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Category Archives: fear

Jet plane, night 2, day 3

Recap of night 1, day 2.

I stayed up reading last night until about 1 am, then fell asleep. Then I was up at 5:45 am and that was it, I was up for the day. I tried to fall back asleep, but couldn’t. I finally got out of bed at 7:30 and fed the dogs, then took them out. Then I went back to bed but was too restless to even doze. I had to be out of the house by 9:30 for my massage, so I just gave up and got dressed at 8:30.

I thought the massage would be good and relaxing–since I did ask for a relaxing massage and not trigger point–but I kind of felt icky and my head felt real stuffy and swollen when I was on my stomach. And my face felt swollen in the face rest thingy. Afterward I was so tired that I had trouble driving home. Then I had to feed the dogs their mid-day meal and take them out. I had hoped to rest after that, but it didn’t work out. I tried reading and watching TV, but the dogs kept wanting to go out so I kept having to get up.

On and off I IM’d with Hub as he was running errands and getting things ready for the wedding. He’s getting kind of irritated with his father at this point. They don’t really get along too well on a regular basis, and their politics are polar opposite. So Hub is feeling edgy and unhappy. He still has to get through tomorrow without going crazy, then tomorrow night late he gets on the plane to come home overnight.

Okay, so I did the dinner thing and fed the dogs and retrieved a wedding invitation from my mailbox from my cousin. I went to check in on my father to see if he got his invitation, then to remind him he needed to try on his suit, in case he needed to buy a new one. Then I came home, I took the dogs out, did their after dinner snacky, took them out again, then sat down to read and play some games on my iPad. I was able to stretch out the evening so I only had to take the dogs out again at 10pm before bedtime. So at 10pm I take them downstairs and outside. One goes one way, the other goes the other way, so I stand just off the deck on our small paver patio to wait for them. Then I see Le Moo sniffing at something on the patio about 3 feet away from me…and I step closer to take another look. It’s cicada time here, so I was thinking it was a live cicada and she was going to try to eat it–experience speaking here–and I was prepared to admonish her. And then I realized it wasn’t a cicada.

It was a goddamn fucking snake.

On my patio, right off my deck, right outside my back door. Last Friday I beat a smaller snake to death out in the yard after I nearly walked on it while picking up dog poop. Fortunately, I spotted it while still about six inches away and I hotfooted it back to the house and grabbed the hard metal rake that had been sitting on the deck. I found the snake in the yard again–out toward the back closer to the fence and the “woods” back there–and I beat that fucker to death. It took me like five minutes because the damn thing wouldn’t die…I think because there are ruts in the grass out there so I wasn’t getting good contact with it. When I was sure it was dead I used the rake to pick it up and I threw it out over the fence into the brush. I hurt my arms, my back, and the back of my legs trying to kill it.

Okay, so back to tonight. The damn snake is on the patio, brazen as you please, bigger than the one from Friday–at least 2 feet long–head up, glaring at Le Moo. Le Moo starts backing away and I order her to go up onto the deck. But Butthead is out on the other side of the snake in the yard, peeing, and she finishes and comes running back and she always runs on the patio. And of course she has to run right past the snake, which she does, but then she does a double-take and goes back… and I’m screaming at her to get away from the damn snake and she’s sniffing right at it because she’s STOOPID. So I finally order her away and both dogs into the house, and I rush into the garage to get a shovel…but by the time I get back outside the fucker is GONE. So now it’s either in the bushes right up against the house and next to the patio, or it’s in the grass somewhere.

So now I gotta go back out there tomorrow, wondering where it is. Is it lurking in the bushes? In the grass? Is it gonna jump out and BITE ME or the dogs? I don’t like killing things. Friday was the first time I’d ever killed a snake…or probably anything other than ants and spiders. Before that, Hub had killed two of them since we’ve lived in this house. We’ve never had snake problems before we moved here. I’m not happy about killing anything. But…

I hate snakes.

I have nightmares about snakes attacking me and biting me and all kindsa shit. I’m NOT good with snakes in my yard. Yes, I know they keep rodents away. Yes, I understand that the snakes in my yard are not likely to be venomous. Yes, I even understand they are not likely to actually bite unless threatened… but guys, it’s a goddamn snake and I am afraid of snakes. I’d rather let the owls and the hawks take care of the rodents and let the snakes go somewhere else. ANYWHERE ELSE. AWAY FROM HERE.

I ordered snake repellent from Amazon, to be delivered sometime tomorrow. It’s not likely to help, I’m aware, but I’m desperate to try anything to keep these things away from the house. I mean hey, live your life out there in the woods Snakey-snakey…just not here in my yard or on my patio or in the goddamn bushes next to my house.

So yeah, day 3 is done. I am managing but I’m damn tired. And I’m not looking forward to the snake nightmares tonight, or the anxiety of watching out for snakes tomorrow in real life. Ugh,

Tomorrow’s notes.

 

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Jet plane, day 1

We dropped Hub off this morning at 4:15am for his flight. After I got home and let the dogs out, I instant messaged with Hub until he boarded the plane at 5:45. By then I’d already fed the dogs and gotten back into bed. I dozed for a few hours, then got up and went about my day. For the most part I felt like Hub was at work and I allowed myself to just be that way. I’ve almost read two books and I pretty much had movies on the TV all day, although mostly they were movies I’d already seen. I had Mama Mia! on the TV maybe three times at random points through the movie, because I like singing those songs and they passed the time more easily. Hairspray was on at least once, too.

I’ve done okay for most of the day. Unfortunately, around 9:30pm tonight, Butthead freaked out and had her tail tucked under and was barking hysterically while backing her way into the bedroom where I was reading and watching TV. I went out into the hallway and checked all the rooms up here (she refused to follow me and instead ran down the stairs), but I have no idea what her major malfunction was. I took them out in the darkness, but luckily it was a little rainy, so both dogs ran out and peed and ran right back to the door to go in. So we kind of settled into the bedroom at that point and after some treats and wandering around, they both have settled in. I suspect they are also exhausted from starting their day at 3am.

I’ve talked to Hub twice on the phone and a few more times on instant messenger. He seems to be okay but the last we talked about an hour ago, he was sounding just exhausted. I hope he’s going to sack out soon, even though it’s pretty early in the evening out there. He said he kept moving his legs around on the plane, even though first class wasn’t as roomy as he’d hoped, and that he felt okay when he deboarded. Is that a word? Deboarded? What else do they call it? Anyway, he says he felt okay and when I talked to him later he said he was feeling okay just tired from the long day.

I was happy to hear from my SIL by phone (I couldn’t figure out the damn facetime thing through FB’s messenger) after she opened my gift to her for her wedding. I crocheted her a blanket that turned out to be about queen size (the pic below is spread out on a king size guest bed) in these amazing colors that made me think of her. Hub’s father said she has walls in her house painted in yellow and orange, so I found this awesome yarn and went to town. Took me several months (and a lot of pain) to get the blanket done, but apparently she loved it a lot. Made me feel like the work was worth it.

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I saw my father earlier when I took the dogs out this afternoon and he reminded me that I could stay at his house overnight or whatever. I said I was going to try to stay home, but if I had any issue I would just hike over there with the dogs and stay there. Around 8:30pm tonight he called to see how I was doing and how my day had gone. Then he reminded me that if I had any trouble I should just let myself into his house no matter what time it was. Then he gave me his late-night schedule so I would know how late he would be awake, but then he told me again to just come over whenever I need to.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sleep tonight or not. I still have some reading left in my second book of the day and a youtube video to watch for a channel I subscribe to. I dunno…I’m locked in the bedroom with the dogs and I’m sure I’m safe (even though I’m kind of worried that I locked the bedroom door and if someone needs to get in here to rescue me for some reason the locked door will be an issue), but it’s still weird. I kind of hope I’ll be tired enough to fall asleep at some point.

I had my regular soup for lunch and leftover takeout for dinner, so eating wasn’t a major issue today. I have more takeout again for tomorrow night’s dinner if I want it, and I (pressure) cooked up a fresh pot of my lunch-soup this morning so I have enough for the rest of the week. It’s boring, but I eat soup most days of the week for lunch because it means I don’t have to think about it. I dump it in a bowl, add some sauteed mushrooms, and nuke it…easy-peasy no thinking. Also, the soup is bean soup, so it’s pretty healthy…protein and fiber and veggies and carbs, all-in-one.

That’s pretty much it for today. One down, three more to go.

Next installment…

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2017 in anxiety, Butthead, control, dad, dogs, fear, food, hub, love, sleep, stress, time, tired

 

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He’s leaving on a jet plane

Fortunately, I know when he’ll be back again.

But right now, that doesn’t really help. Tomorrow morning we’ll be driving Hub to the airport at 4am so he can catch a 6am flight to California for his sister’s wedding. And then I’ll come home and it’ll be me here with the dogs.

I had my appointment with T today and we talked all about this. I’ve got my plans made for the four days and four nights he’ll be gone, which include A LOT OF BOOKS from the library and a massage scheduled for Tuesday. Plus, I figure I’ll be renting lots of movies either from amazon prime or our on-demand cable television. And if things get bad enough, I’ll go spend time at my father’s house with the dogs. Not sure I want to sleep there because taking the dogs and all their paraphernalia will be a pain in the ass. Additionally, T reminded me to text her if I need to talk to her. I suspect I’ll be reading a lot of books to waste the time, both day and night, and napping on and off during all hours. Mostly I’ll be scheduling myself around dogs’ schedules for food and trips outside…and then trying to nap when they are sleeping.

Also, to prepare, we bought a security camera floodlight thing, that alerts me if there’s movement outside the door…and I can open the app and see live video of what’s going on (and it records the video if I miss the alert). It also turns on the floodlights with movement at night, along with low-light live (and recorded) video. So, at least I have that extra bit of security for myself.

Part of what I talked to T about is the fact that I don’t really know how to be without Hub anymore. I know how to be alone when he’s here (or at work), but I don’t know how to be alone when he’s not HERE. I’ve known him for longer than I’ve NOT known him. It’s been years since we’ve had any major separation (4 since his parents’ accident where he was gone for 3 days unexpectedly, but closer to 8 years for anything longer than those couple of days), and at that point I had my parents helping me while I stayed at their house…and we had Sweet Pea, who was easy as pie to take care of. Now I have this big house and I have Butthead, who requires a lot of energy and close watch. And I don’t have my mom nearby to hang out with when I get lonely, sad, or scared.

Another part of my concern is that Hub has health issues. He has diabetes (with minor leg and feet circulation problems), high blood pressures, and has a history of supra-ventricular tachycardia. I mostly am worried about him getting a blood clot in his leg from the traveling in the airplane…and even worse I’m worried that he won’t realize there’s something wrong. Or he’ll think whatever it is that is wrong isn’t a big deal and he’ll ignore it and not get to a doctor. Or that he’ll ignore it and get on the plane to come home and make it worse. The possible thought of losing him–especially considering how hard it’s been to lose my mother–is really overwhelming. I’ve been trying really hard NOT to impose my fears on him. The only thing I suggested is that he try to keep moving his feet and legs around on the plane just because of his circulation issues…and that’s all I said.

The probability of him having any kind of major problem is pretty low. The probability of me having any kind of major problem is pretty low. I have to just keep reminding myself that we’ll get through this. A week from now it will be over and we’ll be back to normal programming.

Until then, I am trying not to judge how I am handling things. I’m going to do my best to do my best, and then whatever happens happens.

(day one post)

 

 

 

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What am I going to do

I’m still feeling lousy. There are days when I barely have the energy to do anything, including feed myself. I force myself to get up, do things, take care of the dogs and myself. In between, I rest. I get outside with the dogs for a 10-20 minute stroll every day around the yard as the weather allows so I am at least moving somewhat. I’ve read a couple of books and I’m trying to do some crocheting in small doses.

But I feel lousy. My imbalance, the nausea, heartburn, fatigue, pain…it’s all still here. Sleeplessness, heat intolerance…I’m hot and cold all the time. Sometimes I feel sweaty when there’s no sweat. Sometimes my hands and feet are sweaty and clammy. Today I have tingling in my fingers and face. And always the pain in various parts of my body. Both shoulders are bad, and for one of them I can’t lift my arm up above shoulder height. I’m eating small amounts of food and feeling full, then feeling hungry again later. Rinse and repeat when I eat again…small amounts of food and feeling full, then hungry again.

Our health insurance doesn’t kick in again until May 1st. Even so, the last time(s) I saw my doctor, she found nothing troubling. It could still be grief. I’m sad a lot, but I’m also exhausted a lot. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m sad or tired. This stuff has all been going on since the beginning of February. It doesn’t seem as if it’s going away…it’s coming up on three months. I can’t imagine it’s just going to disappear anytime soon.

As if I didn’t have enough to think about, the biggest issue looming is that Hub is flying to California soon for his sister’s wedding. He’s going to be gone for five days. And I’m going to be alone, having to take care of myself and the dogs 24/7 for those days. I’m going to be in this big stupid house all by myself, day and night, for five days. I’m going to have to be up early to feed the dogs, and then I’m going to have to be up and alert late to make sure they get out at night before bed. And then I’m going to be alone overnight in the darkness. I haven’t been alone like this since before I first got sick over 17 years ago. The last time Hub traveled–maybe eight years ago–I stayed with my parents with the dog we had at that time so they could help me.

But it’s different now. My mother is gone, and she’s the one who kept everything in line in their house. My heat intolerance is bad and Dad still keeps their house too hot for me, so I’ll feel horrible all day and not sleep at night. Butthead is difficult to keep track of, and I can’t trust my father or my brother to make sure she’s not eating things in the yard late at night or early in the morning.  The friends I have who are local have their own lives, work, families, pets, I can’t ask them to come help me. I considered hiring someone, but having a stranger in the house while I’m here alone is frightening to me. I’ve considered staying up all night and sleeping all day, but the dogs go out multiple times during the day so I’d have to be awake and dressed to do that repeatedly during daylight hours. That means no sleep at night and basically no sleep during the day. I could try to sleep at night but being alone in the house overnight is scary for me and I’m not sure I’ll sleep. Not sleeping will, of course, make everything worse.

This all makes me feel like an invalid. But I’m honestly afraid to be alone 24/7 for five days. I don’t know how I’ll deal with pain and anxiety and exhaustion without any support or reprieve from taking care of the dogs and myself. There are moments when I think I will be able to handle it, and then there are moments when I am positive I won’t be able to handle it. The truth will probably live somewhere in between, in the end. I have avoided thinking about this since February, when Hub bought his tickets, but it’s coming too soon for me to keep pushing it aside.

 

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No Joy Whatsoever

So Saturday the 4th in the evening, I got hit with a wave of exhaustion and wooziness and then weakness that left me feeling like I wasn’t able to stand long enough to even shower. Sunday morning I thought I was okay, but by 2ish, I was feeling the same again. This was more than just feeling tired, it was long past tired. It was close to how I felt the day after my surgery. Exhaustion, severe and overwhelming. Weakness like I had no muscles left after a 100 mile walk in one day. It was beyond beyond.

Monday morning I called my doctor’s office but no joy for an appointment, so Hub and I went off to a local walk-in/urgent care clinic not far from our local hospital. After 2 1/2 hours of waiting, ekg, bloodwork and pee, the doctor (who was wearing a face mask and coughing phlegmy) told me she found nothing in my tests but couldn’t rule out a stroke so I needed to go to the ER.

At 2pm, we checked into the ER and spent the next 5 1/2 hours being pushed from triage, Ekg (again), bloodwork (again), pee (again), the “main” waiting area, then to a small, isolated, windowless room with several other couples and individuals (some of which were contagious based on the fact that two of them were wearing masks–both of which then took off their masks while they were in there with us). This cramped little space is where we sat for another 90 minutes while they gave me IV fluids, while the others around us also sat getting IV treatments…along with two older people slouched over in wheelchairs (where there was no space for them) and another person slept on a chair. They finally found us a room in the ER, where the PA who saw us did a neurology physical test, said probably no stroke and they don’t want to do a CT without a real reason. So she did thyroid test (again) on the bloodwork which came back normal…as did all my blood work from both walk-in clinic and the ER lab. So she sent us home saying I should see a neurologist as a follow-up.

My doctor’s office called the next day and said, “come in so we can talk about what’s going on”, so I did on Thursday. Part way through the appointment (at 3pm), the doctor said “you’re having shortness of breath and leg pain, you need a lung ct and leg ultrasound to rule out DVT and lung blood clot”. Luckily for us, the nurse was able to hustle us an appointment at a local radiology office instead of sending us back to the ER again. Unfortunately, the nurse at my doctor’s office made an appointment for us at the location that was forty minutes away in the “city” versus the one that was ten minutes away and the same distance from our house. And she actually only made the CT appointment, not the leg ultrasound appointment. We were lucky that the person managing the location we went to fit us in for both tests within an hour…and the techs were both very nice about the situation.

The radiology place won’t tell us anything, they just fit us in for both test and sent us home at 4:30. I called my doctor at her office, who said she would call from home and get test results (bcuz her office closes at 5pm) and call me once she has them. She called at about 5:50 to say both tests were normal, for me to pick up in the inhaler she prescribed because my chest had sounded “tight” and she was thinking I might have asthma…and then I should rest, hydrate, and get back in touch if I get worse.

I’m at home, still feeling crappy and tired and weak. I’ve been eating normally, trying to drink as normal as possible, and trying to rest. Because of how badly I was feeling, I had a shitty panic attack Sunday afternoon (before the walk-in/ER visit) that I kept trying to get out of but it just kept recycling when I thought it was over.

Ten days after my appointment with my primary, I went back for a follow-up because I wasn’t feeling much better and the inhaler was giving me leg cramps. The doctor listened to my lungs and pronounced them clear, said I could stop the inhaler, and that I should go home and hydrate and rest some more. She said there’s a virus going around and that it wasn’t unusual for the main complaint to be exhaustion. And in fact, she was leaving shortly after my appointment because she was having the same symptoms I was (although she was also getting a little cough).

So I’m still home, still hydrating, still trying to eat normally, and I’m resting so much I’m tired of resting. Sadly, I’m still feeling really overtired and I have no energy for anything. It’s been a struggle for me to keep up with taking the dogs out repeatedly during the day (and I can’t leave Butthead outside alone because she eats stuff in the grass and then gets sick), and I’ve hardly been able to do more than one or two loads of laundry in a day. Going to the grocery store or to my therapy appointments leave me exhausted. Tomorrow I go for massage  therapy and I have no idea how I’m going to feel afterwards.

And through all of February, my pain has been ramped up. I can’t seem to get around it. My muscles all hurt. My stomach hurts. I’m having lots of trouble sleeping. I haven’t crocheted since January. I haven’t done much of anything since this all started…

Tonight…well, tonight Hub goes for his sleep study to see if he has sleep apnea. That means I get to go out into the dark and the cold tonight to let the dogs out before bedtime. It also means I will be sleeping alone tonight. Not a happy me!

Did I mention that Hub’s job is transitioning now that a bigger corporation bought his smaller employer? Did I also mention (can’t remember if I have) that they’re screwing around and even though we technically have health insurance with the new company we won’t actually have cards until some unknown time in mid-to-late-to-end-of March? So if we get sick or need the ER or to see a doctor or to GET OUR MAMMOGRAM we can’t. Or we pay on our own and maybe the insurance company might reimburse us later for some small portion of the amounts we paid? (*sob*) Talk about anxiety…

 

 

 

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On dogs and doctors and days (long)

It’s been a busy month. Today is the 18th, just FYI.

I got my eyes checked–for the first time in at least six years–only to find that my prescription has barely changed. In fact, the doctor wanted to roll back my prescription a smidge but I declined. I just picked up my new glasses about an hour ago and when I put them on, I felt weird. I think we ended up a tiny bit stronger, but the technician said it could also be the upgraded coating on the lenses that made me feel funky. I’ll have to ease into the new glasses, which is fine because I still have an old pair to use in the meantime. The new glasses have half-frames, so they should be lighter on my face. The second pair of “new” glasses I got are actually one of my old frames with new lenses. I would say it was cheaper to do it that way, but honestly by the time I picked the first set of new frames, I was so freaking tired of looking at frames that I just told her to put new lenses in my old frames. They were in fine condition and they were going to be my back-up pair anyway. Everyone I worked with at the optometrist kept repeating that I had single vision lenses (instead of bi-focals) and they all sounded surprised. Kind of annoying, but honestly the major reason I didn’t go back to get my eyes checked in the last six years is because at 39 years old, the optometrist told me at 40 I’d be needing bi-focals (because that’s “the age”) and I didn’t want bi-focals so I didn’t go back. And here I am, six years later, still no bi-focals. So poo on all of you. Meanwhile, I also hate getting my eyes dilated, but this optometrist had some new-fangled technology that let them take pictures of my eyes and I was able to put off dilation again.

Monday we took Le Moo for her annual “senior” check-up at the vet. We took Butthead, too, because we’d noticed her front two bottom teeth were disappearing. The vet assured me that it wasn’t likely to be the case when we talked in email, but we brought her anyway to make sure. Le Moo is healthy and has lost about 10% of her weight. She went from 94 pounds to 86 pounds, which we are doing on purpose because as she ages she seems to be more prone to limping after running or playing. She’s a big girl and we’ve always had trouble getting her to lose weight, so we gave up and she pretty much maintained a steady weight for all the years we had her. Then we saw the limping issue and we started getting really strict and we’ve noticed it paying off. We’ll keep up with it and try to keep her from injury. The vet looked at Butthead’s teeth and said they aren’t disappearing, the gum is growing up over them. Nothing to do unless it bothers her and so far she hasn’t complained. Unfortunately, the vet is 90 minutes away, so it kind of takes up several hours just going, doing the appointment, and coming home. So Hub’s MLK day off was pretty well used it by that. I’m glad Le Moo is doing well…she’s somewhere around eight years old, which is getting up there in big dog years. And ya’ll know I worry. We’re going to have to get her back to the vet to get her teeth cleaned (she’s got bad teeth, yo), so we’ll be making that trip again in the next month or so. Yay.

So Tuesday was my six month check-up with the gyn onc surgeon. Because of Hub’s status with his company (they got bought out and are in transition), I didn’t want him to have to take a day off to accompany me to an appointment that would likely last less than 15 minutes. So I sent him on his way to work and girded myself for the hour ride to the onc’s office. Under normal circumstances, I would have been nervous but okay to make the trip on my own. I made the appointment for after rush hour and I plotted my route to go on the mostly un-used toll road to avoid further traffic. But…it rained. I knew it was predicted to be “light showers” so I told Hub I’d be fine on my own. When I got on the road it was lightly showering. Ten minutes in, before I even reached the toll road, it was pouring. And I was sweating bullets, hands clutched on the steering wheel, talking myself into being OK. I don’t like driving in the rain and I hate driving on wet roads. I have been in a full 360 degree skid behind the wheel before and it’s not fun, so I try to avoid driving in weather. In addition, the toll road is 60mph, and the highway that I was supposed to be getting on at the other end is 60mph, with lots of traffic. So when I rolled onto the toll road, I basically planted myself three or four car lengths behind a dump truck and kept speed as comfortably as I could. Halfway along the toll road, the dump truck changed lanes and sped off. WTF. But I stayed steady and with the few cars on the road flying around me, I made it along the toll road. At the other end, I decided to exit early onto a main road that cuts through the city that I knew would have lots of traffic lights and lots of cars, but also slower moving. And I splashed my way along for half an hour until I got to my destination. It was a good thing I left early, and I made it with ten minutes to spare at the doctor’s office. The doctor was “only” 45 minutes late (we’ve actually waited for 2 hours for prior appointments!), he spent less than 10 minutes with me…several of those minutes were taken up when I told him my mother had passed and we talked about that. He said everything looked good for me and without any concerning symptoms he had no reason to run any tests. In July I’ll repeat a CT scan as part of my follow-up at my two year mark.

Luckily for the trip home it had stopped raining but the roads were all wet. Even so, I made my way along the major highway back to the toll road, and then meandered along the toll road toward my exit. Unfortunately again, the exit ramp I have to take from the toll road to the highway home is a HUGE flyover, which I don’t even like to drive on DRY pavement. Instead I took the exit for the opposite direction which is a normal exit and I turned around at the first traffic light. And I headed home on more regularly traveled roads, which meant I was more comfortable even though the streets were still wet.

In March I will go for my mammogram. It’s still hard for me to go to these appointments and to know when I get home that I don’t have my mother to talk to about what happened. I thought it would get easier, but so far it hasn’t.

Tomorrow I go for a “consultation” to get my hair did. The salon I selected (different from the one I used last year…partly because the stylist never answered my queries and now because I find out this new salon has more “organic” hair dye) wants me to come in to meet the stylist and to let the stylist see my hair and confirm what I want done. If all is well, I go in early on Saturday to get all the colors. ALL THE COLORS. When I was younger I used to box dye my hair all the time, mostly variations on reds because I didn’t like my plain brown hair. At some point I became too ill physically to dye my hair so I stopped. Then I did it a few more times when I was feeling better, but it was a pain in the ass and everything got all stained (including ME) and I didn’t really love the results, so I stopped again. One year I went and got my hair all chopped off and then I had the salon dye my hair but… well, I wasn’t really keen on how it looked and it seemed like the color washed out pretty quickly and I didn’t want to waste my money.

Only last year did I decide to get something done again and I wanted it to be a little funky to make my mother smile. I got a combo of auburn and violet done, but Mom never noticed and the final look wasn’t as pronounced as I had hoped. Over the past year I haven’t bothered to do anything except let my hair grow out. But after my breast MRI and my colonoscopy and my eye exam, and now my onc follow-up, I knew I wanted to do something fun to celebrate the positive news I’ve been getting. I’ve been stalking Instagram (which I don’t use) for different pictures of what I wanted and I am vacillating between something oil-slick color looking and something more jewel-toned, but there’s definitely gonna be blues and purples and maybe some teal and pink. We’ll see what the stylist says tomorrow. If I can get a picture of before and after, I’ll come back and post them.

I’ve also gone past my birthday. My father asked me three or four times if I wanted to go out to dinner for my birthday (he called around lunchtime) but I kept saying no. I felt bad because I know he likes to go out to dinner and I am sure he felt it was what he could do for me, but I didn’t want to go out. I stood my ground and I thanked him, but said I wanted to chill at home. Hub acquiesced and didn’t do anything special for dinner, but we were together so that was fine. The weather outside was crappy and icy so I was just as happy to stay inside and just BE. My aunt–who doesn’t do so good with the whole grief support thing–called and kept me on the phone for 45 minutes talking about stuff. Two of my three brothers emailed me to wish me happy birthday, and my very old dear friend did the same. But no call from my mom, which was the hardest part. Just knowing the whole day that she wouldn’t be calling and we wouldn’t be talking. It sucked. And now it’s over for another year.

Friday I will literally be in therapy while the inauguration is going on. Like I had planned it that way. The rest of the day I will be avoiding all manner of television and radio and social media. Bleh.

I am still in a pretty good amount of physical pain. The nausea is still around but it feels like less often, so that’s good. Sleep is still sucky. The imbalance is so-so. My jaw pain is still bad, though. Headaches are not quite as bad. I broke down and saw my massage therapist last week so she could work on the TMJ pain, which worked pretty well for about a day. Next week I go back to her for my regular body-work session. One day I’m going to schedule a woo-woo relaxing massage with her because she’s damn good at it (I had one shortly after my mother died as a gift to myself) and I really want it. I wish my insurance covered that shit because it is physically helpfully to me just like physical therapy was, but it’s not covered. And it’s pretty expensive for an appointment…not that I think it’s overpriced. My massage therapist is a boss and hella good at her job…and she works fucking hard to help me. I can’t even imagine how hard it is on HER body to do the work she does! I have no idea if she’s in line with other massage therapists, but I know she earns every damn dollar during our appointments.

I just realized how long this was. I’m gonna end it now. I should have broken this up into separate posts, but in my head it all felt related. Thanks for sticking with me.

 

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Birthdays and grief

My mother’s birthday was a few days before the holidays. As one of my brothers said to me, “I’m sure it’s not creeping up on you, either…” And it wasn’t. T thinks that a lot of my pain and anxiety were around the colonoscopy without my mother being there, and because of my mother’s birthday, and because of the holidays without her.

Yeah, I knew her birthday was coming. I knew it was going to be bad. I also knew I had somewhat of a plan for the day. Before Mom got sick, when she was still crocheting, she hooked up a bunch of preemie hats for our local hospital’s NICU. At the time, it wasn’t a lot of hats, so we kept saying we were holding off before taking them in. After Mom passed, I took all of the small amounts of yarn I had and crocheted more tiny hats. Then I put them all into a bag and left them in my library. Because I knew what I wanted to do.

On Mom’s birthday, I woke up and got dressed. And I called my father to see how he was. He said he was just going to call me because he was going to the cemetery and he wanted to know if I wanted to go. I didn’t really, but I didn’t want him to go alone. So instead of answering him directly, I said if he would take me up to the hospital to drop off the preemie hats, I would go with him to the cemetery. He said okay, so we left about ten minutes later.

At the hospital–where my father’s sister (my aunt) was admitted and stayed for several days, and where my mother went for her lymphedema wraps–I left Dad in the parking lot and I went inside. At the main desk, they checked me in and directed me to the NICU. As I made my way down the hall, I saw someone walk into the elevator, so I hurried to join her so I could save some time waiting for another elevator. Inside, the woman standing across from me smiled, then looked at the bag in my arms and her smile got wider. She asked me if I was bringing hats to the NICU. I said yes, and her eyes seemed to sparkle. She was heading for the NICU herself…she had twin girls who had been born before Thanksgiving–when they were due after Christmas. I said congratulations and I hoped they were doing well, which she said they were. And she told me, “They brought me to see the girls for the first time, and there they were in hand-knitted hats, and it just made my heart skip a beat. That someone out there did that for me and for them, complete strangers!” Her smile was so big.

When the elevator doors opened, I walked with her down the hall and into the NICU waiting area. I wished her luck and she disappeared behind a door that the nurse unlocked for her. I approached the nurse, who was behind a glass windowed reception area, and I put my bag of 40 hats on the counter in between us. And I announced that I was there to drop off crocheted hats for the babies. In all sizes, all colors, all different types of yarns. The nurse smiled and took the bag, then started going through the hats. She oohed and ahhed over some of them, and even rubbed a few on her cheek and said how soft they were. She told me how wonderful if it was to have them, and wanted to know “how many women are there in your group that made these?” I laughed and said it was just my mom and me. The sweet woman said, “oh my goodness, please give your mom a hug for me!”

I basically nodded and smiled, gave a wave, and left the unit for the safety of the hallway. It was hard. I tried not to cry as I made my way back through the hospital and out to the car where my father was waiting. Fortunately, he was busy navigating the parking lot and trying to figure out the best way to get to the cemetery, so our conversation was pretty sparse.

When we were done and I was home, I cried. I cried because those were the last hats I had from her. I cried because I missed her. I cried because I hated where I was in my life without her.

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When my mom was going through chemo, I made her a bunch of hats for her to wear after she lost her hair. Years ago, probably six or seven years, before I was crocheting, she was supposed to crochet me an open-weave sweater to wear over a tank top. She never got to it, for various reasons. I don’t even know what happened to the yarn we picked out. She crocheted me a shawl for my brother’s wedding, and added crocheted sleeves to an evening gown for my cousin’s black-tie wedding. So I really have nothing I can wear that she made for me. I wish I did. The last thing she crocheted was a lap blanket that she was expecting to donate, but a few days after she died, I took it. I wrapped it up in tissue paper and put it into a plastic bag that a set of sheets came in, and I put it away in my guest room. It’s in a drawer in my grandparents’ dresser. It’s ugly as sin color-wise, but I can’t bear to part with it. I also have a ruffled ball that was supposed to be for a baby that was a test-project. It’s on a shelf in my bookcase hidden behind some doors with the perfume that I took from her bathroom drawers a few months after she died.

I honored my  mom as best I could on her birthday. My birthday is coming up soon. Hub usually cooks me a special dinner and he’s been asking me what I want to eat. I kept putting him off, because I honestly do not want to celebrate my birthday. I finally told him I didn’t want anything special on my birthday because I didn’t want to have my birthday. I don’t even want it to be acknowledged, because it’s just another reminder to me that she isn’t here with me. Last year she was in brain radiation on my birthday…she was just getting over the symptoms of the brain mets. We were dealing with the lawyer trying to get my parents’ trusts all finalized and stuff.

Last year, five days before my birthday, I had to call an ambulance at 11pm for Hub because he had an episode of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) where his heart rate was sustained up around 225 or 250bpm. They had to stop his heart twice with medication to get it reset. We went to his follow-up appointment with his cardiologist on my birthday.

Right now, I’m in pain. My arms and back and neck and shoulders hurt. I have headaches on an almost daily basis for multiple hours at a time. My hips hurt when I try to sleep. I still have nausea. I still have jaw pain. I still have anxiety over the jaw pain, though it’s not as persistent as it was in the past few weeks. I’m not sleeping much and I’m not crocheting because I hurt too much.

I don’t want to celebrate. Right now I just want the days to be days, so I don’t have to be so sad.

 

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