When I use a tampon on a heavy night, what happens is that it gets full and then the blood sort of trickles out along the threads. The clots still get caught in the tampon. But when I use the cup and it gets full, it trickles out through the little holes, and it doesn't get concentrated along any threads so it runs a bit more. That's what happened last night. I did use a pad, too, but unfortunately not the big night-time pads. So when the cup got full, I some of the blood ended up on my panties rather than in the pad. Fortunately I woke up around 4.30 am and discovered this before it had spread to the bed. So this was the second night of getting up and washing panties (and also the floor towel), and then fixing the cup, and getting clean panties, and putting in a larger pad just in case...
So, after last night, I have to say that I would prefer using a tampon at night. The max size tampons do last almost a full night, and the cup just doesn't, not during the first three or four days of my period. Tonight I'll have to set an alarm to get up about five hours after I empty the cup before bed.
Another downside is that with the tampon I usually feel when it starts to get full. With the cup, I just don't feel it. Of course the upside is that I don't feel it much at all, which is way nicer than the pain I get from the tampons, and it'll be very handy when I go to the gym or if I want to go swimming when on my period. I think it'll be good when I go riding too, though I won't get to try that until next month. But since I don't feel any difference from a full cup or a half-empty one, I tend to go check on it quite often. And taking it out is painful still, though I've gotten better at finding the nub. It's just the final pull when the vacuum lets go that is quite unpleasant. The pain does go away after a few minutes, but it's significant during that time.
Oh, another thing. A friend of mine said that she'd heard that it's bad to use the cup if you have endometriosis, like I have. I checked on that, and as far as I've been able to find, it's based on old science that has since been disproved but that unfortunately some doctors still believe in. There used to be a theory that endometriosis was caused by menstrual blood flowing "backwards" instead of running out through the vagina, and the particles of endometrium that came along with the blood would get stuck and become endometriosis nodes. However, this has been disproved, for two reasons - firstly, that a lot of women have retrograde menstruation without having endometriosis, and second, that people who have never had periods can still get endometriosis (e.g. infants and some men who've gotten it after hormone treatments for other diseases). So that's not an issue.
So my experience of the moon cup so far: It's comfortable, but not quite reliable, especially not when you've got a heavy flow. It's a bit tricky to handle at the start but you learn quickly. It's more of a hassle to change it than to change tampons, so with a heavy flow it might not be useful when you're working or just out and about and maybe can't get into a good place to change and wash it. I'm not going to stop using it, but it can't be my only option.
I am on vacation in Italy. It is very hot. Fortunately the place where we're staying has a pool. Unfortunately I got my period yesterday.
Normally I'd use an uncomfortable tampon and I'd keep worrying about leakage - I've usually worn a tampon together with a pad, except specifically when bathing, and the thread of the tampon almost always looks like it's been leaking through. Also, tampons are painful on the heavy days. So this time I thought I'd finally get around to trying a moon cup. I bought one about a month ago and used it once, and brought it on the trip with me.
Usually the bleeding doesn't get very heavy until after the first 24 hours, so I thought I'd wait until today to put the cup in. But I woke up around 5 am and realized the pad was getting soaked, so I got up, put the cup in, cleaned myself, cleaned the panties that were now an interesting pattern of red on white, got new panties, took a pain killer, checked that the bed was clean and there weren't any stains large enough to see in the faint dawn light, and got back to bed. (It's not unusal for the bed to be clean even though the panties aren't; while I'm lying down, the blood remains inside me and it's not until I get up that the panties get stained and the occasional spatter on the floor happens.)
I woke up again around eight, pleased to not have to worry about reaching the bathroom without spillage. When I got there, I thought it might be best to clean the cup out at once. So I started reaching for the little nub at the bottom.
First I couldn't find it; it'd sort of hidden against the back, just inside the opening. And when I did find it, I couldn't get a grip on it. I kept trying more and more desperately, worrying whether it'd get stuck there and I'd have to ask for help. It felt like the problem was that I couldn't get my fingers in at the right angle, due to my arm not being long or bendable enough. I finally gave up and decided to have breakfast and, more important, coffee, before trying again.
When I got back up to the room about an hour later, there was no problem at all getting a grip on the little nub. It took a few tries to pull it out, but only a few, and I managed not to spill anything outside of the bidet I was using. (Bidets are a great idea for mooncup users, if you didn't know!) I'm thinking that probably it's easier once I've been up for a while, so next morning I won't even try getting it out until after breakfast.
And once the latest pain killer kicks in, I might even go swimming.
Today I got another glimpse of brilliance, this time from Carolyn Hax. A young woman asks how to handle her relationship with her boyfriend, who is apparently perfect in every way except that he uses her past sexual relationships to bludgeon her into doing things she's not comfortable with. In the midst of advice (which is a more sensitively phrased version of "run, fast and far, and hope never to see him again"), there was this paragraph:
When I read “he loves to throw things in my face” exactly one sentence after, “I’ve never had a better friend in the world,” I just want to cry for how low you’ve set your friendship bar.
I wish I'd understood this when I was much younger. I had friends as well as "lovers" who hurt me so badly, and I couldn't untangle my desire for them to be good from the fact that they actually weren't any good.
I often like Carolyn Hax. This time I love her a little. And the woman who asked - I love her a lot, and wish I could just download all the stuff I've had 20 more years than her to learn, so she wouldn't have to go at it the hard way. Which, when at their best, Captain Awkward and Carolyn Hax are trying to do, and that is why I go back and read their stuff.
This is almost certainly not the case. Here's a short explanation of how it works:
Anybody can use any email address at all as the sender address when sending an email, just like anybody can write any return address they like on a piece of paper mail.
Here's the far longer explanation of how it works:
There are two places to specify the sender (and recipient) of an email. One is used by the mail server handling the mail, the other is what you see when you look at the mail in your mail client.
The one used by the mail server is called the "envelope sender" (and "envelope recipient"). If you compare it to a paper mail, it's what it sounds like - it's the sender/return address (and recipient address) that is written on the outside of the envelope. They are usually, but not always, the same address that you will see in when you look at the actual piece of mail. Again, compare to a paper mail - it's entirely possible to send a paper with somebody else's address, but then put it in an envelope with your address on it. Then the paper will be delivered to you, but when you open the envelope and look at the actual piece of mail, you see that it's not your name on the paper. The difference is that with email, you usually don't see the envelope unless you tell your email client to show it to you. (How you do that will of course depend on what email client you're using.)
In practice, of course, most people don't bother. But today, as I was hanging around the mailbox in Orgrimmar, a goblin came up to me and smiled hesitantly. I raised my eyebrows at him. He politely asked if I could possible give him transportation, since mages have the ability to make teleports available for others. He offered to pay me; I declined, saying that I thought curiousity and an interest in other cultures should be encouraged. Then I gave him his portal to Dalaran, and he bowed a goodbye before leaving.
It took all of two minutes, and it left me smiling.
Now, in Deadmines, once you've killed the actual Deadmines boss, the daughter of the previous Deadmines boss shows up. She's not in a good mood; she poisons the group, sending them off somewhere. As soon as she came up, the healer said:
Here comes the rape.
Get back in the kitchen, bitch!
At which point I said "sigh", and dropped group. I just don't have the energy for another one of those conversations - the ones where you spend at least half an hour explaining that no, rape isn't a "traditional gaming term", and yes, it does actually hurt to read that in a random conversation, and yes, throwing gendered insults around is really hurtful and no, "just a joke" isn't a defense unless you're four years old, in which case you shouldn't be playing WoW anyway.
It wears me down.
My riding club had arranged a Pay&Jump. That's essentially a non-competition jumping meet - there is no placement list or winner, you don't get any rosettes or anything, but you do get to jump a proper set of fences in a new environment, so for many people it's good training before the season begins. The rules are a bit more lax too, in a regular competition you aren't allowed to continue if the horse has refused a fence more than three times but at the P&J it's up to the judge how long they can be allowed to try. Also you can get help to get the horse across (e.g. by someone leading the horse or egging it on), or get a fence lowered a little. Since quite a few horses have learned to count to three, knowing that after the third stop they get to go out and won't have to jump anymore, it's very useful to let them continue on. Some of them looked very surprised indeed...
There was one incident with a horse that kept baulking at the fences, where the rider got frustrated and started using her whip too much. You're allowed to use the whip as an aid; that is, to indicate with a light touch that the horse should do something. This rider got frustrated and unhappy when her horse refused fence after fence and gave him a sharp touch with the whip after he'd refused. I told her to use the whip only as an aid and not as a punishment, and she got over the fence on the fourth try. When she rode up to the next fence she started whipping the horse on the way up to the fence, and as she did it without switching the reins to one hand, she was also pulling on the rein on the side where she held the whip. The horse, unsurprisingly, refused, and she used the whip again. At that point I had to tell her that since she kept using the whip in the wrong way I was excluding her. I let her jump one more fence - without using the whip - so they wouldn't end with a refusal, since that is a bad memory to leave the horse. She was of course very unhappy, but I feel very sure that I ddi the right thing. After all, she will want to go to actual competitions later, and that sort of thing will get her thrown out of those, too - better to learn early and in a non-competitive environment!
When it was all finished, I got a ride back to our own stables (the event was held in an arena several kms off). I got to meet my darling Diamond again. I wasn't sure he'd remember me, after all he's still young and it's been five months since I saw him. When I came to his stall and opened the door, he walked up and put his head against me and demanded to be skritched behind the ears and on the throat, just as I've been doing since he was a few days old. He kept bumping me with his nose and wanting more skritches and seemed very happy to see me again. So was Skutt, by the way. He was at the P&J, and while he and gnapp were in the collecting ring he heard my voice, and immediately turned towards me. That was nice.
The horse I fell off of five months ago also remembered me. When I went to her stall, at first she came up and was all "oh, there you are, cuddles now plz!" After a few minutes of that she decided that no, she didn't like me because I'd abandoned her, and went off to the other corner of the stall to sulk. I do look forward to being able to work with her again - so, I suspect, do most other people in the stables as she's been getting to be difficult to handle due to her being bored from not getting to work. Her owners have started working her a little, but they really don't have enough time to give her the attention she wants, so it'll be nice for everyone when I get back.
After that, I went with gnapp and her husband to have dinner at one of our favourite hamburger places. One of the staff also rides and she came over to talk about horses and accidents. Then they drove me home and I got back shortly after 8 pm, having been gone for twelve hours.
In all, it was a lovely, lovely day!
The organiser also said that she'd assumed that a large place would be accessible. I pointed out that yes, one would like to be able to assume that, much as one would like to think that a major software company wouldn't sell operating systems with large security flaws.
In other news, in theory there's no difference between theory and practice...
The event is booked into a restaurant. I asked at the facebook discussion thingy whether anyone knew if the place is wheelchair accessible. Got the reply (not from the organiser) that "there are stairs, I suppose there are elevators but you'd better call and ask them." I check the web page of the restaurant; they have pretty pictures of the different rooms and they keep mentioning staircases.
Go down the stairs to this room. Go up the stairs to that one.
There is no mention of elevators. There isn't the slightest note aobut how accessible the place is.
I've written to the restaurant, asking them about accessibility and suggesting that they put some information about it on their web site - that is, if they are at all interested in welcoming those guests.
I can't say I feel very welcome at the Stockholm GWU either, considering how and where this meeting was arranged.
True, if I wait a couple of months I'll probably be able to negotiate any stairs using crutches, or maybe even just the cane - but I won't be comfortable in an environment that excludes other geek women because the organisers can't be bothered to consider accessibility when choosing a venue.
I am so, so tired.
The doctor came and had a look at the leg. She had me show that the joint works, which it does, but it's a bit painful to move the foot around. Also I'm not supposed to do it yet as it can cause motion around the break. I told her that there's a patch of skin where I can't feel anything when it's touched. She said that probably there'd been some damage to the skin or nerves and that it'll probably take a year or two to heal, but it's not actually harmful. If I don't get the feeling back I'll just have to keep an eye out for any hurts that I don't feel. The area is just a few square centimetres, so it's not a big deal.
Then I got the cast adjusted since there was some chafing, and they tightened it up a bit and gave me a new sock-type bandage. And that was that.
I'm still supposed to keep the leg elevated and not put any weight on the foot at all. I'm getting a new appointment in two weeks to be X-rayed. If it looks OK then I may be allowed to actually touch the floor with the foot.
I'm managing without the morphine in the daytime. Nights are worse; I still wake up once or twice from pain, but I think part of that is from the chafing so it might get better now after the adjustment.
All in all, it seems to be healing as it should. Now I'm back in bed with a cat on my chest. I was too tired to get some proper food when I got back home, so I just had a sandwich. In a few hours when I'm a bit more rested I'll get something more filling, but for now it's very nice just lying here, watching Torchwood, with a purring cat keeping me company.
It still hurts to not have the leg elevated, but I still try to sit up for an hour or so per day, generally around meals. On Wednesday I'm getting the stitches taken out and the leg checked on, and I really hope they'll say that I can start having the foot on the floor while sitting. It's quite awkward not being able to sit normally.
With all the TV-series I've been watching, I'm being attacked by plot bunnies. It would have been nice to be this clear when NaNoWriMo started, but maybe I'll make a new attempt next year. At this point I'll just try to get the basics of all the bunnies down enough that I can flesh the stories out later. So far, I've Criminal Minds, Dr Who, Torchwood, House and Angel all vying for attention. It would really be nice to be able to write something longer than the drabbles that are all I've ever posted...
I had two orthopaedic surgeons come and shake their heads over my leg, and taking pictures and sending them to Karolinska Sjukhuset where the plastic surgeons are. They were discussing whether it would be a) possible and b) a good idea to take some skin off another part of my leg and cover the damaged area. They had a number of other ideas that were discussed as well. And while they were making up their minds I was stuck in a hospital room with little net access and an extremely talkative roommate who appeared to see me as her next BFF.
On Friday the 23rd they decided to move me to Karolinska where the orthopaedics and the plastics surgeons are at least in the same house and can come look at the leg together. The ortho surgeon looked, and said that he could do the operation without any skin transplants by going in from the outside of the leg instead of the inside. He'd prefer the swelling to go down even more first, though. I kept waiting for the operation for two more days, but on Sunday he said that it would be better to wait another week before doing the operation. So I was sent home, and told to report back the next Sunday evening. This was both good news and bad - it meant I'd be home for both my own and Calle's birthday as well as for Samhain, but it also mean that it wouldn't be over and done with as soon as I'd hoped.
When I got back to the hospital the next week, everything went smoothly. The operation was very successful according to the doctor. I was in very bad pain afterwards and spent the two days after the operation half asleep or crying for more pain meds. After that it got bearable, and I was sent home on Friday Nov 6th. They sent a pair of crutches and some other aids with me. No wheel chair though - the environment here really isn't very wheel chair friendly, there are speed bumbs and hills or stairs to climb or fall down in any direction.
I'm still supposed to keep the leg elevated, so I spend about 23 hours per day lying in bed with the leg propped up on pillows. It gets boring. Very boring. I have a hard time focusing on anything, and the leg still hurts quite a bit. I have films, computer games, books and crochet within reach, though, and there is generally at least one cat close enough to cuddle and irritate should I feel so inclined.
The doctor said I should be allowed to put the foot down without putting weight on it four weeks after the operation, so that's just another two weeks to go. And sometime early January I will be allowed to start putting weight on it. Next week I'm going in to get the stitches taken out and hopefully get told that everything still looks OK.
Thanks to everyone who's sent me good wishes!
I took her out, and she felt very good. For once there was no problem keeping her at a collected trot, she responded very well to my hands when I asked her not to rush on. gnapp showed up to take pictures and I asked her to hold my new iPhone so I wouldn't risk it falling out of my pocket or something. When we were all warmed up, I started trotting towards the end of the paddock to make a turn and come up to the first fence.
That's when it happened. Melanie stumbled and was almost down on her left knee. I was sure she'd go over and I'd get her over me, so I let go of the stirrups so I could get away if I needed. Instead, she righted herself with a jerk - and I flew off, landing on my left foot. It broke. Or, rather, the leg broke close to the foot. People were asking me how I was, and I remember yelling that this was Not Good. Gnapp came running up and I told her to get the shoe off quickly before the foot would swell up. She did. Eva came up and they both agreed that the leg looked really broken. Eva got a bale of hay to put my foot on (by this time I was lying on my back - fortunately it wasn't raining, as it had been when we were carrying the fences out) and Gnapp called an ambulance. They took turns staying with me and fetching blankets and things to pile all around me. I borrowed a phone and called Calle to tell him what had happened.
The ambulance showed up within ten minutes I think - it felt a lotlonger, but I don't think it really was. One of them gave me morphine and I was ready to marry him on the spot. Gnapp went with me in the ambulance because I really didn't want to be alone. Once we'd gotten to the hospital they put on a plaster cast and took some X-rays. Gnapp had told Calle where I was and he came shortly after I'd gotten back from the X-rays. They had had to cut my riding trousers off of me, so it was a really good thing that I'd made Gnapp take the boot off at once - it would probably have been very painful to have it cut off, not to mention a waste of a good boot.
I got a bed at the orthopaedic ward and was scheduled for surgery during the afternoon. This turned out to be the hospital term for evening - I got into surgery around 8.30 pm and they weren't finished until it was past 10. I got a spinal block instead of general anaesthesia so I was more or less awake during the procedure. Then I had to stay in the post-op ward for several hours while they made sure I got the feeling back in my leg (while I wished I didn't), so I wasn't back in my ward until it was almost 4 am.
On Monday I was allowed to eat again, but we also found that one of the fast-working painkillers (Oxynorm) makes me throw up, so I didn't actually get all that much food down. I had to keep my foot elevated and it's really hard to eat when you're in that position.
On Tuesday they took some more X-rays and a CT scan and then there was a second operation. This time they took off the plaster cast and put on a Hoffman's brace, like the one I had on my arm a few years back. They also adjusted one of the plates that had been put in on Sunday. I got back up to the ward around 5 am.
On Wednesday they told me that they needed to make one more operation but that the foot was so swollen they couldn't do it at once. They said I would have to wait for 7-10 days and I would not be allowed to go home in the meantime, they didn't want to risk my being without medical attention and maybe the swelling getting worse without my noticing.
Thursday was uneventful. On Friday I was told I would be sent to a rehab home for a few days while waiting for the swelling to go down. I called Calle who rushed over with some clothes for me, and the transport people showed up around 2pm. The rehab home, Furuhöjden (www.furuhojden.com) turned out to be a very nice place. Everyone has their own room, the food is cooked there and not transported from somewhere then heated in a microwave, the furniture looks more like a nice hotel than a hospital, and it's all very comfortable. I got a wheel chair that I can use to go down to the dining room, and I can get into and out of it without help. There should be wireless internet access to all rooms, but on my floor it's broken and the people who can fix it aren't back until Monday, so I've still only used the iphone for net access.
Yesterday I got a lovely bouquet of flowers and some very nice chocolate from my brother in the U.S. I have the bouquet in my window where it looks very beautiful with the autumn colours of the bouquet set against the yellow leaves of the birch outside and the blue-grey of the sky.
As I type, it's almost exactly one week since I broke the leg. I was very lucky - it might have been the back, or the head, that hit the ground first, or Melanie might have gone down and rolled over me in which case my rib cage and other stuff would have been crushed or broken. A broken leg is just a mechanical problem; broken back or neck or head is bad.
Anyone who's on facebook can read my updates there - it's easier to post a small update there from the iphone than it is to write a livejournal post, so that's where the day-to-day stuff will be while I don't have net to the laptop. My gmail account also works to get in touch with me.
Now I shall get into the wheel chair and drive around the hospital until I find a spot where the wireless net works, and then post this. Oh, and the wheel chair is a metallic purple - how cool is that? And I've learned how to steer it by turning the wheels in opposite directions to make a neat turn, feeling like a pro wheelchair driver :-)
This weekend we've been having competitions at the stables. They're members-only, but we had a fair number of participants (there are quite a few people who join the club in order to be able to compete there). These competitions were at a reasonably low level, they're mainly set up to be practice for inexperienced horses/riders or just a fun thing. We didn't have winners as such; in the jumping part (which was today) everyone got a rosette if they got around all the fences in the right order without any faults.
The dressage was on Saturday. We'd also announced a "flea market" for horsey stuff, since we need to get some money for our new riding paddock - we really need a second one for the warmups when we're having competitions. I came early and helped set up the market, pricing some stuff that had been delivered late, and so on. Then I took Melanie for a walk, to see how she'd behave when there were so many other strange horses and people around. She seemed more curious than scared, which is a very good thing. Hopefully I'll be able to ride some practice competition on her next year, if she doesn't go lame again. Then I helped out at the food stall, where we didn't have much actual food to serve as the electricity was gone for several hours - not only at the stables, but in a fairly large surrounding area. The closest shop and gas station didn't have any either...
When the guest riders had left, I fetched Prime Diamond in and started picking burrs out of his mane. He was really bored and wanted to chew stuff, preferably me or my clothes, but I got a lot of them out. Of course he'll pick up new ones, but I made a start cutting the burr plants in the field. I filled the largest wheel barrow, but I couldn't see any noticeable change in the field... still, if the others who have horses in the same field help out, and we all do a little each day, it should help.
Today I was the judge for the jumping part of the competition. It's really fun, but also a bit exacting. I refreshed my knowledge of the rules of competition, and even brought the laptop with the PDFs of the rules so I could check things up as necessary. Since it's such a small show I was lenient where possible, though I did make a couple of mistakes that I had to correct immediately. Still, it all went fairly well and people seemed happy. The weather was OK too, no rain during the actual events, and we got quite a few things sold at the flea market. I bought the first head stall for my horse - it's one he'll grow out of within a year, but it's nice to have something to start training him with, and I can always sell it on at the next flea market.
After the show was done, I fetched Melanie and spent some time combing through her mane and tail, which I've neglected to do for a long time. She seemed to appreciate the attention. Then I went riding, which started out well. I was practicing making her listen when I pull the reins, basically by first making a very small pull, just closing my fist around the reins. If she didn't listen I'd give her a sharper pull, and if that didn't help I'd have her stop and back up. Basically this makes her realise that if she reacts properly at the first gentle pull she won't get the harder and more uncomfortable one. She understands this perfectly well, she's just been ignoring me and I need to work on that.
After a while we got into the woods, and she started freaking out. She'd jump sideways and try to spin around. I thought she was either scared of something, or she was upset that we'd gone away from the other horses - either way I didn't quite feel safe going on into the forest, so I just took her a few meters further on (in order to not teach her that if she starts jumping I'll let her turn around), and then went back. It was just as well, because I was really tired, and I still had a stall to clean. Before doing that I spent a few minutes lying in the clean straw with three kittens purring in a pile beside me. I almost fell asleep there...
So, that was the weekend. Now it's bed time.
We're still keeping them to only my bedroom and the living room. Arthas is busy trying to dig through the glass of the living room door.
I did go riding yesterday. Melanie now shows no lameness at all. She doesn't like to gallop on the right lead, so we'll have to work on that, but she's very happy to be ridden at all. I was very nice to not have to clean out stalls - I'd spent the night waking up every time one of the cats made any noise at all, or moved around on the bed...