Tuesday, March 30, 2010

frackin unbelievable

(from a less drug induced, but tearful crazy lady)
okay. so. where to begin.  i woke-up this morning in tears.  do you know that feeling you get after an intense exercise, where your legs are shaky and your body burns? if you're a swimmer-- and, before this shit happened, i swam 90 minutes every day (except sundays)-- then you are used to your shoulders and upper back frying an egg, after an incredibly powerful "push" in the water.  it takes a day after a marathon to "come back to earth" and you feel sore, but amazingly calm.  well, yesterday in occupational and physical therapy, they dumped my swollen, numb, almost completely paralyzed, useless left hand in ice baths.  then, they did a deep tissue massage on the hand, arm, and both shoulder blades.  finally, they gave me a lecture all day long...
"be patient" (uh huh, sure...)
"stop overthinking and feel the moment, including your grief and happiness" (yeah, whatever...)
 "your hand is an extension of your body.  you are not dead.  your hand is not dead. your body doesn't forget." (huh.)

last night, i burned.  not the "burning alive in the bowels of hell" feeling-- but,  the "i just finished the most amazing swim from alcatraz" feeling.  my legs were shaky (another post for another time), my muscles were cramping, and i was happy "for the moment."  i imagined my swims, the feeling of calm and peace i would have during the push in the cool water.  i started to build a story, for the first time in months.

and, for the first time in 7 years, i woke-up with the ability to feel and move my entire left hand. 

oh yeah-- and i cried.

this is a long and painful journey.  this is a milestone, and a bit of calm in between the bumps. i know that my hand will continue to act like a rebellious teen with the need to test boundaries. for brief moments, i will struggle with the desire to kill it (or, just to say "shut up, you are driving me crazy!")

but, i will never forget the fact that my hand is part of my body-- and, i am not dead.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hard to Swallow

Pictured: "Meat Lasagna" from the hospital menu. This is what hospital meat lasagna looks like when you blend noodles and meat into a paste and form it into a rectangular block. After much analysis, Crazy Lady came to the conclusion that it looks exactly like cat food. Don't tell Sugar, she'd be sure to take revenge on the chef for feeding her mama stuff obviously intended for felines. The nurse makes her take one bite of each food on her tray. I told you, Crazy Lady is being a really good sport about things.

Crazy Lady is having a hard time swallowing. (I was actually having a hard time watching her try and swallow that nasty lasagna.) The surgical incision is in the front of her neck and things are still a bit swollen, and Crazy Lady is still at the stage where she doesn't know what what will improve with time. Her beautiful, melodic voice is still there, thankfully. Though, as Crazy Lady mentioned in her last post, she has to reprogram her voice-identification software to re-recognize her. Her lovely singing voice (she once sung opera, a little-known Crazy Lady fact) is on hiatus.

Our sister Lisa made her yummy mango shakes during her visit. The recipe: 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup soy milk and 2 packets Splenda. I'm going to give it a try myself this week. Cheers!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Visit with Crazy Lady

I am Popeye.

Step away from the ears.

Sugar just came back from the hospital where she visited her mum, Crazy Lady, for the first time.

She got to look very official in her service dog backpack.

Look at the diva strut her booty.

Waiting in the gravity-defying box machine.

Seeing Crazy Lady for the first time.

Look at the smiles on those chicks.

Hogging Crazy Lady's hospital bed.

She must've had a super good time because she is crashed on the couch now. . . . . drooling . . . . . . and dreaming of the next time she gets to see her Crazy Lady.

A Rough Start

Okay, okay, I'm ANOTHER sister and (after many scoldings from MOM) I am finally getting around to posting. I had better write fast, because at some point Crazy Lady might change her mind about giving me access to her blog and revoke my privileges. Hehe.

CL has been a good sport and even let me pet her buzzed head. Soft. I had to be careful not to touch the scabs where they drilled her. I must say, CL is in better shape this weekend as compared to when I saw her right after surgery. She won't tell you, but I will. Holy crap. Originally she woke and couldn't move her left side. When I saw her, she really wasn't moving anything at all except a few fingers on her right hand. And her eyes. They would just follow me around the room as we talked. I kept thinking, "Damn, you are fucked up. Not good."

I'm still a little freaked out. Mind you, first my mom swoops in on some other lady thinking it is Crazy Lady. Then, when she finally finds the right room, she flings the door open without knocking and there is poor CL, unable to turn her head or respond except by calling out at the top of her voice, "I'm trying to go to the bathroom, can you come back in twenty minutes." Seriously, my mom set her watch and paced the halls and was ready to fling the door open again twenty minutes to the second later, but I was able to full-body block her. CL can thank me later.

CL and I have discussed my observations and I do have her blessing to post this material. In fact, we've been laughing our asses off over much of this. So no, don't go naming me CB for Crazy Bitch, even though Crazy Lady may have called me that more than a few times this weekend. She is steadily improving and is great fun to hang out with.

a brief message from the crazy one

hi, crazy lady here, trying hard to type a brief (but meaningful?) drug induced message.  apparently, my voice is different enough to require a complete reprogramming of my software!  lol.  i think lisa has done a fabulous job keeping folks up-to-date, and i suspect my other sister cece (tikadogg) will join the group and post her observations. let's just say that i love my family, but my insanity is truly hereditary. i just wanted to say thank you and hello, and express my joy over the fact that sugar is visiting me in rehab today!  maybe we can take pictures and judy the foster mum will keep everyone updated.  the docs have given permission to incorporate sugar's service skills and training into my recovery-- and, maybe, even stay here for a few nights.  fingers are (metaphorically) crossed.  luv, the psychodelic one who very much enjoys feeling pain (instead of nothing).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something Mom will Never Live Down

Something funny happened when Crazy Lady got out of surgery. If I'd known about it, I would have posted the story a few days ago, but I didn't find out until yesterday, when I was able to speak to Crazy Lady myself. Apparently, mom was too embarrassed to tell the story herself. But the truth always comes out, eventually.

First, some background. When the family found out that Crazy Lady had a rare genetic disease that nobody else in our family has, the reaction of all three of Crazy Lady's sisters was the same:

(Mom) "Crazy Lady has this disease. But we can't figure out how she got it, since it's supposed to be genetic..."

(Sister) *pause*..."Are you sure she wasn't switched in the hospital at birth...?"

(Mom) (offended voice) "I gave birth to her! I would think I'd know my own daughter!"

Fast forward to Monday, around the time Crazy Lady gets out of surgery. As they wheel the brown-haired, brown-eyed woman out, mom walks up to her:

"Are you okay, sweetie?"

As she leans in to kiss who she thinks is Crazy Lady on the cheek, my sister Cece, who'd been looking on in horror, grabbed her.

"Uh, mom, Crazy Lady is over here..."

And steered her over to where Crazy Lady lay on a different bed.

So, that's the story. We are all still laughing. It's a story that will be repeated at family gatherings for a long, long time. Mom is never going to live this down. Even now, I am being called mean for posting about it. But some blog fodder is just too good to resist writing up. Besides, Crazy Lady asked me to write about it. :-)

Speaking of Crazy Lady, she continues to be her feisty self. She's had some issues with the rehab hospital...for example, on Wednesday, they finally managed to get her lunch at 6 p.m, and then gave her solid food that she was unable to eat (she's having a little trouble swallowing). She wasn't shy about speaking up, though, and now we're allowed to bring her soft food, like soups, smoothies, and mashed potatoes, from home. Since mom is a gourmet cook, and I'm no slacker in the kitchen myself, this should be a pretty sweet deal for Crazy Lady. Even as I type, I can hear the blender running in the kitchen. Yum.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today, Crazy Lady was moved to the rehab hospital for people with spinal cord injuries. We went to visit her, and she seemed to be in good spirits - talking, joking around, and very motivated to get on with the rehab process so she can start walking again.

The hospital staff refers to the intensive, 3-hour-a-day rehab schedule they put their patients on as "boot camp." Just in case Crazy Lady needs a little extra motivation. This should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crazy Lady's Progress

I'm pretty out-of-it, having spent the last few hours getting ready to fly out tomorrow, so I'm just going to copy/paste mom's latest e-mail update before I fall asleep sitting here:

"The latest news is that Crazy Lady will be transported from the hospital tomorrow for a 3 week stay at a Rehabilitation Hospital to help her regain the use of her hands, arms and legs. Right now she is unable to walk-her right knee caves in and she still has numbness on her left side [leg and arm]. She needs intensive physical and occupational therapy. Fortunately, she did not lose her ability to speak and swallow-something the doctors were worried about."

It will be good to see Crazy Lady and the rest of the Crazies tomorrow. Now, time to get some sleep.

Monday, March 22, 2010

...and Crazy Lady is out of surgery. Finally.

You'll all be happy to know that Crazy Lady's six-hour surgery went well. She's even awake, and was able to say a few words. The doctor ended up removing her C6 vertebra and replacing it with a titanium cage. She's having some numbness on her left side, but the doctors say it's because of swelling, and it should go away. So far so good.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And now for something completely different

Hi! This is Crazy Lady's sister, Lisa, a.k.a. "Friend to Evil Ones". As you can probably tell, the scenery is about to change here, just for a little while, until Crazy Lady is back in action. Hopefully, that will be soon. We're all rooting for her successful surgery and quick recovery.

I'll be heading from Texas to California next week to help out after Crazy Lady's surgery, so I'll be able to give you up-to-date news on how she's doing. Hopefully, things will get very dull around here, and I'll have lots of mundane good news to report.

In the meantime, these guys will be waiting at the kennel for my return. I'm already wondering how they're going to plot their revenge.

A temporary leave of absence

Today is the last day before surgery.  Crazy lady is a nervous wreck, alternating between "I just want to get this over with" to "I really don't want to do this."  At least she has some peace of mind, thanks to her sister Lisa (friend to Evil Ones) and my foster mama, Judy.  Lisa will be updating this blog with crazy lady reports, and she plans to introduce herself later today. Judy, my original foster mama, will be taking care of me, while crazy lady recovers.  I left for her home this afternoon, and crazy lady is looking forward to the occasional updates about my shenanigans on the Walkin the Bark web site.  It's a cool blog, with some wonderful stories about my nemesis, Popeye, and my friends Phoebe and Boomer.   I'm going to miss crazy lady, but I always have fun torturing Popeye:
(Don't let this cutesy expression deceive you-- he is a cunning devil)
Finally, it was brought to my attention that there are practically no pictures of crazy lady and I together.  I found this photo in the camera, and I wanted to share (even though crazy lady HATES her puffy face in this picture, she loves my "alpha bitch" expression):
Good luck with your surgery, crazy lady!  We will be sending (to quote one Berkeley friend) "cumulative cosmic vibes of the positive universe" in your direction...!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Attack of the Demon Spawn

(not to be confused with Evil Ones)
Two nights ago, I had a minor altercation with this:
I had trapped the creature and her babies against the fence, before crazy lady stopped me with the stupid "leave it" and "come" commands.  Damn training.  Crazy lady may have halted the madness before any bodily fluids were exchanged, but I still developed a taste for their sweet nectar.  Unfortunately, today, in the wee morning hours, the Demon Spawn climbed onto the roof with her family and stuck her face and paws against the window.  She stared directly at me and hissed.  I do not cower from a challenge-- especially from prey at 2 AM-- and I decided to kill the Demon Spawn.  An overloaded bookshelf, stereo speakers, computer wires, and a silly window on the second floor was not going to stop me.  I am powerful.
Needless to say, it was a long night.  I wanted out-- the Demon Spawn and her devil babies wanted in-- and crazy lady wanted sleep.  In between the "leave it" and "go to bed" commands (which actually worked, until the hissing against the window started, again),  crazy lady kept mumbling, "un-frackin-believable" and "did you have to torture that mamma coon, last night?"  So what if the creature is looking for revenge? A good fight?  I know I am an awesome huntress, and the midnight hour is the best time to prowl for my goodies.  Demon Spawn beware...
I am not a weakling, like this poor excuse for a canine: 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wild Dingo ROCKS!

My everlasting love for Wild Dingo has reached epic proportions, thanks to their wonderful gift of Salmon Paws...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Japanese Lesbian Porno?

Crazy lady is bored.  When she is bored, she plays with numbers.  Lately, these numbers include statistics behind people who visit my blog.  Normally, I get about 5,000 hits per day, usually from folks interested in Star Wars posters and Cooking Mama Killer.  Occasionally, an odd set of "Google search words" causes an influx of blog hits.  Mostly the words are "Sugar Daddy," and other times "sweet sugar gay."  Seriously-- up until this past week, those were the most common searches that resulted in a Sugar Sweet blog hit.  This week?  "Sugar Sweet movie" and "Sugar Sweet lesbian porn" were the most common Google search phrases to land strangers onto my web page.  Over 30,000 hits from India, over 22,000 hits from Turkey, and at least 10,000 hits from France in over 5 days.  Are they looking for this adorable image?
Probably not.  My guess is that they are looking for this:
So, what happens when you add Japanese lesbian porn, Sugar Sweet web site hits, and crazy lady's need to kill time before surgery?  Yep, she ordered the film from Netflix and discovered this tidbit on YouTube:

Supposedly, the film is not pornographic.  People (most of them probably inundated with testosterone poisoning)  see the words "lesbian film" and immediately think "hot girl-on-girl action."  Still, imagine the many visitors from India, Turkey and France who are reading my blog posts and wondering, "WTF?"  So, this special "shout out" is to my many new, unexpected fans who have visited the Sugar Sweet blog this week:
 Welcome, Sugar Sweet lesbian film buffs!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

To fear (and love) life

(Warning:  This post contains bad words, medical angst, and no fluff.  Don't want to read it? Go here for puppies and pretty thoughts.)

Crazy lady has decided to have the big, bad, risky surgery. March 16tth is the pre-op, and March 22nd is the actual day of surgery. Her insurance runs out in June, and she really can't afford to wait for the Social Security Administration to get their heads outta their asses and do the right thing.  If she's gonna die or be completely paralyzed, she might as well have health insurance during those critical points in her life.  The number one response she hears?

"Why are you so calm? I would be scared shitless."
Yeah, so, here's what crazy lady has taught me about fear-- you let it rule your life?  You stop living.  Don't get her wrong-- fear serves a purpose.  It stops us from injury, illness and pain.   Eventually, though, we all need to jump off that cliff, take the risk, and trust in ourselves.  Her recent life's mantra is: "If I let fear make all of my decisions,  I would cover my body in bubble wrap and refuse to leave my lazy-boy."

So, seven doctors.  All specialists, all top neurosurgeons in the country.   UCSF, UCLA, Stanford, Mayo, MGH...you name it, she has spent many months seeking their opinions.  It was her version of "mitigating the risk" to "prepare for diving off that cliff."  Crazy lady is part of the Kaiser system, and Kaiser is not exactly known for cutting edge technology (interestingly, though, they are known for amazing rehabilitative care following spinal cord and brain surgery).  Spinal cord surgery procedures have not changed much in over 30 years, especially in the neck.  Some of the most interesting advancements in nanotechnology  have not reached human clinical trials, yet-- and, the powers-that-be estimate another 30 years, before the technology is ready for human consumption. Cervical spinal cord regeneration with stem cells?  If she could relocate to Tokyo and Israel,  then maybe that would be an option. Unfortunately, it's not a realistic approach in the U.S.A., thanks to an ignorant moral minority that put medical research 15 years behind-the-times during IBY (Idiot Bush Years).  Obama is doing a lot to change the backwater approach (see here for details), but progress is slow.
Anyhow, I digress. After all of the second opinions, she found some consistencies:
(1) no one knows what, exactly, will be done during surgery, and they have to take a "let's open you up and see what we get" approach,
(2) no one can predict the outcome,  and
(3) no one will know anything until 2-3 days following surgery.

Why so many unknowns?  Spinal cord injuries are  "crazy, unpredictable beasts."    When they remove the spinal column and tumors, there will be a surge of spinal fluid, and the bruising and lesions on the cord will have a chance to "breath."  In crazy lady's active imagination, her spinal cord (named "Cornie") has an ornery personality.  Cornie could decide, "hey, I like my new-found freedom" and be content to stay "as is" with no change to crazy lady's current condition.  Or,  Cornie could say, "fuck it, you wanna play games?  Take this,"  and then go completely (to quote one neurosurgeon) "ape shit." 
Best case scenario?  Five days in the hospital, home for 3-6 months of rehab (including in-home occupational and physical therapy) and recovery.  The second best case? After 5 or more days in the hospital, transfer to a rehab facility for up to 18 months of inpatient care. There's a whole bunch of "little" stuff she needs to prepare for-- problems swallowing, feeding tube, losing her voice, drainage shunt for the spinal fluid, incontinence-- and, the docs are doing what they can to work around some existing issues that won't go away with surgery (autonomic dysreflexia, autoimmune complications,  paralysis and seizures are her current biggies). All-in-all, crazy lady and her docs are preparing for the worse, and hoping for the best.

So, how do you mitigate risk and reduce fear, when there is absolutely no way of predicting the surgery's outcome?  You start by planning for each and every contingency.  No matter your age or health, it's important to...

(1) make sure you have an updated Last Will and Testament-- and communicate your wishes to anyone impacted by your will!  You can find free templates here.
(2) complete an Advance Health Care Directive.  The State of California has an excellent web site here,  and Kaiser Hospital provides a helpful guide that anyone can use (download here).
(3) as part of your directive, include personal health care wishes-- and, make sure you communicate these wishes to family and friends.  Let people know-- do you want to die at home, or in the hospital?  Cremation, burial, or frozen bits? Donate your organs?  It might be morbid, but taking these extra steps to communicate your wishes will seriously reduces stress, in the long run.
(4) make sure your dependents (like me!) are taken care of, no matter the outcome.  I'm staying with my foster mom and her clan during and immediately after the surgery.  Crazy lady has made sure my shots and insurance are up-to-date, and I'm looking forward to my pedicure this weekend.
Finally, find a way to turn the negative into a positive.  Crazy lady understands arrogant bitches because, well, let's face it-- she is my caregiver and we share many of the same personality traits.  She likes her brain?  I love my brain!  She adores her voice?  You should hear me speak!  She enjoys her luscious, long, light brown locks of hair? You should see my golden, thick coat.   The surgery might impact her brain and voice, and crazy lady has planned for those scenarios.  But, you should have heard her cries when she learned that they would be SHAVING HER HEAD AND NECK.  Duh.  Her central nervous system can't communicate to her brain, so the surgery requires easy access to both regions of her body. Listening to her complain, you would think they were talking about something serious, like a feeding tube or brain damage.  Nope, those things did not stress her out.  However,  talk about shaving her head?  The woman FREAKS OUT.

Ah yes, vanity and pride are cruel human traits.  Crazy lady had to take time to convince herself, "It's only hair. It will grow back. Why not make it a positive experience?"  So, this morning she had her hair cut off.  All of it.  She saved the locks and sent them to Pantene for cancer wigs:
The actual hair cut was free and painless (the Clip Joynte donated their time for charity, a "wow, awesome" surprise!)  The only downfall was the bald spot she discovered in the back of her head:
Thank dawg that friends and family have been sending crazy lady beautiful scarves, caps and hats, to keep her delicate scalp warm and toasty:
So, there you have it--  a date for surgery, a lesson in fear, and some tips for dealing with life events.  Plus, a little something good came out of this world of unknowns.  How cool is that?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Worship the Sun Gods

67 degrees, Noontime, lazy Sunday in Northern California... 
 Take that, snow demons!
Sun Gods 1, Snow Demons 0.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happy (belated) birthday, Grannie!

(Beautiful flowers from the Maine clan.  Has Spring arrived, yet?)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010


Every week, crazy lady receives invitations for book readings, worldwide.  Her most popular spots include Tokyo, Kyoto, Paris, London and Edinburgh. Everyone wants a piece of the "notoriously reticent and private" writer. (I withhold my laughter, of course) Crazy lady has had to cancel her travel for the next 2-3 years, but she is keeping a list of bookstores for upcoming readings.  Filigranes is, officially, at the top of her list-- even before The Children's Bookshop in Edinburgh.  What bumped Filigranes to the top?  This sick and twisted advertisement that accompanied an invitation from the Brussel's bookseller last week:

Cockroaches?  Really? Yep, this is one world tour I am NOT looking forward to...