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I went into Wal-Mart this morning to pick up milk and butter. Since it was the day after Easter, I decided to pick up some discount chocolate on Cheap Chocolate Day. I go into the clearance aisle with my cart, and move out of the way to avoid some older women coming through. While trying to back up, I move into a display that I didn't know was behind me, unfortunately, I also push my cart into a woman with a mobility scooter. Now, I laugh at myself because this is what I always do in situations caused by my own clumsiness, but the lady in the scooter takes things the wrong way. I can't really blame her, but I do apologize because I really just didn't see her there.

She says, "Sure you are, that's why you're laughing." Now, I realize she's got issues which is why she's using a mobility scooter, and she's probably got plenty of other reasons to be angry. I just say "Bitch" and wonder off to look for some other things I actually *needed* in the store. I come back later, and the woman backs her scooter up into my ankle braces.

"Thanks for running into my ankle braces," I say, as I walk on my way.

I hear her mutter, "Sorry."

If there's any moral to this story, it's that I shouldn't have been buying clearance Easter candy I didn't need just because I wanted a cheap supply of chocolate. It could be a lesson that I need to work on my responses, or it could simply be a lesson that the lady was dealing with her issues in her own way.  I do not know the story of that woman.

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 It has been a restful month in comparison to how January and February went. The Rheumatologist did not refer me back to the physical therapist, and so far, I’ve not had a reason to visit the PCP this month. I’ve spent more time going out for walks since the weather has been nice, which I hope will strengthen the muscles inn the area around the joints that are hypermobile or hyper extendible.  (I’m also doing the physical therapy exercises I can do at home.)

It seems the biggest thing I’ve had to worry about this month, other than the possible upcoming housing crisis is whether or not my depression is getting worse. At least I’m not worried about it too much. My concern comes more from slacking in my grooming habits, such as taking a daily shower. I just don’t see the point if I’m not going out. Never mind that showers  are always a good way to wake me up for at least a little while. (I’ve never been exactly sure why this is, and it doesn’t matter.)

Right now, I need to make some decisions on goals as well as how to balance certain things. I have something that can serve as a job that allows me to sit down most of the time and switch positions as needed, even if it is not quite what I want.  (I still have to call Vocational Rehabilitation on Monday to set up an appointment I have a feeling that IU Health doesn’t want to send Vigo County records on a transgender person for a good reason, even though Vigo is one of Indiana’s “blue” counties.)

First, I need to decide where my values are on this. Although I still see myself as a writer, I’m not sure I can go back to content mill writing for long. At the moment, it may be a necessity, just as much as keeping it under the table is a necessity until I go through the Administrative law judge hearing.) I would rather blog again since this provides more of  sense of purpose, even though it dos little to bring in actual income. At some point, I may take up the therapist’s suggestion that I start an LGBT group locally, but I really think this needs more thought.  Maybe  it is more important right now to have some income coming in to the house.  

There’s also another matter to consider about this. Do I have enough spoons to make the effort worthwhile?  If I can only do one or two stories before becoming too tired to concentrate, it’s not really worth the effort.   (Note to self: Stop slacking and set up speech recognition on your laptop, Lara. You’re making your ‘tennis elbow’ as it’s listed on your  medical paperwork worse.)

But at least right now, I’m listening to some enjoyable Celtic music, and getting the chance to relax a little bit. Later, I’ll go to the library and print some Mage: the Awakening character sheets out.  (I much prefer the Old World of Darkness setting, Mage: the Ascension.)  I hope I can handle running a LARP without it setting off my social anxiety or having a relapse of what set me off in January. I think I can avid the latter by avoiding otc nasal sprays and most pills with pseudoephedrine.  If I can’t, it’s probably time to give up role playing games altogether.

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Roommate: You're Hyper!

Me: Why do you think that?

Roommate: Because you've been full of energy and singing nonsensical songs.

Me: So?

Roommate: This marks a change in your behavior. I think it's because you ate the cookies.

Me: Wasn't I acting this way say two or more years ago?

Roommate: I don't remember, but you're hyper.

Me: Have you considered the possibility that I may just not be depressed?

On a serious note, I did have to explain to her that because of one of my medications and the way that Hashimoto's Disease works, she should be aware of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which can cause a state called Hashitoxicosis.

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Because I've been in a better mood, I decided to take up some hobby. Initially, I thought this should be some sort of crafting, but I realized that my poor coordination would not permit good quality items and baking is just too expensive for me right now.  I decided to delve back into video gaming, specifically mobile gaming and see if I could make a few videos.  (This may or may not have been driven by my housemate's incessant need to watch game videos.)

At some point, I decided I wanted to do more than screen recording, so I thought getting a  digital camera with recording capability might be a good idea. I used some of the money my father gave me for Christmas and picked up the Jazz DV140 at Wal-Mart.  Well, for playing around it works fine, but I've found out my Windows tablet and my cell phone have much better cameras, even with the front facing option.  (It does not have very good reviews, but it does function as a camera.)  In any case, it will still work fine for me to learn the basics of working with a digital camera, even if the highest resolution it can capture is 640 x 480.

For the moment, I don't know what to talk about. Since I've had more energy I've been turning to various projects, including advancing the e-book I was working on. (I may just give up on it on some point and put it on Google Play and Amazon.  I don't have high hopes for it in the first place. it was an extension of what I did for Letters for My Sisters.

In any case, I took a shower this afternoon, and gave the problem of a decent tripod for my camera some thought.  I hit upon the idea of using the housemate's music stand, an option which I had considered before. This stand caused me to think about the adjustable music stands that I had once use, and I remembered that I actually had one in a trumpet case.   I took it out, tried shooting a video with it, and it worked just fine.

Now, it seems that if I want to record myself talking, I'll at least have that option until I can afford better equipment.

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I finally bit the bullet and made an appointment to get my remaining wisdom teeth removed. The original appointment was scheduled in January, but someone canceled their appointment and a slot opened up tomorrow. I am not excited about this particularly, but I am sincerely hoping waking up due to pain in the cheek was caused by a decaying wisdom tooth and not one of the other various fun things my anxiety likes to imagine happening at a time like this.  Unless my anxiety has legitimate reasons to suspect something more scary in these situations, it should expect me to ignore its suggestions as best as I can.

I had two days to prepare for this.  After I returned from a therapist's appointment this morning, I found my cell phone and started to make a few calls. I expected a royal run-around from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and I almost got one. I had two make two calls to Anthem and two calls to the dental office total. The dental office agreed with me that Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield was as much of a pain in the a** as I said they were, and eventually said she would have the dentist fill out the form tomorrow. Now, I just have to get this oral surgery out of the way.   (I did, afterwards, have to make it clear to the housemate that whether I get sedated or not, she is not getting out of going with me to this appointment tomorrow.)     Getting the insurance to pay for it and getting the wisdom teeth taken out quickly was the victory in this session.   (Some people would say the likelihood of getting strong painkillers is also a victory, but I've tried to avoid using prescription painkillers as much as possible.)

The victories are nice, but there was also a defeat. Because of the financial situation, I will likely have to let my car insurance lapse. I called the company today to see if I could get an extension, but it turns out that I cannot. All I can do to keep it in effect is pay 75% of the premium amount owed. This does me no good when I won't have the money until this Saturday, and I can't get them a money order out until Monday morning.  I could use a prepaid credit card, but it would still be cheaper to use the money order, stamp and envelope.  At least I can pick up the insurance again when the situation improves.

But since today is the sixteenth, it's time for some holiday wishes: If you are Jewish, I hope you had a Happy Hannukah. If you are Christmas, I will wish you a Merry Christmas. If you will be celebrating the Saturnalia and then the Larentalia starting tomorrow, Io Saturnalia!, if you are Asatru or Neo-Pagan, Happy Yuletide!  To the Asatruar, watch out for Old One Eye. He has a tendency to be as tricky as Loki and he's known for being especially active this time of year.

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 Despite not getting a lot of sleep last night, I'm feeling pretty good today. I may be a little stiff and sore, but I didn't wake up feeling tired for the first time in weeks, and I didn't need to take a nap in the afternoon.  I'll try to hit the gym later tonight, and I may need to ask the Y if there's anything more they can do to help me continue my membership. The housemate may have two good leads on potential jobs, and this will ease some of the financial problems in the house. I hope she follows up on both of them and doesn't wait for people to call her.  Her financial situation getting fixed is far more important than mine getting fixed at the moment.

I am aware of the shooting in California and I heard one report saying it took place at a center that provides services to adults with developmental disabilities.  I will catch up on this later, but I fear this will be another excuse to call for the warehousing of mentally ill people and calls to further restrict the rights of people who have mental illnesses and no history of violence.  

For now, I'm just going to wait for dinner to be prepared and listen to some Simon and Garfunkel. No point in not enjoying these times for as long as possible.

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 The attempts at Cross stitch did not go well, but I am not too upset by their failure. I suspected my lack of coordination might be an issue for this particular task.  It’s probably more useful right now to continue my attempts to learn additional Spanish at least. (Duolingo says that I am still at 51%.)  There’s also that project that’s been on the back burner that I should really complete. It won’t take too long if I can just bring myself to do the editing. I am, unsurprisingly, lacking the motivation for the last part.  I’ve also noticed that Udacity has added an Android development course. I may pick that up if my language studies come to a satisfactory point that lets me rest a bit.  Even though things have not improved much, I am still in a good mood.  Things are stable for now.  Now, there’s the issue of the housemate suggesting I should check into my options in Pennsylvania, but that is six months away. For now, I have time to deal with this.  It may be time to look into getting the van back on the road and taking the chance to get the Hell out of Indiana. 

I am still grateful for having had the chance to live here for three years.  I have a wonderful friend and I have met interesting people.   I’ve even settled in a bit and gotten used to the ways of the Hoosier. I will even miss establishments like Steak ‘n Shake if I should leave the Midwest behind.   However, given how much I’ve complained about how this state has treated people in my situation, I doubt I’ll miss it that much.

Nothing is certain yet, and there may even be a way out of the particular situation, although it will not be through me getting disability. I still have yet to hear back from the Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation office, and the housemate has been doing a bit more earnest job searching. I’ve even suggested she return as an adjunct professor to the Indiana Vocational Technical College, or IVY Tech. I hope this works out for her. I hope she can find the CNC job she wants as well.

I cannot prove it, but I have a bit more than a vague feeling that things are starting to get better. Now, if  there would just be some actual change in circumstances that backs up my faith.

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 The Parke County Covered bridge festival ends this weekend. Even though I have lived in Indiana for three years, I have not actually been to this event. Normally, I avoided it because it’s a crowded, over-priced affair designed to separate tourists from their money. I avoided local festivals for the same reason back in Pennsylvania.  I did feel, however, that I should go see it one of these years just for the sake of seeing it. The housemate, who feels much the same way I do about these festivals, asked if I wanted to go see it. Much to her surprise, I said yes.  After she asked the sentence and heard the response, she realized her mistake and looked quickly for a way out of it.

Fortunately for her, a quick limp into the kitchen provided her with the answer she sought. “Okay. We’ll go. But you do understand that you’ll have to walk a lot, won’t you?  If I see any indication that you’re not able to walk long distances, we’re staying home.”

Now, I did not have a good response to this at the time, but now I think I do. Many such festivals have taken the leads of stores and provided mobility scooters and wheelchairs for people with mobility issues to use. I think I’ll just suggest that we rent one to her if she balks about going.  After all, she doesn’t mind spending extra time in the store when she can see I’m in pain if it will save a few cents.

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I tried to make potato bread last night, but after cutting and heating the potatoes for use, I  left them in the microwave and forgot about them. When it came time to think about tonight's dinner. I decided to skip the potatoes, throw some extra flourin, and use the french setting on the bread machine.  It worked well enough. Most of it is gone.

Now, if this flare would just go away.
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I got the mail when I came back from a minor grocery shopping trip today. As I went through the mail box, I found a letter from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and a letter from the Family and Social Services Administration. I did not know why the latter agency contacted me, but I did not expect the former one to have good news for me. I opened the letter without optimism after I put away the groceries.

It was not good news. It said that I could not get unemployment because I was not able and available. It included a penalty date, but it did not say when the penalty period would end. I assume this means it is an indefinite period, which means I am now stuck in the limbo of the disability system.

I would have been understandably upset at this letter, even though I expected this outcome. The other letter, however, added further insult. It was letting me know an IMPACT (Indiana Manpower and Comprehensive Training) session had been scheduled for me. I really want to cancel this because it’s a mistake, but I can’t afford to lose food stamp benefits right now.

I really wish life would just let up on me right now, rather than throwing one thing after another. It’d be nice if something happened that would make the current situation easier. And I seem to be losing appetite, another sign of depression. (Of course, one of my ways of dealing with depression is overeating, which isn’t good.)

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 Spending time in fibro chat room can be depressing. Such forums often turn into a vehicle to air their complaints. However, it's also one of the few places you'll find other people who understand.  Last night, the topic turned, as it often does, to the financial struggles each of the regular chatters face. One person, who lives in Ireland, successfully got her social security equivalent. The people in the United States are still struggling with various elements of the disability system in the United States. Most of us are stuck in disability limbo. We are either married or have support from another source.  All of us would rather not have to live off of other people in this matter.  The system, in each of the states in question, seems to be the same one that exists in Indiana. The other two people I see regularly in the same situation cannot even get food stamps because their husbands make too much money.  (Now, everyone here, for some bizarre reason, has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and some form of arthritis, even if the form is non-specific. I think it's just coincidence.)  Eventually, she expressed regret that there is no help for people like us.

And she's exactly right.  Even though she's in her late 50s and fairly close to collecting social security benefits anyway, the government expects her to prove that she cannot do the work that she used to do.  Her doctors told her to stop working, but the Social security administration is making her wait to even get the initial review. (The one that almost always says the doctors are wrong and someone either is not disabled or can do some other form of work.)  They sent her case into administrative review and she has to wait until December to even get that answer. My case went quickly.  I think they'll take more time with the reconsideration, as they're actually seeking out the records that exist under my dead name.

In the meantime, we exist in limbo. We live and keep roofs over our heads, but we enjoy this privilege only as long as others tolerate us. We're forced with living on the street or finding a new job to keep us afloat. As far as the government is concerned, getting a new job means we did not need to apply in the first place. If the same problem happens, the law does not consider that we were only delaying the inevitable to avoid the unpleasant circumstances of not having an income.

Part of me really wants to go back to Pennyslvania, but I'm stuck here for now, unless some other miracle occurs.
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 The state of Indiana continues to be helpful with my current situation. I set out this morning to apply for the Lifeline program, to go to the Work One office to see if I could figure out what was going on, and I had to stop at the Division of Family Resources building to clear up something with my SNAP claim. I did not intend to do the last item, but I found out they had canceled my food stamp claim on the phone earlier this morning.

 The SNAP issue was resolved quickly.  The workers figured it was some sort of common SNAFU with the main office in Marion County, who probably didn’t bother to read the official separation e-mail I sent them. It’s one less worry at least.

 Next, I went to the Catholic Charities building, which usually has a sign outside advertising the SafeLink program. No one put the sign out today, so I will have to wait for another time to use that method. This was a minor setback, and I can apply for the program online.

 With that out of the way, I set out for the Workforce building to see if there was anything that could be done with my unemployment claim.  I found out that it was still waiting available because I quit for medical reasons. I was told the process could take up to ten weeks, and there was no guarantee I would be approved. The worker still said I had to keep filing until the decision is made. (This does not make sense to me, but it just seems to be one of the hoops I have to jump through.)

 I wish I knew more about how to navigate this state’s systems, but it seems there are frustrations at every turn. Now it’s time rest and to recover the energy spent this morning.  Then, I can go on to doing dishes and baking bread.

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 Today is the housemate's 42nd birthday.  She shared this information early in the morning, and I paid as much attention to it as I pay to her requests for me to kill the spiders in the bathroom. (I like the spiders in the bathroom. They kill things I don't like. As long as they aren't poisonous to me, I'm happy to share my house with them. Plus, it's bad luck to kill spiders.)  

Eventually, the information made its way into my brain. I said "Happy Birthday."

I did not get thanked as she expected. Instead, she reminded me that she was an fat woman over 40 who did not want to be reminded that today was, in fact, her birthday.  I realize there are other events that she probably does not want to remember, including er getting arrested for actually following Indiana law. The anniversary of my arrival in Indiana also occurred a few days later.  But even though I'm not over 40, I share her weight issues and I still want people to remember my important days.  I just refuse to believe Star Wars turns 40 years old at the same time I do.

Sadly, I would have taken out to see Agengers 2: Age of Ultron if the doctor who did my foot surgery had not forgotten that I proably wouldn't be able to go back to work right after the surgery.

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 1.) Lobby to provide low-income coverage to residents of the state of Indiana and get approved
 2.) Provide paperwork that shows an impressive array of services  at what are supposedly cost-saving measures.
 3.) Sign up  the state and get customers to pay a modest premium
4.) Do everything you can possibly can to prevent those services from being provided
5.) Ignore federal law that says you can't discriminate against transgender people, frequently change the gender marker every time a doctor's office sends in paper work with a gender marker that is the opposite of your legal gender
6.) Refuse to pay for this low-priced medication on principle, even though you've already refused to cover Linzess and probably certainly wouldn't cover Lyrica because there's no generic for it at the moment. (Thank goodness I'm on gabapentin.)

Okay, I'm done complaining.  This is the second time they've pulled this particular trick. I'm getting sick of it.   It was a fairly good day  until I went to pick up the prescriptions.
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Perhaps it's just the fact that it is finally getting to be summer-like and now the housemate and I can agree on the temperature in the house being too warm, but I remain in a good mood today. My circumstances are not much better than they have been, but at least they do not seem to be getting worse right now, as far as I know.

I think I'll even try going out for a short walk today.  It's the type of day that a wise person would enjoy. Maybe I'll even drive to Hawthorne Park and go for a short walk in the woods. Even though this isn't that good of an idea, sometimes I just need to be in the woods to recharge my spiritual batteries.  (Of course, driving to the park and walking in the woods might expend physical energy that I might only think I have right now.)

I just hope this trend continues.

Now, if this pressure in the throat would stop.  It's not quite sore, but it is distracting. It feels like I'm wearing a tie when I'm not.

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 It seems that the aftermath of the toe surgery has drawn to a close. I was cleared to go back to work and to wear real shoes again today. At least I can finally start breaking in the orthotics I received just after they completed the surgery.  At least that's one less thing to worry about. Sadly, I'm not scheduled to go back to work for another week yet.  I hope I'm not misreading the signals from some of my bosses, who think that this will solve all of the problems I've been having with standing at work.  (Of course, I'm still not clear on why the surgery was necessary.  Performing it to relieve the pain doesn't seem to be a valid one since the pain from the toes didn't bother me that much. Nor did he seem to answer my question about why the extra bone in each big toe would become inflamed after 38 years or so of causing no problems.)

Next week, I will meet with a new therapist, who apparently has worked as an LGBT activist and in social justice causes according to the pamphlet put out by the Hamilton Center. I will meet her the day after I come back to work. I think meeting her will be an interesting experience, regardless of how it turns out.

Although things seem okay right now, there was one problem  that has bummed me out slightly.  My laptop screen got cracked somehow last night. I am not sure how this happened. Either I stepped on it and didn't realize it as I went out to get some milk at 3 a.m. in the hopes that it would finally get me to sleep, or I did something in my sleep that caused it to become cracked.  (I'm betting on the first option in this case.  It was hard to tell exactly where my feet were while I was wearing the surgical shoes.)

The only downside of getting out of the surgical shoes is I'd finally adjusted to how they were affecting my balance.  Now that I'm back in normal shoes, it's going to take a few days to get the original sense of balance of back. 
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Interesting. I've had something that feels like it almost could be a sore throat for the last couple of days. It's not quite in the right area though, nor does it's in the throat itself. It feels like it's outside of the neck. I really hope it's just from listening to multiple people in real line and on life describe some infection they had to me.  If this is a psychic power, I will give it to anyone else who wants it.
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I'm not looking forward to going to work this Thursday, but I don't think it's a good idea to avoid it, even though I'll be wearing the bandages on my foot until the 27th.  While I'm looking forward to getting the bandages off, and possibly getting the custom-fit orthotics, it's not the only thing I have to do that week. Tuesday, I have to go to the social security office and meet with those people, and Thursday, unless I cancel the appointment, which I should do, I have to drive to Plainfield.  

Hopefully I can avoid any high fatigue days during this process.
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I succumbed to napativity at around 8 p.m. tonight.  Four hours later, I woke up, only to find that my roommate had also gone to sleep, and apparently had woke up a few minutes before I did. I have to wonder if our circadian rhythms have synchronized for some strange reason.  At least it was not her waking up about the same time I am in the shower.

This Saturday promises to be a busy day.  I must wake up earlier than usual and prepare chicken pot pie for the pot luck meal today.  It'll be nice to spend some time in the woods, even if it is the slightly sanitized version of a county park.  I'm not sure how the roommate feels about being drug along to this particular activity, but she agreed to it after I described nearly getting into an accident in her Crown Victoria because the surgical shoes made it hard for me to not put my foot on the accelerator and the brake at the same time. After she heard this story, she informed me that I wasn't driving until I stop wearing the surgical shoes.

Now I just need for the tired feeling to come over me yet again so I can go back to sleep and be prepared for tomorrow morning.

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Lara's New Shoes with ice packs on her feet 

[Black surgical shoes with ice packs on the foot. A red cast goes up each leg.]

I arrived at the hospital yesterday around noon. I filled out some paperwork and then was directed to go back to the nurse's station in the surgical services center at Terre Haute Regional Hospital. I was taken back to a small room and told to take off all my clothes and put on a hospital gown.  At several points, they tried to get me to take a urine test, although I was not entirely clear on what they wanted. Eventually they told me that they wanted to take a pregnancy test, until I told them I was transgender and pregnancy was not a possibility for me.  They also drew some blood, although I'm not sure why they felt the need to do this.

I spent four hours watching the television in the small room they put me in, and a nurse came to check up on me every half-hour. The surgery was scheduled at 3, but it was almost 5 before I was wheeled into the operating room.  I remember a few sentences being spoken, but shortly after they put the anesthesia in, I lost consciousness and was aware of nothing until I woke up about fifteen minutes after six o'clock.  I spent sometime in the recovery room before being wheeled back to the same room for observation.  At round seven, I had the first liquid I had in around nineteen hours.   When the housemate arrived, I got my clothes on and tried to get back up.  I managed to stay on my feet for a few minutes, but I became nauseated and started sweating. The nurse told me to sit back down. She asked if I'd be all right, and I asked for a Coca-Cola. She came back with the drink and some gauze.

After sitting down for a few more minutes, I got back up and managed to get into the wheelchair that hospitals insist on using when they discharge you.  I was taken out to the housemate's waiting car and was treated to a really good meal at a place called Bagger Dave's.  Then I went home and had ice cream with pretzels and chocolate syrup.


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