Adventures of a MathBrat

Random Things I Find Energy To Blog About

I’m Quitting the Zoloft

Yes. It made my brain normal speed again after months of trying to use rest to heal my tbi. But at what cost? It hasn’t touched my depression in the slightest. I am every bit as miserable as before despite my brain finally getting out of the mud.

Zoloft’s ineffectiveness on my dx of “severe depression” isn’t the only reason I am giving up on it, though. I am quitting, because the higher dose (still only 50mg) I was put on a few weeks ago has increased the stomach discomfort to the point I have had full blown diarrhea for an entire week and have still managed to gain 8 pounds!

So, yeah. That’s pretty much all I have to say. I’m angry.


Blog Slacker and Accident Details

I keep slacking on blogging my symptoms for my attorney. I mean, it is part of the executive function issues I’m having, so there’s that. It dawned on me today as I looked through old blogs, I never did blog about the accident itself. So here’s an update and what I can remember happening.

Update: Work is getting somewhat easier. I seem to be doing okay with teaching math. I am still struggling with emotion, and when any drama happens, I am in trouble. (Did I blog the day I went home early over something stupid?) There is often drama when it comes to teaching (especially high school), so this is still an area of concern. Additionally, I am still struggling with filtering myself and am finding many inappropriate things coming out of my mouth (another thing not ideal in a high school teacher). I am still lacking energy and incredibly easily burned out. But, when I look through my old blogs and reflect on a few months ago, there is definite progress being made, and I am grateful for it! My headaches have mostly subsided, and my neck is doing much better. The area of my spine directly between my shoulder blades (about an inch or two above bra clasp area) still hurts. My PT has cracked it a couple of times along with prescribing exercises and stretches, so there is some improvement, but it seems to be going slower than my neck. My impulse control has improved some, but it could stand a whole lot more improvement.

The accident: June 1 (Shawn’s bday), 2016 I left work early to take my car to the dealership to have my lights looked at. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, so I had the convertible top down. Since it was around 2:20pm, the local public high school had just let out, so this high traffic area was even more congested than at other times. I came to a red light and was so far back in line for this light, I figured I’d probably have to wait for it twice. No biggie (I thought), because it was a gorgeous day, and I didn’t have to be anywhere at a specific time. So I settled in and prepared for a long wait.

I was at the light for at least a minute when I saw a van in my rearview mirror coming fast. There are many times when I fear a car is taking too long to slow down and might hit me, but in this case there was zero doubt. I knew she was going to hit me and hit me hard. I barely had time to gasp before her van was in my trunk. She was going about 40moh even though the limit there is 30mph, and there was a ton of traffic meriting a much slower speed. There were zero visibility issues, and my car is very noticeable. She hit my car so hard, my car lurched forward and wrecked the car in front of me. In the process, my seatbelt kept my body glued to my seat as my head and neck lurched forward with the first impact and backward with the second.

car wreck

This is where things get a bit hazy. I don’t remember hitting my head, and there wasn’t any bruising on the outside to indicate I did. My air bag did not deploy, because my car was stationary when I was hit. The van that hit me was a large van transporting a bunch of disabled adults. Due to the van’s height, it didn’t hit my car frame so much as it did above the frame. I’m not sure whether that was better or worse for my personal injuries, but it made it to where my car did not end up having to be totaled.

I pushed the button on the steering wheel that makes phone calls and remember telling it to call 911. It said something back to me I can’t remember. I tried a few more times before realizing it wasn’t going to work. My phone was in my jacket pocket on the floor behind my seat, so I had to get out of my car to get to it. I remember walking around stunned and hazy. I remember a parent of one of my students on her way to the school rolling down her window to see if I was okay. I don’t remember finding my phone or getting back into the car, but I remember being on the phone with 911 and getting the street name wrong. Once I knew they were on the way, I apparently called my husband and my principal. I have no idea why I called my principal.

The police had us pull into a parking lot near where the accident was. I told him and the paramedics repeatedly my brain was not working properly. The cop kept yelling at everyone. I’m sure he was just trying to get traffic flowing again. He had to coordinate two ambulances, two tow trucks, get information from three drivers, etc. The paramedics asked me things like what year it was and who the president was. They put a neck brace on me, and I rode in an ambulance to the hospital. I kept feeling like I was going to cry. (I think I’ve blogged since then to describe the emotional lability I ended up suffering from this injury.) The application of the neck brace is when I felt the pain between my shoulder blades.

At the hospital, I repeatedly told people my brain wasn’t working, but they only did a ct scan of my neck (not the area between the shoulders that hurt nor of my brain). They gave me pain pills and sent me home. I really thought about two or three days of pain would be the end of it, and I’d just have to deal with hassle of getting car fixed and all the insurance hoops to jump through.

Little did I know, my brain bounced around in my skull and got bruises on both the front and back and all the problems and long road to recovery that would lead to.

In reflection, I believe the woman driving caused this accident on purpose. Yes; it is possible she was distracted, but the more I think about the circumstances the more I think she was either seeking pain meds or being mean to one of her passengers. We see on the news all the time how people working with those with disabilities do sadistic, abusive things, and I can’t shake that she did this on purpose. As far as the insurance company is concerned, this doesn’t matter, though, so I need not worry about proving it.

I still don’t know what the future holds after this, since the only thing making my brain good enough to do math right now is Zoloft. Who knows what ramifications I will face from having to take this drug. Who knows if/when I will ever go back to being me.

Every day, I feel like I am pretending to be Karin so that when Karin finally returns, she’ll be happy I kept her job, friends, marriage, life in place. But yeah, that’s what happened that led to all of these TBI blogs. Now you know.


Getting Better at Asking for Help

So I am kind of proud of myself today. I thought about Not a Neurologist’s advice about seeing a psychologist to help me through the emotional aspect of my head injury. I’m not quite sure how that will work, because whether or not my mom breastfed me or if I was potty trained by age whatever really doesn’t play a role in the shaken brain from a car accident. Or maybe it does. I don’t know. My brain is broken. But, I was really dreading going through the insurance company’s web page to find some local enough to me to not have to drive on highways (still not allowed and pretty much not interested anyway) who is also accepting new patients.

It dawned on me, I could call my general doctor’s office and have their referral person do all that work for me! Not only did I have this great idea, but I remembered to follow up on it before they closed! (3 minutes before they closed, but before they closed!) The referral gal is only there certain days of the week, so the person I spoke with said she’d talk to my general doc and then the referral person and get back to me, but the ball is rolling. They will do the work of looking at my insurance, calling around to those accepting new patients, and getting me in to see somebody just like they got me in to see Not a Neurologist. And that has actually turned out well. I just had to reach a point of trusting enough to see how well it was working, and when I saw an actual neurologist, I was suddenly very very appreciative of Not a Neurologist and all he’s done and doing for me.

So yeah. It seems to take a month or two to get into any specialist of any kind around here, so I have no idea when I’ll actually get an appointment, but I took the first step, and I won’t have to take any others in actually getting the appointment. I mean, I’ll have to answer the phone and probably have to arrange for time off work, but that’s not as hard as all the other leg work.

I am feeling really proud of myself for asking them to do that for me. I flat out told the lady I am struggling to do stuff like that and that it needs to be done and that I’d be incredibly grateful if they’d do it for me. Go me!

Parent/Teacher conferences ended today. The one I was dreading went well. She showed up ten minutes late for her fifteen-minute conference, and she knows I do not mess around with the schedule. No matter what time you get to me, I get you to the next teacher on time. In this particular case, I had physical therapy to go to after, and I was definitely not going to be late for my massage for this!

We open each conference in prayer (I teach at a Christian school), so I prayed what was on my heart for her son, and I can’t imagine her following my thankfulness for what a blessing he is to my day with anything negative. I am pretty sure I prayed close to a minute, so then we had just four minutes to talk. That wasn’t my strategy, but it worked out nicely. 🙂

I didn’t know what to expect from myself in this meeting. I’ve struggled with my filter and my attitude a lot since my tbi. I’ve struggled with anger toward this mom quite a lot since I found out about her gossiping about me and making trouble (it’s all in one of my previous blogs). I envisioned all sorts of calling her out happening in this meeting and me later having to remind my boss I said I wasn’t ready to be doing conferences, and that it was the brain injury talking. But what happened was kind of amazing. I did none of that. I smiled, and when she asked me how I was doing, I told her I am still recovering, but here is how I am handling it, and I told her the whole story she never heard of the incident in question as if I didn’t know she had already run around yacking about just part of it. I emphasized more than once I did everything right and that students know there are plans in place for any moments I am not 100%. I got her to agree with me that me not at 100% is still way better for them and our math program than a sub at 100% would be for the year. This mom has always expected unreasonable perfection from us and that perfection also being in line with her version of reality, but I got to say what I wanted to say (minus the, “you inappropriate, gossipy, trouble-making, witch” parts), and then we were out of time, and I was standing and leading her to the door. whew!

I know this satisfaction is temporary until my next run-in with her, but I’ll take it. I feel victorious today despite my hurting spine, despite my need to cry, despite how hard it is to make myself try to be functional, to try to be me. I’m not me. I’m not fully functional. But I had two victories today, and I am celebrating them.


Why is “Common” Somewhat Comforting?

I got in to the “not a neurologist” today. He listened carefully as I laid out everything that’s been going on, including my wanting to completely throw in the towel yesterday and just quit all life outside my bedroom altogether. He shared with me that all of what I described to him is “quite common” for the type of injury I endured. I don’t know why I was somewhat comforted by this, but I was. Maybe because part of me worries sometimes that at some point the insurance company will say my current struggles are unrelated to the car accident, even though it is obvious they are.

My neck and back are in a lot of pain. Physical therapy is helping, but it is a pretty big distraction in addition to everything else I am dealing with.

Not a Neurologist is doubling my prescription strength and has recommended a psychologist to help me work through how to handle unexpected emotions like I had yesterday since I am not used to having to work through such things. I have always been the consummate professional, so to have a melt down at work over something ridiculous is very disconcerting to me, and I don’t know what to do with it. To have my brain go straight to wanting to give up on everything is definitely a red flag. (Not a suicidal red flag, but a “make terrible life decisions with significant consequences I’ll later very much regret” type of red flag.)

I dread taking this advice, because it is such an arduous process finding a psychologist who takes my insurance and will click with me. I am not good at taking advice. Ever! I am not unteachable. I will take advice on how to make better doughnuts, give better homework, manage my classroom better, but tell me how to manage my health or emotions or eating habits or lifestyle stuff in any way, and I think you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, because only I can understand my situation, and any “opinion” you have about how to improve it is probably based on your misunderstanding of my reality. So I have to battle this when trying to talk to a psychologist.

I saw one in Idaho when I was having debilitating OCD and an eating disorder I still refuse to publicly admit was going on (this is NOT an admission!), and he was pretty great. But he didn’t really give me advice. He just helped me to see that I was an awesome person worthy of love. I was empowered and finally brave enough to leave an abusive marriage.

I later saw one in South Dakota when my thyroid was going bad. My general doc thought I might be bipolar, so she sent me there. This one recognized right away I had a thyroid issue and sent me to the endocrinologist. She was completely right. There was some pretty big life stuff going on at that same time, so I continued to meet with her until we moved to New York.

In between those, I tried a few here and there, and a few marriage counselors along the way. I couldn’t stand any of them. It is hard to find humans to connect with on that kind of level. But our loved ones are not trained at therapy. And, we don’t always weigh what our loved ones say quite as heavily as the words coming from an experienced PhD. Although, I weigh my own thoughts more heavily, so there’s that.

I remember this one psychiatrist I tried out when we thought I was bipolar. He had a batleth on his wall! (I only sort of know what it is, because my husband was with me. It is some Star Trek weapon.) This doctor’s office looked like that of a hoarder. He had a fish tank so filled with green gunk, his fish could barely move. He was so far out there, that I felt my stuff was sane. But it turns out mine sort of was cuz thyroid, but yeah.

So I am not excited to go through the process of finding somebody to help me through this, but it’s probably the smart thing to do. It could have really helped a lot yesterday. And maybe it will offer me some tools as I continued in these unchartered (for me) waters. The problem is finding the necessary energy to make phone calls to find somebody. Maybe I can get my general doctor’s office to do that for me? They have a referral department and are familiar with my insurance. I like this idea! I am going to call tomorrow and let them handle it for me.

In the meantime, I am going to continue with physical therapy and hope I stop hurting soon. This accident sure did alter my life more than I anticipated.


Crying in Public

I do not want to blog about today, but I am betting it’s important, so I am going to make myself do it.

I wasn’t in the best place when I woke up this morning. I wasn’t in the worst, though, either. After playing on the computer a little, I checked my parent/teacher conference schedule to get an idea of what Tuesday and Wednesday will mean for me. I noticed that my last conference on Wednesday is with the family whose mom spoke to my vice-principal that one day I told you about. (I can’t remember title of that blog to help you find it, but I’m betting it was between one and three before this one….probably closer to one.) This definitely did not start my day off well, as I pondered how that conference might go and all the things I wish I could say and how those things might be received and how I might be fired after.

Eventually, I got myself to work on time. We had our Monday Announcements. During that time, our principal mentioned how cold it was and reminded students they are to have their school-approved (dress code) hoodies or sweaters for warmth and that they cannot wear other jackets in class unless the teacher permits it over the top of the school-approved hoodies and sweaters. I found it interesting she was so specific about it this morning and wondered if another teacher had mentioned ongoing issues with unapproved jackets.

Since I’ve been back to work, I’ve made it a point to “not notice” dress code violations, gum chewing, and other things that don’t matter all that much. I will step in if somebody is about to be hurt, but otherwise, I am acting like I don’t see anything negative. I’ve also made it a point to have a huge smile on my face when talking to students. This morning, I couldn’t really find my smile, but I was trying.

I monitor the locker area in the morning and was standing outside my classroom as students unloaded backpacks and gathered what they needed for class. A student of mine whom I adore and whose favorite class is mine was about to head to his English class wearing a sweatshirt that was most definitely not school-approved. This student is always super respectful, joyful, polite, etc. He’s a model student and awesome to be around. I mentioned softly to him as he started to pass me, “Don’t forget about your hoodie.” He looked at me with an annoyed expression and sternly said with a grim face, “Good morning Mrs. D. Glad to see you too!” and kept walking toward his class. I was shocked. I told him I was just trying to keep him from getting into trouble, and he said, “mmmm hmmmm!” and kept walking. I stood there and audibly said, “wow” after he was gone. Stunned is not even a good enough word to describe my state at this moment.

I felt tears coming to my eyes, and not all the students were gone yet, so I went into my classroom and sat at my desk and melted down. While it is uncommon for this student to have an attitude with me, it is not uncommon for teens to behave this way, and I have had my fair share of much worse disrespect and handled it with the utmost professionalism. It is not like me to start crying over something like this at all. In fact, I normally only cry two times per year (both of which are when I leave visiting my kids and gson and know I can’t see them for six more months). All I could think of in this moment is what must I have done that would cause this kid to respond as he did. How horrible had I made him feel that he would speak that way to me? In reflection, I know this is unreasonable for the reality of this particular situation, but in the moment, I could not see straight.

Eventually, I got myself to stop crying, and I went to the copy room for something. My secretary asked how I was doing, and I lost it again. I was standing there sobbing at her desk as she prayed for me. I told her I was going to try to get an appointment with my doctor tomorrow, and I’d let her know if I’d need a sub. I went back to my room and cried some more. Now all I could think about is how I needed to go home but if I did, I might cause my principal to doubt my ability to be back and that she’d panic and hire somebody to take my place. This caused me to melt down even further. Finally, I called up to the secretary and told her I’d need a sub today and that I needed to go home.

I texted a friend about the incident and mentioned how frustrated I am with not being myself and trying to hard to seem to be. I so want to be myself again, and no matter how much I try to act like me, it isn’t working!

At some point, I texted my cognitive therapist to see if she could get me in to the doctor tomorrow, because he’s really hard to reach if you aren’t a medical professional, and I doubted my ability to get an appointment. I apologized to her for such an abusive use of her cell phone number, as I respect her time and wasn’t looking for a freebie session as she replied to me to see what was going on. It turned out she had an opening today, and I took it. The type of counseling I needed today was beyond her realm of expertise, but she could at least take notes and pass it on to the doctor. I ended up crying in her office too.

Thankfully, the doctor’s office did call me back, and I can see him tomorrow.

The good news is that despite how awful I felt emotionally and wanted to curl up and hide from the world, I still kept my physical therapy appointment at 4pm. That was a pretty big accomplishment considering the level of emotional misery I was dealing with.

My gson called me on facetime shortly before I had to leave for PT, so he ended up facetiming me while I was at PT. Everyone thought it was cute, so I went with it. The distraction was good to keep me from crying in public again.

At some point in the day (I think between therapies?) the landlord and maintenance guys came over to fix some things I’ve been requesting fixed. I almost started crying just watching them work. I barely kept it together waiting for them to leave. Just their presence was exhausting.

The level of tired I felt all day was unimaginable. I am almost wondering if last night’s melatonin sustained release was wonky. I know they are not regulated, so just because it says 3mg doesn’t mean it is. But would it really work for a solid 24 hours? No. The half life of even a huge dose wouldn’t do that. To be safe, I’m not taking it tonight. Whatever sleep I get (or don’t) is what I am going to settle for and hope and pray when I wake up tomorrow I won’t feel like crying.

Back to Work

I am not sure what time in the night it was, but I woke in a start after having a dream where somebody was about to rear end me super fast like the lady who caused my accident. It wasn’t a true flashback, as I was at a different intersection with no cars in front of me, and the vehicle about to hit me was different. I woke just after the impact as my car was still moving forward. My heart was pounding. I felt my heart doing the hard pound, but I also felt a fast racing with less pounding in the background of the thump-thumps at the same time. I’ve not experienced that before. It was like I had two hearts: a poundy-thumpy one trying to bash its way out of my chest, and a fast, less-poundy one racing around in circles like the fast tapping of a drum roll frantically scurrying all over the place while the poundy-thump one created a way out for them both.

In addition to the weird heart thing, my brain hurt! The sides just above my ears felt like they were spasming like other muscle spasms only with pain. There was a pin-sized burning pain in the middle of each slow throb. Thankfully, the throbs were not in line with my heart beat. The whole thing was very strange and unpleasant. I concentrated on slowing my breaths, and eventually I calmed down and fell back to sleep.

When I woke for real this morning, I reflected on it and remembered I have not been writing everything down as my attorney asked. So here’s a list of things I can remember from the last week:

Thanks to physical therapy I am having less headaches.

Teaching full days is rough. I am going home completely fatigued.

I have been writing number lines and math problems on the board backward, confusing students who are thankfully brave enough to ask me about it so I can see and fix it.

I said out loud in front of teenage students, “I am tired. My brain doesn’t want to cooperate. I forgot how underwear work this morning.”

I came dangerously close to using the terms “crap ton” and “ass load” while teaching classes. “Crap ton” isn’t shocking, because it is something I would say at home, but “ass load” is not in my vocabulary, and I have no idea where it came from.

While teaching at the board, about mid-day my speaking takes on a weird accent of my vowels. I also often choose the wrong consonant sounds or wrong words altogether.

When setbacks happen, I am very quick to want to give up. (Prior to accident, I was well known for tenacity.)

I impulsively spent $300+ on a rebounder despite our current circumstance and despite the fact I will want to spend money Christmas shopping soon.

I have been rude to and/or impatient with people who do not understand what I am trying to say to them.

I have been having to ask people to explain things to me that in reflection seem should have been super obvious.

As much as the school needs me, and as much as I need them, I can’t shake that this is all way too hard and is only going to get worse, and I should just go the disability route now before I eliminate that option, because this is all going to end in flames.

Why am I Trying so Hard?

I probably shouldn’t put this in print, but I need to get it out, and it’s something I should probably record in case I need it later to support my case.

I have been trying to go back to work. First it was 3hr days, then 4, now 5. Now that I am at 5, I can teach all of my classes. I lose my planning period and study hall to do that. Next week, I am jumping to 8, because if I don’t, the school board has told my principal to hire a year-long sub, making it to where I can’t go back until August. I understand their position for the students’ sake, but my doctors are not happy with me going back this soon.

With my current situation, my doctors have helped me to come up with strategies to help me through. One of them is being honest with students in hope for grace and patience in moments of stuckness. Another is to find true rest during my lunch. The list goes on, but these two apply to the story I am about to tell.

Two days ago was the first of my 5hr days. I was into the last class before lunch. Precalculus. We were reviewing for a test that was to take place the next day. Sometime during this period I mentioned having a headache. I taught two lessons out of this chapter, and my sub taught the rest. With just a few minutes left of class, a student asked a question about a problem I had not seen in a year. It involved conversions and formulas I had not used in a long time. It was also just a few minutes until lunch, where I’d get my mental break. My brain had spent all period helping them work out some very cognitively challenging problems. I tried to think my way through this problem and could not figure out what mistake I was making. So here is how I proceeded just 3 minutes before the bell would ring:

When a different student from who asked the question suggested we not have the test (a test I absolutely must give this week as the quarter is ending), I told students they were taught this lesson. They should review their notes, review the text, review the homework they did on the lesson, and search youtube for similar problems. I also told them I would work on the problem when I was home with a fresh brain and that I would bring them a full explanation “tomorrow” before the test.

After the bell rang and the room emptied, I turned off my lights and laid on the floor in Shavasana, deep breathing for 20 minutes until my next class. This helped me gain back some brain power for my two remaining classes, but it was still a struggle.

So, yesterday morning, I woke up remembering I was supposed to do this problem. My home copy of this text book was actually next to my bed, because I had been using it for homework from my speech therapist before going back to work. I grabbed the book and worked out the problem. I snapped a quick photo of my work and texted it to the dad of the student who originally asked the question. (This student’s dad is a colleague of mine.) The dad expressed gratitude and sent it to his son.

I drank caffeine yesterday morning so I could skip my lunch nap and offer review to students in this particular class, as their class happens after lunch on Wednesdays. I actually did get a little planning time yesterday morning due to chapel being held on Wednesdays and the schedule being a bit different. I saw a note from my principal wanting to talk about how we do quarter grades. I called her and told her I had 15 minutes, and she came right down.

Please know, my principal is very gifted at handling difficult circumstances, and she works hard to support teachers, parents, students, and the board. I would not want to be her. The main objective to this meeting was to discuss how we might not issue report cards for math first quarter to prevent anyone from being denied honor roll, participation in athletics, etc. due to first quarter performance because of the having a sub all quarter and the transition and all that. I was completely fine with this objective and the outcome we came up with. However, the conversation started with something that is still eating at me this morning.

My principal shared with me she received word from two families that I could not answer a question yesterday due to a headache and that it wasn’t fair students would have to take a test today. Now, it is completely normal for a teenager to twist the reality of the entire situation (remember the 3minutes to bell part of thing? remember the advice I gave them and the promise I was following through on thing?) when talking to their parents, especially when feeling stress studying for a test. Over the years I have witnessed all kinds of teenage versions of reality coming back to me to paint a broader picture on for parents. However, these two particular families never ask me to clarify a situation. They never give me benefit of the doubt. They always go straight to the principal with their child’s version of things as gold despite our school policy of going to the teacher first. By the way, neither of these two families are related to the student who actually asked the question.

One of these families involves the mom as an elementary teacher at my school in the other building. This mom didn’t talk to me nor my principal. She went to the vice-principal. At our school, the vice-principal has zero to do with the high school. She is 100% elementary. If our principal is away, the vice-principal can help with issues needing immediate attention (almost never happens), but that’s it. So this mom, my coworker, went to somebody who has nothing to do with anything to vent that I had a headache and wouldn’t answer student questions and am still giving a test on it!!!!

Anyway, I proceeded through the day as planned. I drank my caffeine. I offered a study session during lunch for those who wanted to take advantage of it. I gave the test and graded it right away. Guess what? The distribution of scores on that test were exactly as I would have expected from them had I taught the entire quarter myself! The two students who complained to their parents last night each scored 98% on it! One student who has not performed well on math tests in the past and who did not take me up on the lunch session scored a 96.5%! There were a couple of lower scores, but those did not surprise me. Keep in mind, I had these exact students for Algebra 2 last year. The only score out of all of them that surprised me at all was that 96.5. Thus, just as expected, students stressed over a test as they always do, and they performed the same as they always do, despite any circumstances they think may have created disadvantages for them. None of the drama was necessary!

I felt pretty satisfied by the results I had been vindicated by the distribution of scores. But of course, when it was time to go to bed last night, all I could think about is those parents going to my boss (or not my boss, which borders on gossip…Oh! and these families are close, so you KNOW they were gossiping with each other about it!) never having asked me for the whole story and completely getting it wrong, and I couldn’t sleep. I had wild dreams all night, and here I am still thinking about it the next morning.

Why am I working so freaking hard to go back to work sooner than the doctors are saying I should just so I can be unfairly gossiped about, underappreciated, and disrespected in such ways? I mean, a lot of this is what teachers have to put up with on a daily basis, but why? Why can’t parents appreciate what teachers go through to try to help their children? How hard would it have been to call me or send me an email to find out what really happened and to not gossip about it but figure out how to help? I just want to tell everyone to take a flying leap! (Feel free to insert more colorful words into that last sentence.)

This is not the kind of support I expected upon my return from a very difficult recovery that I am not even fully recovered from. I am discouraged. I feel defeated. I am lying here in bed when I should have hit the shower half an hour ago, and I feel anchored to it like I might just not show up to school at all today and let them figure out what the heck to do without me.

I know my brain isn’t working properly yet, and if I give into these feelings, I will likely regret it. I need to pull up my big girl pants and get to that school with a smile on my face for all the students who deserve it.

Oh, and last night when I couldn’t sleep? I sent my boss a note asking her to please better implement the Matthew 18 principle our school says is required. Long story short on that principle: Go to the teacher before the principal! So we’ll see how that is received. I really should keep the work software closed when I am feeling anger. I hope it came off less angry than I was.

SO yeah. I’m not going back to fix grammar or spelling or anything on this one, because I need to make myself go get ready for a job I am mad at right now. Please forgive that. I hope to blog something a bit more positive next time…

Better News!

I talked to my speech/cognitive therapist about my rock and a hard place. Rock: go back to work too soon and risk experiencing delayed healing, a setback, or a crash and burn. Hard place: continue to stay home healing and lose job, medical insurance, etc. for the year. She agreed with me the whole thing sucks donkey butt and that rock is better than hard place. She contacted my doctor and pressed him to write me a note that gets me back to work, because he also agrees rock is better than hard place, even though he seems to be ridiculously resistant to writing the type of note I need. sigh!

He finally wrote something good enough for us to work with, but he put specific times on it (like 9am-1pm) which makes it really tough, especially considering all of my pt and speech/cognitive therapy appointments are in the mornings! But my boss is willing to jump through hoops to help me make this work. I just really want to get back to work. I know I can work with a headache. Back before discovering what my migraine triggers were, I used to have to work with migraines. It sucked, but I got through it. I can get through this.

I’ve been flying through my math homework like the normal me. Put me back in the game, Coach!

Everyone still agrees I cannot drive yet, so that adds another component to the complications of working weird hours. But, we’ll figure it out. If nothing else, I can walk the two miles.

I started physical therapy today. He seemed pretty amazed at how remarkably messed up my neck and upper back are and that I’ve been dealing with it this whole time. I’ve been so wrapped up in my brain working again, I didn’t care all that much about the neck and upper back. Now that my brain is moving at a more normal pace, I am ready for the other pain to be dealt with. And, once my neck is better, I am betting my headaches will be less frequent.

So yeah. The plan is starting Wednesday, I am going in some pretty odd hours in order to stay between 9 and 1 and still make it to my appointments. I will be mostly just acclimating to the environment the first couple of days (sitting in classes, grading papers, hanging out). Not long after that I can begin teaching half days. We are hoping to get him to change the specific hours so that some of my afternoon classes can have my attention as well (like teach morning classes mon/thurs and afternoon classes tues/fri). Apparently, several parents are very concerned about how the math classes are going in my absence. The person subbing for me used to teach math there, so I am sure people are just exaggerating, because they are used to me, but everyone will feel a lot better when I am back. And, I will have a reason to put on clean clothes that are not made of fleece, start getting paychecks again, and see more faces than those on my medical care team.

My brain is still having a few hiccups, and my neck and back hurt a lot, but I definitely feel like I am progressing in the right direction. I wish they would have tried the medicine from the very beginning. Maybe I could have been back to work weeks ago!

I want to start ending my blogs with something funny, but now I’m feeling all this pressure to come up with humor. I remember laughing a few times today, but I can’t remember at what. Maybe I will think to write down whatever funny thing happens tomorrow and put it in tomorrow’s blog.

Not Yet

I had big hopes for today’s “not a neurologist” visit. I expected to find I could begin driving again and go back to work next week. That is not how things turned out. He finds my constant headaches too significant to go back to work yet (especially since 20 minutes of math intensifies the headaches to an 8), and even though my thinking has sped up some, he’s not ready for me to be behind the wheel. After other things that happened today, I can’t argue with him, but it’s still frustrating.

Before the appointment, I knew I’d be stopping at a warehouse store to buy some things for the senior class store I normally run. Prior to leaving our home, I pulled out $100 cash I had stashed. There was a 50, two 20s, and two 5s. We went to the store, did our shopping, and when it was my turn to pay, the 50 looked like a 20. I kept counting $70 and was panicking. I was looking around at the floor to see if I dropped $30 without noticing. I recounted and recounted, every time the 50 looking like 20. Finally, my brain caught up, and the “20” morphed into “50,” and I remembered seeing a 50 at home. I only made a minor scene, but still. It is stuff like this that is keeping me from driving. It wasn’t the same as mistaking a 50 for a 20. I saw all the detail of a 20 on that bill just like the day I saw the light change green and the word “advice” on the lyrics board instead of “desire.” So even though my brain is moving faster, and I am a little less depressed, I am still having issues. Add to that the terrible headaches, and maybe I shouldn’t be pushing so hard to get back to work or behind the wheel.

After meeting with the doctor, I met with my boss. She didn’t have great news. The board, as much as they want me well and back, has pressured her that if I am not back in two weeks to transition to four weeks from now when my sub is leaving, she has to find and hire a long-term sub to finish the school year. So basically, I have two weeks to be well enough to start transitioning back to work, and that transition will have to be quicker than we wanted, or I am not back to work until next Fall. And, this gives potential for this other person to end up offered a contract next year instead of me. And, I am not sure what this would mean for my health insurance! We could be super screwed!! It could possibly mean me getting disability pay (through SSDI, cuz my job does not have disability insurance) to make up for some of the pay I’m not getting, but I’ve been told by my doctors that is an uphill battle.

I don’t want to go back too soon and end in flames, but I don’t want to not be able to go back and be facing what that means for us. This is a very stressful time, indeed.

I’m going to go cuddle with Moo and pretend none of this is happening.

Is The Fog Lifting?

Yesterday I stayed in bed for like four hours after I woke up. I spent the day yawning and feeling out of it. Speech therapy turned my brain into soup again. I chose to spare myself the math headache and wait until today to get back onto that horse.

When I was ready to turn in last night, I felt a sense of loss in my day, because I really didn’t accomplish much even though I felt like I might have been able to. Thus, I created a goals list for today. I chose basic things like showering and taking my vitamins, but I also added yoga (something I keep wishing I would add back into my daily routine but haven’t had a routine) and drinking enough water. I chose two chores and added the math and worksheet I am supposed to do.


At the time I am blogging this, I still have to change the cat box and finish my last glass of water, but I accomplished everything on my goals list by the time I wanted to complete them with the exception of an additional workout in the evening I deemed too ambitious for just yet. I am feeling quite successful. And, I did not have a headache all day until after the math assignment. This is a problem, considering our biggest goal is to get me back to teaching math, but at least I was able to do the problems. My speech therapist has me doing 20 minutes per day for now, and once the headaches stop, I can probably do more.

I talked to the neuropsych doc today about a plan for me to get back to work. To get me back by November 15, it looks like we are going to try to start doing stuff the week of Oct 10! I really want to get back to work, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure by going too soon. I’m hoping this is enough time!

The plan starts with just a few days per week sitting in other teachers’ classes for four hours per day just to get acclimated back into the setting. Then we will add small tasks like grading papers, working up to teaching half days and then full days. She is writing in some accommodations for me as well regarding certain deadlines and getting extra help grading papers. I’m not sure how much is actually realistic for the type of school I teach at, but it’s a starting point.

Highlights of today were hanging out on the deck with Moo and facetiming with my gson and daughter.

So that’s pretty much it for today. That and I am mad at iPhone for changing Siri’s voice without giving me the option to change it back. I asked her why her voice is different, and she told me she’s been taking “human lessons.” I am also mad at Staples, because they are merging the teacher rewards into the same rewards everyone else can get. This means that when there is a limit of 5 on a back-to-school item, I will truly be limited to 5 now! Teacher rewards would let me go beyond 5 and get reimbursed the difference. So yeah. I am mad at iPhone and Staples, and my head hurts from math, but today was an otherwise pretty great day.