No One Said Change is Easy ---Moving Right Along
Friday, January 05, 2018
I have an 'obligation' to keep all of your dear and faithful readers updated as to how I am doing. It seems that my last entry in early December, as stark and bleak as it may have seemed to some, left some leaving some really deeply felt words. I appreciate your honesty as well as I appreciate fostering my own. Time will tell what happened in 2017 was the true pivotal point that it seems to be at this time. As one person said (in almost relief) "let's hope you hit your bottom". Considering that when I first fell I did land on my butt and then fell backwards onto my lower back---that was literal and it also might be figurative too. Again, time will tell.
December was a tough month. Period. However, it did get better as I got better. I learned some things about me that I am 'filing away' in my memory box to recall on a daily basis as a reminder of what I need to do. What I discovered was I am less anxious and emotional (read: weepy and fearful) when I 1) get as good of night's sleep as I can given the fact I usually awaken due to some kind of pain, 2) I need to make this #1 priority (and this is coming from someone who really enjoyed burning the midnight oil), 3) keep my days as calm as possible (this was near impossible in December in spite of my best intentions), 4) it can never be emphasized enough how important good nutrition is and 5) know that each day you have done your best even if it seems like a mere pittance from what you remember from the past.
What made December tough was the fact that the very things that caused me to 'fall apart' I still had the responsibility to do. I can either say that I have become an 'enabler' to my husband's apparent lack of concern and/or lack of ability to handle our family finances ( I confess I believe I am) or this was yet another 'test' I was meant to be put through. Right out of the gate while I was still taking the strongest antibiotic you can (according to the papers from the pharmacist) and with very scary potential side effects I was faced with having to assert myself with my property management regarding replacement of our old rickety furnace and the leakage that occurred with black mold growing in our furnace room (which was within 6 feet of where I sit). I can say that after it was all cleaned up and the new furnace was in place my non-stop coughing stopped within 36 hours. I will admit that I was so drained from pushing for that black mold to be cleaned up that I was in tears and exhausted emotionally.
Well, I also refinanced a high interest loan but when the 11th hour set in and the loan officer kept asking for more and more documents I came unglued and I bowed out of the joint application and told my husband that I had done the 'grunt work' and that it was time for him to do what he knew to do best: show up. Then, I asked my husband if I could get the power wheelchair that I had seen about 6 weeks prior. He said "Yes" without an argument and I was so stunned that it all went so easily that I felt numb which scared me because I was expecting to feel elated but I couldn't feel anything. I was too afraid. It just plain seemed 'too good to be true'.
Over the course of the remainder of the month when I was feeling the most anxious I asked my husband, Paul, to stay home with me. I have never been affected by the shorter days before in the past but now I wanted more lights on and for him to be near me. He is a man who works long hours with his full time job and who also is heavily involved in church activities. As Christmas Eve came closer I confessed that I was terribly lonely and I asked him to not sing in the Christmas Eve Mass. He told me that it was the first time in 40 years that he had not sung at that. I asked him what the other occasion was and he said a blizzard (when we lived in MN). I felt horrible and I almost told him to go ahead but I didn't. We actually had a wonderful Christmas Eve and we never mentioned it again.
He was gracious about giving up this commitment but as I saw it I needed his presence more than ever and all I could think of was I needed to get through the Christmas holiday the best way I could. I cried on Christmas Day because I missed my adult daughter. We have been estranged since Mother's Day 2013. Yes, we have spoken briefly (like when my Dad died) and we have sent cards and I gifts we have not spoken for more than a few minutes. I texted her and told her that I missed her and that I would hope someday to meet the man she lives with (now about 5 years). She returned my text with one question: "Was I willing to discuss our relationship?"
This is an emotionally powerful and potentially explosive question because it was exactly this which has been a thorn in her side for close to 14 years. She has been verbally abusive to me regarding what she feels our relationship was while she was growing up. I was severely depressed during the majority of her formative years. I was like the 'walking dead' but I functioned enough to make sure her physical needs were taken care of. I tried to reach out to her emotionally but she was shut off especially during her teen years. I have apologized and told her that was no male intent but she has refused to forgive me. I finally gave me and asked her not to call me if all she was going to do was say mean things to me. That is where it was left.
We texted back and forth and we talked about our respective health over last year. I told her that we would discuss the relationship some time in 2018 when I was stronger physically and emotionally. I don't know when that will be to be honest but I will say this which is what I plan on saying to her. She can have her time to vent but once it is over we need to agree that if we are to move forward then she has to let it go and work on it on her own. I can not and will not allow anyone (and this is not easy for me to say) make me their 'whipping post'. That is my 'requirement' for this relationship to move beyond where it is. I have been divorced before and also in marriage counseling and if one person wants it to work but the other one doesn't, it just won't happen.
I moved past both Christmas and New Year's. Both holidays were bitter cold here so we stayed in. I hate to admit this I just wanted 2017 to be over and the sooner it was the better. I have felt the best this past week now that we are in 'ordinary time' (as we say in our Catholic faith---although we aren't for another couple of days ----Epiphany has to pass). I want life to be ordinary again. January, in my opinion, is one of the most boring months there is (LOL) and right now I am more than fine with that. (LOL) I am not a sports fan so I really don't even have that to look forward to.
There were other smaller stressors that came and went and all I wanted to say was 'leave me alone and let me heal' but I dealt with them as I could. Paul had some dilemmas and he brought them to me to discuss. One such incident was a woman came to our church while he was in prayer during his hour of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He valued this time so much and he does it as often as he can. He was filling in for a friend.
The woman first asked him to pray with her but as what often happens when we pray we talk out the problem more than ask for the grace and peace to listen to the solution. It's okay. It happens to all of us. We just need to unload. The woman needed some money. She was late on her car insurance and she was starting a new job the next morning. Paul wanted to come home and ask for my opinion since I handled our finances. I told him that unfortunately I would have to say No. We have been spending a lot of extra money on meds for me and there just wasn't a lot left over. I don't feel comfortable giving someone a couple of hundred dollars when rent is due in a few days. (Our rent has increased $100 along with a few other new bills). I cried because I just needed life to be calm and although I have compassion for any one in this situation I just didn't need to carry her burdens as well as my own. I just wish he could have seen this rather than the spiritual dilemma Paul felt he was in. We do believe in practicing charity and on a real level not sending money out to who knows where to who knows whom. I like giving to someone I can see. I do the other as well but I want to reach out for the human need I feel in front of me as well.
Finally, I found out that the power chair that I have ordered (and just arrived yesterday) will need a lift and now it is a matter of determining what my 17 year old car will handle in terms of 'load' and what financial 'load' we can handle. I was so upset after speaking to one sales person that I told my husband that I am going to have to come back to this when I can deal with the details. I simply do not want the added stress right now. Maybe, in a couple of weeks I can return to this but not now.
Like I said, December was not a month that was 'fun'. It had all the usual stressors that I wish I didn't have to deal with. I got through it but it was really tough at times. As well as all of this I was also having trouble staying asleep more than 2 hours tops because of the constant pain I was in. Life was lived going from 'time to take a pill' to 'time to take another pill'. This is not the way I want to live my life! I have cried, I have pleaded and I have even begged for God to remove this. It has happened a little at a time which I am grateful for.
The past couple of weeks I have resumed exercising. I wear my back support belt and then prop up pillows behind my back for added support. I have been doing chair cardio and in fact I have become more adept at using my limbs where at times my arms feel like wet noodles. I feel plenty tired afterwards. I have kicked the diet soda habit (after 40+ years) simply because the acidity of it burns the inside of my mouth. I do not like drinking plain water all the time and I have Crystal Light as a change but I have learned to accept this for the time being.
It has been 8 weeks and I am now able to do some light housework wearing my back support belt. I still have to take more pain meds at night when I do but I have to do something because doing nothing is boring and I feel so unproductive. I am trading my back feeling better with just plain needing to have something to do. Since late last summer when Paul took over the housekeeping duties it is the first time that I have been able to do this. He was a horrible housekeeper (LOL) but 'beggars' can't be choosy. Although he hasn't said it I know he appreciates me being 'back'.
My thigh muscles are still quite unstable and I find myself toddling and sometimes 'almost' losing my balance. I have decided that when the 10 week mark comes ( about 1 1/2 weeks) I am going to resume my old workouts that I used to do to strengthen my muscles. Because of these balance issues I feel safest not walking long distances (15 ft. or farther). For now, I still see getting the power chair as the safest way for me to be pain free and mobile. Over New Year's Paul and I talked with our best man (wedding) and his oldest friend.
He is 60 and he has had progressive MS for the past 5-6 years. I was always kind of jealous of their close relationship but after I saw what he was trying to handle I felt 'ashamed' and I confessed that I had not always had the right place in my heart for this man. I will admit that being 'home alone' as well as socially isolated for longer than I care to admit I have a very 'tunnel vision' when it has come to my own 'stuff'. I am not proud of not being present for others or making it about me. I am sorry if I have done this with you. I do care about your 'stuff' as much as mine. I really do.
Well, what is on the horizon? I am going to have to continue to change. I am going to admit that I don't want to change. LOL. However, I know that whether or not I want to or like to I have to. I can not return to how I used to do things. All of this is tiring emotionally and so if I seem weary you will know why but I know that I have to make some changes (what I can each day) and go from there. I am scared. I am reluctant. However, my mind is telling me that I need to listen to it and follow through.
The changes this coming week are: I have decided to go to some free social activities as I can. I have been shut off from people for too long. The bitter cold weather is lifting at least for this coming week so I do hope to attend some book discussion groups , a women's Bible study group, some needlecraft clubs( I need to brush up on my knitting) and possibly attend with my husband an appreciation dinner at church. I have social anxiety and I am not yet on any medication so I am doing my best with my own resources. I am trying to pace myself with everything. I still hate going to bed earlier but I see its value. I am working on getting more vegetables in. I am doing something physically every day. I pray and I honestly am trying to have more hope and be more optimistic (someone mentioned about that to me in a comment). I was in a dark hole and I am doing my best to pull myself out of it.
Progress. Not Perfection.