Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Would this...?

I found myself crying in my car yesterday on my way to work, wondering if I could have kept any of this health stuff from happening if I had made different choices.  I was crying again on the phone last night to one of my friends, wondering what choices I could have made had it not been for the health stuff.  I know that the only answer is to let it go/take one day at a time/be here, now.  What nobody tells you is that acceptance isn't something you do once and then it's over.  You accept changes over and over and over.  The only difference is that eventually you don't have to accept them every day- they stay accepted a little longer over time.  It seems like a walking meditation, but a meditation that never ends, as you clear your mind of all the might-have-beens and get back to the actually-ares while leaving a little blank space for the still-could-be's. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

How Long Has This Been Going On?

I've found myself singing this song to myself the last few days, trying to puzzle out an answer to a question that keeps getting asked.  The doctor asked, the friends asked, I've asked- how long has my health been getting worse?  I keep thinking of a time, saying "That must be it!", then thinking of a time before that. 

I think a lot of it is that many things got worse in tiny increments, and then sometime in the last three years a lot of things got a lot worse at much the same time.  During those three years I held a very physically and emotionally intense job, so I blamed a lot of things on that.  I also saw a few overworked doctors at the community health clinic who saw what they expected to see, told me to work less, and prescribed painkillers and antidepressants.  It wasn't until I stepped in to a less-emotionally draining job that my body really started to get my attention.  I tried to keep pushing the way I had been, still working 14 hours a day on a regular basis, but I also started paying a little more attention.  The day I fell asleep in the (really gross) bathroom at the farm was the day I called to make the first doctor appointment.

Looking back it amazes me how bad things got before I really started to take notice.  I got pneumonia three times in three months and only missed two days of work.  I was throwing up from pain, then going back to finish milking.  I was waking up 4 or 5 times a night from pain in my hands, tossing back a couple ibuprofen and hoping for the best.  I can tell you within a 5 minute window how long I've got until the Percocets make me loopy, and when you can expect coherent thought again. 

Maybe it was growing up working in restaurants, where telling the boss you cut your hand to the bone will usually just get you a roll of duck tape and a beer.  Maybe it was a misplaced masochistic enjoyment of the pain.  Maybe it was proving myself to myself, because I'm pretty sure nobody else was impressed. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Have you?

I think one of the biggest problems with being sick is that people will continually treat you like you are ever so slightly slow.  My neighbor says I should sleep more, because the 14 hours a day I'm currently clocking might not be enough.  My coworker says that working all day makes her back hurt too.  My boss gives me a "look" when I try to explain that I'd really rather not miss work to go to the doctor.  Well-intentioned folks suggest that I am "manifesting" these things due to past trauma.  Even my Google and Facebook feeds are selling snake oil these days.
I know that really what people are trying to do is to offer me hope or companionship or occasionally just hoping that I'll shut the hell up.  I don't want to be one of those people who ends up so sad and angry because they bat away every offering.  Walking the line between taking care of myself and becoming a hermit may be the hardest part of this. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A beginning or an end?

For years I've thought I was lazy, crazy, depressed, or just weak.  Turns out that mostly I'm sick.  Sick with arthritis, sick with spinal stenosis, sick with fibromyalgia. 

Now I'm sick of doctors, sick of trying to explain the difference between "sick" and "sick with something you can catch", sick of being glad it isn't something worse, sick of people offering solutions, sick of spending my money on prescriptions instead of Christmas.

Mostly, I'm sick of trying to keep a positive attitude while still being realistic.  If my dream job involved sitting behind a desk, it wouldn't be a problem to strive for more.  But when your dream involves 12+ hours of manual labor, and not being able to work means the likelihood of animals and plants actually dying, being realistic gets a whole lot more important. 

I know that I can and will find a way to do the things I want, but it seems that people expect me to have those answers now.  Maybe the answer is to farm as long as I can and have an escape route.  Maybe the answer is to find a business partner.  Maybe the answer is to give it up, find a desk job, and accept the change.  Maybe the answer is something I haven't even begun to consider.