2018/05/08

The Evening of the Day After

Da Goddess @ 22:40

I’d just awakened when I heard Mojo knock on my door. “We’re gonna go to dinner. Are you going to come, too?” she asked. “It’s *that* late already?!” I replied.

I haven’t slept that hard in a long time. The memories of my dreams are fleeting, but none were disturbing, so I’m grateful for that.

C took Mojo, LD, and I out for Mexican for dinner down by San Diego harbor. It was very good, but then I couldn’t tolerate another bite and my stomach screamed “none of this belongs here!” So, yummy food, bummy tummy.

Last night, no problem with the homemade beef barley soup and cornbread. Or the turkey sandwich from the comfort cart provided by the hospital. (I’m not kidding when I say Pomerado Hospital is one of the best hospitals on the planet!)

I guess eating whilst grieving is going to be an adventure of its own.

We’re back at C and D’s house. Mojo and I spent an hour going through photos on our phones, “oh! send me that!” and subsequently texting favorited images.

How did we ever manage to communicate before cell phones? The sheer ease of communication is astonishing! I texted my sister from bed this morning to save us all from yelling across the house. I do, however, draw the line at texting someone who’s sitting next to me. Unless it’s an urgent message and we’re in a “no-talk” situation. Or unless I’m sitting with a friend named Jacque in a bar in Vegas.

My mind is full of utter nonsense that keeps trying to push away sadness and important tasks relating to Dad. Thus, the existence of these ramblings. They have to go somewhere. Twitter is filling up quickly with them. This blog is, too. And I posted to Facebook for the first time in at least 18 months. Less about anything on Facebook, more just to let a couple people know, people who had known Dad.

I’m going to try to get to sleep early so I can be of actual use tomorrow. My sisters can’t keep carrying all the weight, nor should they have to. Fingers crossed I make it.

Dad, I am trying to get this right. I hope I’m at least coming close. I love you and will miss you forever.

The Day After

Da Goddess @ 09:27

I don’t know how any of us got through yesterday. Lots of love, laughter, and tears to be sure, but I honestly don’t know how we were able to keep going.

All of us had to have a lie-in at some point. (How pretentious of me to use lie-in as opposed to nap…it’s just that napping doesn’t quite seem appropriate in this context.) We had dinner. We talked. Mojo and I stayed up talking and watching stuff on YouTube.

After crawling into bed I realized I still hadn’t changed my clothes from Sunday, had forgotten to brush my teeth, and really needed to pee. It took me a full 90 minutes to get up to do anything about it.

Woke up at 0745 to the realization that my dad is really really really gone. I knew that yesterday, but it hit me afresh upon waking. I don’t know how to do this. I mean, I know, I just don’t KNOW.

I’m in total lockup today. Neck and back are not cooperating. I practically crawled to the bathroom. This is worse than normal as the sheer emotional momentum from yesterday has left my body. This definitely is NOT the day I anticipated having. I’m hoping I’ll fall asleep for a bit and wake up in better shape.

Sleep, though, I don’t know. So much keeps running through my head. I don’t remember how many times I prayed last night, but it was kind of all that kept me from crying. That and I didn’t have Fletch to cry to. That’s how I get through the bad moments at home.

Yesterday, while at the hospital, we had the chaplain come in to say a prayer with us. She was a pleasant little old lady with a slight lilt to her voice. All was going well (relatively well, I mean, we were heartbroken, crying, and generally in need of comfort) until she got to her third “Heavenly Father” in her prayer. At the next mention, I felt a giggle building. At the fifth mention, I kind of started to shake. By the sixth “Heavenly Father”, I was actively having to hold back laughter.

Her next parlor trick was telling us she was sure Dad was a lovely, wonderful, kind man. Mom guffawed openly. C and I laughed.

Cranky, grumpy, misanthropic, loud, rude…and, yes, a good man. Perfectly imperfect. That was my dad. I didn’t always understand him, but I always loved him. I was lucky to have almost 52 years with him. That’s a helluva lot more time than many people get with parents. I’m not feeling great about it, but I’m okay with it. I’m okay with it in that he’s not in pain any longer. I’m okay with him being free of the ravages of aging. Being free from illness, from losing autonomy, losing friends, losing the ability to do all the things he enjoyed. He’s at peace now and I have to learn to get there, too.

I’m extremely grateful for my sisters, brothers-in-law, my mom, the kids, my friends, and the staff at the hospital and hospice. Together we’ve made it this far and that’s something special in my book.

Each day, each moment will bring with it new challenges, but I’m a quick learner and I think I have a handle on getting through whatever comes up. No guarantees, just a sense that I can do this.

Going to attempt sleep again. Or maybe hobble out to the kitchen for a piece of toast. Then I’ll tackle whatever comes next.

2018/04/08

Kalo Pascha — Christos Anesti

Da Goddess @ 00:01

Christos Anesti! ~ “Christ is risen!”

Alithos Anesti! ~ “Truly He is risen!”

Christos Anesti 2015

This year Orthodox Pascha is celebrated one week after the celebration of the Western Easter. The Orthodox date for Easter is based on a decree of the Council of Nicaea, Asia Minor, held in 325 A.D. According to this decree, Easter must be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox but always after the Hebrew Passover to maintain the Biblical sequence of events of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The Orthodox Christian churches have adhered strictly to this formula.

“Christos anesti ek nekron
thanato thanaton patisas
kai tois en tois mnimisi
zoen charisamenos”

2018/02/20

35 ° F

Da Goddess @ 09:18

I live in Southern California. It should not be 35°F outside. I don’t do cold well.

That is all.

2018/02/04

Gold Medal Head Jumping

Da Goddess @ 05:36

If head jumping were an Olympic sport, Fletch would have a bazillion gold medals.

He loves to jump up next to me at around 04:15 every morning, sniff at my face, and then leap over my head, running away furiously after.

This is his way of saying he’s ready for breakfast. Breakfast isn’t served until 06:00.

When he doesn’t get the response he wants, he’ll repeat this routine until he realizes I’m not budging, at which point he climbs to the top of his cat tree and meows pitifully. When that fails to get a response, he paces around me. Then he tries head jumping again. Or head butting me. Or purring.

Sometimes, only sometimes, he’ll begin this song and dance at 03:30. When he does this…grrr… when he does this, I do my level best not to yell at him. For one thing, it wouldn’t do much good. For another, it would wake King Arthur, which would not bode well for anyone. And, lastly, it would kind of be like reinforcing his bad behavior.

It takes great patience and willpower to ignore begging kitty behavior. Mostly because some of it is rather adorable. Like the meowing. It’s so girly! And a little pathetic. But mostly girly. And he’s not at all girly. Plus, the leaping is really athletic. Irritating, but wildly athletic.

Sigh.

I love Fletch. He’s a nut. He’s a crazy, relentless, furry, adorable nut and I’m glad I’m his guardian.

(But he really deserves some Olympic level medals.)

2018/01/22

The Plague

Da Goddess @ 19:15

Current Mood: Dejected
Current Status: Infected with The Plague
Prognosis: Deathbed adjacent, chance of 11th hour rally

Whoever invents an instantaneous cure for the cough would make billions.

Really wish this would happen.

That is all.

2018/01/11

(t)HAIRsday – Basics

Da Goddess @ 11:11

I may be a beauty school dropout, but I learned a lot during my time there. So, here are a few basic tips for my friends:

  1. When you’re shampooing your hair, try using about half the amount you think you need. This serves two purposes: you use less shampoo, obviously. And you are being kinder to your hair. You see, when you’re shampooing, you’re actually cleaning the dead skin and dirt from your scalp (unless your hair is full of awful debris, you don’t need to scrub your hair into a dry, lifeless mess).
  2. When conditioning your hair, use about 3/4 of what you think you need. Again, you’ll save some money, but, more importantly, you only need to condition your hair, not your scalp. Plus, too much conditioner can be hard to rinse out and weigh down your hair.
  3. Never leave conditioner on for longer than two minutes. Some conditioners have ingredients that can cause more damage than they’re supposed to repair.
  4. Rinsing your hair with cool water does two good things: it actually helps remove more of the conditioner than warmer water. And it helps to close the cuticle, thereby reducing the frizz and protecting the hair itself from other damage.
  5. When it’s time to get dried off, use a separate DRY towel for your hair. A damp or wet towel can catch hair in its loops, causing breakage.
  6. Once your hair is in that towel, DO NOT rub it vigorously! This can cause more breakage. Instead, blot your hair or press it gently between towel folds.
  7. Finally, before you brush your hair, make sure your brush is clean. Get rid of the hair from the bristles. Wash it if it looks a even a little grungy. I tend to clean my brush after every use. This way, I know it’s done and don’t have to think about it as I’m (generally) rushing around trying to get ready. Anyway, when your brush is dirty you end up negating all the effort you just put into getting your hair clean. Also, if your brush is full of hair it’ll pull at the hair on your head causing (repeat after me!) breakage.

If you’re interested in more tips, I have lots more! tHAIRsday may end up being a semi-regular thing.

2018/01/06

Drunken Choir

Da Goddess @ 19:09

I’m sitting out on the front porch, soaking in the cool evening air. In the distance I can hear the cars zipping down roads both near and not so near. I hear crickets and tree frogs. The occasional bat or owl. The neighbors’ TVs, hard to miss since they are elderly and hard if hearing. And then there’s the drunken chorus of a song I don’t know, in a language I don’t much understand unless it’s spoken slowly and contains most of the words I DO understand.

Behind the house, across the street, someone’s celebrating. I don’t know what occasion is. It doesn’t really matter. What I hear are voices raised in song, communally rejoicing. There are plenty of voices off-key. Some are a bit behind the others. But then there are moments of absolute beauty, in which everyone has hit the right notes. It’s in those moments that I feel my heart swell a bit and smile.

I’ve been thinking about us. The collective us. As a neighborhood, a community, a city, state, country, and a planet. We don’t always know the same songs or speak the same language. We don’t always hit notes perfectly. But we’re all part of the choir. We often sound drunk and uncoordinated. But sometimes we all hit the perfect note at the same time. When we do, it’s not always easy to hear because we’re too busy worrying about what we’re doing and singing to truly appreciate the moment.

I’m doing my best to listen for those moments these days because they’re so rare and precious. I need to get in there and appreciate more often how beautiful it is when we are in harmony and work toward making sure I develop a voice that hits those perfect notes more frequently. If I don’t, I’m part of the reason we sound like a drunken choir.

2017/12/07

The World is on Fire

Da Goddess @ 10:15

While it may not be the world world, it’s getting quite a bit more of my world involved.

Southern California is, once again, ablaze. Some keep referring to the fires as *brushfires*. These are most decidedly NOT mere brushfires. These are deadly wildfires.

Raging out of control, aided by strong Santa Ana winds, which are expected to kick up to gusts up 90mph in some areas.

We are safely away from the fires. All I can do, all any of us can do, is to pray for the safety of those in harm’s way.

May all y’all be sheltered in a safe location as your neighborhood is evacuated. May the firefighters and police and pilots be safe as they fight the fires and help evacuate communities go up in flames.

Praying this all ends quickly and with minimal loss of life.

2017/11/22

Ya Like Apples?

Da Goddess @ 01:20

Lamaur’s Apple Pectin shampoo used to be one of my favorite shampoos back in the day.

I was recently reminded of it when King Arthur bought a green apple scented hand soap at the 99¢ store. (Seriously, if you’re buying hand soap anywhere else, you’re wasting money!)

Then scent of the soap instantly had me swept away to the 80s. Maybe even the late 70s. It was a long time ago, so don’t ask me to be specific or accurate.

I can easily recall popping open the bottle for the first time. That smell! It was heavenly. It was springtime! It was autumn! It was everything! It filled my head with visions running through an orchard, holding hands with the boy of my dreams. I was wearing a flowing dress, long hair streaming behind me, the golden sun filling the world with its happy, hopeful Ray’s of delight! Yeah, I was a dreamer then, too.

Apparently, apple pectin shampoo is still around (kinda), but I don’t really need it as long as I have my hand soap from the 99¢ store.

Yeah, I like apples.

2017/10/18

Woke Up Dreaming

Da Goddess @ 13:36

Or maybe I should say woke up nightmaring, except I don’t think that’s a saying. Or even a word.

Woke up sobbing hysterically. It scared me to the core. I’ve never cried like that in my life. I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t stop. I gave in to it for a few moments to see if that would help, and I guess it did, to an extent. But I remain shaken.

I’m currently going through another round of withdrawals from meds. This time, however, aside from the intense and unrelenting pain, I’m having more trouble with the antidepressants. I’m on two different antidepressants for pain management and have carefully been tapering off. Yet it seems to be hitting me harder this time. I’m not sure if that’s what’s behind the crying, or what. I only know I’m not faring well.

Waiting for the doctor to call back to advise me as to whether or not I go to the hospital, and if I do, what do I say?

This has been a nightmare. Twice in three months? No bueno. Especially when my crying scares away the cat. Yeah, that happened.

The only minor smile? A camping hedgehog. Go figure.

2017/10/02

Disbelief and Dismay — Las Vegas Concert Shooting

Da Goddess @ 04:30

I have friends in Las Vegas who are country music fans and friends who are fans of music of all kinds, so, of course, the news about the shooting at the Jason Aldean concert has rattled me to the core.

If I still lived there, I could have easily been at that very event.

Everyone is accounted for and safe, though my friend’s husband will likely need help after witnessing the shooting. He was there. It took until just this past hour for him to let his wife know he was okay.

As she wrote on Facebook, “he’s seen things no one should ever see.” I can’t even fathom how this will impact his life. I just thank God he wasn’t among the injured or dead. They have two very young children. They’re newlyweds. What would her life have been like if he’d been shot?

I can’t believe that anyone has to contemplate such things in this day and age.

I’m praying for everyone who was at this concert, anyone who knows someone who was there. I’m praying for an end to this violence that continues to plague our country. It must stop. It. Must. Stop.

2017/10/01

Three Wheels and Sparks

Da Goddess @ 04:02

Ever have one of those dreams where everything is off…by just a little bit? On the surface, everything seems normal, but there’s something not quite right? Well, I’ve been having dreams like that for the last month or so.

I know that it all comes down to not having the meds I need in the right doses, but it freaks me the fuck out.

Trying to keep everything in some sort of balance is difficult on a daily basis for most people. With chronic pain, it becomes a battle no one wants to fight, but one you must fight nevertheless. It’s your way of life. It’s all you know.

I was barely hanging on with all my meds. Now, I spend even more of my energy on just trying to get through the day with the least amount of pain. It messes up my life and comes through in my dreams. Which, of course, means I can’t even escape for the few hours I fall asleep.

Because I’m not taking my Ambien regularly, I’ve found I sleep longer when I do take it. Again, it doesn’t mean that sleep is more restful or restorative, but at least I’m asleep.

Still, when I awaken, I’m left feeling off-kilter.

It’s a bit like driving around on a flat tire — your spare, because you’ve already had a flat and the closest gas station is 100 miles away. At least, that’s what you think, only to discover that station closed and the next one isn’t even on any map. So you drive on because you’re in the middle of the desert and it’s too hot to wait for another car to come along and you have no cell service. Yeah, that’s a fairly apt analogy. You know you’re damaging the car, but you have no other choice. It’s push on or perish.

My doc, oh my wonderful doc, he’s doing his best to find a way to get me my meds, to push through my spinal cord stimulator, to get me back to feeling somewhat human. I’m so grateful. And I’m grateful for King Arthur for not killing me in my sleep for making his life crazy. Trust me, this is what I’d likely want to do if I were in his shoes. But, he doesn’t, or hasn’t been successful in his attempts. So, yeah, I’m grateful.

Here’s to another day of driving on a flat tire, throwing sparks into the brittle heat of the desert.

2017/09/18

This Much I Know is True

Da Goddess @ 10:41

Chronic pain, chronic illness, depression, isolation… All of these things can make life unbearable. It happens to many people. For some, medication helps. For others, medication only barely gets them from one moment to the next. There’s no ONE answer for everyone collectively.

For one man, he found hope in a Broadway musical based on a hit movie. Groundhog Day the Musical. I happened upon his post and it not only touched me, it spoke deeply to the broken parts of me and the life in which I find myself.

Life is difficult for me these days. I’ve been without ads here, which means I have absolutely ZERO income. True, the revenue generated by the ads I did have was miniscule, but it was just enough to help with 1) paying a bill or two, 2) help buy the kids a gift for birthdays/Christmas, and 3) gave me a sense of security that at least there was *that*.

Aside from the ads, my back and neck have grown even more painful, leaving me wondering how that’s even possible. It weighs on me more each passing day, each passing year. I find myself asking, “is this really how I want to spend my life? Is this who I really want to be?”

Because this was an injury that occurred on the job, I’ve been at the mercy of a system that favors the insurance company, not the patient. I’m stuck in an endless cycle of praying an adjuster will approve my medications or a treatment the doctors feel will help me get control of the pain. Time after time, though, my hopes are dashed and it takes a toll on every part of my being.

Twelve and a half years of living this way has left me more cynical and dejected than I’ve ever been in my life. Despite the medications, my pain has become what identifies me, what defines me. I don’t like it: I don’t want to this person!

Because of the treatment I’ve received from the insurance company, my life has become a roller coaster without a safety bar or seatbelt…that goes underwater and I have no air tank.

I’ve spent the last month without the majority of my meds. Where some patients simply pay for them out of pocket and then submit receipts for reimbursement, I don’t have that luxury. With a VERY deep discount the pharmacist gave me, my monthly tab for my meds would be over $700. That’s WITH the discount! King Arthur and I just can’t afford to pay it. I don’t know anyone who could. So I’ve tried to make do with the bare minimum, which doesn’t do much of anything other than keep me from crying 24/7. I cry, but not ALL DAY LONG.

My attorney drove up here Friday and handed me $500 to help pay for the medications. I was gobsmacked. What lawyer does that? Yes, it’ll need to be repaid, but still, what lawyer does that, I ask you. I’m as grateful as I am stunned. And even with his generous loan, I’ve had to adjust my prescription order so that I get the most bang for the buck. I won’t be getting full prescriptions of several drugs, though I will be able to get the meds that are vital for me to function as your basic bitch.

While my lawyer was here, I signed a new retainer agreement because he’s filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. This is not the norm for a work comp case. However, because they’ve continually played fast and loose with my care it’s our only real option. My brilliant attorney has also filed a formal complaint against the insurance company with the state.

We’re in uncharted waters here. In my attorney’s almost 50 years of practice, he’s never had to do this. He’s never come up against a company that’s so reckless with a claimant.

I doubt there will be a big payout from the lawsuit. I doubt they’ll be run out of the state. But at least we’re DOING SOMETHING! It’s my little glimmer of hope. My only glimmer of hope.

And this is why a total stranger’s post about a musical has given me pause. I’m lucky enough to see a new day, to still be breathing, to fight for my rights to adequate healthcare as the law dictates for injured workers. Maybe my case will save someone else from my nightmare. That thought is enough to make me keep looking at the horizon, hoping to see the first rays of sunshine each day.

All of this… all of it comes down to a Broadway musical I haven’t seen, but whose very message has had a ripple effect on the lives of enough people that its message has been spread far and wide.

I’m off to look for my sun today and tomorrow and the next day and the next and on and on.

2017/09/10

The Lump in My Throat

Da Goddess @ 23:50

Tomorrow is a difficult day for me. For many of us. I always feel a tightness in my throat and my chest this time of year. But this year we have so much happening that makes everything more… agitated and frantic feeling.

I’m talking about these damned hurricanes!

Harvey sucked big donkey balls and put dear Joni in danger. She assured me she was okay and that made my heart stop racing so much. But then that bitch, Irma, had to get in the game. Now Pam and her hubby, as well as other friends, are in harm’s way.

WHY?!!? Isn’t it enough to have a few million people in dire straits? We have to have more? I’m talking to you, weather gods! I’m pointing my finger at you!

And there are the wildfires across the western part of the United States. And an earthquake in Mexico.

I think we’ve had it. The very fabric of our souls have creases from all the worry and frowning.

Those in the midst of these horrifying events needs a break. A really big break.

I’m not asking for a miracle, but I am asking for a respite from disaster for those who’ve been slammed, battered, sizzled, and shaken.

Please.

My prayers and thoughts are with everyone stuck in the middle of all this mess (these messes).

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