Quarantine and Writer’s Block

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I’m having one of those days where I just don’t know what to write. Nothing good comes to mind. I don’t really want to share art or poetry today, but I don’t feel like I have much else to share lol. I guess I could write about a few mundane things going on in my quarantined life right now…

  • One of my poor kitties has a huge hematoma (blood-filled cyst) on his ear. We already took him to the vet and they gave him a shot and some medicine, hoping it would shrink, but so far, nothing has effected it. If it doesn’t change by next week, they will have to do surgery to remove it and his ear will always be disfigured. I feel bad for him. His poor ear is flopped over from the weight of the hematoma and he looks like he is in discomfort from it 😦
  • My husband is a teacher and he is trying to figure out how to do the whole homeschooling online with his students thing. You wouldn’t believe how many problems he and the school district have run into trying to get Google classrooms up and running! My poor husband has been frustrated, irritable, and sometimes almost enraged by the technical issues he keeps facing. I feel bad for him and wish I could help, but I can’t. It kind of makes home a less fun place to be sometimes!
  • I really miss being able to decompress by going out shopping. Even if I didn’t buy anything, it was fun and got me out of the house. I miss it. I guess I could still go to Walmart or Meijer or whatever, but I feel that would be unwise unless I really need to go there for groceries or other essentials. I don’t want to contribute to the overloading of our healthcare system if I can avoid it.
  • Watching the news is so depressing, I’ve kind of been avoiding it more lately. I’m usually one of those people who is up to speed on all things happening in the news, but right now it just makes me feel helpless and sad, especially for the poor doctors, nurses, and other emergency and healthcare employees on the front lines of Covid 19.

Ohio Coronavirus Lockdown – How I’m Coping

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Here in Ohio we are now in an official lockdown, where only essential business is allowed to be out and about. I don’t have any official business, so I’m stuck at home lol. Being home all the time does start to get to you after a little bit. You don’t realize how much even small things, like being able to go to a restaurant, sit down, and eat affect your mood until you can no longer do them.

On the positive side, I am trying to stay busy. Today I did some cleaning and organizing around the house and it felt REALLY good. I would definitely recommend it to others stuck at home. Doing stuff like that makes you feel like you are accomplishing something, and it feels great to look around afterwards and see the change your cleaning up has made.

I’ve also been reading some, doing a lot of social media gazing, watching tik tok dances (a guilty pleasure of mine), doing puzzle books, and I took a few paid product review jobs through Upwork, just for something to do and to make a few extra dollars. So far I’ve signed on to review several supplements/vitamins (I loved the hemp gummies!), books, wrinkle reducing masks, a nail decorating kit, and a kebob maker. Hey, I get lots of free stuff that way too!

So how are you all doing? Are you under quarantine? If so, what are you doing to stay busy? Are you having any trouble with depression or anxiety? I know I have at times.

My LetsGetChecked Hormone Test Results!

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As I told you guys in a previous post, I partnered with LetsGetChecked.com, an online business that makes medical testing at home convenient and easy. They offer a wide range of tests, everything from sexual health tests to male/female specific testing, and wellness tests (all privacy guaranteed).

As I do with any business I promote, I used their service myself to make sure it was a good deal. I decided to do their female hormone test, as I have suspected for a while that I might be going into early menopause. The test did show an abnormality, but not in the way I was expecting at all! I figured if anything, my levels might be low, but I was wrong.

The test measures 4 biomarkers – Lutenising Hormone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Prolactin, and Estradio. Three of the levels were normal, but my Prolactin level was actually pretty high. Quite a bit over the average level. Normally this level is high during pregnancy and after birth (neither apply to me lol). Prolactin can also be high due to various health issues and medicine side effects.

Since one of the health issues that can make Prolactin levels high is hypothyroidism (which I do have a history of), I definitely need to see my doctor and have that looked into. If it isn’t that or one of the other health problems, it is likely my medicine – probably the psych meds from what I read online after researching my test results.

High Prolactin levels can cause the menstrual symptoms I attributed to early menopause (skipping or irregular periods, irritability, acne, hot flashes, night sweats, etc.), so this might be the answer I was looking for, even if it is unexpected. I am really glad I had it checked!

If you decide to try out one of the tests on LetsGetChecked.com, please use the code marandarussell20 for 20% off your purchase! 

Medicare Fees Mini Rant

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Am I the only one that thinks it is kind of messed up that you pay into Medicare all your life, and then, when you finally get coverage (either through age or proven disability), you still have to pay monthly plan premiums, deductibles, and don’t receive even basic care like prescription coverage without buying additional plans?

I know if you are impoverished enough, some of these fees can be waived or you might qualify for Medicaid to help out, but since I am married and my husband brings home a lower, middle class income, we don’t qualify for any of that help. I can understand why some benefit recipients choose not to get married! They pretty much penalize you for it.

I’m not complaining because I am the worst off in the world (I know I’m not). I guess I was just surprised to find out what the reality of receiving Medicare coverage is actually like. It honestly isn’t much different than commercial insurance in all the ways they find to charge you more for necessary healthcare.

At Home Medical Testing with LetsGetChecked.com

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My blog gets many offers to partnership with various companies, but I am always very picky about who I will partner with. I have two important guidelines I always try to stick to. First, I will only consider partnering with companies that promote things I would actually want to use myself. Further, I want to use their product or service myself to know the quality of what I am sharing. Secondly, the product or service has to be something that fits the themes of my blog and that I believe may genuinely be useful to some of my blog readers.

Recently the home medical testing company LetsGetChecked.com reached out to me. I liked how they offer a wide range of affordable, at-home medical testing options for sexual health, both men & women’s health, and general wellness. When I saw that they offer a women’s female hormone test, I decided to give it a try since I have been wanting to get that test done but my insurance won’t cover it and it is far more expensive if I get it done at a medical center. I have the test now and will do an update post once I get the results. I am hoping the test may reveal if I am indeed dealing with early menopause as I and my doctors have suspected.

I was curious about how an at-home blood test may work, as I am no phlebotomist, but it turns out they use lancets, similar to at-home diabetes testing, so it isn’t scary or complicated at all. I am excited to get the results of my test (which will be available online within a number of days after the test is returned). All of the testing is confidential of course, so there is no need to worry about your privacy being invaded.

In the future I may try their cortisol test as well, as I have always wanted to see how high my cortisol levels are. Other tests available include STD testing, hepatitis testing, fertility/prostate tests, a variety of vitamin/nutrient testing, tests for organ function (like liver and kidney), and colon cancer, lyme disease, diabetes, and celiac testing.

I personally feel that services like LetsGetChecked.com are most beneficial for people who have had certain tests turned down by their insurance, but still want to get those tests done, or people who have no health insurance at all and can’t afford the high costs of testing at hospitals and medical centers. Additionally, some may prefer the convenience of doing it all at home and not having to deal with insurance forms, waiting rooms, and medical personnel.

If you decide to try out one of the tests on LetsGetChecked.com, please use the code marandarussell20 for 20% off your purchase! 

Are You Worried About Coronavirus?

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I was just curious how many of my blog readers are concerned at all about the Coronavirus (or Covid 19 as the WHO named it). I am moderately concerned. It certainly spreads rapidly (54 countries last I heard), has a very high rate of transmission from person to person compared to many other viruses, definitely seems to be airborne, and is more serious than the flu, no matter what Trump says (the flu has a fatality rate of about .1%, where Covid 19 has at least a 2-3% fatality rate and about a 15% pneumonia/serious complication rate according to present data available).

I think what concerns me most is that America is barely testing for it, so it is hard to know how widespread it actually is. Until recently, only 3 states had test kits that actually worked, and the requirements to be tested were strict. With all the business and student travel we have back and forth from China, you have to think there were likely many missed cases. It is made worse by the fact that the illness has a long incubation period and can cause no symptoms in some people who are still contagious.

So far, all the countries who have decided to test rigorously have had rapidly rising rates of infection, usually doubling or even tripling every 2-3 days. To make matter worse, the economy is definitely being affected, with supply chain issues abounding in many industries due to reliance on Chinese production. Here in the US, we get almost all of our prescription medicines from China, which explains why CVS has already sent me “low supply” warnings on several of my meds. Luckily, I can survive without my meds for a time, but I worry for those who need certain meds to survive.

I certainly hope this concern is overblown and nothing bad really happens, but I don’t think it is a bad idea to be a bit prepared in case there are some disruptions to daily life due to this emerging pandemic. Make sure you have plenty of food and other necessities on hand in case of shortages or quarantines. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones!

My Foot Hurts!

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I could really use a foot massage right now lol.

Not having a good day so far. My plantar fasciitis is acting up bad. For those unfamiliar with the condition, it is an extremely painful condition that affects the arch and inside heel of the foot. I’ve been staying off my feet, but it still throbs so painfully I ended up taking an opiate last night. I’ve been icing it and trying to do all the stuff you are supposed to do during a flare up, but this is definitely the worst it has been in a while.

Unfortunately, staying off my feet also means that I am either sitting or lying around all day, which is not good for my neck/back issues. When I do have to get up, I limp around carefully. I have also been taking NSAIDS and muscle relaxers, but don’t think they do much of anything.

Do any of you suffer from plantar fasciitis? If so, I feel for you. This condition sucks!

A Few Random Life Thoughts/Happenings

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  • The grief from losing my kitty is starting to ease a little bit. Still a big loss, but I’m trying to focus on the future and how to bring more good things into my life right now because it feels like I could really use some good things.
  • Tonight I’m attending a poetry class at the library. The idea of the class is to use everyday castoff materials (like old ads, receipts, junk mail, etc.) as inspiration to create poetry. Thought it sounded fun and I could use the social connections right now.
  • I’m seriously thinking about auditioning for a part in a local theatre production soon. It makes me nervous as I haven’t done anything like that since school, but I feel I need to grow and add a little excitement to my life. I don’t even want a big role or anything, I just want to be a part of something fun and creative.
  • Just a thought, but I noticed something recently I wanted to share. It seems to me that when people share their darker thoughts and feelings straight out in essay form, prose, or spoken word, they are often sort of subtly shamed and told to cheer up in one way or another, which I find interesting, because when those same dark thoughts/feelings are shared in artistic forms like poetry/art, I’ve never seen people react in the same way by telling them to simply focus on the positive or cheer up. It makes me think that our darker thoughts and feelings are only really acceptable to many when slightly masked in some sort of art form. Why is that?

Reasons I’m Depressed Right Now

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  • My cat will die tomorrow. After 14+ years together.
  • A meetup group that I was truly enjoying and was beginning to feel part of disbanded for the foreseeable future.
  • I feel artistically lonely. I wish I had others in my “real” life who had the passion for art and literature (especially poetry) that I have.
  • There is a good chance I am going through early menopause and that is triggering my major increase in migraines and making my hormone levels go crazy, affecting my mood as well. The doctor says this could go on for years 😦
  • I have been fighting off migraines the last few days.
  • I wish I had someone to watch movies and tv shows with that really got into them like I do. My husband is just not a movie/tv guy.
  • There will always be a huge hole in my life where my family should be, as all of my immediate family members are dead other than my mother, who I have a shaky relationship with.
  • Climate change catastrophe and human ignorance. The realization that if scientists are right about climate change, we are likely causing our own extinction, as well as the extinction of much of life on earth. It is pretty much too late now and we humans are not willing to make the changes needed to save ourselves and the world even if there was time. In the end, industrialization may have been the absolute worst thing that could have happened to the world. I guess we can hope the scientists are wrong, but it isn’t looking good from what I see.