ACA-SCUSE ME?

I liked how I got a phone call from someone at my doctor’s office this morning asking if I was able to pick up my medicine.

Aca-scuse me?

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Uh, I didn’t pick up my medicine yesterday because I was told I would get a phone call telling me it would be ready.

Holy Jesus, this isn’t flea and tick medication; it’s an antidepressant. Don’t ask me why I didn’t ask to refill earlier because obviously if I could get it together enough to do that I probably wouldn’t need it!

I am frustrated and sad and overwhelmed because it’s happened to me before. And if it’s happened to me twice, who else has it happened to as well?

I would love to ponder that more. I may even lodge a formal complaint but for now, I have my meds.

Aca-awesome.

Withdrawal is an Evil Bitch

Don’t ask me why I wait until the last minute to call in a refill for my antidepressant prescription. Maybe I’m still in denial of being bipolar, if that’s what you can call being on and off medication for over a decade.

I ran out on Friday, called in to find out there are no refills left. It was too late too call my doctor for an emergency refill and waiting until Monday seemed like a lifetime away. I guess I thought if I didn’t care, it would go away.

Today is Tuesday and I got nothing done yesterday because I got called in to sub for a kinder class. I completely forgot all about that.

I called in to my doctor’s office to make an appointment to get more refills. No fax from the pharmacy, the receptionist said. But I called into the automated system twice, I said, and it gave the same reply: we will let your doctor know about your request.

She said to call the pharmacy back.

I hung up in tears, flustered, confused. Why are both places telling me to call the other? Why did I need to do B before I can do A but I can’t do A because there’s B and fuck you very much?

I have been without my pills for four days which translates to basically “Hi there, get out of my fucking way!”

I’m nutty at best and a ticking time bomb at worst.

I exploded with my husband in the bathroom.

I was at a dead end. I didn’t know what to do or what to say. I couldn’t think straight. Withdrawal is an evil bitch.

He picked up the phone and talked to the same receptionist. Our insurance status was changing in a few days because of his departure from the military and we didn’t know how long we’d have to wait before it went through. She said she didn’t realize that.

But what the fuck?

So now it’s more important that it get taken care of because there’s money involved? How about it be important because I’m a goddamned person? How about it be important because the person just told you she’s TAKING AN ANTIDEPRESSANT FOR GOD’S SAKE?

All I can do now is wipe my tears and make a slow withdrawal from society for a bit. Walk in eggshells so others don’t have to.

I wouldn’t care as much if I knew how fucking judgmental people were about depression from actual people I know as if people with depression have the plague or are missing something from life. Uh, yeah, it’s tricyclics. Duh.

Without them I feel like my dendrites have been magnified a gazillion times and made supersensitive which leads me to be wide awake at 3 in the morning and unable to go back to sleep. And then of course, I am a nightmare without enough sleep and the cycle continues. Exhaustion makes me worry about things I shouldn’t and forget about things I should.

Like refilling my medication in a timely manner.

When R was at his PTSD clinic in DC, he told me they had therapy dogs who were retrievers bred to be empathetic. One gentleman in particular had severe symptoms of PTSD. He needed to constantly tap things around him and cringed at the slightest sound. All of the dogs flocked to him whenever he was around. I don’t have PTSD but I know how it feels to have animals try to connect with you on an emotional level. We often curse our collection of animals in jest but we know our children have connected with them on inexplicable levels. Buddy and I went out on a long walk last week.

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Right now with my chihuahua. If I can’t get my pills, then a quiet morning with a warm blanket and puppy will do.

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I’ll Stand By You

I had never seen this logo until two years ago.

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And now I can’t stop looking at it.

There are days when I feel so emotional, so ragged that any tiniest thing sends me deeper into a rabbit’s hole. I think it might be the combination of many things. I have been popping Benedryl like candy for the last two weeks. Allergies are making me miserable. Dehydration could be a factor. A seemingly beautiful day feels like a hundred degrees when you’re running around and helping clean up after a church picnic. Sometimes a year to R’s retirement seems like it will be here sooner than I know; today it feels like it is lifetimes away.

I ran across this video on YouTube tonight.

I still keep in contact with a couple of milspouses I met while our husbands were recovering at the VA in Palo Alto. They are running marathons, speaking at conferences, and everything else you can think of, all while caring for their Wounded Warriors.

Right now I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and I don’t understand why. I am doing none of those things above and I certainly cannot care for my husband three time zones away.

Right now I can barely care for myself.

While the kids were on the trampoline,

I tried to get some pics of the eclipse tonight. I couldn’t get a picture of the eclipse but the shots I took were interesting, like some sort of code.

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I’ll let you know when I understand.

Christmas bliss is coming to an end

My husband has been home for two long, glorious weeks and sadly the departure date will be upon us. We all have the look in our eyes whenever his time with us is whittling away. The far-off gaze thinking about the memories we’ve made and the time we spent together with a bit of sadness mixed in.

We have been married for eleven years now and while the pain of our separation never really goes away I think I have gotten used to it.

The kids, however, are torn. The middle child A is excited that she will see cousins tomorrow but knows Daddy will leave soon after. The oldest one has always held it in, to the point where I ask friends and family to talk to him just to see how he’s feeling. I am afraid he might be getting used to it too.

The youngest one, who has probably had the most time with him, is hard to read. I know she thinks about him when he is gone. She gets that look in her eyes and if her big brown eyes were any clearer I am sure I would be able to see the memory of watching the latest Chipmunk movie with him.

When we were in the car today, R said he doesn’t want to go. Of course he doesn’t. I cannot imagine having to live without your kids, your spouse for months at a time.

I replied, “I don’t want you to go either but you need that foot of yours fixed.”

He still has excruciating pain in his left foot, pain that he has been hiding from me for many months. I have massaged the bottom of his foot to find each time what feels like a taut thick rope running from his heel to his toes. I show know mercy when I rub it out, trying to alleviate this muscle spasm as soon as I can. He’s cringed in pain when he is on his feet too much which is always since he insists on cooking almost all of our meals. (Not that I mind in the very least!) He gasps when sudden nerve pain strikes various parts of his lower body without warning.

I ask him what his pain is on a scale of 1 to 10, just like they do in the hospitals, and he says that it can get up to a 7 or 8. An 8 must be pretty bad. He will never say a 10, even though to me the pain would be a 15 or so, simply because he’s experienced a true 10. A 10 to him would be having his pelvis crushed in a car door. Again.

As soon as he gets back to Virginia, he will fly out to Texas to a rehab center where he will get a new foot/leg brace, one that will correct his foot drop and constant foot pain and one that he will actually use.

I did not know this but his pain is so bad that if this brace does not help, he would like to consider amputation and he wondered how I felt about that. Now I have no idea what his pain is like, what he endures on a daily basis, and surely I am in no position to have an opinion, but I kept my answer simple.

“You should do what you need to do.” Meaning that it is his body, not mine. Meaning while amputation is a huge decision, it is not mine to make. It is not my pain but I feel his.

He should do what he needs to do.

And so I am enjoying my last bit of time alone at our neighborhood coffee shop while he feeds the kids leftover Mexican food, gives them baths, and puts them to bed. Tomorrow we expect a full house with family and friends. Tomorow we expect to stay busy so the reality of going back to normal does not set in until the very last possible moment.

Tomorrow we expect to have stomach pains not caused by too much food or imbibing too many spirits but because we will be making that sad drive to the airport again on Sunday.

Our saving grace is that these trips of taking Daddy to the airport are almost completely at an end. And that makes for a happy new year in the works.

May you have a wonderful and safe new year from our family to yours,
Alma

What’s your sign, baby?

Lately I’ve been feeling like I need have must do more. I feel grateful for the life I live and know in my heart that there is something missing. The obvious answer is the longing for our family to be together again permanently and not a string of visits from my husband. But I felt compelled to attend a St. Vincent de Paul meeting at our church. Named after the saint who selflessly devoted his entire life to helping the poor, this charity continues his work in his name. I look forward to having our children go through their toys and clothes to donate and realize on their own that this isn’t something we should do but something we MUST do.

At the end of the meeting, we were led in a quiet meditation that brought me to tears but instead of allowing this moment to wash over me I abruptly stopped it.

I don’t know why. Perhaps I felt like I would be perceived as a poser for crying at the first meeting. Or maybe I was embarassed for shedding tears in front strangers.

Most likely, I was in denial that I could be so moved over something so small. Since when is the power of prayer and meditation small? Minimal maybe, but never small.

I needed that moment right there and then. I needed to know that it was possible. If that wasn’t a sign for something I was compelled to do, I don’t know what is.

Reality check

There are few things I truly detest in life: kids’ birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese, using butter substitutes when recipes call for real butter, going to the Borders and seeing that another dumbass reality star celebrity has published a book…

But what I really truly hate is seeing my doctor after gaining weight. Or in my case, twenty pounds in the past year.

I could lie and blame my husband’s accident last April. Blame his cooking when he came home to recover in October. Blame my knees for taking turns giving out after high impact Zumba classes. Blame my fourth toe on my right leg that BROKE after taking a pole dancing, ahem… fitness class.

But really I have no one to blame but myself.

I know what I should be eating and how much of it I should eat. I know to exercise and lift weights regularly.

And I did. Until last April when my husband’s car rolled over while deployed in Iraq.

Self-prescribed mocha breaks and the pastries to go with them. McDonalds for the kids so they can go to the playland. Portion sizes appropriate for my husband, six feet tall. Having dinners with friends. No sleep. Too much sleep.

That, my friends, is a recipe for weight gain.

I saw my doctor this afternoon and I told her that making an appointment her was my reality check. Twenty pounds ago, I was very active and eating healthy. I told her last year that I only needed ten more to be my college weight and we all know we were BANGIN’ in college.

But twenty pounds and one year ago, I was sitting in National Naval Medical Center, wondering if my husband would ever walk again, if they could put the seven pieces of his pelvis back together, and how I would explain to our eight year old son that he wouldn’t be going back to school for a few weeks. For a brief period I saw a number in the tens digit of my weight that I hadn’t seen since high school because I spent so much time in the hospital sitting next to my husband’s bed that I actually forgot to eat and trust me, I am so not that person.

I can’t hide anymore. Deeper depression will find me with a vengeance if I keep this up.

I was watching Eat Pray Love last night and when I wasn’t drooling over Javier Bardem, I thought about the scene where Julia Roberts’ character was having dinner with her friends and discussing THEIR WORD. Roberts said “ambition” which led me to wonder: Who am I? What’s MY word?

All I could come up with were job words and who I was RELATIVE TO OTHERS. Teacher. Writer. Wife. Mother.

If I remove the following [navy wife, mother, teacher, writer, –insert your labels here–], what are we left with? Or have our labels made us who we are?

I tell you one thing: I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in three months for a weight check. Hopefully I can add LIGHTER to my list of words.

Cheers!

Unraveling

I lost it in the shower today.

Even before I woke up this morning, even after the zumba class I take three times a week I knew it was brewing inside of me.

It had been a while since my last good cry. I welcome when they come around. A simple reminder that I am human, I am not perfect, and dammit, sometimes you feel a lot better when you let it all out.

My husband is stationed in Virginia while our three young children and I live in northern California. We lived in Virginia for three years until we realized his retirement was a few years away and with the two children starting school soon, we thought it was a good time to put down roots and buy a house. The retirement house. You know, the house that we can decorate and paint to our heart’s content because we won’t ever have to move. Ever.  

So this is where we’d been living for three years until I got THE CALL on April 23rd but more about that later. Tonight’s post is about my unraveling.

So many thoughts went through my head as I tried to shampoo and condition and soap. Too many to recall. Far too many negative thoughts to have in such a small amount of time.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m hardly -idal at the very least. Not suicidal, not homicidal. I have battled depression for some time but have been able to mostly manage it with diet and exercise.

But today was not one of those days.

The kids and I recently flew back from Virginia Beach after spending a wonderful three weeks with my husband, eating at our favorite restaurants and reliving the past. Going to storytime at the Barnes & Noble over at Lynnhaven mall. Playing in the sand on the oceanfront and on the beach at Little Creek. Hanging out at the small but memory-filled food court over at JEBLC. Eating, eating, eating.

And then it was time to come home. I went back to work part-time, the older two went back to school. It took two weeks for it to hit me.

I am a single, working mother of three again and I miss my other half, my better half, terribly and so much that I’ve forgotten how to eat healthy. It’s pretty easy to drown my sorrows in frappuccinos and fried carbs but when you take it all away, as I have chosen to do so since the bathroom scale has been glaring at me for the past year, all you’re left with is nothing and everything.

No sugar to numb the loneliness, no carb rush to push past the sadness. The self-loathing is disgusting and disappointing. I was only able to catch myself when I thought, “Fifteen years ago I would not have recognized myself–” and other such nonsense that I would not unleash on my worst enemy.

Who have I become? Who is to blame? Why do I wonder and/or complain about the lifestyle I knew I was getting myself into ten years ago? Why isn’t whatever I’m doing right now ever enough? Why doesn’t my head have an emergency shut-off button?

Hopefully it will end now. Or at least keep the unraveling to a minimum.