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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Guilty me

Does anyone else have this issue? Do you feel guilty about, say, everything?

Last week I had a PT appointment setup for Wednesday. This was right around a big snowstorm in our area, plus it was frigid cold. I went to a doctor’s appointment in the terrible storm with my mom…the roads were horrible, it took us twice as long to make the drive as it normally would. When we got home, I called my PT office and cancelled my appointment. In the year I’ve been going, I can count how many time I’ve had to cancel on one hand. Not even a whole hand. But I felt terribly guilty because I know E loses money from the appointment. Plus, it wasn’t the full 24 hours they request. But I was so tired from Mom’s appointment and I knew we were heading for multiple appointments on Thursday…and the Wednesday I was due for PT was supposed to be SOOOO COLD…and I’d need my father to drive me because of the roads. So I cancelled. And I felt shrouded in guilt.

Monday morning, which was supposed to be PT for me, the office called early to tell me that E had the flu. The prior week, the other physical therapist was out with the flu (Hub’s PT), but came back in time for his next appointment. Then hacked and coughed all over, although she wore a mask during the appointment. It scared the crap out of me because she could have given it to Hub (and subsequently me). So now the flu has been passed to E and her son… And I just got my appointment confirmation in email for tomorrow. And I don’t want to go. I don’t even know for sure that E will be back, but I do not want to risk getting the flu from E. I know she was at work on Friday, so if she got the flu over the weekend, I feel like she’d still be contagious if she came in today and/or tomorrow. And I do not want to get the flu. (I also heard from Hub that the other therapist in the office who also does acupuncture ALSO has the flu!) But I’m once again riddled with guilt over cancelling an appointment. I’ve spent so much time with E and the therapy aide, and I like talking to them. I feel like they are friends, so I don’t like taking away their work or disappointing them by not showing up.

I’ve talked to T about my guilt issues, and she tells me that she isn’t sure she can break through that with me. She thinks it is too deeply ingrained. Lucky me. But seriously, I have gotten better at saying NO and at thinking of myself when I need to make a decision that will fill me with guilt. Sometimes, though, it still gets the better of me.

But it’s the flu. And I don’t think I can screw around with that. Ugh.

 

 

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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in anxiety, guilt, physical therapy

 

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Missed my schedule

I’ve been able to keep up with blogging posts. Originally I was scheduling to post every other day. Then when I got into the groove and slowed down a little, I was scheduling to post every 3rd day. It felt more comfortable, less stressful. I felt like blogging was adding to my life, not making it more difficult.

This is the first time I’ve missed my scheduled every 3rd day post. I have one started in draft but have not finished it. It has been a long 18 days, with my Mom being sick. I’ve posted about some of it, but am struggling with sharing too much of my mother’s private information. See, this is what has taken over my life for the last 18 days, and it has affected me deeply, but it isn’t my information to share. And wrapped up in how it’s made me feel is her information. Until I can figure out how to separate the two, I don’t know how to write a blog post.

I had my session with T yesterday, so I hope to be able to blog about that. Although it was focused on the last 18 days, I think I can separate out me from my mother’s health issues. But it’s going to take some time, and I didn’t want to leave too many quiet days on my blog.

So this is kind of filler, you know? How about a few pictures? Hub bought me a new camera and I’ve been enjoying using it. Usually it’s just dog pictures, but I had opportunity to take a couple of other pics recently.

Enjoy.

Starling in branches

Starling in branches

My brother the bird-boy says this is a Starling (a pest-bird from Europe, he says).

Bluebird

Puffy little Bluebird

And that this little bugger is a bluebird!

Robins

Robins!

And Robins searching for food in the snow.

I’m still practicing with the camera, but like I said it’s mostly dog pictures…action shots that come out blurry or of lots of dog-butt because they turn around just as I’m snapping the photo.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2014 in anxiety, family, stress

 

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Gloomy

I was going to say that the title of this post really refers to the weather outside, but in some ways it refers to me as well. It’s raining and gloomy out. It’s been semi-dark all day. When I woke up this morning, I had to turn lights on the bedroom to get dressed…it felt like 5pm. Or 5am, I guess.

Already my hands and feet hurt and I was barely out of bed. They hurt like they are cramping…like I don’t have enough potassium in my body. Or maybe I’m dehydrated. I’m not sure. Now, with the cramping hands and feet, I have a headache. My head just hurts like a headache but also like the skin is sensitive and tight. I just feel lousy. I’ve been fighting a cold for days. You know from previous posts that my mom is sick, and the antibiotics she is on are baaaaad news for her system. I went over today to see her and now my dad is coughing like he has a cold. I tried to stay away because I don’t want to get anything. As it is, I’m having trouble keeping my current cold at bay, I don’t need to be doubly infected…or re-infected.

My sleep is not better these days. I’m still having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting back to sleep. The past several mornings I’ve been unable to get back to sleep. I’m tired all day. Right now, with the headache, the cramping hands and feet, I feel hot. I’ve been trying to relax in the recliner with a cozy blanket over me, hoping I might doze (which I don’t understand why I bother because I never sleep during the day, even when I haven’t slept in days). I have a heating pad behind my shoulder, which is bothering me. But now I’m hot. I’ve thrown the blanket off, but my body doesn’t seem to cool itself quite properly anymore. It could take hours for me to reach a comfortable body temperature again. It sucks.

And hey, guess what. It’s my freaking birthday. (Well, the day I wrote this, not the day it posts.)

The day is gloomy. I feel gloomy. Stuff hurts and I’m tired. I try not to put too much pressure on any “day” in my life. Not birthdays, not anniversary or holidays. A day is a day, and I’d like to be able to celebrate the days when I’m feeling good and doing well. If I let myself get psyched out because it’s a special “day” then I know it’s not going to end well. For the most part I’d rather ignore my birthday–not because of aging but because of the pressure–but today I still feel sorry for myself.

Don’t get me wrong, Hub is making me a second birthday dinner tonight (we had a bigger deal over the weekend when we had more time to cook) and getting me a gluten free dessert that I enjoy immensely. He wanted to get me chocolates, but I’m just not up for that right now. I kind of want to go crawl into bed and lay in the dark, but that would just spiral into something worse. So instead I’m sitting here while the dogs sleep and the rain falls. And I’m hoping for a better year for me and for everyone in my life.

 

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Artist I ain’t

Had my session with T, and even though I spent part of it talking about my mom (who is okay, but still not 100%) and our water extravaganza, we did do the trauma work we talked about at our previous session. After going through my trauma timeline a couple of times, I picked out my first panic attack because I felt it would work easily on the trauma layout she talked about. I did it the night before our session, even though I was exhausted and stressed out from the week.

It was easier than I had anticipated to lay out the panic attack on a timeline, and afterward I realized it was because I’ve done it many times since then. Not only in my head, but on paper and on my blog…though the depth of detail has varied. And so I wondered if I had cheated myself in using the panic attack because it didn’t really disturb me to lay it out or discuss it. I started out our “trauma work” with T by saying as much…that I was worried that I was cheating myself and T shook her head. She said maybe my brain was just allowing me to start with something that wasn’t so difficult so I know how things are going to go and that it won’t get me all worked up. And she reassured me that even if it wasn’t difficult for me, it was still worth doing, because anything I do in trauma work is good.

So she had me “tell her the story” of the panic attack in first person. And during the retelling, she had me continuously center myself, so that I told the story in a calm manner. Really, I was more intense on telling the story, but not panicked. I didn’t feel any flashback type feelings, I just wanted to get through the story and be done, especially telling it in first person. But she would stop me and make me take a break so I didn’t rush through it. When we were done, she made me “tell” the story in a comic book-type panel…six panels and I was to pick the highlights of the story and draw them into the panel. As I have told her before (like when she made me draw my “safe” place), I am not an artist. Pretty much stick figures everywhere. But once I drew the pictures, I had to retell the story again using the pictures. When I was done, she repeated the story back to me based on the pictures I’d drawn. She said it’s important to the person who experienced the trauma to know someone has heard them and validated their experience. And then she said the panic attack is now contained in the cartoon panel, there for me to retrieve when I want it, or leave there as if it is “stored” there. Interesting theory, but again because this is something I’ve gone over time and again, I don’t feel anxious about it anymore.

I reminded her after we finished that we talked about relating my pain to this trauma work, but after talking we both agreed it probably wouldn’t fit properly into the framework. Which stinks, because I’m really trying to find a way to put the body memory (and “trauma” memory) of pain into my past. Not sure if she’ll be able to come up with another way to do that, but I guess we’ll see.

 

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Water water everywh…oh sh!t

It’s the polar vortex, ya’ll. And I’ve been watching and reading multiple articles about pipes freezing and how to prevent it and stuff. But hey, our house is only 2 years old, so I figured we’d be good. And in fact, I DID open a cabinet in one of our bathrooms where the plumbing backs up to an exterior wall. And then I tried to get my brother to do stuff in my parents’ house while my mom was in the ER, but he didn’t understand what I was trying to say, so he didn’t do anything. And thus the worst night went by without any trouble, so I figured we were good.

Then I came home from PT today and let the dogs out. And as I went to look out a side window to see where Butthead had gone, I heard a weird noise. And I was almost convinced it was the heat turning on just as I walked into the room, but it was so loud. And I stared down at the vent on the floor under the window and I was thinking the heating system isn’t right underneath there, it’s at least 15 feet away from where I’m standing. What the hell is that…oh shit.

And I ran down the stairs to the basement and as I turned on the landing, I see it. Water, everywhere on the floor, flooding along one whole side of the basement. And then I hear it…the horrifying sound of GUSHING water. I run down the second set of steps and splat my way around the corner and into our mechanical room to see water spraying from some pipes on the wall. Everything around me is soaked, the floor has about three inches of water on it, and as I get closer to the gushing water I start to panic. I have no idea where the shut off is, even though I’m sure I know. I finally see the paddle next to the water pipes and I figure it’s the shut off, so I crank it as far as it will go. The rushing spraying water slows, then turns into drips.

And I’m standing in a pond of water that is running out of the mechanical room and into the main part of our basement. Where all hub’s stuff is, and where our storage is. Cuz that’s what you do with a basement.

I start shaking. My entire body is vibrating. I run upstairs and grab the phone, then go check on the dogs. As I’m dialing the phone to call Hub, I am yelling at the dogs to come in the house. My voice is shaking as I try to explain to Hub that we had a pipe burst and it sent water over 1/3 of the basement. He says, “Call your father. I’m packing my shit and coming home.”

I disconnect the phone and try again to convince the dogs to come in the house. I’m shaking a can of treats, but getting little response. I dial my parents’ house and my mom answers. She’s one day out of the hospital and I don’t want to worry her, but my voice is still shaking, so she knows something is up. I ask her to hold on and I yell at the dogs, who come to the door reluctantly. I hand Butthead a treat and the little stinker grabs it out of my hand and runs back outside. WTF. I toss a treat across the room for Le Moo, then go to yell at Butthead and the can of treats falls out of my hand onto the floor because I’m still shaking so badly. My mom is still on the phone and I scream, “I can’t fucking believe this!” I scoop dog treats off the floor, yell at Butthead who comes slinking back inside, then say to my mother, “Mom, I’m sorry…” and she tells me to call her back. But I say, “No, I need Dad. We had a water pipe burst.”

I hear her yelling for my father and I’m shaking like a leaf, adrenaline is just zipping through me. My father comes on the line and I tell him I got the water shut off, but the basement is a mess. As I’m talking, I go upstairs to retrieve as many towels as I can carry. Back downstairs, I start putting towels around the edges of the puddles to “dam” them to make sure the water doesn’t spread any farther. Then I stand in the middle of our indoor pond and look around…and I want to cry. My father shows up and we start pushing water into the sump pump hole, and we’re trying to figure out what the hell to do. There’s a freaking polar vortex, all the plumbers are going to be busy…but we now have no water in our house. Except spread out on the floor. ARG.

Luckily, my parents had someone doing some work in their house, building a bathroom in their basement. He does everything, including plumbing (and building houses!), and he was due to be at their house that afternoon. I got his phone number and called him, and thank goodness he was only about ten minutes away. He agreed to come see if he could make repairs for us. Which he did. But it was a bigger issue than we thought, because cold air was leaking into our basement, rushing past our pipes like a wind tunnel. We’ve bandaged the problem temporarily, but still have to figure out how to fix it permanently. Fortunately, the broken pipes could be isolated away from the main lines in the house, so we have the water back on.

I took pictures of the issue that remains and have contacted our builder. We all feel it is something they did not do properly, but considering the multitude of issues we’ve had with the builder, I suspect they’re going to tell us to go take a leap. Wouldn’t be the first time with them, sadly.

Meanwhile, I have no clue how much the repairs are going to cost us, nor how much the actual fix is going to take. But it has to be done. And we are so fortunate that we had no carpet down in the basement yet, and because of previous basement floods, we kind of know better than to store things directly on the floor. Most of our stuff is up on plastic shelving that has feet…keeping our stuff off the floor. The couple of things that did get wet should dry out (leftover carpet from our original install, and a box with an outdoor rug in it). The worst part is that the water did get to the wood framing behind our walls in a bunch of places. I only hope it dries out without growing mold, considering we cleaned up so quickly. We have a sad little dehumidifier running down there to help with the moisture.

I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 22. I bought my first home–a townhouse–because my grandfather told me that buying was better than renting. He said if I bought a house, he would help, but if I rented, he wouldn’t throw good money away on rent. So I bought. A couple of years into living in that house, a neighbor screwed something up and a pipe burst into the main level of my house. It ruined the vinyl floors in my kitchen, and soaked into all the padding and carpeting in my living room and dining room. I had to have ServPro come in and pull up all the carpeting and suck out all the water and run giant humongous fans for days to dry things out. I lost my home insurance because of that incident, which wasn’t even my fault! But even so, that was the first of my incidents with water problems. The second house I owned–a single family home–was after Hub and I were married for several years. Maybe four or five years in, we had water leaking into our kitchen from the upstairs bathroom. The water POURED in from around the recessed light fixtures in the kitchen, down onto our kitchen table. We tore down the ceiling to find the leak, thought it was fixed, repaired the ceiling…and several months later it leaked all over again. We tore down the ceiling AGAIN, but couldn’t find the source. So we lived for almost a year with no ceiling in the kitchen as we tried to figure out what was wrong. We ended up tearing out the entire tub in the bathroom above, and remodeled the WHOLE bathroom from top to bottom. Then we left the ceiling open for several MORE months to make sure the leak was fixed before repairing that. THEN we had a flood in the basement a couple of years later after a monster storm. Ruined a lot of drywall and all the carpet in the basement. Tore all that up, redid the drywall, then laid down laminate wood floors in the basement. Horrible, horrible experience with that damn floor.

Every damn house, water problems. WTF? We thought that building a new house would keep us away from any water problems. Ignoring the fact that we ended up spending a fortune in this house because of water problems beneath the house before and after it was built….ugh.

And like a dumbass, after we were done what we could do for the night, I put all the wet towels in the washing machine and went back downstairs to let the dogs out. Then as I was watching them in the darkness through the window, I heard rushing water again. I almost flipped out again until I realized it was the water from the washing machine rushing through the pipes on the second floor. DUH.

And now I’m exhausted. I came home from PT and didn’t even get to eat lunch. And didn’t eat breakfast. And I was literally on my feet from the time I got home until the time the repair guy left. Four hours. I can barely stand up at this point. I’m so tired, I can’t even explain it. And so angry at the builder that I’ve looped around past ANGRY and am at DEAD CALM. Be afraid, ya’ll.

Well, be afraid tomorrow, because tonight I’m too physically exhausted to hurt anyone. Maybe.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in angry, anxiety, dogs, family, hub, pain, stress, tired

 

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Don’t tell her I said so

But my momma is past the point of “getting old” and to the point of “being old”. This isn’t particularly news to me because as an adult (e.g. past my teens), I’ve been really close with my mom. So I’ve seen her at her most active and agile, and now I’m seeing her age. I’m the youngest of my siblings, with my mom having given birth to me in her thirties. I’m about to hit 42 years old. She’s in her mid-70s.

But it isn’t the “age” part of old that I’ve seen, because I’m well aware that age is just a number. There are days when I am positive I feel older than she does. But these days, I’ve seen the changes in my mom…and my dad. She’s walking more slowly, has less balance than she used to, is not nearly as agile, and has less stamina for pretty much anything. Her hearing has been going for a couple of years, and now I see her eyesight is failing somewhat. There was this point when a switch happened. When she stopped being the mom I knew for years and years, and she became an old lady. She looks like my grandmother, and is starting to act like my grandmother. She’s dressing like my grandmother, and wearing her makeup like my grandmother. It’s a frightening prospect for me, especially considering how close we are. Since I moved out of my parents’ house at 22, I’ve talked to her at least twice a day on the phone (once a day on the weekends). Minimum. For 20 years. Straight. Unless one of us has been on vacation, which doesn’t happen all that often on either of our parts. Now? We live within stone’s throw of each other. If we don’t see each other once a day, we still talk at least twice a day, sometimes more.

Close, ya’ll. She’s my best friend, other than my husband. She’s my role model as a woman and a mother.

Why am I saying this at this time? Presently, she’s in the emergency room. My brother called me and said, Mom isn’t feeling well. My mom never says stuff like this. Even when she gets a migraine, she never says stuff like this. I knew she’d been having some issues, but she promised me she was watching them. Now I don’t think she took them seriously enough. I’m kind of mad at that, but what can I do? So when my brother said she wasn’t feeling well, I said “take her to the ER right now.” My dad called their HMO and diddled around on the phone for like 30 minutes. I got my mother on the phone and said, “Tell dad to stop screwing around and take you to the ER. That’s what the ER is for. GO.” When my dad got on the phone, I said, “STOP SCREWING AROUND and take her to the ER. Go. NOW.”

They finally said they were going, so I ran over to their house so I could see her before they left. She looked old and tired, worn out, but she was standing and walking on her own. I walked with her to the car, kissed her, and said to call me. I’d already asked her if I could go with them to the ER and she’d said no. So when my dad asked if I wanted to go with them, I said no. She’s since called from the ER and said that they told her it would be five hours before they could see her. I’m not surprised. I’ve been to that ER a couple of times. It’s horribly busy all the time, and we’re in the midst of the polar vortex thingy…so they are probably seeing cold weather issues, too. I’m angry and upset that she has to sit there for five hours, but if I have to tie her down, she’s staying until they see her. This has gone on too long.

I already told her that I’d come up and spell my dad (and bring him some food because he’s diabetic) in a couple of hours if they are still waiting. I made sure she’s warm enough and doesn’t need anything, then I let her off the phone.

When my brother first let me know she wasn’t feeling well, I started shaking. Adrenaline rush so bad I thought I’d rattle the windows. I talked to Hub on the phone and tried to calm myself. I talked myself into what might be happening to her–something benign but unfamiliar to her–and made myself chill out before I saw her leave. I wanted her to know that I was not freaking out while she was in the ER, potentially having her own anxious moments. And I’m not freaking out…I don’t feel on the edge of a panic attack or anything. But I damn worried, because what she described to me doesn’t sound so benign to me. I’ve already had to clench my hands from googling, because that’d be no damn good for me. Even if I knew what was really wrong with her–not likely to be found out for sure from google anyway–I can’t fix her. So I am NOT going to google.

Which is why I’m blogging. Even though I’ve now come to a halt with it. Dammit.

They literally waited 5 hours to get back to see a doctor. At present, she’s waiting for a CT scan, likely not to get it before midnight. And then they wait for someone to read it before a doctor comes back in. Hub and I went in to sit with my parents for a couple of hours while they were in the waiting room. We brought my dad some food and we kept my mom company so my dad could take a breather. Then we left them again, and within 30 minutes they were taken back to a room. Now they wait…and we wait.

God bless, I want to google so bad I feel like a junkie. But the truth is, I’m scared to. I’m scared to know what might pop up with her symptoms. I’m scared to get any real ideas in my head. I feel really deep inside me that it’s going to be something big, and that thought is so overwhelming.

I called my parents back and talked to my mom so I could tell her what the CT scan is going to be like. She’s never had one and I’ve had several. Luckily, it’s not a major deal…the worst part is the gross contrast drink they make you swallow. I hope it made her feel better to know what was coming…I know I always like to know. I feel so freaking helpless. I want to be there with them, but I need to be able to help later if she needs me. And if I’m there all night, I’ll be completely unable to help tomorrow or later in the early morning. Fortunately, one of my brothers (and his wife) went to be with my parents for a couple of hours when they transported my mom to a different facility (stupid HMOs).

I hope there will be news to report before this posts.

**I’m hopeful after having talked to my parents several times that she’s only dealing with a couple of infections. We’re still awaiting confirmation.

***Yes, infections. She’s getting multiple rounds of antibiotics over the course of about 12 hours. Then they hope to send her home.

****Well, she got transported to a different facility to get a second round of IV antibiotics. They wanted to do another test, but they couldn’t make it happen, so she’s scheduled that for next week. Meantime, she’ll be on two sets of antibiotics to knock out the two infections they found. When she got home, I ran over to see her to make sure she was all right. She was tired but okay. I haven’t spoken to her since, so I hope she’s sleeping. And I hope she takes things a little more seriously after this, and doesn’t wait over a week when symptoms are bad.

Meanwhile, I’m at least proud that I didn’t freak out at all. I didn’t google anything except what one of her medications was, and I made Hub watch me google it. All I did was confirm it was an antibiotic (I’d never heard of it), and then I closed the browser without reading ANYTHING else about it. Hopefully the antibiotics don’t overwhelm her system and she gets better quickly. I was up past 4:30am texting with my brothers and talking to my parents on and off. I got very little sleep overnight, so I’m hoping to turn in early tonight. We’ll see how that works out.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in anxiety, control, ER, family, fear, google, love, stress, worry

 

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Sleep but not rest

I woke up this morning as Hub was getting ready to go downstairs for his breakfast before leaving for work. I found myself flat on my back, arms straight along my sides, my hands curled into light fists. Hub leaned over to kiss me good-bye, we exchanged I love yous, and he left the room. And I laid there, staring at the ceiling, taking inventory of my body. It was just before 8am.

My inventory came back with sucky results. I’d turned off the lights the night before at 11:11pm. It took me a while to fall asleep–which is not unusual–and I know I’d tossed and turned throughout the night. I was up at 6am to go to the bathroom, and luckily I’d fallen back asleep for a while. But again I remember not being able to get comfortable. So my morning inventory told me that I must have curled my toes in my sleep because my toes ached. The fronts and backs of my calves felt sore, like I’d walked a mile overnight. Both my hips ached, which I knew overnight because I had trouble sleeping on either side. Did my hips ache because I’d tried to sleep on them or did I toss and turn so much because they ached before I’d hit the sheets? I don’t know. I did know that I’d tried sleeping curled on both sides because my lower back ached. I thought sleeping on my side in a fetal-type position would ease the ache in my back, but my hips hurt, so I tossed and turned from side to side. My shoulders hurt and so did my neck, probably from sleeping on my back with the pillow wedged beneath my head. My arms were tired from having them shoved under a pillow (bent at the elbow) when I was trying to sleep on my side. My fingers hurt a lot from having them curled into fists. Probably while I slept, the fists were tight, even though at the time of inventory my hands were not tightly fisted. My jaw hurt from clenching and grinding overnight, and my teeth felt sensitive.

Sleep is supposed to restore you and your body. Your muscles require it as much as your mind does. I’ve slept, fitfully and restlessly, and feel absolutely no relief in the morning. I feel like I’ve been someone’s punching bag. With my myofascial pain syndrome, the fascia around my muscles remain taught and hard on an everyday basis…the fascia abusing the muscles beneath them. Without restorative sleep, my muscles don’t repair and the pain snowballs. My snowball is large now, and I’m careening downhill. I wish there was a mattress at the bottom, but even then I’m not sure I’d find rest or comfort.

 

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