Thursday, November 14, 2019

healing



Yesterday marked one month since I broke my arm. 

Progress is being made. I'm typing this with 2 hands and I don't even have to put the keyboard in my lap. I can carry small items with my left hand although I'm not supposed to carry any real weight yet. I can get dressed without tears, although still not without some slight pain.

I have a couple more physical therapy sessions left where we're focusing on range of motion, I still can't lift my arm very high nor stretch it across. After we get all the motion back (please God let me get all the motion back!) then we're supposed to work on strengthening it in December. By the end of the year my insurance runs out as far as therapy sessions so hopefully all is back to normal by then.

I wish I could say this has been a growing experience or that I can see the reason this all happened but I can't. I wish I could find it funny. I do like to tell the story of how it happened and laugh at myself for being clumsy but I don't find any humor in the pain and isolation that followed. I certainly don't find humor in the medical debt, that has the potential to ruin my life.

Maybe with time and distance, I'll be in a better place about all of it.

For now, I'm just focusing on doing my exercises, going to therapy and trying to get things back to some sort of normal. There is still constant pain as my muscles get stretched out. I am still exhausted just going about my daily routine. I still have to nap when I get home from work but at least I am now able to work a full week without having to take time off to recuperate. That's what weekends are for.


Weekends are also for little treats. I haven't been eating very well since I got out of the hospital - no real food in the house and no money for groceries, but I decided to give myself a little break last Saturday and visited Steak N Shake. It's a local chain restaurant that Taz and I both loved because it's cheap and filling. Taz was never one for spending money on himself when things were tight (although he LOVED restaurants - both fancy or casual - when we had money) but he would always spring for Steak N Shake and sometimes I could even talk him into getting himself a milkshake. As for me, I always get a Nutella milkshake especially now because Taz is the one that introduced me to Nutella. 

That meal up there was delicious and it was lovely to finally feel full. I really miss eating out, it was a big part of our weekend routine.


And the other good news is that we're FINALLY getting cooler weather so I can stop using the air conditioner (and reduce that bill) and it's BOOT WEATHER! I love boots and I live for the time when it's cool enough in Florida to wear them. It seems like such a silly thing and I never really thought about it in California (where it was boot weather year 'round) but it's a big milestone every year when we have that first chilly-ish day and it's safe to wear boots without sweating in them. Not only am I breaking out the boots but I'm also throwing caution to the wind and wearing sweaters and long sleeves! Don't get me wrong, I love summer but by November, I'm ready for a change.

It's the little things.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

mixed


Look, I'm sling-free! Well, at least around the house and the office. I still wear it when I'm in a public place so that people steer clear and don't bump into me.




I went to the doctor last Thursday for a follow-up appointment. I worried that he would say it wasn't healing correctly and that I'd need surgery after all but, luckily, that's not what happened. He said I was healing well and that I could now begin to move it a little although I still can't use it like normal.

I've started going to occupational therapy so that I can increase my range of motion. That's a good thing. What's a bad thing is that therapy HURTS. I know I need to go through the pain to get over the pain but damn, it's hard. 

Not as hard as the first week or two after the break, I have to keep reminding myself of that. Now it's my muscles that hurt. Apparently they thought that the 2 1/2 week vacation they had from moving was pretty sweet and they are 100% not interested in resuming their jobs and they let me know with each movement I make. 

I have a series of exercises that I have to do 3 times a day. Most of them are fun and I enjoy doing them but there's 1 exercise that I dread because it hurts so much but I make myself do it every time and I can see a teeny, tiny, miniscule bit of improvement...and that's what motivates me to keep doing it.

Not much else to tell. My life has been turned upside down and consumed by this injury so I haven't been doing much more than going to work then coming home and sleeping on the couch. I've been out a couple of times but nothing exciting enough to talk about. I don't feel very social these days so I've only gone out because I had to or I wanted to see my kids. I appreciate my friends including me on outings but they all last longer than I would like, they take so much out of me physically.

It hasn't escaped my notice that it's November which means it's almost been a year since I lost Taz. That knowledge combined with my injury has dealt my emotional recovery a blow. I've been depressed, I've thought how nice it would be to not wake up, I've cried just like I cried a year ago. I honestly don't know how to get through all this except to just keep my head down and keep trudging. I'm so tired of trudging through life.

Everyone says that things will get better. I honestly don't see how they ever will but I cling to that tiny shred of hope. I am deeply unhappy and feel so alone and I don't want that to be my reality forever. There's even a part of me that hoped that this broken arm journey was going to lead to me meeting someone but that hasn't happened. Sigh. So far, the only thing I've learned from all this is that, despite the fact that I know there are people out there that truly care about me, I'm really completely on my own. There was no one around when I could barely function from the emotional pain last year, there was no one around when I could barely stand up from the couch (or the bed or the toilet) from the physical pain this year. There was no one around when I couldn't even dress myself or fix food or shop for food. I couldn't even have groceries delivered because I spent the grocery money on a new bra so that I could actually stop wearing my old one 24/7. I shouldn't have been driving and probably shouldn't have been at work that first week but I had no choice about either. No one even asked if I needed help because they had their own lives to deal with. And I'm not bitter (ok, just a little) I'm just being realistic. If there was nobody there during a time when it was fucking obvious I needed help, there will be no one around when it's all internal and I have to rely on myself alone. Full disclosure - one friend offered me a gift that was priceless - help with a large project I have to finish by January - and I am forever grateful to her. She lives 3000 miles away and knew she couldn't help in person but she came up with some ideas of how to help and let me pick one. I can't even begin to say thank you enough, it's going to make a huge difference.

Luckily I'm a strong woman and that's what most people have been counting on all along. Everyone wants to hear that I'm doing better and better each day and now that the year anniversary is here, that's what they're going to expect. I'm sure it won't be too long before I have people gently telling me that it's time to move on.

If only I could.

Don't worry, these moods never last long, I'll go back to being funny and adorable eventually, it's my default setting.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

surviving


I'm still breathing. It's been a little over 2 weeks since I broke my arm and it's been quite a struggle just existing but I'm here.

I went back to work 2 days after breaking it although I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have but I had to make money. The pain was intense, everything I did hurt. Bending down put a strain on my bad arm and hurt. Every so often I'd get muscle spasms that made me cry. Feeding myself, feeding Charlie, doing laundry, washing dishes, taking a shower everything hurt.

And oh my gosh, getting dressed was torture. I would end up crying and shivering with pain and have to rest before doing anything else.

But I did it...alone.

Now, 2 weeks later there is still pain but it's lessened a bit. Getting dressed is still a struggle but I can put a shirt on in 5-10 minutes rather than 30 and I don't cry. I can finally take off my bra because I spent money I didn't have to buy one that clasps in the front. It's still not easy to work but I manage.

I'm still sweaty and exhausted by the time I do my morning routine and get in the car for work so I drive with the air conditioning going full blast just to dry off.

I take naps when I get home from work and I nap again after having dinner and then I go to bed early except I haven't actually slept in my bed since it happened because it hurts to lay down all the way. I sleep half sitting up on the couch and it often takes several attempts before I find a comfortable position. I have to take a day off from work in the middle of the week to sleep just to make it through till Friday so I've used up all my leave and won't have any to be with family on Christmas.

I have daily fights with the insurance company and I haven't won one yet. The medical debt I'm accumulating from this stupid incident makes me fear for the future even more than I already was.

But I'm still breathing so there's that.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

broken


Guess what I've been up to?

I've been in the hospital - for the first time ever in my life.

Right now it hurts to type so I'll save the story for another time. The basic facts are - I fell doing a 5K cancer run/walk, I broke my humerus (upper arm right below the shoulder) in 4 places. The ER said I was going to need surgery so they transferred me to the big hospital downtown. The surgeon there didn't think surgery was the right call so, after spending the night at the hospital, I was discharged with a splint, told to keep the arm completely immobile and start therapy for 9 weeks.

I am in excruciating pain often especially when there's a strain on the arm. It's difficult to take care of Charlie, cook for myself, bend down and it's especially hard to get dressed with only one hand. I can't take off my bra because I wouldn't be able to get it back on so last night I took a shower wearing it and then blow dried it so it wouldn't be so soggy. At least both it and I got clean.

So there might not be many blog posts from me for a while. I am not in a good place right now, I feel very alone and miss Taz so much. He always took such good care of me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

talk


There are many things that I miss about my marriage.

Of course I miss sex, I have made no secret about that. But really, if I had to rank them, the number 1 thing I miss about being married to Taz is having someone to talk to...about anything.

Taz was really private or at least he wanted me to be private. I have a feeling he was more open with his friends than he wanted me to be with mine. Regardless, the end result is that over the years I really only talked to him about all the things going on in our lives. You hear of women that talk to their women friends about EVERYTHING but that was never me. Even without Taz's feelings, I've never been the type to verbally vomit to my friends about private things and I never really needed to because there was always Taz.

We literally talked from the time we woke up in the morning (often I was almost late for work because we got talking and I forgot about the time) until one of us fell asleep on the couch at night. He would call me on his way home from work or even a grocery store trip and talk all the way until he got home. Sometimes he even sat in the driveway and just kept talking until I'd laugh and tell him to come inside. Of course we talked about the bad things like money problems and unemployment but more importantly, we talked about food and books and clothes and other people - you know, all the important things. 

We laughed a lot, especially when talking about other people.

And I miss that, I miss seeing somebody do something stupid on the road and coming home to tell him. I miss complaining about my mother. I even miss listening to him complain about politics. I miss talking about work and listening to him tell me all about his job. I miss the fact that he had great trust in my judgement and sought my advice about work situations. I really miss our discussions about our dreams for our future - we had such plans.

I miss having something happen on my daily walks with Charlie and being able to share that with him.

Case in point - I have a part-time neighbor who lives in England but comes to stay at his house at least twice a year for a couple of months each time. The rest of the time the house is rented out as a vacation villa. I avoided talking to him when he visited in the spring because (as I've mentioned before) the first question he has is "how is your husband?" and I wasn't emotionally ready to deal with that. But I knew I had to get it over with this trip and yesterday we had THE talk and the first person I really wanted to share that with is Taz.

Which is weird, of course, because I can't share a conversation about his death with him because, well you know.

But it was a big emotional hurdle for me to get over and the person I most wanted to share that kind of feeling with would be him and it sucks, sucks, sucks that he's not here to do that with anymore.

And there's nobody else that I talk to in that kind of a way. My local friends are wonderful at keeping me amused but they have never invited those kinds of confidences. They have never once asked about emotional issues and I'm not going to burden them with it if they don't want it.

I have far-away friends that might be open for that type of discussion face to face but it just doesn't seem right when we're only writing to each other.

And I know I've said this before, but I really miss that kind of connection with another human being. Yes, I could talk to a therapist but I don't want to have a fake connection with someone that I'm paying...and I can't afford it anyway. I want to have a connection with somebody that is there purely because they care about me more than anything.

I'm not complaining, I'm just stating the fact that yesterday I had something major I wanted to talk about and missed having somebody to share it with.

Yesterday somebody that I follow on Instagram posted how a year ago he was hurting from a bad breakup and then he met somebody, went on a first date with them and the two of them talked so much that they barely took a breath for hours and a) I was happy for him and b) I had that YES moment where I knew that was exactly what I wanted too - someone who can't get enough of talking with me. I look forward to that happening one day again but I'm very aware of how blessed I was to have had it at least once in my life.

So until then, this blog is where I pour out my feelings which is nice because I love writing but it's so one-sided. There's nothing better than the give and take of a real conversation with a true kindred spirit.

Monday, October 7, 2019

happy - week 2

Yes indeedy, I'm still rocking the happy at #100happydays!



That's little Jonni, isn't she adorable? I think I was somewhere around 3 in this pic. The little duckies are ones that I "bought" for my mother at that age for Mothers Day at the local Walgreens although I didn't even get an allowance at that age so I'm pretty sure my dad contributed the money but apparently I picked them out all by myself. This picture was taken last Sunday when I visited my mother in her assisted living apartment. She's 97 although she tells everybody she's only 92. She's quite with it for a 97 year old although I can see a big decline from this time last year. Her lack of connection with everyday life makes it both harder and easier on me.



This has always been a guiding principle in my life and I tried very hard to instill this in Taz because he was more of an "eye on the prize" kind of guy. I tried to put happy times in all of our days even the very difficult ones. Nowadays I admit that I need to be reminded of this from time to time too, not because I am focused on a goal but I'm more inclined to just put my head down and shuffle through this part of my life. So I was pleased to look down at my desk calendar and see these words last Monday. There *is* joy in the journey but we have to be open to it.



One of my favorite quotes, from Anne of Green Gables, is "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." This is my favorite month of the year, I used to love the change of seasons in Virginia and October in coastal California is amazing because you finally get the warm temperatures everyone else has had all summer. October in Florida isn't too shabby either because eventually, at some point, any day now, the summer heat and humidity are going to break and I'll walk outside one morning to find chilly air. I can't wait!



I went into the beginning of last week feeling a little (a lot) unloved and forgotten. But then stuff happened that snapped me out of it - I received gifts from 2 different people that proved they'd been reading what I posted on Facebook and they saw a need that they could help with. I love both of these people so much and I would love them to bits even if they hadn't done this but I can't even describe how much it lifted my spirits to know they were doing more than just *thinking* about me and being there with me in spirit.



I had been looking forward to this day ever since I was invited back in March. A group of us went to Universal Studios to celebrate the 11th birthday of my bff! She didn't know I was coming, we kept it a surprise even though she'd expressed - on several occasions both to me and her parents - her wish that I could join the outing. I will never forget the look on her face when she saw me (and 2 others she hadn't known were coming) and ran to give me a big hug. That made my day, my week and my year. We had the best day (even getting stuck for a couple of hours in the queue for a ride that broke down) and I will relive those memories over and over again. 




We did all the Harry Potter stuff and she got her wand in a ceremony that brought tears to my eyes. She is a year younger than my child would have been so I often think that I've been given a chance to have a little piece of that experience. With her blond hair and green eyes she's a little bit of a mini-me.



I needed a day off to recover from my day off! I took Friday off work to just sit around the pool and read; it was heaven!! It's probably good that I'm forced to work to keep a roof over my head because, if not, I would probably waste my life just sitting outside and reading. But what a way to waste a life!



Charlie is my #365happydays. She makes me happy every single day and I am so grateful for her. She's funny and sassy but she also can nap with the best of them so it's very restful to have her around. We're best buddies. I am alone a lot except, thanks to Charlie, I'm never really alone.

So that's my 2nd happy week. Stay tuned for next week. I've got the perfect storm of work deadlines and disconnected TV and Internet coming up so I'm going to have to work extra hard to find the happy but I'm up to the challenge...maybe...probably...who knows?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

normal


I just read back over the last several posts and oh my goodness, do I sound needy or what?

That is so not me and I find myself getting annoyed with all the whining. I have got to stop.

I was just watching a show (because the cable isn't getting disconnected for another week - woohoo!) about a widower getting back out in the dating world. It's a sitcom (because doesn't that sound like a funny premise for a show?) so parts of it are stupid but I actually find a lot of connection with the non-stupid parts.

In tonight's episode the guy found himself in a sort of relationship because he was too nice and he didn't want to hurt somebody and make them feel alone, because he knew how that felt. He had this one line where he said that he was doing all sorts of weird things to feel normal again because he hadn't felt that way for a year.

Light bulb moment.

I just want to feel normal again, to feel some sort of connection and it's making me act all out of character, trying too hard. Because I've been in a relationship for over 3 decades and that's what feels normal to me.

But the bottom line is - normal isn't normal any more. Even if I magically found someone tomorrow who wanted to love me forever, it wouldn't be *my* normal because that normal will never happen again and I've got to accept that.

I don't think whatever this is now is my new normal (could that sentence be any more confusing?) at least I hope this isn't normal for me. I think this is just a limbo period where growth can take place...or not, I guess that's up to me.

Maybe one day there will be a new normal but the normal I had is gone and I've got to stop driving myself crazy trying to recapture it. It has left the building.

Luckily, I use this blog as my sounding board and I don't inflict these feelings on anybody else so nobody really knows how needy and pathetic I've been. So tomorrow I'm going to wake up (after sleeping in because I have taken the day off!) and just chill with where I am right now, stop trying so hard to change it or make sense of it.

I've never really wanted to be normal anyway.