Tag: Healthy

Dear Dad, thank you for calling…

Dear Dad, thank you for calling…

I look at it this way Pops. Our futures have intertwined so that both us may come to know a final peace and understanding of ourselves. I’ve always known the only way through any or all of this was was by having to find a way to not only forgive and forget, but to also remember the love that was there as well.

If you’re willing to reach out today and ask for help, and I’m more than touched that you did. Than let’s find that peaceful journey for you to the next chapter of you life and in turn both our lives as father and son. I picked a beautiful spot by a pond with wildlife galore. Come and enjoy it with me…

I’m sorry your wife wants to move on right now. I can’t imagine how difficult or painful that must be while continuing to combat the effects of parkinson’s on a daily basis. We can and will find a way to provide better for you including living with me in a two bedroom home already outfitted with support bars in the bath and shower and your own bedroom to boot. (I planned it that way when I moved here two years ago,)

You’ve always trusted me to handle complex paperwork for you. When I was younger and there were all sorts of health insurance forms or union documents to read and figure out you always turned to me for help. It was out bonding time together. I loved when you’d trust me because you knew I was smart and I’d get a kick out of seeing you smile like “Oh yeah, I get it now. Thanks!” I never knew it was from the dyslexia you’d grown up with all your life. I enjoyed the trust and you trusted me in turn.

I was proud to be the son of a union factory worker. You worked you way to shop steward by reading and re-reading all of the contracts and union books. You always had a strong sense of right and wrong when it came to the working man and you’d go to bat for them. Some of the best memories I have is going to union hall meetings with all the cigarette smoking and guys yelling at the mic;s in the aisles. You never gave up and you never took a hand out either. I remember more than a few strikes and picket lines too.

I’ve never forgotten where I came from Pops…

I can safely say that after spending more than just a few 24 hours “on the inside” of more than a couple dozen rehabs and psych wards. I fully understand the fear of having your life upended and landing somewhere when you no longer decide what bedtime is or where or when you get to take a walk. It’s scary and I totally get it. That’s why I need you to trust me now and let’s get you someplace safe. Hopefully with me here in Massachusetts. If you’re going to need 24 hour care for medication reminders every three hours, I’m more than willing to do that for you.

I’m glad you called this evening. And I’m even more glad that you acknowledged I was angry but that you were willing to move on. That meant a lot to me. So if you’ll trust me once again to get you to the next step I’m ready when you are.

Your Son, ~R

Emotional Rubber Bands…

Emotional Rubber Bands…

rubber bands, whiplash, herky jerky, it’s all the same when it comes to my family and it simply can’t continue like this. i have to choose not only my mental health over my family but also my physical health as well.

two years without health care is a long time when it comes to reestablishing healthcare especially when it comes to specialists. with my families history of colon and prostrate cancers, the first up was the new GI which started a cascade of #ptsd and #anxiety symptoms.

i did my homework and made sure to bring all of my medical records from the previous medical system to expedite the process and also to show that i was informed and cooperative new patient. the dr.’s extremely knowledgeable which is why i chose him so that’s a good thing. what i hadn’t planned on was the aggressive push for even more medical info when it came to my father…

these days i can relate to how my mother always had a hard time with dr’s and hospitals. it’s all the questioning even though it’s right there in black in white that’s the trigger. no one wants to recall their past when it’s riddled with land mines. it’s a friggin’ war zone and when one goes…they ALL go.

anywho… i had prepped like a good student…four color coded folders for each speciality in case he asked. the g.i. folder was the largest and had every letter, mri, sigmoid, tech notes, xray notes, pcp notes…”do you have the results of your father’s last colonoscopy?” “can you get them?” “you do have power of attorney don’t you?” “these are things you’re legally entitled to you know.” “i’m just trying to take what you provide me and turn it into science.” he says gesturing from outstretched hands at me motioning to random notes onto one sheet of paper because the medical terminal was down… really? no…are you fucking kidding me???

of course he was an hour late and i hit grid lock rush hour traffic right at five thirty, an hour and half just to get out of boston via route nine. it’d be two more hours before i was finally back home. exhausted, not angry or frustrated, just frazzled like shell shock and everything hurt. my stomach, my head, my body, just everything like a spiral…

who knew the next jolt was to hit the very next day. yep, the voicemail from my father asking for help for what i’m guessing may be his final wishes. i mean, i’m compassionate to what he’s going through, but realistic just the same. i mean, it doesn’t change what he’s done but that’s not the point. the point is moving on and still being able to live with myself.

do i have to forgive him? i already had in a way. i mean after our last parting two summers ago, i had already began to do just that, it was what it was and move on. i knew these’s dr’s would be key and i still have three more to fit in by january. oh, and it’s winter which i haven’t driven in for at least thirty years.

yeah, forgot that one. i had to learn how to drive two years ago after being able to walk, subway or taxi anywhere in the city of boston and now i have to drive just to get coffee. i’m not whining on that one, that accomplishment i feel really proud of actually. from finding a driving school to sponsor my road test to the registry for the written, i earned that one.

however…

while i was comfortable with having to make the trade off of country driving over city driving. i hadn’t anticipated the lack of quality specialists here on the cape. the largest and closest healthcare system is the one i’m trying to leave and also doesn’t have the best track record. all my neighbors do the same so i’m not alone in how most of rural mass. thinks about specialist healthcare which is kind of a shame. boston is a great teaching hub and it certainly has innovation on its side. what it does lack though is a broader network of care for all regions and especially those beyond just the greater boston area.

switching from as needed to daily medication was a huge leap for me but it’s necessary if i have to rely on a car for everything. when i lived in the city if i had to run out for coffee or a sandwich and cat food. even in the worst weather or worst of winter colds, i could usually muster a coat maybe some sunglasses winter boots and headphones for a block and a half to the corner bodega. fun little place on the edge of villa victoria called Casa Cuong, just the basics in it’s two small yet well stocked aisles… i can recall the rush of hot air from the ice cream coolers when you open the door in winter like it’s just outside my front door now.

i loved the juxtaposition of corners here in the south end. Casa Cuong with its treasure trove of goya, kix, friskies and klondike bars on one corner. venti iced coffee, turkey wrap, yogurt w/granola and peppermint bark at Starbucks on the other. total time out and back was about twenty minutes maybe thirty when dressing for winter.

nowadays twenty minutes seems like a luxury. a luxury in that it could take me twenty minutes just to get through tying my shoes and getting on some jeans and a shirt if i’m real lucky. i’m winded at just about anything so i have to stop about every fifteen minutes to sit, catch my breath, take the next incremental step and so forth.

you get the gist…

i miss the city for a lot of reasons chief among them is it was my home for my entire adult life until 2016. there’s not an inch of of it i can’t recall and that’s a huge blessing on my journey.

if there’s one thing i’ve learned while emerging from this self imposed cocoon it’s that new memories are going to be important if i’m ever going to make that final hard tack in my life that i’ve always dreamed of. the type where after a vigorous and difficult struggle through wave after wave, you’ve somehow managed turn face first into the wind and you’re no longer concerned with what’s behind you only with what’s ahead and ensuring that horizon as as clear as glass.

i can’t keep having these emotional rubber bands from a toxic family keep whipping me all over the place. it’s too much. i don’t wish him or them any ill will. i just need to focus on me before i end up not being able to care for myself.

when i think of the health issues that run in our family it’s crucial that i get through these next three to four dr. appointments, not including things like labs, colonoscopies, MRI’s etc. etc.

i always knew there’d be stress once i lined up these appointments, it’s the impact from the driving that i hadn’t planned for. toss in my father’s voicemail and that was that…face plant into bed for next five days.

it’s slow going and while i did manage to have an “up day” for thanksgiving, i am sidelined by the gritty scratchy eye thing again. that and the whole body still hurts which means the auto-immune system is in over drive and does it suck. mostly it sucks because i know i’m still a long way from any relief. psoriatic arthritis? maybe, all of the men on my father’s side have ended up in wheel chairs so there’s that… ankylosing spondylitis? that’s another maybe except with my father’s diagnosis in 2016 there is a genetic component to consider or rule out. after this many years neither is palatable but at least there’s a regimen to follow, a plan, something to hang your hat on each night and finally sleep with some peace of mind.

the mind, body and gut connection isn’t lost on me. while mindfulness, meditation and yoga can be helpful. i’m at the stage where we need to move to the next step in the process. living in thirty minute increments of effort isn’t normal for someone my age and yes that’s depressing and yes i know that doesn’t help. look up #IBS, #PA or #AS and they share many of the same symptoms including #depression and #anxiety. that’s good and bad. good in that one medication or plan could solve more than one issue. bad in that it takes all of those specialties to test and agree on who the lucky winner is.

the blinds are open again and there are plenty of leftovers lucky me. during the two days i had energy i was pushing through all of my batch cooking and stocking up the freezer with things like homemade chicken soup and stock. two staples for any gluten free and/or anti-inflammation diet. i made another roaster for thanksgiving day and i’ll throw that in the slow cooker for shredded chicken. an afternoon with the kitchenaid and foodsaver should knock out a couple 1lb bags which are perfect for quick meals.

my neighbor who’s recovering from breast cancer says she’s grateful for the up days too. we both joke about the mornings when you wake up and you just know your body isn’t going to hate you that day and you zoom through laundry, cooking, mail, a shower and collapse.

tomorrow supposed to be sunny and warmer than the past two days of single digit wind chills. the plan is to finish the leaves we all got clobbered with here in new england. one day the leaves were on all the trees and then two back to back wind storms mean everyone was buried all at once.

weather looks good? check. leaf blower batteries charged? check. your body still hates you in the morning? check check and triple check.

tomorrow after the leaves?

why i gave up facebook…

 

Trying to keep positive…

Trying to keep positive…

these flare ups suck when then take me out of my routine. you know the drill. something triggers that familiar ‘un-happy’ gut feeling. not yet excruciating but you know it’s just a matter of time.

today i was finally able to run errands after being in bed for the past 3 days. the familiar dull painful and mentally distracting headache. more than that actually. eyes, forehead, ears where the psoriasis patches ache 24/7. then the joints kick in and your spine feels achey but can only be soothed temporarily and for unpredictable durations.

however…

i’m blessed to have learned the chef skills i did in my twenties and i’m blessed to have this period ranch style kitchen to spread out and feed myself. with my putting off seeing a PCP appt. at least i’ve gotten better at my diet which removes a huge variable once i do see a dr.

it’s allowed me the space and ability to experiment how to reverse, as much as i can, some of the effects once they begin. bone broth is an amazing gut recovery for instance so now i always keep shelf stable varieties on hand when i need to calm things down a bit.

with the availability of things like flax milk and flax wraps it makes it pretty easy to incorporate those omega-3’s for organic fruit smoothies, add in Garden of Life plant protein and that’s a great way  to start the day.

so… while i still try to work up to going to the dr’s i can at least reduce some anxiety that i’m eating the best i can.

the fear of the dr. thing is proving to be more challenging than i thought. i do have a G.I. dr. appt in Nov. and i know i at least need to get back to regular colonoscopies. with my families history of colon cancer that’s pretty much a non-negotiable. my fear comes with the exposing of my body and the fear and vulnerability of those feelings that trigger memories that are very terrifying for me.

while i’m grateful for the breather i have between now and November to try and prepare myself. it’s tough to find a balance between how much thought you need to give to your symptoms. diet alone isn’t allowing me to manage things now it just buys me recovery time post flare up. it’s the trigger that’s been elusive.

meaning, yes you have to pay attention to IBS but you also have to manage your anxiety and depression. i may not be able to control whatever auto-immune issue or A.S. issue is out of my control and beating me up physically, but i am able to shape how i view my situation.

today was a post flare up recovery day. let’s hope it lasts as long as my last 10 day up time window. fall’s coming and this yard work never ends. lol.

xo ~r

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