The Office

There is a room in my mom’s house called ‘the office.’ When I was really sick in January and February I spent most of my time here. It’s a small square room that has two walls of windows, a bible on the window sill, and a few shelves of books about botany and psychology and other things I know very little about. I feel a connection to this room and it’s always been my favorite place in the house. Sometimes I feel I could sit by this window, watch the birds flirt and the trees flutter and not leave for a couple of years. I would think I would grow tired of this room because I spent so many depressing sick days here in the winter, just wishing to feel better, waiting to get back into the world. I was certainly not a part of the world then. Or it didn’t feel like I was. But somehow I still love this room. It’s the first place I go in the morning. It’s probably the windows. I’m always drawn to them. I make my coffee, take my pills, and sit for as long as I can– Until the phone rings or someone walks in the door or Monty paws at me to go outside. I don’t play music or have a TV on. It’s just quiet and it’s really nice.

See? Nice.

This morning started in a peculiar way. First I woke up with a killer migraine at 6 (that’s not the peculiar part.) I took my meds and went back to sleep. At around 9 I woke up to an intense knock at the door. Someone who was knocking with PURPOSE or anger or both. Since it takes me like 10 years to get my bearings in the morning there were a few rounds of purposeful knocks before I made it to the door. When I got there no one was at the door anymore so I walked down the porch steps to see a Sheriffs car outside. My first thought: Fuck, my stepdad died. OK so I may have a little PTSD because last time a sheriff called our house it was to tell my mom her husband had died. The truth of the matter is, I prepare myself for news like that all the time. It was just some idle Tuesday that my mom called barely able to get the words out through her tears that Roger had died in his hotel room the night before. He had some kind of heart attack in his sleep. After you get news like that, the fear or the readiness to receive traumatic news follows you everywhere. So back to the sheriffs car: Fuck, Marc died. The guys face was so solemn and serious, I clenched my hands and prepared for the worst. “Hi ma’mm, is Marc home?” PHEW! MARC WAS ALIVE! He may be going to jail but nonetheless, alive! Anyway it turned out to be no big deal. There is this neighbor near us with a dog that keeps running onto our property and barks all day long blah blah blah, Marc left them a note, and for some reason they called the sheriff to make sure we weren’t going to kill them or something. I don’t know. I went back inside after I discovered no one had died and no one was going to jail. So that was 9 am.

After that my mom and I were up and my migraine was still trying so I took another dose of meds and drank coffee and talked with her about dreams, death, life, all the goodies. I love waking up this way. (To coffee and philosophy, not migraines and cops) I could sit and drink coffee and talk about life and death all day long and be perfectly content. We were talking about my dad and my mom said “I think the best part of the experience with your dad is that he not only showed you how to live, he showed you how to die.” And she was right. My dad did both with ease, honesty, pureness and beauty. I only had him for 12 years, but it’s incredible with how much he left me with.

I guess I need to get back to errands and studying and emails and the junk that clouds up our days. Anyway it’s been an eventful morning, but Marc is here, having a business meeting with my mom, and I’m in the office watching the birds and the trees from my favorite spot. Not too bad.

Health Happiness and No More Dead Dads! :)

GUILTY

There is a phrase called “Paying the price” that someone with CFIDS/Fibro/Lyme Disease/WhateverthehellelseIhave/ is very familiar with. Paying the price comes from illness crimes. It’s very easy to commit crimes against the illness. The most common crime I commit is overdoing it, which results in paying the price. Paying the price means you don’t get to do much of anything for a couple of days because your body hates you and you’re going to spend ample time on a couch or a bed with disturbed sleep and in my case watching a lot of Frasier because let’s get real, Frasier rocks, and promising you’ll never do it again. NEVER! But of course, you do. Because this is life, and you want to have fun. And apparently you haven’t paid a high enough price. APPARENTLY.

Anyway I overdid it this weekend, thus I am paying the price. First of all I traveled. FELONY. I also went to a wedding. MISDEMEANOR. I drank at the wedding. MURDER. Then I went to a Saints Game. DEATH PENALTY. Was it fun? Duh. It was way fun. But now I am couch ridden and very behind in my studies. Tisk tisk. Luckily Frasier is on Play It Now on Netflix so I have plenty of material to keep my sick little mind occupied. I tried going to class and comprehending anything my teacher said but I could only focus on the way she says calcium and phosphate. “Calshium Phoshphate.” She’s from India and her pronunciations keep me on my toes. I left class really foggy headed and dizzy so I’ve been drinking fluids and staying horizontal to try to get back on track. I’m going home this weekend for some TLC and to rest. I am a sucker for peer pressure, and the only thing I get peer pressured into at my parents house is watching Bill O’Reilly, so I should be able to handle that.

I don’t feel like I have a lot to say. So I guess I’ll go now. My anxiety is a little better so that’s good news. Maybe I am just too fatigued to notice it lately. Anyway, it’s 4:30 pm, I’m going to get ready for bed.

Health Happiness and Felony’s

A Story About Death

Let’s talk for a second about death. Because I love it, and one day I’m going to die. And so are you! Isn’t that awesome? There’s something I do sometimes and I encourage other people to do it to: say out loud “I’m going to die.” I do it to free myself when I am feeling trapped– it reminds me that time on this earth is temporary. I think 99% of our lives are spent in either uncousciousess of the idea or denial. It could be an ego thing or a fear thing, but all I know is I’ve always been eager to talk about death but I’m usually dismissed as morbid or depressing. I don’t like to talk about it like “God dude, one day I’m going to die….what’s the point…blah blah blah.” I think talking freely and happily about death can be a very intelligent and healthy conversation to have, it just seems like no one wants to have it.

Well I do. And I realize why I’m like this. I have this very distinct memory of sitting on our back deck in Colorado in August. I was 12. The weather was hot but nice, and my mom and dad, a volumptuous jazz singer named Veronica who sang at our Church among other things, and me were sitting around a patio table sifting through sheet music. You know what we were doing? Picking out funeral music, for my dad’s funeral. He was dying of cancer. Theoretically this is totally depressing. But I’m telling you, it wasn’t! He was in this striped robe, (an awesome robe, I still have it) with his legs folded and laughing and making jokes, and so was my mom and so was Veronica. They set the stage for me emotionally that death is not all bad. They laughed, so I laughed.

My mom and dad sang at the choir in our Church so my dad was particular about the songs he wanted. He didn’t want sad music. And so we played happy music. Beautiful, hopeful, honest music. Veronica sang, and it was perfect. It was just how he wanted it.

So that was my first big experience with death. And I guess being so young and seeing someone that you expect to have around forever slowly leave, makes you examine your own immortality. It’s not so much that I care how I’m going to die, I just worry whether I’m “doing it right” while I’m here. I don’t know when I’ll die, and I want to make sure I’m staying in the moment. I want to be conscious. (Insert some quote about dance like no ones watching )

Wait, that last part is a lie. I TOTALLY wonder how I will die. Not in an obsessive way but out of simple curiosity. Although for a solid year all I did was dream about the possible ways that I would die. There was a lot of falling out of airplanes and a lot of not being able to breathe and a lot a lot a lot of tornados. Ick. Then one day after my health really plumetted in Jaunary of this year I was talking about my fear of death with my mom. Some days I really felt like I was dying, but it had been a fear I’d had for a while. I told her I wasn’t so scared conceptually of it, but I was scared of the pain of it. My dreams were really stressful; I was always closing my eyes and clenching my teeth as the plane went down waiting for the pain to hit me. My mom stopped me and said “Mary, you’re in pain everyday. You’ve been sick for years. Dying can’t be any worse than what you’ve been through?” And then we started talking about how life is the hard part. This is the painful part. Death will be exciting. It will be incredible.

After that I was able to let some of my fear about death go. I still do think about it a lot. I really wonder what is next. If there is a next. (I know there is a next. I know it!) What will it look like. And what will I be without a body? I could go on and on and this is what I think about when I go to sleep so sorry for the death spill on aisle 6, but I just felt like talking about it. Or typing about it.

Anyway I guess I am just hoping that if it’s a week before I die, I can sit outside like my dad did and laugh about my funeral and plan it with family and friends and know that I have loved and I am loved. Those are the things that will outlast me.

So what’s the point in all this? The point is: You’re going to die! And that’s great news! I’m going to die too. And we’ll see each other again, in other blogospheres, in other bodies. But we’ll have all the lessons and love that we’ve acquired while we were here. That’s what I think Heaven is. Something like that.

Health, Happiness, and You’re Going to Die! Smile!

Sweet Dreams

I don’t know what the eff is going on lately but I have this newfound anxiety which is pretty unpleasant. I’ve never had anxiety before so I’m still getting used to this new feeling. If I can sum the feeling up in symbols it’s like this: !!!!!!!!!???!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!…..!!!!!!!!  …?….!!!!!!!!!!!!!. It’s kind of exciting this “anxiety”. Since I’ve never had it before it’s something new I can scratch off the list. Score! It’s like restlessness meets unease meets subtle guilt and fear you’ve done something wrong. It’s been about three weeks of this and still going strong.

The other fun part of it is my high anxiety dreams. I’ve always had stressful dreams that end up with me all sweaty and yelling something like “Doooon’t Killll Montyyy!!” My mom, who was a student of Jungian psychology told me to start writing my dreams down, and then I would get to the root of the issue. I guess half of the issue is not knowing what the actual issue is. I bet I sound like such a typical girl right now. So my mom told me to write the dreams and she’d help me analyze them. And I’m all “But I hate rehashing my dreams! They’re terrible!” And she’s all “You’ll never solve it that way Mary! Don’t be a quitter!” So anyway, I started writing them down.  And no, this is not totally unsubstantiated psycho babel. Think about it. Your conscious mind can’t possibly access and work through all of your current life situations, (it’s too busy texting and driving and facebooking) so when you sleep you access the greatest window to the unconscious. Jung said the mind worked in symbols, and so analyzing dreams is just a matter of breaking those symbols down. Mom if I’m getting this all wrong please correct it. You’re the smart one.

Anyway this is last nights dream:

I tell my mom that I want to go to Colorado for Thanksgiving but she telsl me we’re going to stay here and spend it with Jess (one of my best friends) and her family. I am kind of sad about this because I’d rather spend it with my Colorado family but I agree…the next thing I know me and Jess are floating on tubes down a river, a muddy Southern Louisiana river (the ones you go tubing on near our house) We’re tubing down the river and Monty is swimming at our side. Pretty soon we are going surprisingly fast down the river and just letting the current take us. Somehow I end up stuck in some sticks and rocks and I am trying to get loose. Jess also got stuck but she got out first. When I finally get out of the sticks I see a note from Jess saying she went on but she is really excited for thanksgiving and she’ll see me soon. I think that’s fine until I realize I don’t know which direction to go. The river doesn’t seem to go obviously in one direction or another. The next thing I realize Monty is missing. (this is a common theme in many of my dreams) I start to panic a bit because night is falling and monty is missing and I don’t know which direction to go. (see why I have anxiety!?!?)  As I am floating down the river I’m calling out for Monty..I start to float into a herd of HUGE GEESE but nothing happens. (as in they don’t kill me like I thought they might) Finally I see a sheriff standing on a bridge and I’m calling out to him loudly to save me. There is traffic and for a while he doesn’t hear me but finally he does. He anchors me up from the water and I tell him I have a dog that we have to find but the whole thing feels grim and it’s pretty certain we’re not going to find Monty.

THE END.
So much fun right? Actually the unexplainably large swarm of geese was fun. So here’s what my mom responded with:

“Awesome dream…lots to see but I’m crazy busy right now getting ready for company so we’ll have to process it later.  In the meantime write down who Jess represents to you and what Monty represents to you and we’ll go from there  love you, mom”

I understand, company can be a headache. That’s all for now. Health Happiness and Sweet Dreams.

Pay Phones

I still feel shitty today blah blah blah. My legs are all cramped up blah blah blah. The good news is it’s Saturday and all you have to do on Saturday in the Fall is watch College Football and as previously stated, I’m awesome at doing that. LSU vs. Florida, 2:00, woo woo. It really helps that the weather is so sexy right now. It’s like if you’re going to have a migraine, it might as well be in sunny 70 degree weather.

Yesterday my friend Jared and I went for a walk around mid city New Orleans and it was nice. (Again, weather.) And Monty was eager to play. My legs hurt and my headache was in and out but after two large large cups of iced coffee the headache went away and I got a little energy. By this point it was 2:30. I was finally awake. I don’t think I am meant to exist before early afternoon. I’m just not a great person in the mornings. I feel I do better in late afternoons and best at night. I like when the time changes and it gets dark early. It’s like my nighttime greatness doubles!

Can Phone.

.

Anyway on our walk we passed this payphone. I love seeing payphones these days because they’re like this ancientartifact that really aren’t from that long ago but anytime I pass one it never works or the phone has been ripped out. But if you’re really lucky you’ll get a dial tone. It’s like a technological four-leaf clover! So we pass the same one I always pass on the walk to the coffee shop and notice some mardi gras beads on the top. (You’re never ever far in Nola from some carelessly thrown beads.) And a diet coke can was where the phone part used to be. So my inventive friend attached the diet coke can to the mardi gras beads and made a can phone! 25 cents not neccesary! I just know some drunk person is going to come across it one night and totally have a conversation on that can phone and something about that makes me happy.

Then we took Monty to Bayou St. John where he swam after sticks and hopefully didn’t pick up anything poisonous in that very very very very dirty water. He was just having so much fun though, it might be worth the Bayou Flu. I bathed him when we got home at least so my bed wouldn’t smell like the bayou. Yes, he sleeps in the bed with me. Lay off. He’s a good spooner!

So a friend shared this article with me which sums up pretty well what a chronic illness can be like. She nails it on the head about time management. Everything becomes so calculated when you’re sick. It can be shitty, but if you start to look at it as the new way in which to live your life and not an obstacle to see as getting in your way, it makes it a little easier. Anyway her Spoon Theory makes perfect sense and it’s good to know I’m not the only dealing with fibo-myalgia-lyme-chronic-shit whatever. The world is full of sickleys! Health and happiness and can phones.

Crash

I am in the middle of what people in the Biz call a ‘crash.’ Basically my muscles feel like jello, I have pain all over and I can barely keep my eyes open. It’s awesome!!! The only way to overcome a crash is to get horizontal and sleep for however long it takes. I’m on my 5th cup of coffee but if I blink for too long I could be in a deep sleep fast. I just need to hold on a little longer and push through because I have my second anatomy test in twenty minutes. After that, I can shut my brain and my body off and hopefully awake to something a little better.

I knew it was going to be a rough day when I awoke drenched in sweat after a sequence of high anxiety dreams. I pretty much always wake up at some point during the night or in the morning and need to change clothes. It’s really sexy. Anyway my muscle pain is relentless today as it was yesterday. Pretty much the only thing that helps is sitting in a bath, but there is no such thing as a portable bath tub so I’m kindof stuck. Almost through it though. I need to listen so some pump up music like MIchael Jackson. Or Sarah Mclaughlin.

I should be studying technically because I didn’t do so hot on my last quiz and my brain has felt really foggy all week. But it’s like it hits a certain point and then I can’t retain any more information. Sometimes I can’t even speak properly. It takes a really long time to find the right words and my memory? Forgettabout it. I definitely study better at night and I did as much as I could handle last night before seeing double and feeling the fog roll in. I am sitting in the sun on campus hoping it will give me natural energy. I took all kinds of vitamins today hoping it would boost me but basically I still feel like there is something sub-earth which is pulling me downwards. I’d like to kick whatever is doing that in the face. Not that I’d have the energy to BUT STILL. At least the migraine cycle broke. OK enough whining. WHAT ELSE.

My test is on bones and joints. There are 206 bones in the human body. Hmm that is all I can remember right now.This test should go great. I may sleep for the next 3 days, so see you when I see you.