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 šŸ˜‡)
  • 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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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.

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.

I can’t catch a break

Or maybe I’m just not giving myself a break.

Yesterday, I fell at work. I tripped over something, I’m just not sure what. It might have been the dustpan, it might have been the pig, it might have been my own two fucking feet for all I know. I know that I narrowly missed the pig and landed on my right hip, with my feet on the dustpan. That little pig can run when he needs to save his life!

side note: the right hip is the one that still hurts from the great septic system debacle, which is the same hip that got smashed so hard it bruised bone at an arena gig one night, and the same hip that got all borked in a car accident right before I got clean. That motherfucker is sore today.

My hands are cramped and sore from all of that weeding and grass pulling last week. My fingers are covered in small cuts from fuck knows what (I’m going to guess weed pulling, since the cuts appeared right after that).

And I am covered in mosquito and chigger bites.

I wish I could just sit here and be a couch potato, but there is too much that needs to be done. I need to clean the bathroom, but that is just going to have to wait. I absolutely must pickle these turnips that I harvested late last week before the beets I bought go bad.

side note: the pickled turnip recipe is Armenian, and calls for beets to pickle with the turnips. Because I love Sunshine, I am trying to find ways to preserve some of the three rows of turnips his goofy ass planted (and hasn’t eaten) because he says he loves turnips. Next spring, when we go to plant the garden, if he hasn’t eaten some of the turnips stored in the storm cellar and all of the pickled ones, WE AIN’T PLANTING NO FUCKING TURNIPS.

I’ve got peas and beans to shell and freeze, tomatoes to can or give away, and zucchinis the size of baseball bats to do something with. I’ve got some backdoor fruit that I need to flash freeze. I’ve got laundry to do. I’ve got to make a run to the big box store in town and then go make a deposit at the bank.

I’ve got so much shit to do that I don’t know where to start so I’ll probably sit here all day making lists ad flowcharts to help me decide what to do first.

final note: here’s a picture of the strawberry vanilla jam I made last week, for your viewing pleasure

strawberry vanilla jam

Chronic…

It’s one of those weeks when I’m really reminded that I have a chronic condition. My COPD and anemia have me feeling fatigued. The overabundance of things needing my attention combined with my job and the heat/humidity have me exhausted on top of the fatigue. I’m also STILL hurting in my back and hip from the great septic system debacle, which only serves to drain me further.

I can’t drop dead just yet. My boss is going out of town for the weekend, so I have to work all day for the next three days. In the heat and humidity. 

I had planned on resting today. Ass, meet couch. Ass and couch, meet Netflix.

I really need to stop making plans.

Last night, Sunshine made a shitty comment in a shitty tone of voice: “well you could help me out sometimes” (referring to our house construction). I ignored it at the time.

Today, I tried to watch Netflix. But I couldn’t get that shitty comment in that shitty tone out of my head. So I dragged my COPD/anemic/fatigued/exhausted/hurting ass down the hill and sanded the exterior door to prep it for stain and sealer. Then I sanded the exterior door casings to prep them for stain and sealer.

Of course, the hours I spent sanding on those doors will come off the end of my life. I spent spoons I didn’t have to help Sunshine realize his dream of building a house. 

I’ll probably wind up resorting to steroids to get me through the next three days at work. I’ll probably have to resort to steroids to get me through learning to can jam on Monday, too. 

Side note: my neighbor is some kind of canning and cooking genius, and has graciously offered to teach me to can jam.

I’m exhausted, I’m fatigued, and there’s no rest for the wicked this weekend.

Final note: I have chosen what to name the house and Sunshine gets no say in it. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. “El descanso del diablo”. Or “la Paz del diablo”. Either/or. They each mean “devil’s rest” in Spanish, with subtly different nuances. I shall name that house Devil’sā€‹ Rest, and I shall name it in Spanish. I just haven’t yet decided which subtlety to use.

Weekly Progress Report: The Saturday Edition

I’m tired. It’s that time of year, when heat/pollen/dust all work together with my COPD and anemia to leave me really tired. I’ve been doing my best to power through it, and most days I do OK. Some days, I just stay my happy ass on the couch and allow myself the luxury of rest and healing (since my back and hip still haven’t healed from the great septic system debacle because I’m mostly on my own with the fucking garden).

Sunshine got a new compost heap containment fence put up. I took this week’s “backdoor fruit” and put it in there. Now we can let the original compost heap turn into compost so that we can use it in our garden next spring.

As soon as it quits raining, I’ll be using some of the leftover roll of fencing to make trellis for my new beans to cling to for support as they grow.

roll of wire fence for beans

I have beans and things sprouting up all over the place, and they are going to need some support.

We got the tomato plants tied to stakes so that they don’t die under the crushing weight of their fruits like my snap beans are trying to do because they had no support for so long.

staked tomatoes

Yes, I know. Our garden is growing in the middle of a field of grass. Mr B has been too preoccupied with moving dirt to create a place to build a shop, and hasn’t been back to the garden with a tractor since he created the extra rows where we planted beans. I’ve got enough on my plate with work, household chores, and preserving what DOES manage to grow in the middle of that field of grass; I can’t be everything all the time. Maybe after we get the house finished, Sunshine (and perhaps even Biff) can help more with the garden.

We are out of room in the freezers. Thank heaven Mr B’s mom has offered to trade us her large chest freezer for the small one she donated to us a few months ago. Now, if I could just get someone to take the small one to her and bring back the big one, I could get started on some serious reorganization of our already frozen vegetables and blackberries. The situation has gone well past the point of being dire, and is only going to be exacerbated by all of the fruit I’m going to freeze this week to make jelly or syrup or something. Eventually, I’ll be pulling the fruit back out of the freezer; until then, I get to teach myself to play an awesome game of tetris.

It’s been a busy week out here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere. And it looks to stay that way through Thanksgiving at least. I’ll eventually get it all figured out, or get some help, or something. Until then, I’ll do the best I can.