I have not been abducted by aliens

I’ve been feeling quite a bit under the weather recently while having a lot to get through. I took a break for a while. I hadn’t meant for it to turn into two months.

One of the things on my plate had been yet another appeal to the evil pharmacy management company I’m now forced to get my prescriptions through. This isn’t related to bookbinding or art except on a personal level, since without the medication they’d suddenly denied me, my ability to function even minimally in my studio would’ve been quite up in the air.

Last year, we were under the power of a different company. Last year, I had an approval for a drug that is the difference, for me, between bedridden somnolence from M.S. or being clearheaded enough and having enough stamina to occasionally do things like, say, make a book once in a while. Without coverage, the medication is around $1,000 a month. The difference for me is so dire that we coughed up the money for a couple of months after I ran out and my appeals dragged on. But obviously that was not going to be sustainable.

The pharmacy benefit manager said that no study showed it worked for M.S.-related “fatigue” (which is a whole lot worse than what “fatigue” sounds like). The pharmacy benefit manager lied. Almost all of the research says it works. And the latest research actually shows that it not only helps significantly, but that people like me who take it long-term actually wind up less disabled down the road than people who don’t take it. I finally appealed to the state. And now, what do you know, I was told that not only has my drug been reinstated for me, but that the company is changing their criteria and will now approve it for M.S. It took 7 months to get there and required a lot of research and buying medical journal articles to show how much they’d lied. I’m grateful for me, but am so depressed for others out there who don’t have insurance coverage at all or who don’t have a university background (I was at one time a graduate student in linguistics. I know how to find things.) My doctor was angry and willing to write letters and call too. In all, it was a rotten experience that took a lot out of me for a while.

But not all has been bad. I had a book accepted into the next We Love Your Books show to take place later in the year (more on that soon). And I’m working on my first Book Art Object edition, a board book called Superstition.

And I got a kitten last week. Yes, I decided that three cats weren’t enough. I need to clean cat boxes even more often. I’m well on my way to being a cat lady.

I walked into a pet shop last week and, damn me, I fell in love. I now have four cats, three of them black. His name is Stephen. He’s going on 5 months old and growing by the day. And all he has to do is flash those sweet baby eyes at me and the latest torn up plant in the window is soon forgotten.

As you can see in the photo, he likes to sit on my lap at the computer (which has a weird but wonderful ergonomic keyboard that’s made it possible for me to continue to type in spite of pain in my hands). The mug next to the keyboard, you can’t see, is actually a chipmunk mug.

Little Stevie also likes paper…

I’ve also been indulging an obsession for board books, and will be teaching a workshop on how to make them for my local book arts guild this weekend. More on that and probably a tutorial coming soon (or at least sooner than 2 months from now).

[Update a few years later: I have since been undiagnosed with MS. I still have a neurological disorder and significant fatigue. It just is now nameless.]