Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tick, Tick, Tick

For a weeks I've been counting down and watching the days roll by with increasing uneasiness and concern. There is nothing I can do to stop it and if I'm honest, I don't want to stop it. It is rather like a time bomb. 

We've all seen these movies where there is this clock with red numbers and they change with painful rapidity while the characters move with excruciating slowness. Viewers across the country are on the edge of their seat, pulling their hair, shaking their fist, shrieking at the screen. "HURRY! HURRY! HURRY!" As if in answer to all those screaming fans, something inevitably happens that causes the clock to start ticking down faster. I know it is just a tool to build tension but it is still amusing. 

And that is what this feels like waiting for my last day at work. Sitting here in my house each evening and looking at the calendar, the counter of the bomb, counting the days down until ... something eventful happens. Mentally, I'm screaming, "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" Unlike the plot device in the movie, time creeps along, defying me. Do I really want it to hurry? 

I suppose in a way there are two countdown timers I'm watching. In terms of my health, peace of mind, relief.... it should be exciting. For weeks I've thought about what I'll have time to do now. I can write, sew, crochet, travel, spend time working on things in the house, get involved in some new ventures. One friend said NaNo this year should be awesome. Of course, there can be no monetary cost involved in anything I do. Which brings me to things I won't be doing, the other clock. 

When I look at the dollars and cents, the disaster becomes epic. I can't get sick. Gone is that nice medical plan that kept me from bankruptcy. Gone is the income that kept my car running, my air conditioner running, the faucets from leaking, and repaired house damage. No hope of ever traveling more than 20 miles after September. 

If all those things were so important, why did I walk away from the best economic situation I'll ever have? Because there is going to be a time when I can't do any of those things I love, even if I had the money. The chances are high that I won't be able to walk in the yard or anywhere. I won't be able to type an email, let alone write a story. I won't be able to use crochet hooks and already it is doubtful how much sewing I will be able to do with my neck problem. I don't travel now because of work. Working on the house, well, I've not been able to do that for a while.

So, why did I quit my job?

Pick up a salt shaker and hold it upside down about a foot from the table. Watch as the grains of salt pour out the holes and bounce away on the surface beneath. There is no neat pile of salt. It bounces in all directions and you'll be unable to get it back into the bottle, probably not even in a tidy pile. Time is pretty much like that. It pours out like raindrops or salt crystals, scattering all over the place, disappearing forever, irretrievable. An hour glass you just flip over and you've got another hour. Life is nothing like an hour glass. There are no extra hours or days or weeks. There is just now. And now is all you get.

I've spent a lot of time in the last five and a half years trying to find my life again, trying to regain a sense of who I am and what I'm doing here. Once I was whole person, with a purpose, and then I was a shattered vessel, fit for nothing. I kept working because I thought it was the only way to survive and survival was all I could think about. Just get through today. Just get through today. Just get through today. Every day for 2006 days that's been all I've said. Every day. Sitting on the side of my bed with pain, first grief and then sickness, twisting me in knots and all I could think about was getting though one more day. Just get through today. For 2006 days. 

Can you imaging living just to get through the day? So, I quit my job because I can't get through today. After months of struggling with pain so terrible I began to pray that I would not pray to die, after months dealing with a management who denied me time off to get better, who continued to pile more and more on me despite my pleas for help I decided what mattered more than security. 

I realized that somewhere buried beneath all of the rubble and shattered remains of my life is a battered body with a beating heart. Soon enough it won't be and if I continue doing what I've been doing, it will be sooner rather than later. I don't know when I decided that was what was really important. Maybe it was in the misdst of a meltdown when I used words I would never use anytime or anywhere. Maybe it was when I looked in the mirror and saw someone I didn't recognize because of the hollow look in her eyes. Maybe it was the day I could hardly walk from my bed to the bathroom. I don't know. I just know that one day in July I sat down and wrote my resignation and something shifted and I began to dig out of my collapsed life. 

So, the clock is ticking. I have no idea what happens when it stops. I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter. There is already less debris between me and the blue sky. This is probably the first decision I've made in 2006 days that was done just because I chose to do it. That means something. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Optimism is a Blue Suit

I'm not sure how this will go. I am trying to type with my middle finger wrapped in bandage and tape. No, it isn't broken, cut, or sprained. The bandage is a medicine patch that I generally put on my neck, back, or hip. It had diflocan in and helps with joint inflammation. This particular finger is really hurting so I cut the patch to fit, taped it on, and now we wait and see if it helps. 

Unfortunately, I can't do this every place it hurts. There is a limit to the use of the patch. I can only keep it on for 12 hours. I can change it out then but only 12 hrs at a time. Most places it doesn't stick well... the patch itself is sticky and normally, on my hip or back, doesn't need tape. However, on places like my neck and finger, tape is necesary. 

I've not felt well for more than a week now. After I stopped the steroids, pain returned. The doxepin I took to help me sleep has helped with some of the pain, I think but it leaves me feeling depressed and tired. I've never used it for long term pain much and when I do, I don't like the effects of it. No pain but very mentally sluggish, with a heaping of depression. But it works on pain.

They are going to send me for something called an EMG B/L UE. Anyone have a clue? Me either. I told them they better get any test they wanted out of the way before the end of August because that is when my insurance with the company stops. 

I'm annoyed my whole day was spent in a fog and not feeling well. I woke up to terrible pain and I thought I was going to have to go back to bed. I was exhausted. I didn't take the doxepin last night for the above reasons. I got my coffee and in about an hour I was mobile and it was such a stunningly beautiful day I made myself go walk two miles. I wasn't feeling at all well when I finished. I had a migraine starting and had to take an Imetrix. Mike and I went to lunch at the Mexican place. I was really sick from the Imetrix by then but eating helped with the head. 

I can't believe this weather we're having this summer. I feel like I'm in the wrong place. And I hate having to work during this time. Watch, August will be a monster heat wave and I won't be able to leave the house. 

I'm not sure I'm going to meet my Camp NaNo goals. My hands have been a mess and until I get it figured out, I have to be careful how much time I spend on the computer. Se la vive. French for everything pretty much sucks.

I'd like to stop feeling so negative about everything. Mike told me, "Two weeks and you won't be working. Are you nervous?" I thought about it and gave the pat response. "It is what it is." I'm terrified and I don't care. Two halves of the same whole. I've sat and wondered what would happen if it all goes south. My car is paid for and the seats lie back. I have a nice tent, plenty of cookware, and camp grounds are relatively cheap by the week. 

I haven't really thought any of this through. Quitting is truly the most, proably only, spontaneous thing I've ever done in my life. Well, after marrying my husband after only month and that worked out pretty good. There ought to be something good come out of such a feat. Since I can't see beyond this second, I have no idea. 

Mike came and cut the yard and did a very good job. I have a new weed trimmer, an electric one, which I've always preferred. He was so shocked at how much easier it was to use than the gas one he out did himself on the trimming. I've never seen him do so well. Afterward, we sat on the back patio and had supper and enjoyed the twilight under the red umbrella. For just a little while, there was nothing to worry about.

Optimism is not my strong suit. The color is all wrong.. blue, like the sky. I generally wear black.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

No Worse Than Death

Recently, I've had two old friends die. My mentor and writing teacher, Ron, and the other was Kathy, the wife of our pastor in Germany. There are some good memories of our times with the Brooks in Frankfurt, Germany. His post brought some of them back to life. The loss of his wife is taking its toll and  I was struck again by the commonality of death. 

Jerry died in 2009 and I spent a good portion of the evening reviewing my blogs for that year. I've done this a couple of times over the last 5 years and they're not easy to read. Over time, I gain distance. Reading them, I can remember the events as clearly as if it were yeasterday and I can still feel the searing emotions but through a filter now. My mind has erected the necessary sheilds to prevent me from reliving them too sharply. I am not over it. The pain is still there. The darkness lurks around the corners and threatens. Sometimes, even now, it steps out to engulf me. The way out is shorter but no less painful. 

When I sit here in the house sometimes, the silence is a reminder of how empty life really is and how most of our existance is built on filling the spaces we inhabit. We think it is cars, houses, electronic toys, vacations to exotic places, and parties. But when you watch those you share life with disappear and the things still remain, your vision become so clear about what matters. When we are living our lives we tend to just ... live. We don't think about them ending or changing. We've plotted a course and we expect it to go the way we planned. And then... it doesn't. And we end up lost and looking for a map. We struggle to make sense of it but we really are totally lost. Nothing prepares us for it.

In the last couple of weeks I've made life altering decisions that I can't undo. I don't acutally have a desire to undo them. I'm worried because I don't know what I'm going to do, where I'm going to end up. I have no plan of action. I acted on instinct, driven by desperation and pain. And I don't care. I think that is the most stunning revelation for me. I just don't care.

Am I afraid? Yes. I'm terrified. I don't ever remember being in this place before. I have not been this broke in nearly 30 years but then, there were two of us to share the worries. I only know that there are no other avenues open to me. The road I'm on is the only one I have and I travel it alone. 

More than once in the last week I've turned and said, "Jerry, I need to ask you about this." Of course, he's not answering me. Yes, I asked God first, weeks and weeks of praying for answers that did not come. I couldn't find a better solution. So, I made the best decision I could under the circumstances. Pain had reached a level I could no longer endure and I had to make a decision. Right or wrong, it was the only door open. And like those shut up on Noah's ark, there's no turning back. 

As I read over my posts of that horrible time I wondered how I have managed to survive that nightmare. Even now, remembering those long, dark nights I don't know how I kept my sanity. I never want to live those again. One thing that is certain...I couldn't undo what was done then either. 

I don't even know how I survived the last five years. My health has gone from ok to horrible. I live in pain 24 hours a day. The truth is, once you've walked where I've walked, a lot of things cease to be more important than just staying alive. At this point, tomorrow is a blank. I don't now if that is better or not. It just isn't any worse.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday Funk

Tuesday passed in a stupor. I had a storm migraine on Monday night and did not get enough sleep. I was so sick this morning with exhaustion and pain from the RA. My hands have hurt for days now. The medicine doesn't seem to be fully working for some reason. Although I didn't go to work I did get up, got in the recliner and promptly went to sleep. 

I stayed there all day except to eat and take potty breaks. My back hurt as a result. I tried reading off and on but all I could do was sit in that chair and doze. This afternoon, I actually went to sleep for several hours. I didn't feel any better afterwards. 

I managed to get up around 4 p.m. and fold the mountain of laundry that is in the spare room since David left two weeks ago. I have to wash another load so it had to be put away. I was nearly done when my evening blew up with a family matter that put me in the middle, a place I neither want nor need to be. Now, I'm feeling unwell again because of the stress and I have to go to work tomorrow. I'm writing tonight for CampNaNo but I'm not sure how much or how good it will be since I am mentally drained from the turmoil. 

There is just no where to turn for relief from it. I'm so tired. I haven't had a fibro flare in a while, probably because my vitamine D is at an all time high. I don't care what they say, it seems to fix that particular problem. If I could get the RA under control I might be able to function fairly well. For over a year now I've been in this major flare and nothing is helping.

I'm going to bed. At least there, I don't have to think about anything.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Time for Fireworks

There really should be some sort of fanfare or fireworks or something. I mean, it isn't every day that one reaches 50K hits on one's blog. Of course, it means very little except that 50,000 someones stopped on the first page. Some of those will be bots, of course but the nice features in Blogger and Analytics tell me it is also people, who for some reason, made a wrong turn and ended up on my blog. 

You never know where the road will take you. You never know when one of the someones is actually ... Someone.

It is such a big number for someone like me. Most of the increase occurred after the intergration of G+ and Blogger and then more when I started posting to Facebook.  I talked about this in a post in 2012, In The Numbers.   However, please note at that time, I was below 20k. In just under two years I've gone from 20K to 50 k? Really? 

More recently, there was another influx when I started using Twitter. No, I'm not really a fan of Twitter but they tell me I should be there.  And now I've had 50K hits. 

Really, I do think fireworks are appropriate.