Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I'm Baaack!


I have returned from my 30 days in California and am back ready to write some.  

First, the rest of the trip was quite awesome. I got to see my cousin B, and that was a lot of fun.  Then I got to see my beloved Uncle J and his son, my cousin B.  There were some shocking family revelations that brought us all much closer together, and my cousin has offered to help with my dental problems, and my friend I was staying with, C, lives just about 30 mins from them (which by LA standards is very close) and she said I was more then welcome to stay with her as long as I need once my cousin starts to do surgery to rebuild my messed up jaw.  Ouch....

And.. one of the most awesome part of the entire visit, was hunting down Endeavor.  
And we found it.. at 2:30 in the morning, we watched her roll out of LAX with a few hundred other folks. It was truly amazing!  We watched for a couple hours and finally got home and was in bed at around 5am.  

 That night, I took the train back to Houston. I boarded at 10pm Fri nite, and arrived back at 11:10 am on Sunday morning. I had my own little 'roomette' and I loved it!  I went up to the dining car to eat, but other then that, I stayed in my room, enjoying the solace and view of the wild west going by.  

To catch up since I've been back.

I had my appointment at the Houston VA with the ear, nose and throat docs.  They diagnosed me with sever TMJ on both sides of my jaw.  And I got to explain to two male doctors about how it happened.  They were very nice, but in the end, they told me to go get some ibprophene, a night guard and a private dentist.  Geee, thanks guys! The only good part was the official diagnoses and that it was service connected. 

The following Mon I saw my new psychiatrist again.  The Zoloft didn't arrive till almost two weeks into my trip so I hadn't taken it yet when I went to see her. 
I've been on it for a week now, and so far I am feeling disconnected, having a harder time thinking clearly and terrible night sweats. Ugggh.  I much prefer my CA medicine of cannabis for my PTSD. (that all my docs in CA fully supported, including the ones at the VA and Vet Center, even if they couldn't 'officially' sanction it, they certainly did 'off the record'). But being here in TX now makes that very dangerous and that also really, really pisses me off.   

The psyc doc wasn't happy with the ENT docs, and she put in a prescription for the ibprophene 
as she said it wasn't fair for me to have to pay for everything.  I got the night-guard at the grocery store and it feels weird but I know its helping me with my teeth. My dear cousin in CA (whose been an orthodontist and dentist for 27 years) has said he'd help with my teeth, and I'll need to go back to CA for treatment when I'm ready.  But  new X-rays would be good and my psyc doc is trying to get my general practitioner to take them to have a visual record of my TMJ.  Bless her heart, she's trying to save me some $$.  She is really wonderful and very supportive.

When I got back, I contacted one of the other ladies in my MST group to find out when the next meeting was, and what our assignment was.  She told me and I got all caught up.  

It was good to be back at group, and we have a new member.  A nice lady, L whom is also from CA.  She was in the Air Force and had a very ugly time of it also.  

Our assignment was to do a 'progress report' of sorts as C, our new group leader and therapist at the Vet Center wanted us to be able to look and see what progress we had made.  I'll do a post about that next.

Otherwise, socially, I've tended to want to isolate some.  I loved the trip, but there was soooo much going on all the time, and so many people with almost no time to be alone.  Its been wonderful to be back in my TX home with my partner and seeing a few friends.

Tonight is Halloween, our first in the new house here.  We live in a nice little subdivision that seems to have quite a few kids, so we'll see what tonight brings.  

So, that's about it for now. Its great to be back home for sure!

Over and out,


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vacation Almost Over


I've been in California the past couple of weeks visiting family and friends starting with friends in Antioch, San Francisco then Sacramento and finally, down to Los Angeles, where I am now. I'll take a train back to Houston leaving on Fri nite. I'm actually in Santa Monica to be exact, where i was born, visiting with my best friend from 6th grade.  Over all its been an excellent and very healing experience.  I got through a couple of assignments my last Vet Center head doc gave me before she relocated.

One was to participate as a volunteer at the Sacramento Stand Down for homeless veterans.  I did it last year and loved it. I work at the Community Service desk, and I trust the Marine who runs it.  He knows what happened and assured me I'd be safe. I knew this, and certainly trusted him to look after me,  but my breakdown happened after that, and I've had a lot of difficulty being around many veteran since then.  This was 99% good. I did have a couple of triggers, and had to work to hold my boundaries a couple of times, but that was good too. Before, I would have caved to any 'Commands'.  A defining moment came the first morning when one of the tent leaders told me I needed to get on the camp microphone and call for the 'community service' folks to show up for a work crew, but we didn't have the assignment for it yet, and I was in charge of the Community Service desk and  was supposed to make the decision.  I told him I wouldn't do it till I got the job assignment.  He pushed me to do it again and I got sorta mad and told him no again, and that part of my therapy for my PTSD was to hold my boundaries, especially with other veterans.  He said something about being disabled from being shot in the leg in Viet Nam.  He asked if i was a combat veteran, I said no, I got my PTSD  from MST.  Well.. his eyes got huge and his entire demeanor changed in a flash.  He  said "Oh my gosh.. I'm sooo sorry.  Right.. you DO have it worse then me for sure!".  And after that, he became something of a protector.  He'd come around and make sure I had cold water, and got food when the lines were going.  I was first, surprised that he KNEW what that acronym meant... (I dread explaining it to folks) and deeply touched by his brotherly and protective attitude during the 3 days in camp.  My friend Marion went with me, and it helped a lot to know she was near by too.

First evening in camp

 The next afternoon
Breaking camp Sun morning

It was really an wonderful experience and it was great how well everyone got along and the amazing services that were provided.

The other big assignment was to talk to my friend C's parents, as they had been like (and often more compassionate) then my own engineer parents. I wondered when the 'right moment' would present itself, and it came last Friday when her folks were at the framing shop the family owns while C was working.  I cried while I held her younger sisters hand, and both her parents were upset, especially her father.  My only living parent is my step father and he has Alzheimer's too much to really understand what happened, and he doesn't remember where I've moved to and why.  But my doc was right, it felt good to tell my other 'parents' and have them respond the way I wished mine would have.  C's younger sister was always like having my own little sister and I love her and the rest of the family sometimes more then my own.  They've called me their adopted daughter since the 6th grade.  Everyone is so wonderful and supportive that it's really been one of the best vacations I've ever had.  

Today I got to see my beloved step daughter Ms. P. for a short brunch and it was great to see and hug her.  She just got her Master's in psychology, I am sooooo proud of her!  Tonight, I go see my second cousin B, who I've not seen since the mid 90's.  And tomorrow nite, I get to see my beloved Uncle and Cousin, who I've not seen since the mid 80's.  Whew! Getting lots and lots of catching up done.  Tomorrow is also the LA County Museum and La Brea Tar Pits.  Thur we go to China Town for (hopefully) some dim sum and shopping, then on Thur evening dinner with friends and then we're going hunting for the Space Shuttle Endeavor as it will be parked here in LA overnight on its journey to the museum and C is determined to get pics of it. 

I've enjoyed this trip a lot but it will be nice to get home to Texas and my friends and new family there.

I'll fill in more sometime next week when I get home... 
Over and out,