Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Had a Light Bulb Moment!


     When I am "haunting" I have a lot of time to think at the beginning of the evening.  Between makeup and getting into costume, waiting for the pre-haunt meeting and (being at the back of the house) waiting for the first groups to get from the front door to my room and then in between groups.  Yes, there are ambient noises but having spent as many years working in bars/nightclubs as I did- I can easily tune them out and almost meditate.  Unfortunately- I have not mastered meditation so my brain wanders all over the place- especially when I suck down two extra large coffees and already have a lot on my mind.

      As I was waiting this evening I was stretching a little and my arm did its "lets go numb" thing.  It instantly irritated me because frankly- regularly losing my strength and distinct tingling from my shoulders to my finger tips is getting old.  I shook it off after a few minutes and went back to "work".  A little while later it happened again and again and my frustration with it rose higher and higher.  About two and a half hours into the night we were back from a break and the tingling started to spread down my arm once again.  This time however was a little different.  I was relaxed from my break (and sucking back another coffee) and my end of the house was silent.  I was thinking about the herniated disc that's causing this problem and its counterpart in my lumbar vertebrae.  I considered that I have been battling lower back pain from the bad lumbar discs for many, many years now and this "falling asleep" thing in my upper body was fairly new. Rather than instant frustration a quiet thought slipped in.  "At least it's not pain".

     I actually jerked upright and took a step back for a second.  As the arm hung there in a full-on pins and needles state the light bulb came on and the thought seemed louder.  At least it's not pain.  I live with pain every single day.  Fingers, toes, hands, feet, knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders, back. Not always at once, usually bilaterally but not a day goes by that there's not some kind of pain.  The more I thought about this niggling little revelation I realized that the reason I have been so frustrated by this is not just that my body is falling apart.  I've been fighting pain and stiffness and loss of strength in my body daily for over 9 years now. I know how to deal with the pain.  I know how to medicate it, to compartmentalize it, to function with and through it and to give the stiffness time to work its way out so I can go about my day.

    No, the frustration comes because I don't yet know how to deal with this development.  What's really interesting is that while I was thinking this through, it came to me that this has been going on for longer than I wanted to think about.  I remembered talking to my sister over a year ago on several different occasions when I would be driving along and both my arm and my leg would go numb!  It's one of the things that I told the chiropractor at my early appointments and that's how we found of what rough shape my back was in.  It was an occasional thing and I thought it was more funny than irritating at the time but it was there.  When it clicked it was a "WOW" moment for me.  I pay a lot of attention to what my body is doing but this must have slipped by me until it got to the reached that that it was happening all too often to ignore.  At least it's not more pain.  I can live with this now, at least for the time being.  I will eventually have to decide if I can live with it long term or if I can take the time off that I will need to repair this latest insult to my body.  In the meantime, I have that thought to give me some peace of mind about the whole situation.  Now I know it could be worse. With that I can get some rest. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It's A Wrong Side of the Bed Kind of Morning

     It's Saturday.  It's cloudy and overcast and I woke up good and cranky.  Hubby had to work this morning (that's a good thing) and his alarms went off at 6 and 6:10 because he had to leave at 6:30.  Evidently he was running late because he ran out quickly.  As soon as he left- the dogs LOST IT.  This was a break with their routine.  Normally when one of their humans wakes up- they go right out to do their business.  This time, one human jetted out the door and one stayed in bed.  They didn't like it and set up a ruckus.

     Normally I would be thankful for sleeping till 6:30- that's 2 hours after I normally wake up after all.  But last night I took a Lunesta because I haven't been sleeping well and I don't know about you- but when I take a Lunesta (or Ambien, or AdvilPM or any sleep aid), unless I sleep until it wears off, I wake up feeling like I am hung over.  That's not a good feeling.  To top it off, my shoulder started doing the "go numb and throb" thing which means I tossed and turned and slept so that the disc is inflamed and both wrists joined in the fray.  So- crankiness ensued.

    Now you may be asking "Why didn't you just go back to bed?"  Well, with the way the pain kicked in, I had to take my meds ASAP, and for some reason my Tramadol wires me right up.  That means I had to choose between sleeping off the Lunesta or taking the pain meds and the pain meds won.

     While I am waiting for the meds to kick in I have looked over my schedule for the week, checked 2 of my personal email accounts, took care of some stuff work work and watch some fluff on the DVR.  I have to get some laundry folded, pay some bills and then hopefully nap before I head to the Morgue for "Scare Tactics" and makeup rehearsal tonight.  Next weekend begins full dress rehearsals for our haunted house with "Friends and Family" night on the 26th- so that's something to look forward to.  That means my weekends will be booked through November 1st and it's a lovely thing.

    I also got to talk to my sweet son this morning.  Josh and I used to talk every day but he has gotten a promotion to "Site Director" and his hours have changed.  Between his new responsibilities (welcome to management honey!) and being a father to his lovely girlfriend's kids, his time is stretched thin and we haven't been able to connect the way we used to on a daily basis.  This morning he and Christina were taking their couch to the recycling center (they are getting a new one this week) and he gave me a call just so we could catch up.  I miss him like crazy but I know that if he were out here, his life would be very different.  He would not have his little family (and he is so crazy about Christina, Jake and Abbey) and he would not be managing a site for work.  The irony is- he stayed behind because of his karate and recently he has left the dojo.  He decided to step away from his position teaching kenpo and concentrate on learning Brazilian Jui Jitsu.  He's been taking classes for a while now and discovered that he really missed being a student.  His life has undergone so many changes in the last few years and he has grown up so very much.  I make sure to tell him often how very proud of him I am.  It's important that he knows that because we are so far apart.

    The more I think forward, the more I get over myself and the day starts to brighten, even if the weather doesn't.  They say there is only a 20% chance of rain but it's crazy overcast.  Not a bad thing at all.  It's chilly enough that I won't sweat myself through my costumes tonight.  Both are really heavy so when it's hot- it's a good thing I have barrier spray because I would sweat my makeup right off!  :-)   That will make it much easier tonight to play with makeup.  So there we go.

     I hope you are having a lovely weekend!  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's the Little Things

     Those who are friends with me on Facebook have probably seen that I recently cut my hair off.  This was a huge deal for me.  I love(d) having long hair.  When the stylist cut it, the first swoop through was to the tune of 8-10 inches. The first clump that fell in my lap had me taking a quick intake of breath with thoughts of "Oh God, what have I done?"  After- I think it looks really cute.  It's easier to care for, that is certain and that was the goal.  You see, courtesy of the herniated disc in my neck, I keep having my shoulder and arm fall asleep.  It's not painful, it's just the pins and needles thing, but it is very irritating.  Especially when it happens every time I try to brush my hair or if I lean on my desk or lean against the car door.  It usually involves a few minutes of trying to shake it out because the strength drains as the numbness sets in.  So- I chopped off the hair since I could not properly care for it in a reasonable amount of time.  I then sank into a bit of a funk because I felt like I had sacrificed my slow-growing, long, straight hair to the Gods of Chronic Illness.

    Another issue that I have been dealing with is a LOT of Acid Reflux- especially at night.  I cannot tell you how many times lately that I have woken myself up coughing and choking on acid and the burning in my chest.  The doc has put me on Prilosec and it helps- but it's not an "every day for the rest of your life" drug so shortly after tapering off, it comes back with a vengence.  Sunday night it was so bad that I woke my poor husband up almost every time I woke up.  Now, himself normally sleeps like the dead and is cranky if woken in the middle of his sleep but he really came through.  I sat up in the bed, groped around for TUMS and in tears because the acidity was so bad in my throat and I didn't realize that I had woken him.  Without a word, he got up went downstairs and grabbed me a bottle of water.  Each time after- he woke up and made sure I had water available and stayed up with me until I could get back to sleep.

Neither of these things are earth shattering.  While I understand that, it came as a revelation that it's the little things that can make a huge difference.  Something as simple as a haircut can spiral you down, down, down while a gesture of kindness can make things all better.

So I ask this of you.  When you are out and about today, in interactions with others or even when you find yourself facing self-doubt, stop.  Think about how your actions create a ripple effect.  All it takes is a pebble to form ripples across a pond.  All it takes is a kind word or gesture- or a careless word or thoughtless action to make or break your day or that of those around you.