The fall is suddenly upon us, and it is indescribably wonderful. I’ve felt this exact autumn in my bones most of my forty-one years and I could recognize it with only a handful of my senses. I remember the last ninety-plus degree day, just a short few weeks ago, and then suddenly the temperature dropped. It is still warm enough, with rich rains, sometimes violent ones. My husband kept watering our sparse tomato plants right up until last week, although I told him there was not enough summer warmth left to coax the green fruits into ripeness.
The last few days have been growth days. Doing new things. New, often scary things. Being very busy; busier than I am normally.
For instance I am hustling to finish up my projects from the Bundle Up! boys’ blog tour. Typically in my tailoring work I stroll with my head back, cockily finishing up before deadlines, like a Boss. However this time around my fabric order was freakishly late – the fabrics arrived last Thursday. And even then I might have had time but a medical project reared its head. Thursday afternoon I prepped for, and Friday I underwent – a colonoscopy.
Pre-procedure: tired, tired, at the tail end of a thirty-six hour fast, and ready for my Twilight Sleep:
(the “Shadow of the Vampire” look I put down to a puke-green “gown”, hospital lighting, and a very special adventure the day before.) That said I’m not sure if anyone’s done so well during a prep and colonoscopy as I did. (Is that something to be proud of?)
Post-procedure, I slept most the day.
Saturday, feeling quite amazing and energetic, I got to sewing as quick as I could. But of course: kids, housework. A long-lost friend resurfaced and needed some time. And of course – before I forget: we put together the Event Page on Facebook, printed the tickets, and rolled out the poster for our upcoming benefit for a local animal rescue:
(For the love of god, buy a ticket or donate to the cause. We put up our household grocery money to reserve the Theatre and secure film licensing – $750!)
Well, today. Ralph and I tried out for lead parts in a local production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”.
Yes. Yes, we really did.
(we both channeled the late and great Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as Sandy Lyle in Along Came Polly)
I didn’t mean to have such a busy week, but when things get busy I get very “one thing at a time” – and sometimes I don’t notice how many “things” I strung together.
I guess out of everything… I mean I am proud of myself for stretching, for reaching out and doing things scary. But the auditions? That is huge for me. Not that long ago the only people who’d heard me sing were my children.
I’ve had a lot of adventures the last few days. I’m ready for a little rest.
Some people in the home, however, continue on much as before. So after a very busy last five days, I leave you with some precious Cat Serenity.
I’m quite suddenly on a few medications for my kidneys: Percocet 5/325, an anti-nausea to combat the effects of this painkiller, and a prostrate medicine (tee hee!) to help my body pass stones. I also continue to take potassium citrate – I’ve been on this chemistry-correcting salt since fall last year. Oh, and finally in the world of What I’m Up To, I get to strain my pee on a little stone-finding mission, so they can analyze the stones. It’s like gold panning, but not so glamorous.
I was reluctant to be on pain meds and had quite the discussion with the friendly be-ponytailed physician yesterday. He convinced me otherwise, and an ER trip for pain management is uncool in my book for several reasons, so I came home and started dosage. But Recovery seems to have affected me physiologically, not just mentally and emotionally. Because even at the minimum prescribed dose of Percocet I am nauseated and high. More nauseated than high. As in, I can’t move around too much or ride in a car, or I feel I’m going to throw up. Boo. Because let me tell you, when I’d get some pain meds I used to enjoy the effects – and drink on the effects – and I never, ever got sick. So a little over a year’s worth of Recovery has left me intelligent with regard to prescription misuse or abuse, but with a staggeringly low tolerance. I suppose I’ve known this about myself for some time, I’m pretty sensitive to drugs. Probably one reason why I didn’t end up an addict or even an abuser. Yet. I hope never to end up there.
It is a bit difficult for me to rest most the day. I mean a lot of resting. Take a shower, rest. Then get a ride to a meeting, briefly. Then rest. Rest and more rest. Bad vampire television, and rest. Eating ice cream and steak, drink cup after cup of tea, and rest. Yes, I know many would love a day off like this, but this is hard for me. I have a sewing project I’m wanting to get to, more than anything. It would be a mistake in so many ways, to try to do it. At this point I’d like the relief of doing dishes or going thrift shopping. It’s funny how only two days of inactivity is hard for me. But, there it is.
I am fortunate because I know this is temporary. Isn’t everything? Soon I will likely feel better, and I’ll get to sew. And that will feel wonderful. Today I tried to reflect on enjoying my life today. Not waiting to enjoy it, not enjoying it ONLY if I felt better. Whatever handicaps, whatever setbacks I might have: can I enjoy my body, my mind, my family and friends?
The answer today is “Yes”, and I’m glad that’s true for me.
I’ve had kidney issues since I was sixteen, stones only (no infections, thank goodness, and no urinary problems otherwise). It was under a year ago a specialist first told me I had renal tubular acidosis, type two, and that this was a birth defect, in other words a problem I’ve always had and that I didn’t “cause” in any way. Which is still a bit odd to think about. Maybe because by and large I got about an eighteen year hiatus from horrible attacks, I’d just have one now and then, a few achy pains. I had some acute painful attacks last fall which resulted in treatment and a (minor but unpleasant and terrifying) surgical procedure.
Today, to my dismay, I had to drive myself to the ER because at about twelve twenty I realized I was about to have a world of hurt, as the pain ramped up and up and up. Passing a stone, I guess, or my body is getting ready to. It’s a pretty horrible pain, and I’ve experienced gallstones and natural childbirth (and unnatural childbirth!). So.
I didn’t want to take myself to the hospital. I didn’t want to be in pain, I didn’t want to have to change plans, which meant changing other people’s plans. I didn’t want to incur more medical expenses. And while writhing in a helpless and contained way on a small cot, and feeling more nausea than I’d ever felt in my life, so far, and crying by myself in harsh lighting, I didn’t want to consider another invasive procedure in my future.
But anyway all of that went down, and I chose to accept this, as exhausting as it feels. My kids and husband came to my side and helped me at the hospital. And everyone on the hospital staff was very, very kind.
In other news, yesterday some apparently very kind and loving ANONYMOUS soul left me a monetary gift at a local shop I teach at. That was wonderful timing as we are 1 1/2 months behind on rent, so this gave me some grace money to take the kids out and get some food, and save a little besides. I can’t think who the donor might be, and I suppose if they are anonymous I’m not supposed to know. I wanted to write more about this event, but I’m not feeling well at the moment.
So yeah. I’ve had a tiring day, full of pain and nausea, four needle pricks, IV fluids and strong medicine, and lots and lots of vomiting. I’m also having a medicine hangover so I need to rest.
But I’ll write more soon when I can.
The 27th is my sobriety date. It doesn’t matter much, I know, but I do reflect on it every month on this date. For one thing, it is still an awkward and clumsy nut-punch that my blogging career changed so quickly. One day I was like, “write the theme tune sing the theme tune”, just living my life and documenting it as much or as little as I felt like it with a lot of detail, being as circumspect as possible regarding the feelings or experiences of others, and believing I did a good job not being an ass online about those I rubbed elbows with. And the next day BAM! I’m involved in work I can’t write about at all really – or I guess I could, but I don’t want to, most especially because it involves other people’s lives (and yes… I did start up a totally anonymous recovery blog, but I’ll never tell you about it!) and people sharing in spaces that are safe spaces. Yikes. It really felt like a muzzle and it came out of nowhere.
So, you’ll hear me say this again: I wouldn’t want to go through my first week sober. I was really scared, confused, foggy and exhausted. Baffling and yet very real, I’d been diagnosed an alcoholic by a kind but direct physician – the first time in my life this label had been applied by anyone but myself – but I didn’t know what, if anything, could be done (deep down I thought: nothing). More humiliating still, I’d never consumed the quantities alcohol that others can and did and do get up to (believe me… I checked into it), nor had troubles with the law, nor done a lot of the things pop culture (and my uh, family) liked to label as Alcoholic. It’s like you could have paraded my accomplishments, my attributes, the wonderful things in my life, and how many people loved me. And I would have heard you and maybe even felt a bit moved, but I was mostly just so profoundly confused. Nothing made sense. I had no compass and no sense of proportion. I was all habit energy. Some good habits, some bad. Kelly was lost to a depression and confusion more painful than she’d experienced. Yeah. I was lost.
I am not confused these days. I am not lost. I am rarely set back, angry, anxious, depressed, or resentful. When any of these feelings surface, today I often can know it, and I can figure out why. Today I have the help I need and I seek it out without hesitation. I have so much help, so much support, and a clearer conscience and vision. My life is very different. I am grateful and when I am not grateful, I am still profoundly okay.
I certainly don’t have to drink any more.
On Monday, I made amends to someone for something I did when I was twenty. That’s fifteen years ago.
This morning I was up and resting with a cup of coffee when the children awoke. Nels proudly skipped into the living room wrapped in a blanket, with his most-recent lost tooth in hand. The children were bright-eyed and happy, fresh haircuts and coming from a clean warm bed. It has always given me tremendous pleasure to care for our children. I have made a lot of errors and missed a lot of opportunities, but on many occasions I’ve also had the gift of perception to make the most of it. Time flies quickly while raising children, but the moments can be reduced with the most stunning clarity when I breathe and experience the moment. I am so grateful for the many wonderful experiences in my life, and for the hard experiences too because pain has been a great motivator. Pain and love, one or the other. I can seek to study the latter first so that the former is not so harsh a tutor when she arrives.
Tonight I had a lovely group meditation. And now I’m typing after dinner guests left, late. Like a little cooking show, I taught them how to make the spaghetti and meatballs (here’s my recipe). The kids trounced around and made all sorts of chatter with our guests. Nels, touchingly, has memorized birthstones and likes to tell people their stone and the stone’s meaning – if they are so inclined to listen. Phoenix brought out her little leopard gecko but held it at a circumspect distance from a guest not too keen on reptiles.
Our home is a peaceful and well-lived in one. I have been working too hard, and I hope to avail myself of some comforts the next few days. I’ll take pictures so you all can get a window view.
Nels comes in the house crying; cheeks flushed from cold-weather play, head back, mouth open, tears showering like an anime cartoon. He’s wailing as one of the neighborhood boys threatened Nels’ (new, homesewn, much-beloved) hat, the boy brandishing dogshit on his shoe.
Nels thinks the hat is ruined, he’s betrayed beyond measure that someone could be such an ass. I tell him, “Nels, it’s okay, we can fix it” (the hat seems fine). After a minute of crying and brief relief in my arms I repeat: “Hey little guy, we can fix it.” Then: “I’ll fix him,” my son announces grimly, a little blonde stormcloud stomping out the front door to what denouement I do not know.
I hear a phrase a lot lately, “When you’re ass is falling off,” usually preceding a suggestion to find some help, fast. Let this post be a tender debut of official notification, just the last day or so, I think yeah, my ass is falling off.
I have one primary complaint. Or rather, not a complaint exactly, just a scenario I have not yet made peace with: the last several days I have been in near constant pain. Usually on a scale of zero to ten it’s somewhere in the three range. Not too bad, but most the day or all day long, and frankly the whole thing is beginning to wear on me. That and, lying down to sleep and the pain is suddenly a dull agony that keeps me up. I’m plagued with bad dreams the last few nights which leave me disturbed even in the early waking hours.
Today I had my second acupuncturists’ appointment. Last week, my first experience, all was very groovy. Today I experienced a lot of pain (needles were placed in a lot of different places than last week), which I was assured wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I left about an hour later, neck bruised lightly from cupping, scented pleasantly by ginger, ear seeds taped to my ear and feeling curiously touched to have a practitioner care for me. And, might I add, feeling better.
Later on a walk with a friend and her young baby, as well as my two kiddos; memories bringing back having such a little one, while my kids squirrelled and argued with one another in the sunshine. On the trail I collected woolly bear caterpillers and a few last-ditch cattails for my son, who adores such things. The sun brilliant though the air is cold. Deep breath and trying to be of service, to help others, to take care of myself.
Tonight: a date out with my husband. My appetite, meh. I’m glad to have time with him and to talk about our respective days. He’s a loving and caring man when I’m ill. Lately I’m ill more often than he is, which is a bit novel.
Breathe in, breathe out. Rest. Repeat.