Ironic Shift

rainbow lightningJust when I think I’m getting ahead in life…

Along comes the lightning to show me the truth.

I should know better by now, hunh?

Things were looking up, I was looking forward… so of course, I didn’t see the bus coming up behind me that had plans of rolling over the top of me.

I’ve been sick for about 2 weeks now… starting with the flu, it morphed into an upper respiratory infection.  Snotty bobblehead in extremis, I’ve been coughing, fevered, exhausted, stuffed up and generally miserable for a while.

Ok, so far, I’m still able to deal… so here comes the kicker.

Thursday night, I went to bed early.  And woke up an hour and a half later with extreme chest pains, located directly behind my sternum.

Thinking it was probably just acid reflux, I took some meds, thinking – ok – 20 minutes or so, and I can go back to bed. Right?

No.

Woke up at 12am – still in extreme pain at 1:30 am.  Feeling like someone was attempting to yank my heart out through my back, I decided I’d best get a professional opinion.

I’m not waking up EldestDaughter.  She’s got the toddler, so she’d have to get him dressed, drag him along at Zero o’clock, and sit and wait with the baby in a waiting room for godknowshowlong.  No.  OnlySon has school in the morning too, and has been sick, right along with everyone else in the house, so – no.

So, I drove myself to the emergency room.

Drugs, tests, more drugs, more tests… they talked about a possible pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung).  Let’s do an EKG, shall we?  Ok, no blod clots.  So far, so good.  So why am I still in excruciating pain?

Well… let’s do a CT scan, really up the game, here, hunh?

God-awful freezing cold room, with a dye test that makes you feel as though your insides are on fire and you’ve peed yourself.  Good thing I’m so tired at this point and so full of pinholes from IVs and blood tests that I no longer care whether I’m some mad scientist’s latest class project.

Oh, at this point, it’s approximately 4am, and I’ve been in the ER for about 2 hours, still in pain, going on an hour and a half of sleep, and all alone.

CT scan over… they roll me back to the ER, and back behind my protective curtain.  Wavering in and out of consciousness, between exhaustion, fear and drugs, I wait to hear back from the doctors, wait for a glass of water from a nurse that I can hear.. just on the other side of the curtain… playing FAMILY FEUD with her co-workers.

Hey!  Let’s do an ultrasound, shall we?  Just for shits and giggles?

Fine.  I no longer care.

Lucky, lucky me, I have a hiatal hernia – AND a super nice collection of gallstones.

At 6:30am, I’m desperately trying to reach my work before my phone goes dead.  I need to let them know that I’ve been here, in the ER, and won’t be in to work today.  I’m still in excruciating pain… the pain meds they’ve given me only last for about an hour, then the pain is back, shinier and sharper than ever.  But… it’s not a heart attack, so it’s all good, right?

Here.  A pack of papers telling you that you need to talk to a surgeon within the next few days.  Take some acid reducers to help with the GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease – super-duper heartburn) Change your diet, don’t drink pop (haven’t had pop in months, thanks, stop looking at me like that).

Ok, here you go, get dressed and see ya later!

Life.

A never-ending series of ironic shifts, twisted plot lines and WTF moments.

Only way to go from here is forward.  It’s a good thing I’m resilient. (Read – too stubborn to stop)

 

Sympathy is NOT Empathy

Yesterday was not good.
Yesterday was, in fact, rather awful.
Migraine pain, overwhelmed at work, & just plain irritated, all I wanted was to be left alone to do my job.

Just let me work, K?

Yet, there were some in my vicinity who just had to give me their point of view on my situation.

No, I didn’t go up to them and say “I’m in a foul mood, talk me out of it.”
Nor did I even say anything concerning my mood, my workload, or the state of the union in general.

I was answering a question for one, when the other person interrupted to comment that it seemed as though I was in a bad mood.

Yeah, I am – now, back to the question.
But – didn’t I want to talk about it?
No, not especially. Can we just work?

*sigh* apparently not. Lovely woman that she is, she really wanted to try to help me out of my bad mood… but I was -a) in pain from the migraine, & b) just plain fed up with the day, I had gone into “overload mode”.

“I know just how you feel…”

Um, no. You don’t. You can’t.
Because, you see, that would be empathy. And unless you were born into my family, raised by the people I was, lived through all the experiences I have, & made all the exact same choices I’ve made…

You can never know exactly how I feel.

You can sympathize. Definitely.  You can commiserate, sure. But true empathy? Where you can literally feel my feelings?

Mighty rare, and I don’t think it was happening in this case.

*shrug*
I kind of blew off the advice.
I knew what I needed.
I needed the day to be over, so I could come home & decompress. I needed to break down & cry in my shower- wash away all the tears and let the ugly just be there. Let it wash over me, and through me, so it could pass.

So, while I appreciate the thought, and the willingness to want to help?

Just let me be in a bad mood all by myself, please?

Let me be, & this too shall eventually pass.

Try to “jolly” me out by telling me to “don’t let it get to you”?

And you’ll put yourself on the list of people I will most likely avoid when I’m not feeling 100%.

Because, no, in fact, you have NO IDEA how I’m feeling.

image

Just a Muggle

I’ve been taking care of other people since I was 20 years old.

Ever since EldestDaughter was born, I’ve been “in charge” of someone else’s happiness, comfort, security.

EldestDaughter, YoungerDaughter, OnlySon, the ex’es.  Always, it’s me who ends up being the caregiver in the situation.

And I don’t resent it, really, I don’t.  At least, not when it comes to my kids.  As their mom, it’s MY job to take care of things, so that they could grow up and become independent, capable, well-rounded human beings.

But…

Once in a while, it would be nice if someone would take care of me.

It would be nice to have someone to turn to, who would put their arms around me and say “Everything will be fine, let me take care of it.”

And I’m notoriously bad at asking for help when I need it.

My parents have been there in the past for me, helping a lot, throughout the years.  Recently, though, I decided that I had to stop asking them for help.  I won’t go there.

I have had help from friends when I’ve needed it, whether emotional support or actual things they’ve done for me.  I have some really good friends.  I try to help them as well, when I can, as I can.  But I hate asking.  I hate having to put an obligation, a burden, of that type, on them.  I don’t ever want to be an obligation to anyone.

But it would be nice to have someone in my life who would be there.  Yes, I want to get married again.  Yes, I want someone to belong to, who would belong to me as well.  Someone who I would know would be permanent in my life.  Someone I could take care of, who would also take care of me.  There is someone who has offered to take that position… but, it’s been a lot of talk, so far.  And I can’t live on “maybe”.  I can’t hang my hope on it.  Because it’s too painful when promises are broken.  When they disappear into a mist of silence, never to return.

This year has been extraordinarily difficult.

And I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore.

Not enough coming in, too much going out – as it were.

In previous tough times, I’ve always been able to make it through, somehow.  To pull the metaphorical rabbit out of the hat, sometimes, at the very last minute… and get us through the rough spots.

This time, however… all I’m finding are dust bunnies.

The magic has disappeared.

And I just wish…

Nothing up my sleeve... nothing in my hat...

Nothing up my sleeve… nothing in my hat…

Totally Twisted

Ever since Thanksgiving ended, I’ve been dealing with an ever-increasing amount of anxiety.

And even just thinking about it now, is causing the anxiety to re-double onto itself, heartrate elevated, hands periodically shaking, and my brain… oh, my poor brain.

I’m already one of those people who tends to over-think and over-analyze everything.  I spend so much time, worrying about the future, concerned about the present, my brain just twists itself into Gordian knots.

gordian-knot-mark-sellersLooks a bit like a brain, yeah?

I haven’t been able to even leave my house all weekend, knowing that there are things I should be doing, but I just – can’t.

And it hurts.

Few people understand just how debilitating General Anxiety Disorder can be.  It’s a “hidden” mental disorder, because it’s mostly internal.  The person suffering from it has a tendency to tuck it away, to not want others to see it, because that makes them appear “weak” or “incapable”.  If only they could just “get over it and stop worrying”, everything will be fine.  Geez, have a little faith, be more optimistic, wouldja?

But, it’s not that simple.

The Mayo Clinic, as well as many other reputable health sites, define GAD as:

“Generalized anxiety disorder has symptoms that are similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety, but they’re all different conditions.

Living with generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term challenge. In many cases, it occurs along with other anxiety or mood disorders. In most cases, generalized anxiety disorder improves with medications or talk therapy (psychotherapy). Making lifestyle changes, learning coping skills and using relaxation techniques also can help.”

And I am taking anti-anxiety meds, which do help considerably.  I’ve been trying to make healthier choices in my life, both in food, exercise, drinking more water, and working on cutting down on caffeine.  My doctor has been impressed with the changes I’ve made since I started seeing her, but we both know there are more changes to be made, so we’re working on the “plan”.  So, even though the medication and the change in lifestyle aren’t total fixes, I’m trying.  I’m really trying.  I don’t want this to be something that takes over my life.

But, this weekend… it’s locked me in place.

The uncomfortable “talk” I had with my dad pretty much threw me off the edge I’d been balancing on, and I’m struggling to pull myself back up and out of it.

I’m working on it, but please, be patient with me.

It’s not as easy as you think to cut through that totally twisted knot.

Anxiety mental health symbol isolated on white. Mental disorder icon design

 

In the Deep Dark

I’m having trouble sleeping again.

Even though it’s the weekend, and I know I don’t have to get up early… I’d still like to get a decent amount of sleep at night, and I’m not getting it.

Thanksgiving was – mostly – a good day.  We went to my parents’ house, and everyone ate too much, as is required.  And we had a lot of good talks.  EldestDaughter’s boyfriend came with her & the Toddler Tornado this year, and it was nice.  He’s very respectful, and fits in with the rest of us “black sheep”.  The Nephew drove down with OnlySon and myself, and he’s always good with the family.  And… YoungerDaughter drove down from college, I’ve missed the kid, she’s such a happy little light all the time.

It was very relaxed, eating, then talking, taking it easy.

Until it wasn’t.

Isn’t that always the way?

Everything’s going well, until someone makes a statement that shows they’ve got an axe to grind.

And then it’s all “passive aggressive guilt games” and “Let’s all eat our feelings”.

I don’t want to get into specifics.  Let’s just say that Thanksgiving is never going to be my favorite holiday.

Ever.

And next year, I might just schedule a vacation somewhere warm and sandy – with plenty of adult beverages.

So, ever since the angst rode home with me in my truck, I’ve been sitting in the deep dark of the night… awake…unable to sleep until I can barely keep my eyes open.  And then, when I dream… I’m awakened periodically throughout the hours with uncomfortable and fractured dreams.

I just wish I could understand – but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

And, I’m back to working things out for myself.

I knew there was a reason I hated asking anyone for help.

But it won’t happen again.

Anxious Ankle

So, I finally got a call back from orthopedics regarding my ankle…

I’m now sitting in the waiting room- waiting to find out what my next step will have to be. I’m fairly sure there will be more xrays, & they’ll tell me that they want to see me again at some future point.  Isn’t that always the way it works with specialists?

I – almost don’t want to know what they’re going to tell me.

I don’t want to hear the word “surgery”.

My anxiety has skyrocketed through the roof, as I sit here, over thinking all the scenarios that could play out when I finally get face to face with the doc.

So, I’m going to cross my fingers/eyes/toes, and wish on every star I see, that the answer will be simple.

“Just gnaw it off. Simple.”

image

UPDATE- NO SURGERY! Just call me “Gimpy” for the next few weeks, as I’ll be rockin’ the boot for a while yet, but I can now dump the crutches when I don’t need them, & the doc told me I can go down to an ankle brace in about 3-4 weeks, or as soon as I feel I can use it without too much pain. YES!

I’ll be back on my treadmill before the end of the year. I might be slower than a turtle in molasses, but I’m bound & determined I’ll do it.

Probably a good thing I didn’t go ahead and gnaw off the foot, then.

Late Night

In the still darkness of the night
In the small hours I sit
Unable to sleep
Thinking
Wondering
Pondering on
Wishing I could close my eyes
And rest
Peaceful
Quiet
Relaxed
But the silence is so loud
It rings in my head
A muffled bell that tolls
Reverberating
Shaking thoughts loose
The echo lingers
And clings though I yawn
Eyes heavy, I struggle
Stop
Be still
Be calm
Sleep.
Please.