This body

I was listening to some music a couple of months ago, and this woman was singing about her body. She sang about how this body had birthed children, and done this and done that and so on and so forth. It was a powerful message of hope, that acceptance of my body just as it is… well, that’s possible.

I’m just not there today. My doctor has ordered dietary changes and exercise, and I’ve actually gotten serious about it. I’ve gotten so serious that I’m even keeping a makeshift journal of sorts about what I eat and vital signs and so on and so forth.

I’m sitting here right now, acutely aware of all of the ways this body is failing me. Along with the inevitable aches and pains of aging, I deal with the remnants of all of the abuse I heaped upon this body in active addiction. I have a bad shoulder that likely needs surgery to reassemble a bone that was broken in a car wreck. I have fingers that don’t work right because they were cut off in that same car wreck (reattached by an Emory surgeon at Grady Hospital, they mostly work but they look a little different now). For fuck’s sake, I cracked my T1 vertebra in that wreck (luckily it just cracked without moving). My right hip aches extra much thanks to a car wreck in the early 2000s. That’s the same hip that now has sciatica thanks to the great septic system debacle. My left knee hurts sometimes and I have no fucking clue why. I struggle to breathe sometimes, because all the cigarettes and dope I smoked left me with COPD. I could do this shit all day, listing body parts that don’t work right anymore and the insanity that caused the malfunction, but I think you probably get the point right now.

I’m sitting here typing this, fighting back tears. It’s hard to NOT be depressed about all of this, especially when it is standing in the way of actually following some simple doctor’s orders to exercise.

Walking aggravates the right hip. Running is out of the question with this hip and these lungs. Yoga often hurts my right shoulder and that right hip. Pilates? The right shoulder and my neck mean that I have to modify the modified versions of the exercises in the video.

It fucking sucks, and I’m on the verge of sinking into a pit of despair and self-pity. I refuse to call my sponsor about it because I already know I’ll get a writing assignment out of it so I might as well just write already. I can guess what the assignment would be, even: a gratitude list, and a list of all the things my body has done and can still do.

So fuck it. Here it goes:

  • This body has danced
  • This body has laughed. Laughed til it cried, laughed til it hurt
  • This body has solo piloted a Harley Davidson. Hell, this body survived a solo flight on a Harley where the brakes failed with absolutely no warning. This body kept that bike under control and safely stopped it, upright on both wheels. Barely, but it did it, and that was definitely a case where the ends were more important than the means
  • This body has survived active addiction. 26 years of active addiction, to be more precise.
  • This body has survived some seriously ugly DTs. More than once, more than twice, more times than I can even remember, this body has made it through very painful detox from drugs and booze–the kinds of drugs that detoxing from them can literally kill. This body survived.
  • This body survived the gated community as a guest of the state
  • This body has survived car wreck after car wreck that should have been fatal
  • This body has survived surgery after surgery to try and repair damage that some utter insanity or another has caused
  • This body has survived damn near 48 years on planet earth and is still mostly functioning
  • This body has survived through not one, but THREE, physically abusive relationships (the first of which involved having a handgun pressed between my eyes; I’ve been too fucking stupid/crazy/something to ever let a man scare me again since that moment)
  • This body has survived rape
  • This body has planted gardens
  • This body has harvested and preserved the fruits of gardens
  • This body has done construction work
  • This body has laid out concert stages for some major touring acts, and it did it after most of the damage had already been done. This body, with boobs and ass and no penis, did a hard fucking job in a male dominated industry, and this body did that job very very fucking well (I was good at my job as a stagehand; so good I always got assigned to that one British asshole on every tour that hated all the local stagehands, and none of them hated me after 5 minutes of working with me)
  • This body is surviving anemia, COPD, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and a never-ending allergy season here in this part of Texas
  • This body is building a house, a place for this weary spirit to call home

Now for the gratitude list:

  • I’m grateful for the doctors appointment I have today, hopefully we can start finding a solution to the shoulder problem
  • I’m grateful for Sunshine, and his willingness to find a way to do what’s necessary to get me healthcare. I’m grateful to just have his calming presence in my life, and getting to be married to him is positively delightful
  • I’m grateful for Miss Mollie, who constantly reminds me to enjoy the moment
  • I’m grateful for my recovery
  • I’m grateful for my sponsor
  • I’m grateful for each of you. I’m grateful for every person who reads my drivel, and who sticks around for those times (like this) when I am just screaming into the void out of sheer frustration
  • I’m grateful for my mom, who would instantly talk me down from this pity-pot I’m perched on if only I would just call her
  • I’m grateful that, in spite of the ways he irritates me, Mr B has opened the gate to his property to try and create a community that welcomes my weirdo self
  • I’m grateful for the physical warmth inside my RV, with all of my layers of warm clothes and faux fur blankets to fend off the wet, grey cold that is knocking at the windows today
  • I’m grateful for the dark chocolate cocoa that is just waiting for me to get up off my ass and go fix myself a cup. (The gratitude list isn’t supposed to include things I can hold in my hand but DARK CHOCOLATE IS A GIFT FROM THE GODS THAT IS A BALM FOR MY TROUBLED SOUL and I will scream that at my sponsor if she ever dares question dark chocolate on a gratitude list 😇)
  • I’m grateful for a job I enjoy and a boss I actually like
  • I’m grateful for my oldest stepson, who is visiting us today. The growth I’ve seen in him over the years has been beautiful to witness, and it reminds me that miracles happen–even for an addict like me

Thank you. Each and every one of you reading this, thank you. Each of you reading this is carrying a tiny little piece of my burden today, for pain shared is pain lessened.

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Humidity

I grew up near Atlanta, Georgia. I thought I knew what humidity was. Then, around the turn of the millennium, I found myself in the northwestern Louisiana area. That gave me a new appreciation for humidity; I thought I knew what humidity really was. Then I traveled to New Orleans the summer after Katrina. Now, I really am starting to get a sense of what humidity can be, because that was some seriously sticky air.

Humidity is one of those things that can affect my breathing; barometric pressure and dewpoint can affect it, too. COPD is a motherbitch like that some days.

It’s been humid and/or rainy here for over a week now, and it isn’t going to stop before the end of the coming weekend. It’s really starring to piss me off. I’m supposed to be exercising to lose weight, and that’s hard to do when it’s cold and rainy outside and one lives in an RV that has no space for any sort of exercising. I’m struggling to breathe BEFORE any exertion. I’m exhausted from the effort, and from the anger at something I can’t fucking change.

I wish I could say that my humidity woes ended there. However, this morning, as I’m tripping through my RV because I’m too fucking lazy to re-tie my slipper lace that keeps trying to kill me, I’m on an epic bleep-fest behind all this never-ending humidity.

The purple wall tile for my shower? Not setting. My clothes that are hanging inside to air dry? Not fucking drying, and it’s been days. I have dirty clothes I need to wash and I have nowhere to hang them to dry because the laundry from several days ago is still hanging to dry.

I call bullshit. I’m over this shit.

NOW that I’ve bitched about it, it’s time to put on my big-girl panties. It’s time to get out of the problem and into the solution. I’m off to deal with the leaky window in the bedroom of the RV. After that, I’m headed down the hill with the laptop and a workout video so that I can take advantage of all that space in my under-constriction house.

Dear diary,

Some days I feel like we’re just reading each other’s diaries here in blogland. Which is kind of awesome, to be honest. It means that we’re sharing ourselves with each other and forging connections. Connection is important.

If I were to keep a diary, there would be many posts that read like a diary of a journey through a wasteland searching for water.

“Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Dear diary,

Trudging along, no water found, but the camel finally took a shit and can now carry a larger load. Which is good, since many of us are too dehydrated to walk.”

“Thursday, April 6, 2023

Dear diary,

Trudged some more today. Found no water, but did encounter a dead cactus. It’s spines punctured George’s boot and we fear it has poisoned him as he is feverish and speaking in tongues.”

“Monday, April 10, 2023

Dear diary,

George died last night. Breakfast was steak and some sort of red juice, although I can’t imagine where either came from. This sustenance should allow us to trudge further in our search for water.”

Lately, I’ve felt like I’m just trudging along through life, biding my time until the universe decides I have trudged enough.

My hip hurts. My neck hurts. My shoulders hurt. I have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. I need both reading glasses and distance-vision glasses. My lower back hurts.

It pisses me off that my body is now failing me when I need it the most. We are trying to build a house, we have a spring vegetable garden to plant… hell, just making up the bed in an RV takes Herculean effort.

Dear diary,

I’m tired. It seems to be the usual state for me here lately, perhaps the universe is in stasis and nothing is changing. I trudge down the hill to the new house, make many decisions, and never see any finished projects or progress. Perhaps tomorrow, I will see the results of some of my decisions. Until then, I shall do my best to nap as I trudge through life.

I’m off to take a nap. Because I’m a “it’s not even noon and I already need a nap” years old.

If you can’t beat ’em….

….then get a pill organizer.

I found Sunshine’s old one and appropriated it. He had to get a larger one to handle the sheer volume of pills he has to take for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and thyroid. I’m hoping that my daily pill routine doesn’t outgrow this one.

Final note: Sunshine is home from working out of town. He will be starting work on our little house again; hopefully, we’ll make some significant progress.

Did anybody get the license plate number of that freight train?

In case you’re confused, I’m referring to the freight train that hit me Friday evening, about 15 minutes after I got home from work.

I felt it in my throat first, but it was only a few seconds later that I felt it in my lungs. If only I had realized then how bad it was going to be, I could have saved myself a bit of pain and suffering. However, I was blissfully unaware of what I was in for, and I went to work as scheduled on Saturday.

When I got home Saturday night, I made it to the bedroom and ran out of spoons. I just laid across the foot of the bed and coughed and cried. That’s pretty much how Sunshine found me when he wandered back inside from hanging out with Mr B. He made me some chicken and stars soup (chicken noodle is just so messy compared to those delightful little pasta stars), gave me a frozen yogurt popsicle, and helped me get medicated for the night.

Yesterday, he left to go back to Shreveport for work, which would piss me off if it weren’t so predictable. He’ll, he worked the day I had my partial hysterectomy, so I shouldn’t be surprised that he went to work in spite of the fact that I’m dealing with chest congestion.

Now, chest congestion doesn’t sound like that big of a deal; and for most people it wouldn’t be. However, I have COPD (and probably some scarring in my left lung from pneumonia a few years ago). So this isn’t good.

Imagine having a sore throat. You know what that’s like: sandpaper, ground glass, raw. Now, imagine that sore throat behind your right bewb. Because that’s pretty much what my chest feels like on the right side. On the left side, it doesn’t extend quite as far south, but it’s there nonetheless. When I cough, it’s like fire or electric shock or something shoots into my lungs, making it feel even worse.

I’m throwing everything at it: cough drops, essential oils, peppermint candies, steam, mentholated rub… Even cough syrup isn’t helping, and I’m taking the kind with dextromethorphin in it. No matter how much cough suppressant I pour down my throat, I’m still coughing. It’s actually got me a little bit scared, and not anxiety scared. Thank heaven the anxiety is staying well controlled right now, because I couldn’t handle that on top of this searing pain in my chest. This scared feeling is more realistic than anxiety; if I don’t get on top of this now, fuck knows what kind of damage it’s going to do to my lungs.

I just got off the phone with my primary’s office and they’re squeezing me in at 10:45. Hopefully, she can help me find some relief.

Night and day

I went to the doctor today, and I walked out feeling a bit proud of myself. My weight was down 3 pounds, my blood pressure was elevated but not ridiculous, and my anxiety & depression are reasonably well controlled right now.

When I left her office, I went to Walmart to pick up my prescriptions. We won’t talk about what a nightmare that was, with walmart screwing it up so bad I had to call my doctor’s office twice and the nurse helping me gave up trying to send them electronically and called them on the phone. Another thing we aren’t going to talk about is all the extra no at I spent on the random shit that jumped into my buggy as I wandered the store waiting for my prescriptions. Fuck you, Wal-Mart. And fuck all these pills I gotta take now.

My doctor did confirm that I need to be taking calcium supplements to help avoid osteoporosis and shit. I remember enough from my biology classes at university to know that calcium is what kicks off muscle contractions at the cellular level. I also remember that magnesium kicks off the relaxation of the muscle at the cellular level. So I added both of those to my morning pill regimen. It is cedar pollen season, so toss in a zyrtec to keep me from sneezing my frontal lobe out through my nose. A store label naproxen every morning because I’ve got so many musculoskeletal issues it ain’t funny. Add a gabapentin for the sciatica and my antidepressant, and we’ve almost got a cereal bowl full of pills. I saw some cinnamon pills that say they help metabolism, so we’re going to try that too. Hell if nothing else, maybe they’ll make my sweat smell like a Cinnabon shop (which would actually be kind of awesome).

That leaves us with this hand full of pills every morning.

And one like this at night.

Benadryl, zyrtec, flexoril, and a naproxen. It’s fucking ridiculous. I pretty much need one of those am/pm pill organizer things to keep track of this shit.

I’ll take the pills, because I don’t want to have a stroke or anything. But damn it, I gotta figure out a system for these pills that doesn’t involve standing in front if the medicine cabinet, staring at a hand full of pills trying to separate them into my morning and night pills. That’s just a disaster waiting to happen and it will end in me getting up to go pee 495726 times a night because I took my blood pressure pill at bedtime instead of morning.

At least Mr B, Rude Ass, and I got the frozen pipe problem solved today. At least I can flush when I owe without having to go get a pitcher of water from the stash on the kitchen counter.

Scattered

I’m sick. Some sort of respiratory crud. Thanks boss. My body feels like shit, and that’s saying something since I live in a body that just feels like shit because that’s what it does. All. The. Time. Mentally, I’m feeling scattered. My train of thought keeps getting derailed.

Side note: it was so bad Friday when I got home from work that I fed the dog & collapsed in the floor. The ONLY thing that got me out of the floor was having to pee and not wanting to pee in my pants.

I’ve probably got entirely too many irons in the fire.

  • Cranapple butter
  • Keeping water lines from freezing
  • Keeping myself from freezing
  • Keeping things moving forward with our little house
  • Diet & exercise (doctor’s orders)
  • My loose list of monthly goals

The cabinet guy was here this past weekend, so we did finalize my kitchen design. That’s progress for sure. I didn’t work Sunday, because sick; that’s thrown off my internal calendar. What day is it today anyway?

Tia & I have been trying to pick a project (or three) to make with the yarn my niece gave me for Christmas. I’m having trouble choosing. Decision fatigue, analysis paralysis, something.

The boss actually remembered my request for a case of sugar bee apples, and they’ve been sitting here since Friday. I am finally up to dealing with them today, sort of; hence the cranapple butter.

There will also be some applesauce made this afternoon.

Side note: Patricia, please, no ass chewing? I already know, but I paid for the damn apples and don’t want to waste the money. Fucking asshole boss, the one time he actually remembers something I ordered and doesn’t take a month to bring it just had to coincide with me being sick.

So, here I sit, hurting, coughing, and generally feeling like hell. I’m mentally scattered, and don’t know for sure which way is up. Thank heaven I already had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning, maybe she will at least write me new prescriptions for my pain management medicines.

Final note: thank heaven for my primary! She found a combination of non-narcotic meds that actually do the trick for me. That’s huge for a recovering addict.