Where I’ve Been – Overdue

I’m sitting here writing at my desk and recalling this day 21 years ago. 21 years ago the Twin Towers fell, live on TV as millions watched in horror, visibly stunned news anchors watching the story continue to unfold in Washington and in PA with a plane full of American heroes. 21 years ago the skies fell improbably silent, with only the light of stars and the waning crescent moon. 21 years ago I stood by my bedroom window holding my sleeping infant son, wondering what kind of world he would grow up in. (This is what I’m thinking about this morning.)

I didn’t come here to write about that, but I cannot NOT mention on this day. The previous paragraph is what I sent to my son in a text on this rainy Sunday morning in the Northeast. Anyway, I have been away a long time and it’s time to get caught up. Where I’ve Been seemed an appropriate focus for this.

The problem is where to start. However, I started (translation – “not finished”) two posts weeks ago – one on a rainy day much like this one so it is fitting to start with this one from July 9:

It’s raining again in paradise and our two dogs are outside in it and aren’t responding to my call because of course they’re not. I am 11 days post-graft and the swelling is all but gone, for which I am grateful, and the bruising along my cheek and chin has developed into a lovely shade of Grey Poupon. I am happy to report I am still living on soft foods but I did manage a few Pringles on the opposite side in hamster bites because life is short and I could die tomorrow without ever having eaten another chip.

Today Todd is working and so I will fill the silence with the rest of my trash TV before I squash cable television like a lantern fly. What am I watching? It’s Ladies of London and no it’s not x-rated. It’s a version of the Real Housewives without the affiliation and apparently that’s why it was discontinued, due to low ratings. But, it’s another shitshow of rich women living ridiculously lavish lives while stabbing one another in the back and crying about being misunderstood.

I was thinking it would be entertaining to have a reality show where the “real housewives” actually WERE real housewives, you know, like the Real Housewives of Pennsyltucky. And this is where my mind goes off the rails with another creative idea to write about. Oy. There is SO MUCH creativity in this mind of mine and yet it is trapped in a cage like the Minotaur. Okay, maybe that wasn’t a good analogy.

I abandoned that post and started this one I tentatively titled, Where I’ve Been, Shitshow Edition on August 6:

I am nearly healed from the gingival graft adventure. The sutures had to come out early due to another looming procedure. More on that in a minute. The swelling went down significantly after about 6 days so my return to work, although behind a mask anyway, was less traumatic. The worst part of it was coming home completely exhausted from talking and attempts at smiling eyes.

There was significant bruising on my cheek that faded into my neck, and on the sixth day a bruise emerged under my left eye in a WTF-did-they-DO-to-me moment in the mirror. In case you’re wondering, I was instructed to take half of a sleeping pill an hour before the procedure and when I arrived they told me to take the second half. The thought of it made me uneasy but ultimately I’m glad I did because the surgery was three hours and when Todd picked me up I reportedly said, “that went fast.”  

When I gingerly smiled, the left side drooped a lot and I then worried whether this would be permanent. What if the left side of my face is permanently paralyzed? It took a lot longer for this feature to recover and I’m not gonna lie – I really did wonder if this was going to be it for me. Did I ever mention that I worry a lot?

These weeks between posts can only be described as “existing.” There is a lot of stress I don’t have the energy to discuss. Only suffice it to say, it’s personal and it’s work and it’s just – everything. There are times in life when it seems like we live on a wash-rinse-repeat cycle with no visible relief. I have, however, lived long enough to know it is temporary. I stumbled across some therapist’s page not too long ago with a message that rang clearer than church bells in England – that one must think of the moment as something that is “right now” but not forever. What’s happening right now … isn’t forever. Just – RIGHT NOW. I kinda like it. Sure helps with anxiety, unless the weasels are on steroids, and man have they ever been.

We had a community yard sale a couple of weeks ago where I was able to get rid of a lot of stuff but not nearly what I expected. It’s always an event in my life where I drag a shitload of stuff out of my house, sweat my balls off, make less than $100, and swear I’ll never do it again. Especially when my first sale was two baskets a man picked up and said, “you want to get rid of these right? Here’s a quarter.” (I argued for 50 cents because I wasn’t starting my day off with that bullshit.)

Fast forward to today:

I have completely healed from the gingival graft so, success! It’s always a little sad when one realizes how the body betrays you, as the years pummel it with all sorts of surprises in what “they” would tell you is “the normal process of aging.” Which is absolute bullshit and I refuse to accept it. Which is why I drink, have anxiety, gain weight, and clench my teeth at night.

Anyway, I’d been having some GI issues and was overdue for THAT THING you have to do so I saw a doc who scheduled me for it and an upper endoscopy (which, if you’re paying attention, is why I had to have my graft sutures out early). I won’t bore you with details of the prep which was much less hilarious than I was hoping for and, actually, mostly uneventful. I transformed my bathroom into a highly efficient office/reading nook with all the recommended amenities and found that I wasn’t confined for longer than a few minutes at a time.

I had told Todd I was worried about being close to the bathroom after I drank the first bottle of gasoline/nail polish remover/”cranberry-flavor” turpentine. I had read the infamous tales of explosive bowels. His response? Honey, you still have a sphincter.

The Endoscopy Center is factory-efficient. They get you set up, roll you – on your hospital bed – to the procedure room, and roll you back out to your “room.” Seriously, the anesthesiologist took me back and we were actually behind another patient on her bed in the hallway and I felt an overwhelming urge to yell “beep! beep!” and raise my fist in solidarity.

I was there for “a double.” That’s what they call it, like they’re ordering me a bourbon. And speaking of which, everyone who works there is obsessed with food. Everyone I came in contact with, including a nurse arriving as we were leaving, asked me what I was going to eat for lunch. I was not playing. I’m not a good patient. Just ask my mom. She’ll tell you about the five stitches I had to get in my finger in 1998.

This is where the bus stops for now, otherwise the post is more than too long and nobody likes long blog posts.

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