Look Me in the Eye Decor

woman drawing colorful circles

Offices

Over the many years of my Interior Design career I had been asked on occasion to design or redesign offices. At first for friends of friends. Then from friends of clients. Nothing greater in any business is the referral of clients to friends. That’s how most businesses grow. Your sphere of influence we call it. One person speaks to another and then another until, if your fortunate a net work develops.

group of people sitting on sofa while discussing

Change the computers to a sketch pad and it looks about right at most art schools. Collaborative learning to share, experience.!

One of the first commercial type spaces I recall doing was for an Art School. Talk about nerve bending. The Director had started a school for budding artists and I kept the books for him in lieu of tuition. One of our first assignments was to lay out a design for a front lobby for the school. Then again we were tasked with an office for him. Design for your design teacher? Talk about feeling wobbledy and inadequate. There were only a couple dozen students at this time that were full time and another dozen or so part time. I was in the latter group. Mr. Boyajian was the Director of the school and one of my past high school art teachers, who also taught at MIAD. Briefly. Big shoes.

A good thing for me was that my accounting teacher was responsible for suggesting his colleague might do well to take me on in exchange for handling his ledgers. A Win Win. Since financially I would have never been able to even entertain the idea of going to a private Art School.

man wearing black and white stripe shirt looking at white printer papers on the wall

Home offices came later, so the offices I remember most were professional smaller business spaces. Often a space snuggled inside of another business space. For instance a management office within a Supper club. This particular space would serve many functions in a limited space. I love a challenge don’t you?

One of the first offices my daughter and I teamed up on was during a visit to my daughters home in central Illinois. Their family church needed the head Pastors office re imagined. The building was being sold and the church was moving to larger facilities. It needed a lot with hardly any budget, but a huge value in parishioners labor and expertise were at our disposal. That began a new bond with my fun daughter. Who knew? I planned, designed from home in Wisconsin and she oversaw and implemented from Illinois home base. We shopped it together. A Talented girl, who knew? After that, (it was a success, the Pastor and staff remarked repeatedly) The building sold quickly.

a small 8×10 counseling office for a local church group by my daughter and I
another view of therapy office

The greatest takeaway I could share on designing office space is to remember eye contact between the people who will utilize the space. Eye contact is key. Whatever the use, the most likely would be a private use office. (A conference room is not an office, by or in itself’.) Or multiple people who will be doing the using in unique cubicles. Trust is most often secured through eye contact. Conversational lay out requires face to face seating. Lighting also is a critical component necessary in early planning.

A therapist’s office décor should address specific psychological nuances that need to be conveyed through the choices of colors, design, and decorative accents. Following this objective ensures the most effective design.

Human Reactions to Color in Interior Design

Most people seeing a therapist have some issue that impacts mental, emotional, spiritual, and, many times, even physical health. Selecting the right color is imperative in creating the right kind of ambiance that will be conducive to constructive therapy.

  • Medical counseling
  • Spiritual counseling
gray standard color book near green eraser
  • See a previous blog of mine on the Brain and Color.

Color Affects Usage

Prominent color psychologist and author Angela Wright developed the theory of “Color Affects System” (Wright Theory) that was scientifically validated and proved – color affects people in very universal and specific ways. This part of the “Color Affects System” can assist you in selecting the most appropriate colors for an office ..

People react to color differently depending on its intensity. For example, a bright yellow room will stimulate a creative person, whereas a pale soft yellow will soothe the person. The four primary colors and their universal reactions are a great starting point for defining an office.

Color Affects Reaction
Blue Mind Stimulate higher productivity
Green Emotions Balance, calmness, reassuring
Yellow Creativity Self-confidence
Red Body Physical exertion

While there are four basic colors, there is a wide spectrum of hue variations for each.

  • Generally, it isn’t a good idea to use intense colors in a space where emotions tend to run high.
  • Use more than one color to create a color palette for specific type of office space. One or two other colors will keep the color choices in balance.
  • It’s important to control the intensity of your color palette and not allow it to become too vibrant and overpowering.

The best rule of thumb is to go with a pale color effect for the overall room design, such as pale colored walls for a calming and soothing affect. You can then layer darker hues and other colors throughout your office design.Color balance, spatial balance and symmetry are valuable tools. Remember blank space is also essential, the mind and the eye needs a place to rest.

A Pink base is great for feminine spaces, ie: Salons, Massage , Almost all skin tones look their best in a soft pink hue. Accented with white, orange, or yellow! Invariably however we will get gray or black in more than the chairs. Natural textures are comforting and adds dimension.

Blue office décor for larger consulting style offices.

A blue palette will stimulate the mind. In some instances, this might not be the reaction for instance a therapist wishes to evoke as an overall stimuli for clients. Even a pale blue might prove too much stimulus for some patients. The key is balance.

Start With Walls

Begin with a office color scheme of pale to medium toned walls. Add layers of lighter hues using art and accents well placed around the space.

You can use stencils or wallpapers along with paint or in place of paint. Just be sure that the patterns and colors don’t overwhelm the office design.

purple petaled flower

A beauty shop lounge?

Layer Accent Colors

  • Lumbar and throw pillows should match the color palette.
  • Use the fabric’s texture to further soothe clients.
  • Add texture in small ways to add dimension. and graphics.
  • And I believe every room needs some black.

Less can be more, but not always

Don’t over-decorate. Less is more when it comes to adding space. This can also be done with fabric choices that are patterned and offer a mix of colors in the graphics. Sparse decor should feature high-quality one of a kind focal pieces.

Balanced Green Offices

Green room decor by Chelle Design

Green room décor for group session

Green is described as the color of balance. It should be used with other colors to create a genuine balance of color. It can overpower to the point of generating a feeling of stagnation.Restaurateurs favor green scattered strategically to mimic the outdoors which stimulates appetite. Just not necessarily abundant in the office.

A pale green will help to soothe the emotional reactions of clients. A green décor scheme will create a restful and calming environment.

For example, you may choose to paint the wall a light pistachio and add a grouping of five, seven, or nine dark wood framed photos or paintings of forest scenes.

Choose a coordinated set of patterns in multi striped fabric for draperies, upholstery, pillow fabrics, carpeting/rugs, and accent pieces. Fabrics might also be floral, or plaid fabric patterns.

  • A wall waterfall has a calming effect and is a great focal point. As would be an office in wall fireplace, both feng sui features for instance in a lobby or a yoga studio ?
  • Nature-themed wall art can be also be artistic in the way it’s displayed, using multiple sizes in a larger set to create a unique look. Including murals. Or wall texturizing can be art by itself.
  • Art accent pieces can be displayed on a floating shelf or a set of three floating shelves for a stunning effect.

Have a Hobby?

If a golf enthusiast, you can express the love of the sport with photos of famous golf courses or even the your client on the green. A horse lover can showcase rolling pastures with running horses. Highlight the office with a few art objects in various textures of glass, pottery and fabric choices.

Form Follows Function, always

Yellow room decor
tray on coffee table

A crisp white can be used as a primary or an accent color, along with varied hues of white, accent colors and or black. Some ways to layer accent colors if your scheme is not monochromatic as depicted in the picture above include:

  • Add lumbar and throw pillows in a stripe, plaid, or solid color.
  • Draperies can be a solid or a print fabric.
  • Simple white blinds always effective can be closed as necessary.
  • Art objects, like vase sets, can be rounded or curved for calming forms. Remember odd is beautiful. Think in terms of 3 or 5 individual pieces of similar characteristics but varied in size or shape.

Office Furniture and Accessories

As important as the colors, textures and patterns, the way you layout the office and additional decorative items you use for accent pieces are equally important. Clients should have an immediate and positive response to your office design. They should feel comfortable and “at home” during their appointments.

Furniture for Comfort and Style

It is quite common to opt for a couch or a pair of chairs as furniture choices. This is especially effective for couples or family counseling practices. An ottoman may be a good choice for additional seating for larger families. Another of my personal faves would be all chair groupings, in a circle. Just not rockers for obvious reasons.

people gathered inside house sitting on sofa
How NOT do decorate an office for counselors !! Sometimes it helps to see what not to do.

Some therapists, counselors prefer individual sessions over group and opt for an occasional relaxing recliner or chaise lounge.In lieu of a sofa also. Group sessions will require furniture that can be stowed or easily moved to create a circle.

man sitting on sofa with his laptop
This is just to cute to not use in the NOT use section

” For therapy offices, that means creating a calm and refreshing environment to balance the rigorous mental and emotional work of therapy..

Well-designed therapy offices also exude softness, personalization and orderliness, finds research by environmental psychologist Ann S. Devlin, PhD, of Connecticut College, and urban planning researcher Jack L. Nasar, PhD, of The Ohio State University. In their research examining people’s reactions to 30 photographs of actual therapy offices, the more a space exhibited those characteristics—cozy elements like comfortable chairs and soft pillows, attractive touches like artwork, and neatness—the better people felt about the offices and the therapists who worked there, they found (Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2012).

So, given such insights how should practitioners design an office from scratch or redo a space that’s seen better days? Specifically, therapists should:

Keep it light. The color of the office walls sets a tone. Wall colors in light, soothing colors like sage green or dusty blue promote a sense of calm and relaxation, environmental designers say.

Go with the grain. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, people prefer natural-colored wood with a grain rather than nongrain surfaces, research finds. People also feel more comfortable with wood than with slicker options like glass and chrome,

That said, there’s a limit to how much wood you should use: Research shows that when natural wood surfaces like floors and walls exceed 45 percent of a room’s surface, they start losing their stress-busting effects.

Let the sun shine in. Natural light is a big mood booster, so when possible, incorporate windows or skylights, . If windows are at eye level, the best views look out on calming, natural scenery, not onto bustling sidewalks or roads with distracting sights and sounds.

If your office lacks windows, use floor and table lamps with soft lighting rather than overhead fluorescent lighting to promote a feeling of comfort and coziness,along with strategically placed mirrors. Some lightbulbs even simulate natural light, which can boost the positive ambience of windowless offices.

Embrace the natural. Bringing nature into the office—whether with plants, nature embodied in artwork, decorative objects or views of plant-filled courtyards and landscaped areas—can enhance the healing quality of a space. “Just looking at landscaping has been shown to lower blood pressure,”

The right nature-based artwork can also give clients a way to muse on life situations, these experts add. Images of a pathway through a serene landscape or a bench in the middle of a pleasingly landscaped garden can foster relaxation or allow clients to make mental associations with the imagery. But, avoid nature imagery that’s confusing, chaotic or complex. “You want to look at a scene that would be comfortable to enter,”

Promote your expertise. Displaying your credentials might seem self-serving, but clients want to see signs of your expertise, research also finds.

Have your client’s back. An evolutionary perspective can help you make intelligent decisions on what is arguably the most important element in your office: the client chair.

To support people’s need for control, consider having chairs that can be moved or are large enough to let people shift to one side or the other and adjust the distance between themselves and the therapist.

A related suggestion: Place small tables next to client chairs, which can enhance clients’ sense of “territory” by giving them a place to put personal items. Your clients will appreciate that you’ve attended to their comfort and convenience,

Foster communication. If you use tables in your office for individual or family sessions, research shows that round tables support better communication and sense of control than square or rectangular ones, Also, the presence of computers is shown to impede communication, particularly when the client perceives that the provider is paying more attention to the computer than to him or her. Screen-sharing strategies—technology that enables you to project information onto a table, for example, or simply facing the screen toward clients—can promote clients’ sense of trust and inclusion,.

Go with the flow. Anything that promotes flow and efficiency in your immediate and larger office space is worth addressing, according to research compiled by APA’s Practice Organization. Keeping a clean, uncluttered desk and placing the items you need closest to you—computer, phones and appointment book, for instance—can help you keep a clear head and feel in charge of your space.

Not too fancy, not too shabby. When selecting furniture and finishes for your office, keep client demographics in mind, adds Gum. In general, people feel most comfortable with a middle range of furnishings—those that aren’t overly fancy or expensive, but not cheap or shabby, either.

“If you’re putting in very expensive materials but your clientele is not at the upper end of the socioeconomic spectrum, you can alienate people,” says Gum. Conversely, old or poorly made furnishings can make it look like you’re not doing well—the wrong message to send clients.

Put your client first. Remember that you’re designing your office more for your client than for yourself, Gum emphasizes. Including some personal elements can be subliminally comforting to clients, but make sure they don’t overpower a sense of neatness and calm, she advises.

Including art that demonstrates your openness to different cultures can also be a plus, particularly if you serve multicultural clients, finds research by Devlin and colleagues (Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2013). H

Investing in good office design isn’t just about creating an attractive space, it’s about investing in your business and professional calling,

“If it’s designed right,” she says, “your office can help you deliver care in ways that really do promote your clients’ well-being.”

Interested in the link between psychology and design? Check out the work of APA Div. 34 (Society for Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology), which among its foci explores behavior and the built environment. Learn more about Div. 34 at www.apadivisions.org/division-34/index.aspx.

In larger therapeutic offices or multi purpose offices consider:

  • Oversized reclining sofa: This style offers comfort and a reclining option.
  • Contoured chaise lounge: A chaise lounge offers relaxed seating.
  • Settee: A settee is an ideal choice for couple’s counseling or a parent and child session.
  • Pair of chairs: An intimate pair of wing-backed chairs is ideal in one-on-one counseling. The high back gives a sense of security and protection.
  • Recliner: Style is everything, so select a recliner that fits the clientele. If working with teenagers, a more modern design might work best.
  • Folding chairs: Brings a sense of hominess to the group circle with upholstered wood chairs.
Hanover Office Furniture at Neiman Marcus

Desk and chair at Neiman Marcus

Pay attention to chair styles and functions.

  • Chair style: Don’t neglect your personal style and the room’s color when selecting a desk and chair.
  • Desk and chair: Comfort while working is paramount for any office, but you can still opt for a contemporary set if you choose.

Area Rugs

Add a rug for texture and comfort. Even if the space has a carpet base, a gorgeous patterned field area rug makes a statement.As you can see in this space we layered a rug on top of a rug on carpet!

  • A soft blue area rug can become the main centerpiece and tie together wall, furniture, and even red accent pieces.
  • A modern deep shag or knotted pile pale green area rug can be used with white or pink painted walls, white wood furniture, and green floral cushions. Rose window decor.
  • A solid colored yellow area rug makes a great back drop for the rest of your room color palette and patterns.

Lighting

Lighting shouldn’t be intrusive.

be brilliant neon light

In a Salon or Design Studio perhaps? (The sign not the wallpaper)

  • Desk lamps are important and should be selected for function as well as style.
  • Floor lamps are a great way to add more lighting without taking up table space.
  • Recessed lighting on a dimmer switch is a must for creating the right ambiance for relaxation. Lit corners add a sence of space and remember to light any special art. Baseboard or moldings, crowns and medallions are beautiful accented with LED lighting. Put up lights in all floor pots, especially in corner areas or spaces earmarked for attention.

Sounds

Sound is often over looked, but should not be. Our aim is to help clients relax and be comfortable. Background music can assist many uses of office space. One of our most needed senses the acoustics in the environment should not be overlooked. For instance in counseling or therapy sound can assist with learning. Even new coping techniques. While many use music, other tools can be used that are also objects used to enhance room décor.

  • Water fountain: Select a desktop style for an end table or coffee table or a larger one to set on the floor.
  • Wind chimes: The effect of wind chimes in a gentle breeze can be recreated with a low-speed oscillating floor fan. Select soft sounding chimes. A decorative tabletop wind chime can be placed on a coffee table or end table.

Plants and Flowers

Plants and fresh flowers offer a vibrancy to any office. Living plants can inspire, encourage, and improve attitudes. Purchase from local shops. Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers to keep in a vase on a desk, replacing with fresh ones the moment the flowers begin to wilt.

photo of leaves

  • Floor plants can be used as decorative elements. Place at entrances, corners, and behind sofas or chairs.
  • Potted tabletop plants add depth and interest to the use of plants in room designs.
  • Fresh cut or even a few of todays look like fresh floral arrangements can be set on a desk, shelf, bookcase, or tabletop to add aroma, color and texture.

Personalize Office Design

While an office design needs to be mindful of the clients it will service, it still needs to reflect the business it reflects.. Be sure to add special touches that reflect travels, hobbies, education, collections, and other personal touches to make it unique and individual.

Thank you for all who shared their insight and information……Happy Designing!

When it’s a Conundrum!

man wearing black and white stripe shirt looking at white printer papers on the wall

Today’s health care we understand has problems. Right? Well almost every system involved in the world has problems. Mainly since man is involved in their creation or management. Let’s take finance for instance. Our money is pretty darn important to us. If we are among those with enough of it to worry about, there are consultants to help ease our anxiety. However, Health care is a life or death system, and it is screwed up. Today especially.

First of all there is not just one facet of health care that we can go to for all our care. That works well. Our system needs healing to be its focus. Our primary focus ! A system patient centric that’s purpose is to Mitigate pain and reverses the crawl of disease or eliminates it altogether when possible. We need to rid our failing system of the intrinsic forces at work impeding it.Insurers practicing medicine far from the patients bedside for money making purposes does not enhance our system. It interferes with it. It is actually deadly and a deterrent that must be regulated away.

Decades ago we would ask around if we needed to locate a good doctor and someone almost always had a recommendation. Family Doctor, or Pediatrician, we would find one we liked and we had a tendency to stay with them. For a lifetime in many cases, or until we moved away or something like that. Today these brief encounters with strangers on our corners located in bright new buildings may be great for the revenue stream but does not add a twat for the patient. It defers empathy which is desperately needed to discuss treatments, the time to go over the difficult diagnosis, or to just get a correct one.

adult care cure doctor

Doctors would be able to call in a specialist if needed, and when all was improving then we would be back to basics again. Our doctors knew our OB’s, our Pediatricians, Orthopedics involved with the entire family. Or at the least hadthe file right there. They knew our personalities, family genetics and habits. Good and bad. Their partners knew us as well in case they had to fill in. This worked out very well in many ways, especially with diagnosing. If our Doctor knew Dad had heart issues since he was 40, when Junior started running out of breath at 30 doing menial yard work Doc knew right where to start looking. Or Susie had a car accident ten years ago, and she banged her head. She was knocked out for a few minutes. Now ten years later, and suffering headaches, Doc knew where to look first. By the way Mom had a long history of migraines, and anemia issues. It could have been a long round about search but her Doctor was familiar in her details of life. It takes time to develop that kind of trust and familial intimacy. 15 minutes on a TV screen or in an office won’t cut it. Patients and their medical care team are to be partners. Patients must be looked at as individuals not as numbers or a quota on a graph. Patients made to feel inadequate won’t open up or participate. They must feel safe in being honest and in sharing their thoughts and questions. No one is more of a specialist for a patient than the patient. Working together as in the past will help to eradicate many of today’s medical conundrums.

But Not today. We now have a doctor for 15 minutes. The suggested protocol today requires we start with a Primary Care Practitioner. They are actually today most likely to be General Practitioners, Internists, Family doctors etc. However, they act more like facilitators.Or we are allowed a visit with a PA. A physicians assistant. Almost as knowledgeable as a doctor working over her or a student does not infuse confidence. A patient who lacks trust in their care giver has little chance of healing. Which is counter-productive if you ask me. There is becoming a serious shortage of Primary Care doctors. We get our 15 minutes, often in a day that the system that pays our PCP requires them to at least see 100 patients. Or more per day. My husbands last pulmonologist told me it was not unusual for him to see 250 patients some days! I can’t remember details about 10, even trained could you honestly say you could be familiar enough to treat or diagnose hundreds in a day? Error free? That begs incredulity. Our PCPs operate mostly as a landing spot for all the other specialists we now must see, for 15 minutes, and to send their reports to. It is actually dangerous today to go to a doctor or hospital. I am not being facetious, it’s true. The fox is guarding the hen house, well disguised.

Do you remember that game we used to play at parties, where one person would whisper a story to another person next to them? Then that person did the same thing to the next person next to them, repeating the same story. And on and on until the story comes back to the first person who whispered it out. Only now he doesn’t recognize it as the story he first told. It’s now changed, a lot! Well that is how our health system functions. Imagine if you had to go to the hospital? A new doctor, or a hospitalist, another specialty, and another doctor and string of nurses totally unfamiliar with you, having to depend completely on what someone put in a computer. Remember when we were first learning about computers and mistakes happened all the time. We were told garage in and garbage out.

Here’s how it is most likely to work. We call in talk to the nurse, tell her/him our story. She makes us an appointment, takes notes between calls and starts a file on us and whomever else called. At the appointed time, We go in see the doctor for our 15 minutes. Half of that quarter hour he is reading the nurses notes, asks us a few questions, checks the boxes on the computer, watches the clock and has to decide what our problem is. Symptoms are Fatigue, palpitations, out of breath, sore mouth, itchy ears, joint pain, burning eyes and always thirsty. Our patient tells him its like having the flu every day.Mr. P tells the doctor he is very achy. These symptoms have been getting worse and he guesses he has had them for several weeks. The Doctor stands when times up, he’s ordered blood work to be drawn, and Mr. P. should come to see him again in 3 weeks. At 100 per day minimum, times 5 days a week, times 3 weeks. About 1500 or more office visits with various patients later.

Blood work results were loaded into the Electronic Health Record, by a nurse or lab or Hmm? ESR is a little high, not bad though CRP also, everything else looks good. Doctor decides it is probably a flu, or sinus infection. He will give an antibiotic, let’s see if we can get you better. Then the DR Says, ” he notices you can’t take penicillin?” You answer,” why not?” He states,” the record says you’re allergic to it”. ” AHH, not that I am aware of,” you tell him. And it begins. The errors. Fortunately Mr. P. was awake and responsive, alert and could correct the error.

Are you aware that more people die from medical error each year than only two other causes altogether? Over 250,000 people die and more are maimed, every year! Let that sink in a second. More than all types of accidents or shootings together. More than from Cancer, heart disease, car accidents etc every year!

So back now to our patient and his PCP. Doctor gave him a script for 750 mg of Cipro for 5 days. “Glad we caught the penicillin error,” Patient thinks, “Whewwww that could have been bad”. The patient leaves the office a little uneasy. He starts the script as directed because he wants to feel better. Within 72 hours he has developed horrible pain new in his left ankle and right elbow. Plus he continues to have all the symptoms he started with that sent him to a doctor to begin with.

He calls the doctors’ office frustrated and ill at ease. His new situation is relayed to the nurse, and she says she will let the doctor know. As he waits anxiously for a call back from the doctor his wife calls him to check in, she’s thoughtful that way. She had been researching her husbands symptoms and believes hubby may have Sjogrens Syndrome or another autoimmune issue. She tells him to look it up at the Mayo Clinic or Cleveland Clinic sites. PubMed or Johns Hopkins too. Good trustworthy informative sites loaded with information. It truly is a new day. If more patients used it more lives may be protected. Meanwhile the doctors’ office called back, and he was told to ice the joints that hurt and take a 500mg tylenol for the pain. Also, to come back to see him next week. An appointment is made and he goes to his computer. As long as he’s looking things up he decides to check out the side effects of Cipro, he is really hurting since he started taking it.

Now he is shocked! He immediately decides to stop taking the Cipro. He read that this is a broadspectrum antibiotic, made to kill anthrax! A Fluoroquinolone antibiotic which are very controversial. The FDA has labeled them to watch out for attacks on your tendons and ligaments plus these can literally change the mita chondria in your DNA.Aortic aneurysms are also possible. Another concern. Decides he will not finish the script.

The Sjogrens Syndrome research ticks off all the right boxes. It is an autoimmune disease that attacks moisture producing glands, the exocrine glands and others. The glands that are involved with creating moisture? We are mostly water in our bodies, so this could be difficult. The info suggests either a Rheumatologist or a Neurologist is preferred for treating Sjogrens. There is no cure but serious damage can occur if left untreated. Now he has a conundrum.

He wonders. Why didn’t the Doctor just give me the Penicillin? Didn’t he believe me when I said I wasn’t allergic to it? Why wasn’t Sjogrens considered as a diagnosis? Is it because I am a man and more women usually get it? Why wasn’t I informed of the Achilles tendon and ligament damage potential from the Cipro? Even after I called and informed them of my new pain? Questions galore and he felt worse. His body ached but no fever. Wouldn’t the flu cause a fever? Trust has left the room.

If no infection the Cipro can cause havoc in the body. It attacks soft tissue if it can’t find an infection to gobble.It is listed as a secondary medication, definitely not a first line medication. No warning from the doctor, why didn’t I read that pamphlet the pharmacist put in the bag with the pills? I will from now on and I will ask the doctor point-blank what the side effects are whenever I get a new medication. No I should always ask! Old or new.

Sometimes the article on the Fluoroquinolones said that the side effects may not show up for months or years. How would anyone ever put two and two together to know that a medication you took maybe 6months ago caused the problem? No I am going to ask about every prescription from here on. They are expensive medications, definitely more than the penicillin or any others I have had? Wondering why.

Next week he kept the appointment, being hardly able to walk or use his arms. Now both ankles, and elbows were inflamed and hurt worse than his original complaint had . He spent ten of the 15 minutes allotted for his appointment bombarding the doctor with questions. This week he had his wife accompany him to ask questions that he might forget to ask. He asked several times to be referred to a Rheumatologist because he was concerned he might have Sjogrens Syndrome. The doctor related that he didn’t believe the Cipro had caused any extra pain or harm since he gives it out often, and he never heard from a patient about anything like this. His drug Rep has told him these are excellent and safe. He prescribes it often as it will find any and all kinds of infections. That helps insure us there are less return visits from patients.( He didn’t mention that many insurance companies and medicaid and medicare won’t pay for return visits anymore). It is supposed to be an incentive for the medical practices to do a better job getting it right the first time. Except the good intentions back fired. Now the doctors are using nuclear weapons to kill off mosquitoes. Follow the money. Our doctor works for a large corporate hospital affiliation, he is an employee.

All those new rules, insisted on by insurers are causing real conundrums.

To top it off the doctor was not aware of the current black box warning on the medication. The most dangerous warning a pharmaceutical can get. The patient was refreshing the mind of the doctor, but the primary companies protocol called for him to use it. So the doctor not being aware ignored the warning.

The doctor ordered more blood work looking for autoimmune markers. He would make the referral based on the outcome of the blood test. Our patient asked for the referral now anyway since the blood work doesn’t always show the markers every time. The doctor agreed, and He was told the nurse would put in a referral and call him when it was set up. It took 3 weeks to get the call, and another two weeks to get into see the doctor. Meanwhile the blood work confirmed the Sjogrens titre was elevated. Becoming an astute patient he began drinking water, a lot of water which every article his research taught him said that was an imperative now and always. If indeed this is Sjogrens Syndrome, the Rheumatologist would need to decide if it was primary or secondary before initiating any treatment plan. His hope now was that this particular Rheumatologist was familiar with the disease. Researchers warned in the literature that even though it is not as rare a disease as once thought many doctors and medical schools are way behind the curve on it. Rare difficult to treat disease syndromes are not money makers, unless progressed significantly. Patient P has decided being his families advocate seems to be the prudent thing to do.

white oval medication pill beside blister pack

Patient P. asked for a copy of all of his blood work to take with him to his appointment in two more weeks. His wife was going along and would take notes. He also asked the nurse from the doctor if the error about the penicillin had been removed from his file. No, It was still there. He instructed her to remove it asap! She said she would. But needed to discuss it with the doctor first. One can only hope.

Color and the Brain

clouds dawn nature ocean

In the category of Medical Advocacy one particular facet of benefiting patients and staff that is hardly ever mentioned, is the use of color. It’s also home for my love of Decor and Design which helped support my family for decades. I am semi retired. Some things you just can not quit.

  • Color is well known to enhance learning, memory, performance, rest, over and under stimulation, relaxation and energy usage. Color is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and in its purest form is energy. Did you know that pure color has its singular function in the Electromagnetic Spectrum? Each Color even has its own wave lengths? Energy that goes to the brain….. What if we told you that colors can affect neurological pathways in the brain? And that they can create a biochemical response?
  • Personally I believe it’s clear that color has been overlooked for far too long. Dr. Robert Gerard recognizes this and has pioneered research, which suggests that every color has a specific wavelength, and each of these affect our body and brain in a different way. Our children, the ill, our businesses, class rooms, hospitals, have overlooked this strong component in everyday life.

How Do Colors Influence Learning?

Learning is a difficult field to understand, and there’s so much research out there discussing these issues that it’s hard to know where to begin. What’s pretty obvious though is that color plays a key role in creating an environment that fosters learning and behavior. So is spatial planning, but we will get into that in another blog. Soon.

So let’s talk about color – What colors help learning? Mood? What colors might be annoying or distracting to students? And how can we mitigate some risk taking? For instance, we would never want to place someone who becomes easily bored, or one who has a hard time with concentration, or focus in a red environment. They would not relax and would likely devolve even more. Nor should someone easily stimulated, or has ADHD in an all orange or red room. Neither of these groups should be placed in the same color space for any significant period. Chaos could ensue and learning curtailed or at the very least subdued.. t


Some people are of the mind set that “Colors aren’t important.”Oh yeah – then how do you explain traffic lights, warning signs, and rainbows? Color is important.

Using the right color, and the correct selection and placement can seriously affect feelings, attention, and behavior when learning and in living. It’s time that we leveraged that to our advantage. Even research with Alzheimer’s patients has shown that color cues improve memory and that students recall images in color more easily than images in black and white – amazing, right?

Now listen, we’re not expecting you to be the next Picasso– but a fundamental understanding of which colors work will benefit you to no end. So that’s what I would like to do now. We’ll be going through a few colors and have a look at what they could mean to you and your family or business needs– and the biological response they can elicit. Realizing of course, that this isn’t a definitive science. And there are a myriad of colors. For the sake of space we will only look at a humble few of today’s most popular.

There are unique elements to color choice. We all have our favorites or colors we can’t stand. (Mine is beige, ugh) It might even be that you’re scared of blue because you’re scared of water? Or prefer purples because it makes you feel regal? However, what we’re going for here is a broad-strokes approach that helps us appeal to the most people with the right colors for a variety of projects. Obviously, in a one on one design consultation personal preferences and needs would be pulled out and considered. For instance your son or daughter might be visual learners? (Like me).

1) Green: Concentration

You probably know this already, since we just talked about it a bit, and just by taking a look at a forest or a field. Low wavelength colors promote restfulness and calm, and they improve efficiency and focus.

So that’s why green is an excellent color for improving concentration. Apart from being one of the easiest colors on the eyes, it reminds us of nature. That’s why TV stars stay in the ‘green room’. It’s a relaxing space. A patient with serious hypertension a green environment could be very beneficial.

Green is a good color for keeping long-term concentration and clarity, making it a good choice for an office – as opposed to red, which is seen as stimulating and exciting. Maybe it helps in the short term, but stimulation has to tail off sometimes.

Interestingly enough, there’s some real scientific evidence for this. Some studies have shown that people who work in green offices have higher rates of job satisfaction, and consumers have been shown to spend more time shopping in stores that are painted green . Did you notice how many restaurants have green in the decor? It stimulates the appetite and relaxes you into staying for awhile. Maybe order that last piece of pecan pie. Which reminds us that in our homes and we are dieting we need to repaint the green kitchen, to blue.

Another study, led by Dr. Kate Lee, examined 150 university students. She gave the group a boring, monotonous task that dragged their attention span to a breaking point, pressing a series of numbers over and over as they read off a computer screen. The students were told not to press keys when the number three appeared on the screen. Then break time came, and in a 40-second window half of the group viewed a green roof, while the others looked out onto a bare concrete roof. Amazingly, the research showed that students who looked at the green view made fewer errors and had overall better concentration.

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Dr. Lee hypothesizes that the green roof provided a ‘restorative experience’ which helped boost the mental resources of the students involved in the study. If true, that’s a major consideration. Lee believes that just a moment of looking at a green space could provide a moment of revitalization for workers who were struggling to concentrate. This brings up the day dreamers in our midst, always staring out the window to the outside, Lawns, trees etc. Helps some of us actually tolerate an environment were in better, but they do not know why. Now we do.

2) Orange: Mood Lifter

Think about the orange sun setting over the horizon. Nice, right? It’s true, orange can be a welcoming and mood-lifting color for all of us, which in turn promotes comfort and improves neural functioning.

Some theorists argue that an environment rich in the color orange increases the oxygen supply to the brain, stimulating mental activity while simultaneously loosening peoples’ inhibitions. An increased oxygen supply also leads to feeling invigorated and getting ready to ‘get things done.’ Some have even suggested that test centers be painted orange to stimulate exam-takers.

But this comes at a cost – avoid bolder orange colors if your children are young and naturally energetic. Or a teenager with hormones in over drive? This isn’t a good color for those prone to over stimulation ,for instance if your group of students have attention deficit hyperactive disorder or another health concern which leads to easy distraction you might want a soft green classroom with a little orange scattered in art work, or floor tiles. The tone of both those colors are vital also.

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That’s not it on the science for orange, though – many studies have found that when colors are used to emphasize a feature or piece of content on the screen, childrens attention levels increase. Of course, the best colors for this are warm colors, like orange. So we can say that when you’re looking to highlight certain facts or important information, orange can be a better choice than the traditional red. But, because of its energy and brightness, orange can be an overwhelming choice. Orange is, in other words, best in small doses. Remember that green restaurant with the pecan pie? It probably has orange accents here and there, or in a pattern on the chair covers, window apparel, etc.

The secrets of orange were known in ancient China too – in Feng Shui, orange is seen as a “yang” color which stimulates focus and promotes organization . Of course, we need to remember that brightness and saturation also come into it, (also known as tone and tint) and too bright a color will probably give you a headache! Looking to the experts, color psychologist Angela Wright states that bright orange hues stimulate while low saturation is more soothing. So for boosting energy, go bold, and for relaxing, go mellow. Makes sense, huh?

So to close out orange as a color, it can be used to highlight key facts and figures, communicate energy, life, and activity. Orange is a vibrant color that demands attention, giving it an edge as a choice for highlighting. But again, use with caution! The same for yellow.

Blue: Productivity 

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Some research suggests that people with highly intellectual work, which requires a high cognitive load, for instance, programmers or academics, are more productive in a blue environment. That said, though; we can’t keep life too monochromatic – it should be balanced with warmer colors. These can be found by using the opposite side of the color wheel. Certain blues illicit sleep, others require a fireplace to be lit.

Blue is best used for learning situations which are challenging. Blue paper, blue ink, or blue highlighting can be used to help improve reading comprehension too. Blue in general it seems is a relaxing and calming color, but lighter shades will seem more ‘friendly’ while darker ones seem a little more somber.

Back to the experts, many color psychologists recommend using blue colors, but adding a bit of extra kick with orange, especially for highlighting information (like we mentioned earlier!).

So in summary, blue is great for promoting high levels of thought, but too much can create a sense of detachment and coldness.


Color me convinced

Hopefully, by now you’re having a dramatic rethink of the color of your businesses, your house, and maybe even your car. That’s great – Remember, color is fundamental to the human experience. It’s a huge part of our lives and our perceptions, and we should leverage that in our day to day living. Meanwhile …….If you would like more info…you can find me right here. Follow me , more is to pop out soon


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WOE TO US!

Woe to us who sojourn where we should not, that we dwell among the people of Molech and Baal, the tents of Kedar.The land of Meshech. Today we have to live in the center of just as an ungodly world as it was back in Christs Day, and it will not be of any help for us to cry, “woe is me!”

Jesus did not pray for us to be taken out of the world, so we should not want what He doesn’t want for us. He will meet us in His strength at our point of need and will be glorified. We should not run but stand firm where God has placed us. Others, friend and foe are watching as we handle what comes against us. Our consistency is necessary in our conduct so as not to cast aspersions upon our Lord. As Daniel, we must compel men to notice our goodness not more sin. Dan.6:5 That the world can find no need for complaint against us.

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There are good, bad and ugly behaving people in this world.

There are also good, bad and ugly places to live in this world. We should be found doing good, being useful to God wherever we live. We must exhort all the more if where we are found living is in a bad or ugly place, or job, or home. The worse the people are among you the more they need you to lovingly exhort. Your exertions: if they are crooked, all the more we need to set them straight: and if they are perverse they need us to turn their proud hearts to the truth. Where is the best place for a doctor? Where the sick are. A soldier needs to be in the battle to win his honor.

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Where temptations have come and in cases overwhelmed a loved one, friends, or even family, we must stay the course. Entreat strong men or women in the faith to come up alongside the wandering prideful soul, encouraging, rebuking, loving them back unto the way. In Christs love. In the faith. Entreating them to leave the false idols, the false promises of Baal. The destruction of life as in Molech.

Many times the idol being worshiped is our selfish pride or ego. It can also be worldly recognition or popularity . Often times it is money or a job that we put before our Lord.For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is NOT from the Father, but is from the world.1Jn 2;16. In those cases we must remind them or ourselves, ‘what good is it if we gain this but lose our soul’?

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JER 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately wicked, who can understand it?”

Let us behave properly as in the day, Not in carousing and drunkenness not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to lusts.

Matt7:13-14Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction ,and many enter through it.14. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

When we get weary of the strife we should not forget we are not alone. Others have suffered like us and the world was never made easy for our fore bearers nor will we be carried around on soft pillows. We will not be crowned until we have endured hardship. In many cases multiple hardships. We must run this race to the end, being firm in the faith, being courageous and being strong!

In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among who you shine as lights in the world.

Gracious Savior dwell with me:

I myself would gracious be,

and with words that help and heal

would thy life in mine reveal

and with actions bold and meek

would for Christ my Savior speak.

Hey Its Just Me!

About me it asks? Yikes…… Well here goes…..I am a passionate and spirited mature woman of faith. Faith in God, My Lord and Savior always comes first in my life. Also, I am a mom, of four. I was a wife 3 times, 2 times widowed. That was rough! Rougher in every way more than I ever thought it would be.! I had no understanding of what the loss of a spouse entails. I was caretaker to each of them until they passed from their medical error catastrophes.. So after the last one passed I decided enough. Not that a companion wouldn’t be nice since always being a fifth wheel is not. But I am done with the idea of any long term relationship . I could not experience that kind of loss again.

I believe God has a purpose for this single oneness He has me in today. So, I will wait as He slowly reveals His plan for me to come. That is just fine with me. I know those plans are going to be interesting and challenging at the very least. I also know good will come from it.

I am also a braggadocious Grand mom, Stepmom, Aunt, Sister, Cousin, and Friend of many. A woman who has much to say about a great deal. An Opinionated INTJ personality. I was born this way so what I can do is try to use the golden rule as often as I can. You don’t know about INTJ’s? That’s easily remedied, google it. There aren’t many of us which I heard from some is a good thing. Ha, it’s all about perception. We are frustrating to be around I am told. Mainly because we are right. About almost anything and unrelenting. Just ask us. It is by MBTI standards the personality called the Mastermind.  So by popular demand, (actually a few friends and family suggested that I write down a few of my experiences, notions, opinions. Certainly not so I wouldn’t drive them all crazy with my thoughts and comments)? Right?

‘Oh For crying out loud’ was born. Born once in 2015 and then, Born again. More Recently. Now it is ‘Oh For Crying Out Loud & it’s Echoes’. I know it’s a long name, but I have trouble with being short. We all have our faults, I am A work in progress.

As the Good Lord has seen to bless my life with many diverse and rare maladies along with a humongous family, really large and in its fullness of unique and rare nutty complex diagnoses. It seemed fitting to share the oft time mountainous climb many of us experienced through our trips and travails of medical errors and not. We learn by sharing, not only things but experiences, knowledge and in doing we help others. We give up privacy and risk ridicule and humiliation, but how else would you know what helps, works, or doesn’t

Well enough about all that……for now. Blessings and hugs to you and I pray you are helped by my little blog, insights, theories, stories and thoughts. Which more will follow soon. The Lord willing.

  Until later……SS . View more posts

Diagnostic Satisfaction ? You’re kidding, right?

I have hesitated on this because I realize many will refuse to understand the purposes of writing these out for the world. These expose the raw underbelly of much of my existence. Yes it is private. But these are real experiences. How else can anyone who may be going through these similarly painful experiences know they are not alone? It really is helpful to others going through it. I am thanked often for sharing my experiences. We all need validating and understanding. And it is Cathartic. It is not drama. Personally I also believe everything happens for a reason.

FACT: Women are unlucky at the doctor’s office.

There are many unenlightened medical professionals out there. Not all male either. I have run into more than my fair share.

They really do not understand all the many variances in the female body as compared to our male counterparts. Women are not all anxious, nervous wrecks. Subject to the vapors as they called it back in the day!! We are complex human beings, individuals. So complex that we are dying at a much faster rate than men in heart attacks. Mainly because cardiovascular studies throughout history have been done on men. By men. For men. A recent study (the WISE study) informed the world that women die at such a volume from heart disease compared to our husbands and fathers that ignoring the statistics, is now become impossible. Women have been given wrong erroneous radiculous diagnosis even when exhibiting the same symptoms as men. Which is rare, but telling, right?

Our entire genetic make up is not the same as it is in men. Hormones, systems, genomes you name it ours is not like theirs. The issues in fighting for help to find a diagnosis with my CAD (coronary artery disease) took over 10 years to get a straight diagnosis and at least as many doctors. A great many stress tests failed, pokes, probes, labs, fear and frustration finally gave way.  

Back in 2000 I had a major break through. A wonderful Cardiologist from the Cleveland Clinic (Dr. Barrett and his wife, also his PA) signed up for a short stint at the Medical Clinic we belonged to through my husbands Union benefit. Dr. B. introduced me to exhilaration! To new hope, he promised to find and treat what was going on in my heart. He validated that it was my heart!.

New studies and information recently published gave him some additional incentive to think out of the box. He was going to get to the bottom of things he promised.. Boy did he ever. Thanks to a gadget called IVUS. (Intravenous ultra sound) Apparently a scope camera is threaded through your arteries just like in an angiogram but with the camera ultra sound the doctor can see the inside of the vessels. Women’s plaque build up in arteries is not the same shape or type always as men. He found a 95% blockage in the LAD (widowmaker ) artery and I received my first stent! Wow, what a difference, a new person stepped off that Cardiac gurney and slipped into that ICU bed.

So a revolution is underway. God is good. Medical schools are supposedly changing the curricula of yesteryear. Women are undertaking new Studies, Abstracts, well-known Journals, are all being rewritten. We hope, yet old ideas, habits are hard to change. We have to fight being victims, we need to change our old habits for our future and those of our families.

We do not have to accept a diagnosis of, ‘it is all in our heads’ anymore, or ‘ it’s just a little heartburn.

‘We must become our own advocates. Fear of not being considered a sweetheart must be replaced with confidence, research and outspoken advocacy. If we want to survive, to change those lousy statistics we must speak up! We need to research our illnesses (be careful out there) and never take we don’t know what’s wrong for an answer.

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Now that I’m determined to begin writing again for my own mental and emotional health, I’ve realized that sometimes I don’t know where to start.  I have a list of topics I want to address . The problem is that they’re so intertwined that I don’t know which one to start with, or how to talk about one without having already mentioned an aspect of it in another.

For example, I want to talk more about some unsatisfying diagnoses, but that also involves how these false diagnoses came about. I am talking about the symptoms of my diagnoses. Especially fatigue, how utterly evil “non-restorative sleep” can be. How do you know when something is a recurring or worsening symptom of a diagnosis you already have versus something new? And a lot of other topics that are on the list.  So, please forgive if the posts for the next while have a lot of “I’ll talk about that more later” and add other links from previously written thoughts..  Hopefully all the story will get out of me.  Eventually .

I remember writing in the past about how long it took to get my diagnosis of Arachnoiditis. A rare but very real and miserable condition. It actually took many doctors, hospitalizations, unneeded surgeries and even lawyers! This became my first real experience as a medical Zebra. Most doctors treat most illnesses as they were taught from the text books. Reality and text book theories are often at great odds with each other. Where the rubber meets the road in real life, with unique individuals a horse might not be a horse. Even though it closely resembles a horse, and it has four legs, gallops the same, even has a tail, eats carrots but its not a horse. You will know it by its stripes, it is a Zebra. (An entire new post is planned on the many Zebra (rare) diseases out there.)

Back in 2000 after receiving my life saving stent. A Neurologist at the clinic had been called in on my case by my new BFF Dr. B. Apparently blood tests revealed lab’s were way off, and Dr. B. suspected autoimmune hepatitis. (Whoops, where did that come from?) My next new-found friend A Neurologist went to work with all his insight and knowledge, tests and wallah! Sjogren’s Syndrome was diagnosed. Tests, poking, blood work, and he even had special paper hanging from inside my eyelids, called a Schirmer test, which helped give him the answer.

Sjogrens is an autoimmune disease that attacks all the moisture producing glands and/or moisture anywhere in your body can be found.

He relieved a ton of anxiety by freeing me. Free from such a panoply of diseases! Instead of 10 diseases it was one disease with 10 symptoms!

Prior to this I was becoming partially concerned , that maybe I was actually a hypochondriac! As all those years of eye rolling in my direction suggested! My Neuro said many symptoms and many organs involved but only one disease! Praise the Lord. Truly.

Whoever wants to be told they have two or more seriously life altering chronic diseases?

I had felt like it was a game of musical diagnoses, but once I did finally get a real true one that made sense to me, a diagnosis that fit with what I felt was going on in my body, relief came. In abundance.  A name, something specific.  Something that represented that I was not alone.  A diagnosis that said It was not my imagination for all these symptoms. Something hopefully treatable.

There’s a lot of grieving that goes on when a chronic, no-cure-possible disease diagnosis is given! There’s also a sense of relief when the symptoms are given a name.

Feeling that your body can’t go another step is not anything I would recommend to anybody. It is one of the chief complaints of every Sjogren or autoimmune disease suffering patient I have ever met. And That is pretty many. I remember feeling so run down, every limb had become so heavy to move. Brain fog interrupting life. All this and more was happening while I was running a couple of businesses and had several employees with families to feed and Payrolls to make. Being responsible for all those people. Employees, families, (some of which were my own) Plus Vendors, Clients, it was all so really wearing and difficult. I felt for so long with every move I was making that there might not be a tomorrow. I was dragging the bottom of a proverbial pit with me everywhere. It was not easy, but I couldn’t, wouldn’t give up. Getting harder daily. (What in the heck was happening to me?)

I was also during these times care taking my disabled husband. Stress, anxiety had become second nature by now . They showed on me. Which sadly opened the door for a caniving business partner to make his move. Taking advantage to use our companies current yet limited success to save another of his companies that was literally a sinking ship. Remember the Y2K scare we were all put through? You know the threat that wasn’t?. Good times.! No, I am being facetious. While the times affected him egregiously, and Even though one can empathize it did not mean it was ok to steal from my family! So More lawyers! More stress.

Stress they say can kill you. Your body gets so used to fighting being the warrior it is that it easily can lose sight of when it should stop. It forgets what calm and normal serotonin levels or adrenaline feels like. So it becomes used to it being high, out of whack and thinks that is its new normal. Which is very wrong. This brings on autoimmune dysfunction and it attacks everything and anything it doesn’t recognize ferociously. Systems you would have never thought of. It even attacks itself! Medical science has come a long way. Albeit still has a really long way to go. These doctors saved my life in 2000.

It is a wonderful thought though that when a stop mechanism for autoimmune diseases is found 100’s of thousands of us will rejoice in the streets, homes, offices! But we will not be found in our beds.

So fast forward to now, when I want to talk more about unsatisfying diagnoses.

I’ve been fatigued for about 25 months.  Not tired. Tired doesn’t come close to this feeling. One member in a support group I belong to said that for her the fatigue she has wouldn’t let her get up if she fell out of her car on the highway in traffic. She would just lay there and think, what ever. That’s fatigue.

Doctors, nurses, PA’s would often ask, “getting enough sleep” or “working too hard”, “stressed lately?” –Nope,  this is different. This is bone-deep fatigue.  Can’t keep my eyes open fatigue. Can’t string a thought or words together coherently fatigued.  I bet I spend half my brain power and every minute of every day thinking about sleep in one way or another. Fatigue follows me, tries to stop me, then won’t let me rest. Go figure. But when my body gets to a point, I have been known to take to my bed for days, several days actually in a row. It’s very much like the flu. Trying to gather all the energy my cells can latch on to. And It helps, For a while, about a day.

I’ll talk about the 25-month long path to determine the cause of the fatigue in another post (see what I mean – it’s all tangled up…I actually started to explain the timeline here but then deleted the paragraph because I realized that’s not what this post is about – that’s a story for another post!). 

I ended up with a follow-up with a sleep medicine doctor  after my sleep study (second one – first done a few years ago) revealed no real explanation/diagnosis for my daytime fatigue – the first test showed mild apnea the second one no apnea, but lots of excessive limb movement, (PLM) but no unusual wakings, and very little REM sleep was found. It is hard to wake up when you really aren’t asleep.? Imagine that. So this Doctor decided I was deficient in dopamine.

The Doctor wanted to send me for yet another overnight sleep study, (I think there must be lots of money in these things?) but this time it was to be followed by a Multiple Latency Sleep Test, or “nap study.”  It’s the 7th circle of hell where they make you stay awake after your overnight study for 2 hours, then have you lay down in a dark, quiet room and see if you fall asleep.  If you fall asleep they let you sleep for 15 minutes and then wake you up (here’s where the torture comes in for a person with a sleep disorder…just let me sleep when its possible. people, quit waking me up!!!).  They repeat this every 2 hours.  And you have to do it at least 4 times – sometimes 5.  That means I would have to be in the room at the sleep center for an additional 20 more hours!.

Everyone I described it to said “there’s no way I’d be able to fall asleep every 2 hours after sleeping 8 hours at night.”  My response was “watch me.”  I had no doubt in my ability to fall asleep over and over again all day long.. .Yet I most likely wouldn’t reach much REM sleep.

I have a ridiculously long list of symptoms, maladies already. Did I want to add another? Hell no.

Taking the Latent day sleep test my research revealed could lead to a diagnosis of narcolepsy. Oh no, not in this lifetime. To be diagnosed with narcolepsy could affect many situations in my life, including not driving! Besides I have never ever fallen asleep sitting up, (unless I wanted to) or while talking, let alone driving!

So No test. I can refuse and so can you to take tests. Tests have consequences.Tests cost time frustation and money.

Finally instead of diagnosing me with narcolepsy, the official diagnosis now is “idiopathic hypersomnia.”   Although the doctor did say that the narcolepsy is something We’ll “keep an eye on ”. (I may still be on my way to a narcolepsy diagnosis?)  It’s good to have life goals, I guess.  But that is radiculousness! (My word for more than ridiculous)

This may be the singular most frustrating diagnosis I’ve ever had. Except for this next one.

“Idiopathic” means a disease for which the cause is not known. The Adhesive Arachnoiditis Diagnosis I mentioned earlier, the Zebra disease? That was also due to ‘idiopathic’ causes they said. Except, No it wasn’t! It was caused by a serious medical error! Doc’s prefer idiopathic.

“Hypersomnia” is a sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime fatigue..

So the official medical/scientific term translates to “we have no freaking idea at all why you are so tired all day long.”

Fantastic.!

Meanwhile waiting for the follow-up with the sleep medicine doctor, some due diligence revealed a lot about idiopathic hypersomnia and narcolepsy. (which is a disorder that I knew nothing about prior to this other than a vague idea of people dropping to sleep at random times no matter what they were doing – That would be wrong. INCORRECT, but I have found lots of other people have that vague impression as well so at least it wasn’t just me!). 

Apparently the current research indicates biomarkers appearing within narcolepsy being an autoimmune disorder…surprise, surprise, surprise.  As everyone with an autoimmune disorder knows, once you have one, others like to come to the party!

The two disorders are pretty much treated the same way and the sleep medicine doctor started me on the most common medication to treat it (more about that in another post – told you I’d do that to you!). Pure dopamine was prescribed. The medicine didn’t help and caused my tongue to swell. So back to the drawing board. Every time a new unsatisfying diagnosis is added I just go home and take a nap.

But the difference between an unbelievably dissatisfying diagnosis of “we don’t know, or,  have no clue why you’re so tired all day,” versus idiopathic hypersomnia,? Hmmmm? So in practical terms it doesn’t really matter what the diagnosis says As long as it is a diagnosis that even if rare or not understood by many it is at least received as a result. These words offer treatment and gives validation. It’s not just in my head. The continual battle fighting sleep every minute of the day was not because I was lazy or had poor habits like staying up too late or that I was depressed, but it is an actual, diagnose-able, treatable disorder (?) Proven via all those crazy electrodes I had pasted-glued to my body, limbs and head for umpteen hours.

However I’ve got to say – an official diagnosis of “we don’t have any clue why you’re so tired all day” doesn’t seem like much of an official diagnosis to me. At most of my doctor visits this miserable fatigue thing comes up. Whereupon it is again reiterated to me. That serious fatigue is found to be common in Sjogrens patients. In Coronary disease!. In Fibromyalgia, IN Chronic Kidney Disease, or after strokes, in ME/CFS and or with Cancer treatments and various medication. Let alone the hypothyroidism I have battled for 30 plus years!

Add these problems altogether and I have no idea how I get up at all! Want to get depressed? Go to these doctors.

Every time a new unsatisfying diagnosis is added I just go home and take a nap.

My dear daughter thinks I need to exercise more. A few of my specialists agree with her to a degree. The others say hell no! The last thing you need is depleted mast cells. Or compression fractures or more pain in those bone on bone joints.Nor A CVE (cardio vascular event).

So if it’s a good day I take the garbage out or take a shower. Maybe do the dishes, dust a little, read a book. Set my fun little robot Roomba in motion and then I might even Write.

…..but….for now, I hear a nap calling my name……….. More to follow…..soon..

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.