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To matter- a question

I'm kind of doing my own little research project and would love to get some personal input from people.  What do you think of when you think of the phrase "to matter" in terms of yourself.  Do you feel like you matter on a daily basis?  When are the times when you feel like you matter the most?  When are the times when you feel as though you don't matter?  The answers I've gotten from these questions has been quite invaluable, so be as honest as possible.

Post surgery

So I had my surgery yesterday.  Nothing is fun about surgery--except for the fact that I haven't been intoxicated in years and today is the first day that I have been somewhat stoned, which is kind of a novelty.  It just sucks that when I'm not stoned I feel like crap.  So if this seems at all meandering or incoherent, blame the moderate amount of hydrocodone and benzos that I have in my system.

Recovery was a big bowl of morphine, nasuea, and stomach pain.  To take the gallbladder out, they had to pump my stomach full of air so that was where most of the initial pain came from.  After the surgery and for the rest of the day my mouth formed into a perma-frown, as seen below, which I was not even aware of until I saw these pictures.  Today was a little better, the anathesia has worn off considerably but now most of the pain is coming from the inside around my liver and where my incision is.  


Surprisingly, I was able to schedule my surgery for tomorrow.  Now I am aflutter with things to do.  I took an anti-narcoleptic medication and I have been more energized than I have been in a year or so.  Good thing I guess, because I have lots of preparations to make for my recovery period.  And my mother and I decided to move my birthday dinner from Sunday to tonight, so there's that. 

Hmmm, goodbye gallbladder.  Goodbye and good luck.

Financial Aid Beeeeaaatch

I'm cleared for all hospital charges except a $1,500 deposit.  Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay!   Suckily, I still have to wait until the end of May to have the operation because my mother will be leaving the country for a couple of weeks.  I almost want to say that it doesn't matter, but I know that it would be much more sucky  if she wasn't here to help with any major complications during my recovery. 

Different subject--friends in town over the weekend was very nice.  The most social I've been in about a year and a little overwhelming.  We all met up on Sunday for my birthday dinner, which was just what I needed and a bag of chips.  My cake, I must say, was really fucking good.  All the experimenting I did over the week paid off.  This Sunday I go out with my mother and some other friends and I am going to experiment with making a tart. 

Related to my explorations in baking, I'm also experimenting with maintaining a certain level of organization.  It is difficult because my energy levels flucuate with such swiftness and intensity, but I am trying to create a system which takes that into account.  When I am energized I try to take on more than I can chew, leaving large messes in my wake, so I need to start planning my projects ahead of time, and in more detail, instead of at the drop of a hat. 

My financial aid letter

To whom it may concern,

                I am writing in regards to receiving financial aid for my pending laproscopic gallbladder removal with Dr. Elsey.   I have been sick with chronic fatigue syndrome since 06/08 and have not been able to work during that time. If you need verification of my diagnosis, you can reach Dr. Cuddapah, who is treating me at the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Center, at (770) 494-7800.  I have had virtually no income during this period, including the present time.  I worked at Mellow Mushroom for one week in July, 2008, but had to leave when I realized that I was too sick.   I am also being treated for anxiety and depression with a psychiatrist, Dr. Song, at (404) 339-4042, and a therapist, Susan Martin, at (770) 992-5955.   Since getting sick, my parents have been supporting me with room and board.  They are currently helping me pay for my medical bills, gas, car payments, and auto insurance in the form of a loan.  These expenses are listed on my financial aid application.  My current debt to them is around $30,000, which will increase as I continue to get treatment for my chronic fatigue and make payments on my car.  If you have any questions or concerns, please reach me at (770)667-9859 or meganmaxey@hotmail.com.   Thank you for your consideration.

Gwinnett Medical Center, not being a private hospital, seems to be a lot more straight forward about financial aid then Emory was.  Emory really put me through the ringer, bringing about tears on more than one occastion. 

On a completely different note, my birthday cake is coming along swimmingly.  I have mastered the art of Swiss, Italian, and French buttercreams.  I am going to try one more gluten free white cake recipe out, but I'm pretty sure that I found the one that is my favorite.  It is made from almond flour and is so moist and delicious.  Now I just have to see if I can make both the cake and icing sugar free.  I made a coconut pastry cream for one layer and I'm looking to make a whipped chocolate ganache for the second.  However I only have today to experiment and I have a headache like a jackhammer so I may just have to stomach the sugar.  sansom  is in town and I am really hoping that this is just a detox from my chiropractic treatment yesterday and that I am well enough to hang out with her tomorrow.   Actually my weekend is jam packed, so that hope is more like a small desperate prayer.

I know i bitch about this a lot

but negotiating health care has been one of the most stressful experiences I have had in my entire life.  It sucks the life right out of me, leaving me on a fragile pedestal of unknowing, confusion, and fatigue.  And when you talk to any of the people involved, they say, very matter of factly, that it is just the way the system is, as if it is my fault for not being patient enough.  It is their job, and they are only doing what their job entails, but I wonder if  they truly understand the complexity of what an uninsured person has to do to find the cheapest option available.  Talk to this person, then this person, fill out this paperwork and then wait, then fill out something else, then if you want to look at another hospital, you have to go to another clinic, talk to this or that person, fill out this paperwork, talk to another person, fill out more paperwork, talk to someone else, then wait.  All while being sick, tired, weak and feeling like shit.  And each person is just doing his or her job within this big puzzle, not really understanding the enormity that puzzle--one of those impossible thousand piece puzzles of ambiguous clouds or dense foliage that starts in the naive hope of self achievement and ends halfway in a cloud of profanities and frustration.


Is that Jennifer Lopez  at the top of the screen in the ad about pertussis?
My surgeon's visit-I'm going to have my gallbladder out.  I apparently have a very large stone, lots of fluid build up, and chronic inflammation.  I'm not quite sure what the plan is yet.  Worst case scenario--the procedure will cost around $25-30,000 at Gwinett Medical.  Better but still pretty bad--I get it done at Grady (ghetto fabulous) for cheaper, although how much cheaper is not known at the present moment.  Best case scenario--I am able to claim myself as indigent and it only will cost about $4-8,000 at Gwinett Medical.  Other case, maybe better or maybe worse--I go to Costa Rica or Cuba to have the operation done for about $10,000.  Right now it hinges on whether I can claim indigent status at Gwinett even though I am a Fulton county resident, and if I can claim it, on whether they accept and waive the hospital fee, which is around $20,000 (for an outpatient operation!!!!!!).  What costs $20,000 is beyond my comprehension. 

Sunday night

From and email to my friend Carrie:

I spent pretty much all weekend hanging out with Bryan, which was pretty nice.  It has been an up and down sort of weekend.  Thursday night I hung out with my friend, Adrienne, which left me feeling very frustrated.  I just felt very unsupported by her and on Friday just everything around the gallbladder came tumbling down.  I was in such a fowl mood!  Then Bryan called and asked me if I wanted to shoot his new air rifle with him and, considering my mood, I jumped at the chance to shoot something.  It was actually pretty fun, I hit the target twice (out of about 15 times).  Then we hung out at the railroad tracks that I used to go to when I was in high school.  There is a spot where the light tower is and you can climb up.  It is very high and when the train goes by it is soooo close!  Very exhilarating.  But after coming down from all the anger, I had an immense amount of sadness come up and I cried and cried. 
I've been coming in and out of that space all weekend.  Feelings of hopelessness.  I moved my appointment with my psychiatrist up to tomorrow so that maybe I can increase my dose.  I know that the Celexa isn't really supposed to start working until four weeks (I'm at three) but everyone I've talked to who has been on it titrated up faster than this, and I think that my level of depression warrants it.  We'll see what she says though.
I'm experimenting with different types of cakes for my birthday.  I trying different kinds of plain white cakes.  I made one with coconut flour and one with almond flour.  I have a few more to test, but I ran out of eggs, and I am so done with doing anything productive right now, I think I'm just going to watch a movie.  One of my favorites from childhood--The Great Race.

Good day

i finally made a artisan loaf of bread that I am extremely proud of.  It was the addition of masa harina that brought everything together.  I am going to bask in its glory for the rest of the day.

On another note, I have gallstones and an inflamed gallbladder, which means surgery.   My appointment with the surgeon is next Tuesday.  I'm currently doing a lot of internet research on the different procedures so I will be well informed. 

I think I'm going to start making test cakes for my birthday coming up, to take my mind off.  I'm thinking a coconut cake.  I just got a big batch of almond flour that I'm excited to start baking with.