Various things...

Edited for clarity, now that it's not 5 am!

There's been a lot going on and I'm realizing I haven't blogged about much of it. So, let me gather my thoughts and catch up here.

First, about a month ago, we added someone to our household. No---I did not have a baby! We have a new friend who has become a housemate. Rowan is an excellent cook---we've been eating really good meals lately, let me tell you! Banana bread. Avocado bread. Meatloaf. Stir Fry. Cake (!). I'm beginning to suspect I'm being fattened up so I can be served as the Thanksgiving Turkey! Wink Actually, his meatloaf is better than Randy's----that's saying something.

Rowan has two of the downstairs rooms, with his three cats: Kidman, Calculus and Tasslehoff. Though it's been about a month since we moved him in, Rowan's couch is still in the hall downstairs 'cause we can't get it into either of the rooms! Randy and Frank (another friend---I think I mentioned him on the alpaca farm post) had to saw off the legs some just to get it down stairs...and then some more to try to get it through the door to the bedroom...but they both were wiped by that point, so two legs still need cutting off!

I moved Nick upstairs some time back. I just cannot manage those stairs and he sleeps through smoke alarms and everything else! But recently, we re-arranged a tad bit: the dining room became Nick's room by moving the short Billy Bookcases and the acrylic 40 gallon aquarium to create a "wall" across from the downstairs doors. It's not perfect (yet), but Nick has "his" space now and we've moved the dining table into the great room. It floats a bit more than I'd like, but eventually we're hoping to add a sofa and chair in the great room for more casual seating near the fire place.

Now that I've sold off almost one entire full-height Billy Bookcase, I've got space to put my DVDs on shelves and get some additional boxes broken down. Hopefully soon, I can do the same with photo albums.

I don't think I blogged about the absolutely terrifying experience of having two ferrets stung by a scorpion. When it happened, I didn't see the scorpion so I didn't know at first what the cause of the problem was. I initially thought Ukiah was choking on something. I pounded on his back, trying to dislodge whatever it was. When a ferret chokes, for some reason, they foam at the mouth. I'd seen this before and while scary, I thought it'd be easily solved...only the pounding wasn't helping and he got more panicked.

I screamed for Randy and together we tried to figure out what what choking him. I got too close to teeth and Ukiah inadvertently bit me. Shortly after that, I began to see blood coming from his mouth. I was freaking out pretty badly. What the hell is wrong with my baby? Randy deduced that the panic had caused Ukiah to bite his tongue. My poor baby was still not doing well. Something did change shortly after this because the choking changed to more of a gasping, with body twitches---they looked like seizures. And most web pages tried to say this was a blood sugar crash and likely insulinoma.

Theodore has insulinoma. I've seen crashes with seizures. This was not the same thing. And then, it got worse. Nick came running in, with Horatio doing the same thing. Originally, Horatio had been in the office with us and I had told Nick to put him in the cage so we could focus on Ukiah...only Horatio started having the same problems. While not as severe, for a little while there, we had three humans trying to help two ferrets breathe. I was having nightmare visions of all ten of my darlings doing this at once. The twitching and panicky fighting for breath, with no one to hold them and keep them from hurting themselves....oh gods, please, no...

No other ferrets showed signs of doing the same thing. Still, we had two ferrets gasping, twitching, almost seizing, at 2am on a Friday morning. After an hour of this, Ukiah was exhausted and Horatio was only a shade better than that. The twitches kept returning at odd times.

I can't recall now why we suspected a scorpion sting. But at some point I specifically looked up scorpion stings and the symptoms for the bark scorpion were identical:

Fatalities from envenomation are rare in the USA, and are limited to small animals (including small pets), small children, and adults with compromised immune systems. Extreme reaction to the venom is indicated by numbness, frothing at the mouth, paralysis, and convulsions.

I finally contacted the emergency clinic my vet is associated with, but they didn't have the exotic expert on duty. They did give me a number for an exotic vet who deals with scorpion stings. This vet (I've forgotten his name) suggested we'd be looking at $600-700 to begin with, depending on how much supportive care Ukiah and Horatio needed.

I left a message with my vet's office, asking to be scheduled for as soon as we could possibly get in. We took both babies in and Dr. Funk agreed to acquire some anti-venom and support them in hospital while he did so. It turned out Ukiah's temperature was dropping, so they gave him some heat as well as hydrating both of them. There was another drug they administered---Randy said it's commonly used to treat against nerve gas (I think) but I'm blanking on the name of it right now. Between that drug and the anti-venom, these two boys were being given every chance to return to full health.

Thanks to a fellow ferret lover (and small breeder) on Ravelry, I also spoke to the vet about being shown how to administer fluid "sub-q" (medical-speak for fluid injected below the skin but not into a vein or muscle). Ferret skin is extremely tough and I was surprised how they didn't squirm at the needle, but the saline being pushed in. When the saline is warmed to be closer to their body temperature, they seemed to be less annoyed/irritated by this procedure.

Forty-eight hours after the episode started, my two boys were definitely looking at a full recovery. Now, it's been just over a month (this all happened on April 2nd!) and I would have no way of knowing this had ever happened to them (except for the whimpers from my credit card: it cost me $500 for the both of them to be saved).

I've also had some healthy issues of my own. My fibromyalgia has become worse, for one. I had hoped returning to the desert would return me to where I was in early 2005, prior to our car accident. I'm only now realizing that the accident itself probably escalated my symptoms---and therefore my pain levels.

I've never been a white-glove housekeeper, but I've usually been reasonably good at keeping things decent. Those days are fading and I'm not accepting that change gracefully, unfortunately. Folding and hanging a couple baskets of laundry can wear me out. Scraping/scrubbing/rinsing dishes and loading the dishwasher has me drenched in sweat (how attractive!) and exhausted as well. I have found I need to work on the kitchen in stages. Load the dishwasher, then rest. Return to wipe down counters and scrub the stove clean, then rest. I can't clean the microwave over the stove any more because it hurts my back.

Ugh. Cataloging all of this is depressing, isn't it? I'll focus on the good things---like a husband who doesn't expect me to be a 1950s-era housewife, with fresh make-up and dinner on the table for his arrival home from work. Or friends who truly understand my limitations and don't think ill of me because my home isn't what it should be. I had become so accustomed (how? why?) to having to explain myself---why I can't do, why I'm scared to do...and so on.

In fact, I was contemplating going back to school to get my Masters in Architecture. At Arizona State University, it would be a 3+ program, since I didn't major in architecture for my Bachelor's. But, I don't believe I could handle the course load and the homework, the studying and still being a mother and a wife and "just me". Plus, why spend even more money on yet another degree I wouldn't use because I don't believe I could return to the work force? So, instead I've been focusing on what I can do. I still have a lot of support around me to continue my writing.

In the meantime, there's more to my health than my fibro. I went in for my annual "well woman exam" PC and vague. Those who need well woman exams know full well what gets checked out: boobs and bush. I also had concerns about my cycle: it's too heavy and too painful! (And that might be TOO much information!)

The well woman exam leads to the annual pancake exam. I don't turn 40 until next February, but I've been getting mammograms since about 35...and after the car accident, I had more done because of the damage to my left breast. It appeared to be "just" really intense bruising (dark purple to black) but after that, I noticed a lump and we all paid close attention to it. Finally I had it removed (before we returned to Arizona). The surgery to remove it could cause another one because the whole thing started with the internal scarring from the accident.

My mammograms came back with some questions, so I'm scheduled to go back in on Tuesday for a second pancakse exam. I need to hunt through my filing cabinet and hope I can lay my hands on my films and records from back in South Carolina. That'll give them something to compare against.

I also had an ultrasound done to examine my uterus---doesn't this all just sound like a really cool party? Not! They ended up doing it trans-vaginally---there's a fun word--and that gave them some really good images. And it leads to yet another exam. Apparently, the lining of my uterus is thick. This is something which happens as we get older, but since I've been having pain and other issues, my NP wants to make sure there's no cancer I get to go in for an endometrial biopsy.

Depending how all these things go, I'm debating a variety of methods of altering my cycle. The ones which truly scare me are the ones which are designed to scar the lining of my uterus, so I don't build up a layer every month and then shed it. But I also have no idea what adding hormones ("the pill" or variants of it) would do to my body. I'm already on Cymbalta and would "the pill" affect those drugs and/or my body?

I was over at Bookman's the other day and found a tarot deck I really like. I've bought two others in the past and ended up passing them on or stashing them 'cause they just didn't "click" with me. The new deck is the Fenestra Tarot. I like the muted colors of the deck---not garish or too bright. We'll see how it works for me.

I came across another tarot deck I simply must purchase as soon as I have a little play money again. The Ferret Tarot is just too adorable for words. And I suspect it would click with me quite well. Also, the cards have not been laminated, so I could color the cards in as I like (and perhaps take them to a Kinkos for laminating afterwards?).

What frustrates me right now is that I have two sets of runes...and I have no idea where they are. I'm also missing a short silver (the color, not necessarily the metal) dagger I use for a letter opener. What else am I missing? Is there a box hiding in a corner, chuckling at all the secrets it holds that I've forgotten I have?

It's 5am, I've got heartburn and I'm probably not coherent in a couple places up above. I'm going to post this---I thought there was one or two other topics I wanted to bring up, but I can't remember them now. I may add to this post or start a new one with anything I've forgotten.