Fade To Black

Yesterday was my first Thursday night knitting group. Several of us from my Sunday group decided to start one on our side of town, just so we’d have something midweek. While I was there, my mom called me twice, but my phone was in my bag and on silent. Matt’s like a toddler whose mom goes to the bathroom: they can be fine for hours and hours, but the instant mom has to pee, they suddenly NEED attention. Yup, Matt does the same thing to me while I’m knitting.

Anyway, I called my mom thinking she wanted to ask/tell me something about my step-dad’s birthday party on Sunday. Instead, she told me my dad died. Technically, he was also my step-dad, but he adopted me when I was a toddler, so he was the only dad I really knew. He was a pretty shitty one, and I hadn’t talked to him for at least four years. Now I’m trying to process and getting nowhere, because I just don’t feel anything. No sadness, no regret, nothing. At the most, I feel bad that I didn’t have the kind of dad, or the kind of relationship with my dad that would make me sad that he’s dead.

I never met his new wife. I haven’t talked to my sister in seven years. It’s been even longer since I talked to my aunt, after she screwed me over on my inheritance from my grandmother (which my dad did nothing about…but I’d already stopped talking to him long before that point). The only reason my mom even found out was because a friend ran into a friend who knew a friend who saw my dad while he was in hospice. My mom wasn’t even sure what day he died, but it was sometime this week.

Maybe I’ll feel something later, though I doubt it. I spent decades getting past the not so lovely job my parents did. I look around at my life now, my wonderful husband, amazing children, and good friends, and I am grateful for what I have, but… On the plus side, I’m obviously past all my anger issues, because I’m not happy that he’s dead. I used to dream of dancing on his grave, but that mostly went away by the time I hit thirty-something.

I’ve tried to think of the good things, and can only come up with six. He taught me to snorkel. He stayed in the hospital with me when I had my tonsils out. He got my tuition refunded when I had to stay in the hospital for a week with a kidney infection while I was pregnant with Matt. He went to as many of Matt’s football games as he could and taught me about football. He taught me how to make spaghetti.

That’s my eulogy.

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What Love Is

I have a cold. There’s not much in this world that is worse than a summer cold in Texas, except for having a summer cold in Texas on top of fibromyalgia. My head feels like a thousand pounds, my neck and shoulders ache, and everything in my body hurts. On top of all that, I somehow ended up in an interstitial cystitis flare that makes that whole Texas cold thing seem like a longed for Christmas gift.

IC is a chronic inflammation of the bladder. When I first started researching for treatments, one doctor at Tufts University was using hydroxyzine pamoate in a clinical trial. The brand name is Vistaril, and although it is technically an antihistamine, it’s mainly used to treat anxiety. His theory is that IC is caused by an overgrowth of mast cells; in other words, it’s like an overblown allergic reaction in the bladder. At the time, everyone thought he was pretty crazy and no one outside of Boston was following the protocol. He got the last laugh though, because it’s now one of the standard meds for IC.

Recently, I added benadryl to my regimen along with the hydroxyzine because it just wasn’t cutting it alone anymore. The benadryl seemed to be working fine, and when I ran out of my hydroxyzine, I upped the benadry to make up for it, and I didn’t have any problems…until Tuesday night.

I’m almost positive that my cold has screwed with my bladder, considering a cold sets off a histamine reaction in the body (hence the sneezing and runny nose). It’s not like that stuff decides to just screw with your nasal passages and sinuses. It attacks everywhere. By Tuesday night, I was hurting, but it wasn’t unbearable. I took some pain meds, an extra benadryl, and drank a bunch of water to clear out my bladder, then went to bed.

I got about an hour or so of sleep before the nightmare started. I woke up to my entire urinary tract spasming. If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you’ve got a vague idea. Now imagine that you are trying to give birth through your urethra. It feels like a combination of desperately having to pee while having excruciating labor pains. Except labor pains come in waves with at least a minute between them. IC spasms just keep going. and going. and going.

I got out of bed to take more benadryl, and added in a couple of other pain meds. Then I laid in bed and rocked. I sat in bed and rocked. I sat on the edge of the bed and rocked and tried not to scream. I stood up next to the bed and cussed under my breath so I wouldn’t wake up Ron. I rocked and cried and finally, I took one of my knock-out pills in an attempt to just sleep through the pain.

The next morning, I told Ron about my miserable night and he said, “Why didn’t you take any AZO?” AUGH! Why *didn’t* I take any AZO? I could have sent Matt to get some hours before. I told him we didn’t have any, but I would wake Matt up and send him. Ron was running late for work, but by the time I got Matt up, Ron had already texted him to say he had the AZO and was on his way back home.

My sweet, sweet, wonderful husband (who is NEVER late to work) stopped at the store just to get the AZO and brought it to me right away, just so I wouldn’t be in pain any longer than necessary. Pay attention people. This is what love is.

Today I’m sore and achey, but it’s not excruciating. I feel like someone kicked me in the abdomen with steel toed boots, and I still feel like I have to pee every second, but I’ll take the small favors.

That’s What Friends Are For

I know it’s been a while, but with all the anti-feminist crap going on in the world, I’ve been too livid to write anything. Today is really the first day that I’ve been able to really organize my thoughts without being spitting mad. I’m still angry, but I’m not sputtering quite as much.

This blog post isn’t really meant to be a political statement (seriously, if it were, you’d have stopped reading by now, I’m sure!). This entire blog is about finding the happiness in crappy day to day situations, and that’s what this post is all about.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been unfriended, I’ve unfriended others, and I have been publicly vociferous. This is such a polarizing issue, but what has been awesome is that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the friends who have come out as on our side. Considering the people that I’ve unfriended are generally not important to me, while the ones who surprise me ARE important to me, it makes me feel somewhat relieved about my friend choices.

I’ve also become friends with some really amazing people, both male and female. One thing that I’ve happily discovered is there ARE a few other liberal women in Texas, and they KNIT! While I usually hesitate to make generalizations, my limited personal experience is that the people I know who only crochet seem to be less intellectual than the people I know who knit. Perhaps that’s just a southern thing? I don’t know.

Last Sunday, our regular group was quite loud and angry while we knitted at a local Panera in a very Republican neighborhood. We were thrown dirty looks by little old white women, but as our militant quasi-leader said, “Life’s tough for everybody. Get over it.” She’s from the hippie generation, so she’s already fought this battle once before. That evening, I sent her a message on Ravelry asking if she’d be my roommate at next year’s fiber retreat and she said yes. I’m super excited to have a friend who not only knits, but has a doctorate and is a feminist.

For most of my life, I’ve felt really alone, especially in my adult life. While my husband and kids are fabulous and wonderful, and my daughter truly is one of my best friends, it’s not the same. It’s hard for a liberal woman in Texas to make friends, especially friends with similar interests. It’s been the main reason I’ve wanted to move to the northeast, where friendship comes easily. Suddenly, I find myself surrounded by like-minded women and it is glorious! It is definitely making my time in Texas more pleasant and way less depressing.

While Saudi America goes to shit and the Constitution dissolves before our very eyes and the Supreme Court ignores decades upon decades of precedent, logic, and reason, I’ve found the good. More importantly, I’ve found hope. I think that is what friends are meant to give us: hope. The feeling that we are not alone in this dark universe.

So screw Hobby Lobby. We are women, we are crafters, and we shop…but we don’t shop at Hobby Lobby. Even more than all that, we freakin’ VOTE. And there are more of us than I ever imagined.

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