One Year Ago

I’ve made it through January.  I did a lot of reflecting over what’s happened to me, my relationships, and my health over the past twelve months.  I realized I have made a lot of progress despite not reaching all of the personal goals I set for myself.  The biggest improvement in the past year is getting treatment for my pinched nerve.  I never talked about the bad things about being stuck in bed for months.  Thinking about them brings back awful memories and I am thankful for my mother and spouse for putting up with me.  I think it is important for me to discuss the bad things because I know no matter how bad things (true or not) may be for me right now, I have been through rougher times.

I specifically remember the first week without help from my mom was hell.  It’s not that my spouse wasn’t supportive, but he’s never been a good “nurse,” and I’m fine with that.  I was hungry and there wasn’t much food in the house so he went next door to find that Burger King had closed unexpectedly.  He then called me from the grocery store so I could name things that would be easy for me to make while he was at work.  Surprise: I couldn’t even get strength to boil water for the ramen cups.

For nearly four months, my mom took my place and did everything around the house.  She cooked, cleaned, drove my spouse to and from work, shopped for food.  She also did a lot of the embarrassing things that I once assisted people with.  I was reluctant to use the bathroom because sitting was painful and her constant reminders to get up possibly prevented a ton of UTIs.  I couldn’t wipe myself properly after using the bathroom.  Thank the heavens for Mirena because I wouldn’t want to deal with my super long and heavy periods.  I couldn’t bathe or brush my teeth over a sink.  The only decent shower(s) I had was (were) just before surgery dates and even though the feeling afterwards felt amazing, the experience itself was not.  Since I never sat up, my hair turned into a huge rat’s nest.  My mom wasn’t great at keeping up with my hair.  That wasn’t her fault.  I remember she was de-tangling my hair and she was about ready to give up.  I looked at myself in the mirror and was ready to say goodbye to my hair.  That is, until she was able to de-tangle it successfully.

I had little choice in what to eat or drink.  I lost at least 40 pounds in muscle mass.  My mom made sure I was taking my medication and tried to keep me pacified and drugged up by doctor’s orders as best as she could.  (I’m happy to say I haven’t had any opioids since late April.)  The only social interaction I had was with a former friend.  (Please don’t ask me about this; I don’t want to talk about it right now.)  I spent all day, every day, binge watching TV on the iPad because I couldn’t see the TV in bed while maintaining a comfortable position.  (It’s only been a few months since I’ve been able to get back to my normal sleeping position without the need for six pillows.)  My sleep schedule was all over the place.  My spouse was forced to sleep on the couch for weeks, possibly months.  I can’t even remember at this point.

I had a lot of shame.  Interesting, really.  I had a distorted view because somehow I was too young or not disabled enough to not require help, even though I desperately needed it.

Fast forward to today.  What good comes from this self-discussion?  I got through that shit and know I can overcome it again should it happen again.  I was un-medicated, mentally, during that time.  I had a plan to exit this world.  I’m glad I didn’t because I’ve finally found a purpose in life.  It was in front of me this entire time and I didn’t realize it until a few weeks ago.  It feels strange to be nearly back to normal life schedule, with a few changes made so I can reach my personal goals.  When I was on the couch and got up and was in excruciating pain, I freaked out.  It was the worst pain I’ve been in since I had relief and all the bad memories started coming back, I started to panic.  I hopped to the bed and laid down.  Thankfully the pain went away after a few minutes and I’ve decided the couch is no longer a friendly place for me to sit or lie down.

The other day my friend asks me what I think of the new abortion law in New York.  I haven’t been keeping up with the news so I asked him to tell me about it.  To make a long story short, this very random question, out of the blue, lead to something I didn’t even know I needed — an “intelligent” discussion.  This was much more than an “agree to disagree,” conversation.  We spent about two hours talking about politics and more importantly, how each of us has had a profound influence on each other.  Something seen as trivial to an outsider is monumental to each of us.  That’s when I said I was dealing with my own problem and I was given suggestions on how to handle the situation.  Sometimes the best solution to a problem is very simple, to do absolutely nothing, but the majority of the time discussion and communication is the solution.

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