I keep meaning to post. But there are so many things in my head, and so many of them are unbloggable. I work at a small non-profit, and we are just barely surviving this economy and may very well not make it. Which would be stressful enough without the partner of one of my colleagues suddenly learning (as in four days later he was having brain surgery) that he has stage 4 glioblastoma. Which means that she is barely present at work and when she is, she isn’t. Her family is her first priority, I truly believe that, but at the same time, it puts even more pressure on the rest of us.
So the past two months I’ve been dealing with this, and trying to fight off the demons in my head that threaten to suffocate me in anxiety and depression that paralyzes me and makes the smallest decision agonizing. And then of course, I think, I need to work, I need to get stuff done, and it is even worse because I cannot. I’ve gone back to therapy (good) and gotten some new head meds (also good, although the first ones my doctor put me on caused me to eat insatiably and I don’t know how I’m going to get rid of those ten pounds on top of all the other stress eating ones…) and in general am Hanging In There, You Go Girl and all that jazz.
So that’s where I’ve been.
That and trying to keep up with this whirlwind, whose smile puts it all in perspective for me.
He’s 2 1/2 and so full of ideas, opinions, and questions. “Cause why, Mama? Cause why?” His head spins around on his neck whenever anything wheeled goes by. He is polite (for a toddler) – melting hearts with his spontaneous thank-yous. He is incredibly physical – last weekend he climbed up a steep and rocky trail described as “not suitable for young children” – and he loves nothing more than to play endless games of chase, catch me! catch me!
And as long as that continues, everything else is ultimately gravy (but don’t tell me that when I’m pulling my hair out at work…)
So I recently refilled my mail order pharmacy supply of happy pills… I get the name brand b/c the generic is uncoated and sticks in my throat every single time. It’s a slightly higher copay, but it’s worth it.
My previous copay for this was $80 for a 90 day supply.
I get my credit card bill and realize I’ve been charged $492!!!
I call and am told that on 4/3/08 (huh? random date?) a MAC penalty was added to that drug, meaning that if you take the name brand instead of the generic, you get penalized big time. I was never notified of this – obviously, I’d have refilled the script before 4/3 if I knew that was going to happen!
MAC PENALTY? Do I get a happy meal with that?
A few forceful “I was not notifieds” and “may I speak to your supervisor PLEASE”s and I’m put on hold for 10 minutes. When the woman comes back, she says that she has been authorized to give me a one-time exception, and I will be getting a refund for the amount I was overcharged. In the future, I can have my doctor’s office fill out an “exception request form” if I need the name brand drug.
Thing I always wonder after encounters like this. What if I wasn’t…
– educated & literate enough to read my insurance plan documents
– a native speaker of English
– privileged enough to believe I deserve better treatment
– privileged enough to have a job where I can make personal phone calls during work hours (because these folks are 9-5, baby)
I’d be screwed out of $400. And more.
I have this Thing.
The longer I postpone doing something the harder it is to do it. I think “I should have done that last time I thought about it and what the hell is wrong with me and…” and then (at least this is what my Much Beloved Therapist and I concluded) I associate shame with that task, whatever it may be, and so I “forget” to do it and then the next time I remember it’s even harder to overcome the shame and actually do it. So then when I think “oh crap I meant to do x y or z” I feel even worse, and am even more likely not to do it. Some of the areas of my life where this has impacted me include:
- returning phone calls & emails
- writing my m.a. thesis
- taking insulin (shit, I was going to take my shot after dinner and I forgot and I should do it now, but look at the floor and how dirty it is…)
- returning library books (this one has cost me $$$)
- filling prescriptions & making doctors appts
- and now… blogging
I suppose I could blame my silence over the past few weeks on busy-ness, which is true, but never stopped me before, or on all of you who were doing
nowblowme nablopomo and kept me hopping just to keep up the comments, which I didn’t (more shame) or any number of things, but the truth is, I have whipped myself up past cream into butter. The more days go by, the better the comeback post has to be and the harder it is to sit down and write it. How can I just write about baby food or do a meme when I haven’t written in weeks?
So finally I am blogging about the shame in the hope that doing so will free me up to write about second parent adoption (anticlimax galore, pictures on flickr) and babyfood (please tell me that my child is not the only 13 month old who would rather eat stage 3 purees than finger foods) and meeting bloggers (who I am too lazy to link to) and sick cats and the trainwreck that is my immune system (any other diabeters with lichen planus out there?) and shout outs to bloggers with good news and crappy news and…
And please don’t tell me not to feel ashamed: because then I just feel more ashamed for being ashamed.
I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting before. Life has been… interesting. And not in a very good way.
For some reason I feel very embarrassed and ashamed about what I’m about to write about. Things with the job in MUCDTR are not going so smoothly – it turns out that they have not been able to raise the money they need in order for me to start working there. They’re still trying their damndest and it’s possible that any day now the funding will come through. But for the moment, I wait. And fret. And stress.
In the meantime: I have given notice at my current job (although nothing has been done to replace me, and they would probably be very happy if I were to say I could stay longer) ; I just spent a lot of time at a professional conference telling everyone about my new job and how excited I am about it; and oh yes, did I mention that we have a contract on, and have put down a deposit of not an insubstantial amount of money on, a house in MUCDTR.
Insert head in sand. Scream.
I don’t really want advice or even sympathy and righteous indignation. I feel like I deserve this. I feel like I should have known better. That my old friend, the black cloud is still following me around and who am I to think I could actually have things work out for me.
This feeling is compounded by watching younger babies exit PGN ahead of our GB. Intellectually I know that the fedex delay probably set us back a month, because it meant that our power of attorney arrived a week later than it should have and thus landed in the midst of the holiday black hole that is December in Guatemala. Intellectually I know that the whole fuckup with the DNA paperwork also cost us several weeks. Intellectually, I know that I did nothing to provoke either of these events. Just bad luck. Emotionally? I feel like we are doomed and Guatebaby is never coming home and I will never succeed professionally and why do I even bother?
Just got an email from Guatemala Agency Lady (GAL). She has (finally) reviewed our dossier and found several documents that we have to redo, including: the medical letter, the employment letter, the police clearance letter, one of the witness statements, and the name affidavit.
Pili and I react so differently to this kind of news. She gets pissed and frustrated – why didn’t GAL catch these errors earlier? – why is this process so stupid anyway? and I feel intensely uncomfortable in the presence of her anger. All I want to do is run around and Make It All Better And Please Stop Having These Feelings I Cannot Do Anything About Please Please Please Please because I feel helpless and small and impotent in the face of These Feelings.
Various therapists have pointed out that I also feel helpless and small and impotent in the face of This Disease. And that my mother is prone to falling apart and I am prone to feeling like I have to fix things for her. Including the fact that I have This Disease, which obviously I cannot fix. And so we smile pleasantly and do not talk about This Disease, ever, unless I bring it up, or unless my father sends me yet another “the cure is only five years away” article. They do not ask about my blood sugars. Despite being total gadget-philes, they have not asked me anything about the pump. I tell them every time a test comes back clear and they say oh that’s wonderful. I don’t know how I will ever tell them if/when the opthamologist does not smile as he is putting away his high tech helmet, if/when I do not leave one of these exams blinking with woozy dilated desperate relief.
And despite the fact that every logical bone in my body is telling me that $2.87 at Tarzghey does not have the power to influence our dossier – or my chances at a job that I want – or anything else, I cannot help that little voice from creeping into my skull. That little voice that says: Why are you surprised, Art-Sweet? Don’t you know that Disappointment is your Destiny? Oh, did you really think you could dodge the bullet this time? In an interior voice rich with contempt and derision: realllly now, how presumptuous of you to imagine things would be different?
The Photo Friday topic this week is “A is for…”
I was all prepared, earlier in the week, to come up with something clever. I have been a Photo Friday loser the past couple of weeks, and I wanted to make a big splash to make it up to Cali, because I’m that kind of over-compensating neurotic twit.
But honestly, all I can come up with right now is A is for AWFUL. A is for ANXIETY. A is for ABSOLUTELY FUCKING UNBEARABLE.
Because, that’s what the past two days have been.
I can’t really blog about the shit that’s going on because it’s not my shit to blog about. Suffice it to say that a family member of Pili’s is going through a very tough time. And as a result is living with us. The resultant stress has both Pili and I bursting into tears at random moments, always carefully when said family member is not around.
The thing that has me up here at my computer blogging about this when I swore that I would respect Pili’s privacy and not blog about it, is that the stress of all this has driven Pili to smoke again. When I first met her she smoked. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke more than anything else in the whole wide world. Cat boxes that have not been cleaned for weeks are more appealing to me than the smell of a smoker.
I nagged Pili for years until she finally managed to quit and stay quit. Until then I would not let her get into bed without showering if she had been smoking. I can smell it on her three days after she’s had one cigarette, even if she has showered. The thought of Pili smoking again, of having to go through this awful nagging nagging nagging routine again, has me reduced to a puddle of weepy mush for about the sixth time today. I hate what this is doing to my girl. I hate that I can’t make it better for her. And I hate that she smells like a goddamn ashtray.
There we go. A is for ASHTRAY.
I am beyond tears.
Thank you for all your kind comments on the previous post. My tongue is back to normal, the stitch, which made me feel like I had a fly stuck on my tongue, has dissolved as promised, and I am once again blowing bubbles.
I don’t have much to say at the moment. I feel like I’m in a holding pattern on a lot of fronts. We’re waiting for the I-171H, which should hopefully come within the next week or two. I’m waiting for news on a couple of job possibilities. We’re waiting for the referral, although not in an any day now kind of way. I’m waiting to hear whether I have hoof and mouth disease or some other dire disorder of the tongue. Have I mentioned that I hate waiting?
I was talking with my therapist on monday about my feeling of always falling a little bit short and of never expecting things to work out. She commented that she had seen similar attitudes in other type ones. That our bodies have failed us in a very central way and so we expect failure and feel like it is always around the corner, hanging out, waiting to jump us just when we start to feel like things might go okay. Then she commented that it seems like this maybe leads me to pull my punches a bit. That I don’t commit one hundred percent because I don’t expect to succeed in the first place.
I think it’s all true. I just don’t know what to do about it.
I will be honest, since this is my blog. But if you’re pregnant, you might not want to keep reading. I would understand that.
Lots of folks in my little corner of the internet have gotten pregnant lately. They are filled with joy. They are looking forward without hesitation to the Baby that will Be. And you know what? Their Baby Will Be.
They will have doubling betas, beautiful fuzzy ultrasounds at which they clasp each other’s hands and gasp (clasp, gasp, aren’t I clever?) at the sound of their baby’s heartbeat. Nothing will go wrong for them. Why not? I don’t know why not. Maybe they were nicer to their mothers in a past life. Maybe they’re just not me. Maybe if I had just believed whole-heartedly that nothing would go wrong, if I had not allowed doubt to slip in, nothing would have gone wrong. Did I jinx it by allowing the possibility of wrongness to materialize in my mind – one small grain and then another and then another – like the elementary school science experiment of sugar crystals on a thread?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t in the least begrudge them their good karma. I just wish it extended to me. Perhaps the very fact that I can’t just be happy for them without a reflex kick of self-pity and self-doubt is indicative of the starter crystal that sent our baby astray?
As excited as I am about the potential of Guatebaby, I just can’t get these thoughts out of my head.
I can almost hear the gentle, rational voice of my father in my head, telling me statistics, reminding me of the joys of my life, trying to convince me these things don’t happen because of me. And I don’t know what scares me more. Random crap luck, or the idea that I make my own luck and that luck is bad.
After a fantastic weekend in flat cosmopolitan city (shout out to our lovely hostesses and the beauticious bride & groom) I came back to work today to find out that I am being laid off from the job that does NOT blow due to not getting the grant that would pay for my position to continue.
I was very composed and did not cry in the director’s office as he and my boss explained to me how wonderful I am and how sorry they are and blah blah blah blah.
But this sentence in the letter he handed me just infuriates me:
“Art-Sweet, it has been a true pleasure to work with you and I expect our paths will cross again. Thank you for your service and dedication to Organization X. Given your qualifications, proven abilities, and broad network of colleagues, I am confident that you will able to find a full time position that suits your talents and needs soon.”
Riiight. I haven’t found a full time job that suits my talents and needs in the three years since we moved to this god forsaken corner of the country.
I will continue on at the job that blows (where the director asked me, in reference to our wedding, who would be the bride and who would be the groom) and I suppose make good use of my additional two days of free time a week to actually complete the Thesis and etc. etc. etc.
But right now, I am convinced, more so than ever, that a black cloud hangs over my head and follows me around and surrounds me with my own personal microclimate of raining crap.