Mad Mad World

I have decided a few things:

1.  The shots did not really work.  I woke up, the nurses made me walk, and I sobbed uncontrollably when I realized the pain from walking was still the same.  I remain hopeful the cumulative effect of the upcoming rounds produces the magical results people say they will.  Otherwise it's time to go under again.  In the meantime I walk with a cane because I refuse to use the recommended walker.

2.  I need to shake the hand of the person who created the pop up microwave popcorn bowl.  For reals yo.  When I saw the commercials I thought "Now who in the hell came up with this stupid idea?"  Clearly Einstein's offspring.  Oh the convenience!  My only sad revelatory moment was in watching the bag pop.  I seriously thought the popping action would take it from laying (lying? I don't remember) on its side to an upright position.  An ambitious notion perhaps, but not inconceivable to a gal like me.  A delightful bedroom dining experience nonetheless. (I take all my meals in bed these days.)

3.   I am completely and utterly ensconced in the world of Mad Men.  Having lived sans cable the last five years, I've missed out on this spectacular show.  Having an odd attachment to the 50s and 60s since I was a child, I wore poodle skirts as a girl and embraced being a teen hippie.  As an overall history buff I am enamored with concept of Kennedy's Camelot, the culture, and the counter-culture of the era.  This show is visually spot-on, the historical tie-ins accurate, and the storyline so up my alley.  The all-day drinking and chain-smoking in the office has me jonesing for some nicotine b-a-d.  Lucky for me I already take my drinks in bed (not during work hours of course).  I wish people still dressed like this; it would make my life.

Speaking of number three, I heard a line today that really resonated with me.  "The only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone."  I have been reflecting about how I've been wallowing in the pain of being in pain.  It's hard not to when it's your 24/7 experience.  And I do feel alone in all this, because nobody around me understands what this feels like.  Today I was stunned when a co-worker told me my face looked sad. 

After work I talked with R for a while because I wanted to give him a chance to vent about everything that is eating him alive.  His version of being alone is different though, because he only wants interpersonal contact on his own terms  He believes he is alone now--alone to bear the weight of knowing more than everyone else in the room.  It was the same rant I heard almost every day for months, but with more venom to the words.  It is that state of being alone that keeps him from being happy, and likely will for as long as he allows it.

  4.  As much as I might feel it, I am not alone.  I am surrounded by people who love and help me.  I can and will make it through this.  I have happiness on the horizon.  More to come on that soon.


Sleepy Sunday

Never really made it out of bed after that last post.  I spent about an hour last Sunday making necklaces for my mom, sis, friends, and aunt for Valentine's day.  Similar to the Dogeared wish necklaces, but with a Michelle twist.  I had to get some help with the delivery since I can't drive right now, but they were a big hit, so that made me really happy.

It was a fairly horrific week last week.  The pain progressed so rapidly that I could not stand or walk by myself.  It is terrible feeling like an invalid and being incapable of caring for myself.  I think I can understand why my dad went through such a horrible period of depression after his stroke.  Obviously I'm nowhere close to his state, but I have his stubbornly independent personality, and this past week has been unbearable.  Like the giant dork that I am, I've spent just as much time crying from the pain as I did from the frustration of being incapacitated.

An MRI on Wednesday revealed a large herniated disc, so at least the culprit has been identified and my working from home is for a "valid" issue.  I would've been seriously ticked if the results had been inconclusive.  For now I'm on a special combination of painkillers, anti-inflammatory pills, and muscle relaxers until I can get further treatment.  There are a half-dozen other things wrong with my back but this one is the doozie.  I am hopeful that the epidural steroid injections I'm scheduled to receive will do the trick, or else I'm in for another round of surgery.  And there would be no working from home and that is not acceptable to me.  Even though my projects are crazy right now, they're still the only thing keeping me sane while I'm flat on my back.

The worst part is I have not been able to do much related to my wedding scheduled for the near future.  It is supposed to be out-of-state and I've already paid for the hotel, venue, photographer, etc, but at this point I don't even know if I can travel.  I have so many other things I need to do: finish my bouquet, paint my TOMS, knit accessories, and buy everything I want to take on the trip.  Hell, I haven't even been to a final fitting with the seamstress!  I need to be mobile to accomplish those tasks, so these damn shots better work.  Honestly, I'm so annoyed with bleeding money from all the medical stuff that I don't even feel like paying for more wedding stuff.  I should be really happy and excited, but instead I'm calculating how much money I'll be out if I cancel the wedding altogether.  At this point I'm kind of over the whole thing.

And instead I'm looking forward to the big and little hands telling me it's time for another round of meds.  Blech.  Here's hoping 8am tomorrow brings something good.




I cannot believe how excited I am that it's Friday.

So last night I decided to fall asleep listening to the soundtrack for yesterday's highlight of the day.  I passed out hardcore with my laptop next to me.  I barely remember the man removing it from my side before going to bed.  He is also a workaholic and was on the phone til about midnight.

I guess the holding back of tears last night meant it was going to be an awkward morning.  It started off alright--tried to get amped up with Pearl Jam's Rearviewmirror.  Thought process was a little anger would help get the blood flowing, the adrenaline pumping, and I'd be ready to fight any battle.

I stopped for coffee (thankfully in and out in less than five) and as soon as I hopped back in the car PJ's Just Breathe came on.  I bawled the whole way to work and in the parking lot at work until it was over.  Good thing it was so early so I could take care of business under the cover of semi-darkness.  I have been in such a foul mood lately and thinking how terrible it would be if nobody knew how much I cared about them if I died.  Tears or no tears I had to exit the vehicle after Oceans started.  Too much.

The rest of the day was a nightmarish blur.  Never ate, rarely sat.  Terrible.  I kept thinking I was covering for myself okay, but today I got a lot of questions asking how I was feeling, clearly an epic fail on my part.  The final straw in my day was when I sort of bent in half while talking with some of the office peeps.  It was uncontrollable--the pain in my abdomen was in charge in that moment.  Shortly after I told my boss it was time to peace out.  In spite of my best intentions I did not make it out in time for my 4pm appointment, but luckily my doctor had late hours today and I barely made it in time for a 530pm treatment after close to an hour's drive.  *Le sigh*

But the rush hour traffic gave me time to jam--Pearl Jam that is.  My still kinda new ride came with 3 months of XM and I have been exploiting the hell out of it.  This afternoon's momentous tune was Breath.  "All these reaching hands out, grabbin things, grabbin me...Oh, if I knew where it was I would take you there...There's much more than this."

At least I'm at home now--chillin with the old man and our boy Dee.  I didn't know he was coming but it didn't stop me from putting on fluffy pajama pants.  We cranked up some Black Keys (stoked for April), baked some pizzas, and I sat down with a glass of wine.  Ate two pieces of "cheese only please" pizza, killed a bottle of Sister's Creek Muscat Canelli and moved onto a Reisling, and am currently re-watching the uncensored Comedy Central roast of Bob Saget (hey it's been a rough week and I'm down with base-level humor).

Hooray for the weekend!  Finally a chance to stay in bed where I belong!  Maybe I'll get some knitting done--I'm way behind schedule on the craft itinerary.


The Exception

This week has been exceptional in every way that is not cool.  Maybe my depression funk has morphed into crazy, let-me-send-a-punchogram-to-your-face phase.

Known fact:  Had surgery last Friday.  Doctor advised I needed to stay off my feet for a week so I could heal (remember this for later).
Known fact:  Blogged sometime over the weekend (it really is a haze) and maybe was feeling some warm fuzziness at that time.

Since then it has been ridiculous.

I worked from home on Monday, which rocked my world because I never sat up beyond a 15-30 degree angle, or changed out of my pajamas.  At some point that day all hell broke loose due to a major tech/project release.  Sucketh commenceth.

Every day since I've been on my feet and working 10-12 hours a day.  Normally I don't even care about the number of hours--to me that's just taking care of business.  I worked way more than this last quarter, and for a longer period of time.  I don't think anyone expected things go this wrong, and that there wouldn't be enough manpower in my location.

BUT, I do care when I hurt so bad I am on the verge of throwing up all day.

At this point my back has become the least of my worries, though it continues to plague me.  I haven't been able to change out dressings on a regular schedule.  I can't even get a minute of peace in the ladies' room--today I heard my name being called out while I was in the stall and was told she'd wait til I was done.  I wish I could make that up.  I'm starting to swell but don't appear to be suffering from actual medical distension at this point.  I've cried myself to sleep that last two nights because everything hurts so bad and I can't get comfortable.

I can't decide if I'm more pissed at work or myself because I didn't play the FMLA card.  I guess I'm the dumb one.  I just can't bring myself to abandon the people most impacted by all the changes and defects.  I know these people, and I don't want them to feel abandoned or unsupported.

I think that's why I'm so angry.  I feel abandoned and frustrated.  I get work info third-hand, and so many of the questions or messages I've sent go unanswered, are blown off, or responded to with an attitude that I do not have the capacity to withstand right now.  I cannot effectively help others when I am not included, and I sure as hell can't brief my superiors and colleagues when I don't know.

Same goes for the health stuff.  I'm pissed it's happening, and I feel alone.  I cannot explain how my bones hurt and the internal throbbing and stabbing feels.  I used to have things on the inside and now I don't and painkillers don't work.  They numb my brain and nothing else; I didn't even take any today because they are USELESS.  I'm tired of being asked how I'm feeling and not having a positive response to send.  I truly appreciate that people ask, but I remain unchanged until I can rest my body and heal.

I'm a snapperton at home too.  Dogs are going without pets (mostly because I can't bend down to reach them) and I have been less than nice to my betrothed.  He's been trying to joke around and tease me and it has not gone over well.  Not. at. all.  I haven't even been talking in the evenings; the fork is in deep by the time I arrive at home.

Good thing I have a fresh bottle of Reisling.  Oh wait, I already drank that.  Damn, it only took an hour to put that down.  Guess I'll get in bed and watch The Voice while writhing around until I can fall asleep.

See?  Aren't you mad too?  Ugh.  I can't wait for this weekend so I can do absolutely nothing.  I even turned down a proposition to see a Beatles cover band at a winery.  Now that's some thing to get angry about.

Today only had one redeeming quality:  "The Only Exception" by Paramore

I stopped for a cup 'o joe post doctor-visit and pre-work and I heard the early strains of this tune.  The face of a girl behind the counter lit up as she exclaimed "I Love this Song!" and I gave her the biggest smile.  I love those moments when I'm feeling the same vibe as someone else; it's like sharing the coolest secret.

"The Only Exception"
When I was younger I saw my daddy cry
and curse at the wind.
He broke his own heart and I watched
as he tried to reassemble it.

And my momma swore
that she would never let herself forget.
And that was the day that I promised
I'd never sing of love if it does not exist.

But darling,
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.

Maybe I know somewhere
deep in my soul
that love never lasts.
And we've got to find other ways
to make it alone.
Or keep a straight face.
And I've always lived like this
keeping a comfortable distance.
And up until now I've sworn to myself
that I'm content with loneliness.

Because none of it was ever worth the risk.

Well you are the only exception.
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.
You are the only exception.

I've got a tight grip on reality,
but I can't let go of what's in front of me here.
I know you're leaving in the morning
when you wake up.
Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream.

You are the only exception. [x4]

You are the only exception. [x4]

And I'm on my way to believing.
Oh, and I'm on my way to believing.

I remember the first time I heard that song.  I was choked up, paralyzed as I let the sound wash over me.  I have felt those feelings before, and I treasure the memory of that overwhelming sensation.  I am one who believes that all love has a place in your heart, whether it is past or present.  I am lucky; I actually got to experience the greatest love of my life, even when I didn't think it could exist.  I've known a lot of other things too, but at least I have known love.  Even The Beatles say that is all you need.

This week has been wretched but it will get better.  I know it will.  It has to, right?  Maybe tonight I will hum myself to sleep instead.


Coming Out of the Cave

Well, I made it.  Thank God because the overbearing feeling of doom was not fun.  I put everyone on my surgical team on notice yesterday morning that I did not want to wake up in the middle of my procedure.  The anaesthesiologist said he ordered two bottles of sleepytime tea just for me.  And he did his job in putting me in under--so much so that the post-op team had a hard time rousing me.

Since returning home I've been mainly sleeping, with a little tv and web mixed in.  I greatly enjoyed watching the AKC dog show in between codeine-induced snoozes.  I'm still pretty sore from the surgery and anticipate the next few weeks won't be too spectacular, but at least all these pills are helping my back some too.
My fiance has been an excellent nurse, helping me in and out of bed and keeping me hydrated.  Today on Pandora I was adding to my radio station and thumbed-up the song below; it is my song of the day.

"The Cave" by  Mumford & Sons

It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears and all the faults
You've left behind

The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Cause I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I'll take mine
Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind

So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker's land

So make your siren's call
And sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say

Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be

And I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

The last couple of days have been filled with weird dreams and cryptic conversations, and hopefully everything that needs to be said is out there, whether it was actually said or not.  All I know is I need to keep working my way out of the dark place I've been in lately.  I'll know my name again soon.


Going Under

Not sure if that is a reference to the overwhelming tidal wave of everything I'm experiencing right now or what.  But I am definitely experiencing.

I am in agony.  Let me count the reasons:

My back is hurting so bad and I can't get into a specialist until next week--after I bit the scheduler's head off with a "I cannot live like this until the 22nd" diva moment.  I'm literally being stabbed in the back by my back (strained ha ha).  Today I had an fairly long and rough first day back at the office (been working from home since last Friday) and by the time I sat through rush hour traffic I could barely get out the car.  I basically hobbled my way into the living room holding a pair of socks and sobbed as my fiance put them on my feet because they were cold and I couldn't bend down.  Pathetic.

I think R hates me, and it's barely controlled at work.  Like hates me more than I can bear to consider.  I don't think I've ever been the object of so much misunderstanding and hate.  And I don't know how to cope because I don't hate him back and never will, and I've never had this kind of enmity directed at me.  It is very distracting and painful to my soul.  We just couldn't make it work and even our efforts at being "kinda friends" ended in disaster, again because he just doesn't understand what is really at the heart of everything, and because I can't seem to articulate it him (and I'm a freaking talker).  He'll never understand how everything I do is motivated by love for, and the desire to protect, those around me.  It makes me so sad and I miss my fluffy Iowan baby.  Pathetic x 2.

I am having surgery in less than 36 hours.  Two procedures at once, an unexpected turn of events.  I thought it could happen in March, but did not anticipate going in for a check-up last Friday and going under the knife the following Friday.  And even though I know what to expect medically and am totally at peace with the physiology of it all, it is bringing up a lot of buried emotions.  Like a ghost reaching out, I am now haunted by what has come before and what lies ahead.  And in spite of the general routine-ness of it all, I am plagued by morbid thoughts.  Doing my best to joke it off, but I have a feeling something is going down this Friday.  Maybe I'll just check out the light and decide it's too bright and turn back.  Times three.

I am not prepared for all this and my once fabulous talent of locking away feelings now completely escapes me.  Seriously, it's all I can do to stop playing "For The First Time" by The Script and prevent the tears from welling up (been on repeat for at least 90 minutes).  "She's all laid up in bed with a broken heart."  I am becoming soft in my old age.

And in the midst of all this, I can see the coastline.  Like that beautiful loggerhead in Turtle: The Incredible Journey, I think I just may make it to shore in spite of being pounded off the coast of Nova Scotia.  Those rocks are trying to crack my shell, but I'm not giving up.  One of my co-workers says she is impressed by how I always manage to find something positive in the face of sad or difficult events.  I guess it's because I've spent so long fighting to make it that even when I want to quit I manage to keep swimming, or at least floating until my strength comes back.

My shore is my fiance--calling to me, a horizon in the distance that promises refuge from the storm.  Honestly, I don't know how he manages to coexist with me.  Sometimes I think I'm in the ocean, and other times I think I am the ocean.  But the man is spectacular in his fortitude--he basically rescued me from the abyss of the R aftermath.  He sat with me every night that I stayed up crying (which lasted an ungodly long time) and never pressured me for anything more than open and honest conversation ("just now got the feeling we're meeting for the first time'").  He doesn't judge because he knows nobody is perfect.  He turned his life (and house) upside down to bring the kids and me into an environment suitable for us, for what I thought was a temporary arrangement, and then proposed.  With the exception of my special uncontrollable brand of internal torture, he keeps me focused on things that are positive and champions anything that makes me happy and well.

And even with all the medical challenges I've faced the last few months, and what is surely to come, he remains by my side.  He doesn't get hung up on the personal limitations it places upon me, and never makes me feel like being unwell is my fault.  He only wants for me to be at my best, whatever that is at the moment.  I keep asking him if he wants out, because it's always calmest before the storm, but he is all in.  I know my issues are painful for him as well, but he does not take it out on me.

He is gentle with my feelings, and teases me when he thinks I need a laugh or a reality check.  He takes excellent care of my furry children, and gives them all the attention they need when I cannot, which means more to me than I can say.  He understands they are my priority, my tiny loves, and doesn't even question my love for the faraway baby I can no longer see (not to mention the stockpile of gifts I hope to one day mail).

That is what it means to care about someone unconditionally; that is real.  Complete understanding that, at least for me, I need every memory that has come before because it has shaped who I am.  And not trying to erase what matters to me, not exploiting my greatest fears, because that is the fastest way to hurt and estrange me.  It is the kind of care that deserves unwavering and reciprocal loyalty. 

"Oh these times are hard, and they're making us crazy.  Don't give up on me baby."