Hello Blogland. This is your host, the Bemused Muse, signing in after several months of wretchedly sporadic posting.

I do feel badly that I have taken such a long sabbatical from this blog. I have lost several readers, to be certain. I wish to offer my admiration to those of you who have “hung in there” with me. Your thoughts, email, ecards and thoughtfulness are very much appreciated. Better Half gets my biggest hug, for he has taken care of me, and occasionally slips out to buy me the sweetest cards.

Quite a few of you have asked if this illness was a temporary thing. In all honesty, I can not say. Were we to study illness in a healthy person, the graphed results would be very similar to a “‘V”, with the lowest tip of that letter indicating the “bottoming out” of those feelings of being sick, and then a sharp rise back to peak health. I have calculated that my own graph would resemble a flight of stairs leading down. As I descend, I hit a landing and plod along at that level for quite some time before I eventually descend again. The well-wishing phrase “get better soon” seems to not apply suitably to my situation. I do have a dear friend, whom I call “The Ox”, that often states “Don’t get any worse soon.” I find that pretty much sums it up. Thank you, Ox.

I have been somewhat discouraged recently. That is not to say that I am feeling depressed, but rather that I am encountering frustration in that I seem to be unable to get anything done around the house. I am one of the few people who would prefer to convalesce in a hospital, as it has room service and remains fairly clean! Thanksgiving is right around the bend, and I hold back tears as I glance around my office: dog fur rolls on the gentle draft from the heater vent, a layer of dust smothers all my books, whilst papers and articles (SHIT and SCHMUTZ) are piled on the floors. My bedroom fairs no better, with its own coating of dust. The upstairs hall makes me wince. The bathroom resembles (in my mind’s eye) a shrine to a truck stop men’s room. Debris rules the top level of this home, and it will take some exertion to set things to rights.

I can take enormous pleasure in stating that my downstairs has remained pristine. It required little else but a good polish and vacuuming in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and although I was left rather fatigued for my efforts, I am pleased that I can invite company inside without fearing stern calls to my Mother over my lack of good housekeeping. (Said guests shall hold their pee, as no one will be permitted to use the bathroom upstairs!)

When one has no control over their own body, one is often in a situation where one craves control of other things instead. If only I could get Better Half to comprehend how much easier I would breath knowing that the office, bedroom, spare room and bath were clean. HINT HINT to Better Half. For Christ’s sake, throw me a rope, will you?

I shall be fair and say that much of the debris by my desk is there because of my own doing. I have newspapers that I had intended to read, as well as a mix of books ~ they are only on the floor because Better Half piled shit in front of the bookcases. My bedroom nightstand has it’s own pile of books in front of it, and I actually am reading all of them. The bathroom counter has a few odds and ends cluttering it up, and a bit of laundry on the floor. My house is not disgusting by social standards. However, I am a “neat freak”, so even one stray glass sitting on a table will piss me off. As I look around, I can count (in my office, which is also our TV room now): 2 glasses, 4 mugs, several plastic water bottles that have not found the trash, and my bowl of soup (which I am currently eating.) I tremble just having to type this.

What would it take to grab up all this junk and haul it downstairs? Unfortunately, it would take a hell of a lot of effort on my part, as even the simple act of breathing hurts.

Now we come to those landings that I mentioned earlier. I create them, in part. I get to the point where I actually do say, “Fuck this!” I allow my stubborn side to take over, even if it kills me, and I “DO” whatever it takes, not matter the cost to me. I believe the best term would be “Suck it up and drive on.” The alternative is to allow depression to creep in and settle.

I faced this challenge yesterday. I was almost to the point of admitting defeat, of giving in and not bothering to try anymore. I had pushed myself to my maximum level on Friday, and had emerged from the struggle bearing nasty wounds and sharp reminders that I am not able to push myself as hard as I used to.

I should explain:

Better Half had to undergo a root canal on Friday, and his clinic is up in Pittsburgh. He would not be able to drive himself due to pre-treatment medications. This meant that I had to not only drive him, but I also had to operate the vehicle sans any pain medications. I have already been suffering the muscle spasms for several weeks, but fate decided that I should also go through my normal 28-day angst. (See this entry here for an explaination of that hell.) It was with a insincerely chipper face that I loaded Better Half into the Vue and sped off to Pittsburgh early Friday morning. I maintained my dignity, chatted cheerfully with the doctor and her assistant, and smiled kindly as we stopped off at the Harp after he was through. I had tuned out my body; this mental state is critical when things Must Be Done. Is it a skill that I mastered long ago, and it consists of 3 parts meditation and 1 part theatrical talent. In a social setting, no one will hear me scream.

I sucked down my meds minutes within arriving at home, and retreated to my bed as better half hunkered down in the spare room to rest after his ordeal. Needless to say, I spent several hours crying and rocking, my mind too weary to play the “I don’t feel it” game. There is a numb feeling one’s mind experiences when one is in pain. It is called shock. Although my muscles were relaxed and my physical pain had subsided, my mind was still shocky when Better Half got up from his nap. I thoroughly appreciated that the apex of his molar was throbbing like a son of a bitch, however I just was in no condition to do anything about it (and were I in such a condition, there would be little that I could have done as it is.)

Better Half opted to sleep in the spare room (no skin off my nose, thank you very much) and I found myself feeling the first twinges of depression as I looked around the upstairs. There are walls to be painted, in addition to the need for general cleaning. I had hoped that we would at least have all the painting done prior to Christmas this year. I did what any normal person would do at 3 am. I went downstairs and rolled up my sleeves, determined to let the pain fuel me instead of sucking at my resolve. “Besides,” I lied to myself, “I took my meds. I won’t feel it.” The upstairs, as a matter of principle, would have to wait until Better Half was awake and feeling more like himself.

Saturday, I awoke with the intense desire to beat the living shit out of myself for my spontaneous cleaning efforts earlier that morning. I glanced at the clock, which proclaimed it to be well after 10 am, and rolled back to sleep. I decided to just give in to the depression.

At 2 PM, Better Half came in with a smile and a box. “Wake up! Wake up!” What a curious thing! He found a pair of scissors and helped snip away the packing tape, and I opened the lid to find the most beautiful bouquet of mixed roses and a vase.

Needless to say, I was floored.

I have a delightful friend in Canada, whom I affectionately think of as The Fabulous Miss M (TFMM or MM, for short, though many know him as Mw or Michael), whom had heard that I was going through hell. His timing could not have been more perfect! I love roses, to begin with, and having over a dozen of them arrive in the post yesterday afternoon was just the thing to beat back any silly notions of “giving in”.

Better Half snipped the bottoms of the stems for me and I did my best to arrange them in a pretty fashion in the vase. (Note: for those who do not know me well, I will tell you up front that this is a feminine skill that I apparently lack.) We placed them on the bar in the living room (and I have found all sorts of excuses to go all the way downstairs in order to look at them or inhale their aroma.)

I had no choice but to get out of bed and call him, of course! I couldn’t locate his number, and I made the resolve to pick up the books and papers and look for it later that day (but I did go online and offer a quick email of absolute gratitude!) Then it occurred to me: I had resolved to do something.

It was not a resolve made to stave off depression; it was an honest resolve spoken from my heart out of a desire to achieve something. I had a tiny goal.

What other tiny goals could I build upon that single desire? It would not be too much effort to ask Better Half to help me sort out the bedroom and bath. It certainly would be no effort to bake that pumpkin bread on Monday. As a matter of fact, Better Half and I made a huge pot of chicken soup yesterday evening, and then I rested my body and worked on a short review of a friend’s book for Amazon (Pastor Rad, it posted this afternoon.)

Tomorrow, I shall endeavor to get the upstairs straightened out. If Better Half would be so kind as to bring up some boxes on Friday, we can begin decorating for the Holidays, as well.

I am not back fully, but I have returned. Thank you, TFMM!

1 responded with...:

Roadchick said...

Hang in there, dahlin'!

The 'chick has observed something about herself - the more ill she is, the more driven she is to "do" things that she has no business doing - like cleaning the entire house, washing all the bedding, or cleaning the blinds. While she has NO trouble whatsoever being lazy as sin when well, there is something about being ill that drives her...no, she's not sick...there's work to be done!


That being said, the 'chick can sympathize with your annoyance with Better Half. The 'chick has been there, done that.

Rest. Relax. And do the minimum you can to keep yourself sane.

And here's hoping you start climbing the other side of that staircase very soon.