Twenty Five – Twenty Nine Weeks Ago

February happened quick and was packed full of experiences while the beginning of March had doctors appointments and test drives. In the past few weeks I got to drum with some of my drum buddies, attend a UToS ritual that my Mom was kind enough to host, and managed to fit some gaming with friends in there. Shannon and I had a wedding anniversary. I got into a car accident (I am ok!). I had another MRI. Forge work has been on hold for a couple weeks until some more troubleshooting with the propane line can happen because right now some flames come out of a place they are not supposed to. Dealing with insurance companies and shopping for a new vehicle put just about everything else in life on hold but I managed to do a few things that I’ve never done before. I walked into a police station to get a copy of a report, I walked out of a waiting room before getting called back for my appointment, and I bought a used vehicle at a dealership.

Shannon and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary on the 4th and 5th of February. We use two dates because one is the date of getting the official paperwork turned in and the other is the date we had a small ceremony and celebration with family and friends. Both of us got one of the dates wrong this year, we thought it was the 3rd and 4th. Luckily it didn’t ruin any plans we had made. One of the ways we chose to mark this year was to get rings tattooed on our middle fingers. Even before I lost my wedding ring we were both taking our rings off all the time because of how much we work with our hands and had discussed getting tattoos instead. Thanks again to Jair at Vodou Tattoos! We also spent some of our anniversary time forging together. Shannon has been eager to try making skulls out of hex nuts and she started working on some of her own projects. We were also able to work together to move some bigger hunks of metal for some new tools to do the detail work on the skulls.

Instead of spending time making medical calls this month it has been calls with the car insurance companies. It was a multiple car accident which made the case tricky and got bounced around. No one was hurt in the accident and the other folks involved were easy to talk to and share information with. I was rescued from the accident site by one of my best friends and her timing was impeccable because I was dealing with a mean tow truck driver called out by the county. Luckily the AAA driver was super nice. My Mom picked me up from my friend’s house and let us borrow the car for the weekend so I could get myself home and to get ourselves to a vending gig. We had to run over to the body shop where I had the car towed to get product bins out of the trunk because I totally forgot they were in there when I was taking my stuff out of the car. The vending gig was over at the R House in Baltimore and it wasn’t a great money maker but it still feels good to show our wares and talking to potential customers is always good practice for me. We ended up having a last minute dinner with my parents when they came to pick up the car after the vending gig and it was really nice. My Dad has only been to our house once so it felt really good to watch him interact with the cats as well as the ancestor altar when he gleefully realized there were pictures of his parents and one of my old cats on there.

Shopping for a new vehicle has been more than a headache. My tolerance for BS right now is so low and there is so much of it to wade through when buying a used vehicle. Almost every sales person feels slimy and car dealerships care more about the bottom line than people. Even though the whole process has not been enjoyable there were small moments of empowerment. Yes, we were feeling kind of desperate but we didn’t let that get used against us. If a salesperson, vehicle, or dealership felt off we just moved on and that felt liberating. One salesperson tried to get us to race another couple to look at a van even though we had made an appointment to come see it that afternoon. We told him that we weren’t interested in doing business that way so thanks but no thanks. Even though we told him we weren’t interested in doing business with him he has still sent a few messages to Shannon. We finally found a dealership and a sales person that felt pretty good and should be driving our new van home in just a few days.

I had appointments the first week of March with the neuro eye doctor and with the Physcians Assistant. My eyes are doing well and my sight hasn’t been effected by the optic nerve damage! At the PA we were supposed to go over the results of my most recent MRI and discuss different treatments but left before I was seen by her. It was my second appointment with her and the second time I spent over an hour in the waiting room without any kind of notice that she was running late. As it happens I already had another appointment with the neurologist on the calendar for April 1st and he already looked over the MRIs and sent a message that there are no new lesions. So I don’t feel like I missed the opportunity to get critical information and I am trying not to take it personally but I am still upset. Something that has irked me about the healthcare system is that as a patient you are expected to be on time for your appointment and there is some kind of penalty or repercussion if you aren’t or don’t show. On the other side of that though, from a patients perspective, healthcare practitioners don’t have the same kind of penalties or repercussions if they don’t get you back on time. I know that this is a systemic issue and for some reason they only give her 15 minute appointment slots for neuro patients. It occurred to me that the only way for her to rebel against the system is by spending the time with patients that they actually need. I can understand that, but I didn’t appreciate that no one said to me “hey we are running a bit behind today” or that in the voicemail she left apologizing for the delay she said that we could have rushed through things to get me on my way. The kind of place my brain and emotions are in the bit about rushing felt insulting even though I know it probably wasn’t. The whole system is insulting though. At the end of the day I would appreciate being seen by my healthcare practitioner in a timely manner and to be informed when things are running a bit behind, and to not feel like the practitioner is rushing through my appointment to get to the next one. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask but I don’t know how to address this. I actually like the PA and would rather see her over the doctor but not if she is going to be running an hour late every time I have an appointment with her.

The past few weeks have been pretty rough emotionally. Shannon and I have had lots of building tensions. In some moments we have asked ourselves and each other if we would be better off going our separate ways. I have also been falling into a deep depression and this depression has been hitting my shutdown button hard and repeatedly. I’ve been fighting against the full shutdown but the extra stress from dealing with insurance companies, used car shopping, and feeling like everything was in this weird holding pattern got me a few times. Those days I felt proud of myself if I managed to get out of sleepy pants and into sweat pants. I stopped doing all those little daily practices that help maintain body, mind, spirit balance. I stopped engaging with people. I barely participated in household day-to-day stuff. In those moments where I’ve sunk real deep it feels like I will never feel joy again and that it would be easier to not exist (sometimes it’s just “I wish I didn’t exist,” sometimes it’s “I wanna shoot my face off”). Now these days I know that those feels in a moment won’t last forever and I just gotta get through to the other side but it feels like moving through molasses or trying to run underwater.

There are some big feels of relief now that we have purchased a new-to-us van but I won’t be able to let out the last bit of breath on that one until the keys are in our hands and we are driving home in it. Even though things have been rough emotionally there are some better choices I am making for myself in moments. I’ve done yoga and meditation two mornings in a row. Shannon and I discussed getting ourselves back into therapy. The weird holding pattern has eased up tremendously and we are finding more energy to work on our business stuff now that we aren’t spending most of our free time searching for vans online to go look at in person. Looking ahead I am excited for our next big event coming up, Drum In The Swamp down in Louisiana.