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Caught in the crosshairs

Today a medical director, who has never met me, and probably never took more than a cursory glance at my medical history, decided their office couldn’t “handle” my pain management needs. I was abruptly, without notice and without support, “fired”.

The so-called War on Drugs? More often than not it’s capturing people like me — people living with and suffering with very real, very debilitating chronic pain — in the crosshairs. And statistically, valid prescription-holding individuals are the least likely to abuse opiates. It’s the non-prescription users — the ones buying / borrowing / stealing — who make up the majority of addicts (please note that I wrote addicts, not dependents – there is a difference between physical dependency, which happens with many types of medications, and outright addiction) and ODers.

Fortunately my now former PCP — the same PCP I’ve had for the past eight years (and yes, the same one who inadvertently tried to off me with Toradol), who had the gall to seem surprised when I told him I would never be seeing him or returning to the practice or network again, made calls right then and there to the pain management clinic that evaluated me in January, and since I am now without a PCP, that clinic will immediately take over my pain management needs – including prescribing the transdermal Fentanyl patches my former PCP couldn’t/wouldn’t. This is a silver lining, as the patches were suggested as a way around my significant mal-absorption issues that led to first an increase in dosage and then a change from pills to liquid in the first place.

And to think it’s been suggested to me that I need “better coping skills” (I have a tendency to cry when I’m stressed)…
Perhaps if my support system wasn’t abruptly yanked out from under me I’d be able to better cope…
Perhaps if on a good day my pain would be lower than a 5 I’d be able to better cope…
Perhaps if it isn’t always such an uphill battle to prove my pain I’d be able to better cope…

Filed under General

Buying Your First Family Home Together: Important Things You Both Need To Do

Buying your first family home together is an exciting step forward in your relationship. Whether you’ve been together six months or ten years, it’s a step that shows real commitment and loyalty. Deciding to start a family and moving into a house you’ve bought together is a dream come true for many couples. But your dreams of a perfect family home can turn into a nightmare if neither of you is prepared for it. You can end up in the wrong house or location. Or be unable to keep up with your mortgage repayments or paying off your outstanding debts. This can put immense strain on your relationship and could end up in a breakup or divorce. Which is obviously not the outcome you want when your goal is to start a family in your own home. This guide highlights some important things you need to do before you make this long term commitment.

sold family home
photo credit: Pixabay

Check your credit scores

Unless you’ve had it checked before, it’s unlikely that your know what your partner’s credit score is. They may have had some financial issues in the past that you don’t know about and vice versa. Outstanding debts and late payments are just a few things a credit report check can pick up on. So is one or both of you have poor credit scores, this can significantly affect your chances of getting a mortgage. Your credit scores gives banks and lenders some insight into your financial state. It also somewhat predicts what your future behaviour will be like. If you are considered a high risk, they will be less inclined to give you the money you need to buy your family home. Many couples fail to check their scores beforehand and then feel crushed when they are rejected for a mortgage deal. So before you start looking online at potential properties, you both need to have your credit score checked. If neither of you get the score you were hoping for, don’t panic. There are things you can do to improve it and get your dreams of buying a home back on track. You could look at sky blue credit repair reviews, talk to a financial adviser and pay off your current loans and debts.

Try to be supportive of one another. It may seem like the end of the world, but in reality, it is a momentary glitch that can be altered. Sorting this out as soon as possible will also give you more disposable income. Which you can then put towards other house related savings and expenses.

credit card
photo credit: Pixabay

Discuss your finances

Another vital thing you need to organise and discuss is how much you both intend to spend per month on your new property. Otherwise, you may have an unpleasant shock later on. Many couples prefer to split the costs in half. But this is not always possible due to differing incomes and the rate of the mortgage. Both of you need to sit down and analyse your monthly spending by checking receipts, bank statements and invoices. Include utility bills, monthly date nights and miscellaneous items such as clothing and shoes. This will be an eye-opening experience for you both as it will show you exactly where every penny is spent each month. Your and your partner may find neither of you has a lot of money saved up or that you spend too much unnecessarily. Once you have done this and factored in how much you earn, you need to determine how much you can both comfortable put towards the new house. You may want to split the repayments equally or decide that one of you can pay more than the other. It may also be beneficial to visit an accountant to discuss your financial options further. This will reduce the risk of arguments later on and shows a mature approach to the home buying process. Don’t feel ashamed that you can’t contribute as much as your partner can. Never agree to pay more than you can afford. Otherwise living together will become challenging and you’ll be more prone to arguments and falling out.

couple kissing while drinking coffee
photo credit: Pixabay

Decide upon a suitable location

It’s crucial that you both have some input into where you want to start looking for your new family home. Maybe you want to be near to family and friends or want a short commute to work each day. As you’re intending to start a family, being located near to shops, schools and transport links may also be something you want to consider. Use Google maps and online real estate agent to find possible locations that cater to both of your needs. It’s always better to have this conversation with your partner before you start your search. Otherwise their needs and wants may come as a shock to you and vice versa. Being in a house in the wrong location can be a costly mistake that can make one or both of you miserable. Long commutes and being apart from loved ones can put an enormous strain on you both. Making you feel stressed and vulnerable. So compile a list of vital things you want and compromise slightly if you need to. Remember to factor in the cost of extra travel too to make sure you can afford it.

It’s important to keep in mind that location can also have a tremendous sway on property prices. So keeping an open mind is often the best tact. You may realise that your dream location has properties that are out of your price range or that your search for suitable homes is limited. Moving to an area, you don’t know very well can be daunting. So talk to local estate agents and visit surrounding areas to see if they could give you what you desire instead.

After you have talked through your options and have the necessary checks done, finding the right mortgage and home should be easy. It’s something that needs both yours and your partner’s input and opinions and should never be one sided. That way you can find a home, you both feel comfortable and make it the perfect place to raise your children together.

Filed under Articles

Just me.

Filed under Photography

3 Reasons to Marry a Ukrainian Woman

Have you noticed that Ukrainian women are extremely popular today? One may say that it is directly related to the current political and economic situation in the country. However, that’s not quite so, though this assumption does reflect a certain truth. As it turned out, such a popularity of Ukrainian girls is caused by the idea that they become perfect wives. Moreover, an interest in intercultural marriage is mutual, and numerous dating agencies are just another proof of that. You can visit, at least, one of them to understand that online dating is not a fun game anymore – it’s already a huge international business that enjoys success.

bride and groom kissing

So what are the reasons to marry Ukrainian women? Are they beautiful, kind, and family-oriented? Well, they probably are, as well as lots of other women in the US, UK, Australia, and other countries. Do they attract attention by their history, traditions, and culture? Probably, they do, once again due to the current situation. However, there should be something more to answer the question why men from all over the world want to marry Ukrainian women. Having talked to some bachelors looking for love on the international dating websites, in particular, on this one, we have the answer. In fact, there are three main reasons that drive them to do that:

1. Ukrainian women like to flirt

Moreover, single girls do that on a daily basis as they are not afraid to give and attract attention, hence provocative outfits showing the incredible power and beauty of the female body. It’s interesting that such behavior is viewed as something natural in Ukraine and is never condemned by society. These girls are proud of themselves and their appearance, and what a man doesn’t want to become a center of the beautiful woman’s attention? Probably, none!

2. Their passion doesn’t know bounds

If a Ukrainian woman loves someone, she will fight to her last breath just to protect her beloved man. The truth is that these girls are very strong, loyal, dedicated, and they make their men feel loved. And yes, it all gets better in the bedroom! Ukrainian girls are known to be passionate and attentive lovers so that their husbands are guaranteed to have a varied love-life.

3. Girls in Ukraine are not concerned about age and cultural differences

Most Ukrainian people, especially young girls, are hospitable and open to everything new, hence the interest in different cultures. What’s more, they don’t really mind someone older marrying someone younger, so an age gap is not a problem too. Moreover, many of these women are consciously looking for mature men able to provide for their families. There are actually more reasons that make Ukrainian women so popular today, but these three are the most common. In fact, there is nothing extraordinary about these girls. Nevertheless, if you combine the written above character traits and life views with the attractive appearance and high family values, you will get the answer to the raised question: “Why men throughout the world want to marry Ukrainian women?”

Filed under Articles

16 years of Blueboy.

Blueboy was a gift from my mother to my grandmother, for her birthday, in September of 2000.

In the spring of 2004, while my grandparents were making many trips between their old house in Philadelphia and their new mobile home in Lancaster, they gave Blueboy to my mom to care for so that he wouldn’t be continually upset by the many car trips back and forth.

On August 21st, 2004, Blueboy came to live with Dan and I. The living change was sudden: that day, while Dan and I were running errands, Blueboy decided something pissed him off, so he reacted in a way only a cat would do: he snuck under my mother’s bed covers, while she was in bed, and peed directly on her. The resulting phone call to me was pretty furious and to the point (“come and get this cat before I murder him”). I only had one other cat at the time, and I was seven months pregnant with Alyssa.

To make it clear: Blueboy meant the world to my grandmother, and so because he meant so much to her, he meant just as much to my grandfather. She doted on him. She would sit and cry if he disappeared into the depths of her home or my mother’s, and would be paralyzed and useless with anxiety and fear about him having gotten out while the rest of us tore the house apart to find him for her.

For his part, Blueboy had the spirit of an old man from the time he was a kitten. He was never overly cuddly or affectionate, and would routinely pick fights with the other cats – but to hear my grandmother tell it, of course it was the other cats’ fault, and never her precious Blueboy’s fault.

From the time he came to live with us in 2004 until his death three days ago, Blueboy was a calm, cool, and collected cat. We joked that his mission in life was to decorate, because for his part that was his seemingly only desire: to sit around and look pretty. And smug. The cat radiated smugness. But he never really acted out, except for the occasional hair ball left on Dan’s pillow, or on mine, or on Dan’s keyboard. He just went with the flow, and didn’t seem overly bothered by or concerned with anyone or anything – least of all the parade of cats that have come into and out of our home during the last nine years.

In terms of bad habits, he liked to lick hair. And butter. He would also eat vegetable soup – but only certain parts of it. He wasn’t picky about dry cat food, but wet (canned) food had to be in pate (mush) form, or homemade (by me).

And as Blueboy got older, he also got sweeter. He would enjoy sitting in our laps, or next to us, or lie on our pillows above our heads as we slept. He especially enjoyed Dan’s pillow – so much that we joked we’d wake up one morning to find him dead and have to pry his corpse from Dan’s head.

After my grandmother died in 2004, my grandfather came to our home often to visit with Blueboy. And when my grandfather was dying in hospice in 2009, we took Blueboy to be with him. He stayed with my grandfather for several days until he died on June 11th, 2009. (Bless that hospice center for allowing a dying person’s pet to stay with them for comfort.)

In recent years I quickly came to terms with the knowledge that Blueboy’s years would most likely be numbered. After all, the average lifespan of a Persian cat is 10 to 15 years (average taken from multiple reputable online and offline sources), with the median age being 12.5. So 16? I’ll take it. I just wish that Blueboy’s death had been sudden and quick, such as a heart attack or aneurysm, rather than a painful oral infection that came on quickly and attacked his entire body just as quickly. He literally went from the picture of perfect elderly cat health on the morning of Tuesday, March 29th, 2016; to dying on the morning of Wednesday, March 30th, 2016. I hate myself for unknowingly letting him suffer in pain and fear for those 24 hours; but I console myself with the knowledge that as soon as I realized something was horribly wrong (blood in his mouth, stumbling, not grooming, not drinking) I acted quickly – from the time I called the vet to confirm I could rush him in to when Blue’s heart finally stopped beating (stubborn and insistent on having his way to the end, it took not one but three injections to see him through to the afterlife), no more than an hour had passed. And when Blueboy was breathing his last, slow breaths, he began purring… a sign I take that he was embracing his death with relief and acceptance.

* * *

Obviously we have probably thousands of photos of Blueboy, including many on undeveloped film, but here are my favorites from the last decade:
(clipped because of lots of photos)
Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under Pets