Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A little health catch-up

Got knocked out of commission by a wicked cold sometime around the middle of last week, and I've been struggling to reconnect with my brain since then.  (Fevers are not my friend.)  It seems like all bad news around here, which makes me not want to write anything because it's so depressing and all of you all have been so great and wonderful and supportive, but who wants to listen to a person complain forever?  Nobody.  Especially if it's not entertaining complaining.  Trust me: there was nothing entertaining about my cold, the sinus infection that followed it, or the fact that every drug I took seemed to make things worse - What the hell, steroids?  Why do you make my fibro flare?

Only thing I can say is that when College Roommate/Best Friend asked me if I would be Baby Olivia's godmother, I said I'd be there in the church 'unless I was in the hospital.'  Which is stupid, because OBVIOUSLY my body takes that as a challenge and is like "Oh really?  Let's see what we can do about that!"  I've got till Sunday to shake everything from the rapid heartbeat to the contagious germs (and, honestly, as long as I've lost the contagious germs, I'm going), so fingers crossed.  Could use a dose of teeny baby magic :)


On what all the doctors I've seen in the past month (and as I've been cramming them in to make up for all the appointments I cancelled over the summer, that's been quite a few) consider to be the plus side, I've lost about thirty pounds since February.  I guess I should feel more positive about this, except I know that at least half of that is probably attributable to stress, as opposed to the better eating habits (almost no take-out, heart healthy-food, for the most part) I acquired at Grandmother's.  I can't help but feel that worrying yourself to the point of exhaustion, skipping meals (and therefore my meds), or eating three bowls of cereal a day actually aren't the  principles of a balanced diet, but the doctors are so happy I've lost weight that they don't want to hear about those sort of pesky details. 

Still, it has had some positive side-effects: My liver numbers went from somewhere in the 100s to less than fifty; my sugar numbers and Hemoglobin A1C are both at non-diabetes (even non-pre-diabetes) levels again; and I had to buy new bras because the old ones didn't fit.  (I have to buy other stuff too, but I'm poor and the bras are expensive and have to come first.)

  I'm finding the 'no take out' rule harder to handle here at home, where take out is the almost daily norm, plus I'm sick as a dog and can barely manage to eat what somebody puts in front of me most days, but I'm also cutting myself some slack on that because I am freaking exhausted right now and can only deal with so much.  I had a nutritionist appointment last week, and all she kept saying was "keep it up, keep it off."  And I wanted to say, maybe you should be more concerned with my actual health rather than just my weight? but it didn't seem like the right audience for that. Nutrition barely came up at all.  


I also had an appointment with Zach a week ago, and he kind of shocked me by asking if I thought I needed an anti-depressant.  An anti-depressant is for depression, I thought: I'm not depressed, I'm sad.  I'm mired in (what I consider to be) the reasonable quagmire of grief that comes after losing someone you loved so immensely; I'm overwhelmed with confusion about what comes next after putting my own life (such as it was) on hold to care for someone else for almost 6 months and then watching her die; not to mention being almost swallowed up by toxic family drama and sludge.  "It's only been a month," I said: "It's too soon for me to start thinking about whether or not this could turn into depression."  He looked at me for a minute and then said "It's never too soon, because you have a history ~ I didn't think you needed one either, but I wanted to make sure you were being vigilant about monitoring your feelings - I needed to make sure that you were on alert."

As if I'm never not on alert.


Promise to be back soon with something not-depressing, even if I have to make it up.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blueberry Pie & Twizzlers aren't much of a housewarming present, but it's all I"ve got

My sister and brother-in-law are moving out today, and I am not ok with that.  We've lived apart before and would have to again eventually, at some point anyways, so it's not that so much as how and when it's happening that is so heartbreaking.  It is, in all actuality, going to turn out to be a positive thing for her, for them: it's a thousand percent in their favor that they would move out of some place that is unhealthy & stressful for them, especially at time where they need things to be as stress free as possible.  I'm three thousand percent behind them, and will continue to try to find ways to make things as stress-free as I can, even if it means hounding my B-I-L for updates bc I know my sister doesn't like to be pestered (He doesn't mind). 

The problem is that I just can't seem to get past the fact that it's so stressful and unhealthy for them (and me) for No. Damn. Reason. Except that people feel like being assholes.  Well, one person in particular, really.  Who is so busy playing the victim in his own mind that he can't seem to grasp the fact that hurting other people is the reason no one wants to talk to him.  Because he's "being nice now."  Like any of us trust that.


I have avoided talking to the two sisters who grew up with our parents but don't live here, mostly because, since they don't live here, I usually have to hear about a thousand excuses from them about how his behavior isn't really that bad and I should have some compassion for him.  And it's not even that I don't have compassion for him: it's that he's trampled it all, as well as pretty much every other feeling I have for him, consistently over a long period of time. 

The sisters who don't live here seem to forget a) how much they both hated living here when they did - so much so that one left for 'vacation' full well knowing she wasn't coming back but kept it a secret till she was there so she wouldn't have to tell him in person, and the other moved out as soon as she could manage it.  Three times;  and b) exactly how he behaves when you are in his life on a regular basis.  I suppose if you only have to see him at birthdays, barbecues and/or holidays, or listen to him complain that you never call him anymore once every 5 months or so, then he'd be a lot easier to take.  I don't doubt that that is true; I hope it proves true - for his sake as much as mine and SisterJ's.

 It's my opinion that he just can't give up feeling like he's supposed to be the boss, even though we're grown adults (not to mention that he wasn't really the boss in our family, he just thought he was because he was stricter).  And since he can't be the boss in the way that he thinks he should be - i.e. being able to dictate your 'attitude' or demand the respect he thinks he is 'owed' - he tries to bully people instead. 

And, for a long time, we've let him. 

That isn't to say one or the other of us - or a group of us - haven't stood up for ourselves at different points, or demanded changes in our relationships... it's just that when you stop being vigilant about your boundaries, certain people (maybe all people? I don't really know) will notice that you're no longer guarding things that 'do not cross' lines as closely as you once were and will begin to inch their way back over again. 

And I can't keep letting that happen.

So we've got to figure out a different way to interact with each other, and two things will need to happen (from my perspective) before I could even attempt that.  First, he'd have to take real responsibility for his actions - meaning he has to stop thinking it's ok, just because he's stressed out at work, or with other people, to take that out on somebody and start to make changes in his own behavior.  And second, I'd have to figure out how to let go of some of my own anger and figure out how change my behavior so that he can't cross those boundaries anymore: to just accept the fact that he doesn't have to be happy about it, I'm going to do what I need to do regardless. (This is more difficult than you'd imagine when you live in his house.  And are financially dependent upon him.)  

And since I can't make him do the things I think he needs to do, I'm focusing on that second part there.  I'm definitely not on-board with forgiving, just yet.  Don't know when I could possibly get on-board with that.  But trying to figure out how I can live away from here, how I can turn myself into one of the sisters who just sees him every couple of months and deals with that in a more healthy manner?  That's what I'm trying to work on right now.

And I know, eventually, it'll be what SisterJ works herself around to, too.  She's too big-hearted (even though she'd like to say she's heartless) to not want to figure it out: that's why she's so hurt right now, because she didn't do anything to screw it up in the first place, but it still blew up in her face.  So, yeah, I know her leaving is a good thing. 

A necessary thing. 

And, like I said, in the long run, I have no doubt they'll be much happier there... it's just I don't want to be so far away from her when I know she needs me, and it's not as easy for me as it is for other people to just 'pop' in on her at her new place.  (Obstacles, oh how I hate your ever living guts.  Chronic Illness-related Obstacles: goes double for you.) 

But it sucks donkey balls, and I can't help being pissed off at him for it.  He's just going to have to get over that.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Hi Again

I know it's been a couple of weeks ~ I'll claim the first two do to just complete exhaustion, and the last two because things are pretty fucked up here, and I'd hoped to come back and be able to say "Thank you so much for your kind thoughts" and then move on to happier things.  But I don't seem to have any happier things, right now.  Which is not just to say that I'm f'ed up (although I am): there's a whole bunch of family shit that's gone down that's beyond messed up, and somewhere between my grief and the situation and everybody else's grief and confusion and all of our individual issues, it feels like my family is basically coming apart at the seams.  Not that those stitches were all that tight two months ago, but they just sort of burst the week of my grandmother's funeral, and I'm at a complete loss as to how to pull them back together again. 

I don't even know where I am or what I'm doing,  at this point, besides making it through the next fucking minute without falling apart.  And I'm not always doing a bang up job on that, to be honest.  I'm back at our house, but it's not home - it really never was, only maybe I was better at pretending before I watched my grandmother die and realized that I need to do more than mark my time here.  I can't seem to talk to anybody without causing a secondhand fight, can't seem to get anybody to listen to me at all, can't seem to connect with the people who've offered to help, even when I want to (and I don't always want to: it seems like too much explaining, mostly).  I feel like exploding just about every minute of every day, or, I feel completely absent and numb - it's one or the other, seems like.  

My dad threw my sister and brother-in-law out of the house, the night before my grandmother's funeral.  Nobody told me what the hell was going on, because, I don't know they thought I would be too upset to notice that people weren't talking to each other?  I don't know.  So I got the lowlights third and fourth hand, then when I tried to talk to people, it was a disaster and didn't make anything any clearer for them or for me. 

My mom left my dad, then came back, but only because she didn't have anywhere else to go, and then, later, because she wouldn't leave my sister and brother-in-law in the house with just him.  This was all in the days immediately after we had just buried my grandmother, so I will admit that I did not have all cylinders going.  I mostly wanted (still want) to curl up in a ball and ignore everything, because it takes so much energy, and I am plum out. 

My dad says the stress of being targeted at work (and, yes, he is being targeted at work) made him snap and... a whole load of bullshit that basically means it's not his fault, but maybe yes, he might admit that he was wrong and 'an asshole' (What he won't cop to, is that this happens All The Damn Time, and nobody feels safe around him/trusts him anymore because he's a bully).  My sister & brother-in-law immediately started looking for a new place, because, hell: who wants to live like that?  They've been thrown out twice in the matter of a year for Doing. Nothing. Wrong.  And let's be clear - they didn't do shit, he just took it out on them.  I told my mother while I was still at Grandmother's house, that I didn't want to be here either... that I would be looking for a new place as soon as I could. {Of course, that was because I forgot that I couldn't place emotional well-being above money, health and other issues without there being major sacrifices of money and health and other things, but I'm still determined to do it}  My mother told him she was leaving too, although it would be better for everybody if HE just left.  He refused/refuses to leave.

So today my sister and brother-in-law are signing a lease for their new place, at the worst possible time for them bc my sister is trying to wean off her meds so that they can get pregnant, and she could really use some backup (which is just when you should be forced to move away from people who can back you up).  She's hurt and mad at my mom for her response to this whole ball of bullshit, which I can't seem to talk to either of them about, because their both freezing me out when it comes to that.  She might even be mad at me, and since she's the one who reads this blog I'm only going to say that I hope she's not, because I feel like I'm on her side, but if she is, I hope she'll tell me so I can try to fix it.

My dad and I had a whole discussion about how mad I am at him the other day, and how it's his fault that SisterJ & B-I-L are moving and that I'm looking for a place, and that Mom is probably looking for a place too, and when my mom asked him what he got out of it he told her that he "has a big heart but doesn't use it."  Which was said once, in the midst of a three hour discussion about how badly he is screwing things up and all the things he is ruining by his behavior, and how hard it's going to be once he realizes how badly he's damaged people he's supposed to care about and how I'm too old for this shit and I'm just not sticking around anymore to watch him bully people (or to be bullied) and how he's being completely selfish, but that's what we all expect him to be at this point, so that we don't even talk to him about our shit anymore and a huge rant about how he's a total hypocrite and totally ignores the people in our family and expects us to be there for him and how he never fucking listens ... anyways.  What he took out of all of that was me saying he had a big heart, which just proves my point about him never listening, and that I really need to get the hell out of here.

Mom and I have talked - or sort of talked - about what she's going to do: she says she's going and she's done, and all of that.  But I don't know: she still seems undecided to me, and I don't know how much of that is the fact that she's changing her meds, and she's still grieving for my grandmother, too, and she seems to be leaning waaay closer to the numb side of things than I am.  Of course, complicating all of that is the fact that she's my PCA, and she does a lot more for me than the hours the state provides for her, which is pretty simple when you're living in the same house, but a hell of a lot more complicated once I find somewhere else to live.

Which doesn't even mention that moving changes everything for me, financially - I have to notify the SSI people, and Mass Health (my insurance) and the PCA program, and everybody does a whole new evaluation and yippee: more energy I don't have.  Plus, I can't afford any place to actually live on what my SSI is currently, so I have to apply for housing stipends, which means that the already complicated task of finding accessible housing (and granted, I can use non-100%accessible bathrooms, which puts me a step above other househunters with disabilities) all that much more complicated, because now I have to look for accessible housing that takes waivers/stipends from the government.  It's so much fun so far!

But here's the thing, as every fucking thing seems to crumble around me (which you could tell only by the fact that I've cursed like five times in this post, when I usually don't ever), I learned a lot about myself this summer, being with Grandmother during those five months.  I learned that I can handle a lot more shit than I thought I could, even if I have to breakdown in tears when nobody is looking.  And even if I shouldn't have to handle any of this, because it's all ridiculous and I don't want to have to deal with it, because it's hard: even though it's ridiculous and hard and stressful and I Don't Want To, I'm going to be able to do it.   I'm going to drag myself and my family through it, and eventually we'll all come out the other side, having met the challenge.

Being a grown-up sure does suck, you guys.