Sunday, December 29, 2013

Just Before the End

The old year is quickly coming to a close and I can't say I'm sorry. It has been mostly horrible for me. I had about three months when I felt close to wonderful and thought I might survive. I've been sick since just after Thanksgiving, most of this holiday season in fact, with headaches and severe pains in my neck. I've bought another pillow looking for relief. Too soon to tell. It is a memory foam neck pillow. Last night I used it and woke up this morning without it. So, not sure it's going to work.

I do have less RA related pain. I'm taking the Plaquanil once a day, Metheltrexate once a week, and 8 hour pain relief acetaminophen three times a day. Works better than the Lodine I was taking twice a day without the stomach burn. I still have some pain but it is considerable less. We'll see.

Tomorrow is a work day for me. I only work three days this week so that's a blessing. Next week I'll work four and then head to Arkansas for David's wedding on the Jan 11. I'll come back home on the 12 but I took some extra days off to recover from that horribly long drive.

Tomorrow is my baby boy's birthday. Must remember to call him. He'll be 30 years old. I wish I had a photo scanned of him to post. He was such a wonderful baby.

I've very annoyed with myself. I've been able to do a lot of crochet because it only requires that I sit quietly and there's very little strain on my neck. However, I've had to stay off the computer and no writing. It was simply unbearable to do either for very long. I'm going to have to find some sort of chair that supports my back, neck and head someway. My aunt suggested a recliner but my experience is that reclining while trying to read is one of the most painful things I've done. I have to be sitting upright, with my head perfectly aligned to avoid pain. Looking down at a book is painful. Holding one in a useful position is painful. Turning my head is painful. Any deviation from upright and straight ahead for more than a few minutes and I'm in bad shape.

Regardless of all that, I've set myself a goal for the new year to schedule writing and to write more. It's over on the other blog "Writing My Life Away" if you're interested. The link is above but don't feel obligated. I'll post progress reports there. . . {sigh} if there are any. This neck problem is causing collateral damage I'm displeased about.

All right, I'm off now. I only popped in to update those who are interested. No idea who is out there as there are seldom any comments.

Happy New Year to everyone, in case I don't get back before then.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Lost

I don't know why this was never posted. I wrote it five days before the holiday. Maybe I thought it was too depressing. That's never been a problem for me. Maybe I didn't want to be a whiner this year. Or maybe I didn't care even about this. But whatever, I'm not trashing it. So, months later, here it is in all is dark glory.

I looked around my house today and realized there wasn't a single sign of Christmas. Nothing. Not one decoration, no tree, no garlands, no lights. Not a sign that there is a holiday anywhere in sight, unless you count the wrapping paper from last year in the closet or the Christmas cards on the back of my front door from the family and the four or five actual friends. I hadn't realized that was a tradition until Sarah mentioned it the other night. "Mawmaw, you have your cards up on the door. You do that every year." She's only seven and for her, they've always been there. There are fewer cards each year. I can remember when it was covered top to bottom. I doubt she'll notice they are fewer since Jerry died. Haven't quite got a reasonable explanation so it is probably good they just are tapering off.

I have scads of Christmas music and considered putting it on the other night but decided on something with no holiday theme. I haven't made one trip to the store to shop. I haven't bought one gift for anyone but Sarah and I told Mike what to get and it is in my trunk. I'll send him for gift cards or get them myself this weekend. David won't be home for Christmas and I'll have to get their's then.

Yes, I know it is five days until Christmas. I really don't care. Each year I've delayed putting up anything until the day before. Last year I decorated on Dec 24th and took it down a day or so later. This year, I suspect, I won't do it at all. I considered buying a new tree but it'd be a waste of money. Mine is 25 years old. Everyone says I should toss it. I figure it will last as long as I do and then they can do what they like.

It is supposed to be a season of joy and celebration. I'll be glad to have my son home for Saturday and Sunday.  Sarah will leave for three weeks to be with him. So, Christmas Day I will get up at some point in the day and spend it sitting in a chair staring out the front window at a warm, sunny day or an overcast cold one. I'll do it alone. I have no desire to cook a holiday meal for one. I'll buy myself something just so I can answer the questions people ask when you come back to work. I've been trying to figure out what to buy. I bought tires for my car so could just go with that. That's hard because the things I want are impossible to obtain.

I remember decorating the tree with Mama when I was Sarah's age. I remember how much fun it was and how exciting to see presents from people and to open them. I remember how the stores smelled wonderful and since we had a live tree, the house did, too. The only people who ever bought me presents was my aunt and uncle and my sister. Jerry always waited until the 24th then ran out to try and find a gift and couldn't. So I usually ended up with gloves, a robe, or a gift card if any thing. No, he didn't buy me gifts, or rarely, not even birthday gifts. Really. I finally started buying my own and putting them under the tree. I remember how disappointed I was when I realized he wasn't going to be that person. Anyway, I feel none of that and wonder if something is wrong. I don't think so. I think I've reached a place where there isn't much to celebrate. Every day is pretty much like the one before, determined by pain levels. If they're fairly low, I can function and actually do something, like laundry or cleaning the bathroom. I might get the last two weeks laundry put away while I wash this week's. If they're not, I have to figure out how to get through one more night and hope that tomorrow it hurts less.

And then there is this sense of vacancy. There is this huge, yawning, black hole that appears on the horizon in November. No light escapes it and everything is sucked into it. NaNo keeps it at bay but ultimately, in December it begins its ascent. It will reach zenith sometime around January 29 and begin to slid into the abyss by the end of February. The days will be long and blacker than the backside of hell.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Slaying Dragons

St. George Slaying the Dragon
by Hans Von Aachen
I'm in that place that I live each year around this time of year. The Dead Zone is a good title for it. It starts mid-November and doesn't end until sometime around the end of February. I hate four months of the year. Isn't that crazy? I never get over the feeling that part of me has disappeared, probably the best part of me.

During these four months, the sensation of being broken in half is stronger, the edges seem sharper and more jagged. Even my personality feels as if part of it is missing. I am a whole person in the mirror. I can see a whole person but there's that gaping hole that I can sense.

I've analyzed this repeatedly and find it is no easier to understand. I was and continue to be very individualistic and independent. I handled international moves, the demands of the military on my family, a disabled child, and finally a disabled spouse. I should be able to handled life now that I'm alone. But I can't seem to function as whole person either.

Five years later life decisions are still nightmare to deal with and just the thought of them can cause severe anxiety. Crises throw me into a panic. Disrupted schedules and clutter send me reeling. They're all dragons before me. The final insult is that I get sick and there is absolutely no one to call. No one will be there to check on me if I need help. I spend time wondering what happens if I can't call for help? It is a question I have late in the night, the very time you don't want such questions. Just another dragon.

What I'm really hoping for is that there is this magic hour, day, week, month, or year when I'll wake up, open my eyes and find that the feeling of something missing won't be there. There won't be the feeling of a gaping wound that never heals. Instead, I'll be strong and competent and able to slay my own dragons.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Month of Stuff

It has been a busy and rough couple of weeks. I finished NaNoWriMo four days early. In the past I've finished as early as a couple of days but not four days. It was a nice feeling, in addition to getting the 50k goal. I couldn't have done it, I suspect, without the online write-ins we had over on Mibbit.

We had to move Mike over the course of two Sundays. The only common day off we share is Sunday so it had to be done. One guy showed up to help him on the Sunday before the holiday weekend. They moved everything into my garage. We left the boxes and small items in the old unit until Thanksgiving weekend. Then, they let him start putting things in the unit on Wednesday. It was very good of them and saved us a bundle in truck rental and time.

Thanksgiving I spent alone. Mike and my sister worked. Mike and I spent Friday cleaning and moving stuff from his old place. My aunt and uncle drove up from Atlanta on Friday. That's a very long trip for them. They're in their mid-70's. I'm not that old and driving down to visit is rough on me.

Saturday, my aunt and I finished the cleaning up the old place while Mike finished moving the boxes and other small items to the new one. On Sunday we rented the UHaul pickup again and started moving stuff from the garage to his new place. My uncle took care of Sarah on Saturday and Sunday for us to move Mike. So, here we are, my sister, my aunt, my ex-daughter-in-law, me, and Mike. We left my aunt and sister at his new place putting away the stuff Mike had moved on the car while me, Becca, and Mike used the U-Haul to move furniture. My sister and aunt were neither able to do that lifting. I had no choice but at least Becca came to help.

Sunday night I had to pay the piper. I had severe leg cramps in both legs and sciatica in my lower back, probably causing the cramps. I didn't sleep much, if any. I got up on Monday barely able to move. My aunt and uncle left around 7:30 and I took Sarah to school. I could barely walk I hurt so bad and although I was dressed for work, I called in sick and went back to bed. I spent most of the day lying on the sofa sleeping. My back was moderately better Tuesday morning.

As a result of all my efforts, I've been slammed with swollen hands, knees, and feet resulting from severe inflammation. RA at its worst crept up on me on Sunday night. My hands and feet felt as if they were stinging (the same feeling you get when you run water that is too hot on your hands) and painful to flex my fingers. . That's inflammation. I'm tired. I want to just curl up and go to sleep. I've been having an escalation of these issues for a few months now.

Instead, I went to work every day. Today I had an appointment with my RA doctor. She's going to give me a steroid pack and start me on metheltrixate. I see no alternative. I've tried to avoid it but I'm in such pain right now that it is just too much.

Today, I just want to come home and close my eyes. For several hours.