As much as my brother-in-law might laugh at me for attempting to rap (or, more accurately 'sing a rap song',) my current life resembles nothing so much as the line from Grandmaster Flash's The Message "Don't push me, cuz I'm Close. To. The. Edge. (I'm trying not to lose my head)"
My pain has been turning it up to eleven lately, following a couple of infection setbacks and my dumb insistence that I do not need as much down time as my body thinks it requires (because "downtime is boring!" ... So is suffering, you ass). Because of that, I am living with the near constant feeling that my muscles and bones are attempting to burst through my skin, as if I've taken some excess Skele-gro* without the accompanying broken bones. You know how on the Hulk (original TV show Hulk), his eyes would glow green, and then his clothes would start falling to pieces as he just expanded into this terrifying green monster? Yeah, it basically feels like that, complete with bonus "Hulk Smash!!!!#!@!" anger because who the hell wants to feel like that? It hurts to breathe, or move, or put clothes on - I literally cried the other day, when we had to leave the house and I had to put on a bra. (And yes, I know it is beyond stupid to put whether or not you look good over whether or not a piece of clothing makes you hurt so much you cry, but I can't get over it: Leaving the house without my bra makes me feel naked and not in a good way.) Sleep is a joke, because rolling over in bed is as dangerous as rolling through a field of landmines, and the other day I just got up and baked cookies at 2 in the morning because if I laid there for one more minute, I was going to flip out.
This is usually the point where my readers who don't have chronic illnesses say something like "Why don't you call your doctor and tell him/her that you're hurting so much?" And I appreciate the thought, I really do, but here's the thing: My doctor's know. They know, and it's not that they don't care, because they do - it's that they don't have the answer for me. They just don't know it. They keep trying - I am, in fact on my third new medication trial in as many months - but if you don't know the answer, you just don't. So calling them and telling them that I feel like the Hulk, it doesn't get either of us very far. "Give the meds more time to work" they say. Or "Did you take the narcotics I gave you - you don't have to be a hero" Right: because wanting to be present, even vaguely in my own life, is heroic. No - I am medicated to the gills, as much as I can be without just being completely out of it (and I can't guarantee that either, sometimes), but (so far), we just don't know the answer.
So there's that. But it's not just that: I feel near the edge on just about everything.
While I won't be homeless if the government decides to go offline this weekend (as I know some will), if it continues for any length of time I will be medication-less, which, for me is quite a serious condition. (I depend on my government to allow me to breathe: what do you depend on it for?) There's no way I could afford the $400 required for a 30 day supply of one of my medications, let alone the over a thousand dollars that would be their sum total - and that's just for the basics, not the 'optional' things like the stuff I use to treat my allergies or the cream I use when the allergy stuff doesn't work. Financial worries would start building if the government was shut down for any length of time, but that's biting off more worries than I need, at this point. But we're there - at the edge.
I'm at the edge with my family, with sisters who are so hurt and angry and frustrated/ing that I just feel like everything I do is wrong. With my mom who's obviously hanging on to her own edge, but won't admit it. With my dad who's having problems at work and thinks it's funny to come home early and say things like "I got fired." (Hint: it is not funny.) With pregnant cousins and non pregnant me, with sisters moving to freaking Iowa or getting married (with no plans, yet!) in the fall, and brothers who don't see the glory of their own children. With a grandmother who asks you for help picking out her funeral clothes when you go over to visit her, in the same breath that she tells you how well she is doing. ("It's not morbid: it's practical. I'm going to be 94." Well, let's be the opposite of practical, then, shall we?) With best friends who don't call or write, and with myself for not calling or writing.
I'm just so close to the edge that it feels like everywhere I turn, there's another edge. Like I woke up on an island, all of the sudden, instead of a continent. Like there's no place safe.
And yet, between me and those edges are little girls with curly hair who say things like "My tooth is loose, even though you can't feel it move," because the girl down the street got money from the "Tooth Bunny". There's 11-yr-olds who direct their own 60 second movie clips on low res digital cameras, that include such action packed sequences as "Fort elephante & how it crumbled!" There's three derpy fluffy bunnies made out of pom-poms and googly eyes, named KC, Sunshine & Band. There's meringue cookies at two o'clock in the morning, and the fact that I can make them sans recipe. There's the fact that the nurse at Zack's office, the much loved Maryellen, worked for five days to get the approval I needed for this latest medication, even though the MassHealth people were being assholes about it. There's Facebook statuses from people far away that I miss very much. There's the fact that my window is open right now, even though it's freaking April. There's all these words typed into little boxes all over the country that show up on my screen, right here on my bed. There's a lot of stuff that pushes me back, and I try to remember it.
The edges are still there though, and my island's getting smaller.
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*Shout outs** to Harry Potter, the Hulk, KC & The Sunshine Band and Grandmaster Flash in the same blog post? Yeah, I'm complicated.
** Using the term 'shout-out'? No, you're really not.