Ugly crying

I found myself ugly crying in the shower so I thought I’d finally processed some of my emotions.  I always find myself being strong for everyone else, doing what is required in the situation for my family. 

Holding it together so I don’t burden the people around me who love me even though they don’t have to. 

It’d been a few weeks since the awful call. 

I had been sitting there cross stitching Mr Resetti for Tim, talking to Nate when I my phone buzzed.  A missed Facebook call from Jenny.  We hadn’t spoken in years.  It must be a fat finger.  And then another call.  My stomach drops.  I message her back asking if everything is okay.

A third call and I answer.

Sobbing.  My brother Chris is gone. 

Just like that.  Someone found him.  No one knows why. Gone. 

I’m numb.  I don’t know what to think.  I don’t know what to do.  I jump to conclusions.  I cry. 

I call my mom crying.  Ruin her night hell her life. Telling her that her first son is gone from this world. No I don’t know where.  No I don’t know how.  All I know is he’s gone. 

Sure it’s the week before Christmas. It sure doesn’t feel like it though. It feels like I’m in purgatory ot Beetlejuice. Nothing makes sense.

I message my boss. I try to carry on. I cry. Nothing makes sense. I can barely function. I can’t believe it. My boss asks me to please stop trying to work. Please take time off. No it doesn’t matter that it’s the holiday and most of the staff is off. Just close the laptop. Stop going through the motions.

Deal with the emotions. Stop and actually feel them. Be there for my family.

Instead I write bad poetry. The first in years. Hell decades.

Recovery

Recovery is going very slowly. I’m trying to not run, and it’s really getting to me. I have been sleeping 10 or 12 hours a day instead of my usual 8 and my anxiety has been through the roof.

Nate and I went to a different grocery store than we typically do. Same chain, but a different location with slightly better produce and cheese selection. Initially he had wanted to eat at a restaurant nearby, but realized he wasn’t familiar with how clean they are. (Turns out this can be scary during a pandemic.)

We skipped the restaurant and went to the grocery store, it was 4:00 and there were people everywhere. This store has one way aisles to prevent crowding and promote social distancing. It seemed like every aisle had someone going the wrong way, someone dragging 4 kids, an old trophy wife in giant stilettos in the middle of the aisle, or a combination of all the above. Plus throw in the occasional hurried businessman or completely lost patron.

Nate was annoyed, and I was on edge by the time we got through a few aisles. We didn’t need much, but we’re not familiar with the layout so we’re going everywhere. I’m getting anxious and he’s getting annoyed, declaring people won’t push him through the aisles. By the time we get to the cheese I’m 15 seconds from totally melting down and leaving my cart.

Sometimes I forget how much running helps and not working out for a week is getting to me. I’m not addicted in a fitorexia sort of way (I weigh twice my ideal body weight) but it’s become such a stress reliever that I question if my anti anxiety medications are doing anything at all.

The first time I tried to run I decided to do a 5 minute waking warmup then 30 second runs and 1 minute walks. I managed to get one 30 second hobble in before my leg cramp set it. 2 mile walk it was.

Back to massage, foam rolling, hot baths, and biofreeze.

Rise Fitness vs Orange Theory

I’m four months into my newest obsession. Typically I’ve lost interest by now and have just accepted the fact my credit card is going to be billed an embarrassing amount of money until the end of my contract for me to do nothing.

I have held off on mentioning it in case that happened yet again. (I’m 41. I have lost count of projects I’ve given up on.)

Somewhere in what I pray was the middle of Covid (please make it stop) my friend Michelle and I were comiserating that we really, really missed the gym because of working from home. Our workplace offers free classes with a $15/month membership.

We wanted something super challenging that was convenient for both of us. I live near downtown and she is in Hilliard. I like buttcrack of dawn workouts and she prefers after work. And of course we didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg plus a butt and a thigh.

Her suggestion was Orange Theory. Cool! They have locations near each of us. They have varying hours. The classes look intense. I reach out via Facebook messenger to see if they have any promos. Nope. Okay. No biggie. I decide to do my first class anyways to check it out. It’s free and maybe they’ll have some offer that I like.

I download their app and try to verify the code to log in and sign up for my first class. It doesn’t work. I try it 3 or 4 times. Nothing. I email their tech support. Nothing.

I decide to check out Rise Fitness Community in Upper Arlington instead. They get back to me immediacy, I choose to buy a 3 month package without trying the first few class. Everyone is super friendly. The place is very clean and well storages out for Covid protocols.

Zero problems other than my lack of fitness. Seriously. The first two weeks I went 2-3 times a week and had to pace myself to make it through the class.

After my first month, I’m in love. I try to convince Michelle to join me and she says she can’t spend the $ right now. Totally understand.

Then orange theory IT reaches out to see if my case was closed satisfactorily. Umm you’re emailing me a month later after I’ve joined another gym to help me with a problem I asked about 4 weeks ago? I ignore it.

Two more months pass. I’m loving Rise. I’m noticing a huge change in my fitness. I’m now going 3-4 times a week and pushing myself in ways I never have before.

I’m at the grocery store with Nate picking up protein powder jk I was picking up rice and my phone rings. It’s Orange Theory. Some super perky person is super excited that I’m interested in Orange Theory and they’d LOVE to have me stop by.

I very politely tell them with a huge smile that I was very interested but they never got back to me for 3 months so I went with Rise Fitness who DID get back to me quickly.

It is month 4 now. I loved it enough to buy another 3 month package (and love the fact I’m not stuck in a contract) and am challenging myself to go 4-5 days a week. They’ve added more class times, so it’s totally doable as long as I get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Covid Struggle

The Covid pandemic has been a really weird dream like concept for me. I haven’t known what to believe or how likely I am to get it, how long it lives on different surfaces, etc because we just don’t know enough facts yet.

I have friends who have only left their house twice a month to have groceries deposited into their trunk and I’ve had friends who went from Cedar Point to New York to Disney and back home with no quarantine in between.

I personally have been going to the grocery store once a week, wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, cart wipes, not touching stuff I don’t intend to buy. And going to the fitness boutique gym that props open doors, has you sanitize as soon as you come in, wear a mask to your treadmill which is 6 feet from the next, and wipe it all down and carry your weights back to the rack while wearing your mask.

Point being, I don’t know what precautions make sense these days.

Last week I thought my heart stopped when I received an email saying I had possibly been exposed to COVID-19 from a person I had run with. It seems like everything is a symptom so Nate and I started playing the Russian roulette of is it Covid or allergies?

I learned about the possible exposure 72 hours after the fact, and started looking up testing times. Another 2 days to schedule an appointment and 3-5 days for results that may or may not be accurate? (Fun fact, if you have diarrhea like I did, you’re more likely to have a false negative from the nasal swab. It would require a stool sample which we do not do here in the US.)

It has been a week. I have not had the energy to work out, and am quarantining until I feel better (plus a couple days) I don’t want to chance infecting someone.

I can not begin to tell you how depressed I am from sitting at home, not working out. I’m barely functioning.

Sleepless Nights

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately.  And it’s not just the 90°+ weather. Although that’s been spectacular. 

Our A/C unit is 30+ years old so we open windows,  turn on fans,  and just sweat it out. When it’s really bad, we’ll sleep with ice packs on our chest or back.  I’ve found the clay ones stay cold for ages. 

“Get the A/C fixed!” you cry. Except our slab concrete porch was sinking and putting pressure on our basement wall,  causing a slowly growing crack.  We had the Basement Doctor out.  They (literally) girded up our basement for several grand. 

Then we realized the gutter on the front of the house was overflowing so we had someone out to check for a blockage and found out water was flowing from our gutter into the front of our house.  The clay pipes were long since destroyed if they ever existed at all. 

They used a neat tool called a Ditch Witch to put a trench up our front yard,  hand dug under our porch,  and then laid all the piping and connected it to make sure it flowed away from our foundation and sinking porch. That was stressful and not inexpensive. 

While this happened, we realized our chimney needed chinked.  We know a Jack of all trades, but masonry work is best left to the pros.  They came out and ran a camera up into our chimney and horrified us with everything wrong.  The flashing where the gutter meets the chimney had a gap so water was pouring over it causing the external damage we saw.   It was also destroying the entire chimney box inside. 

We had them fix the gutter,  chink the bricks outside,  replace the box and flu inside,  and also fix the pipes from our furnace because THAT was not correct either.  (They told us to get a CO2 detector the same day and that we were lucky my niece slept downstairs in the summer when the furnace was not on to give you an Idea.)

That was not cheap. 

Fast forward…. well okay not really.  Maybe a year? 6 months? We had our Jack of All Trades come out with a jackhammer to destroy our slab porch.  We also had the city come out to permit us.  Our JOAT was dumbfounded by the depth of the slab and the amount of stone underneath. 

Nate and I helped where we could to save time and money.  Nate helped break up concrete.  We both threw slabs into the dumpster.  It was not pretty.  We still have scrape marks on our walk way from the wheelbarrow of concrete chunks.  (Did I mention we grow tons of flowers and didn’t want to completely destroy the yard?)

Our JOAT sets the concrete for the beams, and our porch comes together beautifully.  He also tends to come around 12 and work until 6, and typically forgets something and has to drive across town in rush hour traffic to get it. (Even though I complain about it,  he does an amazing job,  and his mind works in a totally different way than mine does.  Perhaps I envy him to a degree.)

In any case…. that wasn’t cheap either. 

This past Fall he came back out to insulate our house.  He used a drill with a special attachment to cut 4″ holes in our crawl space and blow insulation in.  (Nate manned the machine that chopped it up and blew it up 20+ feet of hose through an open second floor window and into the 4″ holes in the crawl space.

That was (relatively?) cheap. It was under a grand anyways.

So yeah…. I can’t sleep these days. It’s not the heat necessarily as much as my anxiety.

I’ve been writing this for an hour, and we’ll hopefully replace our central air unit within the next few years. In any case, I’ll be getting up at 4:50am tomorrow, lacing up my running shoes, and hopefully running off some of my anxiety.

Drowning

I hesitate to start this post because it seems so melodramatic even to myself.

I’ve been having stomach problems again. Poor food choices and stress have combined to give me what seems like chronic diarrhea. Is a week long enough to say chronic? It’s gotten to look like cornflakes and I’ve seen enough blood that I can’t deny it’s there. Even to myself.

In any case, I’m eating imodium like it’s my job. Gas-x too. The gas cramps and pressure keep me up at night and make it hard to sit or stand. I don’t want to wear pants because of the pressure but I’m scared to wear a dress in case I can’t make it in time.

Running is pretty much out of the question, but I’m forcing myself to continue with strength training. Made it 3 times this past week, and am pushing myself with (slightly) heavier weights. As much as I enjoy strength training, it doesn’t help my anxiety.

Everyone around me seems to be going into full meltdown mode. Some of it is from my need to be fairly close to a toilet. Some of it is entirely independent of me – mom flipped out on me about a prescription for heart pills. She hasn’t had it for over 2 weeks. Her prescription ran out, the visiting home health aide insists she goes back to her specialist for a refill, but was willing to call in one months worth. Mom said the pharmacy won’t fill it because of Medicare laws even though she’s on Medicaid.

She’s mad at me for not taking the day off work to drive 3 hours to pick her up and take her to a specialist. Stop being so selfish you might be thinking. Then you throw in the fact my brother and his son could barely get her up the stairs into her house, and she hasn’t left since then. And the bedbugs. It’s hard for me to reconcile. I picture having to call the rescue squad to get her into the door, if I could even get her out. Never mind the 6+ hour round trip when I have 3 brothers who either live with or less than 15 minutes away.

There’s other minor things. There always are. But I feel like I’m drowning.

New Year, Slightly Better Me?

New Year’s Eve has always been a depressing event for me. I could point to this thing or that thing that happened, but none of those things are really why. I don’t think I’d be wrong to say it’s a time of the year where we tend to be cooped up in the house, never seeing what little sunlight there is and making elaborate lies about how we’re going to wake up a sexier, smarter, kinder, and above all else thinner version of ourselves who remembers to take our vitamins, never forgets a name or birthday, and checks our teeth for spinach every time we have it which is all the time because we’re now a healthy person, right?!

(I have Tom Waits’ Step Right Up stuck in my head now.)

I have a tendency to do this to myself anyways. Occasionally I wonder if it’s my father’s bipolar sneaking in, or just mania from depression, but I can spend hours planning amazing rigorous workout routines with 4-5 runs a week plus strength training, yoga, and spin also taking up those same 5 days, and then find myself laid up with a cold after I destroy my immune system going from 0 to 60 in a week.

Since October, I’ve been in a funk and have run at most a few times a month so I’m itching to go weekend warrior myself into a sneezing, coughing mess.

Instead, I’m going to focus on one simple buildable goal for a couple weeks before adding a new one. My first one is to drink adequate water. Sexy, right? I do need to get back to the basics though.

All of this isn’t to say I won’t be making other healthy changes too. But I know myself. Instead of focusing on juggling 17 flaming knives, it helps to juggle one knife and a few oranges. Really focus on that knife, if the orange falls okay, no big deal as long as that knife stays up. I’ll swap out an orange for a knife over time and hopefully make some long term sustainable improvements.

Columbus Marathon

I started out this year with the goal of running my first marathon ever. I was turning 40 in the first bit of October, and the Columbus Marathon was turning 40 in the second bit. It was serendipitous, totally meant to be.

And then life happened. Mom was in and out of the hospital, spending 8 weeks getting around the clock antibiotics for a spinal infection. She was home for a short bit and ended up back in the hospital under a medically induced coma because she was in so much pain from her congestive heart failure.

Nate was looking forward to the holidays for the first time in ages (his father passed away 3 years ago immediately after Thanksgiving and we lost his mom in November of 2017.) I didn’t expect my mom would make it through the the holidays. (These days I’m hopeful, but not taking it for granted.)

The stress of this plus the trips up North made me realize there was no way I could dedicate 6+ hours running on the weekends. I switched to the half, and continued to half ass train for it. It wasn’t pretty, but I was going to make it happen.

I felt like I was starting to come down with something but got the flu shot anyways. And then I ran a ten mile race. I wasn’t sure about it, but I’d convinced a few of my friends to do it because it’s my favorite race. I got super light headed and considered turning around at mile 1.5 for the 5k course, but decided to carry on. It was ugly. I struggled, but I ended up PRing the race by 20 seconds.

And I came down with a cold. Everyone jokes about the man flu or how pathetic men act with a cold, so maybe I should claim that metaphorical man card, because it destroyed my energy levels for 3 weeks.

Which happened to be how long it took to get to the Columbus Half. Even worse than a DNF, I was a DNS.

This is going to stick with me

Right before mom got out of the nursing home she called my brother M screaming and crying that he had to come pick her up, now! And I thought wow, this is terrible. I don’t think anything could be worse than this.

Oh man. I really shouldn’t give life those sorts of opportunities to prove me wrong.

As you know, my brother S told me mom was back in the hospital with congestive heart failure. I kept calling her nurse with no answer, and finally got her on the phone. Did I have her passcode? No….. well no information for me beyond she’s stable, but in critical condition.

What does that even mean?

I called S, no he didn’t have the code with him. He’s at work. M doesn’t answer his phone even though I try multiple times and am crying hysterically as I drive. The night drags on with no answer. I feel very angry and very alone.

Finally morning comes and I drive to Toledo to see her at the hospital and see if I can get some answers. I’m in a fog, this is the first solo trip I’ve made in a while so I’m left with my thoughts. I’m trying not to think. Just autopilot my way through things but I’m so anxious I can’t breathe. I stop in the bathroom to calm down.

I walk in the room, see the nurse, see my mom covered in tubes and a contraption to breathe for her and I start crying hysterically.

They have her under sedation because she can’t breathe on her own. They’re bringing her out of one kind and putting her on another. They tell me they intend to bring her to twilight tomorrow to see if she can breathe on her own with the breathing tube in, but not so awake that she has a panic attack. They have her strapped to the bed so she doesn’t pull the tubes out.

But here’s her code so I can get updates. And I’m welcome to stay.

I do. And I watch her come out from under the one anesthesia and try to climb out of bed which sets off alarms. It’s terrifying to see her so out of it. She doesn’t know where she’s at much less that I’m in the room, she’s just acting out of instinct it seems

The nurses apologize and say that the second sedative they are putting her on has to be administered slowly, that she wishes I didn’t have to see mom like this.

Yeah. Me too.

Life just gets in the way

I’ve been meaning to post for weeks now but life keeps happening. It started with several reminders/ prompts from my computer that I have zero right to privacy on company computers/ time. Which I respect, but means it’s all cell phone all the time for posts.

And then things with mom keep popping up. I’ve been stressed and not handling it well. I’m eating foods that I know disagree with me, and too many of them trying to find some sort of comfort. I’m forcing myself to continue my strength training and spin workouts but find myself avoiding running because I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts.

I’ve noticed that when Nate is totally stressed, our cat starts getting sick.

Well, I’ve now managed to make him vomit everywhere too. I guess he’s accepted me? Lucky him, and lucky me.

Anyways, I intend to write some posts in the coming weeks about everything that’s been going on, and I intend to make running more of a priority or I’ll never make it to the Columbus Half marathon.