I mentioned in my last post that I was having a bit of a rough time, emotonally and cognitively. I’m still there and it’s getting pretty old. It all started while I was paying bills. I had just finished writing out my sixth or seventh check and I was about to sign it. I couldn’t remember my name. I could visualize the signature, I knew what it looked like, but my fingers wouldn’t move. I saw the letters in my head but I couldn’t in that moment have recited them. I had been struggling physically with the mechanics of writing the checks out. My fingers and my whole hand were shaking so badly that if the banks decides to match the last few signatures with any exemplar, they’d bounce every check I wrote yesterday. If the signatures weren’t enough to trigger suspicion, the payees names were barely legible.
And so I did what any 60 year old, highly educated, well experienced professional would do-I started crying. Not just a quiet little sniffle, carefully modulated so noone could hear. No, big, heaving gusts of tears and wailing in pain. Not all pain is physical. It just keeps going. I am constantly on edge emotionally. I get frustrated or upset and my hands start shaking, my neck gets tight, my vision starts to fog over. The only thing I can do is just set everything down and go take a nap or stare mindlessly at the tv, not hearing any of the dialogue, not really seeing the action, just gazing at a disjointed series of still images that don’t quite mesh together.
We had Erin’s daughter and her daughter-in-law over for mother’s day. They cooked dinner for Erin, we watched a movie. I showed K, Erin’s daughter, some shirts that I was not gong to keep to try one and see if she wanted them. Thank God for quiet family celebrations. It’s the first time in three days I felt normal. And I really needed to feel normal tonight.
It’s wearing on Erin. I could tell, even if she wasn’t making little to no effort to hide it. She hates driving, but she’s been my chauffeur for the last week, as she will be for the next four weeks. She doesn’t like shopping, but she’s been doing that too. And she hasn’t just been doing the marketing. She’s been thoughtful about getting little comfort foods for me, things that she can’t eat on her limited diet. I usually do most of my own laundry, but she’s been doing all of that (if I can’t make it up and down the basement stairs, I can’t do much laundry, can I?) In short, she’s been waiting on me hand and foot and it’s getting pretty goddam old.
So, with the strain on Erin reaching a hot point, and with me feeling more helpless than ever, calling on her to do tasks I handled myself just a few days ago the tension was rising. She was impatient with me when I started getting a bit whiny. I was hurt and feeling vulnerable and I resented her choosing that particular point in time to give air to her complaints. She got snippy; I got snippy and we wound up spending the rest of the day before dinner Friday on separate floors of the house.
I can’t speak to what she did but I had a bit of a cry, took an Ativan, and I slept for the next few hours. Likewise, I spent the better part of yesterday asleep, too. I guess sleep is healing. Well, sleep, Ativan, good company, and major fucking effort to focus and pay attention to what is going on around me. If you need proof, this is the first draft post in the last three days to make it to the second paragraph. I feel more competent, finally. Maybe things are slowly getting better.
I’m not going to spend a lost of words trying to get people to contribute to my GoFundMe campaign. You aren’t here for a PBS membership drive, with more commercial than program. I’ll just put the link here and if you feel the spirit move you, you know what to do. Thank you to all my generous donors. It’s you that make this journey possible, as much as it’s me. Not as much as Erin though-that woman’s a saint.
I am happy to report things are gong more smoothly on the physical front. I can now take the stairs without needing a rest break halfway up. I am getting better at getting out of bed on the first try. Go ahead, you try and get up and out of bed without using your upper body to lift, scoot, sit, stand, and otherwise get upright. Seriously, go ahead, I’ll wait. I can move around better, with more confidence. I went downstairs to the basement this morning to feed the cats; Erin deserved a morning to sleep in so I took over the morning tasks.
Every day I get a little more comfortable on the stairs. It’s still exhausting, but maybe a little less so. (Or maybe I’m just learning to accept it better.) I’m taking fewer pills for pain, and exxcept for the last week, during which I’ve been facing the biggest emotional challenge so far, I’m taking way fewer benzos. I’ll get rid of them before too long. the pain pills I’ll winnow down to one or two a day at most, as my strength comes back.
I’ve noticed one thing, getting in and out of the car, in and out of bed, and up from chairs using just my thighs and my core is making that part of me a lot stronger than before. I may even be losing part of the gut I’ve struggled with most of my life.
Anyway, I just realized I’ve spent a week on this post and I coukl write for another week. It’s hard to be more productive when my capacity to think and organize my thoughts is limited to about one hour at a time. And that hour is exhausting, taking a bigger and bigger toll on me, leaving me ever deeper in the fog.