Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NOLA, kidney stones and observations... Oh my! (Think 'Lions, tigers, and bears...')

Back from a lovely vacation.  The getting there and back... not so much.  But being there for 6 days.  And 6 days with friends who 'get me' and the situation with my hoarding mother.  No excuses, no apologies, lots of irreverent and inappropriate humor... and a few observations.  Oh... And alcohol, and the French Quarter!

So- the kidney stone story.  This will be the 'Cliff Notes' version.  Early the wee hours of Monday a week ago, yours truly ended up in the Emergency Department of the closest hospital.  The evolution of events occurred as follows:

  • Lisabeth finished working on some work stuff that needed to be done before leaving for vacation at 2am.  (Hello yet another 95+ hour workweek... Erg)
  • Lisabeth attempted to go to bed at 2:30am, thinking that 3-4 hours of sleep would work.  
  • Not able to sleep, at 3am Lisabeth is having increasingly sharp pains on her right hand side and lower back.  She calls the tele-nurse.
  • The tele-nurse advises her to get to the closest ED now.  NOW.  Asks if someone is there.  NO.  Can Lisabeth get someone to take her?  YES.
  • Lisabeth proceeds to drive herself to the nearest hospital.
  • Lisabeth has a 4mm and a 3mm kidney stone in her ureter.
  • Lisabeth is HATING LIFE until the pain meds kick in.
  • Lisabeth is discharged from ED at 7:30am... so she drives home, showers, and goes to work...

I think you get the story.  For a woman with a bachelor's, a master's, professional licensure, and who damn near busted the ceiling on the MCAT and SATs over twenty years ago... I am a FLIPPING IDIOT!!!!  IQ and common sense are obviously so unrelated.  

So, again, as you remember from past reading and this blog- I am an idiot.  I call my mother on the way home.  And it plays out like this...

Hey.  Thought I would give you a quick call.
"Why are you calling so early?  You never call before 8am!"
Oh.  Um.  Yeah.  Leaving [Judgmental Religious Hospital that I would NEVER use except in the most dire of emergencies] ED.  I have kidney stones.
"What?  How?  Why?  No one else in the family has ever had those!  What causes them?  What are they going to do?  Do you have to have surgery?  I knew a woman..."
[Cutting off the crazy] Anything under 5mm they let you pass.  I have an infection on top of things, and I feel like crap.  I have 4 or 5 prescriptions to pick up when I get to [the town I work in].
"How did you get there?  Did one of your friends take you?"
Um.  No.  I drove.
"YOU WHAT?!?!?!?"
[Cutting off the story I have heard 5 trillion times about a radio station DJ passing out in the bathroom when she and the gospel group she sang with were to perform on air...] Okay. I am almost home.  Talk to you later...
"Do you think that is what is wrong with me?  I have been having TURRIBLE pain in my..."
[I clicked off my Bluetooth before I lost my mind on her.]

I showered, went in, damn near collapsed at the pharmacy, and got stuck staying at work until after 10pm that night.  I was whiter than the white shift dress with all the watercolor print on it that I chose to wear that day.  As I left work that day, I sat in my car in significant pain and so exhausted, and I realized a few things that should be self evident if I were not such a stubborn dunder-head.
  • I am so in harness at work that my life/work balance is blown utterly to hell. 
  • Despite being told to take off a couple of days to rest and pass this thing (NOLA was okayed though!) I went to work.
  • I am not able to keep up this pace and not burn out.
  • Obviously I have so diversification of duty issues at my agency.
  • I would not ask for help.  Not from my friends to drive me to ED, not from my neighbors, not from the tele-nurse who offered to arrange transportation.  I would not ask any of my staff to help that night, and would not accept help from the wonderful folks that offered.
  • I was up almost 44 straight hours.  I had a hard time driving the 45 minutes home, and a hard time keeping my car in my lane/on the highway.  I was seeing double from pain, and had a hard time parking in my garage.  
  • I went to NOLA, and dealt with passing the stone. Pain so intense I was forced to take a narcotic based painkiller prescribed for me.  Dreadful side effects of the medicines... including swelling of my lower legs and calves until my feet looked like Ms. Piggy's.
  • I would NOT slow down or rest.  I pushed, HARD.
I am not entirely sure if I passed the stones or not, but something happened on Thursday, and I felt steadily better ... the pain is nearly gone.  Today my ankles and all other *ahem* symptoms/side effects of the meds have resolved, I hope.  I will spare you that bit of TMI.

During my interaction in NOLA, I had a couple of things pointed out.  (Some of the same things in relation to the kidney stone that friends pointed out to me...)
  • I am killing myself with work.  
  • I am once again 'numbing out' and compartmentalizing so I simply am not acutely aware of my pain or needs.
  • I am so bent on 'not inconveniencing anyone' that I have made some really STUPID choices.  (Driving writhing in pain anyone? Being at the ED solo? Just because I did not want to wake anyone up, but I would do it in a heartbeat for ANYONE.  Whether I knew or liked them or not.)
  • My stoicism apparently knows few bounds... as does my pigheadedness...
  • I was shocked to hear multiple friends describe me this week as reserved and as very 'close to the vest.'  Who?  Me?  REALLY?  <Sigh>  Yes.  Me.
  • Hearing how my behavior hurt others by shutting them out when they want to support me and show their caring.  
  • I have such high standards for myself that I absolutely do NOT have for others.  I was very saddened to hear a friend worry about me seeing her house... and I have heard this many times... and had it pointed out that I do not allow myself ANY slack in my own home/car, and that sends a message to others.  
<Le sigh>

When did I become such a selfish, closed and en-armoured person?  We know that parents who hoard program his/her/their children to disregard their own worth and needs.  The COH is always looking outward and focused on the needs (or perceived needs of others).  In smugly thinking I was doing so much better... I am NOT.  I have taken huge steps back.  I am thinking of the anger from my ex husband in the past years, the anger and hurt from friends when I attempted to not allow (or successfully did not allow) them to help me when I needed it in situations like:
  • Taking me to ED when I was electrocuted in a freak accident in our new home.
  • Coming to ED after a motorcycle crash that dislocated my shoulder and unhinged my elbow.
  • Going to work after being in a 21 car pile up that injured me.
  • Not telling those closest to me when I was the victim of a violent crime for years.  Some, such as my ex, still do not know.
  • Walking in on a robbery in process at a former place of work.
Just a few occurrences...  And I sent a message that I did not intend to.  That I do not trust them, when in truth, I do not see the value in myself and why they would want to support me other than just being nice. That I do not find them capable or competent of supporting me... when in actuality, I have such a hard time with folks expressing compassion or the like to me that I strive to head it off at the pass.

Tonight, I did something thoughtful for someone, really went out of my way... and when they started to show their pleasure and appreciation... I bolted.  Made an excuse and left.  Damn, damn, DAMN.  What is wrong with me?  Seriously?

I will persevere, and I will overcome this.  I have to...  I will not, not... NOT turn into my mother. And her sick programming of 'hoarderthink' is apparently more ingrained and under the surface than I realized. And I am now turning a spotlight on it, exposing it.  I cannot continue the same responses... this is how I frequently get surrounded by narcissistic and self serving people.

Enough.  My journey towards openness continues...

Hoarding.  No one wins.  

Goodnight.  I work two crazy days, then I am off work until the second week of July.  I have a lot of thinking to do...

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