It’s a Bad Brain Day

Today is a bad brain day but it’s not a bad day.
My socks are mismatched, my eyes seem detached
and I don’t have the energy to play

My marshmallow brain is stuffy and numb
My face flies in butter, with a tickle and flutter
and I think I just said something dumb.

Today is a bad brain day and I think I’m unsure
I forgot what I’m doing, or maybe undoing
I hope whatever this is has a cure.

My toes and fingers are cramping and sore
And as if right on cue they start to turn blue
And I’m ready to pass out on the floor.

Today is a bad brain day – and it’s so easy to tell
When my words slip so easy and nothing is breezy
I’m living my personal hell.

I take my lumps with a spoonful of salt
with a smile and nod and stumbles and plods
I’m living my life at a halt.

But everything is ok because it is just one day
Tomorrow is better and I’ll be a go getter
And then I’ll be able to say

That today is a good brain day and it’s a beautiful day
Thank you for caring while I have been flaring
And I’m ready to go out and play.

-Krystal Elder

Yesterday we went out, and I knew it was going to be a long day. It started with a haircut. Simple, right?

Conversing with people – some I knew, some I didn’t – was tiring. It started the day off. The scents and sprays and hair product and blowdryer heat and temperature change were all a perfect storm to start off a flare.

It’s a good thing I was well rested before that.

By the time we got to the hospital for my MRI, I was in full flare. My face was tingly, the top of my head numb, and the back of my head freezing because I shaved it. (Worth it!) The elevators increased my dizzy spells, I felt like someone was sitting on my chest while trying to navigate that section of hospital we weren’t familiar, which was confusing. Nope, it’s not anxiety. It’s just one of the signs of a flare up. Good thing there were maps and I was being escorted by my very own wonderful, good looking security personel. (He’s not there to protect me from anyone except myself, really.)

Their waiting room with family members was cozy. But going into the back, stripping down to the knickers and wrapping in a sheet was a whole different matter. It wasn’t cozy. It wasn’t warm. In fact, it was like the third level of hell, except they let me keep my socks and boots as a reward for good behavior. I was thankful that I was wearing my shiny new fancy compression stockings for a little warmth, but the sheet did little to stop the icy breeze from flowing up my light, summery, extra-fashionable hospital gown.

I had already been struggling with the pressure changes and my joints were stiff and sore from the temperature drops at night, but by the time I was called into the room my body had stiffened up and it took me forever to stand up, and for once it wasn’t just the blackout and dizziness. I begged for a blanket – I was shaking so hard I don’t believe they could have possibly done a successful, clear scan if the room itself wasn’t any warmer that everywhere else in the corridor.

I was sooo happy when she offered several warm sheets, since there were no blankets left. It was instant relief, and I was able to relax with the strange space helmet in the teeny tiny holespace they put me into. I am so, so grateful I’m not claustrophobic. Quite the opposite, actually, and I find it somewhat cozy, until I nearly started laughing out loud. The sounds of the machine reminded me of Strongbad’s retro rave.

The MRI seemed really short. I’ve had two before this – one for my knee, which I barely remember, and one for my finger to assess an infection in the joint. I recall the one for my finger taking an extra long time – I kept falling asleep, and I tend to twitch as I’m falling asleep. Of course, my hands are the most affected by this, so the techs kept having to rescan. We tried changing the radio station they had me listening to, and turning it up. I ended up singing to keep myself asleep, much to everyone’s amusement.

Thankfully, there was no twitching this time, and the scan didn’t take long at all. It’s been a few years since my last scan, but things have changed since that one, and it seemed quick and easy. Until I stood up. I felt like I was in a dropping elevator, which tends to happen often, but it hadn’t been that bad that day until then. The tech apologized, and told me it was fairly normal for people to feel dizzy after getting a head MRI. Apparently, they mess with the alignment of the ions in the ear canals, which can cause some people some side effects.

The ringing in my ears has been louder, as well. Bother. Oh well. Just one more thing.

Afterwards, we met up with a long time friend of mine from high school, and we enjoyed smooshi and snuggles at a quiet sushi place on the south side. Until, that is, my flare up became a permanent fixture on my face and my head became numb and it was time to go.

Today was a train wreck and a half, though, as I pushed further than I knew was good and the dumbs took over my brainspace. My husband went to his training class and had to work on his truck after, so I had the day to myself. It took way too long to be able to get out of bed, to remember to eat, many circles in the kitchen every time I forgot what I was doing, and nearly forgot to feed the cat entirely, even though I had his food dish in my hand. Empty. Because I forgot to fill it with his gooshy food. And then I came back upstairs to fill it, forget (again) what I was doing and went to make my own lunch, and dumped the can of salmon for myself into his food bowl instead.

Sigh. He had a treat, and we shared the canned salmon.

I’ve had a few moments of surmounting frustration, but all-in-all, I remembered to just breathe, to take it easy, and remembered that tomorrow will be better. And I’ll rest more so I can go out on Christmas with something resembling normalcy for a little while, after which we have nothing lined up again for awhile and I can recover from appointments and visiting until the next round. And who knows…. maybe I can get some fun projects done. My creativity has been itching again, and I’ve been playing around with a few things here and there. Nothing major, but enough to take the edge off of feeling useless. It’s nice to be able to make things without expectation or deadlines, so I’ve been enjoying doing the things I’m able.

And now…. more waiting. With the holidays here, the results may take a little longer than usual. If there’s something that comes up, my internist will call me in. And if not, I see him next month and he’ll run a Lyme disease series and send me off to a Rheumatologist, and hopefully we’ll be closer to getting a few answers.

Fingers, toes, ears and all of the things are crossed.

I miss my brain. I hope I can have it back to normal, one day.


Why Handmade?

Perhaps not everyone feels this way, but when I receive something handmade by someone I feel great. I know that someone made that item just for me, while thinking of me and it warms my heart knowing that I’m in someone’s thoughts while they put the effort into something to make me smile. I feel a huge difference in receiving a handmade gift – even if made by someone other than the gifter – versus a gift bought at a corporate chain store. There’s so much more value and energy in a gift made with passion and care. And for a handmade gift purchased from an artist, there’s a message to the recipient that you have purchased a gift that reflects them and their unique sense of self.
There are many reasons to purchase handmade items and oh my goodness, allow me to count (some of) the ways!

Support Local
It’s a term that you hear small businesses and entrepreneurs say frequently. Many people don’t realize that supporting local means supporting more than just the artist. Economies can thrive when local businesses are supported! That artist who sells more, will also spend more – and they are also more likely to support local businesses as well. The more they sell, the more supplies they will need to purchase. Those local businesses they shop at will also encourage those businesses owners to support other local businesses and families, who in turn will also add to the local economy. The revenue will stay in the community, in the country and improve the overall economical status nationwide.
This concept also encourages jobs to stay in the community as well. The demand a business has, the more help they require and the more people they will employ. Those people, in turn, are also more likely to spend their income with local business. Everyone wins in this situation.

Authentic craftsmanship
There are many shops that attempt to replicate the handmade look and feel that are not made with the same quality, energy and skill. They are able to acquire a cheaper mass produced knock off for a lower price, but they are required to purchase a higher number of them. The handmade item is carefully and individually pieced together and each is unique. This makes each one-of-a-kind item special.
Handcrafted items leave less of an environmental impact.

There is less energy expenditure used when products are made by hand versus in a mass production assembly line. Handmade products are shipped directly from the manufacturer to the consumer, as opposed to distribution line from manufacturer – which typically come from overseas – to many distribution centers to stores to consumer. This line of shipping has a large carbon imprint, which makes it more environmentally harmful than direct manufacturer to consumer transitions.

Handmade wares also encourage sustainability
Mass production means bulk buying and this forces the lowering of prices down the line, mainly in the production of raw materials. Wait…. how does this apply as a bonus to the small handmade business?
The bulk purchasing lowers the price of the overall product, but this also forces lowering the price of the raw materials, which lowers the amount that the raw material suppliers make which forces lower wages for overworked employees who have limited options for alternate employment. This has a snowball effect on those countries which have difficulty developing and sustaining their own environments, and difficulty recovering from adverse conditions and events (such as drought, hurricanes, etc). All the while, the corporations that sell the final product reap the benefits of making a large profit without the staff enjoying the same perks.

The wealthier nations, then, subsidize these countries with loans, rescue aid, charitable giving etc and that money comes from the tax payer. It’s a false economy; it’s a profit on a page but not profit in reality because if you had paid the real price in the first place there would be no need to pay up in another way. The longer term effect of making local purchases not only helps the local economy, but also has a global effect.

So when you look at that $1 mug from your local dollar store, it’s not a bargain. It will cost you more in hidden charges than what you initially paid for it.

Buying handmade celebrates our individuality
The handmade industry is entirely about people, not machines. It’s about bringing the natural and learned skills of each maker and the magic of their imagination together in a product of superior quality.

Handmade is a commemoration of our contemporary lives and our living culture – not a mass-imposed, one-size-fits-all consumer culture where everything looks the same and is easily boxed up. Each handmade item is about the time and effort that goes into each piece of work. It’s about the skills, the technical ingenuity, the magic and imagination that lives and survives in each creative mind that wants to share their talent with the world. When you buy a handcrafted item, you are not only complimenting that artist but you are encouraging them to continue making more.

Buying handmade keeps craft skills alive
This ties into the above note where we encourage makers to keep making. The skills and talents of makers are becoming fewer and far between as people work for manufacturing plants and in corporate offices in order to survive, with the handcrafted skills being used as side jobs and projects. There are many courses and training resources for less labour-intensive and material-rich skills, but the skills-based training has been reduced. This also marks a sad decline – even a loss – of our cultural identity. Purchasing handmade not only encourages more handmade products to be produced, but it also encourages education for these skills to be passed on and fine tuned, therefore keeping the skill alive and thriving.

Keeping the skills based industry alive and well is a powerful tool in the event that the machines stop running, which would be extremely detrimental to our economy. It’s easier to keep something alive and thriving than to reinvent it later.

Handcrafted Products Can Meet Your Needs Better
Handmade goods can often come with that special flair or request that you can’t purchase at a box store. Most artisans are willing to work with their clients in order to give them a unique service or product that will be loved by the recipient as much as the artist loved creating it!
This also ties in to the fact that many people love “unique” products. Knowing that they have a special, one of a kind item makes that item even more treasured! One of the best qualities of a handmade item is that there are fewer of that individual item, which often translates to our individual unique qualities!

When the handcrafted industry is supported, everyone wins!

Motivation Loss – There’s a Tea for that!

Sometimes there are days that you’re just tired. Nothing is wrong, really, but you look at your to-do list and just want to stay in bed. You’re not really hungry. You have a pile of recyclables by the door ready to go to the depot. You don’t want to put on pants. It’s cold out and there’s just nothing encouraging you to get started.

At least, that’s how my day has been. I have a huge list of things to get done, but no motivation to get them started.

Since coffee is one of the things I’m avoiding in order to make my knees happier with me, I go for the next best energy boost – yerba mate. But ….. along with my lacking motivation is a food denial, as well. It just didn’t sound like something I wanted.

But a green tea latte sounded yummy. And then I added yerba mate. And hey, since I’m at it, let’s make it a chai spin, as well.
It’s delicious. I used coconut milk – not the thick, creamier canned milk, but the thinner cereal-milk style. The heavier cream makes me want to sleep, so I picked the lighter version.

And it’s working. While fighting with my Wi-fi, which decided to just turn itself off randomly, I’ve been sipping at this delicious concoction and am nearly ready to start tackling everything. I’ve still got remnants of the desire to crawl back into bed, but those clouds are starting to move on. I might yet get my house cleaned up so I can enjoy this long weekend with my family that’s coming for a visit!

Krys’ Green Tea Chai Latte Mate

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons loose leaf yerba mate
1 green tea bag
1 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dandelion root powder
honey (to taste)

Heat on medium high for 5-7 minutes. Do not boil. Strain into a mug and enjoy!

The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to test, treat or diagnose health problems or diseases. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.