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JESSE: Would you like some saurkraut with dinner?

ME: Sure! Just remember that a little bit of sauerkraut goes a long way.

JESSE: This stuff is special. It's from Bavaria. You want to know what's awesome about Bavaria?

ME: Uhhhm, it's a country???

-------------

JESSE: *hands me a plate with some food on it*

ME: Thank you! *peers at plate* Hey, this plate has a really pretty pattern to it.

JESSE: It's one of the nicer ones I used to have, yep.

ME: Well, there's a sign that you're growing up. Someone makes you food and you are compelled to compliment the cutlery.
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I got a look at my medical records a couple of days ago. Upon admittance to the emergency room, my blood pressure numbers read: 207/113. The doctors and nurses were aghast and dismayed that I had somehow put myself through DAYS of those numbers before I sought medical help.

I'm beginning to finally realize those numbers mean something, and that if every doctor and nurse looks at those numbers and then sputters, it's probably a bad thing.

I don't know if I was as close to death as I could have been. My chart did read that there was worry about "AHF", or "Acute Heart Failure". One by one, each of these things wouldn't mean terribly much.

Put them all together? Well, my generally well-stacked life of Tetris suddenly becomes a seven story game of Jenga - and I've always had shaky hands.

I have had two states of being over the last week. Two and only two.Subtlety is not the name of this game. )

I suppose writing about all this medical bullshit isn't a bad thing. It's a day by day account of my stability, medications, new symptoms, etc. All things nurses and doctors like to have on hand about their patients.

We still can't get my blood pressure reading down further than 160, but it's a hell of a lot better than 207. But I'm hopeful. The meds, my relative youth, and a stubbornness that wouldn't let me die even I decided to stick my head a into a bag of methane....

Well, what else is there to do, except live until you don't? Cest la vie.
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I have developed the most bizarre aversion. Laying down makes me panic and hyperventilate. Not in the whole "If I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep" kind of way. (Because, seriously, if getting in and out of bed is what does me in, giving up the ghost is probably a good idea anyways.)

Jesse says it's likely a trigger to the episode I had in the hospital, the one where I couldn't breathe and was inconsolably hysterical. It makes sense. I am trying to stack my pillows high, as laying down at an angle isn't quite so scary, and I am also trying meditation and breathing exercises. It still takes several minutes to drag my heart rate down into anything resembling a normal breath.

I had no idea that a person could be scared of breathing.

Jesse suggested I put in a call to Dr. Cannon about getting a stop-gap, as-needed anti-anxiety med. That's probably not a bad idea. I just hate calling doctors and asking for new medications. There's a part of me that is, was, and will forever be paranoid about being labeled a "drug seeker." (Even though logically, no doctor could truly diagnose me as 'drug seeking' because I haven't SEEN a doctor in 20 years in order TO be diagnosed. Still, the worry is there.)

I am on a very low dose of Clonodine (.1 milligrams), which is a beta blocker, I believe. (And different from its oft used cousin, Klonapin.) It lowers the heart rate and is calming. But I can only use that when I wake up and when I go to bed. I do not want to have to mess with an anxiety med that's a sedative, either. I'd way prefer the beta blocker, but I'd also prefer one that didn't risk dropping my heart too low. So we will see.

Argh, this is maintenance writing. I was up at 3:30 AM - and have been waking up at 3 AM for days now. At least I get to see the sunrise. I'm hoping to get back to work this week. They are holding my job for me, but I'm still nervous. It would be just my luck to get a job with health insurance just in the nick of time to keep my kidneys from exploding, and then lose the job that gave me the insurance to treat my explodey kidneys to START with.

Jesse had a hilarious misheard phrase yesterday. I can't remember what I was talking about, but he turned around, tilted his head and said "Existential exhaustion? Is that what you said?"

That was not what I said, but it was incredibly apt. We both had a great laugh about it.

Made the mistake of taking a super hot, super long bath last night. Not only did it wind up giving me a headache, but it made the muscles I was trying to relax tighten up even more. Once I felt my heart rate pounding, forcing the breath out of my lungs in ragged gasps, I figured it was time to get out. Took another few minutes to literally crawl out of the tub and then I had to call to Jesse to dry me off.

You guys are giving me incredible support and information. And god, do I need it. In the hospital, it was easy enough to walk that fine line and feel better. Armies of doctors, nurses, professionals, etc, who were trained for this. OUT of the hospital? Much, much harder. It's playing this stupid game where the slightest move left or right plunges me into some kind of unpleasant consequence.

Take warm baths to soothe the swollen muscles of edema - but not TOO hot. Eat some sodium and protein to settle your meds - but not TOO much sodium and protein. You can totally have sugar, as you're not diabetic, but all of your favorite treats includes shittons of dairy. Get out of bed and walk around, do some physical things to help ease the edema, but for God's sake, do NOT expend so many spoons that you wind up nearly passing out or crashing entirely.

Jesse has taken the brunt of my immediate care. He has been the one researching, digging out the do's and don'ts, all of the meal preparation and cooking. I need to step up to the plate and begin being my own advocate. It's not fair to place all of this on Jesse's shoulders.

So with the resources you guys are giving me (and YES, Michael! When she's up for it, I would LOVE to email her about her experience!), it's giving me a jumping off point in learning how to care for myself.

Speaking of edema, I cannot believe how much weight and pressure I've put on. Damn near 30 FREAKING POUNDS in the last month. I'm on diuretics, drinking water, and they say it'll take a few weeks to go away. At one point, my face was so swollen I barely recognized myself. It felt as if someone had replaced my head with a soccer ball and glued googly-eyes onto it.

I look and feel extremely pregnant. When I go out, I get knowing smiles from other women. That is, I suppose, nice, but it's a good thing they can't read my mind, because it's going "HOW DO WOMEN DO THIS FOR 9 MONTHS?!" Seriously, every movement is impeded and I marvel that the human race continues to breed at all. I'm pretty sure I'd just have belly dived down the stairs at this point.

Aaaaand thoughts like that are the reason I don't have children.

It's nearly 7:30 AM. Maybe I can go back to sleep now. I've got to get my schedule wrapped back around my work hours, lest I make for myself an even more miserable time later.
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Summer used to be my favorite season. Even in Arizona, where the sun literally liquefied the asphalt on the road, I was madly in love with summer. Moving to the Midwest, where they actually HAVE seasons (other than just "hot" and "holy shit my face is on fire") summer still remained my favorite season. I donned every combination of Daisy Duke shorts and ridiculously tiny tank tops I could find. I loved the oppressive, inescapable press of the heat. I felt the natural, spiraling power of Nature as she raced upwards. If it got really hot for a week or two, well, that was okay, too. It WAS summer, after all.

And then one summer, it got really hot for three weeks. And then the next summer, it got really hot for a whole month. And now there is this summer, which is the hottest summer on record, because EVERY YEAR is now the hottest on record.

Summer is just not fun anymore.

It makes me wonder how on earth I managed to do half the shit I did as a teenager. I walked 10 miles barefoot on the desert highway. Not because I couldn't afford shoes, not because I was fleeing an unsafe situation. I just decided to take a ten mile walk on streets were puddling from asphalt to tar. I think I was trying to prove something. It apparently wasn't all that significant, as I don't remember what I was trying to prove.

I wonder how on earth I managed to dress in black long sleeves for most of my adolescence. And yes, I know the Bedouins wear black as well, but they have flowing black garb, whereas I covered every inch of ripped up lace, leather, and skirt in heavy jewelry.

But then, teenagers are teenagers. When you're aiming for a specific image, practicality goes right out the window. I'm glad to be well past that age. Black lipstick looks ridiculous on anyone over the age of 16 and besides, black clothing collects waaaaay too much cat hair to wear as fashion standard.

On news of the sick and not-dying: I need your guy's help with food. Recipes. I've got me a new renal diet. (AHAHAHA "RENAL" SOUNDS LIKE ANAL AHAHAHA!).

Franklanguage, it occured to me the other day that vegan food is a good place to look for non-dairy, low sodium stuff. What do you do for your diet??

The strangest, most surprising aspect of this is finding out I need emotional support on how to adjust to a new diet.

I swing from elation at being able to try new foods and then crash into outright hostility about being limited. Food is way more emotionally complicated than I'd given it credit for. I was like - "Cut down on salt? Sure! No biggie! Cut down on potassium and phosphate? Well, I guess I don't eat a whole lot of bananas anyways. WAIT A MINUTE I HAVE TO RESTRICT DAIRY AS WELL?! WHAT KIND OF WORLD IS THIS?!"

And then someone reminds me that this is my world and if I don't start treating it with respect, I'm gonna lose it. And by "lose it" I mean die.

So let's not die.
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I miss the sunrise. Work and necessity has taken me away from my morning hours. Those moments that slide nearly unnoticed over the horizon, making the colors shift so subtly that one can barely remember when it was black, dusky purple, or cerulean.

After the schedule destroying hospital stay, I'm up before the sunrise. I will watch it with joy.

Things, of which seem never ending:

* I have chronic kidney disease. I was like, "What's the chronic part mean?" Chronic means incurable. I have some kind of kidney disease.

* And it will never, ever be cured. I can quell the COPD thing (OOOOH BOY HOWDIE HOW SMOKING IS NOT FUCKING ATTRACTIVE ANYMORE), I can eat better (OOOOH BOY HOWDIE HOW THAT'S AN ENTIRE POST ON ITS OWN), but I will never, never be without badly damaged lungs and a limping kidney.

*I thought I was not afraid of doctors. I was wrong. )I have to be okay with time being its own master. I have to be okay with how short a thing it is, that we could live it so long and yet not understand it. I have to learn how to be okay with this.

""Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.

How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five time more. Perhaps not even that.

How many times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."


- Brandon Lee, a man who knew a few things about life, death, and what we can only imagine in between

And this morning, this morning I got see my sunrise.
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I keep trying to write these informative posts, but my mood is swinging so hard that little revelant winds up tying my words together. It's also hard to stay sitting up. Hard to...realize that I really did this to myself.

I don't get the timeline. I was an alcoholic junkie,but quit that shit right out before I was 20. Doesn't that count for something? Well, no,because I kept right on smoking.

The kidneything is in part of decades of eating waaay too much Excedrin Migraine. But as I told everyone, it's that or I can't fucking hold down a job. It's shoving handfulls of OTC meds down my throeat so I don't vomit three times a week at work. I had no medical access, but I DAMN SURE had bills to pay.''

THere's not much I'm able to write rightnow. I'm either twisting in the hospital bed, or else cowering in the corner of the bathroom, sobbing forsomeone to take the pain, the nausea away.

Forget smacking my 17th self. If I had known I was going to have migraines like this, I'd just have saved myself the middle man and put a bullet in my own head.
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So I've had a migraine for several days now. It veers back and forth between "If I close my eyes between calls, the world won't spin" all the way to....hallucinations.

Let it be said here that I have never hallucinated, at least not since I quit drugs. So that's a solid 15 years of trusting that if I see it, it's real.

Yesterday at work, I swore that I saw man pass directly behind me. Not only was there no one there, there was no one there on the entire floor. Just me, myself, and my seeing shit. Okay, I thought, "Maybe someone IS here and you're just really tired." Occam's Razor and shit.

Then I came to be very grateful that no one was behind on the highway, as I nearly slid off the damn road to avoid a dog. A dog that turned out not to be there.

And of course, I'm beginning to experience the flashes of geometric shapes in the corner of my eyes. This part is well documented by the medical community to be a basic symptom of a migraine. But dogs and dudes that just disappear?

Never had that before. There is nausea that prevents me from eating much of anything at all, which just makes the head pain worse, which then feeds into the next several hours of nausea. I wake up and my heart rate jumps 130, though after an hour it goes back down to 120. (That's my usual resting heart rate. Yes, I know that's bad.) The head pain comes in like a vice and only occasionally drops to semi-functional levels.I get viscerally cold, to where I'm wearing a hoodie AND suede jacket at work, but my head is burning to the touch.

Despite this, I do not have a fever. I don't understand it.

Call in sick! Go to a walk in clinic! Strong arm your doctor into an emergency visit!

Yeah, but I kinda don't want to lose my job. Turns out earlier, while I was just discovering that hey something is really wrong here, I'd eaten up all of my sick time. I've eaten up most of my personal business days. I have vacation days, but I can only use them when the time off is available, to which in a building of 300 employees, is a desperate race to garner.

And I really need to keep one day open, as two of my cats are senior cats, and animals rarely die on a convenient day off.

So I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I will go and plead with my lady doctor to make it stop, make it feel better, do something, anything, to remove this very painful fatigue that's washed over me. I will know that doctors are not miracle healers and that diagnosis is a long, slow process of elimination.

So, yes, new shit is happening. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow.

At least it's not cancer. That much we know. Small blessings.
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If I could go back in time to my 17 year old self.

(1) Bitchslap the cigarette out of my 17 year old mouth. Bitchslap the OTHER cheek when my younger self goes "WTF?!".

(2) Tell everyone that Donald Trump is a viable presidential candidate. Watch people double over in laughter before collapsing into a silent, horrified disbelief. This would be far, far more shocking than any teenage satanic image I pushed in high school.

(3) I'd sit myself down and try to explain the difference between "nice" and "having manners." Just because you're saying 'Yes ma'm/ No sir' does NOT mean you are NOT an asshole. Try to be nicer and less an asshole.

(4) And I think in the end, the ONE THING I'd really want to tell myself would be this: You are going to be okay. Yes, it's gonna hurt for a good long while. Yes, it's going to impede some forward motion in the years to come.

But eventually, it's all going to make sense. The question will shift from "WHY DID THEY -" to "HOW DO I -". The confusion will ease. The guilt will ease. You'll never believe that time heals all wounds, but you'll believe that you don't need to be cured in order to live.

You'll get through. You will be okay and you WILL get through.

I didn't know all that at 17. Didn't know ANY of that. What kid does? I'd never change my addiction, meeting David, etc. Events like those shaped vast swaths of my identity over the years, and I'm not sure who I'd be without them.

But a few words? A couple of girl-slaps to emphasize my point about not dying of emphysema? Oh hell yeah. Those I'd in a heartbeat.

I'd also probably torture myself about wanting to stop 9/11. That would be hard to resist, no matter what any time travel narrative is being played out.

What would you guys tell your 17 year old selves????
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David was a chronic shoplifter. It took years for me to notice it. At some point, though, I looked at him while he was tearing open a new pack of Magic Cards and went "Honey, we didn't BUY any Magic Cards. Where did you get that?"

He was strangely free with the admittance that he'd boosted it straight from the shelves. He couched it under the fact that "my retail jobs were crappy, so this makes me feel like I'm finally getting something from them."

I was shocked, then infuriated. There we were, both well over 30 fucking years old and here he was, shoving game cards down his pants like some pissy-ass 17 year old. I told him in no uncertain terms that he was to quit that shit rightfuckingnow and start acting like a grown man. Y'know, the kind of man that doesn't involve themselves in petty theft just because you fucking can.

Yes. David spent 14 thousand dollars on McDonalds and Magic Cards....and the whole damn time he was also stealing Magic Cards.

What an asshole.

While I was unsure if he ever did quit that shit, we soon broke up after that. His childish need to indulge in shoplifting 7 dollar game-cards became someone else's problem. Well, kinda. Finally, god knows how many decades later into his petty, teenaged-bullshit, it became HIS problem.

David finally got busted lifting a pair of women's underwear and a deck of Magic Cards. A theft of under 30 dollars, which I know from sitting in endless civil courts with Cassie (and myself when I was younger), is nothing more than a fine and a stern warning. David, never having run afoul of any law, let alone a minor one, became wildly paranoid.

He wouldn't talk about it on his phone. He wouldn't talk about it on chat. He was certain they were going to send a warrant out on him and his electronic devices. I spent time reassuring him that he wouldn't.

I should have gone with your plan, Gonzo, and joked that not only would they pull through his phone and chats, but also through his browser history. (There is little scarier in the modern, first-world-problems than having your browsing history exposed.) Put a little revenge-panic into his head, after he'd put me through five fucking years of actual panic.

In the end, I went with him to court. The judge gave him a fine, a date to pay it by, and a few hours he must serve in a local community center.

In the end, I was laughing wildly on the side, pleased beyond all notion that finally, FINALLY, one of his most ridiculous actions finally got caught. I don't think it scared him straight, but the karma (which was mostly watching him flail about, COMPLETELY unprepared for the idea that his actions MIGHT HAVE CONSEQUENCES) was so, so sweet to behold.
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1) YES, Harvey, SALT. And edema? SALT. It turns out that somehow, rather miraculously, Jesse's and I's diet is super low in sodium. That's wierd, because poor people food is CHOCK FUCKING FULL OF SALT. Pat mentioned that we usually don't have much food to eat anyways. That probably makes a difference.

2) Been salting my food the last couple of days. It's helping the headaches, which (good guess, Harvey!) have been very present and very out of control.

3) Could also be in part that I spend, bare minimum, forty minutes in a car with no AC in what is currently well over 100 degree weather. Somedays, when the errands demand I run them before everything-closes-at-five-pm, I will wind up in the car, which has to reach easily ***120** degrees (49 degrees Celsius!) for hours.

**EDIT: I just found out that a car sitting in direct sunlight in 100 degree weather climbs up to 150-170 fucking degrees. No wonder I feel like dying, I feel like puking, I feel dizzy, I want to sleep, oh god don't touch me, I can't breathe, ice pack and water and four hours of straight sleep, I've got a fever, etc, hits. Jesus, let alone when I'm doing errand running for hours straight in the hottest part of the goddamn day.***

4) More water. More salt. Will be seeing my doctor next week.

5) I made the mistake of traipsing into my own morbid, creepy self the other day. Kansas City has had an accident. A terrible, senseless, tragic accident. A ten year old boy was decapitated on what was supposed to be our crowning achievement. The world's tallest slide, to the surprise of no one, turned out to be very, very unsafe.

6) There were pictures. None of the body (parts), thank god, but pictures of the slide only moments after the accident. So much blood pooling in the water. Two cover tarps in the water, not one. So much fucking blood. That alone was enough to make me feel queasy.

7) What's worse is that the kid had at least a few seconds of free-fall before the netting and metal caught his neck.

8) Decapitation is supposed to be a rather quick way to go. But I can't stop imagining just how terrifying his last few seconds must have been, hurtling through the air. To die like that, to know just long enough that something very bad is happening and that you can't stop it....it's one thing for an adult to go out like that. A ten year old kid?

9) I had been thinking of making plans to go on that ride. It's only a few miles away from here. Instead, I've spent most of the last two days feeling as if I want to upchuck everything I've eaten in the last decade. I should not have looked at the pictures.

10) Both Jesse and Pat do not want to hear me talk about this. It makes sense, in that my need to talk through grief and fear about death and violence is very creepy. I thought that if I just ignored it I would stop feeling so sick about it.

11) I'm still sick about it. So I'm talking about it here.
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1) I have been a whiny, whiny, motherfucking morose bitch lately. Thank you guys for putting up with it.

2) I have managed to gain almost 20 pounds in three weeks. While I did go through a week where I had a 20 ounce soda everyday, this weight gain in such a short time seems statistically improbable.

3) My ankles are swollen. My ankles have NEVER swelled before, even when I was 15 pounds heavier than I am now. My face is puffy, puffy and springy in a way that weight gain has never done before.

4) Ergo, it is less likely actual weight gain and more...edema? A mixed up and backwards hydration system? My body deliriously trying to give me the middle finger?

5) "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold." Love that poem. Do not love the way my body is taking that literally.

6) Could be worse. Could be on fire. That would make anything worse.

7) We have been busy at work. So, so busy. Over 300 calls in three days last week. Well over 150 calls yesterday. I look around my little cubicle ant farm and realize there are several empty seats whereas two weeks ago, they were mostly full.

8) Turn over is a bitch.

9) There are posters at work that say "What are you working forward to? I do not know how or why, but I know that is somehow grammatically incorrect and it's driving me insane. I am well versed enough in the English language to recognize an off-sounding phrase when I hear it, but not professionally trained enough in the English language to pinpoint WHY it's off.

10) So why is that phrasing so...wrong?

Dead wrong

Aug. 3rd, 2016 10:23 pm
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Time does not heal all wounds. Loss does not diminish with time. The only difference between retching and gagging on trauma and being able to swallow it down is the illusion of immortality. The one that says that someday we'll be able to fix it, that we'll get another chance, that we can make it up later.

This is such a dangerous, dumb idea. A lie. A lie we, as adults, can easily believe in, because all the things of adulthood make the perfect smokescreen. Can't cry, have to go to work. Can't rage, got to call the electric company. Can't collapse, the floor needs vacuumed.

A necessary lie, as we'd all lose our minds otherwise. I know this.

I miss her. This is not new news. What's news is that I just now realized my phone number has changed, so if she's tried to call or text, I would not have known. I spoke to my father briefly. He says she has a job. That's good. I keep asking myself what harm could one phone call do? Just one call, assuming she has a phone, at least.

I lost my first friend to suicide in 2001. We'd met in NA. She was 30 years old and fighting to get her two children back from foster care. I went with her to the counselor's office where she disclosed, for the first time in her life, the abuse her father put her through. It was a thrilling, beautiful, and exhausting time.

She called one night. I was very tired and told her I'd call her back tomorrow. Things and life went as it goes, and I did not return her call. Not the next day, not the next few days, not the next week.

Two weeks after I told her I'd call her, I got a call. Mikki Sagan Ramsdell had overdosed in her kitchen. They put the time of death the day I was supposed to call her back. I didn't call her and she killed herself.

I lost the second friend to suicide in damn near the exact same way, later in 2007. Rebecca Rossiter, who had called me high and insane, said she wanted to talk to me. I was tired. I was sober. I didn't want to handle someone's crazy high ass. I told her I would call. I did not call her back.

A month later, I get a call. She hung herself. Her two kids found her body. I didn't call her and she killed herself.

I know I did not kill these women. I know that whatever they were facing in that moment was far more formidable than I would have been able to stop. It was out of my hands, from the very beginning. I know this.

But I also know the guilt that will stay, hidden inside of me, until the day ***I*** die. I also know that to question this, to wonder if you were what could have saved them, if you were part of the final blow that made them destroy themselves....is normal. Is natural.

Is human. And we - Mikki, Rebecca, and I - were and are so very human.

If I don't call Cassie soon, will she kill herself? Will she be yet another call that I will forever curse not returning? Will that be another secret shame that I will bear? Will I have to make more room in that dark little hole where I keep my terrors and empty reassurances that I did nothing wrong by not calling them back?

We don't live forever. I won't always have a second chance - and even if I do - she might not. I'm busy enough these days to tell myself I will.

But I've thought that before...and I was wrong.
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The car stopped running. Again. Pat is willing to pay for the repairs, which is going to be hundreds of dollars. I couldn't get to work yesterday, which worries me, as I'm walking a thin line with my attendance lately. (Being sick = calling in sick, which I discovered even using sick days gets a talking-to.) This threw me into a Pity-Me-Pity-My-Poverty funk yesterday.

It's not that the car broke down. It's not that I'm precariously balancing over my job. It's not even the fact that I can never pay for my own repairs and have to rely on Pat to do so.

It's the fact that this happens all the goddamn time. It's like I'm stuck on a freaking unicycle, tilting this way, tipping over that way, trying desperately to either stay upright or to get off the damn bike altogether.

Poverty is expensive in many, many ways. I can't pay money for my troubles, but if worry could be counted in a currency, then I'd have paid my school loans ten times over and be retired in the lap of luxury. But worry, however useful it might be in psychic transactions between paychecks, does not pay the bills.

I want to know what it feels like when a stalled car doesn't immediately fling me into a scrambled panic. I want to know what it feels like to not have the knot in my chest that pinpoints every single little thing that has to go exactly right without any mistakes or added expenses because otherwise I'll be homeless. I want to know what it's like to be confident that I will be able to eat two meals a day for a whole week or whole month (or god knows, a whole year.)

I want to know what it feels like when the stress of poverty doesn't rule my every move.

I know such a life exists. There is a whole world of people whom, when the car breaks down, take the car into the shop and then borrows their spouse's car to get to work. There are people who can pay their bills on time, every month, and who can do things like get milk, cheese, AND gas in their car all on the same paycheck. There is a whole world of people who can afford yearly checkups for their pets, and whom can afford to put the pet down when the vet bill spirals out of reach. There is an entire world out there with people who are not trained to react in panic and survival scrambles to every unexpected expense they run into.

There is an entire goddamn world of people who do not live under the endless ways that poverty weakens you. They exist. They are out there.

And I'm not one of them.

The car will be fixed and I'll be able to get around for another few months, another six months, another year before it irreparably breaks down for good. I'll go to my job and work until they fire me. I'll pay my rent and be grateful that my bank allows overdrafts for online transactions. (It's the only way I can afford to pay my rent.) I'll make do until I can't and after that, I'll just learn how to make do with less. I will do all of these things and know that it won't be long before I have to do them all over again. And over again. And over again.

The real price of poverty isn't its cost in the immediate run. The real price of poverty is that it is a re-occurring charge, and god help you if you aren't able to pay it.
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DAVID: I've been basically homeless for the last two years.

Yes. Homeless. Living in a house with your parents, who gave you your own room with a queen sized bed to sleep in. Homeless. Living in a house with your parents who didn't ask you to pay rent, didn't ask you to contribute to bills, and paid your cell phone and car insurance for you. Homeless. Living in a house with parents who gave you a car, for free, and maintained that car for you, for free. Homeless. Living in a house where you did not have to get a job, did not have to do so much as wash a single dish that you'd eaten off of, and had vast quantities of food available for you to eat.

Homeless.



Signed,

Someone who has ACTUALLY BEEN homeless, you ungrateful fuck.
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But are just more fun to ramble about here.

* Who is in charge of naming hurricanes? I seem to recall they switch years in naming them male/female. But whose job description is awesome enough to include the duty "Name this super powerful weather phenomenon"?

* Why is it always only one shoe on the side of the road? ONLY ONE SHOE. EVER ONLY ONE, SINGLE, SOLITARY SHOE. This one I have googled and the consensus is that there is no consensus. No one knows.

* Why do our bodies make making good decisions feel awful, while the awful decisions feel great? I've managed to cut my two packs a day down to 1.5 packs and all I've been rewarded with is the nastiest cough and wheezing I've ever had yet. I know, I know, my lungs are expelling the sticky mass that I've laid over my lungs, but fer fuck's sake, body - I'M DOING YOU A FAVOR. SHOW SOME FUCKING GRATITUDE.

* Why are body-clocks set so damn firmly? I'm up between 9 and 9:30 AM every morning. I go to sleep about 2 AM, which certainly gives me enough hours. (Or it would if I weren't waking up three or more times a night.) Broken sleep is still sleep, though, right??? But it's sleep at the wrong time which always leads me unable to just stay up longer so I can sleep in LATER. It seems patently ridiculous to be up FIVE HOURS before I have to go to work.

* Why is what you're looking for always in the other pocket?
quirkytizzy: (Default)
I don't always know where my past ends and where I begin. Behind me, stacked along the wall, are two decades of my past. Twenty years of every moment, recorded in the obsessive tomes that journalers are compelled to keep.

So I've got 20 out of the last 35 years written down. I know where I come from. Exactly where I come from.

Yet with every year that passes, the road behind me seems to both force the path ahead of me and yet tells me nothing that might be waiting over the next hill. I thought age would bring a better sense of direction, or at least a sense of being better at reading the winds.

Then again, it's awfully hard to get accurate reads of winds when they're blowing at hurricane speeds. And when I look back at the last 20 out of 35 years, that's what I see. Just endless uprooted trees, flooded streets, cracked neon lights and drifting cars. I have stayed, even as everything around me has eddied by my hands. I have climbed upon the roofs of buildings and screamed for help. When I lost my voice, I crafted SOS messages out of paper journals.

I have always been saved. I have never been left to drown.

And some nights, I do not know what that should mean for the future. For the next storm. For the next choice in my life that will mean climbing yet another building, trying to beat the waters lunging up the stairwell.

Existential angst, right? That's all this is? Not far from turning 40, this is normal, right???

My past feels so cleanly split into two - the first half, all of my pieces being broken by others. The second half - of my pieces being ground into the carpet...by me. I can't seem to reconcile them, those two parts. Either the struggles today are because someone else didn't build the levees strong enough or else they are because I refused to get off the damn beach when the tide surged forward.

But those explanations are too simple. The truth is never either/or.

Neither, as it turns out, am I either/or. I wish I were sometimes. God, I wish I were. Living in this land of being able to grab recorded proof, in black and white, of what I was thinking on this day 20 years ago....it feels as if it should be more useful. As if it should fucking point somewhere. And it does point to something. It points to a woman who had some really, really bad shit happen to her and who had to spend a really, really long time digging herself out of it.

I lost time. I'm still losing time. We all are, in as we born dying the moment we draw our first breath. That poeticism is less and less a satisfactory answer.

I'm tired. I'm so tired lately. Sick from 20 years of abusing my lungs, sick from 20 years of a diet stuck in poverty, and 20 years of being too caught up in other shit to do anything other than heal. While healing is necessary, it also leaves precious little room to become the very thing that other 35 year olds are - an adult.

I know where I came from. I've got it all written down, day for day. I know that's important. Those who would say the past does not exist have never had a past that carves holes in them, abysses so deep that you must cement them in order to keep from falling into them. The past DOES exist, as does the future, and I have no idea where the past fits in the present. How it will play in the future.

I've got too much of who I was informing me of what I am. Will it always inform me of whom I'm to be?

This is normal, right? Everyone has these thoughts. Existential angst, a slightly early mid-life crisis barreling onto me. Right?

This is normal, right?
quirkytizzy: (Default)
I want to be Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers.

I want to learn swing dance and be light as air.

I want to know all the cool jazz and wear sunglasses and have my hair in a twisted bun and have stockings that have the lines on the backs.

I want to be classy. A few problems with that:

(1) The closest I've ever got to dancing was at raves, and that wasn't so much "dancing" as it was "I'm really fucking high and don't want to fall over."

(2) I trip in tennis shoes.

(3) Stockings with the lines up the back, thanks to being in such short supply during WW2, are still considered a luxury item - and are priced as such.

And the largest obstacle to having class - money. I have no money. Oh, you can learn to speak, to walk, in a way that mimics classiness. You can learn to sit stock straight, use the right fork, and never curse. You can get your nails manicured in the most inoffensive pastels and never put your elbows on the table.

But mostly it's money. Money in amounts that I'll likely never see pass through my bank account. I wonder what it's like to have money. If everything else would stay the same, save being able to afford two gallons of milk at the same time. Or if the money would change me, if I would find myself refusing to curse and thinking a top at 80$ is a steal.

I don't know anyone who went from rags to riches and I'm sure as hell not going to have that story myself. But I wonder.

Jesse and I have been watching an 1980's show called "Tales From The Darkside." A collection of short horror themed stories, many of which have to do with the poor suddenly finding themselves rich.

It never turns out well for them. And in many real-life-celebrity-cases, it turns out badly for them, too. I like to think I'm smart enough to avoid the pitfalls. But I have a tendency to fall face-first wearing flat shoes, so I can only imagine I'd break my nose tripping over suddenly having a disposable income.

We, the poor, are very good at convincing ourselves that we don't want such niceties or fine things. Too stuffy, we say. Too restrictive. Rich people don't know how to have REAL fun.

We are also very good at noting that while money doesn't necessarily make one a happy person, that it's a hell of a lot easier to be happy when you don't have to choose between rent or food. It's the most bizarre dichotomy.

So I'll never be rich. I'll never be classy. There is no confluence of events that could domino and make me more comfortable shopping at an exclusive boutique than in Walmart. I'm not even sure that I'll eventually be able to pick rent AND food in the same week.

But I wonder. I look at Fred and Ginger and wonder if they knew just how classy they were. I wonder if I would have even a chance of being HALF that classy.

I'll never have that kind of money. Not even quite sure I'd want it. But I'd like to live it for a little while. See what white-trash roots stick around even if I use the right fork.

I mean, seriously, who ever thought one meal would need, like, six utensils?

Dragons

Jul. 26th, 2016 11:07 am
quirkytizzy: (Default)
Sometimes I'm afraid to leave my apartment.

Not because of some twisting, psychiatric anxiety. Not because the outside world is too much to bear. Sometimes I'm afraid to leave my apartment because I don't want to get mowed down in a spray of bullets. I want my death to have some kind of relevant connection to my life, rather than just being in the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time.

Of course, mass shootings are nearly impossible to predict. You can't put a timer on when some insane loser is going to throw a murderous, adult-sized temper tantrum at society. And America is no longer the Wild Wild West - most people will never have to hit the floor to avoid a maniac with an automatic weapon.

But sometimes, it still gets scary. Other countries deal with these unpredictable forces by removing the weapons that make mass murder so easy. America?

There is rarely a place, an establishment I visit, where I do not idly check the exits, or do the calculations of how well I could hide behind a tipped table or cabinet. It's so insidious. I don't even notice how strange it is that preparing for war-time conditions at freaking Subway or my work has become perfectly commonplace.

I manage to leave my apartment. I go into the hall, lock my apartment door, and trundle down the stairs. I get in my car and I drive to work and then I go to the grocery store and I come home. I do all of these things, wondering what it would be like to do these things and not wonder, if only in the slightest sense, where I would hide if some asshole pulls a fucking Uzi out of their coat and aims at the crowd.

America - here there be dragons.

With guns. With lots and lots of guns.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
I also want to start a religion. I will call it "Brotherhood Of The Rolled Down Windows." Cuz I every time I see another car on the road with all four windows rolled down in this 100+ degree heat, I know they are just as broke as I am, as they obviously can't afford to have their AC fixed, either. I swear I feel a nearly spiritual kinship with those folks.

And hell yeah, we push those yellow lights, because that extra five minutes at an intersection, heat baking up from the asphalt and radiating in the metal box we're sitting in, is as close to hell as any other religion preaches.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
I'm going to have to quit smoking. This isn't me being sardonic. I'm really, really going to have to quit smoking.

But not today and not all at once, says my doctor. Thank god.

I'm borderline COPD. Emphysema. Chronic lung disease. The shit that leads to very unsexy oxygen tanks and heart attacks. If arrested before it takes hold, the effects can be mostly reversed. If not arrested?

Incurable.

We did a breath test yesterday, where we figured out how much oxygen I am getting out of my breathing. I had to push really hard to get an 88% oxygen level reading. 85% is what one is diagnosed with COPD.

The "comfortable" breaths for me? Where I didn't have to push or cough or wheeze? I was getting 73% oxygen. The norm should be nearly 100. No wonder I feel like crap. I'm literally suffocating myself.

Duh, of course, what-else-did-you-expect rings the chorus. What other end did I think smoking two packs a day for ten years might have? But I can stop this and I can stop the oncoming train. I can do what I do best, and that is to get the hell out from under the piano 2 seconds before it's dropped from a 15 story window.

She said she doesn't want me to go cold turkey. I was so relieved I nearly cried. A two-pack a day smoker has a much better chance of staying quit, she said, if they can get it down to a pack a day to start with. Made sense.

So now the trick is to cut back. She wants me to back at a pack in two months. Quit entirely within six months.

This is a more daunting task than one would assume. Giving up something entirely is, in its own way, almost easier. But I don't want to cold turkey and I don't want to get COPD. So, if the doctor says cut back, I cut back.

Smoking is a part of my entire day, it marks nearly every ritual, it is beyond comforting, and let's face it, I fucking love smoking. I enjoy the hell out of it.

But "hell out of it" just might be what winds up happening if I'm not careful.

The other thing we found out is that my electrolytes are out of whack and I'm slightly anemic. This, she said, was likely more a result of the diet of decades of poverty. I'm taking a multi-vitamin and she's going to see what else I can do, outside of spending huge chunks of my paycheck on extremely perishable foods.

Here's the bitch of it all: We still don't know why I'm losing my hair. COPD can cause hair loss in advanced stages. I'm not in any official stage yet, let alone advanced. My thyroid levels are normal. I'm not diabetic, pre-diabetic, or anything of the sort.

More tests, she said. I asked her if I should just plan on losing most of my hair by the time we figure it out. She looked at me, pained, and said that with how fast I'm losing hair, that in the meantime...yes.

I do have some small level infection, blood in my urine. Kidney and liver functions, however, remain steady and normal. I have an antiobiotic and Vagisal. Bring it, bitch.

A doctor's office is so different than a minute clinic, which have been my only medical excursions for 20 years (and then only a couple of times, as I always have to borrow money to pay for that.) A minute clinic's purpose is to get your symptoms under control and move you out.

Doctors do what they can to figure out what's causing symptoms. It's a big difference. I'm still kind of shocked.

So I have the chance to stop something before it kills me. I have the chance to bring up the stupidly delicate balances of chemicals and hormones in my body. These are good things.

I'm still going to be my losing hair, though.

One thing at a time. I don't have to climb a mountain all at once. I've just got to grasp the handholds right in front of me and haul myself up. Just what's in front of me.

Besides, Halloween is coming up. Maybe I can get some decent quality kick-ass wigs.

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