Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm a femme, not handy, not able-bodied

I'm a little cranky today... realizing I don't have much help. I used to live in illusion called community. I think said community really meant being married to a handy-person. I can count on one hand how many of those old dyke friends have called me in the past 4 months. For social or otherwise. And yet I can't do things alone. And mundane day to day shit, shit that just needs to be done. I'm not talking about renovating my home or making things pretty but just shit that's got to be done. Like for example, last month I was gifted with some beautiful Hostas from a friend only to bring them home to realize I can't dig. I can't do it - something as simple as taking a shovel to ground - most healthy people take that for granted - but I just can't do it. I know, I've tried and I get about 2 inches into the earth after much effort. So said wonderful Hostas went to my neighbour: I obviously didn't think it through. I am alone!

And it's in the small things that I notice it. Since I've been left with this house I've rented both rooms to not loose it but the rental just barely covers the basics. I am underpaid at work and normally I wouldn't be resentful because my meds are covered 100% but the past 2 months I've become resentful because I am doing the job of 2 people and nothing's being done about it (well, I'm sure they are interviewing but the applicants have been slim: who wants to do what we do: group therapy, case-management, individual therapy; and be paid peanuts. I digress, my point is I cannot afford to hire plumbers or electricians etc. for the small things that the Ex (being handy that she is) used to do. The basement bathroom has been out of order for over 2 months, same for the dimmer in the basement etc. etc.

And maybe it's because I'm burnt or maybe because I hear through the grapevine community-folk helping community out again and I'm getting so resentful. When's it going to be my turn? Those Wed. nights I'm lugging overweight trash to the curb I think to myself: till death do us part eh? Yeah, 'till she doesn't feel like working anymore. Yeah I was a nag - someone had to beg. Even 2 weeks before our wedding we had a fight: yeah I was sick of doing all the arrangements. From making and designing the dresses to doing the hand-made invitations, arranging seating, thank you cards, arranging the potluck, securing a site, companies etc. etc. all she had to do was show up in said dress with her vows. That's it. Oh and make the ring pillow. I was afraid the wedding would reflec the marriage - oh, and it did! She had it so easy with me. I was her social calendar, I introduced her to everyone I knew, I introduced her to bowling, she married into a house, stability and family values. That's the problem when you just give freely to people, they just take everything for granted and take you down. In the process I gave myself up for nothing but broken love. Not even anything nourishing.

And so now I'm left with a tonne of bricks and luggin out the overweight garbage myself. Someone living with heart-failure luggin out garbage...cut me some slack, today I am not practicing acceptance very well. I'm cranky - I'm doing all the self-care I could possibly do (even had a massage after work today) and damn it I'm alone. It's no wonder my yard has gone to shits. My house is slowly following. It's just too physical for me to do.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

they met

Called in sick today - had to get some sleep today since I did not sleep at all last night because I ended up in the ER - encore. This is part of my norm, nothing to get all twisted in knots about...fear sent me there. Every time a different kind (than past) of chest pain emerges I get scared. The same old same old chest pains don't warrant a visit to the ER, only new ones I've never had before cause concern in me these days.

Perhaps stress is coming out sideways in my life lately. I met with a mediator and my ex last night. Then we went for coffee which in the end turned out good, and that's when the pain struck. Perhaps I got up too fast I don't know but it started shooting out my chest, down my right arm. And the nausea came. I couldn't drive so my Ex took me to the ER, calling la femme francaise in the between times. What a way to meet each other, but in a sense, how appropriate. I'm sure it was civil, I was minding my pain, trying to keep consciousness, and not throwing up. Once the dr. finally came for a visit he asked who the women were and I couldn't help but feel a little funny "this is my soon-to-be Exwife and this is my girlfriend". It's so not like it seems. Then again, I'm getting too tired to care what people think.

Once they said tests would take until at least 4am the Ex handed me off to la femme. At first I did not want la femme there, afraid of the 'drama' that I'm bringing to her very calm, drama-free life. But this is my life, and the ER is part of it, every so often (although I really do have to stay away). According to my Ex, my last night's ECG was much better than when I was in in July for the possibly mini-stroke but not quite a TIA. July's was pretty ugly. That sounded pleasing to all the work I'm trying to do to keep myself relatively healthy all things considered.

I recalled the ECG tech from when I was there almost 2 years ago in January (when I first started writing). I remembered her because of her accent, because she knew what I had. I recalled that in her home country she dealt with Truncus babies when she was (is) a peds cardiac doctor. This is precisely why I don't like the immigration laws: here is this dr. now ecg tech who knows what I have and has dealt with it yet some of the (newer, younger) cardiac nurses do not: what a waste or knowledge! I told her I remembered her and why. She was very nice and gave us a copy for my records (how do you think I keep track of everything!). I hope it made her night that she was remembered. It made my night that I had her again (under the circumstances).

Anyway, once the Ex left my symptoms got worse, I ended up fainting in la femme's arms, and soon after I came to, I ended up barfing where-in she decided to clean it up. There was only one nurse on in that dept. (for 20 patients) and la femme decided to be helpful. That's when I broke down, feeling the epitome of humiliation and vulnerability knowing that the romance was gone: cleaning up some-one's barf is over the top for me. As tears rolled down my face, buried in the bed still burning up and fighting consciousness I asked her to leave. Ya, stubborn Ox I am. It's one thing to write about vulnerability, it's another to witness it. And of course, she did not leave.

She continued to stay by my side until I was discharged, bringing me home, and getting some shut-eye this morning.

The result is that I did not have a heart attack, my enzymes are fine, and stress really does impact the cardiac system. If I want to keep working full-time, my life has to get simpler. And that means cutting the bull, the negative, the toxic. I still love the person my Ex is. One doesn't have someone in one's life for that long (11 years next week) and not care, but I'm getting awfully tired of being the bad gal. It took two to break us, and for (her camp) to see my health as another tool of manipulation is pushing me over the top.... I'm done with other peoples' drama/accusations/judgements. I'm done with those who don't understand what I have and could possibly think I manipulate people with my health. Only those who could even think it are themselves capable of doing such thing. My mind and conscience are clear, my focus is my health and my life, and no longer shall other peoples' baggage or tainted opinion of me matter. It saddens me because it means that she goes too. I am grateful that she brought me. I know there's still love there, but right now I don't need their drama or judgement. We both did and said hurtful things and I will not allow (them) to punish me any longer even if that means cutting her out of my life. The complication just isn't worth my health anymore. Besides, if I was out for coffee with any one else, they would not have wanted me to drive either and bring me to the ER.

Love should not be measured by what a person says, but by what a person does.

Monday, November 15, 2010

that was easy

I have today off... came back from a 3 day weekend away with la femme francaise in beautifully old Quebec City.
I'm not looking forward to returning to 'normal life'. Tomorrow will be packed with clients back to back and no breathing space for case notes. Then off to start the legal process with the former love of my life...I don't know if it's irony or what, but I happened to be away with la femme francaise on the 1 year anniversary of my break-up. I wore my wedding ring (on the other hand). And there were had absolutely no issues with me wearing it. It's a grown-up relationship.

I'm not looking forward to any part of the day tomorrow including the part where we start legal closure. Right before I left for this little getaway, I was also given some very bad unexpected news concerning my finances so now I have to start dealing with that or else. It's going to be a long journey to balance (what isn't?) but am starting to believe that I can do it - it will be stressful to say the least and/or could result in an entire lifestyle change for the worst to say the most. Hoping for the best either way but leaving the worrying to my Creator. It's I that has to get busy with the ground work cleaning up the potential disaster.

Speaking of best, I had a fabulous time walking, talking exploring, eating, in Quebec. I brought my O2 tanks and even needed them. In fact, la femme francaise picked 'em up for me before the trip (the location is closer to her end of town). Anyone who knows me, knows my pride often gets in the way of asking for help and this was a big deal. But it was done, easy.

There is something very heartwarming/comforting about dating at this age: all the bullshit is gone. All that wanting and needing to impress is gone - doesn't mean we didn't have manners etc. not at all, but I didn't have to be a hero and walk up a hill if I couldn't. In your 20s people are so fixated on youth and ability that disability is thought of as something less, the focus is on the ability you're 'missing' (the stuff you're lacking). When you are older, more mature it's not what's missing, it's what's left that counts. It becomes about what and who's in front of you. When you are past mid-life as we both are (due to illness or natural life expectancy) it's all down hill from here. And that is not such a bad thing. It means that all the illusions of having some trivial things in common doesn't really keep a relationship together if the values are not aligned. It just doesn't matter if we see eye to eye in taste in music, clothes, even sports or leisure activities if one is doing something that is completely against the other's values. At this age it's about mutual respect, kindness, tolerance, love, care, etc. I was floored when she, after ordering bacon at brunch, said if this progresses where it seems it could, that she would never have pig or shellfish in the house. The instant respect that came without so much as mentioning it (she knows I'm a Jew but I never talked about being kosher) knocked the wind right out of me - and not the hill-climbing kind of out-of-breathness that usually stops me in my tracks, but the omg, this is so easy kind of amazement. It wasn't about giving up herself... she'd just eat it over at her bud's. It was about what she called respect. Plain and simple. No fight, no lossing of the self, just looking at the bigger picture.

And it was so easy...the entire weekend....was just so easy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

numbers are so binary

In exactly 4 months today I will be 38. I am absolutely beside myself that I am this "old". It's also starting to scare me again. Every so often I Google Truncus Arteriosus just to read what's out there. Some medical journal at some Mass. University made me laugh the other day. It's fun (but sad) to read that adulthood (20s & 30s) for TA patients is an improbability. I spent some time showing la femme francaise these articles, not to scare her but for humour: oh they say they don't live past xx eh: hm I'm right here, or am I? So I laugh, laugh at science because it's not the end-all-be-all. It's not 'proof'. I laugh because I'm still breathing, proving them all wrong. Then some days when I feel weary and tired, I get very sad and scared recognizing that I am pushing even the limits of what is known. To be 38 (OK, in 4 months- I really shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch though) with this and still working, breathing, laughing, loving, living is an incredible miracle. Some days I'm so filled with gratitude that it will be me that will probably (stubbornly) break the records for oldest TA patient when she dies. Other days I wish there were more like me - maybe get more information because I'm so tired of being in the dark (what can I take, do, what are the limits, etc.).

I'm working so hard at keeping myself alive, being able to continue to work and breath and move around in this world that it's becoming so tiring.
I haven't taken my BP in a while, or my pulse rate. I know the numbers have been going up (resting pulse) and down (BP) and have been avoiding "seeing" it - keep myself in denial that much longer. There are days at work I have a very hard time. There's so much stress, I am in effect doing the job of almost 2 people. Yet again we are short staffed, actually 2 people down on our team, and one other counsellor short over on my side. I am burning out. I knew I've been heading down this road so upped my massages etc. to twice a month to get me through this crunch, more bubble baths, even a retreat thrown in there for good measure. Yet the stress is still getting to me.

I am not as jovial, just sluggish, and right now, not working one bit. I should be catching up on case notes but cannot recall a thing from the session. My mind is as heavy as my heart-beat. It's during times like this I wish I was still friends with my Ex. (well, aside from wanting peace and still loving the person, etc.) I wish I knew how to get a 98 beats per minute resting pulse rate down... without the aerobic exercise (as suggested when I Googled the topic). I can't be doing aerobics - my Dr. Cardio man forbids it, besides, 2 flights of stairs can be aerobic enough. Not sure how I can elevate my BP where it was an 88/56 last night. I look back at my records and they continue to decrease despite my efforts at health. And I feel it at work too. I could be in the middle of group, get up to right ont he white board and I feel like I'm about to collapse. I've tailored my teaching style somewhat and count myself as lucky that I am with a small group where I can teach pretty much sitting. My last position at this facility I could not, I had an audience, and a hard-core energy sucking unsafe street-level group. I loved it but couldn't be "on" all the time.
But now because of these designer drugs I can't even do whatever I want when it comes to herbal supplements. Almost everything's been refused from my Naturopath from my Cardio NP.

I have another appointment again tonight. It might be my last if there's no treatment plan. She says she actually has something that was OK'd by them. I cannot believe that even my prophylactic use of vit C (2,000mg/day in winter) was refused because it apparently affects the meds that much. Hm, interesting commentary from the same cardiologists that don't "believe" herbs etc., can actually do anything.

That's the other stress in my life right now... the legal journey is beginning and it's stressing me right out. My life is quite binary at the moment: lots of good: la femme francaise and I are heading to Quebec City for a romantic weekend-getaway later this week and yet the old love of my life and I are no longer on speaking terms (unless through a hired professional). At work I'm becoming really comfortable in my new position (my boss called me a rock star last week) but on the other hand it's a source of great stress right now requiring much more than I can give. It seems to be good or bad - whatever happened to all the grey-zones? I suppose life is about finding balance in the extremes. I dislike binaries.