Making Lemonade

While trying to cruise through my life I hit a few roadblocks and I don’t think anyone has been harder on me than myself, or maybe Ronald Reagan.

I had my first full blown migraine headache at 25. I crawled into the ER in Milford, remember Providence Hospital? They put me in a room and turned off the lights. They might even have given me a shot of something for the pain.

I had an 18 month old son and and a 6 year old daughter and was really trying to get into shape. I dieted and went to Vic Tanny’s gym in Waterford and signed up for a 2 year membership I really couldn’t afford. It was devils night, October 30 and the sales person took me through the usual light routine and I when I woke up the next day I was really sore and I expected that. The following day I was worse and on November 3rd I was in the ER as I said.

Muscle breaks down a bit when you exercise and then heals. This is known as strengthening or building muscle. That is normal. This was not, but I was a single mother with Medicade insurance and during the era of Ronald Reagan’s blaming single mothers for all of the nations ills, I didn’t have a chance, not in Oakland County anyway.

My head, neck, and shoulders, as well as every muscle that allows you to move your arms which would be the whole of the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles were in spasm. So obviously I had more going on here than any doctor I was able to see, because of Medicade, could access. I was told after about 6 months that I had Fibromyalgia and then sent to see a Rheumatologist at Henry Ford Hospital who gave me a mild, very mild, antidepressant and sent me home.

I went back to him a month later for a follow up and said to him, “This isn’t working.” He patted me on the arm and said, “Your life is hard honey. Take some aspirin and rest.” I thought okay if you’ll chase a toddler and a 6 year old. Oh, and clean my house and shop for groceries and cook while your at it, and could you explain that to the welfare office because I am just a lowly single mother who isn’t receiving child support, and am expected to work full time too.

I remember trying to waitress at the Milford Big Boy restaurant during that time. I had to literally beg someone to watch my son while I worked there. I could not find a baby sitter. Karen Coleman was the head waitress who had me in the back room chopping lettuce instead of waiting tables and making tips. The waitress hourly wage was $2.65. She thought my life was a joke I am sure.

So when I went to pick up my son from the sitter I owed her more than I had earned and was being taxed on it. My baby had done nothing but cry every time, and the whole time I was gone, and the sitter, a mother of 4 could not take it anymore. She quit. I remember hearing on the radio in Big Boys that Nancy Reagan was remodeling the White House and spent $700,000 on new china while I was trying to do table set-ups in a Big Boy instead of waiting on customers. Fuck Ronnie and Nancy and Karen Coleman.

I gotta tell you though, I was always optimistic. Maybe I was just delusional, but I really thought I could be cured, that I could get an education, and/or find a job I could do at a living wage. Ha Ha Ha. I didn’t even think what I had was progressive. Maybe it’s not, but life sure is and age sure does fuck with your health.

I did get married at 36 and had another child and owned a business and did some things I never thought I could do, or never thought I couldn’t do. That was tricky. Thing is I survived. I have raised some really fine individuals, two in their 30’s and one almost 20 at college and now my time and my life is all mine. Ha Ha Ha.

The world has become a much smaller place, my world anyway. I understand it now like I didn’t back then. If I had, I wouldn’t have believed it. That is the folly of youth. I believe the biggest problems of today started with Reagan era politics and my issues just happened to coincide. Bad timing. My world exists in my home and online. It’s not safe to go out because I just might fall down the steps or get shot. Either would feel about the same.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” A Tale of Two Cities

A New Season

I tried to clean my white ceramic tiled bathroom yesterday. The fool who designed the house in the 1950’s, obviously a man, never cleaned a toilet in his life or he would not have put it 8 inches from the bathtub. There is no way to clean around it without kneeling. I cannot kneel anymore. Maybe some day I will get new knees but for now because I did kneel while nearly in tears and cleaned the whole fucking 5′ by 5′ bathroom floor the next day I can only sit in this desk chair and write about it. I can’t do it again.

Stress really effects your immune system or so that is what they say, although I don’t think it’s factored it into the sum total of most peoples lives by anyone who matters. So me, like the fool that I am, was adding it up today. This is what it comes to, and some day in the not so distant future I will realize there is something else I can’t do but this was today’s epiphany.  In my life long striving to take care of myself and others this was my saddest day ever. I couldn’t even clean my own dirty bathroom.

Forget the striving. Enjoy your days. They are numbered. Find happiness and joy in the small things. If you have a roof over your head and food in the fridge, oh and toilet paper in your dirty bathroom, you are fine. You are blessed.

I wrap my mind around science and music and not too much politics. I wonder at The Creator in every face I see, every sunset, and every spider on the kitchen ceiling who remains safe because I can’t reach her. I live in my mind.

I treasure the family and friends who will still talk to me, but today I quit trying to do things that I can no longer do. I have been in pain my whole adult life. Today I quit trying to rough it. Today I am putting everyone on notice; I probably won’t be keeping up appearances any longer. I have a very kind loving spouse and he is my greatest blessing. If I have to try it is only for his sake, but he is just one man pulling for both of us, and our daughter too. He can’t do everything, although he tries.

I won’t live out my life wishing it were different. It is what it is. I can still stand, and I can still sit up, and I can still wipe my own ass while noticing the dirt on the white ceramic tile. I will learn to embrace it somehow or hire someone to clean it. I will choose my battles wisely. I will suffer fools much less and move on. Some days will be better than others, for sure. In case you were wondering, this is called grief. I am grieving my expectations and making lemonade all at the same time. Libra rising. It all has to balance somehow…