Monday, September 30, 2013

Grabbing Those Horns

We're down to the wire on if Jim will be working tomorrow and it's making me nervous, particularly since I took the bull by the horns Sunday and today in parts of my life.

Learning to stand up and say something to people who are less than honest or are treating me or mine not well is a skill set I'm still working on.

At church I gently confronted someone that had been my friend but started shunning me the moment she found out I was friends with someone that knew her secrets. I've never said a thing to her and treated her like always. I know nothing but I know she thinks I do. Five years of her running away when I say hello is enough, so I told her that I knew why she'd avoided me like the plague and it was unnecessary, even if I knew anything about her secret I wouldn't tell anyone in the first place. Some things, specially things that could negatively impact innocent children, I would never tell.

She insisted that wasn't the case, she'd just been 'busy' Such a lie! But perhaps a lie she needed to tell to keep herself together. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Today my confronting things head on didn't go so well. The job I'd been approached about and considered for fell through. I wasn't upset I didn't get the position. I was unhappy that the HR director basically screwed me over in favor of a friend of his. Even the dept head of that dept had been asking him for my application and he ignored her emails, my emails and both of our calls.

It's a disappointment but I'd already developed a zen attitude about the job, deciding if it was meant to be it would happen. But I hate it when people manipulate situations to make it work out just like only they think it should be. Ugh.

I wanted to cry when I heard how it had gone down but I sure didn't want to cry at work so I held it together.

My second reaction was that I wanted to write a nasty accusatory email to the HR director but realized that would be counter productive.

I sure never planned on being on the pointy side of the horns this morning.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shunning

One of the sad realities for me of living in this tiny town is that I'm always running into people I really have no desire to interact with. Example? Tonight at a local barbeque fund raiser I ran into someone I knew from my old church Possum Creek.

The lady was someone I'm going to call Cindy. I knew Cindy only slightly at church, she joined and quickly left within the year, not really fitting in. She'd show up at the women's Bible studies and complain about how horrible her husband was. At first the ladies of the Creek would try their best, including I, to persuade Cindy to obey her husband, submit, submit, submit, turn him over to the Lord in prayer and serve him with love. Emotion follows action and God will make your hard marriage glorious. You'll earn crowns in heaven.

Can you believe feisty me used to believe that crap, preach it and try to live it? I might have been choking under it, like a wild horse chafing under a ring bit and a big old prickly burr under it's saddle blanket but I still spewed that crap.

But the more we urged Cindy to love and submit to her husband the worst her tales of him got. When they separated Cindy was shunned by the ladies of the church, myself included. Pressure was put on her best friend, a lady we nicknamed Shirley Templeton, to also shun Cindy. Cindy was rebellious, had a wicked deceitful rebellious heart and must be made aware that we could not condone her behavior.  The word of the Lord fell on her heart like wheat mixed with weed seed and the weeds had choked out the good fruit.

Cindy left, Shirley stayed and life moved on. I ran into Cindy a time or two in town and talked to her, finding out she wasn't one bit remorseful of her actions. I heard later she left town.

When she showed up at this dinner tonight I have to admit I froze like a deer in the headlights. The expression on my face probably telegraphed to her my unhappiness over seeing her again. I've come to realize after my own experiences being shunned by the old church that I'd had no right to judge and shun her. My unhappiness was at being reminded of my old actions. I am ashamed and disgusted with myself that I ever could have acted like that to someone that needed support and friends at a critical time in her life.

I made an effort to be kind to Cindy, listen to her updates on her children and how her life has been going. It looks like her life has been hard, she's aged considerably, the kind of aging that happens when the world hasn't been easy on you.

Turns out she's going to attending our church, the same contemporary service I'm on the worship team. I think I shall try to step carefully this time and try not to do anything that could impede her own spiritual journey.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mysterious Meat

One of the things that I am not so wild about at work is the fact that they want us to eat the same meals as the kids.

Remember elementary school cafeterias back in the stone ages? When I was a kid, lo these 45 years or so ago, the school cafeteria served decent food. I didn't think so then, thinking that being served made on site fresh rolls and things like green beans and turkey plus dressing wasn't that tasty. But it's a veritable feast compared to what school lunches have devolved into lately.

When Laura and Andy were in elementary school I would sometimes go eat lunch with them. It seemed like it was always pizza and drippy iceberg lettuce salad plus canned peaches. Not that great, not that nutritious. Eventually both of them refused to eat the school lunches and I started sending both with packed lunches.

Today the cafeteria at the facility I work at said that lunch was chicken patties on rolls with salad. They do a great salad but the main dishes are suspect. When I bit into my chicken sandwich it tasted and the texture was the same as a pork chop, right down to the slight gristly bit on the end. Real live mystery meat. I know it's free but what the heck did I eat today?

Maybe I'm just hyper critical of the food because on vacation I was eating things like prime rib and oysters Rockefeller. Mystery meat can't even begin to hold a candle to that cuisine. Sigh, back to reality.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tippity-Do-Dah

Part of my vacation I've been thinking about servitude, serving others, tipping and how business standards that aren't transparent aren't worth a squirt of piss.

Yesterday morning we got roped in by a time share sales person here at the beach. The lure was a free meal at the best seafood buffet I've ever eaten at and a certificate for a free week at the same hotel we're at now.

We knew going in it was a timeshare, but figured we'd believe the hospitality gal who insisted the presentation would take no more than 90 minutes. It took 3 hours and the African American lady who tried everything to get us to sign up for a 1/52 deed in a timeshare condo with a five hundred dollar monthly note and 700 buck yearly maintenance fee. Oh, and cough up a downpayment check of four thousand right then.

The condo was nice but quite frankly it wasn't much better than the mid quality hotel we're in. The sales lady refused to give us the interest rates being charged by the financier on the five year loan. She had all this slick presentation babble down pat but no real answers to our questions. We walked at hour 3 and she flipped out, wanting to know what she did wrong to blow the sale. I had to explain to her that I'm not really a fan of middle America mediocrity, that I really don't want to stay in a condo like that at the beach. Hey, it's the BEACH, if there's a clean bed and a working shower plus quick access to the beach I am good. That I love quirky mom and pop oddball places, that my husband is thrifty. I hated saying no, but it was just something we would never do.

I do view the listings of timeshares on Ebay sometime and if I ever bought one it would be from some person desperate to unload it cheap. If you just took that 500 bucks they wanted monthly in a savings account you'd have 6,000 bucks at the end of the year and that would go a very long way on a luxury vacation.

Yet I also shopped at a ladies clothing store that had loads of fair trade beautiful neo hippy type clothing. The lady running the shop was awesome, helping me, making suggestions to the point where I walked out with a large bag full of stuff including organic hand cream and face care products.

The difference between the two experiences was that the owner of the boutique fully understood the challenges of my age, my body shape and my own tastes, steering me to colors, styles and unique pieces that would suit me best. The timeshare sales lady only wanted to make the sale, get the commission,  regardless of if the product even suited my husband and I, our lifestyle, our tastes, our needs.

One of the big things I learned in sales through the years is that if you rip off, hoodwink, or pressure a customer to buy something that isn't right for them it's going to backfire in your face. The key to sales success is loyal repeat customers and the secret to cultivating repeat customers is doing what is best for the customer. Before I left the clothing shop I'd gotten the owner's business card and website address so that I could order things in the future.

Today, being Jim's 62nd birthday, we spent the day swimming and hot tubbing before going out for a steak at a place we love here. I made an excuse about looking for the restroom before sneaking over to our waiter and asking her to bring us a piece of cheesecake with a candle on it if possible at the end of the meal as a surprise for Jim. She did way more than that, bringing a decorated plate holding the cheesecake with fruit and ice cream with a lit sparkler on it and the wait staff singing Happy Birthday. Way more than I expected! Jim was very surprised by it.

Things like our meal tonight and the great service I have no problem tipping for. But, I'm unsure about tomorrow. My years stuck in fundegelical ville have left me sometimes stumped as to polite social mores I once understood. It seems when I was toiling to be Most Perfect Jesus-Lovin' Woman we did like everyone else, rarely tipped, expected those serving us to just do it because, we loved Jesus, making us more specialer than anyone else.

Being emotionally knocked down by my former brothers and sisters in Christ leads me to understand I'm not special, I'm just like everyone else. Another meat suit wearer riding a ball of dirt around outer space. 

Now I feel a sense of gratitude I didn't in those days, a new appreciation for most folks that do the things that make our lives easier. I am trying to express that in my interactions with others, at least others that don't try to con or manipulate me.

So do people still tip their hotel maids? I feel like I should leave something but know I'd gotten seriously lax in my old tipping & polite society mad skillz. What to do?

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore!

I'm on vacay at a beachside locale this week. It's been, um, interesting even if it's only 24 hours now.

Last week work was insane, even more so because the silly little gal make a gazillion silly mistakes at work, mistakes that would have had her fired at any other place than the kids treatment facility we both work at.

So what did she do? She was supposed to go into the boss's office, shred everything in several boxes and the contents of six binders sitting out in a box on the floor. She shredded those and then shredded everything from the big table in the same office, only two months worth of work on putting together a better records system, new forms, new indices, you name it, months of planning and work, some of which was backed up nowhere. She's put the records dept back about 2 months of work we have to redo. Add in that she was told to do a lot of alphabetical filing, which turns out that she filed by patient first name. We're going to be months undoing her fuck ups.

She got a mere slap in the hand for all this bad action. She doesn't even have to help restore what she screwed up. Someone suggested that she did it deliberately. I don't think so because that would require forethought and planning, both she seems totally incapable of.

If there ever was a good time to go to the beach it's now. By the time I get back next week they will have started digging out from this mess. Plus I've picked up the hideous cold everyone at work as already had. It swept the patient dormitories and then the staff. Now me.

Jim drove us to the beach yesterday but I was so out of it from fighting this cold that I slept while he drove down 95. I slept the day away. Which turned out to be not so great because Jim missed our turn off to the beach because his navigator was snoozing.

The hotel is nice enough but Expedia had it listed as 'beachfront' when it's actually a block from the beach, but hey, it's nice and most important of all, budget friendly.

We got here after a detour through some scary ghetto and after unpacking took a walk on the beach as the sun was going down. The sand sculpting contest they hold every year is just starting and we looked over this year's site and few sculptures started.

Photo is from the contest two years ago.

The drag was that with this cold I'm fighting off I didn't feel like doing anything more than settling into the hotel room and watching "Breaking Bad". Jim wanted to watch some band playing on the beach. We did, at least for a while. It was breathtakingly cold and this place was filled with drunken old timers, people in my own age group, acting like tramps with itchy boils on their butts, dancing, rubbing up together, desperately trying to hook up. I don't know, maybe I'm being too harsh and judgmental, perhaps they were just trying to stay warm in the cold. One gal with zero ass started trying to twerk. It was a sad sight. I decamped after about 20 minutes and walked back alone to the hotel, leaving Jim to watch the mating rituals of the late middle aged. 

Today has shopping, swimming and sunning on the menu even if it's still chilly outside. I'll try not to think about the mess at work and what's waiting for me next week..

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday the Stupid

It's been a hell of a day, or few days. Figures that yesterday was the 13th. I probably need to check the moon phases too. Too much all around strangeness.

My horrid day actually has its roots in Wednesday when I misplaced my cell phone and turned the house upside down the next day looking for it. Jim was traveling on Thursday and I knew he'd give me grief over losing my phone once again. I swear, I think deep in my soul I must be a craven Luddite because that whole cell phone is more of a bete noire than a convenience. I don't want to talk to anyone that badly.

I was freaking out over the phone Thursday, not even thinking about the fact that we were having bad weather, lightning strikes every which a way. The weather even impacted leaving work, getting down off the mountain that houses the treatment facility. I was warned to keep the change of clothes and toiletries in the trunk because there have been times when the staff has been stuck by snow or storms, downed trees and power lines across the gravel back roads.

The weather Thursday made Jim's one pm flight out of DC not happen till after 6 pm, meaning he missed his connecting flight to San Antonio, making him very late arriving for his mother's 90th birthday visit. There were ugly text messages sent from his brother to Jim complaining that he wasn't a taxi service so Jim could call his own taxi. Oh yes, sibling nastiness going back almost 60 years now. Aren't family just so so so wonderful? Snerk.

A whole lotta stress leading to me having a panic attack Thursday evening. So after time spent listening to music before just giving up and going to bed I thought I'd start again this morning and all things would be new.

But Friday started with a very odd incident. I was running late that morning, too late to cook and sit down to breakfast so I stopped by the 7-11 between the house and work. I ran to grab more coffee and when I got to the counter I asked for a Breakfast Bite.

For all you gourmands out there who'd never sampled the greasy not so deliciousness that is a Breakfast Bite I will explain. It's a sausage, a breakfast sausage rolled into the shape of a hot dog and run on the greasy rotating metal poles of the 7-11 grill. You order one, they pluck it off the hot dog grill, shove it in a standard hotdog bun. You can dress it up with onions or pickles and other condiments from their hotdog condiment stand or you can eat it with nothing on it.

I noticed that the lady working the register was someone I'd not seen before. Asked for my breakfast and she turned towards the hotdog rolling griller, reached in with her bare hand and plucked one out. She doesn't put it in a bun, she doesn't wrap it, she comes up to the counter with this sausage in her bare hand and tries to hand it to me.

My jaw is dropped and I cannot believe what I'm seeing. I look at her, I look at the sausage in her hand and back at her face, back at the sausage before asking in a puzzled tone if I could have it in a bun. She tells me 'Why didn't you ask for a bun? I ain't a mind reader' and rolling her eyes. Seriously? She tried to fob off a sausage from her bare hand to mine? I can see the labor pool is getting stupider.

Work was uneventful with the exception that they shut down the offices at 2 pm so everyone could attend the employee appreciation picnic. I was pissed because I had to go forgo the picnic, barbequed chicken and adult-sized bouncy castle for getting my xolair shots.

That was bad enough, but when I got to my pulmo's office he's running way behind so I was sitting there stewing. Another patient was waiting, an elderly lady in a wheel chair and she started asking me all sorts of weird questions, starting with "When's your baby due?"

Aw hell naw! Been dieting like mad all year and somebody starts questioning me about my supposed pregnancy over and over and over again? I wanted to smack her in the head so damn hard. She wouldn't shut up. My very graying hair should have told her I wasn't popping out any kids. I kept telling her I wasn't pregnant but she kept yapping.

After the doctors office and my shots I came home just in time to be told that the HOA president had called a board meeting in a few hours. I explained to him that I had just had my shots and usually I had wretched side effects the evening after the shots and I usually ventured no further than the sofa.

So I went to the meeting, which was all about adopting new paperwork and rules, bleech! One of the board members that I know pretty well kept harping about how when she'd walked around the neighborhood to drop off news letters she could 'smell' from the yard how dirty many of the houses are inside and we should make rules about that. She also was offended because one house had cucumbers and melons plus other veggies growing in the front flower bed and another had squash mixed in with the zinnias.

The ridiculous thing is that the cukes and melons front flower garden is the HOA Veep and the squash one is mine. We both started laughing at the outrage of this elderly lady that wanted to fine us both! I didn't plant squash in my flowers but somehow a long vine started growing in the middle of the garden.

The meeting got way stupider from there so when my best friend called me I made excuses that I had to go, work related and RAN!

When I got home Jim called to announce we were probably leaving our new church because he was sick of the hypocrites. I told him just to ignore them, but it's official folks, we're going to be spending the fall church hopping.

I think I'm going to stay inside and deep clean the house today. No human face-to-face interaction. I need a freaking break.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putting The Pieces Back Together Again

Sometimes when things happen or I happen to rub up against something to do with fundamentalist Christianity I am mightily triggered. Particularly when I have other stressers going on at the same time. It ramps it all up to another level. Before I know it I'm having a panic attack, having to talk myself down, off the rickety limb of the Trigger Tree.

The sad, sick, surprising thing is sometimes it doesn't take much to trigger all that old nasty garbage from my old life before I left for a new church with my husband. Just walking past certain people, seeing well-scrubbed earnest young folks with Bibles on my doorstep, a certain hue of color, a particular smell, injustice, bullies, people that spout Bible verses without having a clue of the historical content and a million other things trigger me.

I thought I was finally past all of that, it's been a long time since I've been triggered into a serious panic attack. Today, after returning home from a full day of work at a job that is supposed to be part time, dealing with paperwork on so many abandoned adoptees being unfairly dumped on the doorstep of the facility I work at by Evangelical mega-adopters, I was triggered again by something that had triggered me many times this week. Someone fundy insisting I do things his way.

What? Am I Burger King now where you can have it your way just because you think it should be your way? Don't think so buddy.

So tonight I spent my time with Jason Upton in worship. It always helps me gain my perspective again. Particularly the song "Freedom" because it reminds me anew what many of the rock throwers I encounter that sometimes trigger me are all about. I particularly love this verse -


Well, we live in a country supposedly Pharaohless
But all over town and in churches abide
Powerful weaklings who practice they're politics
Stealing from Jesus his beautiful bride
Whether you're Pharisees, Sadducees, heresies
You best get outta God's way! 



It's my 'untrigger' when I worship and realize I'm dealing with a pack of modern day Pharisees. I love  Jason. I am so thankful he is courageous enough for singing the truth and for being so welcoming every time I've run into him at conferences in the past. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reinventing The Wheel

One thing I've observed at my new job is that it has a lot in common with non-denominational Christianity.
  • Do it your way even if it is the most ridiculous way
  • Make it up as you go along
  • If you screw up blame it on someone else
  • Be surly and disgruntled if someone dares suggest there are more efficient cost effective ways to conduct daily rituals
  • Be sure to say at least a dozen times a day at suggestions 'But we always do it this way'
  • Be annoyed if someone else does something faster than you assumed they would
  • Be inefficient with staff, supplies and salaries.
In the last three weeks I've been treated to bad attitudes, breath taking waste of resources, time and people and seen things done that have to violate some sort of laws.

This week I got stuck working in the health clinic records division. Which is my specialty from my years at the medical clinic, so I thought this would be fun, old hat. Not so.

Yesterday I had to spend the morning shredding documents. Yes, my education and experiences were just so sorely tasked with shredding up at least ten full 55 gallon bags of documents in the only room in the joint without an air conditioning vent with a south facing wall of windows. Now I know what my late father in law meant when he used to say it was hotter than hammered hell.

And of course the supervisor just had to train me the correct way to use the industrial shredder. He carefully fed one sheet at a time lined up in a perfect OCD way. After he departed to smoke a cig I figured out his way would have me shredding till sometime next month so I figured out a way to do a continual feed of around ten sheets at a time sideways to use all the shredder knives and cranked it all out in a few hours. My mind wandered while I was shredding on auto pilot.

Let me tell you that if the CIA or the FBI wanted to torture and interrogate someone all they would have to do is make them shred documents in that airless glass fronted room. They would give up all state secrets to get out of there. I was shredding with sweat rolling down my face and body. By the time I was done even my hair was damp. The collar of my blouse and my bra hadn't dried out by the time I left work at 5 pm.

Got back to the main health records office and asked what else they needed help with. Each task was the same, I looked at the way they'd been doing it, remembered how I'd done that task at the medical clinic and did it quickly, accurately and differently than they had to reach the same result. The supervisor was surprised and seemed not a little pissed off that my companions and I had zipped through the piles of undone tasks, so he said that the next day (today) we would start a three day task of working in the archives building filing old patient files.

Keep in mind that we three ladies had knocked out a getting files ready for a government audit project that was forecast to take two or three months in three weeks and review showed we'd done it correctly.

I nearly laughed when the supervisor showed us his archival system in the basement, it might have been better than what they used to do (randomly toss files in piles in the basement) but it wasn't any great shakes either. He was actually proud of it! I couldn't get over his pride because the system he set up to replace the piles wasn't much better. There was just so much screwed up. Reminded me of the mess of records rooms I'd redone entirely at the medical clinic, setting it up so the files were easy to find yet not in the way. The way the files are done at this place is a clusterfuck of confusion. 

We did the three days work in one day of completely reorganizing and standardizing each box and had plenty of time to goof around, talk and take coffee breaks.

Are we super women? No, I think the three of us are pretty average but we all three have instilled in us a decent work ethic, which seems to be in super short supply at the facility. In my observation most folks up at the place seem content to either try to push word off on someone else or do it as slowly as humanly possible. So three women working at a normal pace start seeming like they are working at a pace that rivals Superman folding his laundry.

The drag of today was the fact that we had to lift up heavy file boxes to put the paperwork in. My back is killing me. But I'm throwing in some tylenol so that I can do a few more things there in the morning and not have to go in on Friday. I got just as sweaty today wrassling those files as I did the day before working the stupid shredder.

It has been a good object lesson in what happens when an entire community of people believes in something very wrong and the detrimental effect that can have on the community as a whole.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Weekend Bathos

...or how a weekend can go from good to goosity-goob in a few short hours.

I was in great spirits when I left work on Friday afternoon quite early. We'd finally finished getting ready for the big medical records audit so I'll be dropping back down to part time again and I'd just gotten paid. Money in my pocket, kicking down the street, happily contemplating a weekend of goofing off.

 I should have gotten into the bath with my favorite foot scrub and scented oils and just stayed there, topping off the tub with hot water occasionally.

Friday night was good. I got the laundry done and put a meal on the table before spending most of the evening reading.

By the time Saturday morning dawned, bright, sunny and much cooler it was pretty obvious I wasn't going to be given enough time to clean up my house from three weeks hard working with overtime followed by collapsing in bed. I got a call that family members were coming down to visit, family members having health struggles and her daughter from an earlier marriage and the boyfriend.

This is someone that I love, love, love dearly but have the most horrible time trying to interact with. They came down, we met for a long lunch where most of the adults talked about World of Warcraft and I talked to the preteen relative. The oldest daughter from the first marriage announced to her momma, me and everyone else that she'd just moved in with the boyfriend and showed off her new engagement ring, which led to a gentle interrogation of these two eighteen year olds over their plans. Tension and weirdness before we split up.

Momma relative is scaring the crap out of me because it's pretty obvious she needs to be inpatient somewhere till she's calmer. She's in a bad way, kept fighting with the preteen and has mentioned being at the end of her rope about a dozen times. I tried to talk to her husband about everything and he was non committal about it. Something has to give or I'm afraid she'll flip out.

To meet with them I'd had to not go with my husband up to DC for the march against a Syrian strike.

Last night I noticed that I suddenly had a bulls eye rash around a bug bite, got up this morning feeling like something that comes out of the bulls rear end and today was spent at the local doc in a box trying to find out if I have Lyme Disease again. The doctor in the box was a tiny short Middle Easterner with one of the most abrupt bedside manners I've seen in a long time. Only my Saudi back doctor is worse. He looked at my ring of rash and said it was cellulitis. They ran a Lyme test anyway and I left clutching an antibiotic that would kill either one.

Told to rest I napped and read on the loveseat next to the cockatiel's cage so he spent my nap time grooming my hair and brows. My hair looks really crazy now.

I think next weekend I'm going to make sure I clean this place on Friday night and not answer the phone all weekend. Jim's going to visit his mother and I'm going to do nothing, glorious nothing, no family drama, no worrying about relatives mental states and no expectations.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Irritation Morphs Into Pity

I am still working and working with the girl I call mentally Silly Little Girl now, instead of Ms. Stupid.

I feel sorry for her even as she kept talking about her bowel movements, periods, sexual peccadilloes, irritations with her fellow AA members and other stuff in way too much detail. I really never wanted to know that much about anyone's pooping problems plus for bonus points I know I dropped a pile of files when she told us the number of guys she'd slept with when she was having substance abuse problems. She shocked me more than once today.

So what switched me from scorn to pity? Just the fact knowing what mental illness she's been diagnosed with and is on seven different meds for combined with watching people deliberately taking advantage of her giving nature and dingbattyness.

Today, in the middle of the work day, one of the guys from AA calls her up and asks her to please put fifty dollars in his band account so he doesn't over draw. She vaguely knows this guy and just told him she was busy with work and couldn't help him out right then.

All of us in the room started asking her about this, why a semi-stranger was asking for money and telling her to not to even consider it. She started to share what the people at AA have said and done around her. We ended up telling her that there's some serious boundary violations occurring around her and she must tell those that trespass that they have overstepped their bounds. Tell them what they ask/say is inappropriate and to knock it off.

I don't think it had ever occurred to her before that it wasn't just rude, it was inappropriate and it was okay to tell people it was wrong.

I'm curious now to see what happens if she puts into practice that she has boundaries and standards. Go, go, go Silly Little Girl and turn into Wise Woman, please! 

It was a good reminder that I shouldn't automatically judge people quickly, but I should look deeper and see what's actually going on with them. Reminds me of a Post Secret postcard I saw once that says if you knew the secrets others carried it would break your heart. Lot of truth to that.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Healing Old Damage

The last few days I've started having problems with my left thigh, a random throbbing of pain, stabbing me when I least expect it. It doesn't seem to be related to what I do or don't do. I threw in a couple of Aleves and went on my way.

This last weekend I finally realized what it was, the pain is in the same place that has been largely numb from the last ten years since my hysterectomy. For years the only real sensation I've had there is a strange feeling of water flowing down that outer section of my leg only to reach down and feel that I'm perfectly dry. It's the nerves that were mangled during the surgery apparently firing up again. Houston, we have feeling there finally! Lift off.

Only took ten years of healing. A little longer than it took me to recover from trying to fill my quiver with arrows and failing again and again. Those years of fundamentalist-evangelicalism that I tried so hard to have at least one more baby only to rack up many miscarriages left me with some inner scars that took time and tears to heal.

It was that final miscarriage I had on Christmas Day 2002 that actually started the ball rolling towards Jim and I leaving our old church. The months after the miscarriage reinforced for me how poisonous the climate was, how unsafe. I told no one at the church I'd been pregnant or had a miscarriage, but I never did. I didn't tell them about the twice yearly D&Cs I underwent for many years just to hold down the heavy bleeding my period brought.

This last miscarriage was different, both Jim and I were emotionally broken. We wept and clung together in that hospital ER on Christmas morn, while a staff disgruntled at working this holiday was less than sympathetic. Jim took me home to his mother's place and I spent Christmas Day either weeping or sleeping in a chemical fog of drugs.

Jim's a good guy, I cannot emphasize that enough. He took care of me, he and his mother, after that miscarriage and he drove our family and I home by himself. I still spent my time mired in a deep sadness or sleeping from the drugs.

We got home, I don't remember much about that winter, just my sadness and that I was having problems with excessive bleeding still plus that every home Bible study group was a torture because we were studying a book called "Christ the Healer" but F. F. Bosworth, a very dull difficult to understand book that insisted primarily that if you were a good faithful Christian you would turn over all your diseases to Jesus and expect healing.

This was particularly hard to sit there and listen to because of my ongoing bleeding problems. My doctor was monitoring my red blood cell count and it kept going down. I was rather anemic at that point and was walking around in a cloud of depression and exhaustion. My doctor started telling me yet again that I should have a complete hysterectomy for my health but I refused. What type of good woman would I be with no womb?

I didn't even like to mention that I was struggling with anemia or anything else at these Bible studies because I'd be lectured straight out of "Christ the Healer" to know that God was healing me because Jesus took all disease to the cross when he was crucified so the Devil had no right to cause me illness. I didn't even bother to point out that Christ lacked a womb so how could he take female problems to the cross with him. I walked out of those meetings feeling beat up, attacked for not having enough faith.

Late winter Jim and the kids went off to ski for a long weekend at Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. That Saturday my period started again and it was the worse I'd ever had. Scenes of the movie "Carrie", blood everywhere before I decided that I should probably call my doctor and head on over to the ER. I left a message on a friends phone that I would not be able to get together with her that afternoon because I was headed to the ER.

This friend, Diana, came up to the hospital and sat with me till my doctor came in and they gave me a shot to try and reduce the bleeding along with a few prescriptions. She held my hand, distracted me from my distress since this seemed in my mind to be a continuation of problems from my miscarriage three months before. I went home with strict instructions to stay off my feet and take the meds.

I did but by Monday morning it was obvious that nothing had helped, I was still bleeding like a stuck pig so it was call the doctor and go to the hospital again, this time for another in a long line of D&Cs. We got into a fender bender in the doctors parking lot when a lady backing up in a hurry rammed out parked car. By the time we got over to the hospital parking lot I was a mess, I fainted in the parking lot and boinked my head on the pavement. Jim had to scoop my large rear off the pavement and carry me towards the entrance where several horrified staff members had seen my fall and were coming running with a wheelchair.

After the procedure I went home. Someone must have said something because the next thing I know my best friend is bringing me gourmet chocolates and several ladies I love from church had organized dinners for the family while I was encouraged to rest.

But by Wednesday Bible studies someone less nice than my friends had spread around church, by gossip disguised as prayer, that I'd been pregnant and had an abortion on Monday. I saw it with my own eyes on the church email prayer list and was livid! I asked the pastor to correct it, he said I should say something so I did, saying that I was having 'female problems' but had not had an abortion.

It was a classic example of how something innocent gets twisted into something sinister in the hands of those with not enough real things to worry about.

More things happened and two months later I ended up having a hysterectomy. I cannot begin to tell you of the grieve and judgment I received at the hands of those in my Bible study that wanted me to sit and wait for my healing even while the D&C solved nothing and my red blood cell count kept dropping.

Having the hysterectomy was the best thing I could have done. Heck, I would say I likely should have had it ten years soon since I'd been having gynecological problems going back to when I first started menses. It was foolish of me to try to be Quiverfull and pop out kids with all the problems I had in that region of my body.

But thankfully healing from the hurt inflicted by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ at my old church didn't take nearly as long as those thigh nerves. My sadness passed too, but not with any help from any of them.

You do need to mourn some times, there will be sadness in life. But at the same time the people you surround yourself with can either help ease that sorrow or compound it. Surround yourself with love, if you can, and bar your door to those that just want to tell you all the things they think you did wrong. I don't know why I had nine miscarriages and I'm not sure the reasons actually matter in the long run.