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.

Summer Cicadas and Winter Blues

I dream of those days occasionally. Whether I’m poking at the picnic table inscribed with Led Zeplin or flying over the shed covered in cicada shells, it’s always summer.

I’ll dream about riding uncle David’s oversized tricycle and one of the neighborhood kids stealing my Eskimo doll, pedaling furiously after them. ‘Eskimo’ even though it was as ebony as I was ivory except for my red, red, skinned knees from climbing trees.

I will never forget playing up in the tree. It seemed to stretch up and over for counties, and we shared so many secrets in that tree after inching up board by board to the widest branches that sheltered us from the summer sun.

Sam would behead my barbies and bury them never to be found again. OR we world play with the old cap guns watching reruns of Westerns and put together puzzles with grandma Boots.

You were out of the house long before I came along, but you would show me heavy metal magazines and let me play Rock Em Sock Em Robots during the day as the sun slanted in the windows.

At night there would be shenanigans. Pictures would be taken of my Eskimo doll with Steve after he passed out. Or the cap guns and a milk man’s hat.

You’d be out by the keg next to that inscribed picnic tabl. Or by the shed and car covered in 17 year cicadas. Rarely I’d be allowed to stay up late and you’d laugh about me wearing socks over footie pajamas or someone would give me a drunken piggy back ride that was both exhilarating and terrifying.

Eventually you went away, and then went to a halfway house.

Grandma Boots was in hospice, watching her Westerns. Mom tried to move the tissue box from the hospital bed table so grandma could see. She just laughed and said she had them all memorized. She was playing her Indian on a Hill trick and willed herself to slip away that Fall.

You were slipping through our fingers in the slanting late Fall sunlight as well.

It was winter when we lost uncle David. He played the same trick and slipped away sitting on his bed in the cold, cold winter after refusing to buy gas for heat. I can’t help but picture him with a feather in his hair. Or maybe it was a cap gun and a milkman hat with a smile. Either way, he was with grandma.

Matt eventually began remodeling the house and sent photos. The fence in the back was gone. The tree with boards was now a pile of wood cut in the Spring to be burned in the Winter and no longer stretched counties. No more secrets to be told there.

This cold winter, I was wrapped up in five or six blankets, maybe insulating from the cold that took uncle David when I found out you’d slipped away from this world like feeble beams of sunlight on grandma’s dusty ferns way back when.

I hope you’re with grandma and uncle David now. I hope it’s late summer again and you’re throwing a kegger with all of your friends. Ignore the 17 year cicadas on the cars and shed. They’re a part of summer that only happens a few times in a life if you’re lucky, just like you.

I pray I’ll dream of flying over the shed again, just to be with you for a few moments before I wake.

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.

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.

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.

Breathing Room

After a few days, a few kinds of anesthesia, a few attempts to have mom breathe on her own, her lungs are finally clear enough for her to manage. They take out all of the tubes and bring her back to consciousness.

Her throat hurts which is understandable and to be expected. Her voice sounds stronger than it has in ages. It sounds like she has some of her pep back. The antibiotics and fluid removal is working. The swelling in her legs is down and her lungs are clear. After seeing her under anesthesia with breathing tubes, this seems like a miracle.

I tell her that my niece, C, and I will be up Saturday to visit her in the hospital. I know it cheers her up to see us and it’s always nice to see her. We’re not able to do this often because of the bedbugs at her house. Honestly, I miss her and wish I could spend more time with her and help out more than I can from Columbus.

I am very relieved that she’s doing well enough to be moved out of ICU, and expect she’ll be back home Monday.

I’m forcing myself to get workouts in at work. Spin once, strength training a few days, and one short run in. I keep telling myself I need to keep myself healthy too. I also know it helps my stress levels and mental health. I feel guilty for not running more, but I’m pulling overtime when I can at work.

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.

Back at It

I finished up a workout at lunch yesterday and fished my phone out of my gym bag to check my texts. Not only did I have 5 texts, I had a missed call that said mom. My stomach dropped. My family only calls when it’s an emergency and my mom doesn’t have long distance on her home phone so I knew someone was calling from her cell. I scroll through the messages, she’s on her way to the hospital via EMS, another bad sign. She can’t breathe and her one lung isn’t functioning at all so they’re thinking either collapsed lung or congestive heart failure.I call my brother S. back as I’m baby- wiping sweat off of myself and am changing clothes. He repeats himself which is fine, and then immediately launches into complaining about my other brother M. I just don’t have the time or energy to devote to this nonsense so I cut him short. Cue 4 hours later, I ask S. for an update. He’s going to skip work and head up there. He may get fired from missing work whenever he feels like it. And oh he’s getting so old etc. Okay. Way to make it about you again dude. 6pm, I’m leaving work. I text for an update. He JUST got there. 7pm, it is congestive heart failure. They have 4 ivs in her, a breathing tube, and a catheter in trying to draw out fluids. Plus something to make her sleep. He sends some pictures I could do without and turns it into a boo hoo poor me conversation again. I just don’t have the energy to deal with him on top of the more important issue- mom’s health. I got very little sleep last night, burst into tears when my boss asked about her, and got guilted by a coworker for not driving 3 hours to watch her sleep. I’m trying to get an update today but S sleeps until 4pm, M is at work, and the nurse’s station is not answering. So I’m trying to acknowledge what I’m feeling and deal with it in a healthier way than eating every carb ever and crying.

Feel Good Friday?

I’ve gotten to that point in my life where I honestly can’t remember when I felt attractive last. It’s been years ago. I’m guessing this is fairly normal as our bodies age, work and life stress happen, and libidos go out to the woods to die.

Anyways, I decided to go to the salon to get my nails done. A treat-myself indulgent moment to feel a bit better. And traffic is a complete nightmare, I end up showing up late and the nail tech seems fairly annoyed as she butchers my cuticles and scrapes my finger with the Emery board, then applies the wrong color of dip polish. Okay, not a great experience, but I brush it off. Not a big deal. They look nice even if they are super Christmas colored for July. I pay her and go home, feeling more frustrated than picked up by the whole thing.

I go to work Monday and start browsing hairstyles on Pinterest. I find one I love.

I have went to a particular salon since I’ve been in Columbus, including to have my wedding hair done. They recently closed, so I’ve gone to their sister salon a few times. My experiences have been decent if not stellar. My hair looks nice even if the stylists look like they would rather not be there and the building is a bit run down.

I called to make an appointment at this sister salon and found out they’re also closed. Against my better judgment I call a 3rd salon (that took over the building of the one I liked to go to) and book an appointment. I say against my better judgement because I had a really bad experience there once- the stylist turned my hair a gray green color and another had to step in and fix it. They severely discounted it but it was still a lot of time and damage to my hair.

I show up for my appointment at 4:00, knowing that they close at 9- I had booked a hair cut, color, and eyebrow wax. I know this salon does more natural treatments so I don’t expect it to last as long, but I want to feel like a new woman even if it’s for 4 weeks until I can find a new salon. The girl mumbles at me asking what we’re doing. I tell her and show her a picture.

She looks at me like I sprouted a 2nd head. I tell her I understand my hair isn’t long enough to do a full stacked bob, but I’d like to start transitioning that direction. She says that the color would be ‘a lot of processing’ and stares at me. Umm… okay…. touching up highlights and adding streaks doesn’t seem like THAT big of a deal but she clearly doesn’t want to do it even though she has 5 hours and I’m willing to pay and tip my usual 30%

So I end up with a hair trim, no wax, and no color. When I get home, our bathroom is getting a new fan put in so I can’t even wash my hair or see what the trim looks like.

Today is Friday, I still feel pretty down in the dumps, and I’m still planning on finding a 4th salon to go to. If that doesn’t work I may end up bleaching my hair at home or shaving my head and joining a convent so wish me luck.