelessness at this point.

And then there is the re-experiencing of very, very bad fatigue.  As in I can't even make a phone call today bad. I've been on a downhill slide for over a month in part due to stress about my car and other things. Physically I'm not doing well at all anymore.

Whenever I start having an increase in symptoms I review the past few weeks or months to note any changes of activity levels, toxins, change of diet, new treatments, supplements, etc....

I've been out of Imunovir because something is going on at the manufacturer and there isn't any to be found. I've been out for over 2 months.

I've had repeated exposure to toxic car exhaust although I "retired" my car about 3 weeks ago.

There was a pesticide spraying for 2 nights last week. The pesticide was because there has been increased West Nile virus found in birds and mosquitos in the area.  It's called "Trumpet" but is, among other things, an organophosphate. I don't do well with organophospates.

There is also quite a bit of smoke residue from a couple fires.

I had a crown fall out Thursday afternoon about 4:50. Luckily it was on a previously root-canaled tooth so I didn't experience any pain. I did have quite a bit of bleeding when I brushed that night so I knew the gum was inflamed.

I saw the dentist today who said I it appeared as if there was leakage into the root canal leading to an infection in the tips of two roots as well as the bone. He said I have two choices. Another root canal or have it extracted and then said if it were him he would recommend having the tooth pulled.

He wasn't making any money off me because he said he'd refer me to an oral surgeon for the extraction. I asked if the infection would progress and he said yes and that it needed to be taken care of.

I'm so bummed about the money part as well as concerned about the impact of having an invasive dental procedure. I have MCS and dentists offices bother me. Today I had to pull my shirt over my nose and mouth because of some chemical.

Anyway, the money part frightens me. I ended up getting an 18 year old used car. It's a van. It needs new tires and front brakes. I paid a lot more than I could afford but had no choice given my financial restrictions. I had hoped that I could spend the minimal on food and go to food banks and hopefully qualify for food stamps which would mean I could repay my savings account.

Now I'm looking at over $2000 worth of dental work ($5000 if I have an implant).  Plus I have some medical bills.

It's freakin discouraging. My food budget is so low that I can't even afford orange juice or anything. I just buy the basics. My big luxury item is a tin of Peet's tea and every now and occasional Trader Joe's Vintage cola.

I applied for food stamps and had a phone interview. I qualify for $15!!!!!  But that's contingent upon sending in the medical bills. I said "but I have a student loan payment for $300 each month" to which she said "we only count rent, medical bills, and utilities".  Oh, so I just don't pay any other bills then. It's crazy but given the bad economy I guess those Republicans have to blame someone so might as well be the poor people who wouldn't be poor if they just tried hard enough.  Might as well cut back those expenses instead of unnecessary things like tax loopholes.

I'm at my wit's end and have been waking up so depressed every morning it's just not fun. If this is how the rest of my life is going to be, then no thanks.

I haven't been able to socialize in weeks. One of my housemates has a personality disorder and randomly decides to stop talking to me (he does this to his partner to so its not personal--just incredibly uncomfortable). I've tried talking to him about what's bothering him with no result. I feel stuck here. Right now I'm hating living here. Living with people who don't want you there is awful. I did it for awhile after the break up and told myself I'd rather be homeless than repeat that experience.

Things feel grim and pointless and hopeless.  I'm trying my hardest and doing my damnedness to make a good life but it's just not happening.

I so wish I could afford to live on my own. I may end up living in the van so I plan on taking the seats out and converting it so I can sleep in it.  Things are that grim.  I've been doing a lot of reading about life after death experiences. For some reason that keeps me going. Knowing at some point things will get better.

Just likely not in this lifetime.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Time Out

I can't believe it's been almost 3 months since my last post. Still no news on when the Stanford study will be published.  I'm not sure why.

A lot has been happening physically, emotionally, spiritually. I'm in a major transition.  I've been sick 7 years now although the reality is I've been sick since 2002. I just didn't know it.  But it's been 7 years since I haven't been able to function well enough to work.

One of my biggest fears since the break up has come true.  My car is broken. It had been idling rough for awhile and I thought I'd noticed some blue smoke coming out of the exhaust every now and then when I'd start it but I didn't know what it meant.

For the past 3 plus weeks I've been having increased symptoms, particularly increased OI, dizziness, fatigue, chemical sensitivities, increased difficulty swallowing and other neurological symptoms.

About a month ago my house mate borrowed my car. When he returned he said the car was idling pretty rough and should be checked out. It happened to coincide with needing to get my car a smog check so I took it to a recommended place.  The guy said "save your money-this won't pass smog because of all the smoke coming out the exhaust".  I took it to a smog and repair place thinking it would cost me a couple hundred to fix whatever ailed it.

The smog and repair guy said "your engine is burning oil. It's not worth fixing. By the way-you shouldn't breath it because it's toxic".  He told me about a program here where I could retire the car and get some money.

I consulted with two more mechanics who both said the same thing.

The blue smoke coming out of the exhaust has gotten thick to the point where motorist became angry motioning me to roll down my window and said "You can't drive that car. It's a gross polluter and that crap is poison. Your engine is blown"

My physical symptoms in the car have gotten to the point where driving is not safe. I'm quite light headed and have slowed reflexes along with slight confusion. When I get home I'm absolutely exhausted.  I also get heart palpitations a headache and nausea.

My physical functioning has taken a hit.

I found out Weds that my car was accepted into the program but I have to retire is asap because they might run out of money so yesterday I cleaned out the trunk and the car so I could take it in today to retire it and get money.

For some reason I took all the stuff in my trunk upstairs to my room and put it in the closet. I ignored the fact that the stuff had been sitting there since 2011--that it had been flooded in El Cerrito by underground sewers during bad rain.  I don't know if that accounted for what occurred last night or not.

Around 10:00pm I went to my computer to look up cars on craigslist. I do not have enough money for a decent reliable car which is a bit scary.  I noticed the cord wasn't plugged in so I leaned over while sitting on the chair to pick up the cord and fell. I found myself sitting in an odd position with my knee at a strange angle.  A bit stunned I stood up then suddenly felt like I was going to pass out but managed to make it to the bed where I lay there covered in a slight sweat feeling like the room was about to start spinning.  I was nauseous.

For the next 30 minutes every time I'd try to make it to the bathroom I'd take about 10 steps then feel like I was going to pass out. I glanced at myself in the mirror and saw a white face reflected back at me. I'd lay down and still feel like passing out. It reminded me when I was at my worst with this illness and spooked me badly.

I can only think it had to do with a mixture of the toxic exhaust (I drove my car around yesterday for the first time in a few days) and mold.

My knee is hurt and quite swollen on the outside including the front part of my calf (whatever it's called) so I've been icing it. My back is also injured so I've been icing that as well. I had to drive my car about 1/2 mile to get Advil, an ace bandage and something to help me get up from bed. When I get up or sit down the side of my knee hurts pretty bad on the side where it's swollen. I'm guessing I strained a ligament or tendon. I should go to the doctor but in no way can afford it especially with what's going on with my car.

I'm a bit challenged as far as a buying a car. I can only drive 4-5 miles. I'd like to buy a cargo van however for the amount of money I'll get for my car it's next to impossible to find a reliable one (per various auto mechanics I've contacted).

I have a guy willing to drive 30 minutes from here to show me a car (that I can sleep in) that has less than $200,000 miles on it. He says it's in great shape but they all do. The whole craigslist thing is a trip. A guy responded to my inquiry last night with the following "yeah it's still available but I need money for a lawyer so I have to sell it TONIGHT".  Yeah right buddy. Is that code for it's STOLEN? In another ad the person said all the "bells" have been replaced. Really?  Seems like it would sound sort of pretty.

I have a plan for where I want to go and how I'd get there (it would take me awhile). I just need a reliable vehicle.

In the meantime I'll hope my knee doesn't continue to get worse and that I haven't worsened the already ruptured disc in my back.

Update--I "retired" my car but while there I noticed my left ankle is swollen---not painful at all and clearly edema so I'm not sure what to do. The skin around the ankle is so swollen it's almost doubled over.  I have to figure out if this can wait until Monday. I'm also having some pain in my left calf.  I'm trying to refrain from consulting with google. All that does is cause worry.

Ahhh. Life with a chronic illness and being poor. It doesn't get much better than this.  : )