Don’t Fall Victim to This Horror Story This Halloween (or ever)!

~~~*WARNING – this story includes graphic photos and images some may find disturbing or a trigger*~~~

Tis the season for scary stories, however, this isn’t the type most people have in mind when they imagine sitting around a bonfire with a flashlight and some s’mores. While it is graphic, it does contain a very important message, that’s often overlooked. 

Yes, this happened to me. Yes, the photos are 100% real and un-retouched. 

If you’ve followed GF for awhile, you may know that I have quite a few chronic health issues. My husband and I also have a great deal of stress in our lives, both as a result of our health problems, as well as other, more personal issues. I do my best to keep GF an upbeat, lighthearted, fun place, full of the beauty this world has to offer, instead of focusing on the negative. Last week though, I had two scares, if you will, that I feel compelled to share since they are both things we (as a society) often take for granted. 

Well, one thing really, but two different incidents. 

The people we trust with our health. Namely, doctors and pharmacists

Craig and I see our PC (Primary Care Physican) monthly, because we both take narcotic class painkillers (oxycodone), which in AZ is a controlled substance and therefore we have to have a new prescription each month as opposed to automatic refills. 

We also use three different pharmacies, between us. Our main pharmacy doesn’t keep enough oxycodone on hand to fill our monthly prescriptions, nor do they keep enough Valium (which I’m on). So, he uses “X” pharmacy for his oxy and I use “Y” pharmacy for my oxy and Valium, due to which takes who’s insurance, and we use “Z” pharmacy for everything else. 

There’s the backstory. 

Now…last week (Monday, the 26), we went in to our PC for our regularly scheduled, monthly prescription refill. Also, I was put on two more medications; one of which I have used in the past and one which I had not. We dropped them off at pharmacy “Z” to be filled, but being backed up, waited until the next day (Tuesday) to pick them up. At that time, my hubby dropped off my other scripts to pharmacy “Y”, to be filled and ready Wednesday. 

I got into a lengthy phone conversation that night with my friend and neighbor, after I had taken this new pill. After about four hours I said, “yanno what? Just come over! My ear’s going numb!”. Craig was doing some work for his son and being exhausted, decided to crash at his house for the night, instead of making the long drive, late at night, when he’s tired and has to be up early. He does this often so it didn’t bother me – besides, I was enjoying a “girl’s night” gossip and giggle fest with my friend (who, coincidentally, shares almost identical medical problems). 

One minute we’re laying back, relaxing…I’m showing her some reflexology points on her feet to help reduce pressure in other areas, when suddenly I look up and it’s not my neighbor anymore. It’s a little, old, Asian man (think George Takei in about 20 years). The room was spinning. Words didn’t make sense. I’m asking her who she is and she even sounded like an older Asian gentleman. My vision is blurry. My heart feels like it’s about to pound through my chest. 

I’ve never done acid or ‘shrooms or any kind of hallucinogenic drugs before, but what I imagine the equivalent of a “bad trip” to be. 

The last thing I remember with any clarity at all, was reaching over and grabbing a knife I keep in the end table for protection and thrusting it into my outer thigh. 

Look to the right-hand side of my thigh, above the knee. This was about an hour after the inital stab and the bleeding had subsided.

Blood was, needless to say, everywhere. My friend, bless her, stayed with me until I “came down” and my husband could get to me, I stopped hallucinating, applied pressure to stop the bleeding, tended the wound and bandaged it. She was covered head-to-toe in my blood (which, I do remember reassuring her I didn’t have any blood-borne pathogens like HIV or Hepatitis), and being a true friend, which is hard to find these days, she didn’t care. She cared about taking care of me. I also remember trying to stand and my itty bitty, 5’4″, 100# wet, neighbor caught my 5’9″, 150# ass. 

First cleaning. Salt and alcohol. Old school. My friend told my husband while she was on the phone with him, waiting for him to get home, “I’m a tough bitch”! No way! She’s the tough one, not bailing and staying cool when most people would have freaked.

I’d love to tell you more – including why on earth I decided to shove and eight inch, serrated butcher knife about 3″ into my leg – but, I can’t. I have no clue what possessed me to do so. 

The knife. As she was on the phone with Craig, she grabbed the medical information pamphlet that came with the new prescription. I was suffering from all six of the top, stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to the ER side effects.

My husband naturally, was upset and furious. He called our PC who said I was “obviously beyond medication and needed to be in a psych ward and he’s not a psychologist”. I might add, he didn’t even have the balls to come to the phone himself, rather had his RNA deliver that information. 

Not satisfied with that answer, he called the pharmacist at pharmacy “Z”, where it was filled. He knows us well and within two seconds found the problem and apologized profusely for not catching it himself, since he filled it. 

The new medication and one I’ve been on for about a year don’t play nice together. Apparently, I was lucky I only suffered what I did, since this combo could have lowered my BP too far, too fast had I chosen to go to sleep (which, I was planning to do until I got into the epic phone marathon with my neighbor) and stopped my heart. This combination is apparently a huge NO, and being my only prescribing physician for the last year and a half, my PC should have caught that. He showed no remorse or responsibility for what could have very realistically left my husband planning a funeral, and showed absolutely no concern for “squeezing me in” to clean, check and stitch the wound that resulted from his fuck up. 

Cleaning and changing the dressing yesterday. Thankfully it was a “clean” wound. The bruising extends 2-3″ around the wound and the pain from groin to ass, knee to hip.

Naturally, having hit nerve and muscle, and being in a great deal of pain, my husband picked up my prescriptions from pharmacy “Y”. They’re notorious for changing the manufacturer on my Valium every couple months, but later that evening as I reached in to grab one before bed, lights off, watching a movie and keeping my leg elevated, I kept gravitating towards a pill that was significantly larger and smoother in texture than the others in the bottle. 

I reach over and turn on the light to see what the fuck is going on, and apparently I must have been the 500th customer at pharmacy “Y” last month, because they threw in a “freebie”…which, ironically was in the same class of drugs as the one that damn near killed me (I looked up the number online to find out exactly what it was). It wasn’t the exact same drug, but like hell if I’m taking any chances! 

One thing in this photo does not look like the others. I’d never even heard of this pill before, nontheless taken it.

Here’s the thing folks – doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists – their job is to help us. Part of why they take what’s called the Hippocratic Oath, which is a vow to do no harm. Yes, mistakes happen. But, they seem to be happening more and more often; not to mention with more severe consequences. 

Why did I share all this with you? Because it never occurred to me to question my doctor about whether or not there may be an interaction with any of my other drugs. I assumed being the only one seeing me for 1.5 years and the only prescribing physician I have as of present, he either knew my scripts well enough or would have at least glanced at my chart to refresh his memory. Doctors are busy. They see tons of patients every day. I get it. 

This nonchalant behavior from the medical community is unacceptable. Our lives are very literally in their hands, and when they chose to ignore that fact, is when they need to look into a new profession. 

I urge you. Please double check with all of those who provide medical assistance to you and your loved ones – especially when changing a medication, adding or stopping a medication or changing doseage of a medication – and/or if you notice any new symptoms/side effects, plan to take OTC (Over The Counter) or herbal/dietary supplements, or your medications don’t seem to be working as effectively anymore – ASK. 

Asking your doctor is probably your best bet (not in my case, but I’m going to consider it extreme), however, pharmacists are also a fountain of knowledge. Don’t be afraid to look up drugs you may be taking or planning to take online and have a list of questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist if necessary and always read the information that comes with your prescriptions. Every time you fill it, in fact, since information often changes and your pharmacist may forget to mention it or be unaware. 

Please feel free to share this story! It could save a life! While I’m currently very, very sore and my entire right quadricep hates me, my husband destroyed the pills in question, according to pharmacy “Z”‘s instructions and seeing as how it does not seem to be improving and pain is waking me every 3-3.5 hours (when my painkillers wear off), I am planning a trip to UC (Urgent Care) in the next day or so to see if they can do anything to at least ease the discomfort (numb it and give it a good scrubbing, maybe a muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory to coincide with my oxy) because they at least check my medications every time  I go in. I am also in the process of finding a new PC, as I no longer trust or respect the one I currently have and I will keep y’all updated. 

Again! Share! It could save a life! 

SOUPer Sayisfying (and Sexy, Too)! 

Even though we live in hell (also know as Arizona), I crave fall. It’s my favorite season and I adore everything about it. 

Unless we make a trip up the mountain at just the exact right time, we miss any real fall color. It literally happens over night, and being off by a week or even a day or two, can make the difference between seeing those luscious crimsons and fiery oranges, and seeing the same dead, dirt brown that blends with everything else here. 

We have several mulberry trees in our yard that go from green to gold and then dead. Also, an overnight thing. And, honestly? Doesn’t count. Not when you pine for radiant rubies, glorious golds, opulent oranges and vivacious violets, all mixed in a dazzling array, sprinkled with the last bits of Summer’s shades of emerald, kelly and lime; a final farewell. 

The weather cools a bit – this mostly means it will be 100+ during the day and 40- at night. The only freaking state I’ve ever been in I’ve had to blast the AC during the day and the heater at night…in November. 

Sweater weather? Hah! Try, if “death by heatstroke”, is your ideal way to go, then by all means wear a sweater. Layer it over a tank top though, because I guarantee that sweater is coming off by noon. If it doesn’t spontaneously combust first. 

The afternoons are nice though. The sun “softens” and the scent in the air does change a bit. I’ve mentioned before, we live north of the metro and at a higher elevation, so we do get a bit more of the fall feeling here.

 The days are shorter and every so often you get a slight chill in the air that makes you crave something, warm, comforting and satisfying to eat – both to warm your body and soul. 

What’s more warm and satisfying than soup? 

Can you smell it? that warm, soothing scent, filling your home…and belly!

I’ve been craving soup for days now, since a front came through and gave us a few stormy days and nights. Not cold…just rain and thunder and the kind of weather that makes you want to curl up with a good book or movie, a cup of coffee or cocoa and have a bowl of…soup. 
I’m not typically a soup person. I’m pretty picky about what kinds of soup I’ll eat, when and how. Many have ingredients I can’t or don’t eat, if we’re at a restaurant or buying pre-made. Many just taste watered down and flavorless to me. I do enjoy making my own (as you’ll notice on the list I’m about to share, potato soup did not make it simply because it was shoved down my throat as a child and unless I make, what I call, “mashed potato soup”, which is basically a loaded potato soup made with both mashed potatoes, made from baked potatoes, and small chunks of potatoes I bake to a crisp or fry, I don’t touch it), and it’s a cozy way to warm up a chilly house, on a chilly day and satisfy your hunger (let’s face it…after you’ve smelled it simmering for hours, you’re starving!) with what you probably already have on hand or can easily get. Plus, substitutions and/or omissions/additions (like, I’m allergic to pork, so I just omit it), make soup a hard thing to screw up. 

(While writing this blog, I must say, I had the most hilarious conversation with my sis, because as I was sourcing graphics, I asked her what she thought made soup, “sexy”. Let’s face it…it’s not the most fascinating thing to look at. As a PSA, do not search for “sexy soup” via Google. At the very least, wait until you’ve made some of these beautiful bowls, before you do.)

Here’s my top ten SOUPer soups, that I’ll eat or make, pretty much anytime (well, nine – the last is one of my husband’s favorites and a soup staple for many), in no particular order. These aren’t my recipes – I rarely write recipes down and I’m even less likely to measure what I do and don’t add – and, as previously mentioned, I work a lot with what I have on hand. But, this is a jumping off point to bring family dinners, or cozy company, into fall. 

1. Broccoli Cheddar 

Classic! Who doesn’t love cheese! Even kids get into this if you keep the bits of broccoli small enough! Sneaky way to add veggies! This is a Panera copy-cat recipe of their famous version. If you’re in a hurry and still want a great Broccoli Cheese soup, Bear Creek brands makes a fantastic one (look for a dark green bag in the soup aisle, near where the boxes of chicken noodle packets are). Plus, the dehydrated powder makes it easy (once you get the hang of it), to make a cup, a bowl, or a whole pot, to taste. Also stores well and is “non-perishable”, so all you do is literally add water and heat. Fantastic if you’re traveling, camping or otherwise unable to store perishable items for long periods. 

2.Hot and Sour

Classic! My fave at any Asian restaurant (although, Miso runs a close second). Traditionally considered medicinal, a spicy way to warm up your day! Add mushrooms, onions, bamboo shoots – all found in the “ethnic food” aisle of most major grocery chains, in cans, bottles or jars. If you want protein, but not meat, firm tofu, cut into thin strips or small cubes, is a great way to go. Miso broth, like found at Trader Joe’s in the carton, or paste, makes a great, vegetarian broth substitute for most soups. Add some of the aforementioned veggies or tofu and it’s a delicious, healthy way to warm up as well. Look for brown or red Miso; it has more cancer fighting benefits and flavor. If you’re not familiar, good Miso has a light, refreshing, slightly chive/scallion (table onion) flavor. 

3. New England Clam Chowder

Yes, we can debate all day whether Manhattan or NE is better. It all boils down to whether you want that creamy goodness, or a tomato based, soup version of Clamato. If I’m feeling Manhattan, I treat it the same way I do a Bloody Mary. So, I do make both (and we all know by now how much I adore a good Bloody Mary!), but there is something about NE style that keeps it my fave. Bacon is becoming very popular in NE clam chowder. And, while I use turkey bacon, does add a nice touch. Cook your bacon of choice and then use the drippings to sauté onions, even some of your potatoes. Add all that goodness to your chowder and then add the cooked bacon in before serving or crumble on top as garnish. Cheese and croutons are also fantastic! 


4. Cream of Mushroom

It’s not just for cooking! However, if you have leftovers, let them cool, pour into ice cube trays and freeze (stash the cubes in a freezer safe storage bag once you’ve popped them out of the tray), and add to chicken or rice dinners later in the week. 

5. Squash Soup

As in Butternut. I’m sure pumpkin or other hearty, winter squashes would work as well with this recipe – just make sure you find baking pumpkins, which are smaller, as opposed to Jack-O-Lantern types, which can be very bitter when cooked. If you use pumpkin purée, make sure it’s the 100% pumpkin and not pie filing (which has less nutritional benefits, added sugars and spices you may not want in soup, as well as a “thinner” consistency). Don’t forget the nutmeg (I use Chinese Five Spice), which really does illuminate the flavor of your squash! Even if I’m just baking acorn squash, Five Spice is a must! 

6. Chili

Not a soup, per se, but still warm, hearty and satisfying! Accessorize (yeah, I went there!) with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips or some people add ketchup and saltines. However you like it, it’s easy to add or swap proteins to work with what you have (I use ground beef and some kind of steak/roast type meat in mine). Swap beef for turkey for a lighter alternative. Or, use chicken and white beans for a white chili. Options here are endless! Five alarm or luke-warm, it’s up to you! I also love adding corn and garbanzo beans to mine. Great way to use canned veggies that may be reaching their shelf life and get kids to eat them! 

7. Gumbo

Traveling through Louisiana last May, on our way back from New York, we so desperately wanted to get some good gumbo! It was hot and humid and just not gumbo weather (not to mention, we were on a bit of a time crunch at that point…and money crunch. Hey, that 2016 Dodge Charger surprised me; averaging 28 MPG, but still). Don’t deny yourself this Creole classic because of okra. The slimy texture adds to the base of the soup, lending to its thicker, more stew-like consistency, as opposed to using a roux (flour/butter/milk/cornstarch/however you roux). And, like chili, add veggies and proteins you have on hand. Just remember, a good gumbo has a “surf and turf” protein ratio. 

8. Smoky Eggplant Soup

Mediterranean  flavors are some of my favorites! Finish this with some pita bread and a sprinkle of good feta cheese? Heaven in a bowl! Personally, I’d add some zucchini and yellow squash as well. Slimy eggplant? Slice and dice the night before, salt and cover in paper towels. Refrigerate. The salt will help pull out the excess moisture and the paper towels soak it up. Works for any eggplant application -grilling, frying, stuffing, Parmesan-ing, etc. 

9. Green Chile Soup

Perfect base to add protein like chicken, and some tortilla strips or crushed Doritos (cheese and chilies?!? Plus, kids and junk food?!?), and have a tortilla type soup. Have it plain one night, soup it up the next. Get the freshest chilies you can – preferably Hatch chilies (from Hatch, NM) – it makes a huge difference in flavor. Watch though – real, Hatch chilies are mild with a deep, green, earthy (almost umami) flavor. If you want spicy, toss in a few jalapeños. For spice with less heat, remove the seeds and ribs of a pepper – this is where the Capcasian, or heat, is predominant. Oh! And, wear gloves when handling spicy peppers. Otherwise, you will inevitably have to scratch your nose, fish something out of your eye and use the restroom almost immediately – and suffer the consequences. 

10. Chicken and Dumplings

One of Craig’s favorites, this classic is easy to add frozen veggies or whatever you have on hand, to, without sacrificing flavor. Don’t have time to make dumplings (which are actually super easy)? Canned biscuit dough works in a pinch! He says mine remind him of the Chicken and Dumplings his mother used to make. No bigger compliment than that! 
Consider adding frozen or fresh tortellini or ravioli to soups. Trader Joe’s has some great lobster ones (refrigerated) and dry with a cheese blend. Dumplings (Asian style) or Crab puffs can also be an easy addition (look for wonton wrappers in your local grocery store; sometimes near produce, sometimes by dairy. They’re refrigerated, so that helps narrow the search. Stuff them with whatever you like – about a TBSP per large wrap. For dumplings, stuff and drop them in – they’ll cook with the soup as it simmers. Crab puffs are an easy mix of cream cheese, spring/table onion or chive and crab or imitation crab, finely diced and blended into the cream cheese. Fry and serve as garnish. Have a bowl of water and pastry brush handy – it makes sealing the edges of the wonton wrappers easier). Pastas,  like macaroni or bow tie can add an extra level of satisfaction (especially if your family is mostly boys/men, who are always starving), as will rice, and both will cook as you simmer the soup. Beans are also filling and fabulous. I love black beans and garbanzos in most everything. Just open the can, drain and rinse, first. 

Veggies that are still good but a bit wilted or not as appetizing looking can be thrown in to cut down on waste. And, garnish, drizzle, dollop or dunk as you see fit. Most soups can be up-cycled (the mushroom, for example), for late week leftovers or protein/veggie leftovers from earlier in the week can be tossed in to use them up! 

For some more SOUPer ideas, as well as ways to minimize food waste, check out Good Housekeeping Magazine‘s October issue. Lots of fabulous ideas (and some suburb pumpkin decorating tips, too – which, if you’re hosting a Halloween bash or just a fun family/friend get together, pumpkins, hollowed and cleaned out {save those seeds! Roast them and snack or add as a garnish to your soup!}, with a small crockpot inside, set to warm, makes a super cool way to serve your SOUPer supper! Great for dips and beverages too!)!

Let us know if you try any of these recipes, or share your own! 

And, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest! 
Photos: BettyCrocker, Pinterest, pesto.co.za, societi.co.za 

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