Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Fat

News Flash: I’m fat.

Shocker, right?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Everyone who can see through their actual eyeballs knows I’m fat.

And yet, medical professionals seem to feel the need to TELL me that I’m fat. Then they suggest that I ‘talk to someone’ about my fatness. As in, perhaps I should speak with a nutritionist, a personal guide, if you will, who will help me figure out why I’m so fat.

Guess what? I know why I’m fat.

I eat too much. I don’t move enough. That’s it. That’s why I’m fat.

I know HOW to freaking lose weight and yet…I am not doing the things that would make me lose weight. I’m not stopping the shoving of food into my face.

I always feel so awful when I leave these appointments.

Dr. S and Dr. R both seem to think I can’t feel the tightness of my clothes, the pain in my joints, the weakness of my muscles. Guys, I KNOW. I really do.

I just…can’t seem to fix it.

It makes me feel so bad about myself. I leave these appointments near tears, feeling so low and so bad that I just want to go eat a package of Most Stuf Oreos. In an effort to save calories, though, I’ll just eat the stuf, chucking the actually cookies out the window of my car to poison the area wildlife.

Sigh.

Feeling bad about this makes me feel like I’m being a whiny ass baby. I mean, I’m here, right? I’m alive. I get to bitch at my husband and kids on a daily basis. I’m not dead, ashes in an urn on the mantel.

I’m also not suffering from debilitating pain as a result of my lymphedema. My scar doesn’t hurt all the time. My hair came back.

I have so much to be grateful for and here I am, bitching about a couple of doctors making me feel bad about my stupid weight.

Just stop eating junk, you idiot! Go for a walk, so something other than sit on your giant ass every single night watching American Housewife on Hulu.

Oh, if only it were that simple.

I know it actually IS that simple but actually doing that isn’t simple at all. Not for me.

And look at that, I managed to feel sorry for myself AGAIN.

Ugh!

Monday, February 24, 2020

80

My dad turned 80 years old in December.

Most days he’s a fairly spry 80 but other days, I often see just how old he’s gotten. He’s very thin, which means that when he gets sick, he goes from thin to frail in a matter of hours.

I’d been home from work for a couple of hours on a Monday evening when my sister called me. She asked me if I’d stopped to see Dad on my way home.

I was confused. “You mean in Metz?” I asked.

“No,” she said, very obviously exasperated. “Didn’t you get my message?”

“What message?”

“He’s in the hospital,” she explained. “I left a message on your phone.”

“A text or a voicemail?” I asked.

“I don’t leave voice mails,” she informed haughtily.

Okay then. Moving on.

“What hospital is he in and why is he there?”

She told me that he’d said his heart was racing and he’d fallen twice at her house (he lives there most of the time) so she’d called an ambulance and he was in the ICU at our local hospital.

Wow.

She went on to say that he’d be moved to a regular room the next morning.

So I didn’t go to the hospital that night. I went the next morning around 10:30. He was sound asleep so I left him a note saying I’d be back after work.

He was awake when I got there that afternoon at 4:30 or so.

But he was groggy and confused. He looked terrible. We’re a very white family but he was even paler than usual.

My brother and his boys showed up while I was there and we talked while my dad dozed.

I informed the nurse before I left that Tuesday that if my dad was released the next day, on Wednesday, that I would be the one to come pick him up. I gave her my cell and my work number, asking that they call me when they thought he’d be discharged.

But even though the nurse hadn’t called, my dad had, and so I went.

When I got to the hospital, he was still in his gown with IVs still attached. He was dozing.

He woke up when I walked into his room. He gave me an apologetic smile and said he’d been told they might want to do one more test before they let him go.

“Okay,” I said and put settled in. It was 2:50pm.

Around 3:30, the nurse came in and told me that Dad’s caseworker would be along soon to talk about at-home care.

At 4:15, my dad asked me to get his clothes out of the closet. I asked him why he wanted them, he said it was time for him to get dressed.

Huh. Well.

I got him his pants and told him that he couldn’t put his shirt on yet because he still had a couple of IVs in his arms.

At that point, the nurse came in and told him that she’d help him change into this clothes when it was closer to time to go home but that we’d probably still have at least a half hour wait.

The caseworker came in and we talked about his weakness and how he’d need a lot of help getting around. She suggested home health care. She gave me several pages of information for such things.

At around 4:40 the nurse came back and started helping my dad into his clothes. I looked away as one does when one’s elderly parent is wearing a hospital gown.

Finally, the nurse’s aide arrived with a wheelchair. I left to move the car around to the discharge door.

I was parked and waiting, car running so that my dad wouldn’t have to get into a cold car when the aide came out and told me that the echo tech had shown up and they really wanted to run that one more test. It would be at least another fifteen minutes. She was so sorry.

Eh, whatever. I moved my car back to the parking lot and watched the clock. I moved it back to the discharge door about fifteen minutes later and waited another five minutes and wait, here he comes!!!

The aide and a nurse helped my dad from the wheelchair to my car, where he slouched in the seat as if he couldn’t hold up his own head.

I think he might have been dreaming during these episodes of dosing because while we were sitting in the parking lot of the local CVS (we had to pick up a prescription, don’t you know? And of course it wasn’t ready when we got there, it’ll be another twenty minutes or so, ma’am.)

As we sat out there, my dad came in and out of his dose. At one point he asked me if I was going to get glasses.

Nope, I hadn’t said anything about glasses.

Then my brother called him. My dad struggled to put his phone on speaker so he could hear my brother talk.

When he was done talking, my dad asked, “So what did J say he and the boy were going to get at Wal*Mart?”

“Ummm, they didn’t say anything about Wal*Mart. They’re at karate.”

It was weird and worrying.

I’m hoping he just needed a good night’s sleep in his own bed (couch, as the case may be.)

The nurse said he’d had a lot of Tylenol with codeine over the past few days and that will make a person groggy.

I don’t know.

It’s hard to see your parent so fragile, as I’m sure everyone knows. Once upon a time, my dad was larger than life in my eyes.

I hate watching him fade and yet…I know how lucky I am to still have him here, pushing my boundaries, irritating me. He’s so hard to define and that’s okay too. He’s human, flawed, just like everyone else.

I’m trying to move forward with the attitude that every single moment I have with him his precious rather than watching the clock when he stops by at 9:15 and being annoyed by it.

Then I remind myself that I’m human too and VERY flawed.

Together, we’ll figure it all out.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Flooded

Hey, remember back when I didn’t post for weeks at a time?

Yeah, I didn’t have much to say or, rather, I was saying stuff but not posting it. And one day of not posting would stretch into a week and suddenly, I’d feel paralyzed by my lack of posting and blah blah blah.

I’d wonder if I should acknowledge my lack of posting or if I should just jump right back in there with posts, pretending I never paused in my posts.

What to do? What to do?

This last time, I just sat down at the computer, opened my email and started scheduling posts using things I’d written over the past few weeks.

Since you’re here reading, you can see that I didn’t bother to say anything about the pause in posts. I just jumped right in and it felt good.

It still feels good. Even if no one reads here much anymore, I still want to write.

I want to bitch about being tired, record my angst about cancer coming back, talk about how amazing (and sometimes, amazingly frustrating) my kids are.

Even if no one cares but me, I’m putting it out there, polluting cyber space, if you will.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Support


There’s something about talking to a fellow ‘survivor.’

Wait, let me back up.

I got a card in the mail a couple of weeks ago reminding me that my annual physical with my gynecologist is due.

I called the office to schedule the appointment.

The person who answered was a woman I’d met two years previously when I was going in for an appointment. Her hair was so cute, super short and curly. I was bald.

I complimented her hair that day and she said that it was post-chemo growth.

I was impressed with how adorable it was and shared that I hoped mine looked that good when it grew back it. *Spoiler* It never looked that cute.

She shared some of her story that day and I think I cried a little because she was so kind of me and she’d been through so much more than I had. She had a double mastectomy, 49 lymph nodes removed, stage 3 cancer…all that. I had it so much easier and yet there she was, comforting me. I felt like such an ingrate even though I knew she wouldn’t want that.

Anyway!

When I called for my appointment, this woman answered. And, because she’s awesome, she asked me how I was doing. I told her that according to my mammogram back in November, I’m doing well.

We talked for several minutes. She shared that her lymphedema is pretty bad, considering how many nodes she had removed.

Yikes. Poor kid.

But can I just tell you how good it felt to actually TALK to someone who’d been through something even similar to what I’ve been through?

I shared that I worry that every twinge, every single pain is a sign that the cancer is back. I told her that I worry about which doctor I’m supposed to ‘bother’ with my latest worries.

And she got it. She understood my worries, my fears, my stress because she’s right there too. She feels the same worries, fears and stress.

We shared opinions on the surgeon who did both of our surgeries (we like him and his staff very much) and how great it is to have a doctor who doesn’t make you feel like you’re bothering him even if you probably are (again, that’s me thinking that, no him and not her.)

This is probably just one more indication that I should find a support group beyond the one I recently joined on FB. FB is good for what it does but talking to someone directly, truly connecting on a personal level is important.

When I was going through treatments, I didn’t feel the need to connect. I suppose seeing doctors and nurses every single week, knowing we were actively fighting the cancer went a long way in settling my fears but these days…I’m not doing anything to actively fight cancer.

Not that we even know if there is cancer to fight. I mean, according to my surgeon, I was cancer-free after surgery back in September of 2017. The chemo and radiation were just precautions because my cancer was triple-negative. I can’t take medicines to keep it at bay.

I just have to pray and have faith that we did all we could to get rid of it and keep it from coming back.

But all the praying and faith in the world doesn’t actually keep the worries at bay.

So yeah, having others who understand, who get these fears, who have been there or who are there, maybe that’s what I need.

Sounds like a good step toward self-care in 2020, huh?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Cold Calls

I feel for people who have to make cold calls all day long.

I really do. I mean, they're just doing their job.

And yet, these calls irritate the shit out of me.

Back when I was a young 30-something I’d been at my last job for maybe six months when I got a call from a printing company. The person on the line asked me what kind of printer I used.

Being naïve and unaware of the scams that take place, I told him.

What do you know!?! He’d just had a huge order of cartridges for that VERY printer canceled. He could make me a great deal on those cartridges.

I was clueless, so I took the bait.

And once the original cartridges came in at the ‘bargain’ price, we were suddenly getting cartridges every single month for probably more than full-price. When I tried to cancel it, I was told I’d entered into a verbal contract to take those cartridges for a year.

Lesson learned.

When I was pregnant with Olivia I got another such call. I was five years old and a thousand years wiser.

The woman on the phone asked me the number on the printer that sat at the end of my desk.

I told her I didn’t have a printer on the end of my desk.

She assured me I did and wanted to know what kind it was.

I informed her that I was sitting at my desk at that very moment and there was NO PRINTER on my desk. Then I thanked her for her time and hung up on her.

She called me right back to tell me I was a rude bitch.

Well. I was so astounded that this woman had taken the time to call me back just to call me a rude bitch that I told me boss at the time what had happened. He asked me if I’d asked to speak to her supervisor.

Well, no. I mean, after she said her ugly words, she hung up.

Ehh, you know what? I’m okay with that designation. So be it.

Since I started my new job almost a year and a half ago, I’ve gotten more junk emails than I can count from companies trying to sell me stuff, get in the door to sell other’s stuff, etc.

I just delete them and move on.

Alas, I recently got a CALL from someone who’d emailed me and hadn’t received a response.

This woman was much nicer than the above printer cartridge hag. She was pushy though.

She mangled my last name. I mean, how hard is Ordinary to pronounce really? Anyway, I asked her what the call was about and then told her that I was asking because I had absolutely no authority whatsoever at my company. She assured me she wasn’t trying to sell me anything. Uh huh.

She told me her company name. I don’t remember it because it didn’t mean anything to me.

Then she said that her files said I was the director of IT.

Hahahaha.

No.

I gave her a bit of a laugh and said, “Oh, no. I am most certainly NOT the director of IT.”

She asked me if I knew the name of the director of IT at our company.

Nope. Not gonna pawn this one off on someone else.

I said, “Well, actually, we just have an IT department here, no real director.”

By the way, we totally have a director of IT. *eye roll*

Then she asked me if she could send me an email and maybe I could forward it to the right person.

I asked her if her company would show up if someone in our IT department did a search for whatever services her company provides.

She said yes.

So, I said, if at any point, our company needs whatever she’s trying to sell me in that moment, we could find her company at that time. Then I told her that I’d probably just delete any email she sent me.

Then she asked if someone could call me.

Uhhh, hello? YOU called me, lady!

I then said, still quite polite I have to say, “Please don’t have anyone call me. Please just remove me from your list. I can’t make any decisions about what you do or what services you provide.”

She politely said that they’d remove me from their list.

Look at that, seems like maybe I’ve learned how to not be a rude bitch and still get people to leave me alone. Huh.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Milestones

There are big things happening around here but because it’s of a personal nature concerning one my children, I feel like I shouldn’t talk about it.

But it’s just so awesome that I want to shout it from the rooftops.

Except, I don’t think she’d want that.

On the other hand, that’s the only thing I can think about it because it’s such a big deal.

It’s one of those things that usually happens naturally around three or four but in our house, it took much longer.

I’m sorry to be vague and we all know that I’m a chronic over-sharer but this time, I don’t want to embarrass her.

I do think that the medicine Olivia is taking has helped move this situation along. She no longer needs the crutch she’d needed for so long. The anxiety she had over the idea of giving it up seems to be gone.

Sure, the first day was a little worrying for her but she let go of the worry so much faster than she would have a month ago when she wasn’t taking Lexapro.

In other news, my aunt died and my mom’s grief is currently manifesting itself as anger. So that’s super fun and it probably deserves a post of its own.

On the lighter side, Olivia has discovered the word anus. She thinks it’s the best word ever and uses it every chance she gets…better than butthole? You be the judge.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Court TV

My husband loves watching the trials that are televised and commenting on them as they happen.

These days, it’s the Harvey Weinstein trial.

Recently, Tom, an old white dude, said something about not understanding why a woman who’d been raped would maintain a relationship with the man who raped her; which led to his hesitant belief that maybe some of the accusers were lying.

*Sigh*

I tried to explain it to him. I told him that some of the victims (most? All?) were aspiring actresses. They wanted to make it in a highly competitive industry. HW was a very influential man in that industry. These women, these VICTIMS, knew that to cut off all interactions with HW could detrimentally affect their careers.

Tom didn’t understand how a career could be more important than distancing yourself from your rapist.

Again, I tried to explain that sometimes, the least confrontation path is the best.

I told him that at some point in their lives, most women have had to make the decision to acquiesce rather than fight because fighting might make a bad situation worse. I told him that there are women who are afraid to say no to something because saying no is more dangerous than just going through with what’s happening to them. Sometimes, we women just hope to survive whatever is happening so that we can pick up the pieces after it’s over.

I know he didn’t get it.

I don’t think, even with my explanations, he CAN get. He’s never been afraid to walk alone at night.

He’s never been afraid to go walk to his car in a parking garage.

He’s never hesitated about getting into an elevator because it’s already occupied by a man or even scarier, by men.

He’s never felt like he had to glance over his shoulder as he’s leaving the mall, fearing for his safety on the walk to his car.

He’s white. He’s a man. He’s in the majority and he feels the safety of that. He can’t possibly understand how those who are not white men feel.

I think he tries…a little.

But I could feel the doubt in his mind where those women were concerned even after I’d explained how it was very possible for a woman who’d been raped to maintain a relationship with the man who’d raped her.

I kind of wanted to tell him to read the room. Remember who was speaking to him. Perhaps, for one moment, think about the fact that I, a woman, will absolutely understand another woman’s mind, her fears, her motivations, better than he ever possibly could. Hell, I might be wrong but I’m more likely to be right than he is.

And hey, maybe…just maybe, he should consider the fact that I know what I’m talking about when I talk about ‘rhetorical’ fears. Perhaps I even know from experience. I don’t think he’s EVER considered that possibility.