Monday, September 29, 2014

Plastic Flowers on My Walker

Don't bump me.

"Bump, bump, bump," they say.

There is that moment when you expect pain, that you get a zinger of pain even when it does not come in 'real' life. I read that people who have sympathetic pains are having real zingers of pain when you tell them about it. My sister is like that. So is it cruel to call her to tell her how I hurt?

"Bump, bump, bump." Mike said when he's bent over the open dishwasher door, looking for a spoon. For me, it's a new tripping hazard.

"Bump, bump, bump," Nick had said last night as he'd picked the last of his Legos off the floor when Mike had told him they could make me fall down.

I'm like a fucking ninety-year-old with her walker. No, I'm not trying to call old women fuckers. That's not what I mean, but I need to express some obscenities here because I'm still waiting to get that MRI the doctor ordered and life is hard. I'm not ready to be like a fucking ninety-year-old woman with plastic flowers on the handlebars and an extra Depends in the hideaway compartment of her walker.

My arm is aching. I need to stop and hobble over to the couch to rest for a bit. The cat is lying across the only spot where I can be comfortable.

"Bump, bump, bump," he will say with his eyes.

Thank you for listening, jules

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Apathetic Medical Team

I'm still hanging out here, waiting for my MRI. Should I tell you who they are? Would it change anything? At this point, I have to wait another week since the nurse told me that their office would schedule it and I believed them. They didn't. That means that the wait will have been two weeks from the time I was told I needed an MRI. This morning, I scheduled my own MRI.

They've left me hanging. Can I vacuum, carry groceries, type for an hour or two even when it hurts? Can I hike, wear my daypack, work out with my trainer? Can I mow the lawn?

My body is getting used to this kind of pain. Is that a good thing? Okay, I'll admit that I get extra sweaty when I load the dishwasher and change clothes. Is that normal?

Oh, I am so sick of the fact that my whole existence is circling around this drain.

I hate the apathy with which the medical professionals so often do their jobs. I'm just another lump in the gravy, waiting to be smashed through the sieve.

Plus, doesn't my doctor know that plunging my toilet with my left hand is really messy and makes me dizzy anyway? Now, that's some scary shit, the possibility of passing out in the toilet when I'm in the middle of plunging with my left hand.

Thank you for listening, jules

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Crazy Vacation

Okay, it's a good day to complain.

Who wants a week or two to sit in front of the TV nonstop?

Who wants a week or more to get out of making dinner, doing laundry and dishes, and any other kind of housework?

Who wants to take mind-altering drugs that are legal because a physician ordered them? 

Who wants to skip walking the dog and let somebody else do it for a change?

Not me, but that's what I get. I messed up my shoulder by falling off a bike last Sunday. I think I had endorphins for a while early on. It kind of hurt on Sunday night. On Monday, all my bruises hurt, but my shoulder was mostly okay except it was hard to hang wet towels over the shower curtain. On Tuesday, I hobbled around doing stuff, figuring that I'd had enough time off and had better get back to it.

Big mistake.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, I couldn't function as a normal human being. Even in the recliner, I had a stitch in my side all the time. I couldn't raise my arm to write. I couldn't type, couldn't even sit upright in a chair for an hour. I couldn't make a lunch. I couldn't remember what I'd just read. I needed to lie down when I was already lying down.

I'm doing this typing under the influence of many pharmaceuticals, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants. I won't take the pain meds yet. Too freaky. Friday, I spent half the day at the doctor's office. The verdict? Damage to my rotator cuff, a referral to an orthopedic doctor, an MRI, and physical therapy. Surgery a possible outcome.

Surgery? Me? NOOOOooooooooo...........

Plus, I really don't like TV, drugs, even prescribed ones, and it sucks not to be using both hands on the keyboard. And I like walking my dog and cooking for my family, at least most of the time. I've had quite enough of this crazy vacation. Can I go back to work tomorrow?


Thank you for listening, jules

Saturday, September 13, 2014

At Least I'm Not Falling down

Today, I remembered why I hate using the weed whacker.

The lower part of our property, the part the no one sees, had gotten too tall to mow. It was also too bumpy to mow, really. Oh, I could mow it, but I couldn't expect Nick to mow it. And even then, I hit a bunch of bumps and rocks and probably dulled the blade. So today, Mike set Nick up to use the weed whacker on it.

I heard that thing going and remembered the lily of the valley and the poor little laurel lost in all those weeds and I went down after having vacuumed to try to save them. I jumped into a pair of flip flops. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Nick was doing a fine job. He really was. So I told him that I'd get him hearing protection and safety glasses. Then, I stood behind him trying to find the poor little laurel before he whacked the heck out of it. I couldn't remember where it was and I had already run into it a bit with the mower when I was down there last time.

Five minutes after I arrived, Nick handed me the whacker, the ear protection and disappeared. There I stood in my flip flops and shorts. Did I mention that there were nettles and blackberry mixed in with the grass? I started okay. I even caught myself before I whacked the heck out of the laurel when it appeared. I thought, for about the third time, that I should shove a dowel into the ground to mark the pathetic little laurel. I even got into a groove, swinging the weed whacker head back and forth and laying that tall grass down in rows.

Then, I hit a patch of nettle up an incline.  Do goats eat nettle? Maybe I need a couple of goats. And suddenly, a nettle fell across my right foot, the one that I had put up the hill to brace myself. I considered putting the whacker down to go get proper shoes, socks, pants, maybe armor, to protect myself from the briars and the nettles.

Nah, I thought. It was too much of a bother. The whacker was running and I could be done with what I was doing in about twenty minutes if I kept up the same rhythm, longer than it would take to find socks, old shoes, long pants, and try to get the whacker started again. Did I tell you that I'm no longer strong enough to start the thing by myself? It sucks turning into an old woman. 

But what I didn't figure is that it's hard to keep a rhythm when your entire right foot has gone numb, or is stinging from multiple spots in unison. I gave up trying to protect my right foot. It wasn't that bad, I thought.

Then, another nettle gigged my left foot in a couple of places. If I kept this up, I'd be numb from the knees down.

Oh, I finished that job. I did. I ignored the stinging and finished it. Plus, I hoed the weeds inside the driveway circle. Then, I planted the wintergreen, wild ginger, bunchberry, lily of the valley, Oregon grape, and hydrangea that I had bought a couple of weeks ago. I knew they'd be dead in another week or so if I didn't.

I do that.

I go to a nursery, usually in need of a gift of some sort. I get all excited about gardening and I spend a couple of hundred dollars on stuff that I happily put into their intended places in the yard. Then, I look at these plants for a few weeks as they whither, yellow, drop leaves, and otherwise revert from the lush plants I bought to the usual plants that grow in my yard.

Weeds in my yard are lush. Stuff I buy is usually spindly and yellow, with dead branches and a lump where their root balls are beginning to show.

Fortunate for me, my new plants hadn't gone too far into their natural decline. These days, I'm going native.

No, I am not naked.

I'm trying to get my yard to look like the most beautiful parts of the forest. I figure that if the plants are lush in the forest with no supervision, then maybe my yard could run the same way.

Fat chance, I think, but it's worth a shot. Nothing else has worked any better. Things I plant either die or they grow twenty feet taller than they were supposed to and start crowding over other plants like kudzu in Louisiana. Don't remind me about Forget-Me-Not. I can't forget it. It's still growing. Everywhere.

To my credit, I didn't plant the blackberry, the morning glory, the Stinky Bob, or the nettles in my yard. They came with the house. Actually, the Stinky Bob came with the first landscapers we hired. There's a reason these people aren't still working on my yard. Stinky Bob. Thanks for that. It really is stinky.

Today, it was the nettle that got me. By the time I was done, I was covered in sweat and chunks of weeds that the whacker had splattered across my legs. I showered and still had little bits of green stuck to me.

I wondered if I'd have been able to blend some of this stuff. I'm sure it would have made a healthy smoothie, minus the stinging nettles, which would require time in a hot tea bag to lose its sting. I didn't though. Most of it ran down the drain. The rest, I picked off with my fingernail as Nick played his new game, Destiny. Apparently, Nick doesn't dance, if you wanted to know. I was disappointed that he doesn't dance.

It sucks to be the age at which you worry what other people think, even if those people are just characters created by anonymous people across the country who have no idea who it is that's doing the dancing. Nick is convinced that only nine year old kids are doing the dancing.

Bummer. That would have made me feel better, to see all these warriors dancing.

By the time I got most of the green picked off my shins, I realized that I had a boot of sting on my right foot. Seriously. I was too damned lazy to shut off the whacker and get some damned shoes. On my left foot, I had a line down the inside arch and one bright spot in the middle of the top of my foot.  But my right foot is a boot of numb and occasional reverb of stinging.

It reminds me of how my right foot felt just before I had surgery on my back, numb and tingling with occasional shooting pains. Oh, I had forgotten how scary that time was, thinking that I wouldn't feel my right foot for the rest of my life. Falling for no reason. Getting stuck in a standing position half way to my car because I couldn't make my right foot move forward. I was in traction for ten days before I had that surgery. They were awful, painful days, and long, painful, and terrifying nights.

And except for the falling down and the getting stuck half way to my car, this is how my right foot felt. I had forgotten how it had felt. I had been glad to have forgotten how that right foot felt.

At least I'm not falling down.

And the nettle stings will go away tomorrow. I can be pretty sure the boot of pain and tingling will go away tomorrow.

They will go away. Won't they?

Thank you for listening, jules

Monday, September 8, 2014

Twenty-First Century Job Skills for a Librarian

My librarian was pissed off today.

No, it wasn't because I forgot to pay my overdue-book fines. I did forget. She wasn't actually pissed off at me. She likes me even though I chat too much. She was pissed off because she witnessed a drug deal and the recipient walked into the library afterward and was high. He smelled bad too. Is there a smell to meth users like there is for alcoholics? The Internet says there is.

So, imagine this librarian back in the days before she got her first job. You tell her that part of her new job will be to identify the smell of a meth user. What do you think she would have said? The librarian in charge of children's literature needs to know what a drug looks like so she can identify it before a kid gets hold of it when a dealer puts it into a particular book for a drop. She will have to monitor the use of the bathrooms in case anyone is using there. In addition to recommending books, she will have to train patrons on the right circumstance in which to call the police regarding drug deals to minors in the parking lot.

It's no wonder my librarian was pissed off today. She lives and works in a quiet town but needs police training to do her job. Instead of focusing on helping patrons get job interviews, find books, research the Internet, and teach our children to love books, she's busy monitoring the activities of a few known individuals who are using our libraries as their private opium dens. These guys are brazen. Maybe the library should hire a few officers to work at our bookshelves.

Doesn't that piss you off too? 

Thank you for listening, jules

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Junk Food Hangover

Nick is lying on the couch with a stomach ache. It's 12:13am on the second day of school. The second day!

He ate a bunch of junk on our vacation, a big bunch of junk. Just two and a half days ago, he had a root beer float and and a day and a half ago, he had two root beers and a couple of over-sized corn dogs at the fair. My husband allowed it while I rolled my eyes and made my lips go thin trying to stop myself from nagging the whole time we were on vacation. Nick knew exactly what I was thinking. Mike knew what I was thinking. The kid has known that he has a fructose intolerance for three years, yet he wants to drink soda when the other kids do. I just grit my teeth when Mike lets him do it. And now Mike is in bed because he has to work and I'm up with a 'sick' child. I am not allowing Nick to miss school tomorrow unless he actually manages to throw up or get a fever. It's going to suck for him. I know it.

I don't know for sure that it's the high fructose corn syrup that's causing his stomach to hurt, but I can be pretty sure that Nick doesn't need another three-hour breath test to confirm what we already know. Soda guarantees him a stomach ache.

Now, it could be something else, a virus perhaps, or food that wasn't quite right, but my bet is on the high fructose corn syrup. If it were a virus or food poisoning, he'd have heaved by now. This is his classic response to high fructose corn syrup. He had to leave Boy Scout camp midweek two years ago when Mike let him drink too much Orange Crush and eat too many Doritos. Did you know that Doritos contain high fructose corn syrup? It does. Just look at the label.

Yes, it is my bet that high fructose corn syrup is the culprit and I don't have a lot of sympathy for the boy. He may be feeling sick, but his doctors assured us that this intolerance caused no damage and that the stomach aches would pass if he limited his diet properly. They said that it could take a couple of days for a stomach aches to appear after a binge.

Well now.

I know I'm supposed to be that caring and concerned mommy when my boy is sick. Oh, I know he's feeling pretty sick and he's tired by now too. I understand he doesn't feel well. I also used to know people in college too who expected sympathy after a drinking binge. If I had had too much to drink, I expected to have a hangover. It was that simple.

And this is nearly that simple too.

Or maybe I'm just cranky because I'm over-tired.

Thank you for listening, jules