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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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.

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.

Hustle and flow

It’s been a rough bunch of weeks for my body. It’s August in Texas, so breathing doesn’t exactly come easy to my lungs. COPD is a total motherbitch sometimes. I’ve been struggling with fatigue in a way that I haven’t felt since the antidepressants really started working. My addict brain says “get the doc to increase the dosage”; the 12 steps tell me to hold off until the weather cools back down a bit and see how I’m feeling then. It’s hard, trying to wait; I hate feeling this old, sore, tired, and generally crappy.

It’s our busy season at the produce stand, so work is 10 to 11 hours of non-stop hustle. It’s basically outdoors, and it’s a lot of lifting and toting. It can be brutal in this heat and humidity. 

We’re building a house, so we’ve been non-stop hustle trying to get the place to an air & water tight point so we can slow down a bit. I’m sick of watching Sunshine kill himself to pay for things, and would like to see him rest & relax a bit.

The fall garden is off to a rollicking good start, but I still haven’t planted the squash and beans. Mr B has promised to help me tomorrow morning,  and he’s usually good at figuring out ways to do gardening that aren’t as punishing to our old-ass bodies. Hopefully,  he can prevent the planting from being an entire day of non-stop hustle. 

My trip to Georgia for my sister’s wedding didn’t help matters any. I spent entirely too long in my truck on both parts of the round-trip drive. I actually slept til 10 one morning; my mom was so alarmed she came in and woke me up to make sure I hadn’t died in my sleep. I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my family, and am glad Sunshine will be with me to share the driving.

Today, I’m off to help the electrical engineer pre-wire our house; another day of non-stop hustle. We really need to save on labor costs whenever possible, so tag-I’m-it.  All I know to do is go with the flow and hope the weather patterns changes soon so I can maybe feel better.

Mother Nature is trying to kill me

This heat wave is making it hard for me to breathe. It is sucking all of the life out of me. I am struggling with fatigue. It doesn’t help that I had the road trip from hell on Tuesday, spending most of it IN A HOT CAR WAITING ON SHIT TO HAPPEN.

I’ll quit yelling now.

I’ve been borrowing spoons from the coming day to get through the current one, and I feel like a crash and burn is imminent. I’ve probably leveraged my spoons through Halloween, at least.

I’m so low on spoons that even posting on this blob is draining me, but I need to write. It provides some release, it helps me see things clearly when I look back, and it serves as our record of what we tried and what didn’t work.

I’m off to spend some quality time with my couch and a book called “the urban homestead” that was gifted to me by the wonderful Eco-Feminist. Thank you for such a thoughtful (and well-timed) gift, I owe you one!

Overdone

I am overdone right now. I am so completely out of spoons it isn’t even funny. It’s definitely summer in Texas.

Mr B and I got out in the garden Thursday and tag teamed the weeds and grass. He ran the weedeater while I crawled around pulling weeds and grass by hand in the places he couldn’t run the weedeater. Then we picked blackberries. Then I worked 10 hours yesterday, and it was stupid hot.

I have been handed a reminder that, no matter how normal I have felt since the antidepressants started working, my body still has limits; and that there is a very heavy price for pushing those limits.

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.