Daily Post 218: The Interrupted Writing

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Never got a chance to finish this writing yesterday


Hey Chromebook,

I’m low energy today… story of my life it seems.

Yesterday was pretty good. The days previous were also pretty good. I worked with my FA on Friday. I worked with a float nurse on Saturday and even though she hadn’t been at our clinic in a while, it was a pretty good day. Sunday I spent most of the day sleeping and didn’t give myself shit for it. It was nice. Monday I worked with the float nurse again and, again, had a decent day.

Tuesday’s counseling was decent. I felt better after the session and got a bunch of cleaning done.

The apartment is still a mild disaster from having to empty the rooms for the bedbug guy. I haven’t put a lot of my stuff away since I want to paint my room. Sort of silly to put everything back just to move it again only to have to put it back yet again…

While I know logically it’s the smarter thing to do, my brain is having a hard time with it. Everything is a mess and it’s like sandpaper in on the inside of my skull.

Ox and I had plans to paint yesterday. But sexy time happened instead. It was very much needed, but it left me emotionally raw afterward. And I guess that, too, is part of the story of my life recently. When we have moments like that it tears away all of the superficial bullshit layers of my life. All of the stress of the mundane things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. It allows all of those walls and distractions to come down and I’m left face to face with the core of who I am and what’s really underneath the surface; down in the dark quietness.

I realized something yesterday. I don’t think I’m as ok as I pretend to be; as I think I am.

I had the realization that if Ox died, I wouldn’t want to fight and struggle to figure it all out all over again. I would want to call it quits and tell Life it won and just give up. It was rather sobering.

My life shouldn’t hinge on another person, but at the moment I think it does and that’s not fair or right to Ox. He can be and is a support, but he shouldn’t be the one factor that keeps me going.

I realized that mortality is also probably the real reason I haven’t had an interest in actually finding another person for us to play with. I don’t mind being part of a D&D group, but the thought of forming a deep, close bond with another person is a hard “no” inside my head because I know on some level they’ll ultimately die and I would have do deal with the loss.

And so that’s where I am today. Wondering if I’m as healed as I’ve been thinking I am. Am I still weak? Am I still broken? Will I ever be “normal” again? Why is mom’s death affecting me so deeply that after four years the one bond I’ve allowed myself to form could be my undoing? Is that the type of person I want to be? Is that who I really am?

It’s confusing and it’s tiring. It makes me feel like I’m still just pretending at my life and going through the motions rather than actually dealing with the things that need to be addressed. The things deep down that really matter like my grief.

I know my grief is more of a spiritual issue rather than a logical one. I know I still need to find the motivation to care for myself again like going to the gym. How do you find motivation when you’re constantly tired? When life is constantly throwing other shit at you that needs to be addressed before the other things on your to-do list?

Yesterday, after counseling, I felt ready for battle. I was ready to start tackling all of the different areas in my life, one at a time, starting with my room. I don’t feel that right now.

I could start with putting some of the clothes away then move on to repacking some things…

Letters to Mom 027: Gloves

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Mom, I really need to talk to you. Of all of the things I haven’t written to you about, I’m ashamed that I need your insight over gloves.

The thing that pushes me to write and reach out to you isn’t passing my first semester of nursing school. It’s not to let you know that I was diagnosed with cancer, or that I had surgery, or that I’m recovering well enough though I still give myself shit for “not being better”.

No. It’s nothing all that important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a pivotal point in my life; maybe my career. It might make my life hell for the next forever and though I feel I did the right thing, though I’ve talked to several people who agree I did the right thing, it’s you who I want to say those words.

Fuck my life, mom. Fuck my sense of justice and integrity. I couldn’t just let this go and now I might have ruined everything.

Today as we were leaving work, the RN I was working with took a handful of gloves.

RN: I need to stop for gas on the way home. Have to stay safe out there.

I watched her take the gloves. I didn’t try to stop her. I didn’t say anything about, “You shouldn’t take those.” I did nothing except let it happen.

I was so bothered by it though. We’re in a pandemic and you’re going to take supplies meant to provide care for our patients and use them to pump gas? That’s not right. None of that is right.

I was so conflicted, mom. I still am. I called Ox and I told him what had happened and that I didn’t know what to do. This is the RN who had an issue with me coloring during my downtime at work. Was I bothered simply because I wanted to retaliate?

No… I was bothered because we as employees of our company signed a contract saying we wouldn’t take work supplies for personal use. That’s theft. It doesn’t matter that it was gloves. It could have been anything. A handful of paper towels. Masks. Hand sanitizer. It could have been anything that the company ordered for the clinic.

Our supplies are meant for the clinic, not for you. If you want to use gloves while you pump gas then go buy a box of gloves from the store like every other person who doesn’t work in the health care field has to do. That’s why I go out and buy my own page protectors from Office Depot rather than taking a pack from the stash at work.

Could I? Yes. Do I? No, because I said I wouldn’t.

Ox encouraged me to reach out to my FA. Maybe the RN had spoken to her about taking a few gloves. Maybe there was more to the situation I didn’t know about. That was a valid point. I shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

So I called. I asked if anyone on our team as asked to use work supplies for personal matters.

FA: What do you mean?

Fuuuuuuuck…

So I explained the situation.

FA: No. No one talked to me about that. This is an issue. We can’t have this happening.

There is going to be a message sent to all of us at the clinic in regards to supplies. The RN is going to know it’s me. My FA said she was going to talk to the RN directly as well. I guess that’s already happened since the RN tried to call me. I didn’t answer… most likely not helping my situation… That’s a problem for future me.

I can already hear Future Me bitching…

Present Me: You’re welcome. : D

I work with her Monday, mom. I’m dreading it and it’s only 7 pm. I’ve been off work for three hours and I’m already so ready to not go to work I’ve thought about quitting so I don’t have to be alone with this person.

I talked to dad, asking for his perspective as a manager. I’ve talked to Allison about it, too, since she was a high-level manager for a while.

They both feel I did the right thing for the right reasons. My FA is paid way more than me to take in information like this and to choose the best course of action. I am not responsible for what my FA does with the information. I am not responsible for how my coworker reacts to my FA’s choices.

But I work with her, mom. I might have just fucked everything up. Over gloves…

But it’s not the gloves that are the issue. The core of this whole thing is that taking something that isn’t yours is wrong. She wouldn’t have taken the gloves if she had been working with my FA instead of me, so why was it ok today? If I would have gotten in trouble for it, why would she think she’s above the same expectations? Is it because I’m just a PCT? Because I never say anything? Because I wouldn’t “snitch”?

Is this snitching? We’re in a pandemic and supplies are back-ordered and we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and you’re taking the supplies we need for our patients. You’re stealing from our patients. We NEED those supplies to ensure we maintain proper infection control during their procedures. What happens if gloves become an issue?

Should the pandemic thing even matter? At the root of it all, you said you wouldn’t take supplies and you did. You lied. You stole.

As employees of the company, we are mandated reporters for stuff like this. If it had been found out that this happened, and I knew about it, and I didn’t do anything or report it, I’m not exempt from consequences. If someone saw me doing something wrong, they are expected, mandated, to report it.

“It’s just gloves.”

That’s what keeps going on inside my head right now, mom. It’s just gloves. I get it. It can seem dumb when you focus on the object rather than the action. It was theft. Blatant. Intentional. As if I didn’t matter; didn’t exist. As if my words wouldn’t invoke reactions and consequences. As if my own moral character didn’t matter.

My life is going to suck at work for the next forever, mom. She’s going to out for blood. Everything I do is going to be wrong. Every break I take. Every time I step off the floor. Everything I do is going to have a flaw in her eyes.

It was the right choice for my peace of mind. It was the wrong choice if I wanted an easy life.

I guess that’s something… There are all sorts of quotes about the “right thing” being hard.

Right now I don’t feel like I have the inner resolve I need to be ok with my choice. I know it was the right one to make; more for myself than anything. Stealing is wrong. I couldn’t not say something regardless of what the item was and be ok with myself.

But actions of reactions. The reaction to my action of informing is that I have made my coworker’s life harder and she, in turn, is going to be resentful and potentially take it out on me by fostering a negative work environment while we’re together.

That is the consequence of the choice I made.

So I guess that’s where my issue comes in; where my resolve falters. This is where the confusion is and so maybe I don’t have the words I want or need to express it right.

Why am I worried about how she’s going to act? She can act however she wants. Am I going to let her attitude change wanting to be at MY clinic? Am I going to let her mess with my own attitude? Am I going to give her power over my emotions? Does she deserve that power?

No. No one does. My emotions are my own. I may not control them, but I exist with them, alongside them, and if I take the time to understand them, sometimes I can persuade them to change and to see another perspective.

I remained true to myself and to my own standards which happen to be in line with the company’s core values and our code of conduct.

I DID do the right thing.

Sometimes the right thing and the hard thing are the same thing.

I don’t know, mom. I don’t think I really figured anything out, but I don’t feel as anxious anymore. I’m not as worried about Monday. I’m not as worried about her life or how I may or may not have messed it up.

Stealing is wrong. It doesn’t matter that it was gloves. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a whole box of gloves. Either you’re allowed to take them or you’re not. There isn’t a gray area. There aren’t situational exceptions here. That’s one of the positive things about policies and procedures. They remove the gray, nebulous, opinion-based judgement calls. They make things black and white, for better or for worse. They give us something to use as a standard for ethical and professional behavior.

I know I did the right thing, mom. Now to fight the good fight; the one in my head. I’m not going to back down from my choice to inform. If I did the morally right thing then I have nothing to be ashamed of or regret.

Daily Post 209: Remembering Truths

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It’s been a while since I’ve written. Working last Wednesday sort of threw everything off for the rest of the week. So here I am with about a week’s worth of stuff to catch up on.

I’ve decided to go with duel specking my character with the bard class. I reached out to our DM with a clarifying question.

Me: Quick question for God: If I duel spec as a bard would I have to legit sing?

God: It really depends on the style of music. There’s gonna be some genres I simply won’t allow at the table. But for sure you’re gonna be performing for us in some capacity. Mwahahahahahaha!!! >:3

Me: Excellent >:3

I can’t wait for tonight’s session. It’s going to be great.

That was the majority of Thursday. Figuring out what I wanted to do with my character level and spell wise, remaking my character sheet in a new program Ox found, and figuring out what items I wanted to replace while we were in town.

Class was fine. We started talking about statuses and roles and group dynamics along with classical studies pertaining to an individual’s willingness to conform in group settings.

Friday and Saturday I worked. Neither of those days was awful. I got some studying done during my breaks. Not as much as I would have liked, but some was better than none.

Saturday night Ox and I ended up going out to dinner. We haven’t had a legit date night in a while. And I guess that needs some back story…

We were supposed to run an extra treatment for a patient Saturday afternoon. Friday she had assured me she would be there for her Saturday treatment. I had gotten to work early to ensure we could have her chair ready for her in the afternoon. Even if something happened with another patient, we would be able to get her in since she said she would be there.

I flipped the station for her. I set up the machine and it had just finished testing when the phone to the clinic rang. My RN answered it. Our patient wasn’t coming.

I haven’t been that frustrated and angry in a while. I was so frustrated I was almost in tears.

Me: I need five minutes. I’ll be right back.

I had to leave the floor to regain perspective and my composure.

Irrational Right Brain: I trusted you. I did these things FOR YOU. You said you would be here. I didn’t call and check to see if you were coming because you told me not to worry about it with the craziness of change over. I had to throw those supplies away because you didn’t come when you said you would. I wasted them because I trusted you. I set that machine up FOR YOU. It wasn’t just flipping a station. There was intention behind every action I did to ensure we weren’t behind FOR YOU. And while I understand all of this is my own perspective, at the time it felt like you threw everything I had done, all of my effort and trying, onto the ground and stomped on it.

After I got over the feelings of betrayal the rest of the day was alright. Patients staggered off well enough that there wasn’t a crazy rush at the end of the day. We closed the clinic up. I drove home. Ox gave me a hug.

I was still frustrated. I was still missing mom. He offered for us to go out together for food since there weren’t plans for dinner. I agreed. I changed out of my scrubs into one of his shirts and a pair of shorts. I wanted to drink. It doesn’t happen often, but that’s where I was Saturday night. I wanted to throw all of my responsibilities and caring down onto the ground and say “fuck it” for a few hours of my life, so I did. Ox let me. He drove. He listened to me and he didn’t judge me.

We went to Buffalo Wild Wings. They were busy. I ordered a Long Island Iced Tea. Since I don’t drink often and hadn’t eaten since lunch it didn’t take long for my drink to do its job. I didn’t mind the loudness anymore. Ox and I talked and I didn’t mind talking about the painfulness I felt. I didn’t care about the silent tears running down my face as I talked about mom. I didn’t care what people thought as I got a second drink. Everyone else could fuck themselves if they thought I would feel bad about crying in public.

Once we were done eating, we went out to the parking lot. Ox gave me a cigarette while I continued talking.

Me: I know I sound like an eight-year-old when I say “I want my mom.” But I want my mom. I want her back.

Ox brought me back to the apartment. I came inside and crawled into bed, still hurting but not minding the pain. It’s there for a reason and while it sucks I cherish it.

While I was in bed I began thinking about my inner landscape; the way I view my mind and the different areas I’ve created in it.

There’s my ice cave. The place I spent so much time in while I was growing up and dealing with my parents’ divorce. The place I retreated to when mom died. It’s where I go when there’s nothing I can do about the pain and confusion I feel other than breath. It’s where I wait, still and silent, because the cold makes the pain seem less.

There’s my summer forest full of green and sunlight. My ice cave is at the center of this calm and warm place. There’s a brook, feeding the forest with water. There are birds and a deer with giant antlers; old and wise as he slowly bends down to drink from the brook. He’s my friend and unafraid of being present while I’m there. He lets me watch him living life and being part of the balance.

There’s another area; one I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to understand. I’ve always been scared of it. I’ve always thought of it as a personal hell. Saturday I took the time to acknowledge it as real.

From now on it will be my Forest of Nightmare. It’s dark here. The darkness of a moonless night. The trees are black and barren. Roots tangle along the ground, gnarled and unseen, waiting to trip me, making my knees and palms bloodied and scraped.

Monsters live here in the nightmare. At least I used to think they were monsters, and I guess that’s what I figured out during my drunken Saturday night.

They’re not really monsters. The concept of monsters is just another perspective that I have control over. These things have always existed. The forest, the creatures living in them, the things the “monsters” represent. They have always been a part of me, a part of life. Sometimes I’m unaware of them until I meet them for the first, terrifying time, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t always been there; always lived, always breathed, waiting for our meeting.

Grief doesn’t have to be a monster. Loneliness doesn’t have to be a monster. Moonless nights in black forests don’t have to be terrifying. It’s my choice to fear these things that have always been a part of who I am. If I want it to change then I need to make different choices.They have just as much of a right to live as anything else. Existing doesn’t make them bad or evil; my perspective does.

So… I’m trying to make different choices and have different perspectives.

Much like in How to Train Your Dragon, where Hiccup finds Toothless. At first, Hiccup thinks Toothless is a vicious killer and something which should be feared. A monster. Over time he comes to understand that’s not what Toothless is. Hiccup is still fearful when he extends his hand out, unsure of what will happen. Toothless pushes his forehead against the outstretched limb, offering friendship, which is really just understanding and acceptance when you boil it down.

So, I’m extending my hand to the monsters I have fought against and run away from. They aren’t monsters. They deserve to exist and to be understood. They deserve to be accepted as they are rather than being feared. This is their home, with me, inside me, and I can either ignore them or take the time to learn to cohabitate with them.

I want to learn to be accepting of myself. I want to learn to not fear my Forest of Nightmare.

That was a pretty heavy psychological endeavor to have Saturday night. As a result, Sunday I spent most of the day sleeping. I woke up and had breakfast at the house. Came back to the apartment and took a nap with the kittens. Woke up and ate. Went back to sleep… No school work like I had been planning. It was sunny outside but also super windy so it was hard to feel like doing anything other than basking in the sunlight. Being away from people was nice. It helped me recover enough for work the next day.

Monday I worked with my FA on the floor. It’s been a while since we’ve worked together. The day itself went smoothly. One of the other techs from our sister clinic came down to learn our machines. She’s super awesome and it was good to spend some time with her.

I went to the house after work. Since it was raid night for Ox we had a cigarette before I came to the apartment. I was supposed to do a bunch of schoolwork but didn’t. Instead, I reread most of my Letters to Mom. That was a sad realization. Through all of my cancer stuff I never once wrote to her. I haven’t told her anything about Jon moving. I didn’t tell her about passing my first semester of nursing school or making the Dean’s List. I haven’t reached out to her in so long…

It gave me more to think about Monday night and so instead of pushing through my mental exhaustion, I opted to sleep instead. If I got a zero on my mid-term exam Tuesday morning I would still pass the class, and since I was showing up to take the test I would make higher than a zero. I know a majority of the content. I don’t have to get 100%. I would be ok with whatever I made because that was the effort I put into my schooling.

Ox came over after raid. We fell asleep together. It was nice and comforting. I woke up Tuesday and had a chill morning before going to class. I feel I did well on my test. The grade still isn’t posted. I’m hoping to get the results later today.

I did errands while I waited to meet with Ox and HiWay Diner. We had an enjoyable lunch before finishing the grocery shopping. I went to the house with him. We had sexy time, though that had a bit of a rough start. I tweaked my back at work Monday morning, so while I desperately wanted the interaction with him, my spine had other ideas.

Me: This is happening, Body. Just fucking enjoy it, damnit.

Body: Oh yeah? Well, take this! And this! And how ’bout this!

Me: I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’ll never do it again! I swear!

Yeah… hard to feel sexy when your spine feels like it’s trying to break itself in half. Ox was kind and understanding and eventually, we found a position that didn’t cause spikes of searing agony to stab at my nervous system. Once we found that it was back to being a mind-melting experience.

That did lead to some heavy conversation afterward, which, again, needs some backstory…

Ox and I have been talking again about finding another female to have some fun with. I’m going to ignore the cries of “Slut!” and “Whore!” because I am fully aware that some/most people won’t agree with my choices, but they’re my choices and this is my life and something between my partner and myself and his opinion is the only opinion that really matters at this point.

I made a few posts on a BDSM site explaining what we were looking for. Through those posts, there was a person who reached out to me. It was a guy, but instead of being the typical, “I know you’re looking for a female, but how about a mmf three-way?” type of message, it was an offer to join his group. It’s centered around sex positivity and is a local group for our area. Since Nebraska can be pretty conservative, it was nice to see something like that existed locally.

I joined the group and sent a message back thanking him for reaching out to me. That’s led to some pretty extensive emailing back and forth. He seems like an interesting person. He at least seems to not mind my novel-length replies and engages in the conversation in equal measure.

We’re both interested in friendship and would like to meet each other in person. Queue emotional roller coaster of Doooooom…

I don’t have friends here in Nebraska. I want friends. Most of my friends tend to be guys. How is Ox going to feel knowing I’ve been talking to a guy on a kink site and now want to meet him in person?

Only one way to find out… Fuuuuuck… my life… >.<;

We had that conversation Sunday night. Ox has some misgivings. We laid down ground rules for what would be ok and no ok as far as meeting. I relayed the information and L (we’ll call him L) and I arranged to meet at a coffee shop across from campus on Thursday after my class.

So that wasn’t as big of a roller coaster as I had been prepared for, but it did lead to additional conversation about additional play partners; specifically about how I still feel it’s unfair for Ox to play with girls while I am not allowed to play with guys, not that I really want to, but it is an imbalance and I don’t do well with imbalances.

I actually got a reply from one chick asking if we were still looking for someone.

My Brain: Totally not done with that roller coaster, btw. K. Thx. Bye. : D

Me: Fuck you, Brain…

So… there was sexy time yesterday. I don’t remember how, but we got back onto the topic of other people. I’m feeling uncomfortable about it, so it’s obvious that something is bothering me but I don’t want to talk about it so I don’t, but Ox knows somethings up, he just doesn’t know what because I won’t talk so he doesn’t know what to do because he doesn’t know what’s going on inside my head…

Arg…

We ended up talking about it.

I’m still insecure about a lot of things regarding my surgery. My new scar. The fact that a stranger cut me open and took part of me away. The fact that I have to be on medication for the rest of forever to be “normal”. The fact that I’m still recovering and not able to do things at the gym I took for granted. The fact that I’m still dojo-less and even if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to train as I have in the past.

So, what happens if we find a chick, and for whatever reason, the situation is extremely stimulating for Ox and she’s able to help him finish easier or faster than I am able to? That would mean the issue is really, truly with me right? I’m not doing something right or I’m not enough. It really is me.

What happens if they hit it off and form a friendship where they want to start hanging out, alone because they’re friends? What if she’s prettier than me? What if she doesn’t have cancer? What if she doesn’t have grief because her parents are still alive? What if she catches feelz for Ox and then we have to contend with all of that? What happens if Ox gets the type of dynamic that I’m not allowed to have because “guys are bad”?

Ox and I have only recently been branching out into the BDSM side of things and so while I am enjoying and grateful for it, it’s still new and tentative. I don’t feel secure in it because I don’t understand why the change is there or if it will last, or really what any of it means for him. Is it only bedroom play or is this the real-life dynamic that I’ve wanted that I convinced myself I couldn’t have because believing I couldn’t have it was easier than constantly pining for it?

What’s our relationship goal? Do we even have one? Where are we headed? How are things going to change once Jon and I are roommates? How are things going to be once I go back to nursing school and no longer have a life for eight months?

There’s so much in flux right now. I don’t want to add another person into the mix when so much is still unclear, unsettled, muddled, muddy, nebulous…

Ox: We don’t have to do this. It’s why I’ve left it up to you. If you don’t want it, that’s ok.

Me: But this is something I agreed to before I moved. Won’t you feel betrayed if I don’t do this?

Ox: No. I love you. I’m with you. And I’m here for you.

It was a hard conversation. Admitting to my “not good” feelings was hard. I was worried about rejection and anger, but like so many other times before, I was given love, kindness, and understanding instead.

At the end of the conversation, Ox hugged me and said we were ok. Originally I had plans to cross-stitch at the house on the bed next to him, but with the looming conversation, it felt less ok to do something like that. I should go to the apartment and hide. I should be emo in bed under the covers and leave this unresolved because it’s easier to not confront it than to work through it.

But no. We worked through it. Together. And at the end, I did go inside and cross-stitch, something I haven’t been doing.

That’s something else I’ve noticed. For the past few weeks, all of the self-care I had been doing post-surgery has fallen to the wayside again, and I wonder if that’s not factoring into the general discord I have been feeling. I haven’t colored for weeks. Yesterday was the first time in a while that I’ve stitched. This is the first writing in roughly a week. There are piles on the kitchen table and dishes in the sink… I’m allowing Life to take over again and that’s not ok.

Today is about cleaning up; catching up. I was supposed to go to counseling, but Ox accidentally took my keys with him to work, so I can’t drive anywhere. Instead, I’m going to stay at the apartment today. Writing has helped me reflect. I’m in the process of meal prepping. As my back allows I’ll pluck away at sweeping and moping and going through my piles. Email, phone calls, school notes, condensing to-do lists… all of it.

Today is about getting back on track and tonight will be an awesome night of D&D.

Things will be ok. Things are ok. I’m my mother’s daughter and I’m a warrior. Those are my truths. I think I needed to be reminded of them.

Daily Post 208: Rambling

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I need this to be more of a ramble post. Just forewarning that my thoughts might jump around way more then they have in my previous posts.

D&D went well last night. I was late because at 7ish yesterday morning I was asked to cover a shift at one of our sister clinics in town. I explained that I had counseling and that I would be able to be to the clinic until 11:30, roughly. That was fine. Their team was grateful for my help.

I got there at the end of change over. Even though it’s a clinic I haven’t been too often, I did well. I was able to rinse the clinic’s loop fine even though I haven’t done that task for at least six months now. Their machines are different, but I was still able to string them and interact with them efficiently. Sort of like riding a bike. I picked it back up like it was yesterday. It brought back memories of when I worked in Orlando since they were the same machines I originally trained on.

It was nice to see the other teammates. The day went smooth, and though I had initially thought yesterday would be more of a “school” day, I was glad I was able to help alleviate the panic of “holy shit, how are we going to find coverage for this person who can’t come in”.

Due to not working on school stuff, I do feel a bit behind in my class now. I have a few chapters I need to read. Tuesday is my mid-term exam. My report is due on the 19th. While none of those tasks are extremely heavy and I feel like I have a good grasp on the content, there is a part of me that feels slightly overwhelmed. Like I’ve allowed myself to procrastinate too much and now I’m not going to do well.

I know all of those feelings are internal. The only things I don’t feel confident in are some of the sociologist’s names. I know all of the studies that have been done, but who did them.

Durkheim studied suicide and was one of the founders of sociology as a social science. Cooly established a model for social development stages. Piaget focused on biological (brain) development which corresponded to Cooly’s social stages. Mead combined Cooly’s and Piaget’s models, creating his own stages of development. Yes, I looked up how to spell Piaget’s name.

There are other sociologists that I’m not so sure about. While there is a part of me who wants to freak out and fall into a pit of despair because how am I supposed to get everything done? There’s another part of me who feels like if I buckle down over the next few days I’ll be fine. I like the feelings of the calm, level-headed side of myself. This is do-able, it’s just going to take a bit of effort and disciple on my part. I would rather surround myself with those feelings and tackle the things I need to do one at a time.

I think Dagger has a matt forming on his side. His fur is sort of rough and calloused feeling. I can’t see anything wrong with the skin and he doesn’t act like he’s in pain when I touch the “weird” spot. I’ve been trying to brush it to see if it is actually a matt but he doesn’t like that very much. I’ve been keeping an eye on it. It hasn’t gotten worse or spread, so there’s that. He’s recovering well from surgery. His fur is starting to grow back on his belly.

The kittens are starting to let me clip their claws by myself. I’ll wait until they’re calm and cuddling with me before trying to clip them. It seems to work. I’ve also made more of an effort to touch their paws without clipping them, so they’re used to them being held and having me extend their claws. It’s not an action associated only with this thing they don’t really care for. It’s part of cuddling and bonding and sometimes I clip them, but not always.

It seems to be helping. It’s easier to clip their claws when they’re not trying to pull away so it goes smoother and faster and this thing they’re not sure about doesn’t take as long to do. Ox helped me a little last night since the kittens were playful, but overall it’s been going better.

Back to D&D… Our characters leveled up. Level 3. Woot woot. I’m thinking about duel specing my character, though I haven’t settled on what class to take in addition to cleric. That’s going to require a bit of research on my part. I also need to look into buying a few items while we’re in town.

I have an assignment that I need to print out for class this morning, but after printing that I think I’ll take the time to figure out a bit of my D&D stuff before going into class today.

I know I just got done writing about how I feel behind and all of that stuff, but I want to take the time to do something for myself, too. I worked yesterday instead of having those six hours to do the things I wanted/needed to do. I want to have my morning so I’m going to give it to myself.

I need to cook my roast still, but that’s warming up to room temperature at the moment before I put it in the oven. It should finish cooking before I need to get ready for class. I can cut it up once I get home. I’m thinking about going to the gym for a little bit.

Several people recently have said it looks like I’m losing weight. I don’t really feel like I am. I’ve been feeling better, yes, but I haven’t noticed a difference in how my clothes are fitting. Maybe that’s me being unobservant. /shrug

Anywho, I didn’t go to the gym on Tuesday. I went to lunch with Ox instead and then did grocery shopping. He also pushed me to the point of crying again, which, yes, I know sounds awful, but it’s not.

This time I cried over it almost being April. April 4th. Four years. Four years since mom died. Four years that I’ve struggled, and fought, and raged, and sobbed, and wondered what’s the point? Why keep going? You’re still not here.

I’ve been thinking more and more about the 4th and how it’s coming and I know it’s going to be another wave of grief that hurts and makes it hard to breathe. I can feel it building inside me. I have a lot of stuff going on in my life at the moment. It’s been easy to not consciously acknowledge this day is coming, but subconsciously I know. Every day as I write the date on my to-do list or on forms at work, I know it’s coming, creeping closer and closer and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Just like my birthday. Just like mother’s day. These days always come, will always hurt, will always be hard.

As I cried Ox said it will be ok. That we would get through it.

Me: There’s a part of me who doesn’t want it to be ok. I want everyone to hurt as much as I do. I want the world to stop. I want it to be unable to function without my mom in it. I want her death to still mean something.

Crying on Tuesday helped. I still feel the ache in my chest; my invisible wound, but crying and talking about it helped to release some of the tension that had been building up under the surface.

I guess there isn’t a whole lot else to talk about. Counseling went well. I’m thinking about taking American Sign Language during summer if finances allow it.

We talked pretty extensively about school. I explained how I want to be an LPN. I can see myself in that role. I can visualize my days at work. I can see the additional tasks I would take on and how my workflow would change. I WANT those changes and so LPN seems ok.

I don’t want to be an RN. At least not right now. Since I don’t want it, it’s hard to feel motivation to do things associated with moving me towards RN. Taking the sociology class was due to being interested in sociology. It just helped that it was a pre-req for RN. I don’t want to take microbiology, another pre-req for a program I don’t really want to complete.

Maybe that will change, but for right now I want my focus to be on becoming an LPN, taking over a few of the outcomes at our clinic, and moving into a PCT3 position. I WANT those things and so I’m self-motivated to achieve them. I want to get through this phase of my life first and then see where I want to go. I don’t like the idea of being charge nurse. I don’t like the idea of totally giving up my role as a PCT to be an RN because there’s no way I can cover both positions on my own. That’s why there are at least two people on the floor. One RN and one PCT. One person can’t do everything. But I would try to do that. I know I would.

So yeah… maybe, if I’m able to, taking another class because it’s something I want to take, rather take something I feel pressured into doing. I don’t want that. I don’t want to spend money investing in something simply because I feel it’s what other people want me to do.

So yeah… I think I’ll go for now. I feel better for having written. I feel a little clearer inside my head. I’m going to keep plucking away at my day and see where I end up.

Daily Post 195: A Quiet Day

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A quick writing before bed.

Today has been a fairly slow and quiet day. I woke up this morning mostly because the kittens refused to let me sleep longer. I fed them their ration of wet cat food, something they always look forward to. I ate breakfast and took my Zoloft. I had a cup of coffee while I had a cigarette and enjoyed the sunlight from the balcony attached to my apartment.

I colored for about 15 minutes before starting in on school work. I printed most of my references for my culture report. A few of them I can’t access unless I’m on campus. I’ll have to figure out something for those. There’s also a PDF version of a 95-page book. Very uninterested in printing the entire thing… But yeah. I was able to print six other sources so I can flip through and highlight the information I plan to use.

I completed the citation assignment that is due Tuesday. I also completed the case study assignment that’s due Thursday. That only leaves reading chapter four’s material, taking the test, and preparing for the essay quiz on Thursday. Feeling pretty good with the school side of things.

I went to the house for breakfast. I had planned to go to the gym after cross-stitching for a bit. That didn’t happen. Sexy time was had instead followed by a nap. I realized as I was dozing why I like sleeping on my side with the weighted blanket covering my shoulder. It feels like Ox’s arm is draped over me when I sleep like that.

For most of the morning, I was emotionally raw. It’s almost the two-year mark for Ox and me. It’s getting closer to April which will be the four-year mark of mom’s death. I don’t know… I can feel the depth of love I have for Ox clearer than I’ve let myself for a while. That love tugs at the edges of my wound; the one I have from losing mom. I don’t want to love him less, but I’m very aware of how painful love is, or at least can be.

Me: I don’t want you to leave.
Ox: I know. I can’t promise to always be here, though.
Me: I know.

I told him that I needed him to know that’s what I wanted; for him to not leave.

We spent the vast majority of the day in the bedroom, him gaming and me cross-stitching next to him. It’s been nice. We ran to the gas station and back to the apartment so I could get a seasoning packet. Mama Ox agreed to let me try cooking steaks in the InstaPot she got. I was told by a patient that the steaks turn out super tender that way and I wanted to give it a shot.

I don’t think mine turned out that well. To me, they seemed overcooked, but then I normally eat my steaks rare so maybe I’m not a good reference point. I do think it’s worth another try. They weren’t awful but they weren’t amazing either.

Ox and I have been watching a new series on Netflix. Cagaster of an Insect Cage. It’s interesting. I don’t think there are many more episodes left.

I chatted with my cusion for a while. We got caught up on each other’s lives and how the start of 2020 hasn’t been what we were hoping for. I also talked to Jon for a little bit. He mostly wanted to complain about some of his classmates, but it was still good to hear his voice. We agreed to talk later in the week.

Not a whole lot has happened aside from that. I did dishes, filled the containers with dry cat food, cleaned the litter box, packed my lunch box for work tomorrow… That was an issue Saturday while I was running late. In my rush to get out the door, I forgot to pack water into my lunch box. Luckily I had a handful of water bottles in my car because I was a slacker and didn’t clean it out. Sometimes procrastinating pays off.

Oh. Another thing I don’t think I mentioned… I had to refill my Synthroid prescription. I called it in Thursday I believe. I received an automated message Friday afternoon saying there was an issue they were trying to resolve with my insurance company. If they needed more information from me they would call.

I didn’t have it in me to care. If they called me I would figure it out then. Until then there wasn’t an issue for me to worry about.

I got a call Saturday afternoon saying the issue was resolved and there would be no copay for my prescription. It was ready to be picked up at my convenience.

I’m way more ok with my prescription knowing that I’m not having to pay $40 a month for it. In the grand scheme of things, $40 a month isn’t bad for meds. It’s not awesome either. $40 every two or three months seems way more doable, though. So yeah, I’ll be picking my refill up on Tuesday while I’m in town for class.

And with that, I think I’m done for the day. Here’s to a good night’s sleep with alarms that go off when they’re supposed to.

Daily Post 188: First Week Post-Surgery

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There’s a lot to write about. A lot to process through. A lot to be grateful for. A lot still on the horizon.

I suppose I should start from where I left off last. It was before surgery. I was able to get the $700 needed for the deposit I was blindsided by. Work went well. My patients were extremely supportive during my last days at work.

Tuesday I went to my first day of class. Introduction to Sociology. I was able to talk to the instructor after class. It was nice to have a face to go with the voice I had heard over the phone earlier the week before. We talked about the day I would be missing. She gave me the makeup work. She wished me well during surgery.

After class, I went to the airport and picked up my dad. It was good to see him. We stopped at Arby’s on the way back to my apartment for lunch. We chatted for a bit. He got to meet the kittens. He got to meet Ox. That evening we went out for dinner at Brewsky’s. They have pretty good wings. My FA and her family showed up.

It was a thing I tried to work out with most of my co-workers; my “Cancer Eviction Party.” Not many people showed up but when you work the crazy hours we do I was sort of expecting that. It ended up being pretty awesome regardless. My FA is an extremely important person in my life. She is one of the biggest advocates for my development in the company. I know it may seem childish but I’m glad she was able to meet my dad. He spent a really long time talking to her and it seemed like she genuinely enjoyed the conversation. There were lots of jokes and laughing and shared stories. It was exactly how I wanted to spend my last night before my surgery; with good people having good food and a good time.

I had my last cigarette with Ox before driving back to the apartment. My dad camped out in the living room on my air mattress while I slept with the kittens in my room. I woke up early. I didn’t eat. I had a bit of chicken broth to drink, but that was it. We got to the hospital around 10 am. I got checked in and was shown to my pre-surgery room. I had to take my piercings out. I had to wipe down with antimicrobial wipes. I had to wear a hospital gown. I had to wait a really long time. I had to answer a bunch of questions. I had to give them the paperwork for my living will so it could be in my medical record.

The surgeon came in and talked to me. I think he could tell I was scared. Remarkablely, he was extremely kind to me. There was something different about his eyes. Something different in his voice. Something about the way he held himself said, “It’s ok to be scared. I’ve got you.”

Eventually, 30 minutes past when my surgery was supposed to start, I was wheeled down the hall to the surgery room. I was ok going into the room. The staff helped me transfer over onto the surgery table. They started putting EKG electrodes on me. They were talking to me, to each other. I was told to rest my head just so on the pillow.

I could feel the tears running from the corners of my eyes. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be doing this. I didn’t want to have surgery. I didn’t want to be in the hospital. I didn’t want to have cancer.

The tears kept coming as everyone moved around getting things ready. It was harder to breathe. To keep it even and normal. Harder and harder to not cry. They put the mask over my face saying it was just oxygen. But I knew it wouldn’t stay just oxygen. I knew they were going to put me to sleep with no way to promise that I would wake up. I started crying as someone stroked my forehead saying that I was doing really well.

No, I’m not. No, I’m not. I’m not doing well. Please don’t do this.

That was the last thing I remember.

After that, I was waking up with two nurses in my room. I don’t remember the beginning of the conversation but I remember saying that I knew mom was still dead and breaking down because it hurt so much all over again. I woke up and she still wasn’t going to be there.

Somehow we got onto the subject of my kittens, most likely because they didn’t want me crying so hard with my incision being so fresh. Ox and Dad weren’t in the room yet. I could hear Ox’s keys as he walked, though. I knew he was close. I remember looking out the hospital room doorway and seeing him and reaching for him. I needed him near me. I need him to touch me. I needed him to be real.

Me: I woke up.

I remember saying that. I remember explaining that I remembered mom was dead and crying again. I remember my younger brother talking to me on the phone and saying it was good to hear my voice. I was still pretty out of it. I felt sick; nauseous. I didn’t eat anything for another four hours. I drank a lot of water during the moments I was awake enough to do so. I was able to walk to the restroom by myself on my first try. That was important to me. I don’t know why, but I needed to prove to myself that I could.

Dad stayed with me through the night. Around midnight I had half a bowl of oatmeal. My throat was extremely sore from being intabated which apparently they had to do that twice to me. The seal broke on the first one.

Around four in the morning, I had a small container of applesauce. I was still nauseous feeling and the thought of anything more solid than that wasn’t appealing. I had a few cups of chicken broth throughout the night as well. I was extremely dehydrated after the surgery.

I ended up having a pain pill as well. 5mcg of hydrocodone with 375 mcg I believe of acetaminophen. It wasn’t enough to make me one with the Universe or anything, but it took the sharpness of the pain down to a dull ache that I could work with.

I had a drain in my neck. Not sure if that’s really important in the grand scheme of the story, but I feel I should mention it.

My RN for the evening was amazing. Shelby. She was so kind and quiet. She’s the type of nurse I want to be.

In the morning I had blood drawn to check my calcium levels. I was kept until noon because of the drain. The PA thought it was still draining a bit much for her to be ok with me leaving in the morning. My dad and I played a few games of cribbage to kill the time. Breakfast was brought up. Two pancakes, one piece of sausage and a single strawberry. I ate it all which I was proud of.

Eventually, I was rounded on again. The drain was doing fine. The PA removed it which totally sucked. God did it fucking suck. Thankfully it was over quick. My morning nurse went over my discharge instructions, talked about incision care, and follow-up steps once I was at home. Kristen. She’s another nurse I want to be like.

I asked for all of the names of people who helped take care of me while I was in my post-surgery room so I could write thank you cards. Kristen got me the list.

I walked all the way to the lobby of the hospital. I didn’t think I was trying to be a badass. I didn’t think it would be a hard thing to do. I was beyond grateful to sit and wait for Ox to pull up with the car. I was so tired from walking the relatively short distance.

Once I was in the car, holding the vase of flowers from Allison’s mom, my dad drove to the Chinese place where Ox and I like going. I got an order of the seafood soup with a side of fried rice and the three of us ate lunch before going to pick up my medications. I got my Synthroid as well as 15 more pain pills. I also got a container of peppermint Tums since I had to take four tablets a day to make sure my calcium didn’t drop post-surgery.

I was exhausted after lunch and going into Walgreens. Dad drove me home and I went to sleep for I don’t know how long. I think we went out to dinner for food but I don’t remember where if we did.

I don’t remember breakfast the next morning. I do know we went to Walmart and got a 3D crystal puzzle. It was the purple dragon on. Dad and I put it together, well… together. It was nice. We did a few more games of cribbage, too. I was still taking a pain pill every six hours. All of my body hurt. My neck, my shoulders, my abs. Laying down in bed sucked more than getting out of it.

Oh! Ox got me a purple weighted blanked which arrived just in time for me to use at home. I believe it was delivered Thursday.

Anywho. It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I started feeling ok pain wise. I had another pill that morning before we drove into town to have breakfast with Ox, the kids, and his parents. Which reminds me… I had breakfast with dad at Greenfields on Friday. Saturday was Village Inn.

It was a good breakfast. It was nice for dad to meet Ox’s family. There was more good conversation and overall I think it went well. I worked on my make up assignment for school. I napped. We went to Brewsky’s for dinner and tried out the Mettle Grill for lunch. All of it was good.

I talked to a lot of people through Facebook and phone calls in between the days. Everyone wanted to know how I was doing. Dad and I were able to have some really deep and important conversations while he was with me. He got to explain his actions and choices after the diveroce. I got to explain how it felt as a young girl and that I realized as an adult that some of the things he said and did weren’t meant the way I took them.

I got to tell my dad, in person, that despite all of the times he wasn’t there for marching band competitions or graduation speeches, that when I needed him to be there for me, he was, and that I would always be grateful for him. We both took a lot of steps to mend our relationship. There were a lot of tears but they were healing tears. Painful tears but at the same time good tears. They were tears that needed to happen. To be shared and shed.

We talked about mom a lot. He explained what he remembered about the situation when mom had her surgery.

My dad isn’t much of a cat person, but he did go onto Amazon and buy a laser toy for them since we were having so much fun tormenting them with a handheld laser pointer. It’s a tower with a rotating top that shines a laser on the floor. It spins around, moving the laser randomly. The cats have yet to conquer the red dot of doom.

Monday night Ox, dad, and I had dinner again. Dad told Ox that he was extremely pleased that I had Ox in my corner. He told Ox to take care of me. Dad thinks I’m doing well. He thinks I’m where I need to be surrounded by people who care deeply about me and my wellbeing. He thinks I’m headed in the right direction with my life and that all I need is time. He thinks I’ll get to where I want to be. It was validating to hear him say those words. That he was and is proud of me.

It meant a lot that he liked Ox as well; that he thinks Ox is a good person.

The whole week was amazingly nice. I didn’t have a lot of alone time. I didn’t have a cigarette the entire time my dad was here. I had breakfast with him at a diner I really like. We drove to the airport and said our goodbyes. I had my post-surgery appointment later in the day and I promised to keep him posted on how it went.

I didn’t cry when he left. It didn’t feel like a goodbye. More like an “I’ll see you later.” It was nice. It felt like I still have a parent and like I’m not an orphan.

I went to class after the airport. It was a good class. We talked about shootings, and game violence and suicide. Pretty deep and heavy topics and how different cultures respond differently to different things and what could be some cultural underlying issues to social problems. Very thought-provoking discussions.

And I guess for now that’s where I’ll leave this writing. There’s a lot more to catch up on, but this was my first week post-surgery. Quiet, slow, full of recovery and kindness and empathy. Full of love and family and connectedness. Full of my dad becoming part of my life again and seeing a glimpse of my world and being proud of the tiny corner I’ve eeked out for myself here in the middle of nowhere.

Musing Moment 144: Revelations Not Resolutions

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I find it fitting to be writing this post on this the first day of 2020. I have not made resolutions for this coming year. Instead, I have been fortunate enough to have the time and space to have revelations instead; revelations I want to share.


Revelation One
My life is about to change. Not end.

There was one night, a few weeks back, where it got really dark inside of my head. I was alone in the apartment. It was night time. I was ridiculously tired from work. I hadn’t been sleeping or eating well.

I felt lost. Hopelessly lost. I felt weak and powerless with no way to change or control the things going on in my life. Nothing to look forward to. Just the endless cycle of work and sleep and chores and paying bills.

I don’t think there are really words to accurately describe the battle I felt consuming me from the inside out. A battle I knew I was losing, slowly, surely, day after day after day after agonizing day.

During my battle that particular night, during that moment of darkness, I looked up different ways to overdose. I didn’t want to end my life, but I needed to know what would happen if I did. If it got bad enough for me to follow through, what would I do and how? What would the side effects be like? How long would it take? Would it be painful? If it were found out, what medical interventions would take place?

Through doing that, researching, I realized I didn’t want to kill myself. I didn’t want my story to end, but I wanted, needed, something to change. Death wasn’t want I wanted. At least not death of my self… just of my life; of the things fucking with my life. I wanted all of these outside forces wrecking havoc on me to die; my cancer, my stress, my expectation of myself.

Ox and I ended up having a conversation, I believe it was the next day. He asked how I was doing. It was a different question than the normal, “how are you feeling?” or “how was your day?”

Ox: How are you doing?

Me: Not well.

I said those words with a voice on the verge of breaking as tears rolled down my face because I knew them to be true, but how do you tell the person you love that you were looking up different options for suicide without them freaking out or worrying more or any number of things that could go horribly wrong by being honest? How do you bear your soul and the pain you feel like no one else can understand and elaborate on “not well” without the risk of ruining everything?

The truth is, you don’t. You have to take that risk. You have to be honest, with them, with yourself. You have to trust that you can let go of the fear you’re clutching onto like a life line and that the other person will be there to catch you, hold you, hug you.

When he asked what I meant by not well I said I was afraid to talk about it. I was afraid to explain what was going on inside my head. I was afraid of losing him. I was afraid of losing my job. I was afraid of being put in an institution. I was afraid of fucking it all up further by admitting that I was having these thoughts.

He helped me past that fear and I told him about what I had been looking at on my phone that night as I lay in bed fighting with my self. I told him how I was so tired mentally, emotionally, spiritually, that I didn’t know how to keep going forward; how to keep putting one foot in front of the other and getting out of bed and showering and eating. I didn’t know how to keep doing it but I didn’t know how to make it pause either. I didn’t know how to catch my breath or find my footing or a handgrip to keep it from feeling like I was falling into a never-ending abyss of hopelessness.

We talked for a long time and in the end, I didn’t have any sort of answer or solution, but I felt safer. I had shared what I thought would be something horrific that would lead to alienation and came out the other side of the conversation with a stronger foundation of trust.

I learned that I CAN share dark, unsettling things and that Ox and I will still be ok. That I will be ok. That thoughts and feelings ARE ok, even when they’re as extreme as that.

Sharing those thoughts, admitting to those actions took away the guilt and shame that I had been feeling. The weakness. The loneliness.

A few days later I met with my counselor. We talked about my upcoming surgery, how my dad is going to be here for a week during the procedure. We talked at length about my research into overdosing and my feelings about the events afterward with Ox. We talked about how I felt about actually looking into things like that.

Recently Ox made a comment about a post he saw where another person who had contemplated suicide wrote that he didn’t want his life to end, he wanted his life as he knew it to end. He wanted, needed, it to change.

I feel like that is true for me. I can relate to that statement. I don’t want my story to end. I don’t want to die. I want how I know life now, currently, with all of the internal pain and anguish and sorrow, to end. I want things to be different.

I think on a subconscious level I have been allowing myself to feel victimized. Victimized by Life and the Universe. By my self. By my body.

In the book, Leadership from the Inside Out, it is written that everyone is a leader. Be it the leader of a company, a team, or of your own individual life, we are all leaders.

I have not been acting as a leader. At least I don’t feel like I have. I have been haphazardly jumping from one event, one crisis to another. I have not put much thought behind my days. I have not had clear, defined intentions. No strategy. No goal other than “survive”.

If we want change, then it starts within ourselves. If I want my life as I know it to end, to change and transform, then I am the only one who can take the actions required for those changes to occur.

Revelation Two
I have the power to start a new chapter.

This is my life, and while I may not have control over the events that occur in it, I do have control over my response to those events.

I have cancer. I cannot make that fact untrue. It will always be true. Even once my thyroid is removed, I will still have had cancer. I will be changed, physically, because of that cancer. That cannot be undone. Denying those facts is useless. Being angry about those facts is useless. Denial and anger change nothing. Facts do not care about emotions. They will continue to be true regardless of how you do or do not emotionally respond to them.

So I have a choice. I can continue feeling angry, sad, lost, and scared, or I can accept that this is happening in my life and continue writing my story.

My surgery is in two weeks. These two weeks will be the prequel to my new chapter. Surgery will be a big event in my life. It will be life-changing. I will have to learn how to be comfortable in my skin again, knowing that a stranger has touched things within my own body that were never meant to be touched. I will have to learn to be ok with the knowledge that there is in fact, a part of me missing. I will have to learn that I am not defined by organs.

I will have to learn while some scars, most scars, are invisible, some are very real and cannot be hidden. I will have to learn how to explain why I have such a mark on my neck. I will have to learn to function with and through the sympathetic eye contact from my patients, coworkers, friends, family, and strangers.

This coming year will be a year of learning. Learning how to be me through all of the mental, emotional, and physical adjustments I will need to make. While very little of my everyday routine will need to change, there will need to be changes. That marks a loss of familiarity and that loss is just as real and valid as the loss of an organ.

Post-surgery will be a new chapter in my life not the end of it. I will still be me, but it will be a me that I need to get to know, learn to care for and be empathic and compassionate with.

Revelation Three
I am not who I was.

I keep trying to “find myself”. I keep remembering how I was before mom’s death or before becoming a dialysis technician. I keep comparing myself to what I used to do or how I used to be. I keep looking for my old self and the harder I look and try to get back to “there” the more lost and hopeless I feel.

I don’t know when, where, or how it came to me, but I realized I am no longer that person. I mean… yes… I’m still me, but my life has changed so drastically in the past three in a half years…

How could I be exactly the same? How could I handle situations exactly like I used to?

What a disserved to the person I have become and am becoming to constantly look back to 27-year-old me as my marker for excellence and success and grace through stress.

I have changed and that is why I can no longer find the old me. I am no longer that version of my self. I keep looking for something that doesn’t exist anymore; for something that CAN NEVER exist anymore. And that, too, is not a bad thing. I am myself, will always be myself, but there have been changes and iterations and updates that I, personally, need to acknowledge and accept.

I need to stop looking at my past and realize who and what I am in the present. I need to be aware of everything that I am going through rather than brushing it off or downplaying it or berating myself for not handling it better.

What had berating myself gotten me? Nothing except shame, guilt, and suicidal thoughts.

How is that in any way beneficial to anyone, most of all myself?

It’s not and so I’m done doing it. I’m done disrespecting my current self by searching for something I can never be again.

Revelation Four
I do have a home.

I have been missing mom a lot recently. Well… always, but holidays and my birthday are where the waves of pain seem strongest. Mom was always home. It didn’t matter where she was. Whenever I thought of “home” it was of her. Her smile, her laugh, her eyes, her hugs.

Much like how I can no longer be the me of three and a half years ago, I can no longer have the home I used to have. While I do believe it is ok to miss what was, I feel I should have gratitude and acknowledgment of the things I do have.

As my birthday and Christmas presents this year, Ox’s parents gave me money for the class I will be taking during the spring semester. I’m stepping back from the LPN program due to the surgery, but I will be taking Introduction to Sociology; a prerequisite for the RN program. I mentioned during dinner one night how I wasn’t going to be eligible for financial aid since it is only a 3 credit hour course, but Ox and I had looked at finances and we believed we could afford it.

Ox’s parents signed my cards, “Mom and Dad [last name here]”.

I was so touched. So deeply, profoundly, touched. I am not their daughter. They have no obligation to me what so ever, and yet here they are, helping me with something that is important to me. These people opened their house to me, share their food with me, care for me, and love me.

No, they aren’t my family. No, they cannot replace mom. But that doesn’t mean I can’t love them in return or think of them as Mom and Dad [last name here]. That doesn’t mean I can’t find a new home for the new me in this new chapter of my life.

So that’s where I’m at currently inside my head. I will remember and honor my past but I am no longer going to continue searching for it in my present life.

This will be my Year of Learning. Learning to be present. Learning to be grateful. Learning how to write this first, new, post-surgery chapter of my life.

Musing Moments 140: Pre-Consultation Writing

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At the moment I’m trying to keep up with my life and figure out my emotions so please bear with me. It’s going to take some time and effort to sort through everything, and it begins with these initial writings.

Written Wednesday, November 27th.


The past few weeks/months have been a bit of a ride, medically speaking. And in true “Jen” fashion, I haven’t been keeping up with writing or checking in with myself, so this is going to be a huge “catch up” post in a relatively short amount of time since I have to leave soon for an appointment.

It started with my yearly checkup for work insurance purposes. My primary care physician thought my thyroid was swollen. She ordered lab work to be done and said even if my levels came back fine, because of my family’s history with thyroid issues, she would like for me to have an ultrasound on my thyroid done.

That took me to an endocrinologist who ordered yet more lab work and got me set up for an ultrasound at one of the hospitals here in Lincoln. I went to the ultrasound alone. In hindsight, that most likely wasn’t the smartest option. At the time I wasn’t worried about it. It was a non-invasive procedure. Nothing to worry about, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Being in a hospital again, laying down on a table and having medical staff doing things to me brought back all sorts of emotions from when mom was in the hospital. It didn’t matter that it was three years later. It didn’t matter that it was me and not her. It didn’t matter that it was a non-invasive procedure or even that the two hospitals were totally different and that it was a billion degrees outside in Vegas all those years ago while here it was borderline snowing.

None of those facts, none of that information, mattered. All of the hurt and loss and loneliness and vulnerability simmered at the edges of my mind as I checked in for my appointment and only grew the longer I was there, the further my procedure went.

I held my emotional shit together long enough to make it back to the car and to call Ox before completely breaking down. I sobbed into the phone for I don’t know how long, terrified. I was terrified of having to go back to the hospital. I was terrified of having to be ok enough to drive home. I was terrified of losing everything that I had fought for in the three years since mom died. And as stupid as it sounds, I was terrified of losing mom again. I was terrified of being alone and facing all of these intangible things by myself because how do you fight things you can’t see or touch or feel?

I was scared and hurt and alone and the only thing I could do was cry alone in my car, clinging to my phone as if Ox were my life support getting me through the overwhelming crush of my emotional tidal wave.

Eventually, after listening to his voice and talking and lots of crying, I was ok enough to drive home. The only thing there was for me to do at the point was wait to be called with the results of the ultrasound.

The results came back early the next week. There was a nodule on the right side of my thyroid. Since we didn’t know what it was they wanted me to schedule a biopsy. You know… because poking at random, unknown things inside your body with needles is a great idea… said no one ever.

I had the biopsy. I still feel like I got punched in the throat. Ox was there with me for that procedure and I faired better emotionally, most likely because he was there to help keep me grounded and outside of my head.

I got a call Monday evening from my endocrinologist herself. She took the time to call me personally, after hours, to deliver the results of said biopsy.

The nodule is positive for cancer.

Yeah…

You read that sentence correctly.

I have thyroid cancer.

I was blindsided by her statement. I wasn’t expecting cancer. Maybe a benign tumor because my T levels kept coming back fine… but cancer? Fucking cancer…?

Do you realize what this means for me?

Do you realize that I now have to call my brothers and tell them I have cancer only three and a half years after mom died? Do you realize how many people I have to inform, personally, because this isn’t something that I can make a post about on Facebook?

Me: “Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know I have cancer. Oh! And here’s a picture of a cat. K. Bye. : D”

I know mom had thyroid cancer before I was born and was able to take daily medication and still live an extremely full life. I know logically that as far as bad news goes, getting thyroid cancer is pretty much the best bad news you can get.

That hasn’t stopped me from having nightmares about it. That hasn’t stopped any of the emotional reactions that I’ve had. That hasn’t changed the fact that I realized, finally, why I can’t fight that evil voice in my head when it starts giving me shit and telling me that I’m a failure.

I know I’m not a failure. I doing well in nursing school. I’m doing well at work. I’m still making ends meet, if just bearly, financially. But when it started saying “You’re a failure,” shortly after having to schedule the biopsy, I couldn’t figure out why it felt true. I know it’s not true, so why does it feel that way?

I realized it’s because unconsciously one of my biggest goals since mom died has been to be healthy enough, stable enough, for my brothers to not have to worry about me. Looking at it objectively, that’s a fairly unrealistic goal. Regardless of it being realistic or not, it was my goal and I failed to achieve it, since now I have cancer and all of this medical shit on the horizon, and so I’m a failure.

Right now, I’m waiting to go into town with Ox to have my consultation with the surgeon. I’m waiting to figure out where and when I will have part of my body removed. I’m waiting to tell everyone in my life what the next steps will be and when.

I’m waiting.

I’m waiting.

I’m not good at waiting and underneath everything else I have going on in my life is the fact that even though we did everything right with mom, even though we followed all the steps the way we were told, we still lost.

I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to meet with the surgeon. I don’t want to have surgery. I don’t want to have to figure all of this out and how to pay for it and how to not fuck up shit at work and put more stress on my team.

I don’t want to do this.

Not only do I not want to do this. I don’t want to do it alone. Last night while I was alone for a little bit I started crying as I laid in bed with the kittens. I started talking to mom. I told her I missed her and that I wanted to come home and be with her. I know she went through this exact thing, but I never got to talk to her about it. I don’t know what she felt or experienced. I don’t know what post-surgery was like for her. I never thought of mom as a cancer survivor, but she was. Was she scared when she found out? Did she cry? Did she feel alone? Did she struggle with wondering if she would be less human after the surgery because part of her was missing?

I want her to hold me and to tell me it will be ok.

I know it will be. It will be as ok as it can be, at least. Ox will be there. My dad offered to be there. So many people have been supportive and understanding. Apparently, a lot of people in my life think I’m a badass and that I’ll kick Kevin’s ass. I was told to name my cancer to make it more real, more tangible, then referring to it as “thyroid cancer”.

Sorry for any Kevin’s out there who may take offense to me using your name. It was a random name thrown out there by Mother Earth and so it has stuck.

I don’t feel like a badass. I feel scared and vulnerable and alone all over again and all I can think of is how I’m going to look so much like mom, in a hospital gown, in a hospital bed, completely out of it from the anesthetics… I can’t have my brothers there. I can’t put them through that again. I wasn’t supposed to put them through this. I was supposed to be ok.

I want to say I can’t do this. I want to give up and tell Life that it wins and this joke isn’t funny and I’m ready to go home and not play this shitty game.

I’ve been freaking out over the next semester of nursing school since the third week of this semester. How am I supposed to go through a surgery that’s going to fuck with my hormone levels and leave me tired and still go to school three days a week and work full time and still figure out laundry and dishes and meals and bills… I just want to say fuck it to everything.

I want to hide away under the blankets in my darkened room with the kittens and pretend that the bad things don’t exist and they can’t get me and I’m not hurting the people I love the most.

I don’t want to do this, but I have to. I have to try to be ok because I have too much debt to die now. I have too many people who care about me to not have this surgery. I have too many conversations I want to have with people I love. Too many goals at work that I haven’t reached yet. Too many things Ox and I haven’t done.

I don’t want to do this but I’m going to because fuck Kevin. He doesn’t get to control my life. Fuck you, Kevin. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. I’m angry at you for making me drag everyone in my life through this. This isn’t fair. Three years isn’t long enough. We aren’t recovered enough to go through this all over again. Fuck you, you inconsiderate asshole.

At the same time, thank you. Thank you for not being terminal. Thank you for being treatable. Thank you for not spreading or destroying my entire life. You’re an asshole and I’m still angry at you, but thank you for not being worse than what you are.

Please be with me, mom. Please don’t let me go through this without you. I love you. I miss you. I need you. Please help me, mom. Please be here with me so I can do this.

Daily Post 182: Small Steps

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It’s been a while since I’ve written. A lot has happened during the lapse in posts.

The kittens are doing well. Saber gained over half a pound by the time we saw the vet again. Switching back to wet food and adding kitten formula to it helped. Both her and Dagger were big enough to get their first round of vaccinations so that process is underway. They have another appointment in two weeks. It’s crazy to see how much they’ve grown since I first got them roughly two months ago.

Yesterday I got an actual litter box for them. At first, they were so small they wouldn’t have been able to get in and out of a normal litter box. I had gotten an aluminum turkey baking tray; one of the disposable ones you can get from Walmart. I cut one of the edges down and wrapped the corners in duct tape. It worked really well as a litter box. The only downside was the kittens would track litter all over the hardwood floors in the bedroom.

The new litter box is a hooded litter box, so even if they go to town trying to find buried treasure in their litter, they can’t make as much of a mess. They seem to be doing well with it. I haven’t seen any messes to clean up in the 24 hours that they’ve had the new box.

So yeah. They’re still super adorable and lovable. They don’t run around as much at 2 am which I’m grateful for.

The spare money I had from my school refund ended up mainly going to new tires on the car. I wasn’t expecting that expense. But when the guy changing my oil came out and told me that my tires sucked and needed to be replaced I didn’t feel like I had many options. Winter is going to be bad this year. It didn’t seem smart to go through another icy, snowy season with shit tires. As logically sound and responsible of a decision it was, I really didn’t want to spend that $500, though. At least I had the money to do it rather than knowing something needed to be done and being unable to afford it.

Because of the unforeseen tire expense, the credit card is still where it was. No massive dent made in that area. Blah…

It’s getting darker earlier and days are already pretty chilly. I’ve been taking vitamin D gummies for about a week now. I haven’t had the AC running. Instead, I’ve been leaving the windows open. I’m hoping that makes rent significantly cheaper for the next few months. Maybe I can use the money I save on electricity to make a little more progress on the card.

I’m still plucking away at the apartment. The things I ordered from Amazon came in. The cubical isn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, but it works and I don’t mind it. I love my coat rack. A new store opened in Lincoln; At Home. They have an amazing selection of stuff. Ox and I went to check it out last week after having our “date lunch” together before grocery shopping. I actually saw one of my patients there, which led to a really warm and connective conversation during his treatment the next day. I got spatulas last week while Ox and I were at the store since I didn’t have any for the apartment. They are light teal-ish blue and silicon which I love. This week I got a set of three glassware containers for my lunches along with a can opener that matches the spatulas.

I want that to sort of be my reward for doing well with school. Each week I do well I can get one kitchen thing. I feel like that’s a good reward system that also gives capacity and efficiency to my life.

On the subject of the kitchen, not sure if it wrote about it before, but Ox got me a Ninja Foodi a little while ago. I’ve been trying to use it once a week. This week I converted my Chicken Taco Soup recipe into a pressure cooker recipe and it turned out great. The Ninja saved me so much time. I love it.

I also recently got another portable filing box. It’s where I keep all my important paper stuff. My “box of important things”. The one I had was getting really full; mostly with tax stuff since you’re supposed to hold on to them for so many years. When it had been just lonely me, it wasn’t bad. But holding on to Ox’s stuff too and all the information for the three cars… it was making things a bit cramped in the original box. So I got a second one to spread things about a bit more. I feel better about it. I went through all of my papers and threw out what wasn’t needed anymore, rearranged things, updated others. It felt nice to go through and touch all of those papers again, to really know what I have and where it’s at.

Cleaning the apartment should be on my list today but I haven’t really figured out how I want today to go, not yet at least, so that’s up in the air.

School is going well. I think my lowest grade is a 93 or a 91. I met with my nursing advisor this past Tuesday. She’s super nice. We got along really well. She, like my current instructor, used to work in dialysis, so we’re able to share in those experiences. She feels I’m in a good spot. I have a lot of support in my life to help me get through school. She feels I have a high level of self-awareness and that I am already addressing issues or at least aware of what potential issues will be in the future and have mitigated them as much as possible for the time being.

I started going to counseling again. That’s something that is provided by the school. I like my counselor so far. She’s also extremely nice. The first session went really well. I basically explained everything about the past three and a half years. Mom’s death, switching careers, leaving Orlando and living with Ox, getting my own apartment and starting school, work and all of the accomplishments and stress that I’ve had with it. The session yesterday wasn’t as productive as I would have liked. I had a lot of paperwork to fill out so that was roughly half the session. I’m hoping the next session goes a bit better and we can start to focus on my grief and stressors in my life.

On the topic of stressors, I’m through the rough patch with work. I did my four days in a row and then my final three in a row last week. This week I’m doing what will now be my “normal” schedule of Monday, Friday, and Saturday. My FA and I talked pretty extensively about it and eventually, she agreed to try it out. It’s going to take time to recover from the burnout and then more time to adjust to the weirdness of having a consistent schedule. It’s something we talked about in counseling yesterday. It will most likely take me about a month to really find a groove and a routine that works for me.

So far I’m finding that I do better with school work earlier in the day. I like having evenings to myself or to go over to the house and cook dinner for the family. Making flashcards isn’t bad at night, but night time isn’t the best time for doing heavy reading and such.

I made egg roll bowls last night for dinner. It was fairly well-received which is good because I really like that recipe. Super quick and easy and also tasty.

Anywho… yeah… a lot of talking, a lot of studying, and a lot of “just let me get through this last stint of BS.”

Fortunately, I made it through. I’m still doing well in school and, in general, I’m pretty ok with how life is going. I’m taking small steps in several areas to make things better. Since the sun is finally starting to come up, I guess I’ll go for now and figure out what it is I want to get done with the day.

Daily Post 180: A Small Catch-Up

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Thursday ended up being a smooth day at work. I was on the floor with my FA. Pretty much all of my tasks were caught up. We’ve agreed to work through some of the supplies in the stock room to free up space. That makes the weird organization-junkie part of my brain happy. I can’t wait to have that space back. /happy dance

We got to talk about how I was doing with school and the work schedule. I said that working three days has been do-able so far, but this coming week I’m working four days and I’m worried about it. I said I would prefer to only do three while I’m in school.

I’m thinking about talking to the other tech and seeing if she would be interested in letting me work on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Yes. Every Saturday. Last week seemed to work well schedule-wise. I had days off right after class to sit and study and do assignments. I didn’t have to wait so long in between because of work. It would let me do Adventure’s League on Wednesdays without worrying about rushing to get there or having to leave early because of work the next day. Every Thursday I could do the kickboxing class.

There’s a lot of pros to counter the one “always working Saturday” drawback. My FA said to think long and hard about it before offering something like that to the other tech. She said once I give up Saturdays I’m most likely never getting them back.

As sad as it is to say, I don’t remember a whole lot else about Thursday. Ox and I did our Darebee. I took my laundry over and got that going. I ate dinner…

Oh! There was sexy time. Sort of feel like a jerk for forgetting that… -_-;

The main thing I remember about Thursday was the fact that I didn’t have to go back to work on Friday.

I didn’t see Ox Friday morning. It’s the first morning in a while where we haven’t seen each other off to work. I forgot to set my alarm and he was running behind by the time he called and woke me up. When woke back up, I spent pretty much the rest of the morning in a low-grade depression. I was able to get stuff done, but I was tired and sad and everything took more effort than it should have. Everything was borderline painful. I felt emotionally fragile and raw. I knew there would be tears eventually, I just didn’t know when.

Eventually, I drove into town to have lunch with Ox. We put gas in both cars while we were there. He asked how I was doing and I told him that I hurt but that I was still doing things and not letting the hurt win. I said I didn’t know why I felt the way I did but that I was sad and I was trying really hard. We talked about my feelings for a little while.

A lot has happened in a short period of time. I started nursing school. I graduated from DSS. I passed my first nursing test… All of those things poke at my wound and I haven’t been doing a whole lot in the “tending to my grief” department. I think Friday was the first day since my nursing test where I didn’t have obligations spurring me to keep going. I could take the time to let the emotions have their time, to truly feel them, accept them, and let them go.

Ox and I ended up having a pretty awesome lunch at Village Inn. We meal planned out the next week, which is going to suck. I still need to see if someone is interested in taking my C2 shift or splitting it with me. I don’t want to do four in a row. >.<;

After lunch, we went across the parking lot to Super Saver’s to do the grocery shopping then we went home. By then the kids were at the house so I didn’t stay very long. I came back to the apartment to put the food away and to keep studying. Eventually, I went to sleep.

One thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned… Ox got me an iHome for the apartment. Or rather, he found one and brought it home to see if it still worked. It does. I’ve been using it to play thunderstorm sounds while I sleep or the radio while I’m gone so the kittens have something to listen to other than silence. I like it. You can even dim the display so it’s not blindly bright the whole night.

So yeah, Friday was a good day. A connective day even if it was slow and rough to get started.

Today has been decent but also a little rough.

I woke up fairly early and was able to start in on my to-do list. I typed up recipes. I edited the to-do sheets I’ve been using. I really like them. I’m glad I’ve put them back into my routine. One thing I added was a gratitude line.

It’s something I got the idea for in class on Tuesday. We had to do an evaluation of our strengths and weaknesses. Areas I am weak in include hope, gratitude, and perseverance. Ouch… but at the same time… not wrong. …

With my grief, sometimes things do feel hopeless and pointless and sometimes I don’t have much will to persevere. What’s the point in persevering when everything is pointless? And what is there to be hopeful or grateful about when everyone is going to die?

Yeah… some pretty fucked up mentalities right there…

So I’m working on that. From now on, each day I have to write one thing I am grateful for. One thing that I can think about or look at throughout the day to remind me that there are things that I appreciate about my life. Today’s gratitude was for Ox and his love.

Around 7:20 I pulled myself away from my to-do to shower. The kittens has a vet visit at 8 that I needed to be ready for. They were supposed to get their first round of vaccinations today. Lil’ Ox was up bright and early to go with Ox and me. She’s totally enchanted with how tiny the kittens are.

We found out Dagger is actually a boy.

We also found out Saber has lost weight. I explained how for a little bit it didn’t seem like she was eating well so we switched her back to wet food only. The vet said there were sores in her mouth and that she was concerned about feline leukemia and feline aids. She said the test wouldn’t take very long if I was ok with them drawing a blood sample from Saber.

I said ok. They took her from the room and I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited…

Dagger, Lil’ Ox, and Ox were in the room with me but all I could think about was what if the tests came back positive? What if the kindest choice would be to stop Saber’s suffering now? What about Dagger being alone? What about me and my abandonment issues and all of the fear I feel about forming attachments because living things die?

It sucked. Hardcore. It was not how the morning was supposed to go. They were both supposed to be healthy kittens getting their first shots. I wasn’t supposed to be facing the possibility of one of them being terminally ill and losing her before I even really got to establish a bond with her; before she even really had a chance to live.

The test came back negative but they weren’t able to get much blood for the test since Saber is still so small. We’re switching her to a different type of wet food; one higher in calories to try to help her gain weight. It’s a softer wet food to boot. I’ve already noticed her eating even more than she was before, which was an improvement to what she was doing after the first vet visit. I’m also going to be adding kitten formula to her food at the vet’s recommendation.

She’s nearly half a pound behind Dagger in weight. That doesn’t seem like much until you hold both of them in your hands and you feel how fragile and weak she seems in comparison to Dagger. The vet said there’s nothing we can do about the sores in her mouth other than feeding her soft food, which we’re doing. Hopefully, they’re in the process of healing. The vet said it could have been from their mother sort of disowning them and switching to solid food too soon.

At the moment all I can do is keep an eye on her and take her back if I feel like things aren’t getting better. She seems to be doing ok. Still super cuddly. Still purrs and snuggles up with me and Dagger for nap time. Just sort of a shitty start to the morning.

Once we were done with the vet I took the kittens to the house so Papa Ox could spend some time with them. After a little bit, I took them back to the apartment. I plucked away at chores a bit more before going back to the house for breakfast.

I tried baking a keto blueberry cheesecake recipe I found, but it didn’t go well. That was pretty disappointing. Oh well. You win some you lose some. I cross-stitched for a couple of episodes of Black Clover. I came back to the apartment and napped. I got up and studied for my test tomorrow. I ran to the gas station and got a few Bangs since I’m out. Swung by the house to see Ox one last time tonight and to get my sheet from the dryer because oh yeah, I woke up to cat yak in bed this morning. Very not cool…

It was Ornery Ox’s birthday today along with at least two other family members that I know of. They all went to do birthday stuff. I don’t feel bad about not going. I enjoyed my silent time napping and studying. I cooked chicken fajitas in my Ninja. They turned out alright. Not amazing so I most likely will try a different recipe next time, but I’ll be able to get through this week’s lunches without suffering too much.

There’s one more recipe I want to make for the coming week, but I’m most likely going to save it for tomorrow. It’s already getting pretty late and I’m tired again.

Tomorrow should be an alright day. I’m looking forward to breakfast and a cup of coffee and relaxing before taking my test and starting on the next chapter. I’m finding a routine and I think I like it.