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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

June Recap

May was pretty lackluster. I think it’s because Cap City was such a shitty half marathon performance for me. That plus visiting mom as she was bouncing between a rest home and various hospitals kept me pretty busy and frankly pretty depressed.

So here’s my May stats:

May

  • Ran 14 miles
  • Walked 3 miles
  • Strength 6 times (most of it was scheduled personal training- having accountability is huge.)
  • Yoga 2 times

In a previous blog post I said all right, this is it. I’m going to get back to it. And here’s my June stats:

June

  • Ran 17 miles
  • Walked 9 miles (Columbus Arts Show)
  • Strength training 1 (may have done others? Only 1 in Garmin)

So… yeah. Not exactly what I’d intended. The first two weekends of June were spent driving to Toledo. My workout buddy was skipping strength training classes every other day, and my trainer was in another country. Mom went home, which I personally think is a terrible idea. We were also having some issues at home that I’m still debating on whether or not I want to share, so overall I was still pretty depressed. When I’m depressed it’s hard to practice self care even though I know it will improve my mind.

Are these all excuses? Yeah. Probably. In all honesty, I could have gotten in a few more runs if I’d wanted. I could go to classes at the fitness center by myself and the floor wouldn’t open up and swallow me whole.

I’m in the process of figuring out how much cross training has a positive effect, and what’s the tipping point that keeps me from running.

I’ve realized that I absolutely hate the yoga class at work. I don’t know if it’s the instructor, the music, the style of yoga, or some other factor but I find myself completely aggravated by the end of it. So I’m dropping that class. I may try some YouTube videos or something instead, my trainer insists yoga is necessary for runners.

Depression is a Bitch

I’ve really been struggling with depression over the past month or so. I could list a million reasons but mostly it’s just mom being in and out of the hospital, her not wanting to be at the nursing home, but also knowing in the back of my mind her going home isn’t the best move either.

I feel helpless and lost at sea, and am never sure how much of what I’m hearing is true. She has a tendency to hear what she wants and also happens to embellish a bit.

My brother and I spoke about our fears of losing her and I guess it made it a bit more real. I hadn’t put my inner thoughts into words with another person before. Nate understands to some degree- he lost both of his parents over the past 5 years. His father passed in his sleep, and his mother passed shortly after a fall in the shower. I’m not sure that he necessarily understands how bad it hurts to watch the slow process of illness and recover over and over wondering if this will be the time she just gives up.

(After watching my grandmother pass from cancer, I’m a strong believer in a person’s will to continue being a huge part of recovery.)

Either way, it’s that plus a million little things that usually wouldn’t bother me just piling up. I went from fuck yeah I’m going to run a marathon to, maybe it’s best I switch to a half marathon so I can continue to visit rather than spending so much time training, to what do you mean I ran 16 lousy miles in May, that’s completely pathetic!

That was a wake up call for me. I’m trying to be honest with people that are close to me and tell them I’m struggling with depression, and need help getting motivated. It’s difficult to open up, but I feel like it’s clearing the air.

And I got out tonight to run. It was only 2 miles, and it was slow miles, but I’ll blame some of that on the heat and get back to it again tomorrow.