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About Faith

SUNDRIP – Art for Life is a site that expresses in every media possible an intimate look into the life of a person living with major trauma. The issues addressed in art and writing include Dissociative Identity Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Lupus and CRSD. Despite these issues, I intend to move forward, through and out with honor, grace and creativity.

2

For two weeks I'm going to use the 12 pound weighted blanket every evening. I'd like to know if my phantom limb pain is reduced, if general Lupus pain is reduced and if nightmares will be reduced. I feel as if I'm asking for a miracle of the blanket but hey, people say they work wonders.

Honestly, I've already done one week and have a significant decrease in night time phantom limb pain. I've also seen a drastic change in pain levels since I've been using a mix of German Chamomile, Lavender and Marjoram essential oils on both lower limbs. (This mix works well for all nerve pain / neuropathy.) The blanket and the oils are keeping the pain below my personal baseline. So I think I have the answer to my first weighted blanket test question. Yes, it helps with phantom limb pain. My Podiatrist agrees and suggested it's continued use.

In a week I'll know if the decreased pain from Lupus is significant enough to attribute it to use of the blanket.

So far, nothing has relieved nightmares which plague me on and off. Right now they're beating down nightly. I can't break away from my mother humiliating me in some way. I was fighting in my sleep before the blanket. I can say for a fact that fighting has stopped and I don't move around as much, but nightmares are still strong and damaging. There's no blanket for that.

I had to add a small fan beside the bed because the blanket holds my body heat something fierce. Lol. A small fan helps, and I like the noise.

Faith

2

I sure know how to go through CNA's. I suppose this happens often in this field. They've got a lot of turn over. My current CNA put in her 2 weeks notice last week so next week with her is it.

This is the 3rd time in 6 months that she's gotten angry with her supervisor and quit. She calms down in a day or so and cancels her resignation. I told the supervisor that she will try it this time too and she did, but I told her I believe it's time to part ways and that her last day is the day agreed upon by the company, Friday. She is not happy with me right now. She thinks I should give her a 4th chance.

When I told her I won't give her another chance, she went into this long to-do about how I'll probably have trouble getting a good CNA and that they'll cause me problems, and I'll miss doctor appointments. What she doesn't seem to get is that she's guilty of the same and that's why I refuse to allow her to stay. Her attendance, reliability and mouth are big problems now. I'm missing appointments and going through a lot of unnecessary stress.

I talked to the company and told them that I know having this CNA hasn't been all bad. Only recently has it gotten to the point where I feel like the sum of it requires I allow her to quit. It hasn't been horrible for a long time but what I've learned is that you give people a chance and even a second chance to get themselves together. However, a third and fourth chance with no sign of change is ridiculous! You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink!

Sooo, it's time for another new CNA. I'll be praying about it in hopes of getting another few months of good work. That's the goal, it's not set too high either. Just give me a few good months of work. I believe I got 4 from the current CNA.

Things will work out. I'm sure of it. And if they don't, I'll complain about it on the blog. You can be sure of it.

Wound (blood discussion)

I'm relieved that the infection was knocked out by being chocked full of high doses of meds for a month. It still hurts like all get out though because the wound is still there. It's been bleeding quite a bit and hasn't scabbed over at all. One of the good things about seeing blood everyday is that it means the circulation is good enough for regular bleeding. Lack of circulation caused the foot to die and be amputated in the first place. So any sign of circulation, even blood, is seen as a positive sign.

It's going to take a bit for this to heal. I'm amazed at how large of an area was affected and has to heal....... I saw an amputation heal in an amazing way. This, too, will heal.

Faith

2

I discovered a few things I needed to change to improve the lives of my slimy little friends. 😊 First, I increased the humidity level in their habitat. Once I increased humidity I saw an increase in activity by all individuals. This made me quite happy. Everybody is crawling around, doing their thing.

I also added some cuddlebone pieces to supplement calcium. They seem to like it. There's still no answer on if it's ok to feed them purple eggplant but I know it's ok to give them fruit. Here's a photo of one snail having fresh mango for lunch. That was one juicy mango. I went back to the store and got 2 more.

I added a few branches for climbing and hiding. I learned I need to cut up their food a little more and to stop cleaning so much.

Too much cleaning removes beneficial bacteria and disrupts the natural balance of their ecosystem. It's killing me not to go in there and clean every other day but I've been letting their system do its thing. So far, so good.

There hasn't been any mating witnessed by me since spring! However, the babies born in spring are getting big. That's a spring baby on the mango. I only have one snail older than a few months. He appears from his shell to be maybe 3 years old. I call him Pops because he's so much larger than the others.

Who knew there would be so much involved in keeping snails happy and healthy in captivity? It's fun though, and a definite learning experience that I encourage others to try.

Here's a photo of a snail's mouth. How cool is that? Click to make the photo larger and see the snail up close and personal. Lol

Faith

1

Well, I saw the Podiatrist today. He said things will patch up nicely. I wondered what that meant, then he pulled out a razor and tweezers and started to cut open the wound. He squeezed a bit, muttered a few things and said, looks like the infection has healed, you're just left with the wound. He squeezed the wound some more and tweezed, sliced and cleaned. He had the nurse photograph it, pack it and dress it. He sent me home with a cream and said to come back next week. I call that good news.

In other good news, my current CNA quit. She turned in her 2 weeks notice today.

I wish I could say that my CNA took me to the doctor like she should have, but she wasn't able to because it rained today and her windshield wiper motor is out. Ms CNA told me she had no plans to fix it until July 8th and that she would not be able to take me to the store, to see Dr D or any other doctor if it rained. So, a friend of mine took me to the doctor today and the CNA lost a day of work. She was not happy! Oh she was not happy at all!! It was not my intention to anger her by calling off, I just needed a sure ride to the Podiatrist. I can't count on her at all. So now she's quit and I will get another CNA. Let us hope... pray... it'll work out, even for a time.

Faith

I collect tea and porcelain dolls. My body collects illnesses.

This is my second round of meds for the infection in my feet. At the beginning of the second round I had a side effect from the medication that caused a rash from my neck to my stomach, front and and back, arms and shoulders. I'm all jacked up with a yeasty rash!

I can only shake my head! I mean really? Can a girl catch a break, please? In the meantime, the infection is steadily growing in size on the left foot.

I could easily get depressed over all this but I'm trying to keep encouraged and keep on going. Taking care of myself and spoiling myself helps me endure things like this.

One of the things that should be helpful during this time is my CNA. For months things were good but right now they are coming to a rapid conclusion. There's trouble in CNA paradise. She and I had a long, long, pointed talk but I'm not sure anything got through. I see this ending soon. The problem is attendance and entitlement. She also lets me know just how expendable I am, which feeds into my abandonment issues. I told her that, but she wasn't able to hear it.

I know my plate is full right now but I have hope that things will soon calm down in a wave of relief.

Tonight I'm having BBQ ribs made in my slow cooker, a small salad and a baked potato. For dessert I'm having tea and carrot cake. I'll end the night by doing a soothing and healing wash in Tea Tree oil, Oregano essential oil and a dab of Lavender essential oil. This will help my chest and back situation. I then have a nice book to cap off my evening.

Faith

4

I've been going in to see the doctor more than normal because my body is having a hard time fighting the infection. The days I've not gone in she's called. I'm also to keep a photo diary of the changes to the wound site, which I've been doing. The infected area changes in size almost daily. It is amazing to see, amazing in a frightening way.

Today the doctor said the test results show I do not have MRSA. She originally feared it, but that is not the bacterial infection we're dealing with. She said it's necessary for me to go to see a specialist who will do x-rays to look at the foot, and a doppler to look for blood clots.

I was nervous about this appointment. I keep expecting the doctor to say there's nothing more that can be done for me. I fear more pain than anything else. Pain of the infection, pain and weakness in my legs, pain of another amputation. Pain. I fear it.

I never, ever want to come close to where I was in the hospital when the pain was so bad I prayed to die! I believe that happened 3 times. Even when I didn't pray to die, when I wanted badly to pull through, I feared I'd lose my mind because of the pain. Pain felt like it broke me. It left a crack in my head and on my heart.

I see in my head the way my body swelled with 70 pounds of excruciating, excess water weight. I see in my head and remember vividly black feet that once held the most painful, huge boils. It was horrendous! I fear ever having to do anything like that again. I fear I will.

The right foot is the biggest issue. The doctor said the meds aren't working but she wants me to try another round. So, more vomiting, more insomnia, ears ringing and other super fun stuff. The specialist will most likely change treatment but for now I do round two of the same.

I see the specialist Wednesday.

I'm discouraged and fearful but still determined to keep going.

It's 4pm, my CNA is gone for the day but we put dinner in the crock pot for me. I'm having roast with potatoes, carrots and green beans. There's a nice cup of tea in my future.

Faith

Three times last week I saw the doctor about my right foot because of the infection. She took a small biopsy to see exactly what type of infection is giving me the blues. I should know Wednesday when I return to her office.

I'm still handling it ok emotionally, I think.

I hate, hate, hate the medications I'm taking right now. They make me vomit, cause panic attacks and insomnia. I hate this crap but I know it's necessary. Last night I tossed and turned until finally I abandoned all aromatherapy and natural healing for a nice, green Clonapin. That helped some but not enough to keep me asleep.

Despite the feet being infected, especially the right one, I've had some really nice things happen this week. Here's my gratitude list :

  1. I was quite shocked and very grateful to receive 3 new, blue blankets in the mail. 🤗 I was so surprised and overjoyed. How awesome. I'm spoiled rotten. LOL. One of the blankets is a weighted blanket! Omgoodness I love it! Total score!
  2. I got a beautiful, large book on butterflies of the world.
  3. Using German Chamomile and Marjoram essential oils on my feet helps with Phantom Limb Pain, as does the weighted blanket.
  4. I had homemade strawberry shortcake with my CNA.
  5. I've had a lot of phone calls and visitors this week. I also got a couple notes which I will add to my card box.
  6. I heard, saw and recognized my first Catbird. Very cool bird.

Faith

4

I'm in need of advice. I need a snail whisperer. If you are a person who knows about snails please leave a comment on the blog. The following is all the info I can think to provide.

The basics. Here's the thing, I've got 4 adult Helix Aspersa, larger than a US quarter and three small babies in a planted terrarium with a mesh screen top. At first it was rather dry but now it seems wet. With it being wet they're out more. They eat and crawl around then go to the top to sleep or sleep on the glass then do it again the next day. With a wetter environment I've seen a lot more activity.

Husbandry. Their terrarium is taller than wide at 12 inches by 18 inches. I lightly spritz the bio-active environment twice a day with spring water. There are crushed eggshells in the black soil. They have Sycamore bark and wood as well as a small thriving fern. I allow one of the carrots to sprout in the terrarium because it provides ready greens for them. Also provided is a small pool of spring water that is changed every 2 days. The pool has pond stones in it so that no one drowns. I wipe down the terrarium glass every other day and pick up any droppings that I see.

Food. I feed at night then take the left over food out in the morning. They seem to be most active at night. I feed the snails stuff like raw carrots, apples, soft banana, zucchini, eggplant and green, leafy vegetables. I've got a list from the net of healthy foods to give to them. They love carrots and eggplant the most but I'm not sure if it's okay to feed them eggplant so I've stopped. I know not to feed them striped eggplant.

A month ago I began to dust their food with a calcium supplement which means that all three of their non-veggie foods provide calcium. The three foods are: Reptomin, Fluker's High Calcium Cricket Diet and Fluker's Repta Calcium with Vitamin D3, Phosphorus Free. The reason they're eating the cricket and frog food is because I have crickets and frogs. If I need to get them a different snail food I will, but right now I just crumble and moisten what I have.

Now for mating. Early spring there was a lot of mating going on but that has stopped. I still check for eggs often. I lost three snails after they laid eggs. I'd like to know if there's something I can do to better assist them in their recovery?

I got rid of most of the eggs but a few baby snails I allowed to remain. Those snails are getting big and their shells seem healthy. They're living in with the adults.

If there's anything else I should be doing, any snail tips that a snail whisperer knows, I'd certainly love to hear from you. Provided in this entry are photos of my set up and of the snails.

Faith

1

Today I saw the doctor for the second time this week. She said, you seem really calm. I said, I know where this foot ulcer thing could easily go. I'm trying not to panic. I'm trying to do one day at a time without borrowing tomorrow's troubles.

The left foot (amputation site) is aggressively infected with a foot ulcer. Everyday it looks worse despite following orders, taking all medications and keeping up with dressing changes.

Yes it worries me but I can't panic right now. I feel like I did when I was in the hospital and they told me I was going to lose the foot. I told them to do what they needed to do, just return me to my family and friends. I was afraid but determined to live. I was determined, grounded and clear about continuing my battle. That is how I feel right now, determined, grounded and clear in my desire to never give up, come what may. I have Lupus so stuff is going to come! But right now I have a bit of extra gas in my emotional tank which let's me feel strong enough for this, again.

So far I have not lost the leg due to the infection. So far further amputation (from the knee down) has only been discussed to let me know all the factors in my current situation. The goal is obviously to stop this infection and manage my circulation and blood system. I would say that treatment is appropriate right now and that a little time will tell where we go from here.

Since I don't know exactly where we go from here, since nothing is sure, I've chosen not to borrow anxiety and troubles. I've decided that day to day work is best for me. Thinking too far ahead may even compromise my health by adding to the stress my body is already under. When needed, I've let myself cry. It relieves stress and helps things not build up inside.

Last but not least. I'm in need of a blanket. Because I'm not fully continent, I had an accident. It was last Saturday after my nurse's aide left. So I got in the shower on my own then stripped the bed. I was going to try to put on new sheets only to discover all were dirty and that I only own one blanket, which I just stripped off the bed. I would have done the laundry but it's on the second floor and very far from my apartment. I am physically unable to get there and I can't transport laundry in a manual wheelchair. To make matters worse, no nurse's aide was to come until Monday morning which left me wrapped in the flat sheets without a blanket until then.

This will never happen again! I will be getting a blanket when I get paid on the 3rd of June. It's already humiliating to have accidents but to lie on a stripped, cold mattress bc of it is nothing short of insult to injury. I've got a decent amount of sheets, but I'll hit up the Amazon website for a blanket very soon. I've got a nice blue blanket in my near future.

In all the madness, I am still painting and focusing on my goals.

Faith

I'm in a decent mood despite health issues. I'm still struggling with an infected foot that requires wound dressing changes daily. It's kind of ugly at the moment as far as the foot goes. I'm still on antibiotics and steroid cream.

Well, I've been able to paint and do some collage work in my art therapy book. I had this apartment messed up bc I pulled out papers and stuff for a collage. Looks like I'm going to need to start collecting collage materials again. I don't have many materials for it to speak of, so collect I must. It felt so good to let go and let art! I quickly cleaned my studio apartment after I let go, but let go I did. It's the first collage in a year!

I go in to see Dr. D two times a month now which is really helpful bc I feel like there's actually a point to the art therapy. I was just describing it to him over the phone each week then showing it mass when I saw him once a month in his office. Now that I see him every other week I feel like there's a point to doing the assignments. Sooo, there's a lot more art in the book than normal and not just geometric shapes. That's a huge step forward, moving past just geometric shapes in black and white. It feels good to let go.

I knew I was shut up inside. I knew I was closed off and that was why I could only get out shapes. I wasn't trusting the process, or much of anything at all. But, I had some really good break throughs the last few weeks. Those revelations have given me strength and the ability to better endure. I feel as if I got a bit of information that put a little extra gas in a tank that was running on empty. With this propulsion, I've seen an increase in art. I couldn't be more pleased.

While I am still struggling to get my foot healed up right, I am doing much better emotionally. What's interesting is that people tell me my voice sounds stronger, more calm. I feel better inside, that's for sure. With a little emotional healing and a lot of art, I just may be able to see this battle through.

Faith

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