Friday, February 02, 2007

Selfish bitch

iam a cold-hearted, selfish, self-centered bitch. At least that's what I feel like today.

To be honest, I've had one of those days straight from hell. It started this morning when I was leaving for work. Though I'd salted my steps and walkway yesterday, there was still enough re-freezing overnight for ice to be an issue. I was walking carefully, but of course, I found the black ice, tumbled down the steps and landed on my bum knee -- the one that the doctor said would probably be replaced with an artificial joint by now. It's sore, tender and swollen, and I expect to be back on my cane for a few days. To be on the safe side, I decided to go the doctor when swelling started making my too big, fat pants feel tight. The husband had an appointment for a medication review today, and we went together. My knee was the simple part. It's twisted, but that's all.

The next rough part kicked in when I decided to stay in the office for my husband's appointment. This was a smart decision, but one I initially resisted making. One of the issues that has led to our separation has been his not taking responsibility for either his own life or his family. We laid it off first to depression, then to his ADD medication which seemed just not right, then to confusion, and finally, to his just being a poor excuse for a man. Somewhere I knew that wasn't true. I'm not the sort of woman who would fall in love with a poor excuse for a man.

But something just wasn't right. He's had serious personality changes, going from being the outgoing, gregarious life of any party, a sweet, tender, sympathetic, spontaneous, fun and intelligent man to someone moody, irritable, sad, silent, and distant. I've been asked if he was slow. Friends and family members have called him a bum. Our family has been hit with some of life's serious stressors over the last few years. Deaths, major illnesses and the subsequent care giving, career changes and job loss just top the list, but are nowhere near all of it. It has seemed like just as we were getting a grip on one Big Thing, another Big Thing would happen. A counselor I saw before my insurance changed said it was like getting hit with a tornado right before a hurricane blew into town the week after an earthquake. This has taken its toll on me (I actually used to be fun.) as well as him, but I simply haven't had the strength to handle his issues as well as the womanchild's and mine.

When we saw the doctor today, I started telling her the whole story: the personality changes, the stressors, his family history of the previous three generation of men in his family dying of heart disease complicated by diabetes, reminding her of his high blood pressure and cholesterol, forcing him to 'fess up about his fast food diet and smoking. Her reply was it's distinctly possible you've had a stroke and not known it. Blood was drawn. Machines were pulled into the office and hooked up to bunches of little sticky tabs placed on his body.

Today's result was an EKG showing a possible anterior heart attack. Getting referrals to specialists through our insurance program is a nightmare, so they are calling us back with times, places and dates for an ultrasound of his heart, an MRI of his head and a cardiologist appointment. An appointment with the neurologist is expected after the results of the MRI are in.

OK, all of this can explain the personality changes and the lack of motivation to do his share to take care of his family. I feel like a bitch for not bringing this to someone's attention earlier. It's possible he really hasn't been able to. I feel like a bitch because part of me doesn't want to handle this, and I don't know if he can handle it on his own. I'm tired, really bloody, fucking tired of handling everything for him and for everybody else in my family. Yet that in sickness and health thing does mean something. I've done the richer or poorer, and just kept getting poorer. I've hung in there through good times and bad, and the good times feel like a distant, fading memory.

I was just getting to a point where I felt like I could do some things for myself, things I really need to do, like my weight loss and tending my own emotional and health issues, maybe even finding a way to write more and find a job I actually enjoy. Now, damn, am I going on the back burner again? That's the only way I know how to do things. After all, there is only so much one person can do, and in weighing the priority of needs, mine have seemed to come up on the lighter end, the ones that could wait. I'm tired of waiting, and I'm a selfish bitch.

And I'm not. My needs are real too, and I am, repeat, bloody, fucking tired. I don't know how much more I have available to give.

This day has just sucked. Where is my damn xanax?

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The key thing to do is to never forget what you want. You may put them on the back burner, but give yourself a small timeline. Figure you can take X amount of time each week for yourself. Work on the small things you want first. I picked getting healthier by exercising. I told my boyfriend I would not be cooking dinner or running after work errands 3 time during the work week. I then took 30 minutes, 45 including the shower after, and exercised. I took a walk or I used our work out equipment. As our family life and other problems slowly got better I started to add things like writing stories again. Even if it was for 10-15 minutes to write down ideas or plots before I forgot them I did it. I made a list titled "5 Things I want within 5 years." These are more of my long term goals. That helped me the most. It gave me goals and made me want to keep them. Whenever I logged onto my computer there was the icon in the middle of my desktop. I'd open it, read it and remind myself not to let them go. I hope your life gets better.

February 02, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

Oh, Cynthia, this is A LOT.

I know your insurance is a nightmare, but I am hoping that when you have answers and a plan for his recovery and care (self-care, I mean!) that you will be able to step back a bit and reclaim what you have worked so hard for.

Oh, and I don't think the term "selfish bitch" applies. Something more like "conscientiously concerned and available."

February 02, 2007 8:24 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Can you not invest in "helping" your husband recover without totally abandoning your own...well, for lack of a better word--recovery? It has been my experience that if I don't take care of myself. I'm no bloody good to anyone else. You have to strike a balance between maintaining yourself and caring for others. And I know you know that... ;)

February 02, 2007 9:33 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

I agree with Lisa; it doesn't have to be either/or. It is all a part of the same journey. Kisses and hugs.

February 02, 2007 9:55 PM  
Blogger more cows than people said...

way too tired to comment now, but wanted to send you MUCH love and say that naming your exhaustion doesn't make you a selfish bitch. ((((cyn))))

February 02, 2007 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

I've seen my Pete change as well. Health isssues of his own. Financial struggles. Loosing many in his family to sudden death and things that are hereditary. And in his case I think beer drinking contributes. We thought several years ago we found the answer to his moodiness in his being hyperglociemic. The symtoms fit to a T! But subsequent blood tests have not held that up. Anxiety and depression also run in his family. Guess I'm just saying I can understand your pain.

February 03, 2007 11:19 AM  
Blogger beths front porch said...

Your words sound very caring and loving. I guess I need a new definition of "selfish bitch."

I once read a short story that had the last sentence "I survived." I didn't get it, at the time. Now I do.

February 03, 2007 8:12 PM  
Blogger Magdalene6127 said...

Oh Cynthia. I am so glad you wrote about all this. I don't hear selfish bitchiness here. I hear health. You have made a choice to save your own life. I don't think it can or should be an "either/ or." That is not love. That is some sort of crazy masochism that has nothing to do with love. Listen to your heart. You know what to do. Amen to Lisa, "If I don't take care of myself I'm no bloody good to anyone else." She is a prophet. Listen to her.

Sending love and support your way,

Mags

February 03, 2007 10:32 PM  
Blogger gigi said...

Oh, my dear! This is so much for you to have to deal with.

But how could you possibly have known? You're supposed to be what ~ omniscient now? That's quite a lot to expect from oneself; you know, what with being merely human and all. Who would have thought such a thing?

It is about balance. You don't have to martyr yourself to be giving. It's better for all concerned if you don't. You need strength and serenity, and that takes some self-nurturing as well.

I understand that this represents a huge physical, psychological and emotional sea change for your family. Be gentle with yourself. (( ))

(Doe that mean hugs? It's meant to mean hugs... ;)

February 04, 2007 6:13 PM  
Anonymous pkelley said...

Great post. I have the xanax over here.

February 04, 2007 7:58 PM  
Blogger Shelina said...

Cuynthia, I find that sometimes you do have to take a backseat to someone else's needs. Now that you have brought your DH's problems to the proper attention, hopefully his and your life will get better. Hang in there - you'll get through it.

February 05, 2007 5:48 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Well, I agree with so many commentor(commenters?) that I don't know why I'm bothering to add anything. You're not
clairvoyant, you didn't know, and apparently, neither did he. But your sanity is just as important as his physical being. And honey, you've sounded better and better with each passing post. So, I agree, it doesn't have to be an either/or situation. You carve out time for you. You deserve it! And selfish..I don't think so.

February 05, 2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

Don't put too much on yourself. I do not hear Selfish Bitch here, I hear a caring woman blowing off. I know you know where to turn for support.

February 06, 2007 5:27 AM  
Blogger redsneakz said...

You're not responsible for his problems, only your own reactions to his problems. All you must do now is get YOURSELF better.

And, you're doing that in spades.

February 06, 2007 9:05 PM  

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