Tired in the Face of Battle

Once I wrote a blog about abortion.  I was angry at some bill that was being presented in South Dakota that when boiled down would have made it acceptable to kill anyone trying to terminate a pregnancy.  It triggered me to pull out my soapbox and start screaming.  Now it’s several years later and guys, I’m tired.

I mean, we shouldn’t have to still be doing this.

This week was draining.  This week was repulsive.  I am disgusted and exhausted, and I just do not have a thousand words on why you shouldn’t outlaw abortion.  Church and state.  The Constitution.  Not everyone is religious.  Back alley abortions.  Etc, etc, etc.  I just don’t have it in me.  I’ve passed the point of reasonable, logical discourse and moved right on to blind fury.  I spend my mornings screaming at the television.  I go on Twitter and Facebook to find every woman I know out for blood.  Even women I don’t usually agree with are angry.  They’re the sort that “don’t care about politics” or who I have assumed to be pro-life due to their religious beliefs.  I’m finding that even they are outraged at items like how under some laws abortion would get you more time in prison than your rapist whose baby you aborted.  I may not always understand them and we may not agree on everything, but it gives me hope to see these women realize that this isn’t a war on abortion, it’s a war on US.

Still, certain females (and Alabama state governors) turn their back on their sisters (and constituents) and refuse to acknowledge other points of view.  You can’t be a public servant and not serve the public, of which 70% agree with Row Vs. Wade.  It’s just not in your job description.

I’ve never had an abortion, but I have used birth control and Plan B.  It’s a slippery slope, you see, and that’s what they’ll come for next.  There have already been fights, such as employers refusing to cover birth control based on religious grounds.  I have no intention of having children, and I refuse to be seen as a walking uterus, which is why I am so absolutely grossed out by what is happening in my country right now.  And still, so tired.

Tired of the apathy.  Tired of the women who don’t care.  Tired of the men who know better but don’t speak up.  Tired of the men who know nothing doing all the talking.  Tired of the war, man…the struggle.  Just tired.

So, I don’t have a scathing diatribe about abortion rights, because I am saving my energy for actual battle.   There are protests to go to and letters to write and phone calls to make, and I would rather spend my time and energy doing something instead of just sitting here bitching about it.  Not that I won’t complain, mind you; that’s simply my nature.  I will continue to yell at my television screen each morning.  It’s cathartic.  The point, however, is that I can write all the blogs about abortion rights that I want but if I’m not actually doing something than what’s the point?  Yes, my words are my weapons but in times like these we need actual energy and movement and fury.  I’m tired, yes, but I’m also livid, and that rage fuels me to keep fighting for equal rights.  That anger is what keeps me going on the days when it all becomes too much to process, which has been the case this past week. 

Yes, I am tired.  No, I am not giving up.

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Mother’s Day/Week

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  I spent the day with the kiddos and had breakfast with them and my mom.  It was nice.  The girls made me cards; the boys gave me hugs. 
This week I am going to experience full-time motherhood for the first time.  M is staying with us for the next week, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous.  He’s 14 and fairly self-sufficient, but I am concerned that myself or Mark will encounter a situation we do not usually deal with and as a result may make some kind of parenting faux pas.  I know logically that there is no one handbook for parenting and that I have 20 years of child care experience to lean on.  I am, despite not having any kids of my own, more prepared to raise a child than my husband who has four of them.  This however does not comfort me, because when they’re your own it’s different.  M isn’t some kid at a school or daycare that I care for from the hours of nine to five.  He’s my little buddy, the boy that I admire more and more as I watch him grow into an amazing young man.  When I’m working I can make decisions easily.  I can tell a parent about their child’s day and then walk away.  This time around I will be the one that can’t walk away, the one that takes that kid home with them, and those decisions become more difficult.  Part of me says it will be easy and I have nothing to worry about.  He’s a teenager not a toddler, and giving him some freedom to walk home from school or up to the store is natural.  Still, I sit here fearing the worst because for once I am on the other side of the coin.  What if something happens at school?   Or on the walk home?  Or at any time in the next week?   Mark has been nervous for weeks and I keep telling him to relax, relying on my past to provide all the knowledge and preparation I need.  Now the moment is here, he’s coming tonight, and I am freaking out a tad.  What if I’m not attentive enough?   What if there’s a problem at school?   What if he gets lost or hurt on the way home?  All these thoughts are seeping into my brain and I don’t care for it.  I sit here and tell myself that I am great at kids, because I am.  I don’t brag about much but I’ll brag about that.  I’m the kid-whisperer and always have been, but do these talents still work on teenagers?  Do they work on the kids that come home to you at the end of the day?

M is very much looking forward to his visit. In fact, he wanted to come a day early. I am excited, too, but I have these little worries that gnaw at my brain.  It reminds me of yet another reason I’m not planning to have children: the constant worry. I am already constantly worried; I don’t need some kiddo adding to it.  Yet here we are. 
I love this kid and am so glad he gets to spends some time with us.  I am hoping that this week is fun and productive for everybody.  In fact, I’m sure it will be.  Mark is ecstatic about having his eldest around, despite his worries.  I need to tap into that, because I remain a nervous wreck, terrified that I will mess up somehow.  I don’t feel this way when the kids are here on the weekends, which is interesting as there are many of them and they are far more likely to riot. One kid should be no problem, right? 

This is what I’m telling myself, at least.

Golden Girl

Over the past two weeks I have spent a lot of time doing nothing, as per doctors’ orders.  It has been difficult, as I am easily bored and like to putter around the house.  I am now finally upright however, after being instructed to lay on my right side for over a week.  I have partial vision in my eye, and am watching the gas bubble they inserted shrink more each day.  But enough about my eyeball.  Let’s talk about The Golden Girls.

As I said, I have had plenty of time with nothing to do, and this resulted in me binge watching The Golden Girls.  I have many happy memories associated with this show.  When I was a kid, I used to play make-believe with my friends and grandma; I was usually Dorothy or Rose.  We would sit at the kitchen table and eat cake and pretend we were 50-year-olds.  Grandma Lois loved The Golden Girls and always let me watch it with her even though I know she deemed it somewhat inappropriate.  It made me feel grown up to watch this with her, as our other shows (Mr. Ed, Punky Brewster, and The Littlest Hobo) were all kid-friendly. 

Anyway, I was binge watching, and I noticed something.  I learned a ridiculous amount from The Golden Girls.  It seems like every other episode I watch there is a topic that my young self heard about for the first time from the mouths of Rose, Blanche, Sophia, and Dorothy.  Today I watched an episode where Sophia’s friend considers suicide, as she has failing health and no friends or family left.   I didn’t know what suicide was when I was a child, and of course never had the nerve to ask.  I remember this episode, and the satisfaction of figuring something out on my own.  In another episode, the girls buy condoms.  I never heard of a condom until that episode.  I didn’t know what they were for exactly, but I sensed they were important in the process of “making love,” another term I learned thanks to the Girls.  In another episode they discuss shaving their legs.  Up until that point I just assumed your legs stayed mostly hairless.  The first time I learned about addiction was when Rose was addicted to painkillers.  The first time I learned about gay people was because of Blanche’s brother.

The point here is that they answered the questions I didn’t want to ask. 

I was an introverted child who was perfectly happy spending hours in the library looking up answers to my questions rather than, say, just asking my mother.  When the internet became a thing, I spent hours just surfing Wikipedia and reading information on whatever topic was plaguing me at that time.  I have always been content finding things out on my own, and now that I look back on it, I found out a lot from The Golden Girls.  Back before I could traipse myself to the library, they were piping in adult themes at an early age, which was fine by me as I had long since tired of most child-friendly programming by the time I was 5.  I watched the shows of course, but I’d rather watch Cheers with my parents if they’d let me stay up that late.  And I would certainly rather watch The Golden Girls with my grandma.  She wasn’t around in my life for very long, but she did leave me with a television show that taught me all sorts of things that she could have, had she been given more time.  That makes me smile.  Every time I watch an episode, I think of her.  Clearly, she’s been on my mind a lot during these past two weeks.  I don’t have a whole lot of memories of her anymore, but the memory of sitting together and watching the show remains, and I am glad I can visit her anytime I want by just turning on The Golden Girls.

Aftermath

I’m typing on my phone because my desktop doesn’t lay sideways.  I tried it with the laptop but that was unsuccessful.  So here I am, pecking out words with my thumbs so very much slower than I would if I could use all ten fingers. 
I am sideways because of my eye surgery. In the end, doc found a tiny hole and thought the safest measure was to put a gas bubble in my eye to heal it.  It is. I know it is.  It still sucks.
The day after surgery was agony.  My eye pressure was 42.  For comparison my good eye was 14. I puked all over doctor’s office and went home with the worst headache I’ve ever had.  I have a strict pill and eye drop regimen meant to bring the pressure down.  So, for the third day there was relief, and boredom mostly, as I laid on the couch and watched Golden Girls all day.  I was finally getting relief from the meds, but the next morning I realized that anytime I got up to go to the bathroom I was terribly dizzy.  Not to mention the spikes in my blood sugar from all the eye drops.  The following day I started throwing up again.  I remain certain that this was not gastroparesis associated, even though that’s what they put on my discharge sheet from the ER, where I spent my afternoon and evening sweating, shaking, shivering, and vomiting.  I missed my appointment with my doc and ended up having to stay sideways a bit longer.  The weekend was hard because the kids were here, but I did my best.  Then today I woke up feeling dizzy and sick. Now I am desperately waiting for 4:30pm tomorrow when I can see him and he can tell me what I can do to start feeling like myself again.  Can I finally leave my right side?  Can I sit up for more than fifteen minutes at a time?  Can I stop the eye drops that raise my blood sugar?  Can I count on seeing clearly again, and when??  When, when, when?  That, my friends, is the question of the hour.  I comfort myself with silver linings, and all the things I will be able to do once my eye has cleared.  But now it will take longer than it was supposed to, and I’m generally an impatient person.  It’s very hard to look forward to the future when the now sucks so much.  Still, I dream of the books I will read and the new glasses I will get and the clear blue sky, and I persist.

Happy Easter

Today I write on a Saturday, because that eye surgery I previously mentioned was held over until this Monday.  I have been tasked with one mission this week, and that is to not get sick.  So far, so good.

I don’t go in for much at Easter because while I like free chocolate from my Momma I also dislike religion in general.  I spent the morning watching yet another cult documentary and realized that a lot of the feelings these people had are feelings I myself have had as a member of the Catholic church.  I can see too many parallels, and it upsets me.  Especially with the pomp and circumstance of my youth that was Easter week.

It would start on Palm Sunday when we would HAVE to go to church early to get our palms and have them blessed, and then they asked a bunch of children armed with branches to sit still and stay quiet for an hour.  I don’t know how we did it.

Then came Holy Thursday, which is when Jesus got together with his buddies and had a little Eucharist.  This is followed by Good Friday, a day in which we would not eat meat, nor do anything during the hours of noon and three, because Jesus is on the cross.  Early morning was usually taken over by the Stations of the Cross, which is like a really, really boring art exhibit.  Actually, I’ve been to some with no art, just markers, which just makes it boring storytelling.  I mean, I know what happens.  He falls.  He gets up.  He falls again.  It’s all very repetitive.  By the time they put the spear in his side I was thinking less about the sacrifice of Jesus and more about what’s for lunch.

Tuna, naturally.

Holy Saturday was always kind of a pain because you’re just waiting for Jesus to pop out and give you a chocolate bunny.  At least that’s how my young self understood it.  When I got older and started finding cracks in Catholicism, I became obsessed with the Easter story because Mary Magdelene was in it, and I am of the belief that she was Jesus’ wife.  Easter has as much to do with chocolate bunnies as it does the resurrection of a Messiah.  Which is very little, because we all know Easter is a pagan holiday centered around an equinox, just like Christmas.  And that’s what I like to think about on this “holy” day.

I like to think about life starting anew. About second chances.  About turning over new leaves and starting fresh.  That’s my idea of Easter; the world is becoming new again and so should you.  And for the religious folk, you can’t argue that that’s not what Jesus wants for you, to shed your dead weight and be the best you can be.  We may have different opinions about the symbolisms of the holiday, but we can at least agree that growth and renewal is always welcome.

Now, it’s Sunday.  I had a lovely brunch at my mother’s house with the family, and it looks like my tummy plans on digesting everything properly, which means I will be go for surgery in the morning.  I am a little nervous, mainly that something will go wrong, not of the surgery itself.  The very worst-case scenario is a situation I have been in before, so I know that I will be okay, but I don’t want to have to go through it again.   I’m also nervous that their nurses won’t find a vein, because I am like a Where’s Waldo book in that department.  Here’s hoping that I get a nurse who has the golden touch, like those troopers in the ER at Mercy.  Soon I will see the world clearly again, and I cannot wait.  All the more reason to be excited for the renewal that comes with springtime.  Anyhoo…happy Easter.

Poetry Month!

It’s National Poetry Month, and as such I wanted to write about poetry.  More specifically, I wanted to write poetry.  There are a couple problems doing that on your blog, however.  For one, if it’s a piece you may want to send out some day, you shouldn’t post it elsewhere.  The second part of the problem is that you never really know when you’re going to want to polish something up and post it.  Also, my current crap WordPress theme does not allow for my poetry to appear as I would like.  So, what I’ve done here is chosen a few poems that were recently penned by me and have some sort of relation to the past week or so of my life.  If I make the decision to rework them, I will remove them, and I formatted them as best as I could given my narrow theme selections.  (Ps, all of the formatting on WordPress has changed, and I don’t like it.)

So, here’s three poems.  Enjoy, and Happy Poetry Month.

Cross Fade

In tight on a point of light/ somewhere in the darkness we create/ with black drapes and paint spills.  Ghost light center stage/ a reminder or warning/ depending on your point of view/ depending on how long you’ve been/ scraping tar and feathers off the floor. Some people have disposable souls/ kept in their pockets like tissues for windy days. Others have masks they discard as the music moves them/ twirling to the edges of my perception. Quiet and watchful as always I/ notice these exceptions/ these disregards/ this lack of loyalty. The slap in my face was deserved; I know how much you took. My silent observations belie my hand/ and this heart disconnects from its fingers/ pouring blood where they used to be paint. I watch you sink, and frown.  What a waste.

Skin

Unbreakable, my skin/ tough like Teflon but soft/ in places where light shines through/ I feel tissue-paper-thin as/ I bend in the wind. My arms like lead and my/ head on fire I remember when/ my skin gave way to/ prickles of blood on white and/ I felt my senses swirl away from me/ reaching for a steady hand/ when all that catches me / is air.

Click-Clack

I want to write madly/ fingers flying over a keyboard as I / feel my senses bleed onto word documents but this darkness paralyzes me/ leaving me broken and bruised again.  I lick my wounds and stare/ at my black behemoth of a computer that/ sits in judgement over / my lack of output.  She shakes her head/ this ghost in the machine/ and scolds me for giving up, for taking time…I cringe.  My heart is beating but my pulse/ is weak and I feel / lost somehow in the tangle of wires/ that connects me to the world outside.  I want to sit on my throne and/ pen my words with the rapid fire click-clack of keys/ or the scratching and scrawling of pen on paper/ but I can’t raise my head toward the light.  I can’t grip the pencil between my tired fingers.  Instead I sit in shame while she judges me again/ laughing at my weakness like so many schoolchildren/ and I am left wanting once again.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Eyes Wide Open

person eye
Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

As I write, it is not Monday, because I won’t be able to write on Monday.  I will instead head off to my second eye surgery.

I have mentioned before how the worst part of having diabetes is the side effects.  They’re what get you in the end.  I suffer from two major side effects, gastroparesis and retinopathy.  So of course, now that my tummy has finally settled down for a while, my eye has decided to revolt.

Typically, I get shots of Avastin every few months in my eye, which is usually terrifying to anyone I mention it to.  Honestly it isn’t that bad.  You don’t have many nerve receptors in your eyeball, so it’s more of an uncomfortable prick than anything else.  The real annoyance is the speculum that holds your eye open, and the stuff they use to sterilize it.  Sometimes when I get the shots, I can even see the little bubbles of medicine as it’s injected, which is kind of cool.

I don’t know the technical name for my surgery on Monday but essentially, they are going to use a tiny vacuum to remove the blood that has taken up residence and then use a laser to blast away all the bad cells that create the blood.  I should be able to see better afterwards, no longer having to deal with the floaters I have become accustomed to.  I’m a little nervous.  I had laser in my other eye several years ago and ended up with scar tissue that got stuck on my retina and detached it.  That was a complicated surgery with a terrible recovery time, as I had to lie face down for a week afterwards.  This should have an easy recovery, and I am significantly more excited about this surgery than the last.  Assuming, of course, I don’t cuss out my doctor.

It would seem that when I am given twilight anesthesia, I have a reaction.  No one will tell me what I did but the nurse said I “got a little crazy,” and my doctor said I “wasn’t very happy” with him.  Both were said to me in tones implying that knowing what I said and did would embarrass me.  Which means I am going to be full-on PASSED OUT for this surgery.

Makes me wonder what my behavior for all those endoscopies has been.  But I digress…

I am most excited to wake up and see without the slight haze of blood I now look through.  Sometimes it’s like looking at life through an Instagram filter.  Sometimes it’s like looking through a lava lamp.  It’s not fun; it inconveniences me terribly.  Somedays I can’t drive, especially at night.  Sometimes it’s hard to read, which has really been annoying because I have like fifteen books waiting to be consumed.

In conclusion, I am looking forward to the surgery with only a minor amount of anxiety, scared that I will end up with scar tissue again.  However, this time I will know what it is and get it handled before it rips anything out.  Mostly I am excited to read those fifteen books, to drive at night, and to see a truly blue sky with both eyes open.  That’s worth any amount of anxiety, in my opinion.


Edit:  None of this happened today.  I ended up back in the hospital with a stomach thing instead.  Such is the way my cards fall. The future will be bright though, as I am sure to reschedule soon.  Really looking forward to those summer skies.