THIS WEEK IN REFLECTION
Sometimes, when I start to write my week in reflection, I realize what a long, long, long time one week can be. Here I sit, feeling fine but worn out after a day of hanging out with Biscuit and my brother’s four kids. Yesterday, I was quite proud of myself for being able to go out and volunteer for the first time this summer. I sat at the Friends of the Library book sale and tallied up how many books of each type customers had so they could give the total to the cash register people. I was out of the house. I dressed myself. I talked to people and was human-like to the best of my ability.
Wait, what’s all this? You see, it’s been one health thing after the next, and both my body and my mental groovy place are worn down. First, it was a doctor’s appointment in March where I learned I have high blood pressure, possibly caused by a medication I take. Okay, no more of that medicine. I needed to go to the dermatologist for a scan because I am an adult with busy skin. I had a biopsy done, which left an open wound the size of a dime on my back that proceeded to bleed through band-aids, bras, and t-shirts for a few weeks.
Also, the main concern for which I was there — little tiny white dots of skin on my face — turned out to be oil deposits that can happen as you age, so I need a face prescription. One that is very harsh, to which I must acclimate (put it on every 3 days until I can tolerate it, then every 2 days until I can tolerate it, etc.), that makes my face flake like a breakfast cereal. Thinking I was clever, I slathered on lotion in the morning only to discover that seriously flaking skin + lotion just looks like moist dead skin all over your face. This is a medicine that I am told I’ll likely need forever.
Then, I found out the biopsy was abnormal and so I scheduled a “surgery” thinking I would get a mole removed. Alright, no it’s a surgery that involved stitches and a cut about the size of your little finger. Biscuit said it looked like I had been stabbed by a sword. That meant two weeks of changing bandages, and ointments, and getting dressed with help from my spouse. Twice a day. Two weeks of not moving much or stretching, of not increasing my heart rate. I asked if I could walk because exercise helps lower blood pressure, but they said if I started breathing hard at all, to stop. So, no moving, no doing anything, no dressing myself, and my blood pressure, which I’m now checking ever day, goes up. Did you know that knowing your blood pressure is going up can make your blood pressure go up? My anxiety is very high, which sends signals to my brain to make me itchy. So I have rashes on my knees. Right. After two weeks we sent in a pre-requested photo of my surgery area only to learn I would need to continue with ointment and bandages for another week. At least then I could walk around but was not to stretch or do much with my arms. I finally finished all three weeks.
Then this Monday I woke with my left eye swollen shut. And I must say this nearly broke me in ways I’m not ready to talk about. Hours of Googling and comparing notes made me realize what likely happened is the combo of my immune system working hard plus stopping a medication (plus, I dunno, having fingers???) means I had a stye, which can go away with a warm compress applied 5x per day for about 15 minutes teach time. And looking like a jack-o-lantern someone forgot on their porch through Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Have I mentioned I don’t like the term “mental health”? May is “Mental Health Awareness Month,” and I always start to see a couple of things buzzing around: a bunch self-care stuff about yoga and relaxing baths, and the suicide prevention hotline. I am not suicidal, and a stretch-n-scrub isn’t going to help with the fact that Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a mental illness. That’s what I call it: an illness.
Why? It sounds harsh, I know. But I am not one pedicure away from being calm. I cannot pet a dog until I feel like it’s cool that there’s a tomorrow — that tomorrow is not an infinitely scary, harrowing feeling in my heart. I go to bed each night thinking, “Holy shit, there is a tomorrow” and wake up thinking, “How am I going to accomplish whatever is on my calendar?” Even self-imposed calendar dates, like “study” or “online horror movie club.” I do each thing because I am brave. I do each thing because way down in my guts I want to. I do each thing quietly, and without complaint. I do each thing because when it is over I feel like Kirby from Nintendo absorbing power. I do each thing.
THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST
I would love to hear more thoughts about your thoughts on school systems after reading my review of Train Go Sorry by Leah Hager Cohen. There are two aspects of this book I keep thinking about 1) how a school’s entire curriculum shifted over the years and 2) that the students at the school reminded me so much of experiences I had or people I knew, from not knowing what to do after graduation to selling year book ads to being exciting about separating from parents and heading to a college in a different state.
NEXT WEEK’S BLOG POST
After I read the review that Sue @ Whispering Gums wrote, I added Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim to my TBR. This was one of those books I read to my spouse each night, and we were both excited to see how Vera shook out in comparison to Rebecca (by Daphne du Maurier, of course). Review of von Armin’s novella on Wednesday.
BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR PILE
Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 181
Owned Books on TBR Today: 180
Thanks to Biscuit and the folks at the Horror Fiction Book Club, hosted by Prince William Public Library, for their recommendations!