failuresfortune

getting it wrong on the way to getting it less wrong

#DisabilityMarch

When women stand up, change MUST HAPPEN.

When women stand up FOR EACH OTHER, change must happen.

When women stand up for the least of us, the eeeakest of us, the most broken of us, the most neglected of us; when we stand for the men who really need our strength, for the children who really need our voices, for the women who cannot stand, we will look around and see we are standing for us all. And change MUST HAPPEN.

CheetoPres has no interest in us or our message. To him, bad PR is good PR, and we are nothing more than a news story.

We must march for each other and with each other, and we must not stop after today.

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Things you figure out decades too late

It’s astounding; the power of the pattern.

I come from a family where I was devalued. My only worth lay in making my siblings feel less valued, too, BTW, because my academic prowess made them look bad. Great parenting strategy; right? You’d think my parents are evil, since I grew up knowing I was ugly, but smart, my older sister (for whom I was mistaken all the time) was beautiful, but stupid, and my baby sister… well… she says she was invisible. And while she was my best friend, I can see how she felt that way, because she didn’t even get an ugly label to wear!

My brother, of course, was G-d. He had a penis, after all, and was first born. He used that penis against me and at least one of my sisters, but I have decided that’s no longer who he is, and was part of who he was being raised to be., so we’re going to mention it as something that happened to me, not something that happened to him–he was so drugged out by 14, he doesn’t remember shit, anyway.

But the kicker here is that I was the healthy kid (along with being the ugly smart girl) I got sick once when I was 5. BADLY sick. Nearly dead sick. And then, really, never sick again. Not until I was 15.

My older, beautiful stupid sister, was sickly. She had asthma. she had attacks regularly. Often to get out of punishment, I would learn later, or to get out of work, or to get out of having to deal with my parents dysfunctional functioning (stupid girl, huh?).

And then, when I was 15, things changed. I started PCOS (Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome) and the doctors who tried to figure out my pain for months on end kept telling my mother I had kidney infections, and they were wrong, so it came to the point where no one understood that I was walking around with a dagger in my ovary–until it ruptured. We got the message then.

When I came home for the night from college because of stomach pain, my beautifulstupid sis told invisiblesis I had “appendicitis again.” And they sniggered. As I lay on the sofa in the front room crying. Until about 3 am. Invisiblesis found me and told mother that maybe an ER was actually in order. Surprise! Appendicitis. About an hour from rupture.

The list, I’m sure goes on. As I’ve mentioned, I have arthritis, as does invisblesis. She’s managed to pull herself out of the mire and into health for now. I’m working on that climb. But she’s always been my hero. I have PCOS, endometriosis, diverticulitis, and neurologic mirgraine (complex migraine syndrome).

And the best part?

The best part is my family still sniggers behind my back about my so-called pains. Which wouldn’t be a big deal; I don’t live near any of them, and as much as they snigger, the second I’m scheduled for yet another surgery, they come running to help–like when my gall bladder almost ruptured.

But I married a man who either got it from them or from his family. And so while I LIVE in PAIN, when I bother to SAY, “I’m in pain.” there’s something more to it. And yet, when I say that to him, I may as well have told him I have an itch on my back that’s bugging me. When I get sent to an ophthalmologist for double vision, he says, “oh, great, another specialist.” Good news–NOT neurological!

When I cut my finger by sticking it in the food processor (you can laugh at this point) and did such a good job of putting pressure on it that it was sealing by the time the EMTs got there, he was mad at the 911 call. Yet, 4 years later, I have a scar to prove the field stitch (butterfly) I ended up giving myself WAS necessary, and a quick stitch at the ER would have been helpful. I also have a permanently damaged nailbed. Yeah. It was just a cut.

So when, last week, in front of his therapist, I pointed out that sleeping with me is tough because I’ve had night terrors since I was a kid and am somnambulant and he wakes with bruises (clearly, a fact he KNOWS, since he waked WITH BRUISES) husband’s reply was “What haven’t you had?”

Look at the patterns, she says to herself. Why do you choose people who devalue you? Why do you choose people who insist nothing is wrong when all is wrong? Why do you choose people who choose to be absent (“married to a bottle of gin long before I was married to her,” he said) rather than ones who are present? Why?

Why I didn’t…

just leave. Why don’t I just leave, even now.

It is rather hard to explain to the world; we throw alcoholics away, after all. We throw all addicts away. There’s a “why don’t you leave?” syndrome thrown into any conversation about such things. Worse, is the look–the why don’t you leave look is even worse than people who just flat out ask. 

The answer is simple: I have a sick spouse. Spouse has one, too. Why doesn’t Spouse leave me? I have arthritis. It is degenerative, incurable, chronic. I have issues that land me in the hospital regularly. I have a reserved seat at the ER. I am so allergic to things that fumes make my throat swell shut. Why doesn’t Spouse leave? Spouse’s problem can be fixed. Mine will only get worse. Spouse WILL have to take care of me some day.

“Why don’t you leave?” or the suggestion I should not have entangled myself in such a relationship angers me. If Spouse were to leave me because of my illness, Spouse would incur the disdain of society! Yet I am expected to leave Spouse? Spouse is ill. There are cures. Spouse is getting care and taking care.

And this is my manifesto.

There is no excuse.

I am not saying “stay at all costs” or even “stay” to anyone. I simply do not understand the instinct to throw away people afflicted with addiction. People are not disposable. Spouse cannot be replaced. 

Mind you, I am not being abused. There is not violence, and the fighting, though it can be abusive at times, is just fighting. It is temporary. We always talk about it after. Among the al-anon tools are the ones that allow me to separate my emotions from what Spouse says when Spouse is drunk.

I used to think, in vino veritas, but I’ve come to understand that in vino inhibition loss, but not any truth telling. There is always the truth of the underlying anger, or pain, or frustration, that may drive a comment, but Spouse is not capable of properly emoting when drunk, just as I am not capable of properly defining a four-month migraine. 

I am in nearly constant pain. So is Spouse. When I understand Spouse’s pain, it is because I want Spouse to understand mine. And Spouse, as therapy and coming closer to a cure take hold, is beginning to understand both Spouse’s pain and mine.

Spouse’s pain is just as real, just as pervasive, just as insidious as mine. I would guess, though, that Spouse’s pain is made worse by the judgement that society would place on it. Addiction is seen as the fault of the addicted. We judge addicts–so long as their addiction is to something “bad.” So the woman addicted to exercise is ok, and the one addicted to crack is a whore. The man addicted to work is driven and the man addicted to alcohol is a drunk. And the ones who have addictions we don’t approve of are inherently weak, stupid, incapable, bound to fail at life, and always headed for misery. Those addicted to approved substances or behaviors (like 50’s valium wives) become role models. They are our heroes, while the others are dirt who have no capacity for self-control.

The truth is far less clear. The truth lies in brain chemistry multiplied by upbringing, factored by culture and food and environment and, and. and… ad naseum.

The truth is that we are a culture of addicts.

The truth is that Spouse’s value does not lie in his ability or inability to control drinking. No human’s value can lie in the substance or behavior to which he or she is addicted; particularly when we are all addicts.

Spouse’s value lies in the love we share. It lies in the care we can find. Spouse’s greatest value lies in our teaching each other to be better humans and learning together how to work as a team.

Believe me, I know where the door is. And he knows where my lines of absolutely no return are: infidelity and abuse. That’s it.

I’m sure Oprah is right about women who need to walk away from dangerous relationships before they are shot or beaten to death, and I get that “love doesn’t hurt.” But humans are hurt. We have all been hurt in the process of being raised and so we hurt, and the beauty of love is that it heals. The difficulty of healing is that it can take time, and it always takes work.

I do not walk out that door; not because I have any delusions about Spouse being my only hope or about my inability to care for myself. I would have a better, stronger and faster career without Spouse. I do not walk out that door because without Spouse I might have many things, but one of the biggest things I would have is the hole in my soul where Spouse belongs.

WE are getting healthy TOGETHER.

Keep that dumb-ass look of pity mixed with disdain to yourself!

The Boston Marathon — A promise kept; a promise broken

WARNING: THIS POST IS, PRIMARILY, ABOUT MY LIFE WITH MY SPOUSE AS HE RECOVERS FROM ALCOHOL ADDICTION. WHILE IT DEALS WITH THE DAY OF THE BOMBING, IT IS NOT ABOUT THE BOMBING.

Thursday, April 11, I had a migraine. (See previous post.) Saturday I had an x-ray of my foot to make certain nothing was broken and the insane pain was really and truly just my arthritis causing my ligaments to flare up. Great: flare is flare and not break. Sessamoid bones in foot are still healthy and aplenty (uck), and more drugs and wraps and SCREW THIS! I got my ankle brace out and put on a Tiger Balm (TM) patch. Some things just work, while others just mask pain.

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(lifesavers)

All weekend long, Spouse was dismissive; but Monday,taxes were due and my electronic app for an extension was bounced and I was at work; and I needed Spouse to mail it; and there was pressure and pain and stress; and to top it off Spouse had been ugly to me in the morning and I had responded in kind–NOT in kindness; and so Spouse finally asked why I always stress Spouse out just when he’s trying to stop drinking, and I all capped my response: 

NO. This has nothing to do with your drinking. THIS IS LIFE.

And Spouse insisted there was a way that I could handle it–without help–which was by way of saying Spouse WOULD NOT help; and Spouse suggested that I simply wasn’t trying hard enough; and so I finally said,

I’m sure you’re right. You always are. I also am sure that there will be a way for me to do it even if it isn’t kosher. And I’m sure that you need to let me know how long I ned to put reality on hold so that when we have problems they are problems and NOT in ANY WAY related to your drinking.

And I got my answer:

Don’t be surprise when I drink tonight

As you may guess, the fight managed to get uglier. And then radio silence. For two hours.

The next text was:

Two bombs at end of Boston Marathon

The conversation suddenly turned as it must to wounded and dead and domestic or foreign terror, news as it broke. Spouse thought domestic, I thought foreign. Spouse thinks he’s right, I think we both are. And in between snippets of when will you be home and what’s for dinner.

I got home early.

Spouse was not there; his schedule said he ought to be. I texted to ask where he was.

Blotto land

That punch to the gut went back and forth with no straight answers to direct questions about where Spouse was and whether drink was involved. Until I finally got the answer that no drinking was involved but that Spouse wanted me to suffer because I was “a shit head to me today.

But here’s the thing. Spouse dates problem drinking to 9/11. So even if I hadn’t been a human and had a fight with him that morning, I would have been worrying.  Even if he hadn’t promised to drink, I would have been on the tether. And none of it changes the fact that one bad turn really should not deserve another and both of us were acting like children. I pointed out to him that he’d been no prince, and he texted that at least he looked like one–smiley included–as he walked in the door. And saw my face. And then realized this was more than he might have thought.

I explained why it did more than just barb me. That the idea of him drinking was a nightmare for me. The idea of him drinking OUT and driving home was a night-terror! The thought that Spouse had thrown out two plus weeks was a heartbreak. The idea that there was nothing I could do was, was… what’s chest pain with tears and a bleeding feeling that’s worse than heartbreak?

It wasn’t until the following Sunday night that I would find out what the look on my face did to him, but that is for another time.

Absenteeism

I’ve been missing for a few weeks.

I found out last night why.

Spouse has a wonderful therapist, whose specialty is actually in couples and family therapy, but who does addiction counseling and who sometimes asks Spouse to have me come along. I like Therapist. Therapist is a sweet, gentle guy who has a light in his eye of genuine interest when he talks to people. Therapist has a genuine smile on his face and genuinely worries when he worries; it’s written on his baby-face. It’s lovely to know Spouse is in good care–and gives me pride to know I helped get Spouse and Therapist together.

But last night, when I joined for a session, one of the things that came up is the silence of Spouse’s three weeks of sobriety. And I should know better because as a writer I know that absence is presence.

Spouse doesn’t like to talk about not drinking when he’s not drinking because it brings up the cravings; this I already knew. The fact of this makes sense. It is sometimes difficult, however, because when Spouse does drink, and the drinking becomes an issue, I face the no-win proposition of being reminded that when he doesn’t drink I do not mention it, and therefore when he does I should not mention it. Bad logic, but try logic with a drunk sometime and let me know how it worked for you.

In any case, Spouse also mentioned that there was a wish not to “jinx” things. And there is also the fear that I will leave. I have to set that aside for the moment and focus on the jinx issue.

I’ve not written in three weeks not because once Spouse stopped drinking rainbows came magically out of the places on our lawn where the unicorns had shit pots of gold. It just didn’t happen. If anything, the house was more tense. My life became more of a tightrope, even more centered on Spouse’s needs, moods, behaviors, whims and will. My needs did not stop, but I attempted to make them disappear and I certainly attempted to obliviate any mention of them.

Until I hurt my foot two days after suffering a migraine. It’s a little tough to “hide” a migraine. When I was having a non-stop four month migraine it was easier to push through, to (not quite*) function and to try to get through whatever my day demanded of me. But the punishment that comes with relief from migraine is a lessened ability to handle migraine.

Plus, Ankylosing Spondylitis really likes to cause tendons and ligaments to flare up. This is approximately the pain of being stabbed with something jagged that then works its way up or down depending on the placement of the injury and then calms into an unbearable ache. I tried valiantly to cover this up, but the faces I was making and the grunting noises were involuntary and occurred despite Vicodin and ice and heat and elevation (didn’t try compression).

Well, Spouse wasn’t having any of that. I had ruined the night! I was causing stress! I was failing to handle Spouse’s sobriety with kid-gloves! 

We had a nice (read disgustingly immaturely ugly) text war about it the next day in which I begged that he inform me when the moratorium on my life might be up so I could live without the fear of his drinking because of me. Spouse responded with “Don’t be surprised if I drink tonight!”

Then they bombed the Boston Marathon**.

I’ve been absent in the fear that if I discuss the pain of trying to be perfect so Spouse can have the sheltered space Spouse needs to get past the worst of recovery while staying in this marriage, I might have to admit that it is difficult.

It SUCKS!

It HURTS!

It’s a DAILY CHALLENGE!

I try to walk the fine balance between being supportive and becoming codependent, between being empowering of his positive choices and just empowering his addiction, between carrying him in his time of need and burying myself that he may walk on me. And there is not a spouse on earth who doesn’t do this while her or his Spouse is in recovery–especially the early stages.

Many early attempts at recovery fail because any attempt to change the dynamic of an alcoholic (or any addictive) relationship necessarily disturbs the balance–and dysfunctional as the balance may have been, it was a known quantity. Many early attempts at recovery fail because the Spouse who is trying to support a recovering Spouse doesn’t know how to break the patterns healthily–really, who does? 

And I’ve been hiding from my blog about this process because it is harder to write about the hardship of success, sometimes. We are raised not to complain about such things.

I should be doing cartwheels every five minutes he doesn’t drink. I should be dancing around my kitchen cooking for hours on end to make sure he doesn’t feel neglected*** or goes unfed. I should be singing from the rafters and dropping any not-absolutely-necessary engagements to be by his side.

Well, Bullshit.

Should I be pretending nothing different is going on and trying to fit our lives into the old drunk pattern? No. But neither should I be acting as though self-negation is somehow healthy for me OR our marriage.

Lesson learned? We’ll see.

*A friend actually broke out laughing when I claimed I had “functioned” through my four-month migraine.

**Boston Marathon discussion tomorrow along with the outcome of that fight

***Why I didn’t kill him for telling me he felt neglected the day after.

PLEASE feel free to comment. Share your stories, share your strength. (I can certainly use it.)

Confessions of a Fresh Food Failure

Oy.

My wonderful Spouse has been struggling, but staying sober for nearly two weeks! I can’t even begin to tell him how amazed and proud I am. The worst part of him getting sober is that discussion of him getting sober is difficult–it makes the cravings worse–so it’s tough to say I’m proud when it brings up the why.

But I’m VERY proud of Spouse. And very ASHAMED of me.

I’ve always disliked working in cubicle world. And even though I do have a de-luxe cubicle, with a sliding plastic door and a dual-screen computer, cubicle world is still just that: Cubicle World.

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Sadly, it’s where the vast majority of Americans spend their time.

In addition, my cubicle world is attached to some Important People, and so, in an effort to get the attention of these Important People, less important people come all the time–and they bring tributes.

This week that included donuts, box lunches with pressed turkey sandwiches, chips, and cookies and soda. Pressed turkey. Ew.

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I took out my turkey and ate the sandwich as a cheese sandwich (unlike one of my co-workers who, I found out, had taken out the cheese). And as I ate the small bag of kettle chips (my first in a very, very long time) I thought how could there be so many chips in here? I can’t eat this much! I used to eat two of these! Yet I finished the bag of chips. Ew.

That afternoon, worn out from the sugar rush and falling asleep at my desk, I had a Krispy Kreme donut. Yup. Trans-fat covered in sugar. The pick me up lasted a half hour. Of course.

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I then had gummy bears. A lemon drop. And when I got home, cheesy bread.

Thursday I had a migraine.

Now, the migraine is the end result of my medications being switched around, but it was probably finalized by the feeding frenzy. I poured SHIT into my body. My body responded by attempting to kill me. I think it’s kind of fair. I wish this alarm system had been available to me before I hit 200 pounds, but I shouldn’t complain. I have it now. 

Yay. 

I spent yesterday in bed, with the blackout curtains pulled. trying hard not to think about Spouse’s rather ugly “I fully support your effort to have the best migraine ever!” comment. Trying to get the numbness at the end of my tongue to stop and the sensation in the left side of my body to start (I get neurologic migraines, yay!). And then, after 6 pm, I finally got a medication to take with the rescue medication so I wouldn’t puke from the rescue medication. No really. Took meds to take meds.

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(One has to actually put the inhaler together while suffering a migraine in order to take the medicine and make the migraine go away.)

And so, it was with dismay that I walked into the kitchenette at my office this morning:

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(This photo was taken 3 hours later, when the majority of the eating was over. At 8, there were 3 bags of bagels, two coffee cakes, one box of bear claws, a box of pastries of other kinds, and chocolate chip cookies)

I got my coffee, said hello to my buzzing coworkers as they shmeered their bagels,  cut their coffee cake and talked about the coming weekend. It was lovely. I left the kitchenette with only my coffee in hand.

In one moment of weakness my thought process went something like it was the donut that did it the other day, you can have a bagel, no big deal. You’ll be fine if you just have a bagel.

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I would have been fine, in fact. My body seems to have made peace with bagels. But bagels are made with HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). And if you’ve watched “The Bitter Truth About Sugar” on youtube.com as I have suggested, you know that fructose without fiber is pure poison to the liver. And so, I was left with the thought that while I might survive, would I really want to punch the brain that was just getting back on its neurons from yesterday’s beatings?

It is a blessing and a curse. I have known for a long time that I cannot eat as others do. I have watched people eat pastries and candies and chocolates and sugary sweets–and show no sign that it is their primary dietary intake. I have railed, WHY, Oh WHY can’t I?!? I have also come to understand that 40% of people who are NOT overweight are obese by health standards, and many simply don’t know it because they think they look fine. And, as analog, 20% of fat people are perfectly healthy. Remember that.

It is a blessing and a curse. I have known for a long time that simple carbs simply hurt me.

Now, I have nearly immediate, physical punishment. This is Aversion Therapy at its purest. Thanks to migraines I have absolutely NO wish to eat chocolate. can’t even stand the smell of it. Now, maybe, thanks to complex migraine syndrome I can stop having cravings for any form of HFCS, simple carbohydrates. No more need for bread, donuts, cookies, cake, or any of those other things that are killing us all softly.

The Best Kind of FAIL

The best kind of fail is the one you finally see and can learn from. I say finally, because although it felt like I caught the fail in its first iteration yesterday, I know I didn’t. I know damned well this has been going on for a good long time, and I’ve never bothered to look beyond me to see it. But yesterday, I did.

Anyone who’s been through ANY detox process can tell you that the first X days are a bitch, and so are you! My first week off of sugar, Spouse couldn’t talk to me without getting the look of death, and I’ve been told I have a pretty potent one. But I couldn’t have told anyone in the moment that I was cranky (to put things mildly) because my brain wasn’t getting the biochemicals it wanted. Just like a child can’t tell you why he is having a meltdown as he has it. And on some level, that has to be ok. In particular, that has to be ok with your loved ones. And that was my fail, yesterday. I failed to recognize in Spouse a problem I’ve been through; I faied to see it from the other side. 

But it was a good fail.

I work in an office where sugar rules the day–every day that ends in Y. In fact, I just finished a bagel. With garden veggie cream cheese. And then went and had another half a bagel. Because falling off the wagon is a talent I share with Spouse. I will have to get back on the wagon. But this is about Spouse’s wagon, and he is ON.

Yesterday was day three. Day three of any wagon SUCKS. I cannot cap, bold, italicize or emphasize that enough. And there’s nothing to be done for it.

We began day three with Spouse coming out of his bedroom, ranting at me, getting dressed and then leaving. Spouse managed to say “I love you” before leaving–a rule I instituted at the beginning of our relationship. I gave Spouse my death stare.

The rant itself is important, so I will get back to it, but first, the rant and reaction. Spouse is not ever a happy morning soul. I hate waking up only slightly more than I hate going to sleep, so essentially mornings are the time to not be in our house (or our marriage). Two cups of coffee and an hour or so of silent newspaper reading (on Spouse’s part) plus two cups of coffee and some talking (on mine) can fix it–but we rarely get that much time together.

SO: Crankibutt is the order of the morning.

Also, you should know that in order to facilitate both Spouse’s hard work toward sobriety and my work toward sugar sobriety, I cook all our meals each evening. I make dinner and breakfast and lunch all at the same time (and am right now experimenting with a tapas driven diet which I will discuss some other time).

The other night, I came home ragged, and exhausted. I had every pain I can have; arthritis in my feet, back, hips, and newly neck; chest pain, which I think is a new arthritic development, headache on the verge of migraine as we have been slowly raising my meds to try to get away from the constant edge; and bits of fibromyalgic sore spots to round it all off. I was a bit tired from the pain–to say the least. Spouse and I agreed it would be best for me to go to bed and cook in the morning as I had a late start the next day.

The next day was day three. I had a late start, I was making breakfast when Spouse woke. Spouse’s brain was making excuses to be angry and stressed so Spouse would give in and give it what it wanted–alcohol. At the same time I called a contact I was supposed to meet about a freelance gig. She had a grandchild with a high fever. I offered her the chance to reschedule. She demurred.

“Tell me you didn’t just cancel.”

“No. We are meeting a half hour later. Her granddaughter has a high fever, and I offered to reschedule.” I answered.

And as he walked to the bathroom, under my breath, piqued as I already was, I added, “but thanks for the faith you consistently have in me.”

He asked me to repeat myself in that angry tone people get when they know you’ve said something ugly.

I did, in that ugly tone we use when we really mean it. I hate myself for that moment.

That’s when the rant started. About all I have not done. All the things I could do better. Down to the laundry I had not moved from the washer to the dryer. And here’s the thing. It was wrong, but Spouse was right. I have failures. So does Spouse. The rant had nothing to do with the list of failures.

“I’m leaving,” he said. “I love you.”

I gave him the death look. I hate myself for that moment.

It wasn’t until hours later, at my desk, reading crap I was not interested in, thinking Spouse had better apologize! and Who does Spouse think Spouse is?!? and all the other defensive thoughts one can gather, that Spouse texted me that he was having a crappy day. 

Insert BOMB going off in head instead of lightbulb here.

Crap.

Of course he’s having a crappy day! It’s day 3! 

And I refused to say I love you.

Did I mention I hated myself for this?

But that’s when FAILURE can become fortune.

It hit like a recycling bin full of gin bottles.

Every time he tries, he hits day three, gets ugly with me, I get ugly back, he has a bad day, I make it worse, and then he drinks. And I wonder why he didn’t get through day 3. Which makes me slow, I know.

Bless my heart, as we say in the South.

So I texted back asking about his bad day. Asking about how to help. And then asking about the pattern.

“ok. so here’s the pattern. On day three, you have a crap day. I respond badly, and that takes away your sense of support. I think I need to be more careful around you on certain days. Does that sound right?”

sure”

That was all I got back. And then there was “radio silence” for a while then a reminder that reminding him about tough days makes them tougher. Then things went back to ok for us. No apologies from Spouse; apologies from ME. because I FAILED.

I failed to give support. I failed to understand that what I go through, Spouse goes through. The jargon for that is empathy! That being understanding is sometimes ALL I can do–and far more important than anything else. And here’s the biggie. I failed to notice that the pattern of Spouse’s drinking, while not caused by me, is affected by my behavior.

NO. I am not taking responsibility for Spouse’s choices. NO. I am not taking blame for wagon falls. but, YES, I am taking note that Spouse does not drink in a vaccuum. That Spouse’s interactions with me can be a way to keep the feeling of support and love he needs to make it through the really, thoroughly CRAPPY days that sobriety entails.

It’s the best kid of fail ever.

Spouse failed to drink last night. Yay.

That’s a NORMAL cyst growing in your head

Well, the MRI came back and there is no tumor and no MS in my brain. Yay! 

Mostly, I’d like to take a moment of silence to be thankful they even found a brain.

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(Thanks http://www.drvinni.com)

Amen.

But.

There was a but. I hate it when a neurologist tells me all was fine, but. And the but had a but of its own. I am reserving my use of the second t. BUT I have a cyst in my right sinus. BUT that’s normal for people who live here in T-Town.

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(Thanks http://www.evilgalproductions.com)

Yup. Normal. For people living. Here.

I’ve heard that before. I’m something of a nomad. I used to live a little too close to what used to be Love Canal. Sometime in the 90s the EPA pronounced it “as safe a place to live” as any other in the area. Speaks rather poorly of the area; says not a damned thing about Love Canal.  MS looks more likely when you’ve lived in the world capitol of MS.

BUT I don’t have MS. YAY! I have a cyst in my sinus, and while that being NORMAL is a bit odd to me, I’m happy. Because the rest of the convo went something like:

“But there’s no tumor or any other foreign growth pressing on that nerve,” Neuro, MD, said.

“MMM HMMM,” I pretend to respond. My brain is saying–good news! BUT, also, we have NO idea why my head is in a near constant state of suicide-inducing pain. Meh. You DON’T have a growth in your head! We can figure out the rest later! Damned straight!

I smiled!

“So, do you have double vision?”

“MMM HMMM,” That’s me again, though inside I was saying, how the hell did you know!?!

I think it’s important to change the topic once you’ve told someone the growth in their face is normal for where they live. Good idea, doc.

It worked.

I spent the rest of the visit doing neuro exam stuff (like following and counting fingers) all of which revealed the double vision to only be in one eye and to be up-down. NOT normal. Hah!  Finally, something that doesn’t make sense in my doesn’t make sense world. Maybe we can make some sense of it.

Nope. This kind of not normal usually means there’s just something wrong with the eye. That’s good news, BUT it also means we still don’t know the why of my headaches.

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(thanks http://www.asiantidnia.com)

Monocular diplopia. 

Cool, huh? I wonder if that’s normal for some other place I’ve lived. Now I have to go see an ophthalmologist.

Or two.

blotto

My Spouse is an alcoholic. 

I should not then be surprised when I find out things that should have been obvious but that I hadn’t considered or factored, or allowed myself to think. And yet I am. This last week was Spouse’s vacation, and it was spent in drink. And I knew it would be even though Spouse kept telling me he’d try not to. I was not surprised that it was. I was surprised that toward the end of the week Spouse seemed to get more drunk each night, despite the fact that Spouse only bought a certain amount each  night. I mentioned it to Spouse this morning and got a blank “huh” along with the need for an explanation of “blotto”–the term I’ve always associated with so drunk one makes little sense, can form no coherent sentences and blacks out the information.

Which is why I should not now be stunned, having fought with Spouse this evening as happens on nights when my pain and Spouse’s drinking clash, and we are at odds with each others’ wishes. Spouse wanted to go out. Wanted me to drive because Spouse has been faithful about not driving drunk. I wanted to go to bed. I had pain in my neck that had afflicted me all day (along with the usual pelvic pain that signals hip damage in ankylosing spondylitis patients and lower back pain that in me is part arthritis part leftovers from the car wreck that should have killed me in 1994).

We fought. Then we talked calmly in argument. And I pointed out that to my hearing “let’s go out” means “I want to drink more.” It carries this meaning because I believe that there is a finite amount of alcohol at home and therefore to get more drunk, Spouse must go out. Spouse laughed at me and told me that there is far more alcohol hidden in the house than Spouse could drink in one night.

Alcohol hidden in the house.

Blood frozen in my veins. Cliche.

Ache in my chest as I type this. Cliche.

Tears welling up even hours later. Cliche.

But hell; alcohol hidden in the house is about as cliche an alcoholic move as an alcoholic can get.

I will be up most of the night in pain. Spouse is passed out in Spouse’s “other” room, where Spouse sleeps of late in order to escape my crazy sleep patterns which include yelling and shoving and hitting when I do sleep and tossing and turning when I don’t.

Tomorrow we will talk like normal, sane humans. We will figure things out. We will find a way to deal with another day.

Tomorrow I will celebrate Passover with a mini-Seder, at which I will pronounce my freedom, knowing that none of us is free. 

I am a prisoner of my pain, of my pain medication, of my food, of my need to control my food. Of my past. I am a prisoner of my own design. And Spouse is a prisoner of all those things and more. We are both enslaved. Spouse is likely more so than I. 

I must find a way out of our Egypt.

Spring has sprung… ugh

So, this week has been an odd one. Big Fails. Big Fortunes.

Alcohol at home; it’s a daily struggle, and there is change. Spouse is learning not to allow the drinking to bring on fighting. We are daily reminding ourselves of the love that holds us together, but also daily reminding ourselves of our goals. Health is a top team-priority. And on that front, this week has been fortune.

We both got outfitted with better shoes this week. Another reminder of how privileged our lives are. We can afford to have good shoes. Really good shoes. Mine are perfect for my strange arches, my unhappy toes (though they are still unhappy, they are not as unhappy as they used to be), my unstable ankles; in fact, I think I tried on eight pairs of shoes before I found the right ones, and the salesman (he was male, I’m not being sexist) was fantastic in choosing each pair based on what didn’t work in the previous pair as well as what did.

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(I want these!!! Thanks bitrebels.com)

Outfitted in shoes, we realized we had to exercise. Spouse walked 4.5 miles one evening while waiting for me to come home from work. Another evening, we walked through the neighborhood (about 2 miles), but the highlight of the week was 3.6 miles in under an hour! 

The beauty of walking with Spouse is I get to spend non-television-mediated, non-food-mediated, non-drink-mediated time with him. We are not sitting and staring at the screen, we walk, side by side. We talk; me far more than Spouse. We listen; reverse previous. It’s ROMANTIC to exercise!!! Believe me, it was VERY romantic…

And yet, last night, we opted for the couch. It’s astounding to me how easily I fall back into laziness when there is such reward for effort.

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(Whatever it takes… Thanks sandierpastures.com)

The season is perfect; not too hot yet. Not too cold anymore. Only one problem enters the picture: POLLEN.

I watched a tree sneeze!

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(Imagine this multiplied by tree. Thanks mabtech.com)

As I sat in my office last week, I looked out the window just in time to see a sharp wind catch a branch of the tree in my view. The pollen came off it so explosively, so suddenly and then stopped so quickly that it simply looked as though the tree had sneezed. Everyone in T-town is sneezing, now. No surprise to se the trees joining in.

Honestly, allergists LOVE this place.

I, for one, love how green my town is. I could just do with less yellow.

And so we make the pharmaceutical companies richer, just so we can take 3.6 mile walks together. Honestly. ROMANTIC. I’ll take the pollen and the walk any day.

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