Friday, July 24, 2015

Short Medical Update

Since my last post I have received the rest of the medical bills. In total I owe close to $25,000, so my initial guestimate of $15,000 was lowballing. I will tweak my YouCare page accordingly but I honestly don't expect to raise much more than I already have.

Thank you to everyone who has helped, shared, prayed, and generally wished me well. I appreciate you.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I turned 32.

I posted an update earlier today to my YouCare crowdfunding page since I have finally received my medical bill(s) from the hospital. I've not gotten anything regarding the followup at the ER so I am guesstimating based on what the ER visit from the first trip cost. Anything "extra" if I manage to actually gather all of what I need would go to current medical costs and cost of living.

Thank you again to everyone who has been able to assist, either financially or via signal boosting. I have gotten some generous donations which helped offset the cost of some of my recovery and medications when I got out of the hospital.

In Non-Medical things, yesterday (July 14th) was my 32nd birthday and I had a ridiculous epiphany as I was getting up in the morning.

I looked in the mirror as I do almost every birthday and reflected on what young me, at various ages (5, 8, 10, mostly pre-puberty) would have thought of who I am and how it differs from who I expected to be.

I realized as I was pondering that I never really processed the moment when I became legally male according to the Federal government and all current identification. I mean I went through all the steps and went GOOD it's DONE, but I never actually processed it.

If you had told five-year-old me that I would grow up to be a relatively well adjusted MAN who was comfortable with who he was, and what he was doing with his life, who had friends who loved and accepted him for who he is, friends all over the world, all over the US, five-year-old me would have looked you in the eye and told you that you shouldn't lie.

And yet, it's all true. I have friends all over the world who love me, accept me, respect me, and treat me as a Human being worthy of respect, friendship, and love. My support group, my allies, are more than I can count in number, and all of them are true friends. Many of them have helped with my health, both physical and mental, and many of them are on my "Seriously need to hang out with before I move overseas" list.

I had a very quiet 32nd birthday. A friend took me, and Osaka, and Ringo out for a nice lunch, and then I came home and had a nap. It was a blessedly quiet day. And it was the first birthday where I realized that legally I'm done. I will always have health maintenance in regards to transitioning but also in regards to being bipolar, and having asthma, and a thyroid condition etc. What I have left is medical and psychiatric stuff. Legally I am male, and it's all I have ever wanted out of life. Life is worth living.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Marriage Equality Doesn't Affect You, Religiously.

I know that there are lots of people with feelings about SCOTUS decision to legalize Marriage Equality.

Someone on facebook by the name of Jessica Mathews said it better than I could
, so here is their post, with my thoughts after:

"I say this with sincere love to my many friends who are passionate fundamentalist Christians who believe that the SCOTUS’s decision yesterday on marriage equality is an abomination to themselves and to God: As a lawyer, I need to attempt to set the record straight.

Our country was created by our founding fathers very deliberately to prevent the establishment of a national religion from our governance. The Church - Catholic or Anglican - was central to almost every other country in the world historically, especially England from which our founding fathers separated. It was critical to our founding fathers that one central religion NOT be declared and NOT be incorporated into our Constitution or governance. They understood that an establishment of a national religion would ultimately abridge the very rights they believed were fundamental and were meant to be recognized and protected by the Bill of Rights and ultimately the Constitution.

Religion-based loss of basic rights had been their experience in England and they wanted to prevent that here.

The fact is that this decision yesterday was a LEGAL decision about the scope of our Constitutional rights as humans and US citizens. It was not about religion, religious beliefs or religious freedom. It is about equal rights, just as the decisions to give women the vote and the decision to abolish slavery were about equal rights.

Rights are not and should not be up for a popular vote or up to the states to determine. Rights are absolute and cannot be dependent upon anything other than the fact that the person is a human being and is a citizen of the US. If those two conditions are met, YOUR belief system about what is MORALLY or spiritually right or wrong does not matter and should not. You should be glad that is the case, because it would be just as easy for another religion to take over and curtail your rights as a Christian (something that has happened throughout history).

In fact, one religious party believing they know the truth for all humans is how terrible oppression starts - that is how Naziism started, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Klu Klux Klan, Al-Qaeda and now ISIS - the most destructive, hateful, murderous periods of human history have arisen directly out of one religious group (ironically, most of these examples were lead by Christians) believing their religion and religious beliefs were THE truth, and therefore they had the right to take away the rights (and lives) of those who lived or believed differently than them.

Our founding fathers wanted to prevent that outcome. So does our current Supreme Court. THAT is the law of the land and I could not be more grateful to be an American than when human rights are protected. I don’t have to agree with you to believe with all my heart and soul that YOUR rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should be protected against oppression or prejudice. LGBT US citizens deserve exactly the same treatment. God Bless America.

p.s. Those railing against the decision of marriage equality as a basic constitutional right are confusing the idea of constitutional (i.e human) rights with certain types of behavior (the stuff they call "sin"). But human rights are inherent in all human beings and US citizens - not doled out based on who is behaving "well" and who isn't. All US citizens should have the equal right to pursue life, liberty and happiness, regardless of the "sins" they commit. The only behavior that should curtail your constitutional rights is if you commit a crime (a felony) and are convicted. But even then, criminals can still marry, have kids, own property, work and live in our communities. The only things they can't do is vote and carry firearms. If committing a sin was a barrier to receiving basic constitutional rights in this country, we would all be in big trouble, not just the LGBT community.

In contrast to the legal breakdown above and the opinions associated with it, I will say this. Nowhere in any of the decision to pass marriage equality did SCOTUS infringe upon each and every religion's right to CHOOSE which marriage ceremonies to perform.

No religion will be forced to perform ceremonies they would not already be performing. There are some Christian sects, and other religions that do practice same sex marriage as well as heterosexual marriage, and these would be the options for people who want a religious ceremony to seek out.

Just as I could not try to have a traditional Jewish wedding as a non-Jewish person, I could not go to the Catholic, Mormon, or Muslim church, or temple, or synagogue and ask for them to perform a same sex marriage or union.

There is no risk to your religion by granting me the same legal FEDERAL rights that you are entitled to, and if you want to argue that NO one should have those Federal rights that is a different argument entirely.  No one is going to be pounding on the doors of the church and demanding that their marriage be performed in that chapel if the religion forbids that union. This is the epitome of separation of church and state.

I can now legally do what I have already done once, and go find somewhere, anywhere and have a ceremony celebrating the union of two people and forming a legal bond. I went to a Justice of the Peace when I married the first time. I will be seeking a consenting Christian church to perform my second wedding ceremony. My fiance and I both highly respect and wish to have the Christian ceremony if we can. However we will not be asking anyone who would not be allowed or willing to perform this ceremony either in the UK or the US.

If that means that I get married by a civil servant who writes us some nice vows throwing in appropriate respectful scriptures about living a good clean life and respecting your spouse and potential family then that is what we will do.

It would be illegal for the United States Government to demand ANY church of any religion to perform these unions and I am 100% in agreement with that. I fully support the right of everyone to live by their beliefs and I would not ask any religious leader to do something out of bounds like that.

I'm probably speaking in circles and if I am, I apologize. I just wanted to make it clear that while I am so very very happy to finally have equal rights in this, I want my loved ones to rest easy knowing that their religious freedom is safe. This is still the USA, and Religious Freedom is still a very big deal.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I just saw my projected paystub for this Friday's paycheck.

I posted a brief update to my You Caring fundraiser to the effect of HELP PLEASE.

The long and short of it is that I am back at work so my check AFTER this one will be normal sized, but this one is about $500 less than my usual pay. So.. I desperately need some help. If I can raise between $200-$300 by the first then I can pay necessary bills like rent, and food, and will be back on track in two weeks when I am paid again.

I still don't have a final number from the hospital, in part because of my second ER visit and the followup visit to the other clinic which was apparently billed to Sentara Princess Anne Hospital.

Any help at all whether signal boosting, or even $1 helps very very much. I really hate to ask, but I'm in a very tight spot with bills due, and while I am working NOW, that doesn't really do anything for the bills due now.

Being hospitalized, and then home healing was absolutely the right thing to do for my health, but it's hurting me and Osaka (and her son, and the dogs) now because I am the only person with income. So please help as you can, and thank you all very much!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Geez I haven't been online in over a week it feels like.

Oh wow, I just realized it's been 10 days since I posted anything. Sorry about that!

I have been slowly healing. On June 10th, I had my follow up at a clinic a bit out of the way, and their "follow up" was to take blood and send me back to the hospital I came from for chest x-rays. Yesterday I received from this clinic a one page synopsis of "pneumonia" with no other information. Yes, I am well aware that I have/had "pneumonia". That's why I had the follow up, to check how it's healing.

I ended up following my instincts and several hours later after feeling completely dissatisfied with my "follow up" and the pain that I was in, I went back to the ER. They took some blood of their own, a urine sample, and a second x-ray even though I'd had one done in the same hospital that afternoon.

There I received actual follow up. "How are you feeling? Where does it hurt? How does it hurt? Okay, based on that, we have progress in your healing, the infection is slowly clearing up, but please follow up with your REGULAR doctor in the next two weeks or so to make sure it's cleared up then. The pain is normal, but you are dangerously dehydrated, so here are some IV fluids, and here is something for the pain, please use it sparingly."

This is the sort of interaction that I am used to with my own doctor so this is the sort of thing I was expecting from the clinic not "Oh we're just going to take some blood and send you back to the hospital for x-rays."

On top of that, there were some issues with misgendering even when I showed documentation and explained my medical conditions. The paper I received that stated "pneumonia" with no context had me down as female, which legally, I am not. The Sentara Princess Anne hospital records show me as male (which is LEGALLY correct), with a note of my medical condition so that my nurses and doctors are informed. I know this, because I am able to check my chart online because this is a really fantastic and tech savvy medical group.

When I first got home from the hospital I spent most of my awake time in a pain-haze, and I was sleeping on the sofa so I didn't aspirate more stomach acid. One positive is that I've finally kicked soda. I've been trying to give up soda for months but the week long migraines (which appear to have been an early symptom of the pneumonia) had me in a tight spot with that, and also going through my rather expensive migraine meds like crazy.

At this point I am still sore, and physically weak but I feel hesitantly comfortable saying that I am actually improving. I've been craving healthy foods and trying to follow through and eat them. My biggest concern is actually in regards to work. I'm nervous that they won't allow me to take on a non-seasonal position when this one ends because of my health.

I have received some help with the medical bill thanks to those who have been able to help via my crowdfunding page on You Care. I'm still waiting to receive the final bill from the hospital and I've been checking my chart online every so often to see if billing has updated so I have a real number.

TLDR: I'm sorry I didn't update for a week and a half. I am slowly healing. Not out of the woods yet but showing improvement.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Aggravating Truth: You can't sleep away Pneumonia.

I posted a short blurb with a link to my You Care funding goal shortly after getting home from the hospital, and have spent approximately 50% of my time since then asleep. Possibly more.

Sleeping in a hospital bed is all but impossible with people coming to poke, prod, and get vitals every 1-2 hours, and I found after the first night that sleeping between meals and meds was far more effective. Nursing staff were impressed at my ability to sleep in that bed at all, and the day staff mostly let me be, checking on me when I had meals or when they needed vitals (which by day 2 they could just about do in my sleep).

When I got home, Osaka and I determined that it would be SAFER for me to sleep on the sofa where she could monitor my breathing and wake me every 4 hours to take my meds. This worked well for me the first day, but by the second day we were both worn out with not enough sleep and general feelings of crappiness.

I keep trying to remember the exact symptoms that are auto GO DIRECTLY TO HOSPITAL, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200. Persistent fever up to 102F was one, in combination with swelling of the legs, further lung pain, or the unusual symptoms that prompted me to go to the ER in the first place (hurting EVERYWHERE).

I'm trying to be careful, to make sure to rest, to breathe slowly and carefully, and to not push myself too far. Mostly I feel very physically weak. My arms feel bruised, and I'm pretty sure I've got a scar from the IV (amazing technology, hurts like hell) plastic infuser thing that they left in for 2 days. I kept bumping it on things or catching it on the bed, and having to try hard not to move that arm, which happened to be my dominant arm.

In less whiny and more holy hell what is this even news, I was reviewing my medical records online because technology is amazing, and I was trying to find out the final bill for my hospital stay. I estimated a goal of maybe half of what one of the hospital brochures gave me for an average hospital stay of 3 days for someone uninsured, because you can always raise the goal later and I didn't want to ask for more than I needed.

The amazing and terrifying bit, is that I was reviewing the specifics of what medications I was on, the test results, and severity of pneumonia and I was gobsmacked. In tiny notation as though this were normal and fine, the Dr spelled out that I had the infection in the upper lobes on both lungs and going all the way down to the bottom lobe on one lung, though most severe at the tops.

The culprit? Acid reflux. I aspirate it in my sleep, leading to severe pneumonia. Unfortunately I can't take anything for acid reflux until I finish medication and treatment for pneumonia because the antibiotics I need (not a simple zpac) don't play well with acid reflux medications or treatments.

This comes as a big surprise to me. There is a family history of severe acid reflux (looking at you Moose) but I had no idea that breathing tiny amounts of it in my sleep could try to kill me. Nor did I realize I was breathing it.

The long and short of it, is that whether I chose to go to the ER voluntarily or not, I was about a day out from being hospitalized or worse.

Over the course of the two days in the hospital I went through at least 10 separate bags of IV antibiotics. I think more than that but they mostly tried to do them while I was awake. Unfortunately I felt so crappy that I couldn't think very clearly and I couldn't keep track. I felt worse at discharge than I did at admission.

Honestly I still feel really crappy. My lungs still hurt badly, I'm physically very weak now, and I can't walk down the hall without getting winded or dizzy. It is within the realm of possibility that I could be re-hospitalized after my followup visit on Wednesday.

I want to thank everyone who has helped with the You Care fundraising, whether by signal boosting or donating. Every little bit helps, and I am extremely grateful.

When I receive my final bill, I will adjust the numbers on You Care for accuracy, but in the meantime my goal should help defray further costs of the followup visits where I need to pay up front, and for that I am very thankful.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pneumonia strikes again!

Wednesday, I woke up in agonizing pain. I crawled out of bed and told Osaka "I hurt all over, I don't think I can go to work today." She raised a brow (with good reason, sometimes I have a nasty case of the "don't wannas") and told me to give it a proper try. So, I got dressed, and got really and continued to just really feel like hell. Finally I told here I just could not deal with this pain, even with a short shift, and she countered that if I felt that bad, I really should go to the hospital.

I argued at first because I didn't have the money to see my GP that happens to work through an Urgent Care clinic and we agreed I'd go to the ER, because I wouldn't be expected to pay upfront, and I could get the treatment I needed and pay it back later.

So, we got two all day bus passes and headed for the ER of the nearest Hospital (Sentara Princess Anne) and I got admitted. 6 hours later, and a whole lot of whining on my part (because honesty matters) we had a diagnosis of bi-lateral aspiration pneumonia, which is incredibly rare, incredibly aggressive, and tends to happen to people with a history of acid reflux. People at risk are those with compromised immune systems, people who take long term steroids, people with asthma, etc. I can check every box there.

The doctor wanted to have me stay for overnight observation (which I argued against) and after Osaka spoke sense to me, I grudgingly agreed to.

I swiftly learned that I was MUCH sicker than I thought I was, and that I really should have come in weeks ago, because symptoms I was attributing to my migraines and my hypothyroidism were the early stages of this pneumonia.

So.. basically I don't listen to my body well enough and I'm lucky that I have Osaka to make me be reasonable.

Which brings me to this. I work part time. I am ineligible for state insurance and can't afford insurance off of the government network. I also am not eligible for it through work as a seasonal employee. So, taking into account the estimated cost of an uninsured person in the hospital for two days and nights, I have started a crowd fundraiser for medical expenses through You Care.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I'm going to learn ASL!

Today I filled out my FAFSA for Fall 2015 semester at TCC (Tidewater Community College). I have already applied (as of Friday, May 29th), and now I am waiting for my next day off to go and take my placement tests and find out if I need supplemental courses for Math or English.

Because I am going for a 2 1/2 year (ish) certification in American Sign Language, I believe I am not required to take a science or arts course or anything in that vein. I may do so after I finish the certification, if college agrees with me, and get a Bachelor of Arts or something but I think I will wait and see if I crash and burn or manage to do this properly.

Osaka purchased a cake of celebration to have after dinner. :D I am excited and nervous.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Luts Summer Event 2015

So, I'm not in position to do a Luts order myself but I am VERY interested in the Kid Delf Summer Event head. If anyone is or was planning on placing an order and is not interested in the head please let me know. I'd be happy to discuss the details of a trade or agreement.

Just throwing this out there, since many of my friends do end up ordering somewhat regularly from Luts and may be getting one of these heads with no interest in it. :)

Thanks guys!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Re-Introducing Ro!

Ro is properly put together again. He has a beautiful fresh faceup from Osaka, and a beautiful new body, a classic white skin Bluefairy Tinyfairy boy body. It's the slightly more mature look I wanted for him (compared to the original DOC body) that was NOT what I got with the Dollmore body I tried in 2007, which he sat on until the end of 2014 when I popped him off that and put the body up for sale or trade.

I will need to dig in the closet later this week or early next week to get out HIS wardrobe which is separate from the rest of the MSD clothes, and will need to shift some things and give him a dedicated wardrobe/chest.

All said, I'm very pleased to have him back together, and I seem to have misplaced (or re-purposed) the eyes I had in him, so I will be ordering him some new light grey eyes from Mint on Card in glass. I've got 14mm eyes in him and am liking the look compared to the 16mm eyes he's worn for YEARS.

Ro will be 10 on August 29th. It does my soul good to have him in one piece again with a beautiful fresh face, a beautiful more mature body (not too slim, not too tall), and still so much love for him after all these years.

About Me

My Photo
I'm Rory or Rorek in most places. I design, sew, and craft, primarily for my Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls. I also dabble in interior design, but I'm a little out of practice.

I post about the things I enjoy, which are sewing, photographing my dolls, designing new outfits, knitting, which I started in September of 2008, thanks to my Mom, and occasionally drawing, or painting.

I also post about Life Events and how they effect me and those that I love.

Currently I am living in Coastal Virginia in the USA and working towards a degree in American Sign Language interpretation, and an eventual international move to the UK to be with my fiance.