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EJ
Artist | Professional | Artisan Crafts
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After hours at the studio by puppy-dangerous
After hours at the studio
I find it mildly amusing that this photo managed to capture absolutely none of the incredibly cool stuff in here. Left to right: my brothers Paul and George, me, dad, my husband David. 
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fish bowl kitties by puppy-dangerous
fish bowl kitties
Copper fish inside clear glass kitty. Made these a couple days ago. Hopefully will all be sold at the show Saturday. Photo by my brother.
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Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: violence/gore and strong language)
Previously on Spy vs Spy*
(I suggest you try to imagine these like each paragraph is a clip from a TV series)

White's superior stands in the middle of his office, the soles of his mirror polished black shoes sinking into the thick plush of the carpet. The screen behind him displays the enlarged images of several sheets of paper, browned with time. Almost faded into the weathered paper are the ideographic characters if Chinese writing. “The Kimigura Papers.” He says. “These have been kept under top security in the Japanese embassy for the last twenty years. In two days time, they will be transferred to Munich, into the hands of-” the picture changes to a black and white newspaper photograph of a severe looking woman in an aggressively cut blazer, her hair slicked back from her forehead in a tight bun “Doctor Velinka Bosnyak.”


“You are to retrieve these papers.” Black's superior says. “If retrieval is not possible, destroy them. Do not let them fall into enemy hands.”


A young man in a brown sweater walks down a damp street with the feel of somewhere in West-Central Europe. He looks nervous. He turns a corner, hesitates a half step, then suddenly breaks into a jog. The reason for his concern is evident a moment later when he comes up along side the form of a woman in a dress slumped on the sidewalk, an overturned moped beside her, hat askew. He hurries up to her and reaches out to touch her shoulder, then gasps in surprise as he finds the barrel of a gun shoved up his nose. “The papers.” Gray murmurs. “Give them to me.”


Doctor Bosnyak unlocks a door in an office building, casts glances both ways, then walks in. She closes the door and locks it behind her, turns on the overhead light and sits down at a crowded desk. She pulls the middle drawer out looking for a pen and the movement triggers a tiny mechanism. There is a faint beep.


White and Black both approach the building from different angles. White is coming in from the bottom, while Black prefers the top. Before either of them can enter it explodes, sending gigantic fragments of wood and stone flying.


The two spies see each other from across the rubble, both of them dirty but otherwise unharmed. They point identical fingers across the wreckage at each other. Above each of their heads a conversation bubble appears and showcases identical animations in which the other sneaks into the building, grabs the papers, plants a bomb then tries to sneak out.


Black produces a gigantic and ridiculously complex gun from nowhere and aims it at White, who bolts. Black gives pursuit, dodging trashcans, cars, farm animals, and rolling airplane service carts. White finds himself having run straight into a dead end alley. Black blocks the exit, animation appearing over his head as he demands to know where White has hidden the papers. White rebuts, crossing out Black's animation and replacing it with his own scenario where Black has hidden them. While they are arguing a shadow peers down at them from a roof. The figure is obscured by darkness, but whoever it is drops a bomb down between the two. Black and White both jump and scramble to get away, White leaping over the thing.


An explosion shakes the buildings, causing one of them to partially collapse and sending up a cloud of smoke and dust. Immediately people start to shout.


Black shakes himself off, brushing dust off of his suit. He looks around quickly, then sees one of White's hands poking out from under a pile of rubble. He scrambles over and shoves off several heavy beams, revealing White who looks to be very bad off. Blood is starting to soak through the white fabric of his suit like the brilliant flowers on a silk kimono. Black yanks the front of the suit open and shoves his hands in. He finds a dampening white shirt and swelling torso slick with blood, but no envelope containing papers of any kind. White shudders and chokes.



“Oh no you don't!” Black snarls. “You're staying here with me!”


Snap to black.



*but not really




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Black and White stand back to back, their poses identical, guns raised and ready, heads tilted slightly toward each other. They are almost exactly alike in every way, their long arms and legs mirror images as surely as their sharp grins. They wear suits, hats, and shoes that are identical in cut and style, differing only in their color. Underneath the hats their hair is the only thing that doesn't look like it has been polarized from the other, Black's raven locks falling shaggily around his ears, White's snow colored hair is longer and slicked back into a short ponytail just above his collar.


They turn in one movement, rotating to face each other Both fire, the bullets meet in midair and explode to reveal the Spy vs Spy logo.

“I have no name.” White Spy says.

“No history.” Black Spy says.

“No nationality.” White.

“No family.” Black adds.

“I work for a secret organization.” White's voice says as the his superior appears, looking official in his snappy suit and obviously saying something important.


Black climbs into a small helicopter with a bomb attached to the bottom of it with a sling. He takes off and flies out over a lake, planning to drop the bomb on a small boat where White appears to be fishing. When he gets over it and looks down he sees that it is not White at all but a dummy. White snickers a stand of trees on the shore as he aims a land to air missile. The helicopter explodes and crashes down into the water.

A digital alarm clock ticks over to one minute past midnight.

Black jerks upright in his bed, his hat falling to the pillow. He takes off his shades and runs a hand over his face, then stands up. “And I cannot die.”

“I am-” He says, turning for the first time to look directly at you, his dark eyes intense and intelligent.

The screen splits as White Spy appears in a mirror image position.

“The Spy.” They say together.


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Black looks impatiently at the clock, willing it to tick over. Eleven fifty-eight. Three minutes. White shudders softly with each breath, spastic inhalations fueled by nothing more than the instinct of the body. Don't you dare die you son of a bitch, Black thinks harshly. Eleven fifty-nine. White's chest falls and stays down, concave under the thin white undershirt. It doesn't rise again and Black tenses. It's the heart that matters, not the breath, as long as that is still beating, as long as he's alive....


Midnight. Black reaches out despite himself and puts two fingers on White's carotid artery. He closes his eyes, his touch light, barely breathing for fear of missing the slightest trimmer Yes, there it is, the faintest pulse.


He's going to live. Good. Black leans over and closes his fingers around the Tokarev TT pistol.


Black positions himself directly over the other spy, his knees sinking into the cheap mattress as he uses both hands to steady the gun, aiming it with the muzzle inches from White's face.


12:01


White's chest snaps upward as he gasps in a breath, his pale brown eyes springing open, at the very same moment he is abruptly wearing the white suit and hat. The open tunnel of the business end of the gun is reflected in the dark surface of his sunglasses.


“Shit!” White yelps, instinctively jerking away from the weapon and knocking his hat off.


Black grins. “Morning, sunshine.”


“Get that goddamn thing out of my face.” White snarls, regaining his composure almost instantly.


“Awww, what's the matter, you don't want to stay and cuddle?” Black leers at him.


“You're a sick fucker, you know that?” White hisses.


White hasn't been restrained, Black hadn't wanted to do anything to compromise already poor blood flow and potentially end his life early, and he shoves Black away. Black topples off of him, still grinning, and hits the floor with a thump.


“What did you do with them?” Black asks, adjusting his aim and zeroing in on his rivals kneecap.


“What did I do with what?” White asks. The comforting weight of his gun is pressing into the side of his chest, but he doesn't dare go for it. Black won't hesitate to cripple him, though the threat of death carries no weight, pain is another matter.


Black rolls his eyes, exaggerating exasperation. “The papers. Where did you hide them?”


White's mouth twitches, then he slowly smiles. So, Black doesn't have them. That gives him, White, an edge, as long as he can keep that impression up.


“I'll never tell you.” White says. “You'll have to kill me first.”


Black seems to be struggling to restrain himself. He fails with a snort of disbelief then says “I'm sorry, but was that really the best you could come up with? You'll have to kill me first? You've been watching to much TV, my friend.”


He changes the angle of the gun ever so slightly, using it to gesture with, and the second the barrel dances off of his joint White throws himself off of the bed and whips out his own gun, rolling and firing shots in the direction of Black. He doesn't expect to hit the other spy, but dodging bullets will keep Black from taking aim for a few precious seconds.


For a second a bolt of apprehension runs through him, this place looks inexpensive but there is the possibility that he won't be able to break the lock on the door. He hits it full force, throwing himself at the wood with his shoulder lowered. The door holds, but the frame isn't made for that kind of abuse and shatters outward. White tumbles into the hall and slams the door back, grinning as he hears it smack Black in the face.


A door opens in the hall and the rear end of a maid appears as she pulls her cleaning cart through the opening. White grabs her around the waist and yanks her out into the hall, the woman emitting a scream that would make Walt Disney proud. He jerks her to the right and throws her into the open hallway where she stumbles and slams straight into Black.


The maid, who's name is Anna and who just moved to Munich two weeks ago from a small farming village, hadn't seen White's gun but she sees Blacks. There's no way to miss it, as it is now hovering just over her right shoulder where Black has lifted it to avoid accidentally discharging the weapon. She screams again and tries simultaneously to struggle away and stand perfectly still, totally conflicted about how she should behave in this situation.


Black had seen White go into the room. He shoves the woman away and darts to the door. He tries to turn the knob but it is locked.


“Give me the keys.” Black says to the girl.


“W-w-what?” She stammers.


“The keys!” Black shouts.


Anna stumbles backwards, her lip trembling. She turns and makes a break for it, running off down the hall and disappearing into the stairwell. It doesn't matter, the gunshots will bring authorities any moment.


White won't stay in the building. Black stows the weapon and runs back down the hall, tracing his steps back through the broken door. He opens the window and leans out, they are on the second floor and this side opens into a mostly disused alley. Black puts a foot on the sill and jumps through, lands like a shadow, and slinks off into a side street as the first of the sirens sounds.



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



White leans back against the wall and catches his breath. He'd escaped, but only just, the window had let him out right onto the street and if that maid hadn't come streaking out screaming and caused a scene he would have been spotted for sure.



Well, he learned something valuable today. Black doesn't have the papers, either. So who does? he wonders as he relaxes into a casual walk and aims himself in the opposite direction from the activity. Did the same person who planted the bomb in the doctors office chuck that one at him and Black? And what has become of good Doctor herself? Did she perish in the explosion?



He stops on a corner and waits to cross the street, far enough away from the fuss now that life has taken on a normal night rhythm.



“Hello.” A woman approaches, her hips swinging underneath a tight fitting gold miniskirt. “You are a tourist? Would you like me to....show you around?” She puts provocative emphasis on the words.



“No thank you.” White says in German, careful not to give away any hint of an accent. He steps into the street and disappears across, unexceptional in every way, forgotten in seconds.



It's late, and he certainly isn't going to get anywhere right now. He has his handgun, which regenerates with his suit and hat, but nothing else, no passport, no money. That is going to make this rather difficult. They may recognize him at the Embassy, but he has a suspicion that Black will be waiting for him to go there. If he dies he'll end up back in his apartment in the morning, a sixteen hour flight from here on a good day, and will miss whatever is left of the day. He needs a contact. He needs....



Something presses at the back of his mind, his spy-der sense is tingling, and he casts a furtive glance over his shoulder. This area is mostly deserted this time of night and he sees no one. He doesn't ignore his instinct, though, so he steps into the shelter of an alley and stands, waiting. Sure enough, a few moments later he hears footsteps. White recognizes the rhythm, that is Black's walk pattern. He checks the level of his clip, then curses softly. He doesn't have his mirror, he'll have to purchase another one but that's a matter for a different time. His eyes scan the street and finally find a window that reflects it back in monochrome. He can barely see the edge of Black's body, the outline of one shoulder. Black is standing in the gutter, probably lighting a cigarette.



White holds his breath and watches Black stroll down the sidewalk on the other side of the street. He can see him looking into doorways and alleys, vigilant. White casts his eyes around and sees that the building across the street is being renovated in some way, there is one of those dangerous looking rigs made of a thin aluminum platform and nearly useless guard rails, the whole thing hoisted into the air with a couple ropes attached to pulleys. Aside from that, the street is clear. White carefully cocks the gun, waiting for Black to come into sight. He can send Black home and get him out of the way.


Black has stopped and he's just standing there. White huffs impatiently. What is he doing out there, reading the news? White creeps closer to the street and at last chances a look. He is! Black is standing there on the corner reading a damned paper. What time is it, two in the morning? Three? Earlier? It's hard to keep track of those things. Well, fine then. He'll do this now.


White steps out of the alley and puts three bullets straight into Black, piercing the paper. Instead of crumpling, Black explodes. White is thrown to the ground, his often abused back slamming painfully on the pavement. The back of his head thumps on the curb and for a moment his vision explodes into stars.


He scrambles to his feet but not fast enough, White grunts as he is tackled and hits the ground again, this time on his front. He catches his upper body and shoves the ground away, twisting and kicking his attacker, the gun lost when he'd fallen before. Black has the gun jammed up against his shoulder on the right side, well away from his heart. He must still think I have the papers somewhere, White thinks triumphantly, he doesn't want to kill me. White jams his other shoulder around, rolling over far enough to make a grab at Black's arm. Black pulls the trigger but the shot goes nowhere in particular, echoing off into the street. White forces the gun up, twisting his body until he is facing Black, their bodies as close as lovers, jabbing the gun up against his own chin, holding Black's arm in place with both hands.


“Go ahead.” White laughs, sneering. “You've lost the papers. They're being picked up-” he pauses for emphasis “as we speak.”


“You're lying.” Black hisses.


“Then shoot me.” White taunts. “Here, I'll do it for you.” He works his finger over Blacks on the trigger.


The bluff works, Black wrenches the gun away. White comes up after him, shoving the other man away. Black rolls and kicks him all the way over, but White puts a knee into his upper arm on the way and triggers the nerve, his fingers releasing the gun as his arm goes numb.


White tries to kick him in the face but Black evades, there is a confused tangle of limbs and insults and then they are separated again. White scans the ground for the guns, both of them are off in the shadows. Black is doing the same thing. They spot the weapons at the same time and both dive for them, each grabbing a firearm, and land aiming at each other They realize that they are holding each others weapons and their eyes meet over the street.


Black lifts a hand. One, he fingers as he puts the gun on safety, two...three. They toss the weapons across the street, swapping guns, then both scramble to spin them around and point them at the other.


Someone is clapping.


Black and White both blink, identical expressions of surprise adorning their faces. They quickly darken as they turn their heads and see who it is strolling down the pavement, high heels clicking.


Gray stops directly between them, still clapping. There is a manila envelope clamped under one arm.


“Hello, Boys.” She lowers her tortoise shell cats eye glasses and looks from one to the other. Her dress is cut distractingly low, revealing a very unprofessional amount of cleavage. “Is this what you're looking for?”


“Are those the actual papers?” White asks, leaning on his elbows on the sidewalk.


“Of course not.” Gray rolls her eyes. “But this is the envelope they came in.”


“Where are they?” Black demands from across the street.


Gray contemplates him for a second before responding. “Somewhere safe. And I will give it to you if you will run a teensy little errand for me. However” She takes a moment to look between them again make the emphasis more pointed “you're going to have to work together.”


She takes the glasses off and rests them against her lips, painted perfect red as always, her mouth forming into a purposefully seductive pout, letting them think about this.


“Well?” She says after an appropriate amount of time has passed. “What do you say, do we have a deal?”

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Gray sits between them in the back seat of a nondescript sedan that had appeared seconds after White and Black had stowed their guns. White looks over her head to narrow his eyes at Black. The dark spy looks tired, he decides, which makes sense as he's been awake for, how long now? It is probably approaching forty eight hours.

They drive for what feels like a very long time. White watches as Black leans back and eventually slumps in his seat, the hat pulled down to cover his eyes. Sleeping. Or pretending to, the arrogant bastard.

White looks out the window and is surprised to find they are now approaching a rather famous coctail bar. The doors are closed now, and the car pulls around back. There are several other vehicles parked back here, all of them look as though they belong to someone well to do.

Black sits up when they stop, giving no indication as to whether he was actually asleep or not. They both get out and turn, offering Gray their hands. Gray looks back and forth between them, then chooses White, who is nearest to the door in the back of the club, and lets him help her out. White shoots a triumphant glare over the top of the car.


Black comes up behind them as White holds the door for Gray. He pauses to give White a scathing look.


“I dislike you with great intensity.” Black says.


“Thanks for clearing that up.” White comes back.


The door leads to a back room which would make the regular attendees of the club blush with shame. Everything is shades of red, plush red fabric lit by rosy Chinese lanterns. There are women in red as well, tight dresses that ride up their slick hips and barely conceal artificially enhanced breasts. There are men as well, dressed in slick stylish clothes and smoking expensive cigars while they pour glass after glass of wine that costs more than a used car.


One of the women uncurls herself from the couch and slinks over to them. She puts one red fingernail in her mouth and examines both of them, then reaches out and runs a hand down the front of Black's suit. Her upper body twists like a kindergartner on show and tell day. This time it is Black's turn to give the triumphant look.


“Not now, loverboy.” Gray says, grabbing Black's arm and pulling him away. “We have business to discuss.”


The smell of illegal smoke and the mingled voices and music seep in around the fabric walls of the private booth. Two patrons of the fine establishment have positioned themselves a couple of yards away on either side, standing in a way that doesn't quite conceal that they are guards.


“Alright, boys.” Gray says, smiling as she lays two file folders on the table, one in front of each spy. “Lets get this show on the road.”
Spy vs Spy: A Murder of Dubious Quality: Pt 1
There is no previous story, I just didn't feel like writing that, because I'd have to write a 'pilot' and all that junk...maybe at some point in the future. 

This is old, but I just found it again and it's kinda entertaining, so here ya go.
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ok, this really sucks.

Journal Entry: Sat Aug 16, 2014, 1:57 PM

Some of you may know that I had severe back issues for about 10 years, finally resulting in my being bedridden for six months before finally finding my old chiropracter who got me fixed in three visits, about six weeks ago I was able to get up and about again. 

Around the same time my back got really bad, I had to switch to hormonal birth control from a copper IUD (it's effective time expired) while we waited for health  insurance to kick in. I know that's a bit TMI but I promise, it's important. 

I visited a doctor for the first time in 10 years in May. My heart rate was high and resperation was fast and shallow, I was unable to take deep breaths. I don't know what my heart rate was, but it's normally in mid-range at 68-72 beats a minute. I complained of complete exaustion and, when asked if I was sick at the time, told them I felt so bad all the time I honestly didn't know.  The doctor said I had a slightly irregular heartbeat that speeds up when I breathe in and drops when I breathe out, which is slightly abnormal but not a problem. 

I was in extreme pain at the time, which can cause fast heart rate and respiration. But I'd also been in pain for so long that I generally try to do slow deep breaths. 

My dog started acting funny about three or four months ago. She was whining constantly, very worried, hiding under things. I now realize she was trying very hard to tell me that something was wrong. 

Like I said, I found my awesome chiropracter again and he fixed me up. He expressed concern about my heart rate, which was incredibly irregular, bouncing from 78-106 at random intervals. After three visits, he corrected the very bqd back problem that had been causing me crippling pain.

I was doing pretty good, though my heart rate and resperation were still higher than normal my pain level was way down and I was active again. 

Two and a half weeks ago or so, I started feeling really run-down, super low energy, and having mild to moderate chest pain. I figured it was some sort of summer bug and ignored it for four days, until I finally mentioned ot to my husband who said I should either set up an appointment with the doctor or go to the emergency room. I thought the ER was a bit overkill, but I called the doctors office. They told me to go to the ER. After a bit of convincing from my husband, I agreed to go. 

They took a chest x-ray and drew some blood. The x-ray looked ok but the blood work showed elevated levels of the chemical that indicates clotting, so they did a CT scan of my chest. 

The CT showed multiple blood clots in my lungs (pulmonary emboli). This is a conditon that is often fatal- one out of four cases is diagnosed in autopsy since the only 'symptom' is frequently sudden death. 

A pulmonary embolism starts off as a blood clot in another part of the body, usually a deep vein in the leg, breaks free and travels through the system until it reaches the small veins in the lungs where it becomes lodged, cutting off blood flow and causing that part of the lung to die. The death of lung tissue results in oxygen not being able to pass into the blood stream.

Two of the major non-genetic causes of these blood clots are hormonal birth control and an extended period of inactivity. 

They started me on anti-coagulants and admitted me to the main part of the hospital, where I stayed for several days. I'll be on anti-coagulants for at least six months, more likely a year. 

I was given the choice of warfarin sodium or Xarelto (rivaroxaban). I decided to go with warfarin, even though it has diet restrictions and requires frequent monitoring of clotting time and dose adjustments it is cheaper, generally safer, and can be reversed with a shot of vitamin K if I get in an accident or start bleeding (Xarelto cannot be reversed so the only option if I started to bleed uncontrolably would be to give me transfusions for at least 12 hours while it got out of my system, there is at least one lawsuit against the manifacturers for internal bleeding, and it's expensive). 

Warfarin takes about 7 days to really start working, during which time one has to take enoxaparin sodium injections. The doctor at the hospital said I could stay there until the warfarin started working, or if I didn't mind doing my own injections I could go home. I've never had to give myself injections, but I don't mind needles and I've given hundreds of injections to horses, so there wasn't any reason for me not to come home.

I was released a little over a week ago, and my blood test this morning indicated that I could stop the injections (the needle poke doesn't bother me, but the med really stings going in and hurts for about ten minutes, so that wasn't fun.)

I'll be having my blood tested once or twice a week for awhile, when the clotting time is stable where they want it I'll go every two weeks, then once a month, etc. 

Day before yesterday, I developed a severe headache-migraine may be a better term. I almost never get headaches, when I do they are mild and in the front of my head, and usually go away with some water. This one was in the back of my head clear through to the front left side of my face. I managed to deal with it from 5pm to midnight, fell asleep, woke up at 2:30 am with it worse than before. The warfarin instructions say to call 911 or go to the ER with a severe or unusual headache as it can indicate bleeding into the brain. They gave me IV painkillers and did a CT scan of my head to check for bleeding, it came back OK so they gave me a prescription for painkillers and antiemetics (can't risk throwing up the warfarin) and sent me home. Since the headache hasn't returned it was probably just due to extreme stress. 
 
So now I'm dealing with recovery from the pulmonary embolisms. Unfortunately, this isn't a situation where someone gets out of the hospital with some medicine and immediately goes back to normal activities. Medicine that actually destroys blood clots is dangerous and they generally don't give it unless they absolutely have to, so the clots will remain in my lungs until my body breaks them down. Nobody can tell exactly how long that will take, since everyone is different, It usually takes several weeks to months for the clots to be broken down and tissue to start healing. If there is no permanant damage, I should be pretty normal in a year or two. 

Until then, I'm going to keep having physical symptoms like fatigue and chest pain, low endurance, and will be more likely to get chest infections. 

Right now, I'm getting pretty frequent stabbing pains in various places around my chest and ribcage, they only last a second or two. I also get achey pain in the center or left of my chest on and off, which comes on or gets worse whenever my heart rate goes up.  I've had a mild almost-headache on and off for most of today and my stomache has been slightly icky, but then again my normal response to stress is to "go off my feed" as we say in the horse business, I've been making myself eat as normally as possible since diet is a big factor in the way the medicine works. 

I still feel pretty bad. The physical issues are bad enough, but it's also mentally crippling. Every little pain sets me on edge now, wondering if it is normal or if I'll wind up in the hospital again. The medicine will keep new clots from forming, but I still worry that there may be more in my veins somewhere that could break free and lodge in my heart and kill me. 

My heart rate is not great, it's still very high since I'm still not getting enough oxygen through my blocked and damaged lungs. Any little thing that causes even minor excitement- even the phone ringing- makes it jump up super high and my chest pains get worse. 

My family is trying to help out, but they aren't super effective. My mother is willing to do things for me, but being around her has ways been very stressful, and often her idea of 'helping' is trying to boss me around. My dad keeps saying he wnts to help out and keep my strress down, he lives on the property, but he's alcoholic and tends to start drinking in the early afternoon, rendering him useless. I asked him to at least not start drinking until 6pm when my mother (who lives across the street) gets home. Which he did for one day, but yesterday I found him drinking again at around 2pm, I got a bit upset and pointed out he'd agreed not to drink until later, but he just said 'well, that was yesterday', so pretty much if I want him to be sober I'm going to have to sit up at the studio and babysit him, which I don't have the energy to do. I dodn't even bother trying to discuss it with him yesterday since he wouldn't remember, anyway. My brother also lives on the property, bit the two times I have asked him to do very minor things for me he's gotten all huffy and actd like it was a big deal (oh, I'm sorry, is my LIFE THREATNIG CONDITION a slight inconvenience to you?). 

Basically the only person I feel like I can count on at all is my husband, who went back to work a few days ago- he took a week off and even though he can have up to 3 months of medical leave for a family member it's not paid and we have only his paycheck for income, so he couldn't stay out any longer. 

He's forbidden me from looking at any of the hospital bills or insurance stuff. There's nothing I can do about any of that and I don't need the stress of worrying about how we will pay for it. Even with insurance it's going to be very expensive.

Now I have an added worry about birth control. On this medicine, I absolutely must not get pregnant. The meds cause deformations and complications. Not that I want another kid, anyway. 

Hormonal methods are flat out for me- ever. Which is fine since they cause me depression and other issues (aside from messing up my clotting factors and trying to kill me).  Basically, the only thing I can use now are barrier methods- which have way to high of a failure rate- or a copper IUD. I had a copper IUD for ten years and it was great, so I need another one put in. Our insurance is incredibly crappy, though we didn't know that when we signed up. The say they cover the copper device, but they've lied to us several times before, and my gynecologist is worried that they won't pay him at minimum what it costs him to buy the device. He put in a request for authorization but I haven't heard back from him either way. I tried calling him on Friday and didn't get a response, Monday I may have to just repeatedly call the office until someone answers. More stress I don't need. 

 Which means I may have to rely on our local health department, which means we will have to pay for the services out of pocket. The cost is reduced for us but not free, and they insist that I pay for a pelvic exam and disease/infection test that I don't need, having had both in the past two months, but they say they have to do it again. If I have to go through them it's going to be a long wait, at least two weeks for the first appointment, two weeks to get the results from the unneccisary tests (which actually only take three days to process), then they'll have to send me to a different health department to get the device put in which will be another 2-6 week wait, which of course they won't try to schedule until the tests come back. And they botched my paperwork when I went in earlier this year which means I may have to resubmit all of the financial crap, and since my husband gets a few good paychecks this time of year if they want those instead of tax returns it's going to put us at a different income level which means I'll have to pay more. Overall going through the health department would cost us a minimum of $160 if they don't change our income level. That might not seem like all that much, but we really don't have extra money. My mom has offered to pay for it, which is nice but means that appointments will have to be scheduled around when she has the money, which is going to be even more of a pain. 

And all that is assuming that the people at the health department are even willing to touch me, apparently some doctors won't do a copper IUD for a woman on blood thinners since it can cause heavier periods in some and they don't want to be lible for a woman bleeding out. 

The physical and mental stress of all of this is horrible. I feel useless, and like I'm a crappy mother. It's not just that I'm incapacitated right now, it's that I was for so long before, started to get better, and now am again. 

I am an incredibly independant person, and right now that has been stripped away from me. I had to drive to an appointment the other day and then take my daughter to her school openhouse, and after that I was so tired and sick feeling that even after taking a several hour nap I had to call my mother and ask her to come over and wash a few dishes for me so I could make dinner. Even at my most crippled, I've never needed to ask for help with anything other than lifting something heavy. 

I am the kind of person who will relentlessly work through pain. I broke horses for 15 years. I would take 10-20 mile walks every day with back and knee pain so bad I had to use a back support and cane. 

This is different. This is not bruised bones, torn and sore muscles, and messed up joints. This is "walk around the block with the dog and have severe chest pains and dizzyness by the time I'm home". This is "take a hot shower and almost pass out". I am under orders not to push myself, period, which is very hard for me to do- but if I do it's not just going to not help me get better, it's going to make things worse. 



The medication, too has left me much more vulnerable than I am used to. If I hit my head, fall hard, or get in even a minor car wreck I'll have to ho to the hospital since it can cause internal bleeding. If I get a minor cut it will take up to 20 minites to stop bleeding, and if it doesn't I have to go to the er. Large cuts mean the er, period, no waiting to see if it will stop. Minor imacts cause bruises, and I have to check for any unexplained bruising constantly since that means internal bleeding (and I am not a graceful person at the best of times).

My dog has stopped the whining for the most part, she still makes a little noise once in a while. She's gone back to sleeping on the livingroom carpet. I think if ae ever starts acting like that again I'm going to take the hint and go to the hospital. 

The doctor who monitors my blood said I should start feeling a little better in another couple of weeks, when the blood clots that are blocking my lungs from absorbing oxygen will start to be broken down. How long it will take to fully recover is unknown, best guess is a minimum of three months to a year, depending on how much damage was done. 

I was expressing my frustration and useles feelings to my husband yesterday. He looked over and said "You almost died. You do realize that,.right?"

Yeah, I know that. Intelectually, at least. But I've almost died- well, almost been killed- many times. The thought "Oh shit, I'm gonna die" Is not new or unfamiliar. 

That thought really didn't enter my head through all of this. I felt/feel really bad, yes, but not overtly threatened like I'm used to. Which I guess is the problem. This isn't something in front of me that I can physically face and challenge.

And my chicken died yesterday morning. 

Ok, I'm just rambling at this point. It's taken me three days to get this post together. I'm tired and I'm getting a headache, and my lungs hurt. I think I'm going to find something to eat and watch some Doctor Who. 









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ok, this really sucks.

Journal Entry: Sat Aug 16, 2014, 1:57 PM

Some of you may know that I had severe back issues for about 10 years, finally resulting in my being bedridden for six months before finally finding my old chiropracter who got me fixed in three visits, about six weeks ago I was able to get up and about again. 

Around the same time my back got really bad, I had to switch to hormonal birth control from a copper IUD (it's effective time expired) while we waited for health  insurance to kick in. I know that's a bit TMI but I promise, it's important. 

I visited a doctor for the first time in 10 years in May. My heart rate was high and resperation was fast and shallow, I was unable to take deep breaths. I don't know what my heart rate was, but it's normally in mid-range at 68-72 beats a minute. I complained of complete exaustion and, when asked if I was sick at the time, told them I felt so bad all the time I honestly didn't know.  The doctor said I had a slightly irregular heartbeat that speeds up when I breathe in and drops when I breathe out, which is slightly abnormal but not a problem. 

I was in extreme pain at the time, which can cause fast heart rate and respiration. But I'd also been in pain for so long that I generally try to do slow deep breaths. 

My dog started acting funny about three or four months ago. She was whining constantly, very worried, hiding under things. I now realize she was trying very hard to tell me that something was wrong. 

Like I said, I found my awesome chiropracter again and he fixed me up. He expressed concern about my heart rate, which was incredibly irregular, bouncing from 78-106 at random intervals. After three visits, he corrected the very bqd back problem that had been causing me crippling pain.

I was doing pretty good, though my heart rate and resperation were still higher than normal my pain level was way down and I was active again. 

Two and a half weeks ago or so, I started feeling really run-down, super low energy, and having mild to moderate chest pain. I figured it was some sort of summer bug and ignored it for four days, until I finally mentioned ot to my husband who said I should either set up an appointment with the doctor or go to the emergency room. I thought the ER was a bit overkill, but I called the doctors office. They told me to go to the ER. After a bit of convincing from my husband, I agreed to go. 

They took a chest x-ray and drew some blood. The x-ray looked ok but the blood work showed elevated levels of the chemical that indicates clotting, so they did a CT scan of my chest. 

The CT showed multiple blood clots in my lungs (pulmonary emboli). This is a conditon that is often fatal- one out of four cases is diagnosed in autopsy since the only 'symptom' is frequently sudden death. 

A pulmonary embolism starts off as a blood clot in another part of the body, usually a deep vein in the leg, breaks free and travels through the system until it reaches the small veins in the lungs where it becomes lodged, cutting off blood flow and causing that part of the lung to die. The death of lung tissue results in oxygen not being able to pass into the blood stream.

Two of the major non-genetic causes of these blood clots are hormonal birth control and an extended period of inactivity. 

They started me on anti-coagulants and admitted me to the main part of the hospital, where I stayed for several days. I'll be on anti-coagulants for at least six months, more likely a year. 

I was given the choice of warfarin sodium or Xarelto (rivaroxaban). I decided to go with warfarin, even though it has diet restrictions and requires frequent monitoring of clotting time and dose adjustments it is cheaper, generally safer, and can be reversed with a shot of vitamin K if I get in an accident or start bleeding (Xarelto cannot be reversed so the only option if I started to bleed uncontrolably would be to give me transfusions for at least 12 hours while it got out of my system, there is at least one lawsuit against the manifacturers for internal bleeding, and it's expensive). 

Warfarin takes about 7 days to really start working, during which time one has to take enoxaparin sodium injections. The doctor at the hospital said I could stay there until the warfarin started working, or if I didn't mind doing my own injections I could go home. I've never had to give myself injections, but I don't mind needles and I've given hundreds of injections to horses, so there wasn't any reason for me not to come home.

I was released a little over a week ago, and my blood test this morning indicated that I could stop the injections (the needle poke doesn't bother me, but the med really stings going in and hurts for about ten minutes, so that wasn't fun.)

I'll be having my blood tested once or twice a week for awhile, when the clotting time is stable where they want it I'll go every two weeks, then once a month, etc. 

Day before yesterday, I developed a severe headache-migraine may be a better term. I almost never get headaches, when I do they are mild and in the front of my head, and usually go away with some water. This one was in the back of my head clear through to the front left side of my face. I managed to deal with it from 5pm to midnight, fell asleep, woke up at 2:30 am with it worse than before. The warfarin instructions say to call 911 or go to the ER with a severe or unusual headache as it can indicate bleeding into the brain. They gave me IV painkillers and did a CT scan of my head to check for bleeding, it came back OK so they gave me a prescription for painkillers and antiemetics (can't risk throwing up the warfarin) and sent me home. Since the headache hasn't returned it was probably just due to extreme stress. 
 
So now I'm dealing with recovery from the pulmonary embolisms. Unfortunately, this isn't a situation where someone gets out of the hospital with some medicine and immediately goes back to normal activities. Medicine that actually destroys blood clots is dangerous and they generally don't give it unless they absolutely have to, so the clots will remain in my lungs until my body breaks them down. Nobody can tell exactly how long that will take, since everyone is different, It usually takes several weeks to months for the clots to be broken down and tissue to start healing. If there is no permanant damage, I should be pretty normal in a year or two. 

Until then, I'm going to keep having physical symptoms like fatigue and chest pain, low endurance, and will be more likely to get chest infections. 

Right now, I'm getting pretty frequent stabbing pains in various places around my chest and ribcage, they only last a second or two. I also get achey pain in the center or left of my chest on and off, which comes on or gets worse whenever my heart rate goes up.  I've had a mild almost-headache on and off for most of today and my stomache has been slightly icky, but then again my normal response to stress is to "go off my feed" as we say in the horse business, I've been making myself eat as normally as possible since diet is a big factor in the way the medicine works. 

I still feel pretty bad. The physical issues are bad enough, but it's also mentally crippling. Every little pain sets me on edge now, wondering if it is normal or if I'll wind up in the hospital again. The medicine will keep new clots from forming, but I still worry that there may be more in my veins somewhere that could break free and lodge in my heart and kill me. 

My heart rate is not great, it's still very high since I'm still not getting enough oxygen through my blocked and damaged lungs. Any little thing that causes even minor excitement- even the phone ringing- makes it jump up super high and my chest pains get worse. 

My family is trying to help out, but they aren't super effective. My mother is willing to do things for me, but being around her has ways been very stressful, and often her idea of 'helping' is trying to boss me around. My dad keeps saying he wnts to help out and keep my strress down, he lives on the property, but he's alcoholic and tends to start drinking in the early afternoon, rendering him useless. I asked him to at least not start drinking until 6pm when my mother (who lives across the street) gets home. Which he did for one day, but yesterday I found him drinking again at around 2pm, I got a bit upset and pointed out he'd agreed not to drink until later, but he just said 'well, that was yesterday', so pretty much if I want him to be sober I'm going to have to sit up at the studio and babysit him, which I don't have the energy to do. I dodn't even bother trying to discuss it with him yesterday since he wouldn't remember, anyway. My brother also lives on the property, bit the two times I have asked him to do very minor things for me he's gotten all huffy and actd like it was a big deal (oh, I'm sorry, is my LIFE THREATNIG CONDITION a slight inconvenience to you?). 

Basically the only person I feel like I can count on at all is my husband, who went back to work a few days ago- he took a week off and even though he can have up to 3 months of medical leave for a family member it's not paid and we have only his paycheck for income, so he couldn't stay out any longer. 

He's forbidden me from looking at any of the hospital bills or insurance stuff. There's nothing I can do about any of that and I don't need the stress of worrying about how we will pay for it. Even with insurance it's going to be very expensive.

Now I have an added worry about birth control. On this medicine, I absolutely must not get pregnant. The meds cause deformations and complications. Not that I want another kid, anyway. 

Hormonal methods are flat out for me- ever. Which is fine since they cause me depression and other issues (aside from messing up my clotting factors and trying to kill me).  Basically, the only thing I can use now are barrier methods- which have way to high of a failure rate- or a copper IUD. I had a copper IUD for ten years and it was great, so I need another one put in. Our insurance is incredibly crappy, though we didn't know that when we signed up. The say they cover the copper device, but they've lied to us several times before, and my gynecologist is worried that they won't pay him at minimum what it costs him to buy the device. He put in a request for authorization but I haven't heard back from him either way. I tried calling him on Friday and didn't get a response, Monday I may have to just repeatedly call the office until someone answers. More stress I don't need. 

 Which means I may have to rely on our local health department, which means we will have to pay for the services out of pocket. The cost is reduced for us but not free, and they insist that I pay for a pelvic exam and disease/infection test that I don't need, having had both in the past two months, but they say they have to do it again. If I have to go through them it's going to be a long wait, at least two weeks for the first appointment, two weeks to get the results from the unneccisary tests (which actually only take three days to process), then they'll have to send me to a different health department to get the device put in which will be another 2-6 week wait, which of course they won't try to schedule until the tests come back. And they botched my paperwork when I went in earlier this year which means I may have to resubmit all of the financial crap, and since my husband gets a few good paychecks this time of year if they want those instead of tax returns it's going to put us at a different income level which means I'll have to pay more. Overall going through the health department would cost us a minimum of $160 if they don't change our income level. That might not seem like all that much, but we really don't have extra money. My mom has offered to pay for it, which is nice but means that appointments will have to be scheduled around when she has the money, which is going to be even more of a pain. 

And all that is assuming that the people at the health department are even willing to touch me, apparently some doctors won't do a copper IUD for a woman on blood thinners since it can cause heavier periods in some and they don't want to be lible for a woman bleeding out. 

The physical and mental stress of all of this is horrible. I feel useless, and like I'm a crappy mother. It's not just that I'm incapacitated right now, it's that I was for so long before, started to get better, and now am again. 

I am an incredibly independant person, and right now that has been stripped away from me. I had to drive to an appointment the other day and then take my daughter to her school openhouse, and after that I was so tired and sick feeling that even after taking a several hour nap I had to call my mother and ask her to come over and wash a few dishes for me so I could make dinner. Even at my most crippled, I've never needed to ask for help with anything other than lifting something heavy. 

I am the kind of person who will relentlessly work through pain. I broke horses for 15 years. I would take 10-20 mile walks every day with back and knee pain so bad I had to use a back support and cane. 

This is different. This is not bruised bones, torn and sore muscles, and messed up joints. This is "walk around the block with the dog and have severe chest pains and dizzyness by the time I'm home". This is "take a hot shower and almost pass out". I am under orders not to push myself, period, which is very hard for me to do- but if I do it's not just going to not help me get better, it's going to make things worse. 



The medication, too has left me much more vulnerable than I am used to. If I hit my head, fall hard, or get in even a minor car wreck I'll have to ho to the hospital since it can cause internal bleeding. If I get a minor cut it will take up to 20 minites to stop bleeding, and if it doesn't I have to go to the er. Large cuts mean the er, period, no waiting to see if it will stop. Minor imacts cause bruises, and I have to check for any unexplained bruising constantly since that means internal bleeding (and I am not a graceful person at the best of times).

My dog has stopped the whining for the most part, she still makes a little noise once in a while. She's gone back to sleeping on the livingroom carpet. I think if ae ever starts acting like that again I'm going to take the hint and go to the hospital. 

The doctor who monitors my blood said I should start feeling a little better in another couple of weeks, when the blood clots that are blocking my lungs from absorbing oxygen will start to be broken down. How long it will take to fully recover is unknown, best guess is a minimum of three months to a year, depending on how much damage was done. 

I was expressing my frustration and useles feelings to my husband yesterday. He looked over and said "You almost died. You do realize that,.right?"

Yeah, I know that. Intelectually, at least. But I've almost died- well, almost been killed- many times. The thought "Oh shit, I'm gonna die" Is not new or unfamiliar. 

That thought really didn't enter my head through all of this. I felt/feel really bad, yes, but not overtly threatened like I'm used to. Which I guess is the problem. This isn't something in front of me that I can physically face and challenge.

And my chicken died yesterday morning. 

Ok, I'm just rambling at this point. It's taken me three days to get this post together. I'm tired and I'm getting a headache, and my lungs hurt. I think I'm going to find something to eat and watch some Doctor Who. 









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