Thursday, September 14, 2017

When Your Body Betrays You - A Passing Out at Work Story

Today I was supposed to co-teach a class. I knew the material in a real world way but have not taught a class before. So I put off thinking about it until the night before, at which point I casually leafed through the material. Slept pretty well last night due to avoiding thinking about it. Got to the class this morning and things seemed fine. The other teacher (who is amazing) sort of passed the baton to me when it was my turn. I didn't get well versed at the materials. I felt overwhelmed. About 3 minutes in, my mind spazzed. I started feeling the corners of my vision flicker. I tried to breathe through it. I told the instructor I needed to step out for a minute. I closed the door behind me and as I was walking down the hallway, trying to breathe, the darkness got darker and it all went black. I found myself about a minute later waking from the konk, drenched in sweat, with two women hovering over me. I couldn't remember if I was still in class. I remember saying "how humiliating" as I was first waking up. I heard them saying to call 911. They told me not to move as I tried to sit up. I didn't listen and sat up on the floor, back against the wall as the dark fuzzy stars started fading away. When the stars were gone, I got myself up and sat on a chair nearby. I asked if I could go into a conference room instead. I hated the idea of the class coming out for break and seeing me surrounded by police and firefighters. So they let me sit in an empty conference room to await the paramedics which they insisted on calling. Bah! I know it's protocol, but I knew I was fine. Just a humiliating mind spaz, everyone, nothing to see here. Paramedics arrived (yum!), checked my vitals and blood sugar and said everything was fine. I told them I don't want to go to the hospital, signed a form, and they went on their merry way, leaving me alone in the conference room with just my wounded pride to keep me company. I sat there for a good long while, contemplating what to do next. I finally made up my mind to go back to class because if I left, I don't think I could've forgiven myself. So I went back in, thankfully they were just taking their break, so I discreetly told the instructor what happened. He asked what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to stay, but not to teach (fuck no), so I just stood around pretending to be useful for the remaining 2 hours. Usually at this point in life, one has enough experiences on which to draw for how to handle most shitty situations. But there was no playbook for this one. I've felt shitty all day. Can't get it out of my head. I hate feeling defeated. For what? Because I'm scared of messing up? Because I don't want people to think I'm stupid or boring or weird? I'm pissed off at my body. I feel like it betrayed me. Showed my hand. I also recognize I could've done better. I should've done better. I had a month to prepare. Instead, I dicked around until the last minute and tried to wing it. It's an insult to the good instructor who was trying to train with me and help me expand my skills. Pretty fucking rude of me. I guess I'm just disappointed in myself. I've spoken before about how I feel safe usually where ever I am because I can trust myself to handle a situation. This one, I couldn't. It's like, I don't have a lot that motivates me, and I can put things off and put them off and then this one came up finally and kicked me in the (figurative) balls. I have decided I want to start forcing myself into more situations like this, and eventually my ancestral fainting goat tendencies will dissipate. They have to, right? I'm mad and sad and disappointed and humiliated. And then there's the thing about whether I should tell people at work or not. I hate feeling like I'm keeping secrets or something, but this isn't exactly something one wants to share, and I have a right to my private humiliations being kept private. My boss already knows. Someone told him, not sure who, but I think it's policy to inform the boss anyway so couldn't avoid that. But it feels dishonest when people asked how it went and I just give some generic "went horribly, I choked and didn't teach at all" etc. I guess things like this in life happen to everybody, in different ways. On the upside, Richard pointed out that I didn't shit my pants, so at least that's still not on the list of humiliations. When I was a kid I remember passing out a couple of times, and all my siblings have too. The first time I remember I was in Kindergarten sitting on stage cross legged with my class lined up in a few rows. We were practicing something and each had on a pair of white gloves and two drum sticks and we were playing some sort of song on the floor of the stage in the gym. There was a black light on. I remember looking down at my little hands in the white gloves and then I remember waking up, everybody still tapping their drum sticks. I must've just konked out for a few seconds. I don't think anyone noticed at all. The second time, I was in 3rd grade in Mrs. Rackley's class and she was a real piece of work - mean as hell and always made everyone cry. I was supposed to've done some sort of homework in an oceanography packet and she asked me to pull the packet out. I didn't do my homework so I was worried about getting in trouble. I opened the top of my desk up and felt the dark fuzzies in my vision and started to stand up and say "Mrs. Rackley I don't feel good..." but my voice trailed off and I hit the floor. Upside to that one is, Stetson Butler (a classmate) put his arm around me to help bring me to the nurses' office. Score. He was hella cute. But that's the last I ever remember it happening. I wish I could blame the passing out on me being vegan for this whole month, or being on my period, or having a cold, or me locking my knees or forgetting to breath, or something ANYTHING else, but based on the evidence at hand, all my personal history, it's obvious. I flipped the fuck out and pulled a Fainting Goat Special to get out of it. So I've got to suck it up and keep on keeping on. Put myself out of my comfort zone more and get used to it and get better. And do it all while I'm mad as fuck at myself as a motivator, because when I'm mad, I get shit done. I feel like it's my most productive emotion, even though it masks a lot of other, healthier emotions. Like vulnerability. That's another one I felt today. I definitely don't like that one. Maybe the takeaway is, I won't do it perfectly the first time, but I'll keep forcing myself into things and maybe, eventually, I'll get better. So I should trust myself after all. Might be a rocky journey back to trust on this one though.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ulcerative Colitis - Year 11

Just got back from a GI doc appointment. Last week I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy and today was my follow up. I attempted to stay awake during the procedure rather than be sedated, but once they got started I realized I'd rather be put under. It was uncomfortable and painful and I called the ref and tapped out. I'm still really glad I got to see the part that I did. It was enlightening and empowering for the short time I was awake. It's good to feel involved in the process. Anyway, the results are that things are looking worse than when I had my last colonoscopy based on the visual assessment and biopsies. I had approached my doctor awhile back regarding changing meds to Entryvio. Someone I know started taking it and is doing much better. My doctor finally agrees that it's time to ramp it up. After 11 years of various humiliations and fear I'm going from the lowest grade meds to the next level. This new medicine has only been out for a couple years, so there really hasn't been time to gather data. Fucking sucks. I am by nature a cautious person. I don't like engaging in things that haven't had time to be put through the paces. Furthermore, it's an infusion, which means I'll have to take it intravenously. I asked what the timeline looked like and if they would at some point decide to take me off. The answer? I'll likely be on it for the rest of my life, if it works. That means if I live to 99, I'll be hobbling through the doors of the center every 6-8 weeks with my curly white helmet hair and pained shuffle getting my infusion. It sounds overwhelming. I guess I'm already taking meds I'm projected to be on for life, but an infusion sounds much more intimidating. Right now daily I'm on 6 pills plus (brace yourself) a nightly enema. No good way to put it. Is this any worse than that? I'll have to take that time off of work every 6-8 weeks to go in for the rest of eternity. It just makes me really sad. Why was I born with a lemon of a body? Drove it off the lot, thought it all was good, then BLAM! Up shit creek without a paddle. I'm trying to be positive. This might open up the world to me. I've had all these hangups about being able to travel and fully enjoy life and this might actually make it to where I'm able to do so without carting around bottles of pills and boxes of enemas. Might not work, on the other hand. But I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I've been trying this plant based, whole food diet to see if it has any impact on my inflammation and I feel like it has improved things, but I'm not that hardcore and I probably will give in pretty soon. I got the idea from a couple 'documentaries' (I use the term loosely) on Netflix - What the Health? and Forks Over Knives. I felt like it was helping, but today I had kind of a rough day, so maybe I'm full of shit and it doesn't make any difference. What's weird is, I felt worse during the time my colonoscopy was done vs. when the flex sig was done, but my results are opposite. Now I'm plummeting toward this infusion and haven't given myself enough time to test the change in diet. That's why I wanted to know about the potential for backing off the meds in the future. She did say it's possible to attempt once one has been in "deep remission for many years." Doesn't sound like much of a silver lining, but it's not nothing. What I came to during writing this is, I'm already doing something for life. Might as well try a different route because it's essentially the same concept. There goes my commitment phobia again, sounding alarm bells.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Coming home, wind in sails, elated at the freedom and possibilities. Finding dinner, to cook or be cooked for. Settling fork in mouth to communicate in a series of grunts between commercial breaks. Frustrations over TV breakdowns. Threats of baseball bats and eventual giving up for a shower and restless sleep, wherein dreams are just fears and catalysts to an angry state upon waking. What do I want? It doesn't feel like this means anything.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Rituals of Loss

It has been four days since we dropped the boys off at their mom's house. It feels like weeks. Then sometimes it's like they were never here and that year and a half was just a chasm of time that I didn't really experience. I'm walking in this empty life that I didn't realize was so empty. I need meaning. They gave me that. Through all the frustration and irritation and learning the art of patience (or practicing and never quite getting there most of the time), I felt like I was doing some good. And even if it didn't have meaning, it filled the time. Now it's a gaping maw after work where I feel guilty while watching meaningless TV and sad when I shut it off because four days ago I would have been doing something of substance. Four days ago I was a mom. I felt like I would be an imposter to call myself that before, then I owned it, and now I have to discard it like it was false all along. I have cried every day in varying degrees. It has ebbed since I've been assured that I can take them this weekend. Every night before I go to bed I walk into their bedroom and picture them in their beds. I try to send some energy of love and calm and normalcy to them in their little room that's an hour away from me now. I picture myself being with them and making sure they're covered up, like I used to do every night before I went to bed myself. It sounds weird when I put it out into the world like that, but I'm maybe trying to think of it as a little prayer. I'm not going all religious nut here, but it seems right to send them some goodness into the universe and hope that they catch it. It makes me feel better anyway. I want to see their chubby little faces and squeeze them until they wiggle to get down, and watch them ride around the back yard on their bikes and fight the sprinklers with buckets, running around in their undies. I just feel really empty. I've always had a hard time filling my time. It's either balls to the walls crazy busy with school or family, or mega couch potato don't want to get up and move. I'm not a hobbyist. I'm not particularly interested in anything, except people and that requires interaction and when I start interacting I don't know how to hold a balance. Right now I just want to curl up somewhere and let the storm pass, but that's not how I manage life. So I'm walking into the flames and crying and sending little love prayers through the universe and whatever else weird shit I can think of to get to the other side of this loss.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Well, fuck

Despite the promises of a gradual process, I got a phone call this morning saying that beginning with tomorrow evenings regularly scheduled visit, they're just going to stay permanently. Tomorrow. Still trying to keep my shit together. Limited success. Sporadic losing my shit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Reunification Plan

I'm starting to feel the sneak attacks of my pending reality, like the tattered tuft of a monsters tail as it scurries to hide. I've never been good at feeling the complex emotions. I'm kind of an extremist; it's either all or nothing and nothing is definitely easier so I ride the tide as long as possible. We are waiting for a judge to sign reunification plans that are sitting on his desk. Once signed, it will be 30 days and the boys will be back full time in their bio mom's care. We've had them since October 2015. Up until a few weeks ago, there was only one four hour visit per week, which was supervised by a caseworker. That's 4 hours (or less) per week of being a parent, for a year and a half. DCS has now haphazardly started slapping in overnight visits. Two weeks ago it was a one-nighter, last week it was a two-nighter. Each time they come back haggard and take a couple days to get their bearings and stop acting like jerks. Last time one of the boys returned with his back riddled with bed bug bites. I guess it could happen anywhere, but the situation makes it extra shitty. The daycare asked me today if they should write something to log the obvious behavior change in the youngest (2). I told them it's a nice sentiment, but our Case Manager has reiterated on many occasions the "minimum standards of care" are all that is necessary. This means if they are not in clear physical or emotional danger, they're going back. She's checked off all the boxes; danger is not evident.

The boys literally didn't know what a hug was when they came to us. When I tried to give them one, they'd get all stiff and wait for it to end. I shouldn't remind myself of things like that right now. I'm powerless to stop this march toward the deadline. Yesterday night I was cooking dinner and they wanted to help. Formerly I'd be in such a rush to do life, I'd tell them to go play while I cook. Since I've learned they've got an expiration date I've been trying to be better at making memories (not to mention preparations for their self-reliance). So I said yes to two helpers at dinner. I had them wash veggies, put them in bowls, etc. In the middle of our preparations, the oldest (4), said "I really love you mommy." One amazing takeaway from this is moments like that, where a kid can go from not knowing what a hug is to recognizing all the love in the air and expressing a sentiment like that so plainly. It really struck me. I did something right. I've fucked up a lot and had to re-do and re-do, and they provide endless opportunities for such because they're constantly challenging and making me feel like a child myself at my ineptitude, but things like that happen and it makes me think of how much they've grown. How much they've learned. All the things that make up a person, especially at such a young age, and even if they end up reverting to their former haggard savagery, they've learned a whole hell of a lot. We've planted some seeds in them that they wouldn't have otherwise had. We've helped shape two little people and if not for this situation, I shudder to think where they might be right now. Two little forgotten kids, floating in the wind. I'm grateful that at least for these formative years, I had a chance to influence them.

I'm not that great of a person. I've had thoughts like "now I can finally go back to school" or "I'm getting my life back." Selfish thoughts. I know we're all selfish at our core. We are the only one who will be there until the last breath; it makes sense to be selfish to a point. I was even worried I wouldn't feel bad about them leaving at all, but that little monster scurrying around the corner has proven otherwise. I'm just putting off having emotions until I can't possibly deny them any longer. So far I'm holding up pretty good. I'm not sure what it is about me that makes me want to do things to myself that are fucking emotionally treacherous. It's like a driving need in me that I don't understand. It makes for a more rich life experience, so that's something.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sweet Sleep

Found this scrap in an email to myself. Written 02/24/15. A shit load has changed since then. And a shit load is about to change again. Maybe I'll post about it some time. For now, I'll just let my old poems float in like driftwood.

I begged


To take me

Quickly and quietly

When it all hurts

And I am a raging



I have this thirst

To deliver



Or shrink

Softly away

By the hand of a

Disinterested party

Oh I long

For the sweet sleep

Of peace

A reprieve

From obsessed mind

Unable to forgive

Rather just give


Never felt so


Longing to



I just suppose

That’s the way

Fixation goes