Daily Post 122: My First Call Out

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I called out of work today. It’s the first time since I started working here in Nebraska. The first time in seven months. I’m glad to say it wasn’t because I didn’t feel like going in. At 3:20 am I started having discomfort in my right kidney again, as if I were about to have another kidney stone.

I wasn’t going to risk being in the middle of driving to work or on the floor initiating a treatment when it decided to start passing. I messaged my FA and told her what was going on and that I would be late. She said she couldn’t open the clinic without me.

After a few phone calls on my part and some of my co-workers agreeing to switch shifts with one another, I got someone to cover my shift for me and the clinic, as far as I’m aware, is ok. Maybe running a little later than normal, but running none the less which is awesome.

I haven’t had any more waves of discomfort or pain. I was actually able to go back to sleep until Ox got up to go to work. My right side is a bit more tender. I’m consciously aware of it, so I’m not sure if more is yet to come or if I’m just overly sensitive, or imagining things in my head since kidney stones suck so much and now I’m paranoid about them and the pain they cause.

I’ve been drinking a lot of water this morning. Already at the one-liter mark, which normally doesn’t happen until around noon for me.

I’m hoping that this one is due to dehydration. I know I’ve been slacking on water for the past few days; roughly three to four in total. With the high protein diet I’m on, that’s not a good thing. The process of the body metabolizing protein can lead to kidney stones if there isn’t enough water intake to dilute the concentration of urine in the kidneys.

I haven’t been having cramps associated with dehydration, but I have been running overly warm and have had headaches a few times. My lips have also been chapped a bit. I was aware it was an issue but I guess I wasn’t doing much to combat it. I don’t know why it’s so hard to stay on top of my water consumption sometimes, but it is. I get caught up in what I’m doing or I’m not able to take a break like I normally would and before I know it I’m a liter behind and it’s bedtime and oh well… I guess I’ll try to do better tomorrow…

It’s also been pretty warm outside which probably only adds to the water issue on top of still working out.

All I can do right now is be mindful and keep drinking water and hopefully catch myself back up.

I drank a lot yesterday which might be why this one, if it is a stone, has only caused mild discomfort so far. It might be that my body has been able to get back to a normal pH level and so the stone dissolved on its own without having to pass. Here’s hoping.

Anywho, that’s how my morning started.

I was supposed to work four days this week since I’m working tomorrow at Cap City. I was looking forward to having the overtime on my check, but at least I’ll still be able to meet my normal hours without dipping into my PTO, not that having to do that would be such a horrifically bad thing. I have something like 80 hours saved up again. I have the time to use if I need it.

Yesterday was a bit of a heavy day. I went to the gym and trained. I had a weigh in. Up in muscle, but also up in body fat. That sucked. It didn’t make the day any better having to contend with that fact.

After the gym, I went to Home Depot. Since I got the punching bag and have it hung I got foam tiling to go under it. Rubber would have been better, but for the price and coverage, foam was cheaper so there you go. I got two packs the other day and while it does a decent job area wise, I feel a little cramped and there’s no extra room to do something like yoga or core work, so I went out and got another three packs yesterday. I haven’t laid them out yet, but depending on how today goes, if I end up in agony passing a stone or not, I might try to get a workout in.

I went to the bookstore to get the books for my CNA class yesterday as well. That starts this coming Tuesday. Sort of anxious about it. They were out of the workbook I need but I got the textbook and the little binder whatever handout thing that was required so currently, I’m at two of three items needed. They gave me a number to call. That will be on the to-do list today I suppose.

I also went ahead and did the grocery shopping since I work Saturday and only had enough breakfast to get me through today. I did a bunch of food prep when I got home, unloaded, loaded, and ran the dishwasher. I did laundry yesterday, too. Even made stir-fry for dinner.

For a heavy day, I think I did pretty alright.

Ox and I have finished watching Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Bladeworks. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending. I don’t know, with how good the rest of the series was the ending felt sort of weak. We watched the first episode of Fate/Stay: Apocrypha last night after the epilogue for Bladeworks. It seems interesting but I heard it wasn’t the best storyline. I guess it’s another “wait and see” sort of things.

Wednesday was a decent day at the clinic. Busy, but decent. The nurse practitioner rounded. An RN shadowed. I think I like her. I didn’t really get to talk with her all that much but she didn’t seem all that phased by the pace of the clinic. She seemed pretty battled hardened and that’s something I want as a PCT. I don’t want the nurse looking to me to call a code. I want them to be confident in their role because I can’t do it for them.

Our new trainee was also there on Wednesday. I really like her and I think she’ll work out well at the clinic. She’s supposed to be there today, too. I was looking forward to spending more time getting to know her but I feel like I made the right choice by calling out. It will still be about two months for her to get through training. Hopefully, we’ll have a nurse on our team by then as well so we can open back up to six days a week. We have a 15 patient wait list.

Tuesday was another day at the gym with my trainer. He had me do box jumps again. It was awesome. I really felt with it Tuesday which is why I guess Thursday sucked so bad. I’ve felt like I’ve been burning and improving but that’s not what any of the numbers said. Stupid numbers…

Anyway. Tuesday was another day of pretty decent productivity. That was the first day of going out to get mats for the punching bag. I applied to the college for the LPN program. I got an email yesterday saying since they’re changing from quarters to semesters that I needed to apply a different way, but, I applied. Go me.

I also emailed my doctor since I forgot about my biometric screening form while I was getting my birth control replaced last Thursday. Of all the things to forget. >.<;

She said I could pick it up today, which I originally wasn’t going to be able to do. It might work out that I am able to swing by there and pick up the form along with getting the workbook I need. That’s still to be seen since I need to make the phone call first.

Let’s see… I got the birth control replaced. That sucked. Things were being touched that aren’t meant to be touched so I spent nearly all of Thursday sleeping and feeling yucky after the appointment. It was like having cramps from the Period from Hell that’s trying to kill your insides. Not fun and I wish I were exaggerating.

It’s the third time I’ve had the IUD placed so I knew what to expect and while I know both my fractured rib and previous kidney stones hurt worse, at the time all I could think about was how much it sucked and I just wanted the pain to go away. It leaves me feeling vulnerable and weak; like a wounded animal that could easily be picked off. It took me 30 minutes of sitting in the parking lot before I felt ok enough to drive home.

I’m not ready to have a child. I’m not… I don’t think responsible is the right word… maybe dedicated would be a better word? I’m not dedicated enough to remember to take a pill at the same time every day. My life isn’t set up for that to really be possible but maybe that’s an excuse on my part. Maybe I could take it in the morning before work, but that means waking up at 3am on my days off to do it and that sounds sort of shitty, too.

I’ve tried different birth controls in the past so I know with some of them I do have side effects. One of them made me suicidal to the point where even I knew I was being bat-shit insane and that I needed off the medication. I don’t want to have to go through that trial period of finding out if my body will react negatively to something new. At least with this one, I know what I’m getting into and after a day or so things go back to normal. My body adjusts and the cramping goes away.

Neither Ox nor I want I want a barrier between us. And neither of us wants to abstain because let’s face it, sex feels good. It’s what we’re biologically programmed to do and it’s an experience I want to share with him.

All of that taken into consideration, this is the life I choose to live and the choices I choose to make so the consequences are what they are, cramping and yuckiness included. It’s not so much that I feel it’s “worth it” because even as a masochist an IUD insertion is not something I want to go through or would wish on an enemy, but it lets me keep what I have so it’s more like I accept it.

The kids were here last weekend. We got through the second chapter in Stuffed Fables. Lil’ Ox didn’t want to play, most likely because she’s eight and we had already gone through the story and she wasn’t as captivated anymore. She wanted to play Minecraft instead. Ox ended up playing her character. Ornery Ox stayed and played with us. We sort of got screwed on the first map since Lil’ Ox wasn’t trying to play and making choices just because rather than thinking about the party and what we were trying to do. We might have been better off restarting the page, but didn’t. Regardless, we defeated the second boss of the Nightmare Lord and can now progress to chapter three.

We have the kids again this weekend so we’ll most likely play again. They’re supposed to be here around 3 or 4 this afternoon. It’s Ornery Ox’s birthday. He turns 13. Officially a teenager. I’m sure that’s going to make the coming years interesting. Girlfriends, learning to drive, track meets, friends who make not-smart choices… Yeah… And I’ve only had seven months of parenting experience so far…

I paid the citation for my license plate. I’m still waiting on the paperwork to come through the mail. Not much to report on that front since I’m not able to do much of anything.

Oh, and I guess I never wrote about it since I’ve been so slack on writing, but I bought my very own punching bag. That happened last Wednesday, the day after I wrote about the whole pregnancy scare thing, which, by the way, I’m still not pregnant. Woo!

I was driving home Wednesday after work and thinking how it sort of sucked that I still didn’t have a dojo to go to and how my gym doesn’t have any sort of punching bag to use and how I really just wanted to punch something. I know that sounds bad. Violent, maybe. There’s just something about combat that helps me zen out and I miss it and last Wednesday I really wanted it so I said fuck it and researched a bunch of stuff online and then bought a punching bag off Amazon with expedited shipping.

In my defense, it was only a $10 difference between regular shipping and expedited… When you’re already spending $190 you might as well throw in another $10. >.>;

The bag was delivered on Friday, a day that ended up being a 16 hour day for me since I worked my shift in Beatrice then drove up to Cap City to close their clinic. 3rd shift there wasn’t bad. It’s not a full shift and everyone was on by the time I got there. All I had to do was discontinue treatments and clean stations and close the water room. Super chill actually. The only downside was that it was super late by the time I got home, after 10, which sucked and I don’t want to have to do again if I can help it. The teammate who asked me to cover for her has been extremely kind to me, though, so I agreed to take the shift. I wanted to help her. She’s the one covering for me today so we’ve done each other both a solid.

Anywho, I wasn’t able to do much with the bag other than hug the box when I got home Friday night. Since it came filled I’m sure the FedEx guy hates our house right now. Zero fucks given. I have my bag. My very own bag.

Saturday Ox helped me hang it in a section of the addition were we shouldn’t have to do too much work. Sunday was the first day I got to use it. I love it. I love wiping it down once I’m done with it. I love how there’s just enough give in it when you punch or kick to make a bit of a dent, but enough resistance that you still have to use force if you want that dent. My knuckles are wimpy again. I need to work up to be at the level I used to be at. My shins faired better. I’ve found a few workouts online that seem like fun. I’m looking forward to doing them.

I’ve had a few down days recently. I started cross stitching again, which made me miss mom. I actually curled up with her urn either Saturday or Sunday night and cried my first intense grief cry in a while. It felt good to do. I cried again on Thursday as I headed to the gym. That was the first time since I moved here where I screamed. That, too, felt good. Letting out the pain and sadness and anger and injustice rather than trying to convince myself that it’s ok and I shouldn’t need to be so loud, so expressive, so “overly emotional”; it made me feel better.

Mama Ox and I were talking in the kitchen one evening recently. I think it was Tuesday night.

Mama Ox: What was your mom like?

Me: *painful smile with unexpected silent tears* … My mom was awesome.

Out of all the times I’ve talked about my mom. Out of all the times I’ve had to explain what happened to people. Out of all the times I had to admit and own up to the fact that she died… No one, ever, has asked me what my mom was like as a person.

I wasn’t prepared for those emotions. I had never played out a conversation like that in my head.

I wasn’t prepared to be so woefully inadequate at explaining who she was.

The best I could come up with were those four meager words.

My mom was awesome.

It’s like explaining color to someone who has been blind their whole life. Blue is the color of water and the sky and my eyes and my birthstone, but if you’ve never seen blue none of that means anything.

Mom was empathic and compassionate and funny and emotionally strong and caring and all of these things but unless you had actually met her it doesn’t matter. No one will ever be able to experience mom and know just how truly unique she was. No one will ever know HER compassion or HER humor or HER strength. No one will ever know her color and there’s no way for me to even remotely do it justice by trying to explain it, describe it. It could only be experienced and that’s not possible anymore. Not like it used to be anyway.

Realizing that sucked and it’s been hard to accept that inadequacy in myself. It’s hard for it to not feel like a failing on my part. If I loved her so much, if I was so close to her, shouldn’t I be able to explain who she was? But I can’t. You can’t explain a person. That’s not how life works. A person is more than words. They’re feelings and experiences and trials and triumphs. Love and heartbreak. They’re laughter and tears and shared moments through countless years all swirling together to make them uniquely them.

I mean, yeah, mom raised me. In ways, I’m a reflection of her, but I’m still myself and so it’s not the same. It’s the best that anyone will ever be able to get, but it’s not the same and so when I was asked for the first time, “What was your mom like?” it was the first time I had to face the fact that no one will ever know. Not anymore.

I know it may seem like a low note to end a post on, but I’m sort of done with writing. I guess in my mind it’s not really sad. It’s a fact. It sucks. I wish it were different, but it’s not and this is reality.

In my reality right now I’m about to start CNA classes. I have a punching bag of my own. I have a car that runs. I have a job that pays my bills and teammates who support me. I have an amazing relationship with an amazing person who holds me when I cry and makes me laugh and laughs with me.

I am pretty sure mom would want me to be happy and to enjoy those things so I’m going to try to do that a little bit more than what I have the past few days. I’m going to try to be happy.

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Daily Post 084: Two Days In a Row!

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Sorry if it’s annoying, having me post twice in one day. I haven’t done that in a while and I do feel like this is an accomplishment for me. I’m actually caught up and writing a legitimate daily post. I feel better for how much I have written and reflected on recently.

It’s a good feeling. Like I’m getting back on track. Like I’m making time for me and my mental/spiritual wellbeing.

Today was another day that didn’t go according to the plan I had in my head, but that’s ok because it was still a good day even though it was sort of a shitty night.

I had another kidney stone. At least I think I did. It didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the first one I had, which thinking about it as I laid on the bathroom floor trying to force myself to take deep breaths through the pain, I realized was almost a year ago to the day. Though the pain level wasn’t as bad as the first one which forced me to throw up and take a trip to the ER, it was definitely the same type of pain.

I tried to tough it out and not wake anyone up but after what felt like a while, though it could have been a short amount of time since time perception gets sort of messed up when pain is involved, I decided someone needed to know what was going on because the pain might get worse. I made myself get up off the bathroom floor which sucked but so did laying down so I guess it really didn’t matter. Nothing I did was or could help the pain. I had a cup of water because I knew I needed to drink fluid to help it pass. I went back into the bedroom and woke Ox up. I told him I thought I was passing a kidney stone.

I don’t remember everything that was said mostly because all I could focus on was the pain and I was proud that I had articulated anything in a mostly coherent fashion. He had me lay back down next to him and he cuddled up against my back as he rubbed his hands up and down my side. He talked to me, coaxing me to try to take deep breaths.

It helped with the pain; knowing he was there, feeling his warmth, having his voice to focus on rather than the mildly agonizing pressure and stabby sensations in places that should never be touched and that I couldn’t reach. The pain started coming in waves, growing, then ebbing. I couldn’t stop from writhing and shifting or from making pained whimpers as I moved around during the waves.

And just like last time, I didn’t pass an actual stone, so I don’t know if it was literally a kidney stone or not. I don’t know if it dissolved on its own. I don’t know what happened other then the pain increased to a breaking point and then was gone and I could breathe normally again and the sense of relief from the pain being gone was so overwhelming that I wanted to cry.

I fell asleep next to Ox shortly after the pain subsided. When I woke up I had a mild headache and I could feel ghost pains from the night before. Maybe the pain this morning was all inside my head since the memory of last night’s ordeal was so fresh, or maybe I really was experiencing pain due to inflammation or from the surrounding muscles contracting so hard as a result of the pain.

Whatever it was, I was mostly ok when I woke up aside from that felt like soreness in the side of my back and a headache.

Ox made cinnamon rolls. I cooked eggs and bacon. We ate with his parents. As Ox and I were getting ready to start work on the addition Mama Ox decided she wanted to go into town to look at countertops at Lowes and Home Depot… you know… just to see if maybe they had anything she liked better since she wasn’t 100% in love with what we had found at Menards.

I get it. I totally do… But… At the same time…

Why? ;-;

That’s totally not what we were supposed to do today. I was supposed to make progress here, at home, and not go out into the world where I would have to deal with people and socialize.

As I was getting my towel to shower, since I can’t go out into public without showering, Ox and I had a brief exchange where I mentioned how I was sort of not ok because even though figuring out the counters is a huge step forward, it’s not a visual step and so it would feel like nothing got accomplished on the one weekend we were supposed to do things. We get the kids every other weekend and because of that those weekends are “no work” weekends. That means there’s really only ever four full days in a month that things can get done. I wasn’t ok with the thought of going another two weeks with nothing changing.

We agreed that when we got back from our unexpected excursion that we would finish up the laundry room. I hadn’t gone through the cabinet out there yet. It was a task I was supposed to tackle on my own but was intimidated by.

Ox said we could tackle it together and that would give me the visual progress I needed. I was ok with that and was able to shower and go through the day knowing we had come to a good compromise. A good halfway happy.

Home Depot was by far the best store as far as customer service goes. Their rates were pretty decent, especially when considering professional installation was included in their pricing.

Lowe’s had a way better selection but their service sucked and installation alone was $700. What the actual fuck? That’s the price we were quoted for just the countertops there, so professional installation would literally double the price.

We pretty much noped our way out of the store after that.

I felt drained again, energy-wise. I hadn’t planned on going out. There was still snow on the ground but surprising I wasn’t bothered by the cold. Wearing my new shoes most likely helped with that.

And I’m going to go on a mild rant here because my computer just automatically restarted on me… Goddamnit Windows, this is why no one likes you. I was in the middle of something. I told you not to do anything with my computer and you did it anyway. Thankfully, I write all of my posts in Grammarly first so everything was already saved, but seriously, fuck you. The past three times I’ve sat down to write I’ve been interrupted. I didn’t need those updates. I most likely didn’t want them. I just wanted to write. Go burn in hell. Awrrawrrawrrawrrawr. >.<;

/end rant

Anyway, back to talking typing about my day…

I knew there was still stuff to do. I was still supposed to cook dinner. Ox and I were supposed to work on the house. I wanted to do laundry and make sure I was reset properly for the coming week, but after the countertop adventure, I wasn’t feeling like doing anything other than hiding in a dark hole of nothingness where higher level thinking was banned and human interaction was equivalent to crossing the Line of Demarcation and punishable by death.

Ok… maybe my energy level wasn’t that low… but it was close…

Ox and I ended up going to Greenfields for lunch, which is the place we first had breakfast together during my original trip to Nebraska. It was amazing going back there again. I was able to have a warm cup of coffee followed by a lunch combination consisting of a turkey sandwich, a bowl of French onion soup, and a cup of fruit. The atmosphere was quiet for the most part and we were seated in a corner booth away from everyone.

It helped balance me out and recharge me. We decided since Home Depot seemed like the company we would be going with for the countertops that we would stop by the store again on the way home and pick up more samples for Mama Ox to look at.

With a better idea of what type of countertop we were going to be going with, Ox and I were able to start thinking about how to handle the cabinetry; wood stain versus paint, light versus dark. We were able to get a feel for the type of tiling we want to do on the kitchen wall space between the counter backsplash and the cabinets as well.

It was really nice and I’m glad we went back even though originally it seemed like a dauntingly impossible task.

We went home after that.

We talked with his parents more about the countertops, eventually leaving them with the sample chips to discuss which one they wanted to go with.

I laid down for a bit in our dark and silent bedroom. When I eventually got up Ox and I sorted through the cabinet in the laundry room. We were able to throw a bunch of stuff away. Since we cleaned out a bunch of space there, we were able to move the light bulbs that were being stored in the bathroom cupboard out to the laundry room cabinet. There’s a fairly empty shelf I would like to move most of the cleaning supplies to, but that’s a project for a different day. I would want to get the green light from Mama Ox first before making that change, and since I didn’t have it in me to move forward on that project I decided it was better to wash up and have dinner instead. It was getting kind of late anyway.

Oh. We were able to clear off the top of the freezer while we were working, too, which was another area that needed some serious attention.

I heated up one of the containers of my sriracha chicken since there were leftovers from last night. Originally I was supposed to cook deer steaks but the meat wasn’t thawed enough so it became a “fend for yourself” night. I ate my dinner sitting on the couch behind Mama Ox who was at the table on her computer. We talked about the countertops again. I gave my opinion on the one I liked the best and why then watched the show that was playing on the TV. It was something on the Discovery channel about finding the truth behind the myths of sea creatures and stuff. It was actually pretty interesting.

After eating I loaded up the dishwasher and set it to run. I finished putting away the cleaning stuff I had used out in the laundry room, started a load of laundry, then came back to the bedroom to write.

And so here I am, at the end of my day. I need to switch the wash into the dryer, but workwise, I’m pretty much prepared for tomorrow. I’ve already filled the water filter so I can fill my water bottle before going to sleep and not have to worry about that in the morning. My scrubs are cleaned and put away so the cats can’t be jerks and spray them again. I have clean socks, too, and will shortly put all of them into my backpack so I can have my stash at work. I have leftovers to take to work with me tomorrow for food as well as bread, lunch meat, and chips I plan to take with me so I can make sandwiches on my lunch breaks rather than constantly having to meal prep at home.

That was something I got to thinking about at some point late last week. Since we have such a small team at the clinic, there’s actually space in the fridge and cabinets to keep stuff at the clinic. I think that’s one way I can cut down on my stress. I don’t have to constantly cook and prep stuff. I can keep some things in the clinic breakroom. I’m going to try it out at least.

Monday, tomorrow, I’m going to take everything with me and leave it there through the week. At the end of my work week, which will be Saturday for me, I plan to bring whatever is left back home with me so I can regroup and see what I need more of, grocery shop for the replacement stuff over the weekend, then take the restocked foodstuffs back with me the next time I work, which since the schedule ends this coming week, I don’t actually know what I’ll be working, but I’m hoping to start the whole “Me Day Mondays” the week after this one.

So yeah… lots of stuff on the horizon hopefully with the addition of modified / new routines.

I’m looking forward to work tomorrow since the bins I asked for should have arrived. That means I get to play around and reorganize stuff during my downtime. Woo! I’ll also get to finally check Workday to see if I got my wage increase or not.

Tuesday is my meeting at work so I’ll be able to talk to my FA about becoming NFACT certified with the possibility of moving towards Vascular Assess Manager with the potential move to LPN in the future.

Yes… Lots of stuff to look forward to this coming week. Guess I should get off the computer so I can get to sleep so I can not hate life while I’m doing all of it.

Daily Post 035: Kidney Stones VS Childbirth

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I’m not going to apologize for my life. I’m not going to apologize for not writing. I’m not going to apologize for spending money or for playing video games. I’m not going to apologize for being sick or frustrated or tired.

I still don’t feel much at the moment even though the depression and apathy I have been feeling for the past several weeks seem to be easing their grip.

Big Bad and I finally got to spend an evening together. I don’t know when we’ll be able to see each other again. Maybe not until the weekend after next. We enjoyed our time together we both slept well. In the morning, he went to the gym, letting me sleep in, though I did wake up when he text me to let me know he would be back. I replied with my own message to which he replied, “Go back to sleep :p ”

Our exchange made me smile as I snuggled deeper into the blankets and his scent. It made me feel like I belonged which was extremely nice after feeling so alone for so long. We finally were able to share coffee together again. We got to talk about the things going on in our lives which included my trip to the ER.

I had a kidney stone Friday morning. That sucked. Like, literally was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, level of suck which I feel is saying a lot for how hard I play with my partners as a masochist. I was in so much pain I threw up and couldn’t walk. Warren took me to the ER since of course this happened at 1 am and all of the urgent care clinics were closed. FML.

And to make it even better, on the way to the ER the pain faded. By the time we got checked in and I saw someone I was still dazed and fuzzy from the intensity of the pain, but I could walk again, and I could answer all of their questions though I was sort of slow on some of them.

They put an IV in my arm in case the pain came back I and needed medication. I had blood work drawn which included a pregnancy test. Good news. I’m not pregnant. Big Bad was also appreciative of that result. I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

Everything was inconclusive.

The doctor, an extremely nice lady, said given my symptoms and description they believed it was a kidney stone that was too small to show up on the scan.

While I was waiting in between all of my poking and prodding I consulted the wise and mighty Google, asking it what the causes of kidney stones could be.

Basically, it’s one of those, “if you breathe you might get one” sort of things… dehydration could cause it, too much protein in your diet can cause it, being sick can cause it, genetics can cause it. Most adults will experience at least one kidney stone in their life. I’m totally ok with having this off of my to-do list because when I say it sucked and was the worst pain I have ever experienced, it’s not a joke or exaggeration. According to the Internet, kidney stones are worse than childbirth. There’s some food for thought.

I think what happened is the stone formed due to my sinus infection or as a result of the antibiotic I took to fend off the ear infections because of the sinus infection.

Whatever the cause, I’m seriously done with this being sick thing.

On an unrelated note… Big Bad and I said the L word to each other. Actually, we typed it to each other since we were exchanging emails but as introverts, we both count it as “saying” it. Maybe “admitting” would be a better word to use.

I don’t think it will ever be commonplace for us to say it to each other. Not for a while at least. I think we’re both still skittish about things like that due to our past experiences, but we’re both happy we’ve addressed it. I know, at least for myself, when my friend asked me how I felt about telling him I love him I replied with “vulnerable”. I’m pretty sure he’s in a similar boat.

Yes. We love each other. That doesn’t change anything or require anything more or less from either of us. We like how things are. I’m glad that if anything were to happen to me, or to him, that we’ve had the exchange we did. Neither one of us will leave having doubt about the other person’s feelings. That means a lot to me.

I don’t like thinking that I might die and not get a chance to say the things I want to say to the people I care about. It makes me feel like I’m not living my life the way I should be living it. Fully, completely, every day. When I hold back from saying something I’m assuming I’ll have tomorrow, which isn’t true. Nothing guarantees me more time so I want to say and do the things I want to while I can rather than later because there might not be a later.

I finally said what I’ve been holding onto for months. It’s relieving. I’m glad I was able to say it and that we’re still ok.

Work is going well. I was going through overwhelmed feelings, but that’s eased up a little bit. Since I had to miss work Friday due to the kidney stone I’m going to be at my clinic all week next week. No mind numbing power point lecture for me. Woohoo.

Hey, Universe… just for the record… I would have rather sat through the power point than experience pain worse than childbirth… You know… in case you were wondering…

In other news, I have a new gym membership. I know… I seem to be going through them like candy. I feel a need to write this out so I can straighten it out in my own mind.

Because of the work schedule I have now, I can’t make it to classes at the boxing club like I was, so even though I enjoy my membership and I love the instructors, it’s not getting used and won’t be renewed. I’m actually going to talk to them about ending the contract, which that will require more writing about later.

I wasn’t using the YouFit, and the only reason I had that one was because it was $10 a month with no contract and let me run inside while it was cold due to winter. There really wasn’t much else going for it which is why I canceled it as soon as it started warming up.

I still have the dojo membership and I will be keeping this regardless of my schedule. It sort of sucks right now though. I can’t really make it to the classes, not without totally fucking over my sleep schedule, which is why I’ve switched over to doing private lessons twice a week. I’m mostly focusing on conditioning and technique, which I’ve already noticed some pretty serious results, so I’m not complaining too much about the switch. I do need to acknowledge my ache from not being able to spar with my dojo family at the moment. So while, yes, technically I am there, I’m still missing a large part of what it means to be at the dojo. At least for me. It’s a temporary change, but it still aches.

I do miss going to the YMCA like I was when I worked at Full Sail. I stopped attending that because I lost the benefit through work, but mostly because they tore the building down to rebuild it. I would possibly entertain the idea of going back except with my new schedule, even if the building was done, which it won’t be until next year, I would have the same issue as the boxing club. I work too early to workout before work and the classes in the evening are too late for me to do them after work.

So that brings in this gym. 24 Hour Fitness. Warren is actually the one who told me about it since he just got a membership there.

They’re open 24 hours, which is instantly a plus. They have saunas and showers. Already sold.

In addition to having those three of my requirements, they have a nifty system with their studio room. They offer classes during certain hours, but on “off” hours there’s a TV. You’re able to search for different types of classes, combat body, yoga, step class, strength building, whatever. You can select that class and do it on your own by following the instructor on the TV. They’re also working on getting punching bags because that’s a huge request from the gym members, including myself.

There’s a facility within biking distance of my apartment, and walking distance from work, though I would most likely drive, and you get access to all facilities with your membership; no having to pay an extra fee or more expensive membership to get that perk.

I’ve gone to the gym since Wednesday. Thursday I ran for the first time in what feels like forever. I’ve shaved two minutes off my run time. I didn’t hurt during or after my run. I was breathing extremely well through it, too. I’ve had a quiet empty space to do yoga every time I’ve gone, and once I’m done I get to sit in the sauna and relax, doing my dragon thing and basking and in general not giving a fuck about anything going on in Life because Life can’t touch me while I’m surrounded by the heat and warmth. For those 15 minutes, Life doesn’t matter. My run time doesn’t matter. Work doesn’t matter. Rent doesn’t matter.

It’s my 15 minutes of silence and I’m glad I have it back. I think it’s helped.

I still ache in my chest from my grief. I can still feel it. A heaviness. A tenderness that I don’t want to touch or deal with. Sort of like when a cut is infected. It hurts so you don’t want to do anything with it, but until you scrub out the infection and clean the wound it’s not going to get better. The pain has to get worse before it gets better.

I think that’s where I’m at right now. I think I need to do some meditation or further writing to figure out why I’ve hurt so much recently.

I think there’s a lot of factors for it. Not seeing my blacksmith or Big Bad for so long led me to feel disconnected. Being so severely sick didn’t help anything. There’s still stress regarding the apartment. There’s stress from work. Until recently there was also the reduction of workout time, which for me feels like a punishment; like I’m having to give up a part of myself.

I talked to my brother Thursday afternoon as I was leaving work. I needed to talk to someone. I needed someone who would understand why I was sad and crying and I needed to know that I could cry and still be loved I guess. That I wasn’t weak or broken.

I told him that all of my coworkers constantly tell me that I’m doing well. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive. I told him that I appreciated their words and that they really do mean a lot to me, but that I still felt like a failure because I wanted to hear mom tell me those things. I wanted to know mom believed in me and supported me. I told him that I started trash talking myself in my head, saying that I would never get this and that I should quit, but that I stopped myself because I can’t do that to myself anymore. Mom isn’t here to counter the Evil Voice. I usually don’t let it get very far anyway, but I CAN’T let it erode my confidence away. Mom’s not here to clean up my scrapped knees anymore.

I remembered something on the way home after the conversation with my brother. It was a situation from a while ago. I had been packing up my stuff at the apartment I shared with Zane. At the moment I was working on taking down the cards my mom had sent me. I always kept them taped up around my corkboard so I was taking the tape off of them and putting them away in a box. These were my last words from my mom. I couldn’t get rid of them.

I wasn’t really reading them, but I was looking at them. There was one, a gray and white picture of a baby duck on a board looking down into a large bowl of water.

I picked up the card and pulled the tape off of it, just like I had all the others. When I set it down the card fell open and on the inside was the phrase, “I believe in you”.

I remember I bawled my eyes out as I sat on the floor. And I cried again in my car as I remembered that event because that day all I had wanted was to feel like my mom believed in me and that I was doing the right thing. She’s always believed in me. I have to remember that even though I can’t hear those words the same way anymore.

I know my mom is proud. I used to pass out at the sight of paper cuts and here I am doing dialysis. Go me. Fuck yeah, I’m a badass, and even though I know that about myself I still wish she were still physically here to see it and to say those things to me. And I guess that’s why everything hurts so much right now.

So many things have been happening and I still long for that physical connection. Her hug, her voice, her existence.

I’ve been doing well. This past month will be known as “The Dark Age of 2017” since I’ve survived the plague that’s tried to kill me eight million different ways.

Today is 14 months. One year and two months since her death.

Today has been a decent day. I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again with my younger brother. We spend most of the day running my character through dungeons. I cooked all of my food for the coming week. I even cleaned the apartment.

Internally I’m still heavy though. There wasn’t really happiness today. There hasn’t been for a while. There’s something more real and less fleeting than happiness instead. I don’t think it’s contentment or acceptance. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very flat, calm. It wasn’t a hard or heavy day and in my tired state of mind, I’m glad for that.

Tomorrow I wake up early to go to the gym before work. I work until 3 pm. Afterward, I have training at the dojo. Then I go home, shower, eat, and go to sleep. Maybe I’ll play on the computer for a little bit depending on how tired I am.

I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t felt like doing much, but despite that, I’ve done a lot and I’ve been hanging in there. I may not be ok. I may not be doing ok. But I’m surviving, and I still want to survive. I want that to count towards something. Like a solid baseline maybe. It’s not positive or negative. Getting through everything I have been contending with goes into strengthing my foundation.

None of this has been as hard as the weeks leading up to or after mom’s death, but a lot of this shit HAS been hard and I still got it all taken care of.

That counts.