Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Parent's Worst Nightmare

     My work deals with death and tragedy. However, rarely am I connected to those suffering loss or tragedy.
February 5th, I pulled our local paper up online and read a headline about a local graduate who died in a car crash. When I opened the article, I saw a picture of a young man playing basketball and noticed the notation that he graduated in 2009. My first thought was, surely you could have come up with a better headline, since he graduated almost 10yrs ago. Then I saw the name. My heart sank. A name I knew. Not from meeting the young man personally, but from knowing his mother for the last 15yrs and hearing all about him while he was growing up, while she did my hair. I didn't sleep well that night. I thought about that family and their loss. I also stared at my son. All I could think while staring at him, "You are my world."
     Another friend and I attended his memorial service at a local high school this past Saturday. The gymnasium was packed. The church pastor spoke, his father, his sister, his brother in law. Then they opened it to anyone that wanted to come up and share a story. The thing that resonated the most was how kind he was, and how in his twenty six years of life, he impacted so many. That was apparent by the amount of people that attended his memorial.
     My heart hurts for them. No words, flowers, or cards are going to ease their pain. Their lives have forever changed. They have experienced the hardest loss and are dealing with a parent's worst nightmare.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The truth is a dirty secret.

     Chit chatting with an assistant at the dentist office today while I was waiting for my mouth to numb, this conversation started: 
"So you are a dispatcher?" Yep. "How long have you been doing that?" As of October I've been there 24yrs. "Wow! That must be interesting." Yes, it is, but it can be very taxing. Then came the question I wasn't expecting and frankly have never been asked. "What's your outlet?" Umm, what? "You mentioned it's very taxing, what's your outlet?" 
     I was quiet for a moment (someone got me to be quiet for a moment. STOP ! ) I didn't want to tell her the truth, my dirty secret. This total stranger didn't need to know that my outlet is eating copious amounts of food to squash my emotions, choosing to stay locked away from interacting with people, and crying, sometimes lots and lots of crying. ( I don't think crying is a bad thing, but when you arbitrarily burst into tears, well that's a bit of an issue.) Twenty four years of people's problems, sorrows, tragedies takes a toll on you. I'm just hearing it. Think about all the poor folks who actually see it, go hands on helping with the issues. I can't tell her the truth.
     Instead, I smiled and said, well I sometimes go for a walk, or I took an improv class for a while. That was a great outlet.
     Reality, the lack of an outlet is catching up with me. It has been for a while. In the last 18months, I have been directly or peripherally involved in calls that have hit me emotionally, double murder /suicide (involving children), firestorm, officer involved shooting. How can those things not affect you? We aren't machines.
     The first windstorm I experienced after the fires, I had a panic attack. I didn't lose my house in the fire, I wasn't working the first night of the fires. I did work many, many days afterward. Why was I bothered so much by the wind? It was the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep that night. Listen to that wind, I love it. I knew there was a fire in another county. I thought, it's so far away, we are good. That thought proved to be a lie. That fire with that wind came charging into our county, like it took my thought of "we are fine" as a challenge.  An early morning phone call from a friend asking me "what I was doing",my obvious answer was going to be sleeping. Then she clarified about the fire. Meaning, am I staying or am I leaving? I looked at my phone, to see all these emails from work from hours before, asking people to come in, they were needing emergency help. I went outside to see the glow in the sky. It was too late, I couldn't come in. My husband was at work, I have a 10 yr old and 3 dogs that I couldn't leave alone, and I couldn't take to work with me. I went in that Monday evening, but the guilt I felt for not being there to help was tremendous. What all those people endured that night, there just aren't enough words.
We had another windy night this past October, my husband found me sleepwalking in the living room telling him I couldn't find my shoes. Prior to that incident, my sleepwalking ways ended when I was about 5yrs old. We can only ignore signs/symptoms for so long, before our mind/body get tired of it.
     All these things we experience. For me they turn into a movie of thoughts and emotions that is on a never ending loop. The truth doesn't always set you free. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

I’m not a BARBER !


My husband always wants me to cut his hair. Not because I’m good at it. I’m not even mediocre. When I cut his hair, it’s FREE. I always TRY to do a good job. 
This last round I held out as long as I could. Even throwing out names of various establishments he could go to for a haircut. It didn’t work. 
I used the clippers with the comb guides, everything was going great. Until I decided to use the comb for over the ear. It cut his hair so short I let out a gasp, then yelled “oh no.”

 He didn’t bat an eye,never asked what happened. I just said there was no fixing it and I had to cut it shorter. Even with the shorter combs there was a noticeable line around the ear.

I started my clean up and he went to our bathroom to take a shower.  That is when I heard “OH MY GOD”, at least ten times.  I started to giggle,then laugh hysterically. I had tears streaming down my face. I didn’t do it on purpose. I SWEAR.

Did I mention...…… I'm NOT a BARBER !!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Somethings will never be the same.

     What do you do when something happens in a friendship and you just can't seem to move beyond it? I know in my past, I have cut people out of my lives very quickly. Now, it's much harder. If you are in my life for an extended period of time, that means we have a fortified bond, we have memories. Those memories are filled with time spent together, text messages, emails, inside jokes, secrets,  laughter, and maybe some tears. It gets even more complicated if you work together.
The answer for me, at least this time, I have to say goodbye.
     We both know the incident that happened, we both have different takes on it. I've struggled with this for months. You are going through a hard time, and I'm not there to support you, but I'm not there because of self preservation. I built a wall. I don't want to be hurt again. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe in your eyes. Maybe in the eyes of people you choose to share information. I would lie if I didn't admit sometimes that thought bothers me. If  I have to be the bad guy, then that is how it needs to be.
I've wanted to write a letter, but really, what good would it do? So, here I sit, at my computer, looking at my blog (I refer to it as my therapy) and finally start to type up something. I should have done this ages ago. I will type it here, where only I and maybe a few people who happen across this place will read it. If I had written you a letter, maybe it would be something like this...……..

Dear Friend,

       I've always felt/thought, I was one of your strongest supporters. You vented to me, as I did to you. When I saw you struggling with things, I encouraged you to talk to someone (as you have done for me.) After all, keeping it inside, doesn't help it go away.  I didn't always agree with you and we would discuss different perspectives on topics (or people.)
     It was the last disagreement/misunderstanding, that changed things for me. Your words came out and cut me. You did apologize. In that instant the damage was done. There was no going back. It was like you took a knife and stabbed me in the heart. That is when I knew, you didn't value me or our friendship. It was clear, I held you in a higher light, than you held me. That hurts. It's a tough reality pill to swallow. I tried to get past it. I really did. I even texted, but it all didn't seem heartfelt. It seemed forced and that isn't me. I just knew nothing would ever be the same.
    We shared so much up to this point. We've held each other's newborn babies. Hysterical  inappropriate conversations. Celebrated our children's birthdays together. Coffee dates, lunch dates. Venting about our husbands. Our need/desire to visit a beachy resort with cabana boys serving us cocktails. SO MUCH. For all that, I am grateful and I thank you.
     I hope when our paths cross, we are cordial. Please don't mistake my hurt for hate. I truly wish you all the best.


      I talked to a friend about the situation. I told her my heart hurts, because I miss our connection, but I haven't been able to go back, and I have guilt for how I feel. She suggested, maybe it's bothering me so much because somewhere deep down I don't want to lose the connection. Maybe that is true. I just know, for me, once hurt , I don't trust as easily and am not willing to open myself up to it again. Especially when I don't feel valued. I have been and will continue to go through my own form of grief. This is a loss, not one I take easily.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Helping Hands

     It's been a bit since I've written. I have a lot to say (always, ask anyone), but trying to type out certain topics prove more difficult.

     I work in a dispatch center, I have for the last almost 24yrs. This past year we have been hit with a record low in personnel to fill shifts, thus a record high in mandatory overtime hours. Although it affects me, it doesn't affect me as greatly because I am part time.  A huge majority of my coworkers handle it like troopers, even taking more hours than mandatory, trying to help out the center. They are truly amazing, not just for taking more hours, but for doing the work they do day in and day out. 
      The last few weeks, I've been having pain that would come/go under my left rib cage. It would come and go, get worse when I ate. Saturday, I just felt drained and uncomfortable, so I stayed home in my pajamas, crawling back in bed around 2pm. I just figured I over did it the night before.  Sunday morning , my alarm was set to go off at 3:30am (I was scheduled to work 5am-5pm), but my pain alarm went off at 1:45am. I got up ,took an acid reducer. Fingers crossed...… 
That fingers crossed crap didn't work. I arrived at work drinking a hot cup of water. I didn't even want to chance drinking coffee for fear it would make it worse. My coworker ( I affectionately call her Snatcharella) knew something was going on, not because I was complaining, but probably because I was quiet (go back to the first sentence.) She encouraged me to leave, but we didn't have a supervisor on, and that would leave them short, working 12hrs or more with no breaks. I was starving , so I had a snack, well that pushed me over the edge. I held on until almost 11am. I told them if they wanted to start breaks, I would leave after they were done. They told me just to go. 
     I left and went straight across the street to the ER. At this point the pain was bad, I had the shakes and was in tears. Of course when you are a hefty honey like myself, and tell them you have pain on the left side, the move you in like you are having a heart attack. Not being a doctor I was still pretty confident it wasn't, because I'm guessing I would have been dead by then. Meanwhile, I'm still feeling guilty for leaving, Snatcharella and the crew (La La and Clucker) are texting me to see how things are going. I had x-rays, ultrasound, bloodwork, EKG, and heart monitoring. The ER doc was confident it wasn't my heart (EKG proved I actually had one.) However , he did schedule me for a treadmill EKG the following day, just to be double sure. I was given a shot of Dilaudid, and an anti nausea med. Being released with w/ a prescription of Pantoprazole (to see if it would help w/ a suspect GI issue) and Norco for the pain. Meanwhile, Snatcharella and the crew have worked on covering my mandatory hours for the week so I can be off. They were covering the hours themselves, extending their days, so I didn't have to be there.  Words don't even begin to express how grateful I am for them. They once again, have gone above and beyond.
    I completed the treadmill EKG yesterday. My heart is in proper working order. The cardiologist suggests , it is  a GI issue as well, now just to find the source and take care of it. It will take about a week for the Pantoprazole to kick in. The cardiologist suggested I also take Mylanta to coat my stomach and see if that helps. I have learned Norco is not a good med for me. I took a whole pill Sunday night and just felt hung over most of Monday. Monday night I took half a pill to take the edge off the pain, but it's just kicked my butt. Good news, no worries about me getting addicted ! 

Cheers to my coworkers and all the things they do. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Laughter can be great stress relief !

I started an adventure in September. It just came to a wrap this month.

What kind of adventure lasted 10 months? An outside of my comfort zone, nothing I have ever done before adventure......
I have a friend that started taking a Comedy Improv class at  a local theater. She told me what a great time she was having and encouraged me to join her for the next session. I really had to think about it. It's evening hours, I have a son that needs supervision (contrary to his belief on that topic,) and in the past had suffered great stage fright when it came to doing anything in front of others. After much thought, and arranging a weekly sitter for my son, I decided to go for it. Hey, you supposedly only live once. I don't know if I agree with that, but that's a topic for another day.

Beginning Improv...…..

There are RULES to improvisation. Yes, I said rules.

1. Always agree/say yes.
2. Say Yes AND
3. Make statements
4. There are no mistakes, only opportunities or happy accidents.

I've taken three sessions of improv, and still don't always remember the rules. One of the hardest things for me to do was not think before I spoke. It is opposite of everything we have been told growing up in life. I remember countless times hearing " you need to think before you speak." That definitely doesn't apply here.  You are not to think , but to react. It's interesting and FUN.
At the end of every session, the last class is a performance. I didn't tell anyone about it. It was MY thing, plus I really didn't know how I would react to "performing," since I had such horrible stage fright in the past. Something came over me...I didn't care. Now, my friend pointed out, that I probably didn't care, because I didn't know anyone in the audience. Good point, whether that was the reason or not, I was there to have fun, and that is exactly what I did.

I had a shift change while taking the Intermediate Improv class. I was working Fri/Sat and that changed to Sun/Mon. That meant I got off work at 5pm (often working 5am-5pm) then headed to class from 5:30pm-6:45pm. There were days I was dragging, but the class did something magical for me. For that hour and fifteen minutes, any stresses/sadness/anger I experienced at work went away. Some nights I left there so energized, I felt like I could run a marathon. My face/stomach hurt from laughing. I loved this class. It was my time to PLAY.
This time, I promised my friend I would tell people. I posted on Facebook and shared the date and time with my co-workers. The performance rolled around, I had some co-workers and friends in the audience. Guess what?! I didn't care AGAIN ! I mean, I hoped that had a good time, but I was there to have fun.
My third and final (for now) Improv class ended June 11th. It was fun, but for now I am glad it's over. I can honestly say if it wasn't for my friend, Susan , encouraging me to join her, I would not have sought this out on my own.

Susan  and I goofing around.

I believe laughter truly is a healing medicine.

**I am not a professional blogger, nor am I an English major, so there is misspelling and grammatical errors up the wazoo. This is just me putting my thoughts out into the world. 
***Also, there are cookies attached to this blog, and I don't mean chocolate chip. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

How do you cope?


An amazing adventure filled with excitement, boredom, happiness, sadness, tragedy,uncertainty just to name a few. There are so many things we face day to day. How much of it do we control? What do we do for the things we can't control? What is your coping mechanism? 

Me...I'm an emotional eater.

I know it, I do it, and haven't been able to stop it. I joined Weight Watchers October 2017. It helped me lose 25lbs. Then in June 2017 an event at work, that I was peripherally involved in, rocked my world and triggered my emotional eating. It was on overdrive. I gave up on myself. I didn't want to go to meetings where people talked about their struggles avoiding potato chips. I mean good gravy, there are bigger things going on in this world!!!! 
Now, the smart thing would have been to call my employers EAP (employee assistance program.) However, my employer changed the coverage, and the counselor I had been seeing on/off for about 15yrs regarding work events, was no longer covered. I did go to my counselor once and paid $150 out of pocket. It helped, but one visit wasn't going to cut it, and I couldn't afford weekly visits.  I also  couldn't bring myself to start over with someone new.  Instead, I dove head first into anything and everything I wanted to eat. Not only did I gain back the 25lbs I had lost, I packed on an additional 15lbs. I'm not proud, it's not a pretty picture. I know I need to do something.

I think I'm getting closer to calling the new EAP provider and give one of the counselors on the list a try. I'm a step closer, I have a printed list on my desk. Baby steps...
In the mean time I'm listening to audio books, like The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (it's fun to listen to) or books by Brene' Brown (she's funny), I figure it can't hurt.

Sometimes I wish my vice was exercise, but not a fan, never have been.