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Jet plane, night 3, day 4

Yesterday’s blather.

My brother (#2 with the cray-cray ex) called me last evening to see how I was doing. I was kind of surprised but pleased, because I didn’t expect it from him. My father has been checking on me by phone, too.

I did okay last night, though I stayed up late again. I didn’t have any snake nightmares that I remember, but I was so damn exhausted when I turned off the lights and TV that I probably didn’t have the energy to dream. I was up on time to feed the dogs this morning and take them out. No sign of the snake, but I didn’t hang around looking for it either!

After that, I went back to bed, hoping that I could waste some hours by sleeping. I dozed on and off for a couple of hours, but Butthead decided I needed to get my ass out of bed (bark bark bark bark bark bark), so I gave up. Today was the slowest and least active day of the four. I didn’t cook anything or bake anything or clean anything. I ate soup for lunch and leftover takeout food for dinner. And I had gelato as a snack this afternoon because I wanted it.

The snake repellent showed up via Amazon one day delivery. I immediately took it out and sprinkled the smelly crap all over the garden and bushes up against the house. I think the smell kind of freaked out Butthead, but that doesn’t take much. I have no clue if it’ll work, but I guess it makes me feel slightly better to try doing something.

I went to visit my father (which I’ve done every day over these past four days) and spent a little time chatting with him. I talked to Hub a few times, but he’s been busy site-seeing and hanging out with his father and sister. Soon he’ll be on the plane heading home…and I couldn’t be happier. I hope the flight is swift and easy and he can rest as he wings his way home.

Took the dogs out at 10pm and saw no snakes. That was good news. Of course, I let them pee and hurried them back into the house. When Hub is home, he allows Le Moo to lounge on the patio for a while at 10ish, but I wasn’t letting her get away with that. Especially with the potential for snake-lurking.

I’ve got half a book to read, so once it’s done I’ll turn out the lights and try to sleep for a couple of hours. I have my alarm set to get up in the morning and to call my father to wake him. He’ll drive to the airport with me to pick up Hub, since I don’t like to drive the interstate to get to the airport. I mean, I could do it, but I don’t like to and my father likes to help when he can.

I’ll feed the mutts before we head out in the morning, so once Hub gets home he’ll be able to crash and try to get some rest and hopefully ward off too much jet lag. I can’t wait for this night to be over.

Thanks for sticking with me, ya’ll. I really blogged this week so I can remind myself that I was able to do this if I ever have to look back. But honestly, it did help to know you all were rooting for me, too!

Onward with night 4. It leads to a homecoming.

 

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Jet plane, night 1 day 2

Day 1 recap.

Last night could have been worse, I guess. I stayed up later than usual–about 1am–but by then I was so tired from being up at 3am and on the going mostly since then that I was able to doze off for a couple of hours at 1. Then I slept fitfully after that, waking up just before my alarm time to feed the dogs. I hit snooze and laid in bed a bit longer…until Butthead woke up and went over to Hub’s side of the bed and began poking at the comforter. I had to try to explain to her that he wasn’t there (did she think he snuck in overnight sometime and she didn’t notice??), but she didn’t seem convinced. It took me a few minutes to get her to follow me downstairs so I could feed her and Le Moo breakfast. After their breakfast and a trip outside, I went back upstairs to bed and dozed for another hour or so.

Today I pretty much distracted myself by chopping and sauteeing a ton of mushrooms to add to my soup when I nuke it for lunch. Then I ate lunch and read a book. I found a Gidget marathon on television, which I pretty much left on all day and only turned off about ten minutes ago and only because it ENDED. At some point after lunch I tried to make my (in)famous peanut butter cookies for the brother who installed my floodlight cam, but I used low fat peanut butter (at his request) instead of regular peanut butter and the cookies came out flat. I have no idea what the issue was, but my brother said they still tasted good, they were just flat instead of puffy. When I took the bags of cookies over to my father’s house for my brother, I stayed for a while to talk about some stuff with Dad. Then we took pictures of some junk he wanted to try to sell on Craigslist (I hate CL) and I came home and listed them. Then I sent some curse-filled email responses to some spammers who responded almost immediately to one of the listings. So that was fun.

Then I read another book and half-watched/half-listened to more episodes of Gidget until it was time for dinner. Fed the dogs, outed the dogs, cleaned up after the dogs’ outing, then made myself some dinner. Half leftovers, half food I cooked myself. While I was eating, my brother sent me a text with a picture of a teeny tiny baby deer that was curled up next to his house. He spotted it while he was mowing and was concerned it was injured.

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By the time Dad and Brother went inside to find a phone number for animal control and then returned outside, the little booger had disappeared. I suspect it was hiding there in the “tall” grass waiting until the riding mower stopped and the stupid people disappeared. We have a pretty big herd of deer living in our back property, so I assume this little baby got separated and was waiting for mama to return for it.

At this point, I’m tucked in upstairs after taking the dogs out a couple of more times during the evening. The hall lights are on, the bedroom door is locked, the dogs have finally settled in. I’m pretty sure both dogs are confused as to where Hub is, but no matter how much I explain they just give me the same look. Right now I’m tired and in some pain from all the extra activity, but I’m managing.

I’ve heard from Hub a couple of times today. He didn’t sleep well last night–he never does away from home–and his schedule today with his father seemed…odd. They “ran errands” and did a little bit of touristy site-seeing of some beaches. His father was SO hyped to have Hub out there to visit, but they don’t seem to be doing much. And Hub is counting the days to getting back home more than I am. Tomorrow evening is the wedding, so they won’t be doing much else other than that.

I’ve got another book here with me and I’ve got the nightly news on TV. I might rent or catch a movie on TV after the news until I’m too tired to stay awake anymore. Last night I caught the tail end/hour of YaYa Sisiterhood because I couldn’t find anything else. Tonight…well who knows? Tomorrow I go to see my massage therapist in the morning, but I’m getting a RELAXING massage instead of trigger point. Something to look forward to.

Day 2 completed, night 1 completed. I’m almost halfway through. I can do this.

Tomorrow’s low-down.

 
 

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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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Finding connections

I wasn’t sure what to do this year about mother’s day. Last year I sent Hub off to his mother’s house without me, and I spent part of the day with my brother and his then wife (now ex-wife). I talked with T about this on Friday, because I feel some guilt about not going to my mother-in-law’s to be with her, but I just am not ready yet this year. I know she understands–as does Hub–but I am at heart a people-pleaser, and so the guilt sat heavy with me. In the end, though, I couldn’t make myself go.

My father had mentioned to me Friday evening that he was going to go to the cemetery to visit my mother’s grave and he asked if I wanted to go. I didn’t answer him at that point, but Sunday morning when I saw him, he brought it up again. He said he knew it made me feel “uncomfortable”, but he wanted to make the offer for me to join him. I tried to be gentle in responding when I said to him, “I don’t feel uncomfortable about going, but the truth is, I don’t feel a connection to Mom there. I don’t feel it to Nana and Papa, either…it doesn’t work that way for me.” (my grandparents are buried in the plots next to my mother). For real, I feel more of a connection to my mother in her “den” closet, where she had a bunch of books stashed on a bookshelf…gardening, trees, cookbooks…I stumbled on them at one point and ended up crying. Because that’s my mother. The cemetery is just a marker for her physical body’s last resting place, but it has no history for me with her. My father only said OK and that he was okay to go alone, which I had to trust was true.

Somewhere around ten a.m., I texted my brother (the one with the ex-wife) to see what he was doing that afternoon. He said “nothing”, so I asked if he wanted to do something. What I really wanted to do was go back to the nursery where Mom and I used to go all the time, and where he and I went after she died. I also offered up the opportunity for him to come to my house to help me bake peanut butter cookies, which he (and my other brother) scarf up as fast as I can make them. His response was a preference to go to the garden center, so in some corner of my mind I knew it was the right thing to do. Even Hub said as much when I told him my plans for the afternoon while he was with his mother…he said my mom would be happy to know I was spending time there with my brother.

So after lunch, my brother and I set out for the nursery, which is about 20 minutes away. We talked a lot in the car about how he’s been doing with his depression and his medication, as well as some other health issues he’s dealing with. But once at the nursery, we talked about plants. We walked around the big place for about two hours–which leaves me exhausted and in pain today unfortunately–just chattering and touching plants and gagging over the high prices. We bought absolutely nothing, but it was worth the time and energy and pain, because it felt right. This brother and I, we have always been the closest of the siblings–with the exception of his married life where he withdrew from the whole family…and even then I tried to stay in touch with him as much as it was possible–so this connection felt good to renew. I know he’s struggling with his depression and his newly single life and his desire for a partner and…well, lots of stuff. And part of today was to remind him that he’s not alone. Doing that for my mom and for him made the day work for me.

I miss my mother so terribly. Every day. I feel like my identity without her has been lost. I don’t know how to get it back…yet. I’m still searching, and maybe someday I’ll find my purpose again.

I described (to T and a friend) the run-up to mother’s day as “being poked with a cattle prod when you’re already on fire”…and it’s true. That’s so much how I felt with all the television commercials and the holiday displays in all the stores and the radio commercials and facebook and instagram and on and on. I worry that it will always feel this way, this painful, this sad, this lost. Living without my mom has changed my life and changed me at my core. I don’t know how to adjust to that, or that adjustment is even possible. Somehow, I have to find a way forward. Last night I watched Bad Moms on television while Hub was still at his mother’s. There’s a point in the movie where Mila Kunis is talking to her movie daughter and she basically says, “I know you can make it through this because I’m your mother and I know what you’re made of.” It was such a dumb, funny, stupid, crazy movie, but that scene and those words (which I can’t remember exactly) really hit me hard. I know my mother believed in me and believed in my strength and my ability to persist. I hope I can find a way to continue to make her proud in that aspect as I try to find my way.


 

As a minor update, I finished all my bactrim pills successfully. I don’t know how much I feel better, but so far it seems the smell is gone, so I take that as success. I wasn’t too much more itchy the last day and half, so that was good. My stomach isn’t entirely back to normal yet, but I know the bactrim stays in your system for several days following the last pill. So hopefully another couple of days and my stomach will be better.

 

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Bactrim blues

So I’ve taken six pills so far for what my doctor diagnosed as a sinus infection.  I wanted to make note of what has been happening with the bactrim, at least for my future reference. Here’s what my historical experience prepared me for:

Upon getting my ABs, I come home and go look up my blog post from when I had to take these particular ABs, and I apparently have nausea, bad taste in my mouth, and dry mouth (editing to add, and dry/itchy eyes near to the end of the course of ABs) to look forward to for ten days at least. Two pills a day over ten days.

I’m definitely getting a lot of heartburn/acid reflux. My appetite is nil and the nausea is there for sure. My stomach hurts almost all the time, but that could also be from the acid reflux/heartburn. What is also a bit distressing is that last night before dinner (after the 4th pill at 9:30am that morning), I had a really bad hot flush on my face and ear, and I had anxiety. I’m not sure if the anxiety came from the hot flush or from the ABs. So I took another pill this morning at about the same time as yesterday…and tonight the hot flush started again before dinner. I didn’t even wait this time, I just got a cold pack and put it on my face until I was pretty well frozen. I didn’t get the anxiety, but I also stopped the hot flush early on, so maybe I stopped the anxiety before it started.

There’s no discernible change in the smell issue, yet. I’ve been trying to use different essential oils to distract myself from the smell (I just realized I had some good oils downstairs I could use…brown sugar and vanilla!), but it doesn’t last long.

Last night we invited my father over for dinner since my brother (the one that lives with him) is out of town for several days. Then tonight we went out for burgers with him and my other brother. Tomorrow Dad’s going to the grocery store with us in the morning, basically because he’s tired of being stuck in the house alone. He and I talked about how hard it is to be alone in the house all the time (while his house-mate is out of town), and I told him how concerned I am about being alone when Hub goes away. I told him I might end up sleeping there at night and he said if I did then they would be able to help me with the dogs in the early morning hours. I said I’d let him know. I’ve been going out for walks every day and when I get to his house, I call him to tell him to send his dog into the yard with us…sometimes he comes out to chat at that point. It’s hard because I used to do this to go hang out with Mom…and it’s not as easy to find things to talk about with Dad all the time. But I’m trying t keep up with the walking outside, so if he wants to chat with me he’ll have the opportunity.

I’m really tired of feeling so crappy. I want to regain my energy. I want to move forward.

 

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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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