Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.
What you are about to read may not sound as if it is about gratitude at first because I bitch a lot but really, it is. I get there eventually. Honest.
I’m cleaning my bathroom. Really, I’m taking a rest from cleaning my bathroom. sigh… I can’t clean the whole damn thing without tuckering out anymore. I have to sit down and take a break. It used to be a cigarette break but I don’t smoke anymore so I can’t blame it on that anymore.
I’m just too damn tuckered out to stay with it. This sucks.To be fair to myself I did go over to the southside to see Harry today which meant a long bus trip both ways and then when I got back downtown I went to the Community Pharmacy (my goodness, a whole month has gone by already!) and while I was waiting for my order to be filled I wandered down State Street to Steep and Brew in the hopes I would meet up with someone I met recently. That didn’t pan out but I did meet up with the person who introduced us and I asked him to pass the message on to her that I was very much interested in seeing her again. He will. He’s good people.
All of that meant a very big tiring day. For me. For normal people that probably sounds like not all that much. No big deal A hassle maybe with the bus-ride down to the coliseum but not really much of anything to exhaust you the way it exhausted me. :^|
My get up and go got up and went somewhere in the mid 90′s and it never came back. I can actually pinpoint the approximate time it left. My son had a severe car accident in Oshkosh in 1996 around 9PM on a cold February night shortly after his 25th birthday and by the time I got hold of his sister and girlfriend and we got on the road it was nearly midnight.
We got there just in time to greet him when he came out of surgery. We stayed up all night with him trying to keep him calm and steady as he suffered through the pain of losing his spleen and a head injury that made him kind of goofy. For the next week and a half I used up my vacation time running up to Oshkosh every other day and spending the night and getting up at gawd-awful hours to get to work on time while the girls took the other days.
Basically I wasn’t sleeping much at all which is not a good thing for someone who is Bi-Polar. We can do it. Oh yes indeedy, we can. We feed off of lack of sleep. The less we get, the more hyper we get. Eventually we start running on fumes, believing we are super heroes who can do anything and have to be shot down by family and friends and dragged off to the hospital to bring us down to earth or we collapse in a heap of sodden dross like I did.
I caught a cold that turned into bronchitis that wouldn’t go away. It took three weeks to recover from that and then when I went back to work I would be there a day or two and get sick again. This went on for two months before the doctor recommended I take a leave of absence and just rest until I felt like my old self. I never got well enough to work full time again. I’ve never felt like my old self again. I came to the sad realization that I never will some time ago.
My Doctors (boy you wouldn’t believe the specialists I’ve seen) discovered my anti-nuclear antibodies are elevated which probably means I have some sort of auto immune disorder. It hasn’t been diagnosed yet because auto immune disorders are extremely difficult to pin down. I’ve since discovered that there are many many people on both sides of my family who have auto immune disorders and on my father’s side with which I seem to have the most similar symptoms in common the various doctors who are treating these people all disagree about what is going on.
What they do agree with is that I have the symptoms of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthralgia (similar to arthritis) and neuropathy. I also have something going on neurologically but they aren’t sure what so there isn’t a name for it but I have vertigo aometimes not all the time. I fall a lot. I have some short term and long term memory problems with language. It’s not really aphasia because I don’t have a lesion but at times I just can not say or write a word I want. It’s there but I can’t get it out. Maybe it’s early onset Alzheimers. Ugh… I was being treated for suspected Lupus of the central nervous system for five years, including a low dose of chemotherapy for more than two years but Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN does not believe I have Lupus which is a relief because Lupus is one nasty disease. I’m going with their opinion simply because the other option was so depressing.
At any-rate, eventually I had to give up and accept that I would probably not be able to work at all. Not only that, I had to give up driving my car and my moped. I had to get used to the fact that instead of being able to function on 5 hours of sleep a night I needed at least eight and sometimes ten AND a two hour nap in the afternoon if I was going to stay out of the doctors office with minor ailments.
I was only 44 years old when this all began and this was not what I had envisioned my middle-age would be like. AT first I thought the Doctors would figure out what was wrong and the miracles of modern medicine would fix me right up. WRONG.
I had just moved in with the man of my dreams a few days after Christmas just before my son had his accident. Our whole lifestyle was meant to be built around the outdoors and playing golf, swimming in his in-ground pool, riding in his T-top convertibles, taking care of the landscaping on the ten acres he owned and gardening and they tell me I probably have Lupus and can’t be in the sun? WTF?
It still took a full year for that to fully sink in and take hold. I had no idea what Lupus was. Then I went to the library and got a few books. Meanwhile I started having massive headaches and couldn’t read the damn books! I found out that for the first time in my life my better than perfect eyesight was going to hell and I had to get glasses to read with. OK, I WAS middle-aged but still, on top of everything it was just another blow.
What kind of cosmic joke was this? My perfect guy’s got a five bedroom McMansion (OK it’s not all that fancy but it’s huge) that needs to be cleaned and even though he is doing half of it, I was still not up to keeping up with my half. He was understanding and all that (we’d been dating for better than a year) but you know what, I could tell he was feeling cheated and I don’t blame him. Instead of a partner to share his early retirement coming up soon, the asset he was looking for, had become a liability. NOT GOOD.
I left. He argued with me about it but not too hard.
Sometimes I still get mad about all of this. Like when I have to take a break cleaning the bathroom for gawd’s sake. I used to be able to thoroughly clean a whole house without taking a break because I was tired. That was Saturdays. On Saturday when I mopped the kitchen floor, I pulled out the refrigerator and stove and cleaned behind them. Every Saturday. I was just a little obsessive compulsive. But it bugs me that there’s a bunch of dirt lurking under there now. eeeew!
I’ve learned to accept it more because what the hell, I don’t have much choice do I? This is my life. It took me all weekend to recover from spending the 4th of July and the day after with my kids. I fried chicken for them on the 4th which is the only day all year that any of us eat fried chicken. My daughter and I fry it out on the front porch and we all giggle about being rednecks and wave at all the people driving by in their antique cars. The Gr-son and his Daddy shoot off some of their fireworks.
The next day I flew a kite with my Gr-Son in the morning and took him swimming in the afternoon. I’ll treasure that memory for a long times. I hope he does too. We had a good day. He was really good for me. My son and I went out for dinner at A&W when he brought me home and we had a good talk. I had a good time with my kids but it was exhausting. It took me all weekend to recover. I pretty much slept the whole weekend away.
I wanted more for myself than this but this is what I have and I’m grateful I have this much because it could be worse. It could be much worse. All I have to do is look around me and see how much worse it could be. Each day is a gift and I’m happy. Really, when you think about it, what is there to bitch about? I have a nice soft bed to sleep in after I get home from visiting the kids. I can walk down State Street and say hello to people I’ve known almost twenty years who don’t have families or don’t know where their families are, who are homeless and don’t have the luxuries I have. Life as I know it IS good.