….my mother died and then I had a head-on collision a couple of days later?
Yeah, so that happened.
I think y’all have heard me gripe about our frat boy neighbors across the street a time or two, amiright?
Well, one of them got up close and personal with me the day we were traveling to my mother’s funeral a couple of weeks ago.
And I don’t mean that in a good way. He hit me, head on, on our street as I was taking the critters in for boarding. They are fine, by the way. Me, not so much, but I digress.
He was turning onto our street at a “T” intersection, and I was coming up to the intersection to turn off the street. When he turned, he cut the corner really sharp and accelerated – as you do, when you’re 19 and too cool for school – when he looked up, and remembered this isn’t England a millisecond before his Beemer hit my Impala smack in the nose. One inch to the right and my airbags would have deployed, likely totaling my car, but the gods of mechanical shit were with me and instead of totaled, the car sustained about $5K in damage. He bent the frame when his little car went under mine or else it wouldn’t have been so much.
Amazing what an impact at 20 mph will do to a car and the bodies inside.
So, after he hits me I just sat there staring at him through the windshield and after a minute this big boy, covered in tattoos, gets out of his car..and he’s crying.
Crying. There’s no crying in car crashes. But there he was, crying like a baby about having just had a crash “and it’s my fault” he kept saying.
Damn right it was, and I was pissed…and this is what happened next as I sat in the driver seat dialing 9-1-1 as he approached me.
ME: What the fuck? HOW did YOU not see ME??
CRYBABY: I don’t know. I just….*sobs*
ME: Stop being a pussy, will you? Are you hurt?
CRYBABY: *hic* No.
ME: Well, I am..my chest hurts and I’ve got the cops and fire department coming.
ME: Geez…you live across the street from me, right?
CRYBABY: *sniffle* Yes
ME: First, why the fuck do you think I want to hear your music all hours of the day and night?? TURN THAT SHIT DOWN!!
CRYBABY: *sniff* Okay.
ME: And that has nothing to do with this. I just saw an opportunity. Now, the police are coming, everyone’s fine, you just stay where you are.
*an aside, I’ve had dipshits try to run on me before – this is accident #7 and twice that’s happened*
CRYBABY: I’m not fucking going anywhere.
ME: Don’t you talk to me that way, young man!
CRYBABY: (stares at the profane old lady in the car)
So, the police and hunky firemen came (seriously, why are all firemen so damned cute?) and checked me out. My chest was bruised, and I had a goose egg on my knee from hitting the dash.
I rode to my mother’s house with an ice pack strapped to my knee. And every breath hurt.
I thought I was fine.
I’m cute when I’m in denial.
Last weekend, two weeks after this incident, I noticed a GIANT lump in my chest. Looks like I’m growing a third tit, and it hurts a whole helluva lot.
What. The. Fuck.
My doctor took x-rays and said I fractured the xiphoid bone, and have a large hematoma (third tit) in my chest.
No worries, none of that is as bad as it sounds. It’ll heal on its own and the hematoma isn’t in a vein or anything. It’s on the bone and surrounding cartilage. It’ll just take time. Time and ice. Really, ice seems to help a lot. But, I can’t go around with an ice pack in my bra at work. Stupid social rules and shit like “propriety” get in the way.
Since the day of the crash, I’ve been trying to get Crybaby’s insurance to accept liability. First, they had no copy of the police report. Then, no copy of the report AND Crybaby was not responding to calls or letters. Then Crybaby said it was MY fault, and they were investigating.
THEN, this morning I went all bitcharoni on their asses in a pain-induced fit of rage. Lo and behold, they have their reports, they got his statement, and they are 100% sure they are accepting liability.
Hallelujah, holy shit, where’s the Tylenol?
I may have mentioned a time or elebenty hunnert that I live with an enormous amount of daily physical pain.
I’m beginning to think I may actually be a reincarnation of the goddess Odyne. Which reminds me, why can’t I be like Athena or even Artemis? I’d like to be able to say I possess badassery or indescribable beauty because I’m a descendant of the goddesses of both, but nooooooooooooooo I have to be Odyne, the goddess of pain. Oh well, at least I’m a goddess, even if I don’t rate more than a mere mention in mythology and lack a Wiki page of my own.
Is there a goddess of sleight? Because I’m pretty sure Odyne has a valid grievance here, and I’d like to talk to someone about that.
And, I have gotten waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off track.
See, that’s what pain will do to your brain.
So, the sources of my pain are numerous and boring – eight ruptured discs, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, blah, blah, blah…
Most of the time a liberal application of heat, and the liberal downing of pain medications I take, keep me upright, mobile, and not feeling all stabbity to the world.
This week, though, it’s been different. And by “different” I don’t mean ‘oh joy and happiness, I don’t feel like I’ve been run over by a truck!’ I mean it’s been ‘holyfeckballsoffirebreathingdragons, what.the.feck. is going on?’
My sciatic nerve, heretofore a quiet little dude that I gave nary a thought to, is pissed.
Royally, royally, pissed.
He’s decided to show me how pissed he is by setting my right leg on fire, while simultaneously stabbing me from ass to heel with a hot poker.
This is going on all. the. time.
It’s actually a breathtaking kind of pain. As in, I gasp with each wave of pain, am nauseated most of the time from it, and cannot focus on what anyone is saying to me until the wave subsides and I wait anxiously for the next.
Even upping the pain meds is not dulling it much. And they are strong motherfeckers, let me tell you. Sciatic-Bob (yes, I named him) is stronger.
I know the inflammation will pass, and I really wish I could take anti-inflammatories but they make me pukey, I just wish it would pass sooner rather than later.
This gettin’ old shit? Ain’t for wimps.
Just yesterday, a single sentence from a Facebook friend led me to ponder something I take for granted.
I am a chronic pain patient, most doctors’ worst nightmare, and I am tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.
Among the litany of ailments, which I won’t list here, I have fibromyalgia.
I can see the virtual eye rolls from those who think that fibro is a “garbage can” diagnosis meant to shut up the patient who presents with debilitating pain, exhaustion, and memory issues. And, it was just that. Until some dedicated scientists and doctors began to really study the disease.
All of this has little to do with this post, but I use the first few paragraphs to set the stage for the real reason I’m writing.
It’s the shame, the guilt, the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy that so many chronic pain patients experience.
We feel it every time we have to explain to a doctor that yes, we hurt, and yes, we understand your lab work doesn’t give any indication why.
We feel it every time we encounter a pharmacist, skeptical as to why we need yet another month’s supply of an opioid medication.
We feel it every time a family member or friend – always well-meaning, of course – tells us about the latest breakthrough in treating chronic pain with home remedies like beet enemas and anecdotal evidence that it worked for someone’s brother’s wife’s mother.
Or worse, when friends and family tell us we just need to get up and do more…everything. Walk, exercise, go vegan, deny gluten, and drink lots of water. I mean, if we did all that we’d be fine, right?
We look normal.
We (usually) act normal.
We desperately want to be normal.
We don’t want to wake up every morning more tired than when we went to bed.
We don’t want to hurt from the top of our heads to the tips of our toes.
We don’t want to feel like we’re slogging through molasses that gets thicker as the day wears on.
And so many of us don’t want to have to rely on a pill to get us through the next day, the next few hours, until we can take another to dampen the pain to the point of making it possible to function for a while.
Mental health gets a bright spotlight, and almost everyone is understanding and caring. Take a pill to elevate your mood, or keep you from going all stabbity? That’s considered a good thing.
Chronic pain patients don’t always get that same TLC.
And we need it.
….there’s never, ever, not ever, not for one minute…a dull moment in my life……..
Christmas went well. It was a hunnert degrees outside, and Santa looked like he would melt inside his suit when he visited the gaggle of screaming grandchildren gathered to meet him on Christmas Eve.
Months of preparation and the entire gift-opening extravaganza was over in 12.4 minutes.
The adults at my house engage in a White Elephant gift exchange. The concept, for those who don’t know, is to gather gawd-awful items you already have, wrap them prettily, and then every person gets a number and we pick packages based on if we’re first, second, and so on. After the first pick, the next person can either ‘steal’ a person’s gift or get a new one from the stack. And so it goes.
The idea is to give someone you love a hideous/disgusting gift. It’s a Christmas Spirit thing.
Of course, there’s always that one relative who doesn’t get it. That person invariably brings a truly magnificent gift. This year, it was a giant bag filled with gorgeous household knick-knacks, wall hangers, and so on. It was the FIRST gift picked, so you just knew the receiver wasn’t going to hang onto it.
Except the receiver, my youngest son, literally guarded his loot and threatened anyone who came near. He looked like a dog guarding the food bowl as he’d place his body between the would-be thief and the bag…growling and giving the thief the stink-eye.
The kid’s got game when it comes to intimidating looks.
I thought we were going to have a brawl a time or two as shouts of “cheater!” and “That’s not how this game is played!” fell on son’s deaf ears.
For my part, I’ve got so many knick-knacks and crapola around already I’m thinking of changing my name to Pier One Kirkland’s (got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?), so I didn’t want a giant bag with more dust collectors.
In the end, son got to keep his big bag and I got a coloring book and crayons..perfect..no, really, perfect for when the grandkids come over.
I think we need to explain the White Elephant rules one. more. time.
Christmas Day is usually quiet and laid back at our house. I won’t get out of my jammies all day, unless we have company for dinner – which we did this year. It was still quiet, as all the grandkids were occupied with their new stuff.
The very next day I came down with the latest version of norovirus. This was the day we were supposed to start taking everything down because the day after that we were going to visit my mother some 700 miles away. Instead, I spent a day and a half praying to the porcelain gods and wishing I could sleep until it all passed. I mean, really…you get the pukes and a raging fever with body aches all at once. Seriously? ONE is bad enough, why oh why do we have to get both? Then, I spent the next four days (three of which were at my mother’s house) with a come-and-go fever, cold sweats, and zero appetite. Good times.
But, it doesn’t end there…as we were preparing to leave on our long road trip (a day and a half behind schedule) – and let me tell you just how excited I was for that, having been so sick so recently – when my sister’s frantic calls and texts began. Her husband was admitted to ICU with sepsis. How he went from a healthy, cutthroat, corporate attorney to death’s door can be attributed to the medical profession. He had a biopsy, it got infected, then it really pissed his body off and he wound up in the hospital for a solid week. He’s home now, with a PICC line for antibiotics. Out of the woods, be definitely still on the mend.
And that was just last week…hell, part of last week. The rest, though, was anti-climactic after all that led up to it.
I even rang in 2016 asleep, on the couch at mom’s, for the first time since I was a child.
It was a hint for this year. Keep it quiet, dude. I need my rest.
“…I just had the most TERRIFYING experience of my ENTIRE LIFE!!”
This is not how you want to start a conversation, any conversation, with one of your grown children.
Unfortunately, you don’t always get to choose how these things go. In fact, let me just say that you never get to choose how these random phone calls go.
And now, the rest of the story…
ME: WHERE ARE YOU???
BABY GIRL: Everything is fine….now
ME: What happened?
BABY GIRL: I locked Cutie-Pie in the car!
(It’s in the 80’s here, and the interior of a car gets really hot..really fecking fast)
BABY GIRL: I was leaving Crossfit, and I put her in her car seat and then laid the keys on the driver’s seat, and then put the backpack on the seat, and I don’t know…
(she starts crying)
ME: Is Cutie-Pie okay?
BABY GIRL: Yes, she’s fine.
ME: How long was she in there?
BABY GIRL: Ten minutes! Ten minutes, Mom!
ME: So tell me the rest.
BABY GIRL: Well, after I realized what I’d done, I ran to get “K” (K is her older sister and they Crossfit together), and then when we couldn’t find an open door we ran across the street to the Police station that happens to be there – thank God! – and they called the fire department.
ME: And how did the firemen get inside?
BABY GIRL: They took this thing that looks like a tire pump or something and put it in the door frame and pumped it up, then took a wire thing and popped the lock. It didn’t damage the mini-van at all.
ME: Luckily…but you can replace a vehicle.
BABY GIRL: I know…
(she starts crying again)
ME: And how was Cutie-Pie?
BABY GIRL: Very hot and sweaty, but she was just grinning at everyone. Probably wondered what all the fuss was about.
ME: Did the firemen check her over?
BABY GIRL: You know, Mom, I didn’t even let them. The minute the door was unlocked I slammed it open and grabbed her and hugged her and she kept saying, “You okay, Mommy?”
ME: Awwwwwww…so sweet. And she’s okay now.
BABY GIRL: Yes, now…but I’m still shaking.
ME: I can imagine, but remember some things. You didn’t panic. You acted fast, you knew what to do, you kept your head and Cutie-Pie is fine.
BABY GIRL: You’re right..you’re right.
ME: And what have we learned?
BABY GIRL: NEVER put the keys ANYWHERE, except in my bra.
And that was my Wednesday.
How was yours?
Is texting and driving. I’ve never been touched by this type of tragedy, but I do everything I can to raise awareness, and hopefully prevent any of this from happening to anyone..ever again.
(no gore, just thought-provoking and heartbreaking..better grab the tissues)
…but I have fibromyalgia
As do millions of people.
It’s not who I am, it’s what I have.
But some days, it defines me and I struggle to get through the day.
It’s on those days I find comfort in knowing there are others out there like me.
And for my fellow sufferers, I offer this:
Go visit and ‘Like’ Haullie’s Facebook page, and know you are not alone.
Very gentle hugs, my friends.
I got this iPod/iPad/iPhone speaker/charger docking station-thingy (it’s a technical term, trust me) from Amazon, and this is the conversation I had with my boss about it:
ME: Hey, look at my new speaker/charger-thingy for my iPhone.
BOSS: Does it hold an iPad?
ME: I don’t know, I haven’t figured that out yet. But, it’s got different modes.
ME: I don’t know, I haven’t figured that out yet.
ME: Well, it’s also a clock when nothing’s docked on it…it displays the time, though it’s in military time because I haven’t figured out how to change it yet.
BOSS: Does it have an alarm?
ME: I think so, but I haven’t figured that out yet.
ME: *chuckling* I guess there’s a lot I haven’t figured out yet.
BOSS: Yeah…when did you get this?
ME: Oh I’ve only had it a short time.
Last Tuesday my baby girl had to put her beagle to sleep.
It was the first puppy she and her husband had ever had together.
She was 11, and had kidney disease and an enlarged liver that was probably filled with tumors.
She had been sickly off and on for a year, but nothing really that major, until a few days before her last trip to the vet when the vomiting and diarrhea were constant and alarming. She also refused food and water most of the time.
My baby girl called me, her voice a sobbing tear-filled wail of pain.
“Mom, the vet said she’s dying and there’s nothing they can do.”
“Oh honey, I am SO sorry.”
“She said we should put her to sleep because she is in pain and feeling sickly. But, Mom she’s bouncing around the office and wagging her tail…and I cannot make this decision on my own…” her voice trailing off into sobs…”can you come get the baby? She’s been here like two hours already and she’s getting antsy. My husband is taking off work early to be here.”
“Sure.” I limped my swollen back up there and got her, brought her back to my house and fed her peanut butter and jelly. A couple of hours later I had to take her back to the vet and drop her as I was going for my MRI.
When I got to the vet, the tech was walking into the exam room carrying a taped up box which I knew carried the remains of the spunky little beagle.
My first grandpuppy was going out in a storage box, and they were taking her home to bury her in the backyard of the home she’d only lived in for a year.
My baby girl and her husband grabbed me and sobbed. I did, too.
I had no words. Not one.
There is nothing quite so painful as the loss of a loved one, and I don’t care if it’s “just” a dog, loss is loss.
So, Miss Jenny got the cancer and died on a Tuesday. They buried her in a shady spot in the yard she loved.
Forrest would be proud.
That’s all I have to say about that.
But the story isn’t all about the story.
Read the comments, people.