Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Excuse Me While I Mope a While...

As always, for your listening pleasure, a theme song for my blog: 

"Time is never time at all
You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth
And our lives are forever changed
We will never be the same
The more you change the less you feel
Believe, believe in me, believe
That life can change, that you're not stuck in vain
We're not the same, we're different tonight

Lately I've been struggling with a feeling that I've completely lost myself.  
I've lost myself in this haze of injury fallout and I don't know how to find myself in it again.  I find myself dwelling on the things I cannot do, rather than the things I can... after being in pain like this for more than a year the voice that complains about it all is finally growing louder than the other logical, sane voices that try to keep the misery in check.

Things I used to be able to do that I can no longer do due to my gimpy neck:

Rock climb
Carry the kiddo around like it ain't no thang
Actually consider taking long car rides by myself
Work out like a regular person (ie: not worry that sit-ups might strain my neck or bicep curls might yank on my arm too much)
Work full time
Lift the books/computers that I'm supposed to in my job (and now have to regularly ask others to do for me, which is awkward and embarrassing.)
Go dancing (Ok, well, I could technically do this still, but I look stupid when I dance without using my arms.  Picture an ostrich in a neck-brace trying to dance.  Yeah.  That's me.)
Go bowling
Do stuff around the house like fixing fences, weed whacking, assembling furniture, etc.
Give the kiddo a bath without silently crying from the pain all the leaning and reaching causes me.

 The list in my mind goes on and on.  And it makes me feel like a ghost of my prior self.  

At work I am constantly reminded of how bad a job I'm really doing.  I'm the second-most experienced supervisor in my department, yet I find myself constantly needing to say "I can't do this.  Can you do it for me?"  This happens when a patron wants me to check them out a laptop (which is like 12 times a day), when they want me to get them a book over 5 pounds, when I'm slammed with work with strict deadlines... plus the nerve blockers I'm on make my memory turn to crap, so I frequently forget to do tasks that I told someone I would do not 20 minutes prior. Every week I have at least one doctor or physical therapy appointment to go to so I have to ask my boss to modify my schedule and even though she is always very accommodating for me, I know that I will not be able to come back to work full time anywhere in the near future and it makes me feel guilty as all hell.  I used to feel like I was serving a purpose there and was helping my department, but now I just feel like I'm dragging the whole place down. 

The same goes for my life at home.  Poor Andrew is constantly summoned to rooms to pick things up for me, to deal with Sadie if she's flipping out and thrashing around, to take out the trash, bring in the groceries... really anything that involves lifting at this point.  Since he's the only one who can do most of the yard work outside he alone is responsible for our house making fire clearance this year.  

I'm basically this big ball of NEED at this point and I HATE IT.  I used to be the person who would take responsibility at work, would take action when the yard was a mess (at 8 months pregnant I tore up most of the dirt in our front yard with one of those twisty-soil-breaker things and planted grass, for god's sake!), who would jump at the chance to go someplace with roller coasters or go kayaking out in the Channel Islands, who might actually try to look nice instead of constantly sporting a frizzy ponytail and baggy clothes.  And now I'm someone who watches bad TV dramas on Netflix while I ice my neck and watches bad comedies while I do my home physical therapy and who basically orders my boyfriend around at home.  It's really no wonder he hasn't proposed yet.  I wouldn't want to marry this version of me either. 

I suppose this gimpiness is not completely without precedent in my life... after all, I was nicknamed Scabby Abby in grade school since I had a tendency to skin my knees all the time. Before the age of 14 I had broken 8 different bones in my body in various stupid ways - rollerblading, jumping my bike off skateboard ramps, falling out of trees, skateboarding, and I even broke my collarbone in 1st grade just by sitting in the wrong place while two boys roughhoused and one shoved the other on top of me.  Plus, since I graduated college in 2006 I have had surgery to remove a cyst from my sinuses, to fix the knee that got messed up in a bike accident, and to take a baby out of my belly after 41 hours of labor.  So I guess I've always been a train-wreck, but knowing that doesn't really help.  I had some really good, injury-free years between high school and my college graduation and I had really hoped that those years would become my new "norm." I need to find a way to get back there!

I am a firm believer in everyone's power to change their own lives.  We own our own realities and we alone have both the power and responsibility to make ourselves happy.  And, as Billy Corgan so poignantly wrote, I believe in the resolute urgency of now - that you must change your life NOW if you want to truly live the life you intend to.
So how the hell do I do that now?  Do I find a bunch of other non-physical, non-computer-based things to occupy my time?  Do I continue trying to convince myself that things will improve?  Or do I give in and medicate myself into feeling happier? 

I have no answers here, clearly.  Just an overwhelming melancholy.  

Hopefully it won't turn into an infinite sadness. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Not Dead!!

Good Lord. It's been ages since I blogged anything. And I somehow managed to leave a giant gap like this when my last blog was about OxyContin.

That doesn't look good.

To anyone out there who worries that I may have fallen off the deep end and might possibly be curled in a ditch somewhere, twitching and scratching holes in my skin, I promise I'm fine! I wasn't too high to write a blog entry! I was just trying too hard to avoid unneeded computer usage while I was doing my first semester of my graduate degree and returning to work finally. In fact, I am avoiding nonmandatory keyboard usage so much that I am writing this with a robot.

 Well, almost a robot. More like my computer being my slave, but not a very good one. I am attempting to write this entire blog entry using a spiffy program called Dragon NaturallySpeaking.  It's kind of slow going... and, I must say, it's really weird to speak things first instead of just typing them. Normally writing is very silent activity for me and hearing myself say the words instead of simply move them from my mind to the computer  screen through my hands is way weirder than I thought it would be. For one, I have to have the room entirely silent so that my microphone can pick up what I'm saying, means I can't do what I usually do which is write while listening to music. I hope my creativity isn't found to lack as a result... but no matter what, this program is a million times better than the one that came with my Microsoft system, even though it lacks the punctuation finesse that my actual typing would have, so I've still had to type some to add it in. Also, I suck at enunciating. But my arm is sitting in my lap not yelling at me for typing, which has to be a good thing. The more I "write" with this program the better it will get at understanding what I'm saying so prepare yourself for several long-winded blog entry as I practice using this technology that may very well save my MLIS it degree

But before I start on the other stuff I want to say, a quick update: I switched neurologists and my new doctor actually seems to care about getting the better as opposed to my last one who basically wanted to drug me up and ignore me. Thanks to her, I've been off the heavy pain killers for over two months now (Huzzah!!) and have finally discovered that it was, in fact, the ibuprofen that was making me puke so often. Go figure.  Oh well, at least I dropped 25 pounds from the constant nausea!  (That's looking on the bright side, right?  I mean, I needed to lose 40 pounds anyway...)  Now, instead of sporting dilated pupils I'm now rocking an awesome looking pain patch which, when I'm properly clothed, usually shows just above my shirt collar line. 
Sometimes I wonder if people assume I'm the world's heaviest smoker attempting to quit...

Hey, I'll take this lameness over permanently scarring my liver any day!  

I'm back to work, but not quite full-time yet. I've hit a wall at the 30 hour per week mark and now my arm pain is getting worse instead of better, which I think is from the increased computer usage and book lifting thing that I have to do at my job. So I am trying to find a part-time job instead of the full-time one in order to make my work life less stressful and time-consuming so that I can prioritize my library science degree. I did pretty well in my first semester (if I do say so myself), especially considering that my professor's wife died three weeks before the end of the semester and I got struck down with plague the week when all my final exams were due. An A and A- doesn't seem too shabby after all that. :) 
So in general things are getting better, but not nearly as fast as I want them to.

(Then again, that's the story of everybody's life, I suppose...)