A Minor Procedure

 

I’ve had this bump on the back of my thigh for several years-it’s grown, as have I, unfortunately, and my doctor finally agreed that my insurance would pay for its removal.  The first time I went in to have it looked at, she said it would be considered cosmetic and therefore, not covered.  I’m not sure why;  it wasn’t supposed to be there, it was an obvious lump, and it bothered me.  So, it stayed.  And grew.  It got to the point where I wouldn’t wear swimsuits because I was very conscious of it-directly below my butt cheek for the world to see.  It started causing me discomfort when I’d spend any length of time driving or sitting, and even made lying on my left side quite uncomfortable.  My left side is my favorite side, as sides go…

I got the approval a few days after the visit with my primary care doctor.  She isn’t the most friendly doctor and I suppose it’s not necessary that they have a prize-winning personality.  After all, what’s important is that they are good at their job.  An agreeable nature is secondary, although feeling like I’m being looked at like I have hypochondriasis isn’t pleasant.  The more I think about it, I might look into switching.

My mother volunteered to go with me to my appointment.  I didn’t rush to say yes only because I didn’t know how long she’d have to wait for me but I told her I might have her go.  Just in case I was sore driving home, she might be of some use to me.  I reminded her of it on Saturday and she asked when it was again and proceeded to tell me, “Oh, I made an appointment for the dog at the vet on Friday…”  One upped by the dog.  Thanks, Mom.

I got myself to the hospital where the doctor would perform the procedure-no idea what to expect, and quite stressed, actually.  My biggest fear was that he would cut on me before I was numb.  After having each of my five large children, I had stitches like most women nowadays.  Unfortunately, I felt each stitch and no matter how many times the doctor would inject more anesthesia, it didn’t seem to help.  I felt each one.  As you can imagine,  this left an unpleasant impression on me.  Would this doctor listen if I told him I was hurting?

The nurse took my vitals and asked if I was allergic to any medication.

“None that I’ve encountered thus far.”

“On a scale of one to ten, what would you say your pain tolerance is?”

Now that’s a question I haven’t put much consideration into.  How much pain can I take-were they going to see how far they could push me?  The notion didn’t help my blood pressure, I can tell you that.  I thought about it for a minute and the implications if I made the number too high and if I’d be considered a wimp if I made the number too low…I sat there psychoanalyzing myself before deciding on five.  Five is a good solid number.  Right down the middle.

The nurse asked me to put on a gown and I was concerned about being allowed to keep my underwear on.  She said I could and so I felt some relief.  I don’t like strangers looking at my naked butt.  I was also able to keep my shirt on, which was a bonus.

We walked back to the surgery room where I was asked to remove my underwear and lie down on the table.  Man, just when I was starting to relax a little.  So up I went, feeling very exposed, and they quickly rubbed iodine on my thigh and cheek.  They were nice nurses and understood my desire to have a bit of modesty and laid the sterile cloths so that only one cheek was exposed and nothing else extraneous.  They laid a warm blanket over me, afterward.

The doctor came in, checked that everything was as it should be, and let me know he was going to begin numbing my leg.

“This will sting, I guarantee it.”

He went slowly and I didn’t mind it at all.  It felt like little pinches and were only a slight irritation.  He asked if I was doing alright and I said I was.

“You’re not a guy, that’s for sure!”

I’ve been told that women have a higher pain tolerance;  it would make sense, of course.

He asked if I felt this and did I feel that, and thankfully, I did not.  He proceeded to cut and I noticed that I was suddenly feeling warm and slightly nauseous.

“Gosh, it’s really warm in here.”

“I told them to turn the temperature down in here so it should be cooling off soon,”  said the nurse.

“I’m worried that you’re feeling that way because you’re about to pass out,”  added the doctor.

They brought me something to vomit into, just in case, and after a bout of the sweats, I started feeling a little better.

I’m not sure how he was able to cut into my leg when I know I had both butt cheeks on super-clench the entire time, but he did it and asked if I’d like to see what he retrieved.

“Yes, absolutely!”

He brought around the growth that had been causing my discomfort for well over seven years and it looked like what I can only describe as a baby octopus from the Korean BBQ place up the street.  I wish I could’ve taken a picture.

“That’s about how I imagined it,”  I said.  “I’m glad it’s out of my leg.”

He asked me if I wanted stitches or staples and that there was no wrong answer.

“I think I’d like stitches.  I’ve never had staples and the idea isn’t the most appealing.”

Stitches, it is.

I got seven on the outside, I don’t know how many on the inside and I’m not sure if he counted, anyway.

He went over all of the ways I should care for my wounded thigh-no shower until Sunday, no hot tubs or jacuzzi for three weeks.  Come back and have the stitches removed in two weeks.  He was naming all of this off as I laid there light-headed hoping I’d remember everything.

“Thank you for being patient,”  he said as he was about to leave the room.

“Thank you for numbing me!”  I responded, as they were applying the gauze.  Truly, that was the greatest gift-a doctor who listened when I said I could feel something and he promptly gave me more anesthetic.

As I got dressed and was directed by the nurse which direction to go, she said to go one way if I had anyone waiting in the waiting room for me.  No, I didn’t.  Thanks again, Mom.  Then go the opposite direction to get the elevator.

I picked up the pain pills the doctor prescribed and then hiked what felt like a mile out to my car.  I made it.  I had my first in-office surgery and it wasn’t horrible.  I also realized that my doctor was someone I could picture my husband and I hanging out with at karaoke.  He probably liked Neil Diamond, too.

I went to the grocery store directly from the hospital and bought some ice cream.  Yes, I’m on a diet, but I figure a little pistachio almond ice cream is better than a glass/bottle of wine and it’ll make me less upset with my mom for ditching me.  Right?

By the way,  I told my mom that I was giving up the alcohol for a bit.  My brother and his wife took her wine tasting tasting for Mother’s Day weekend and, being the wino they’re used to, they found this mug and unanimously agreed it was perfect for me.  Obviously she’d forgotten about my abstinence, but it was nice to be thought of, I suppose.

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Laughter is the bees knees

My kids are a constant source of amusement, whether they’re creating comic strips, drawing, writing stories-you name it, they keep me entertained.

They took this little snippet while staying at my mom’s for a visit and I laugh out loud each time I watch it. I think they need their own Youtube channel.

Wino more wine…

Day 15

I’ve done it.  I’ve gotten over the hump.

The “hump”, as I call it, is the first three days getting my mind adjusted to the fact that there will not be overflowing glasses of wine while I cook dinner, or two or three martinis while I watch a movie before falling asleep for the night.  The hump is hard.

I have to constantly remind myself that I, in fact, do not have to have a drink.  That there will still be opportunities for drinks in the future, if I so choose, and the world hasn’t suddenly depleted its wine reserves.  It’s a whole body transformation.

My Navy son has come home to visit before joining the fleet and I’ve been his chauffeur.  Normally, I’d have to gauge when I could pop open the wine bottle by when I’d be done driving for the day. “Just three more hours, then I can drop him off and relax with some drinks.”  I’ve had to alter that thinking completely.

What I’ve noticed since I’ve quit drinking:

  • I have more energy
  • I wake up earlier
  • I sleep better
  • I can drive whenever I want
  • My memory is improving
  • I’m able to be fully present in the moment
  • I’m able to deal with my problems-my head will NOT implode
  • I’ve developed an obsession for iced tea

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure I could do it-I did not set a time frame as to how long I’d quit.  I just let myself go with the flow and that seems to be working for me.  So far, the benefits outweigh my desire to have a warm comfy buzz and I love that!  I feel the need to become healthy, and I will go back on a diet once my son leaves at the end of the week.  I wanted to be kind to myself so I’ve had ice cream twice and a couple of other treats.

I think the biggest misconception I had about not drinking is my weight-I thought for sure I’d be dropping some pounds.  Sadly, no, this hasn’t happened.  On the contrary, I’ve been gaining and it’s not the ice cream.  Somehow, I think because alcohol dehydrates the body, I’m showing what my actual weight is on the scale.  I weighed more while I was drinking but since I was in a constant state of dehydration, I was less on the scale.  Well, now that I’ve replaced alcohol with iced tea, I’m no longer dehydrated and now find myself faced with the fact that I’m just plain fat.  But that’s alright!  I can do this!  I can face obstacles better now that my mind is clear.

I draw on the strength of my grandma.  She was an alcoholic who drank throughout the day, everyday, to deal with my grandpa’s health issues.  He wasn’t alway kind to her, and quite often would say hurtful things to her.  She drank more and more until she found herself in the hospital with her doctor telling her to quit the booze or die.  She’d developed diabetes and her numbers were sky-high, as well as her blood pressure.  She decided then and there that she’d quit drinking and never go back.  I admire my grandma for so many things and this is one of them.  I do think that there was a certain determination that one only achieved after having survived The Great Depression.

I have a lot going on.  I’m dealing with a criminal/drug infestation in the property next door that seems impossible to overcome.  My husband had just pulled into the driveway and heard a commotion in the garage so he shouted at them to shut the fuck up and as soon as those words left his mouth, several people ran out of the garage and towards the alley where one guy started beating on his girlfriend.  My son and his macho buddies with their crowbars, knives, and various other instruments just stood there while they waved their objects but didn’t do a damn thing.  This “friend” of theirs continued to wail on the girl as my husband ran up, pulled the guy off of her, and proceeded to go Marine on him.  He didn’t need to lay a finger on him-the drill instructor shouting as he was nose to nose with this piece of trash was enough.  He told him to get out of here and never come back and the punk said  he was taking his girlfriend with him.  Robert said that, in fact, she would not be leaving with him and that he’d better take a hike.  I’m paraphrasing, of course.

This is just one of many instances of the activity I deal with on an almost daily basis.

The oldest son’s court date has been pushed back until May 30 because the D.A. brought in a new prosecutor.  It’s basically starting from the beginning and I’m so frustrated with the state.  The county is willing to bend over backwards to help him get on some sort of aid-a phone, housing, etc., but they aren’t willing to make him have some real consequences.  The kid needs rehab.  I refused to pay for it with our insurance because:

  1. Kaiser has ridiculous rehab services
  2. Our particular plan is outrageously expensive
  3. If the county wants to support him, let them pay for rehab
  4. He’d be better off in a Salvation Army rehab where he has to work to earn his keep
  5. I’m not going to be his damn taxi

I talked to his social worker/assessment coordinator yesterday-I didn’t care for her tone.  You’d think with a degree in Social Work, a person might develop skills to be social.  She failed that class, apparently,  because she basically ordered me to call Kaiser and find out what the insurance would pay for as far as drug rehab services.  I obliged, but when she called back to find out what I’d discovered, I told her forget it, I’m not paying for it.  She told me she had a long list of places she could try to as she said this I’m thinking to myself,  Bitch, why didn’t you just start there instead of me doing your damn job? I wasn’t feeling especially social, either.

With alcohol, I can numb my mind, relax my body, feel less inhibited.  I’m finding that I don’t need or want that as much.  I need to be more aware, especially when finding myself in a den of thieves and addicts-I need to keep my wits about me.

I poured out the remaining contents of the wine bottle sitting atop my counter.  Then I made some bacon.

I haven’t had one drop in 2 weeks.

None

Wino

Day 4

I haven’t had a drink since Monday night when I decided that I really need to let my liver have a vacation.  I came to that conclusion after my second martini.

Wine is my favorite drink;  red wine, to be specific.  I follow wine people on Instagram-they’re always cheery with a full glass in their hands wearing their fancy dresses and high heels that I’d break my neck in.  There’s a certain alluring quality to the image.

The reality is, I don’t have occasion to wear the fancy dresses or high heels.  I drink to quiet my mind and have a sense of peace, even if it only lasts until I refill my glass.  I’d like to say it hasn’t become an issue.  I’d like to say that I don’t think about it a thousand times throughout the day.

I’m overwhelmed with the chaos my oldest son has brought to my house.  His drug addiction and the “friends” who follow him are inescapable.  I have mothers and aunts showing up at my door looking for their kids.  “I have no idea where they are,”  I say.  Because I don’t and I really don’t care.

His drug addiction has infested my house like a bad case of roaches and no matter what I do to try to rid myself of them, they multiply and hide in the shadows.

Have you ever heard what comes out of an addict’s mouth?

“Fuck the police.”

“I stabbed my mom’s boyfriend in the head.”

“I’m not afraid of guns.”

“I hate you and wish you’d never been born.”

One of the many reasons I’ve become so fond of having a glass in my hand-It settles these conversations;  quiets them enough so I can get through my day.  But lately, the drinks have become the louder voice and infiltrate any quiet I manage to get.

So I’m taking a break.  It’s hard.  Real hard, I won’t lie.

I have a restraining order against my son and between that and everything else he brings, I’ve been a bit stressed.  Understatement of the century, folks.  But I have other kids and they deserve more than a mom too buried in guilt and intoxication to take them out to dinner or to go buy book 4 in the series they’re reading.

I’ll do it because I can and because I don’t like to lose.

 

Do not disturb

“Mommy, why do you have a garden flag that says ‘Welcome’ when you don’t actually mean it?”

I had to think about that for a minute.

“I’ve had it in the closet for a couple of years and figured I should use it at least once.  And besides, I’m pretty sure the neighbors think I’m cranky.”

If I were to make a list,  things that don’t make me cranky would be much shorter,  but I’m trying to work on that.

Being in my 40’s makes me exceedingly cranky.

Discovering an empty wine bottle when it’s much too late to go buy another.

Opening the front door on a lovely rainy morning only to have it ruined by my neighbor blaring  Banda music.

Finding a dog poop stuck to the rug.

Slow internet connections that cause pixelated movies.

Being excited to read a new book only to realize I’ve read the same sentence 29 times.

People knocking on my front door.

Yes, the Welcome garden flag is probably not the best choice for me but I was in a particularly good mood when I bought it and had decided I would try to become more friendly.  I’d have people over, we’d sit and chat.  But no, the dog hair and poop prevent that from happening and I remember why I’m cranky again.

“Mommy, this flag is better for you.”

Cranky

My son, the meth addict

I’m not sure how to start this;  I don’t know where to begin.  How do you tell the world that your son uses drugs?

 

My son is addicted to meth.

 

I returned from my trip to Vegas feeling refreshed, inspired, relaxed…

Those feelings didn’t last long.

I came back to my house after being gone a week-I’m not the best housekeeper, but I try.  I knew I was leaving my 21-year-old son in charge of the house-I spent the weekend cleaning.  I mopped, cleaned the bathroom, did the dishes, vacuumed, stocked the refrigerator…he was set.  I knew he would probably have a few friends over, which I dreaded, but I needed him to be around the house to care for the dogs and cats.  I didn’t ask him to do anything but make sure they were all fed, could go out to relieve themselves, and keep the house locked up.  I don’t think this was too much to ask.

While I was gone, I would text him periodically to get a status report.  I wanted some peace of mind.  He’d respond when he felt like it to say, “Yes, the dogs have food. Yes, I locked the house.  Yes, I have not been abducted by aliens.”

The floors were covered in black footprints, the sink was full of dirty dishes, there were clothes strewn about (not his, but stranger’s clothes), and the door was not locked.  I found a broken meth pipe in my kitchen sink as well as two miniature plastic baggies.  I looked inside the refrigerator and found that someone had broken off one of the cubbies on the door.  I don’t know what the hell happened.

My son and I spend more time arguing and fighting than we do having any sort of meaningful relationship that a mother and son should have.  He’s lived in this house his entire life.  I would find out years later that some kids at school introduced him to marijuana in 6th grade. You can say all you want about marijuana-tell me how great it is for cancer patients, how it is the cure for all that ails you, that it will bring world peace.  But don’t try to tell me that it is not a gateway drug.  My experience with my son tells me the complete opposite.

Before I told my boy that he could stay in the house and have a couple of friends over, I had kicked him out.  I told him that he could stay next door in the garage (my deceased Grandmother’s house, long story) because I was sick of all of his drug buddies disturbing my household at all hours of the day;  it was nonstop.  Unfortunately, his living in the garage turned into hordes of people also living in the garage.  So now, instead of these undesirables coming to my door, they were frequenting the garage directly next door to me and entering the premises from both the front yard and the alley.  The garage had turned into a drug den.  I couldn’t catch a break-there were people walking and driving at all hours of the night in order to do God knows what besides just getting high.  There was even a mom who would drop off her 17-year-old son next door, and I’m quite sure she knew what was going on.

I confronted him.  I told him I was done, I couldn’t put up with this.  How could he bring his drugs into my house when he has younger siblings that live here with me (thankfully they are old enough to know better than to pick things up and put them in their mouths)?  Back to the garage, ye go!  We argued, it got animated.  I told him I’d call the police on him to which he replied, “Go ahead, I’ll slit my throat!”  He said that twice so I called the local police department and told them that my son was suicidal-they promptly appeared on my property and said they’d talk to him.  One officer was very smiley which I felt was inappropriate, given the circumstances.  They talked to him for less than five minutes and then left with no further contact with me.  Nothing.  That left my son free to return to the garage.

Sunday morning, my son showed up at the front door.  I asked him what he wanted and he said he was hungry.  Fine.  I let him in and he went to the kitchen where he proceeded to try to pour a bowl of cereal from an empty box.  He kept shaking it over the bowl and, of course, nothing came out.  I opened a new box and poured some for him, all the while taking mental notes of his strange behavior.   He began to take a bite full of dry cereal and said, “Hey, don’t you want any milk?  Your cereal is dry.”  He said it was fine but I poured some milk on it anyway.  He stood in the kitchen doorway eating his cereal as it spilled all over himself and the floor, which he didn’t notice or didn’t care about.

“You’re either drunk or high, which is it?”

“I’m not.”

“What are you on, you’re on something.”

“No, I’m not.”

He set his bowl down and went to his room and shut the door.  I went to check on him a few minutes later and caught him semi upright on his bed swaying from side to side. I took video as proof to show him later.  I told him to lie down and gave him a nudge so he’d roll on his side.  At this point I decided to call my husband and ask his advice and show him the video because he was acting out of character.  He told me I should call 911 because it seemed that he was overdosing on something.  Cue 911.

While the paramedics were tending to my son,  one of the officers asked me to go outside so he could ask me some questions about the events leading up to this.  I explained that he’d threatened suicide and nothing was done, and that I was at my wit’s end with this drug culture he’d brought into my house, into my family, and into the garage next door.  I’d spoken to this particular officer on a separate occasion pertaining to my son and he was well aware of the situation.  Out of all of this chaos, I was struck by his kindness.  He gave me some background information on some of the kids that were hanging out next door, gave me some advice, and above all, made me feel like I didn’t totally suck as a human being.

The ambulance whisked my son away to our local hospital.  It’s about a five minute walk from here but I’m sure the bill is in the thousands just for the gas to propel them forward.  I waited for two hours in the emergency waiting room before they found him a bed.  Sunday is a busy time in the ER, apparently, or at least this particular Sunday was.  One man decided that he needed his leg checked out.  He’d hurt it recently and could walk on it but it just didn’t feel quite right yet.  A mother brought her young son in whose head hurt-I don’t know if he fell or what but as she was standing in line, I heard him say with tears in his eyes, “Mommy, my head really hurts.”  Her reply?  “And tears help you how?  Why are you crying?  Stop it and go sit down.”  She was busy updating her social media while her son sat, alone, on the furthest chair he could find from her.

I was wondering who, out of the entire waiting room, was actually there for an emergency.  Were any of them waiting to hear about their son who was possibly overdosing?

So many thoughts go through your head.

If only I’d done things differently.

As a Mom, torturing yourelf isn’t going to help.  You didn’t force your child to use drugs.  It won’t change anything.  You have to move forward.

The doctor asked him if he’d used any drugs, he told me.  I’m thinking, “Are you kidding me?  He lies to me, his mom, do you really think he’s going to be honest with you?”  I wish I’d said that, but I didn’t.  They ran a urine test, did an EKG, blood tests…they don’t wait for the blood tests to come back, apparently.  The urinalysis showed marijuana and meth.  I told the doctor about the threats of suicide and he said, “Well, that was a week ago, we can’t do anything.”

I’m ready to scream at this point.  Nobody listens.  Nobody cares.

I’m witnessing first hand why there are so many homeless in my area.

 

To Be Continued.

 

 

 

I wacked my brain…

Sometimes I have so many writing ideas swirling around inside my head that everything becomes a meaningless jumbled mess.  I can’t focus one idea and turn it into typed words so I find that I need to clear everything out.  My mincemeat brain needs a break.

I started this morning with three goals I wanted to accomplish by days end:

  1. Get the dishwasher loaded and running
  2. Wash all of my bedding and throws
  3. Tackle some weeds with the wacker

I managed to get the dishwasher done quickly and this always brings relief.  It’s not that I hate loading and unloading it, it’s the moving and attaching that bums me out because something inevitably falls off the top onto the floor as I’m pulling the beast into place.  It’s a portable dishwasher-I’m happy to have it because I hate hand washing dishes.  I can never manage to get the temperature just right so I end up scalding my hands and fiddling with the cold which wastes more time than I’d care to spare.  Either way, what I’m saying is, the top of my dishwasher is always piled with crap but I did get it going and I didn’t forget to add the soap. Bonus.

I’m in a uniques situation, currently, which prevents me from using my washer and dryer so for the past two days I’ve inhabited the local laundromat.  This is inconvenient but for now, I don’t mind.  There’s a lot of hustle and bustle at this particular facility and I need to figure out the best time to do my wash-I chose a busy time these last two days but it didn’t seem to slow me up.  I was trying to visually rearrange the set up of the washers and dryers to better accommodate the large amount of people as I tried to squeeze myself between the folding tables and row of double-decker dryers.  Add the laundry carts to the mix and quite often you find yourself in a traffic jam.  I watched one woman cram a washer full of too many blankets and then chuckled to myself minutes later when that washer sounded ready to explode from the furious churning it was forced to do.  I try to find humor in the simple things.

Lastly, after leaving my Ryobi weed wacker battery charging throughout the night, I was pleased to discover that I hadn’t ruined the wacker by leaving it out in the deluge of precipitation we’ve received over the last couple of months. My mom told me I had probably ruined it but I responded  that I figured, since it’s an outdoor tool, it should be built to remain outdoors-rain or shine.  Maybe not quite Ark-onian levels of rain…but it started right up and I was able to tackle some weeds without being hit in the face more than three times with tiny pebbles.  Today was a good day.

I’m not sure if I was able to clear my mind enough to start my new little piece of fiction, and maybe it’s a bit more jumbled in there than when I started my day, but I have clean dishes, clean bedding, and a clean walkway that I was able to hose off after tackling some weeds.  So, even if I wasn’t able to clean up the spiderwebs in my brain, I was able to clean off the ones by my front door.  Baby steps.