Better than Last Summer

The past couple weeks have been a little overwhelming. One of my best friends just had a heart valve replaced. She was in the hospital longer than expected. She just got out this past Friday. So I spent a good amount of time Saturday trying to be there for her and feeling guilty for being away from Barry for so long.

Then there’s the whole Michigan Rehabilitative Services thing. I went to orientation. I am very unsure of whether or not I qualify for their services, but I plan on forcing them to reject me, if I don’t. I arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and promptly felt over-dressed. Almost everyone else came in jeans and t-shirts. It was a little low-class, honestly. At the end, we all filled out a form. On mine, I put depression as my disability. I decided not to put that I spent  more than a few years as of late feeling suicidal. Not good for the resume. I gave my shrink’s name and said that I have an MBA and am trying to get back into the workforce now that I will have insurance help. Who knows what will happen? But I will do my part.

And then there’s the political circus. Almost every day had some new revelation regarding the President’s misbehavior. I tried to imagine the outcome if Hillary had won. Even if he doesn’t get officially impeached, his credibility is gone forever. “Make way for President Pence” is similar to a headline I saw on a Christian website. And it is only May of the first year of the term.

I thought about what things were like this time last year. I still get overwhelmed, but now I recover within a couple weeks. I know that I am recovered when I get bored. Vacillation between overwhelm and boredom is normal. Taking care of Barry and the house had me in a perpetual state of overwhelm. I am no longer weeding, freaking out about every noise I couldn’t easily identify, and praying for death at every turn. I was never bored.

My life may not be great, but it sure beats what it was this time last year.

A Potentially Bad Day

Yesterday, many things happened. I went to see a friend in the hospital. That went well. And that’s about all that went well.

My friend Lynn had a heart valve replaced Monday. I planned on picking up her roommate Wendy and visiting her at the U of M hospital in Ann Arbor. The home care worker arrived a little early. Yea. Wendy and I got a slightly early start. We get on I-96. And then it happens.

The “low tire air” light comes on. We went to a gas station. I couldn’t seem to put enough air into the left front tire, the one that seemed the lowest.  So we went back to Lynn and Wendy’s and got Wendy’s rental car. Getting to Ann Arbor is simple enough, I-96 east to US 23 south. Lori (Lynn’s sister) had given me directions that I faithfully wrote down. They were pretty good, but not perfect. Getting parked at the hospital was relatively easy. Figuring out the elevators was not. We had to get help to get to Lynn’s room.

I had wanted to get Lynn a Frosty because she had thrown up a couple nights earlier and was low on calcium. I thought it would be soothing. But, with the car drama and not being familiar enough with the area, we gave up on that idea. However, when we were about halfway to Lynn’s room inside the hospital, we ran into Lori and her partner and also found a rather random beverage center that sells coffee drinks and fruit smoothies. We got further directions to the room.  I got a strawberry smoothie for Lynn. That was rather serendipitous. She rather liked it and said it felt good on her throat.

At her room, I met her mom and step-dad. They seemed to like me. I guess they had heard all about my cat-petting ways. Everything was very good during the actual visit.

But I was running behind and called the health care people to extend the time for an hour because of the car drama. We left at a good time, got back in the car, and promptly got very lost. It was just like being back in WV, with everything on a hill and nothing properly labelled, street-wise.  I’m pretty sure we circled campus a few times. I kept looking for a sign saying I-96 or I-94 (a different but totally acceptable way back home) or US 23. Nope. Nada. We had to stop and ask someone and it turned out that we weren’t all that far from US 23.

Once northbound on US 23, we were on our way home. We got home even later than I had anticipated. I pet Shyla and gave her treats in a hurry. The home care worker was gone because, oddly enough, she has a life and can’t wait around after staying an extra hour.  I called the company and thanked them for the effort.

It was strange because, even as we kept getting lost, part of me truly did not care. I felt like I should have been upset. Do I have more equanimity now or do I just not give a rat’s ass anymore? I simply wasn’t willing to put out the emotional energy to get riled up.

So now it’s Friday morning. I still need to get at least one new tire. I was planning on getting two new tires before winter, maybe in September or October, but I can do it now. It doesn’t make a real difference.

Am I maturing or do I not have enough emotional energy to care? I’m sure people would tell me I handled things well, but the praise or lack of it would not affect me. There are so many things I need to do and part of me is unwilling to get emotionally involved anymore because it feels like there is no point to it. I feel like I am becoming more like Sheldon. (How scary is that?) If I had been upset when we got to Lynn’s room, then it would have been all about me and that’s not what I want. I’ll let her mom play that role. I’m trying to learn how to manifest better things now and part of that is using my emotions strategically. But I may need to have more of them than I do.

A Stranger

I am having a strange problem. Friday, I saw someone at the mall before I was to go grocery shopping. She acts like she has known me for years. I’ll call her “K”. I asked her where I know her from and she said, “Here,” meaning Barnes & Noble. She seems vaguely familiar. But she acts like we’ve been best buds forever.

I assumed I would remember her after a day or so. Nope.  I am now convinced she has confused me with someone else. Part of the problem is that it is not uncommon for people to remember me and for me to not recognize them at all. I am, apparently, memorable.I was voted most memorable in my high school class. But I am also a touch Asperger-y. Remembering faces and names is not my strong suit. Part of why I don’t gossip is that I cannot be sure of whom I am talking to. With an emphasis in HR, a husband in AA, and having volunteered at a battered-women’s shelter, I have been trained out of going up to people in some super-friendly way and saying hi. I willingly look unfriendly as opposed to risking people’s anonymity.

And she has started making demands upon me. She wanted me to call her back yesterday and I didn’t. She wants me to come to her place on Wednesday. Not gonna happen. She invited me to her wedding! Are you kidding me?

I am unsure how to handle things. I don’t want to upset her, but I feel like I have led her on. I did give her my cell phone number Friday, which she called Sunday. She does seem vaguely familiar. The real problem is that I already don’t have sufficient time and energy for the few friends I have. One of my best friends is having a heart valve replaced this month and she will truly need my help. This is the friend I plan on seeing Wednesday, not K. Do I just not answer the phone when I see her number come up? Do I try to explain things to her?

She seems like a nice enough person, but a little intellectually challenged. More street smart than book smart. And I was too weak to not give her my phone number when she asked.

I will confess to an evil thought. She told me she was engaged. I asked her for how long. She said eight years. I asked her when the wedding was and she said 2020. I am tempted to tell her that she is not getting married and that the guy is just stringing her along because it might get the focus off of me. But I don’t want to open up a can of worms that would unnecessarily throw her life into turmoil and create chaos for everyone that must deal with her.

What’s weird is that she is only three or four years younger than I am. Her hair is almost as gray as mine. I feel like we are the same age, but she is 25 years old emotionally and I am 80 years old emotionally. She is engaged. I have been married pushing thirty years and am making end-of-life choices for an ailing husband.

I just don’t like having a total stranger make demands on my time and energy. Over the years, I have had many people that wanted to be associated with me because they see me as smart. I was always wanted on quiz bowl teams in high school. People that wouldn’t give me the time of day the rest of the school year suddenly claimed a level of friendship that only existed in their minds and not in reality. I don’t want to be this girl’s “smart friend.” I am tired of being used. People want to claim my friendship as an affirmation of their choices. “See! Cindy agrees with me and she’s smart!” Church people wanted my approval, even when they had been christians for fifty years and I had only been baptized a couple years earlier. It is quite icky and repulsive. I have had my lifetime fill of it.

I attracted this girl into my life for some reason. If there is a lesson here for me, I want to learn it quickly and not have to repeat this all over again at a later date. I want to let her down easy, but she doesn’t seem to be taking hints, such as my lack of enthusiasm for seeing her Wednesday. My hesitance doesn’t seem to register with her. Subtlety is not going to work with her. She acts like we are long lost friends. And I have zero memory of her. I have to do or not do something that will get through to her.

Depression Working for Me?

I talked to my shrink about Michigan Rehabilitation Services. I told him that I suspected he was confusing it with something else because they seemed to be focused on getting handicapped people into the workforce. He assured me he wasn’t and that they define “handicapped” very loosely and that my long-tern depression could make me an excellent candidate for them and that they would love to place someone with as many skills as I have. Cool. I said they might want documentation of my depression and he said no problem. Woo hoo! My sucky moods could be a boon.

I also decided to use Duolingo to get a little Greek back into me. I spent three years in a Greek Orthodox church learning Greek from an actual Greek lady, Zana. She’s a hoot. Once, at the bookstore, we were all sitting around the table and people were asking where each other were from. One girl was from Traverse City, which is up by the tip of the pinky finger, where she pointed to on the top of her left hand. Everyone was pointing to the anatomical area they were from. Zana was highly confused, started pointing to her left hand wildly and saying, “Why everyone keep doing this?”  Someone went to the atlas section, came back, and opened it up to Michigan. I pointed to the Flint area and added, “Yes, we really do call this the ‘thumb’.” Zana Litos is also a PhD and teaches at LCC. She was always frustrated with her American students who don’t know basic world history, like where Mesopotamia is. In Greek, “meso” means between and “potamia” means rivers; hence, “Mesopotamia” is between the rivers. What rivers? The Tigris and Euphrates, of course. I always knew it was in the Middle East around Iraq, but had never thought of it from the Greek perspective. To her, it was obvious. She thinks American students are slow. And, for the most part, she is right.

I am looking forward to knowing if MRS can do anything for me. And I have figured out how to change my keyboard to Greek at will. Οπα!

Feeling Strangely Better

A couple days ago, a hospice worker came in. Barry doesn’t qualify yet, but I feel so much better. I walked around the mall wondering why I would feel so much better without Barry qualifying.

I think it’s because I know what the next step is. And the next. I feel like I am not so alone.

The weather also may play a factor. A couple weekends ago, it actually snowed. Lake effect, of course. Yesterday, it was in the low 80s. The first blush of dandelions was everywhere. And the grass is suddenly green. We still have standing water everywhere, but it has been breezy, which helps dry things out.

I may be feeling hope now. I see the next phase. My shrink recommended Michigan Rehabilitation Services because they help people get back into the workforce. I have an orientation next month.  Because I now  have some help with Barry, I can get a job. I won’t be sitting around the apartment waiting for one of us to die. I hate feeling like a vulture. He is not going to like any of the upcoming appointments, but there’s not much I can do about that.

Another reason for the feeling of new beginnings is yesterday was Holy Saturday, when I was chrismated 14 years ago. Today is Pascha (Eastern Orthodox Easter). I don’t care about any of it anymore. I thought I would miss it more than I really do. I am celebrating my independence from everyone’s opinions. It feels like freedom.

Crawling Back Up

I’ve had a cold for the past week.  I am starting to feel a little better.

What happened was that one of Barry’s AA friends said she would take him to his Sunday meeting for the next couple months until they moved up north. Then she reneged. I had gotten my hopes up, told my friends I was getting more help with Barry, and looked forward to having the apartment to myself (however briefly). Then she wrote a letter, saying it was God’s sense of humor. People wonder why I’m not a Christian anymore. She doesn’t want to know what I think of her god.

Anyhow, my body can’t tolerate the up-and-down cycles of disappointment/hope.

On the upside, my shrink is looking for the name of some agency that helps place people like myself in jobs. That would be super cool. I just don’t want to get my hopes up again.

I’m getting Barry used to other people taking care of him. It’s all coming out of pocket for the first twenty days of service. The insurance company does everything within its power to make using their policy just not worth your time. It’s like having a $2000 deductible.

Once I get into the new swing of things, I will know what my availability for work will be. I’m sure someone will want my skills.

For now, I’m drinking lots of fluids and taking plenty of vitamin C.

I Finally have a “Next”!

I am excited. Monday is the first day of the home care worker coming in and watching Barry.

I finally have a “next.” I feel a need to update my resume and try soon to get a weenie job. Is this what hope feels like?

My urgency comes from becoming fifty this year and having wasted so many years concerned with fulfilling societal expectations. I need to be intentional regarding everything and not allowing myself to “go with the flow” (which always goes downhill). My life is more than half over and I have never had a career. I have been too busy wasting my life and trying to be a good girl.

I am learning to manifest what I want and need. Persistence is the name of the game. I wish I could “trust the universe” to give me what I need, but I have wasted far too much time trusting others to meet my needs. Somehow, being female, I end up being expected to meet everyone else’s needs while mine go unmet. For example, I believe that workplace equality will always be a joke as long as women are simply expected as a matter of course to be the family caretakers. That’s just the way it is and, as long as women continue to play that role willingly, that is the way it always will be.

I have certain goals. One plan is to get more current on human resource laws. I have renewed my SHRM membership. Another is to rest up and get clearer regarding what I want. My life has not been about me in years and I am exhausted. I can’t sit around watching mind-numbing TV and figure out where I am going, all at the same time. I have been deliberately not sitting with Barry while he watches endless TV. He and I are on separate journeys. I am not planning on going to the grave with him. Many caretakers do not outlive their patients, but it is now looking like I just might. This is new.