Life's Little Awkward Moments: Dating

How Do You Do?

Skittles

Many years ago when I was single I was matched up with a single man for a date. Luckily, we met for "drinks" which meant Diet Coke for me. If I had known then what I know now I (a non-drinker) would have ordered a double scotch, straight up and gulped it down as fast as I eat Skittles. Even one sip of my soda was torture. We talked about our professions, I worked with people: counseling them, interviewing them, doing mediation in Human Resources. He thought we had a lot in common. It turns out he was an undertaker in a funeral home (and as Jerry Seinfeld would say:" not that there is anything wrong with that") The conversation came, excuse the pun, to a dead halt. He tried to tell me details about his career but truthfully, I was turned off. All of a sudden I "remembered" that I needed to be home for an important call. I was pleasant, I was polite and I booked it out of there.

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People Called Me Lazy

free 'sweet' hugs

My Fibromyalgia was diagnosed four years ago along with an autoimmune (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) disease and a connective tissue disorder. They both were gifts I got after menopause. Thanks. I’d rather burst into tears a hundred times and change night shirts six times a night than have this. I’m sure I’ve had Fibromyalgia for a long time, I just didn’t know what it was.

I never had the same amount of energy that other people had and I always needed ten hours of sleep. I can’t function on less than eight but ten is ideal. Let’s not forget the nap too. I used to nap every day for three hours, every single day and I would head to bed at 9:3o pm each night. Every bone in my body hurt, I  thought I had the flu,  without the temperature  but it never went away. New pain pops up like the springs of an old mattress and I just sit there in utter disbelief.’ No,’ I would say to myself,’ it can’t be. Isn’t there enough pain and discomfort?’ Sigh. Apparently not.

This pain I have makes me feel like a hundred years old; my 83-year-old mother is in so much better shape than I am. She does yoga once a week, she swims every day,  she is out of her apartment all day, going to the city, socializing with friends. She literally runs around without stopping to rest or sit down or G-d forbid, nap.  In the beginning, before she understood, (does she really understand now?) she used to tell me that I needed more exercise which is a common thing for people with Fibromyalgia to be told, over and over again. Read My Lips, NO CAN DO. I can barely make it around the block twice with my friends. They continue for a third loop and I beg off, mostly I’m fine with it, a few times I have had a twinge of embarrassment even though there is no reason for me to feel that way.

You get unsolicited advice from many people, people who don’t have a chronic pain illness. Go holistic, just get massages, change your diet. They might as well say dye your hair, or drink raw eggs or spin like a top and throw up as a cleanse. We KNOW the choices that are out there, really, we do. But generally we look to other pain sufferers for the answers not you. We know you mean well but frankly, it doesn’t help us.   Often, we don’t know WHAT to do and we are the ones that are suffering.  I’m there now. I’m not only caught up in the cotton-headed Fibromyalgia Fog (where am I, what did I come up here for?) that is my life but I feel unsure and anxious about my options.  I don’t know what to do or who to turn to or who to trust.  My energy is better from the medication I am currently on but now I have new pain in my legs. Great, I can stay up all day having more energy but with more pain. Do I have more pain from the side effects of the medication or from Fibromyalgia or wait, it could be from my auto-immune disease or connective tissue disorder. Listen up, world, I can’t speak for other people, but I am often unsure and clueless, trying to live in this world, day by day. I’m the first one to admit that I have no clue if what I am doing is right. How can we know that? We go to top doctors and hope for the best, sometimes it just isn’t enough. Do we settle? Do we stretch? Do we give up on medications? Is six weeks enough time to know that a medicine is working? Who knows? We don’t have the answers either, believe me it’s our fervent wish to understand and solve these medical mysteries.

I have stopped scheduling things in advance because I don’t know how I will feel that day at that time. My good friends understand, they will say “let’s talk the morning of” and I really appreciate it. My friend Sarah will just say “let’s see how you feel” and her concern (and no advice) is for my health and I know she just wants me to feel good and be happy; I also know she worries about me. I appreciate everyone’s concern, truly, I just sometimes don’t know what to say. I wish I was healthier too and in less pain,  I wish I didn’t have new symptoms from time to time but I do. Please understand that I like it a whole lot less than you. I know you feel bad for me but be careful of your words, saying “just when I thought you had every symptom in the book, you get another one,” is really not helpful. I know what I am going through you don’t need to tell me. Just be there for me, listen, offer me gentle hugs and a shoulder to cry on, be supportive. Take it from me, that’s plenty and more than enough.

The Most Wasteful Thing I Do Each Day

I Don't Like It But I Try To Deal With It:

Tropical Storm Alex is First Hurricane of 2010 [HD Video]

Hands down, no thought needed, the most wasteful thing I do each day is "worry". I know I shouldn't, I know you are not supposed to "meet worry half way" but I have to admit that sometimes (ok, frequently) I still do. I think of worst case scenarios: a mole is melanoma, a sore throat is eppiglotitis, a phone call in the middle of the night is, without a doubt, death or dismemberment. No, this is not a fun indulgence and sure I would like to change this about myself but as much as I instruct myself to "breathe, breathe" worry creeps into my mind like a hurricane building it's whirlwind strength. I am the eye of the storm, forcefully trying to move out of the way against very strong wind conditions.

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The Most Wasteful Thing I Do Each Day

I Don't Like It But I Try To Deal With It:

Tropical Storm Alex is First Hurricane of 2010 [HD Video]

Hands down, no thought needed, the most wasteful thing I do each day is "worry". I know I shouldn't, I know you are not supposed to "meet worry half way" but I have to admit that sometimes (ok, frequently) I still do. I think of worst case scenarios: a mole is melanoma, a sore throat is eppiglotitis, a phone call in the middle of the night is, without a doubt, death or dismemberment. No, this is not a fun indulgence and sure I would like to change this about myself but as much as I instruct myself to "breathe, breathe" worry creeps into my mind like a hurricane building it's whirlwind strength. I am the eye of the storm, forcefully trying to move out of the way against very strong wind conditions.

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Lost And Found

Tulips from Keukenhof Gardens, Lisle, Holland.

Image via Wikipedia

I haven’t been writing at all and I don’t know why. It’s always a bad sign if I don’t write. Now, I need to question myself, in public, about what’s going on. The past week has been filled with pain, intensely painful legs out of nowhere with nothing to help dissipate the pain. Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, even Tramadol which I have been taking twice a day. Of course, I thought, I jinxed myself when I wrote that I was “lucky”that my pain was less intense than some.  Past tense. Now I have a new pain that I didn’t think was possible and I don’t know where it came from or why it still exists. That new pain jolted me to a new reality and I hate it.

I’m bothered that my sister is my sister and not a friend I would pick and that the best friend I had picked has completely lost herself,  in her marriage and her children and has not resurfaced for years. The stress in the house has become unbearable at times, with my husband unemployed and a Junior and Senior in High School. They have essays to write, exams to study for, colleges to apply to, jobs, appointments, homework, studying. We all feel the stress around us, inside us, despite of us. My children and husband are what keep me going; I not only love these three people, I adore them. They make me laugh, they make me smile and when I was about to cry today, they knew it long before I did.

Yesterday I laughed so hard I had a stomach ache, my kids put up a fake unicorn tapestry to prank their father for going to the Cloisters. After dinner with our friend Janis from California we all ate chocolate, one with a spice called cholula. We laughed and gasped through the pain and I downed two glasses of Arnold Palmer lite iced tea and lemonade afterwards. I went to bed smiling, the laughter being a delightful and unexpected present.

The holidays are almost upon us and I start thinking of my dad, who passed away 8 or 9 years ago. Why is it that I can never remember the year he died? Not being good with numbers has nothing to do with it, it’s a mental and emotional block that I can’t seem to get over. My father was the buffer in the family, the diplomat, the peace-maker. Without him the rest of the family is a triangle of raw emotions.  I was the one who lost the person who understood me the most and who thought identically like me. There is a gaping hole in our family and as everyone who has lost someone they loved knows, there is nothing to heal that pain. It’s like a festering, open wound and once in a while someone tosses in a cup of salt every now and again. There is before and there is after. Your whole world changes forever.

My birthday is coming up and as much as I used to love my birthday this year it feels like a dull ache. I don’t care that I am another year older, I was never concerned with age. Whether I am 53 or 54 doesn’t mean much to me at all. I don’t hide my age and I don’t erase my wrinkled forehead. These fine lines come from experience, both good and bad, they are here to stay. Earlier today I was thinking of my “bucket list”.  The first thing that came to mind was a tour of the tulip season in Holland and snorkeling in  some Caribbean Island so I could escape the long, cold, snowy winters.

Life is short, I am trying to make it fun. Every day is a gift and I should appreciate it but sometimes I get swept away by all the negativity and I need to pull myself up and out of that empty hole in the musty, brown earth, inch by painstaking inch. I think I have found my voice again so after I dig myself out, I will be facing the sun.

My Favorite Cliché

2, 2, 2 cliches in one!

Two equestrian riders, girls on horseback, in low tide reflections on serene Morro Strand State Beach

"To thine own self be true" might be a cliche but it speaks volumes. After all, we do answer to ourselves….those nagging feelings, those unspeakable question marks, we need to listen to those signals. Keep yourself honest and "treat others as you would like to be treated."

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Safe Versus Sorry

Don't Play It Too Safe

Marine parachuting at Parris Island, S.C. (LOC)

I was always playing it safe. I regret not taking more chances and jumping. No, I stayed safe out of fear and I wish I hadn't. I wasn't ready to make the daring choices and I didn't but I think I missed out on a lot. Playing it safe is easy, daring to make a mistake, that's real courage. If I had to do it all over again I would leap, soar and not worry about the consequences. Unfortunately I learned that too late but at least I learned it.

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Gray

Tropical Depression One upon being declared

Image via Wikipedia

In my 200th post (ok, I missed it, it’s really 201) I look back at who I was when I began, and who I am now. Many things have changed, many have stayed the same.I ‘ve always blogged about different things: pain, joy, food, celebrities, loss, egg salad, Food Network, chocolate and people. I blog about whatever I want and I don’t hold back; today my life feels gray and dark and tumultous.

The first bog I posted was tentative and scared; the name of my blog itself (hibernationnow)speaks volumes. I was a frightened and sick bear cub that wanted to burrow under blankets and hide, away from people, from symptoms, from pain, from life. I’d had enough of various illnesses and I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. Since writing had  been a passion in high school, I decided to take a chance and try once more, I decided to blog on-line. For me, it was a very bold  first step; I hadn’t written anything substantive for more than 35 years. I started with one post, here I am today. When I don’t write in a while, like now, trouble is brewing.

Having  chronic pain  is not an easy thing to deal with because it in itself is so unforgiving.  I have to consciously say out loud  ” this is not my fault. ” I have also learned from my blogger friends that “pain is pain” and that I can’t compare my pain to others nor should I diminish it. I give this group of women in the chronic pain world a lot of credit, they will hold you when you need it and tell you the truth when you deserve it. From them I learned that my pain is no greater or no lesser than anyone else’s pain. I hurt, therefore I am.  I am now owning my pain.  These women in the chronic pain community have given me support, information and emotional good cheer. We keep each other afloat and when one of us is down, the others rally around with gentle hugs. If the world could be run by this group there would be no war.

In the past year there’s been hospitalization,  various autoimmune drugs (and their evil side effects)  asthma, broken ankles, fibromyalgia and a thyroid with the beat of a listless, dull, old  gray-blue pidgeon. I was so nervous about my last routine round of blood tests that I had a full-fledged anxiety attack and needed to take a Xanax  but alas I was too far gone and it didn’t help.

For the past three or four days I’ve had excruciating pain in the small of my back and in my legs. Sitting, standing, sleeping or walking, this is a whole new arena of pain that I have never experienced. What is wrong with me? Why is this happening? What’s the matter with me?  In this tumbled world of chronic illness I don’t know where this particular pain is from. Is it a side effect from the medicine? Is it a pinched nerve? Is it something new and horrible?  Inside, you groan, “oh no, not again….” and still it continues. I am feeling depressed and ill at ease; I am now a stranger in my body and also, my mind.

My husband of 22 years has been unemployed for more than a year now. I’ve handled it well until recently but I think I am at a breaking point. We have a son who is a senior in high school and a daughter who is a junior in high school. The stakes are high at the moment, there seems to be a new challenge every day. There is chaos on top of chaos.  I’m trying hard to hold on but I can feel myself slipping. Perhaps my new pain is telling me to breathe, to slow down, to let the stress go. I’m trying.

I am in the eye of the storm and the world is whirling around me and I am stuck in the middle, unable to move, wanting to scream out but being incapable of screaming. There are so many things to do and so many emotions that it feels overwhelming.    I am stuck in pain, in conflict, in existence; I need to breathe, to find time to breathe and sit with music as my therapy and Advil by my side. Soon, I will ask for help.

The Weirdest Food I've Ever Eaten

We're Not At The Petting Zoo Anymore

Portrait of a goat

I didn't want to do it, I didn't think I could…..but we were in this very fancy restaurant that my doctor recommended and my husband ordered it. The people at the next table told me it was delicious; I was skeptical. It arrived and everyone oohed and ahhhed. There before me was a goat dish. I gathered up my courage and took a little bite. In my mind I kept picturing a goat at the petting zoo when my children were little. I thought I could overcome it but I couldn't. What does goat taste like? As usual, like chicken.

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