Perchance to Dream

I spend an embarrassing portion of every day daydreaming, worrying, planning for imaginary (and, occasionally, real) contingencies, and, did I mention worrying?

Now, as Nicolas Cage once opined in Raising Arizona, “Y’all without sin cast the first stone,” but, as the surgery date gets closer, the worrying gets wilder.

I’ve been through enough procedures to not worry about what’s on the other side of this one. A day ago, I thought the angst might be mourning for the impending loss of fertility, but it was willingly surrendered fifteen years ago. The Big Guy and I had replaced ourselves and, having hit the jackpot and getting two moppets with great comedic timing, were pretty sure we had our share of miracles. Besides, my uterus and I have been — at best – frenemies for most of our lives. 

My worries are way dumber than kvetching over a piece of bodily equipment I’m not using anyway. They’re more along the line of hoping the anesthesia has truly kicked in before doctors start disconnecting wires. Or that they’re sure anesthesia’s safe for people my size (short and round). And will the Big Guy get Thing2 to bed before 2 a.m. if something goes really wrong?

And there’s the rub.  Rubs.

It’s not fear of dying or that, per chance, that you’ll dream. Or that you might not be dead when they start putting the nails in the coffin (Hamlet was an amateur). A few hours before launch, I’m trying to stop the dreams just to get to sleep.

Sleep will come just when the alarm goes off, and, once it does, the day will move too quickly for dreams to move in again. The other side of this is, hopefully, more energy and freedom. The Big Guy has been pulling me back to those, reminding that the best part about the other side is that it won’t be a dream.

I know I’ll get to sleep just in time for the alarm to go off, but, once it does, the day will move too quickly for dreams to move in again. The other side of this is, hopefully, more energy and freedom. The Big Guy is great at pulling me back to those, reminding me that the best part about the other side is that it won’t be a dream.

Summer of Storms

The last time we had a summer as saturated with storms as this one, Vermont got a visit from an angry lady named Irene. The ground was saturated and the rivers so high, that when Irene swept through, many towns in our little state saw seasonal streams turn into major waterways. Roads were washed out, with some towns only accessible by horseback.

The ratio of heavy equipment and work animals to people is pretty good here, and many places were on their feet before FEMA even looked our way. Recovery was so quick that sometimes Irene seems like a memory from someone else’s lifetime.

Then I drive by a favorite view – this one is Ice Pond Farm in Arlington – and see another line of clouds passing over, drenching the fields and mountains again. I love the storms, but I often wonder if they’re trying to tell us something.

Summer of Storms

The last time we had a summer as saturated with storms as this one, Vermont got a visit from an angry lady named Irene. The ground was saturated and the rivers so high, that when Irene swept through, many towns in our little state saw seasonal streams turn into major waterways. Roads were washed out, with some towns only accessible by horseback.

The ratio of heavy equipment and work animals to people is pretty good here, and many places were on their feet before FEMA even looked our way. Recovery was so quick that sometimes Irene seems like a memory from someone else’s lifetime.

Then I drive by a favorite view – this one is Ice Pond Farm in Arlington – and see another line of clouds passing over, drenching the fields and mountains again. I love the storms, but I often wonder if they’re trying to tell us something.

Down and In

Thanks to the boys’ “donated” labor last summer, my garden was mercifully easy to prep and plan this year. Thanks to the effects of my adenomyosis, it’s the only physical labor I’ve engaged in since May, but even though it’s kept me down on the bench, I haven’t been out.

Even before school finished, I knew I needed to paint again, but I wasn’t sure how it would work. I usually paint dancing in front of my easel, and the energy just hasn’t been there. An abstract course I was taking was too physically taxing, but it got me playing with acrylics, which unexpectedly presented a solution.

Knowing I needed more practice with the new medium, I dug out some old, smaller canvases.

Really small. Like playing card small.

I’ve had fun with small pictures in the past. You can put the paint and the canvas on the same palette board and do most of the work with a small brush or knife and minimal cleanup. And you can sit in a comfy chair in the living room while you do it.

This summer, going small has that even though I’m a bit behind the game, I’m still in it.

Can We Talk about Anything Else

A year into this blog, I wrote about my lifelong dance with bipolar disorder. Clawing my way out of a deep depressive episode at the time, I was writing nothing and had nothing to lose. Even in 2013, coming out as bipolar was something only celebrities did in public When you’re not famous enough to announce it on Letterman, people look at you funny, and I was anxious about hitting “Publish” that day.

That’s nothing compared to the angst I feel as I click the publish button today.

Five years ago I was trying to move from IT to teaching. I’d found a teacher prep program. I got a part-time job as a para-educator at a place to get experience and student teach while keeping my old job. 

I’d forgotten, however, that my work at home mom status (WAHM) had not been entirely a matter of choice.

A few weeks into the new job, we were trying to get a group of preschoolers out for a walk, when I started to pass out. The other teachers in the group covered for me as I tried to recover, but I had literally fallen down on the job. I left to go home but passed out when I got to my car. 

When I woke up, I decided that an ambulance would scare kids at the school and stupidly drove myself to the emergency room. The ER staff ran bloodwork, and, discovering I was severely anemic, told me I needed rest and no driving. I said I’d always been anemic but never knew why. 

I was having my period and asked to go to the bathroom during the first hour. Having learned years earlier that ibuprofen could stop bleeding, I’d taken a pile of pills in the morning. They were wearing off, and about 20 minutes later I asked  to go to the bathroom again, and the nurse asked me about it. 

I don’t know why, but even wearing a Johnny that left little to the imagination, with wires and tubes attached to and coming out of me, I had to whisper when talking about my “period” (I cringed when I typed it just now). Most people – including me – would rather talk about anything else.

As I talked with the nurse and then the doctor, they realized I wasn’t having a normal period. I never had a normal period. I single-handedly kept Tampax stock prices afloat. I was the mother of the Mississippi.

For almost 20 years, I had mentioned “heavy” flow to various doctors or midwives, usually getting a pat answer like “everybody’s different,” so I accepted that anemia was normal. Going through a small bottle of ibuprofen every month to be able to leave the house for a few hours was normal. 

I never talked about it with anyone else because most other people would also rather talk about anything else. The very thing that makes it possible for women to have babies is also a subject that is most taboo.

The ER docs gave me a prescription and a referral. My regular GYN had retired, and the referral connected me with a new one. He got my health history and scheduled an ultrasound, quickly diagnosing me with a condition called adenomyosis, similar to endometriosis. The then-new doctor explained there were minimally invasive options to manage the condition but only one foolproof cure. 

Why am I bringing this up five years later when there are so many other things to write about?

Because the only cure for adenomyosis is it hysterectomy, which I’m having a week from today.

I’ve had enough surgeries over my life that I’m not particularly nervous about this one, but I am annoyed with myself. I’m haven’t let convention dictate my writing or conversations much in recent years. This topic maybe a doozy, but I realized convention had kept me from talking about adenomyosis and from finding answers years earlier. Period silence creates fewer places to get information and help  — online and off – for many women.  For me, silence caused multiple miscarriages, kept me working at home because I was terrified to be more than 10 feet from a bathroom five days out of every month, and nearly cost me the opportunity to do something useful.

So, while it’s not something I want or plan to talk about all the time, I’m no longer willing to tip-toe around it.