Update: Plagued with PUPPPs

On Day 14

I saw both my OB and a dermatologist after sharing the PUPPPs pain, and lo, it turns out this is the most severe case my OB had ever seen. No wonder it didn’t seem like she had a sense of urgency in offering alternative solutions. All her other patients did fine on hydrocortisone and Benadryl so she didn’t realize how bad it really was.

They snagged us a same day referral (just had to ask, thanks Kaiser!) to the dermatologist because while OB still thought it was just the worst PUPPPs ever, she also wanted the derm to confirm that it wasn’t anything she was missing. We dashed over to the derm who took a look and agreed that it wasn’t likely to be anything else. Lucky me, I’d just been cursed with a horrible case of something they can’t cure, and she told me that most of the cases they see tend to take 4-6 weeks to resolve, no matter when it starts. :O

So we had a couple options: more topical stuff but prescription strength, or actual steroids.

I have done courses of steroids in the past for pain treatment so the side effects weren’t a huge concern for me, but I wasn’t baking a human critter at the time so we all wanted to avoid that option for now.

Mind you, it’s all about the timing. For some reason, on the day of the appointment, the skin had backed down about a notch and a half. If it had been on the actual miserable miserable weekend where I wanted to skin myself, I’d have gone straight for the ‘roids and damn the torpedos. Hell, if I KNEW that inducing would resolve it, I’d have been in a surgical cap and gown and standing just outside the OR tapping on their window. It was that bad.

But having it deescalate from “every MOLECULE of skin hurts or itches or both so that I can’t stand, sit or lay down without something being completely irritated” to the next level of “most skin hurts or itches or both, but there might be one way to sit or lean for a bit” made a huge difference.

Just that maybe 20% reduction in pain and discomfort was enough to make me feel more like a human and actually see straight again. It was much like the first time I was drugged out on narcotics for pain and was barely conscious.

Things did seemed to help
Grandpa’s Tar Soap, 2-3x/day
Steroid cream, 2x/day, kept refrigerated
Eucerin cream, 2x/day, kept refrigerated
Aveda All Sensitive lotion, 2x/day, kept refrigerated

Things that might have helped but who knows, so I did it anyway
Drinking V-8 (and otherwise mindfully hydrating)
Generic colloidal oatmeal cream for eczema, basically the generic of Aveeno
Benadryl and Zyrtec

Things that were totally no good
Gold Bond anti itch lotion, holy moly was the feel of mentholated lotion terrible
Oatmeal bath, I couldn’t tolerate cool water, but the lukewarm water was still too hot and sent my skin into overdrive
Claritin, just didn’t do a thing (then again, the Benadryl just helps make me sleep once in a while)

After 2.5 days on the steroid cream and other routines, I noticed a major reduction in the angry rash look on my belly and hands. There doesn’t seem to be a strong correlation between what it looks like and how it feels though: the belly looks better and is less itchy but the  bumps and masses on the hands went down, leaving dark splotches, and they feel three times itchier.  And the rash on my legs has both spread and gotten worse. So none of this makes much sense.

It got to the point where I just resolved to stay up and work all night because all I was doing was tossing and turning uncomfortably, replacing ice packs for hours. The theory was that going to bed which focuses the mind intensely on the itch was the reason it was exponentially worse. Turns out, nope. The increased night time discomfort still flared up even though I hadn’t gone to bed. Sleeping an average of 2.5 hours a night sucks.

On the other hand, I got a lot more work done just assuming I wouldn’t sleep til 5 am (I was right) and pottering about accordingly even if I was supremely uncomfortable. And I stopped having to waddle around as an awkward victory penguin, arms raised and held away from my body lest anything touch anything.

Small victories, like being able to take my own plate and glass with my own hands all the way to the table, were duly celebrated and appreciated. It’s sad when that’s a victory but I’ll take it.

/update.

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Just a little (link) love: cat+puppies edition

LinkLive

CAREER + MONEY THINGS

Good points about Jay-Z’s charity work. I don’t publicize my giving now, nor would I if I were that wealthy. The point is not self-aggrandizement.

On making unlimited vacation policies actually work. I honestly don’t think most companies actually care about how much their employees take under this policy as long as it works out to less than before. Which is why I made it a point to take mine. Even if it isn’t total disconnection, it’s still worth trying to take time.

Good resource on pregnancy and work for parents-to-be, hattip @mymoneyblog and @singlema.

I don’t often admit to (or have) jealous tendencies but I am jealous that the POPs get discounts for paying their property tax early!

eemusing says Inequality’s a bitch and it’s true. I see my friends in Hawaii experiencing this very same kind of economy.

FUN THINGS

Made my first steak using this recipe and it was fantastic.

The actual topic isn’t fun but Wendig’s take on Elf on the Shelf (the creepy buggers) is.

INTERESTING THINGS

We finally got rain. As inconvenient as it is and as much as Seamus would like not to get wet, we need a few more of these, please.

My family and holidays? Yes, that’s a portal to angst alright.

Reading this transcript which isn’t really the first of its kind that I’ve seen makes me wonder how people can STILL suggest that cooperating with the police is all black people need to do to not be shot like animals in the street. Do tell me, how?

On the hatred of Amanda Palmer, by a once (and former?) critic. Interesting thoughts.

I was always aware of the venom and intensity that burst out around her and her opinions, peripherally, but ignoring all the other stuff, I very much liked the music she put out with the Dresden Dolls and on her Theatre is Evil CD and in one of those rare cases, who she is as a person/artist really doesn’t affect how I enjoy the art. I’m also not terribly invested in it, so maybe that makes the difference.

Then again, I hated a lot of the points of the critics that focused on things that would make me indignant in a million other ways: why she wouldn’t just rely on her husband’s money, or why she does this with her eyebrows, or why she’s loud, etc. There were some valid criticisms but these? These are just gross.

The most patient cat ever.

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Homemaking: The Lazy Edition

Domesticity is cozy. 

What’s not to like? Hot dinners, clean kitchen, fresh laundry. Also here’s my semi-regular to indoor plumbing: Ye gods I love indoor plumbing.

Still, I’m old, tired, and lazy and I’m not ashamed to organize my life along those lines. Saving cash is always a bonus but I mostly want to avoid expending energy.

* Funny About Money’s baking soda trick has saved my kitchen-clumsy butt countless times. Seriously, I’m a wreck in the kitchen. There’s always something going wrong: cutting myself, burning myself, scorching pots and pans. I heal but I had to get rid of the evidence and baking soda+boiling water does the trick.

* I finally bought some new sink protectors to replace the really old (ahem, gross) ones we had. Stainless steel, elevated, they look lovely! I waited 3 weeks to buy to save a whole $3 – hah. Of course that’s miniscule but that’s $3 more for that long list of other things we need.  I whole-frugal-heartedly love the new things that I don’t have to clean every week.

* Crockpot+Dutch oven love: I’ve gotten incredibly lazy with the kitchen antics. I love one pot meals like chicken+potato+vegetable in the Dutch oven. More for the ease than the taste but PiC professes his love for them so I just keep making ‘em!

* No shoes inside rule: This cuts down on the tracked in dirt saving us carpet wear and tear and, more importantly, cuts down the amount of sweeping or vacuuming needed.

* Wrapping stuff and recycled paper: I save all tissue paper and paper stuffed in shipped packages if it’s in decent shape and use that wrap gifts and packages. Saves having to go buy wrapping stuff, saves money (we all know that paper’ll just get torn up and tossed), gives the rescued paper new life for at least one more round. Win win win! Mostly I love the minimal effort of storing the paper we get.

* Contemplating whether I can completely eliminate shower/tub scrubbing with the Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Cleaner. The Automatic cleaner doo-dad doesn’t seem to have great reviews over time, so I’m considering the foam spray?  Has anyone used this? My goal is to avoid any scrubbing at all.

*Cleaning the microwave with the power of lemons. I’m trying this tomorrow!

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Net Worth & Money News: December 2014

DollarSign

Change from November: .63% increase

Change from January: 370% increase

On Money

I’m working away at Swagbucks to earn Amazon money for household, Little Bean, and dog things we need. Feel free to join using my referral link if you like!

***

Our increases in the net worth from the beginning of the year look astronomical but honestly, that has more to do with me having trouble getting all the accounts in order over the first quarter. It’s not ALL actual growth but I didn’t relish going back and figuring out what it REALLY was in January now that I have all the accounts sorted.

Maybe I’ll just zero out the start-of-year counter again for 2015 and call it a day.

***
End of the year money moves

2014 is running out the clock – what else has to be done?

Last charitable donations
Considering: pay the second half of the property tax a couple months early?
Make a usual big lump payment to the mortgage.

***

Little Bean’s “Savings”

This is actually planned-spending, rather than savings, right now.

I’ve been diverting a chunk of money out of our disposable income (from my pay) into a separate account dedicated to LB’s expenses. PiC was a bit late to setting up his corresponding transfers so we didn’t start seeing his contributions in December.

I determined the amount based on this extremely unscientific method: the worse case scenario annual cost of daycare in the Bay Area and an additional $5000 for healthcare and other unexpected expenses.

Well-baby costs are covered by our current health plan but that’s just exams and vaccines.  We should have some cash on hand to cover anything else that comes up.

We’ll be exploring various childcare options and of course we are aiming not to be spending at the top tier, but I like to be prepared. Of course.

Ultimately, the point of this exercise is that I want us to see and feel how our disposable income drops with this new “cost center” (heh) so that we adjust our spending patterns accordingly. There was a time that I tracked every single penny and it had to come out of its exact category, but over time, I’ve compromised to being more easygoing about it because it just doesn’t work with PiC’s spending / tracking patterns. So as long as we’re only spending the money that we’ve set aside for spending, and never touch the savings, then there’s no reason I have to be as strict about which categories are high or low, really. (Other than my neuroticism which is a totally valid reason.)

What’s left over at the end of 2015 can be put into a real savings vehicle for LB later – a Coverdell of some sort, I figure – as we should be used to sharing our income with a third party (LB) by then. No, wait, fourth party (Seamus)… wait, fifth party (Dad)… sigh. Sixth party (sibling).

Annnnyway.  If you’re saving for a dependent, what’re you using?

***

Our Side Money Tracker Update

November was a rousing success, thanks to PiC’s diligence. Some October transactions were rolled into the total since I didn’t start tracking til Nov, but here’s to another good month of unloading stuff!

Craigslist Sales: $1050

Craigslist sales: October&November 2014
no Item Description Sale Price Total
1 Keyboard $30 $30
2 Men's Shoes $30 $60
3 Men's Shoes $25 $85
4 Coffee Table $180 $265
5 Sofa $470 $735
6 Cabinet $65 $800
7 Small bike accessories $20 $820
8 Roof rack $80 $900
9 Women's Shoes $20 $920
10 Power supply $30 $950
11 Table $20 $970
12 Printer $20 $990
13 Car parts $40 $1030
13 Shorts $10 $1040
14 Chair $10 $1050

Other Income: $53.75

Cash sales: November
no Item Description Sale Price Total
1 Used Books (Powell's) $3.75 $3.75
Buying Power: November
no Item Description Sale Price Total
1 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $5
2 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $10
3 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $15
4 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $20
5 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $25
6 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $30
7 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $35
8 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $40
9 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $45
10 Swagbucks Amazon GC $5 $50

 

On Life

Of late, I find myself contemplating what I want to do next. Partly this is slight boredom but there’s a huge part that’s definitely fueled by the company making things unexpectedly difficult and reneging on agreements as a direct result of my pregnancy. I’m all about being loyal as long as I’m being treated right but that was an unacceptable action on the part of the company, so it’s time to consider choices.

Never having been entrepreneurial, and in fact at times being vehemently anti-entrepreneurism having had to pay off the debts stemming from my parents’ ventures, it’s odd that I’m now contemplating that realm.

Nothing concrete, just a feeling that my skills and my time would be better put to use elsewhere, on else-things.

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