Life, Death, Anxiety (Anxiety, Anxiety, Anxiety…)

I really needed a break. I’m reading over my last post (from the end of last year), and I’m talking about wishing the years would stop having body counts, the fact that I hadn’t weighed myself in a few weeks, and my inexplicable new lust for chocolate. Even shit chocolate. I was also beating myself up about not writing updates every week, but you see, the reason I’d stopped doing that was because


And I’m not terribly good to myself when I need to do nothing for a while. Getting better though, remind me to bring up Cancun before I finish.

All of the above is rubbish. You’re supposed to hook the reader’s attention when you start these. The possible candidates are:

  • I have a gaping wound on my chest
  • My father is dying
  • I’m beginning a doctoral program in the next two weeks because I’m a fucking idiot

Also, the hook definitely isn’t a thesis, and the thesis CANNOT be a bullet list, but fuck it, this isn’t an essay, and I’m not writing for a grade (yet).

Maybe six months after my surgery I noticed a small lump on my chest. I figured it’d been there forever but was buried under too much fat to notice. I decided to keep an eye on it and take note if it grew or otherwise changed in any way. Nothing for two and a half years. Last Thursday it started to hurt.

Friday it hurt so bad I couldn’t sit upright in a chair without pain. I went to urgent care that evening but they turned me away because they didn’t have enough time left in the day to deal with it. The ER was gonna be at least 2-3 hours of waiting, so I went back to urgent care on Saturday morning. Overnight, the lump had grown (it was literally the size of two large grapes…or maybe half a plum?) and become more painful. It was now big and angry and red, like the dying sun of Krypton.

So I went to urgent care and waited for four hours because guess what? Covid hasn’t fucking ended. But as long as we all pretend it has, we should be cool, right? Anyway, four hours of waiting, they take me back, the doc looks at it and says, “Yeah, you have an abscess. Let’s drain it!” Obviously I agreed. She told me the worst part was going to be the local anesthetic. “You’ll just feel a pinch and some burning.”

Yeah, so what she meant by “some burning” is “I’m going to burrow into your chest with an ice pick now, take a deep breath.” Jesus God, that was some top ten pain right there. Zero stars, do not recommend. Then she started draining it and there was so much pus in there that MY ABSCESS EJACULATED.

I so, so want that last sentence to be hyperbole. Anyway, I have to go back every two days to get the dressing changed. I went this morning, and the nurse looked at me and asked, “Is that your dressing?”

“No, no, it’s way worse than that,” I said.

“Who did this to you?”

“A doctor.”

And then she laughed and laughed. I know how to make friends with nurses. She pulled the gauze out of the wound and repacked it. Apparently it’s 1.5 centimeters deep (#gah). The doc who drained it the other day told me she drained one the size of a fucking lemon (#SatansLemonade).

Technically my father has been dying for over a year now, but as I write this, he’s on hospice care. I have a complicated relationship with my father, and even though talking to him makes me crazy, I love him (which might just be proof God exists, but let’s not entertain that tangent). He’s currently a lot more lucid than he has been in recent weeks, but his heart – which has run a thousand consecutive marathons by the way – is worn out, and he doesn’t have long. It’s fucking terrible, but it’s also time.

I was talking to a former student the other day and I said something along the lines of, “Dying is a fucking nightmare. Being dead is rest and release. For everyone.” That might sound horrifically pragmatic to some people, but I’ll bet a thousand bucks those people haven’t been through this as many times as I have. I’m tired of losing my people. I’m tired of the years having body counts. I’ll grieve the loss of my father when he’s gone, but it will be nice not to worry about him, and if that sounds selfish, fuck it.

This has been the dark cloud hovering over the entire year to date. There’s so much shit I haven’t taken care of because the stress and the worry have been enough for me to ignore things. When I was in urgent care the other day I opened my Kaiser app and got the following message:

They’ve been trying to get me to do some of that since February. Also, brief tangent, I have no idea what they want an alcohol screening for, and I need diabetes education like I need a third arm, but the rest of that got taken care of this morning while I was having my dressing changed. Anyway, the point is, there’s a lot I haven’t been taking care of this year, including myself. I haven’t let myself go to shit, but I also haven’t made taking care of myself as high a priority as I should’ve and there have been some consequences. All things considered though, I’m still doing pretty great. I’ll write about this more another time, this is already too fucking long.

I still don’t know what the fuck I’m thinking. I mean, I know I want this degree (EdD in Educational Leadership, focusing on the community college), but good lord. How the fuck am I meant to be grading research papers when I have to write one of my own? Also, right now, if you asked me to explain what my reasons are for pursuing this degree I’d tell you to mind your own fucking business BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO TELL YOU. What am I gonna do with this degree? I’ll get back to you. For now, the fact that I want it is enough. This shouldn’t be even remotely surprising coming from someone who got a masters in poetry. Shut up.

Thank god I’m on medication. It’s been a year now and getting the right combination of meds and the right dosages was like fine tuning an old radio, but now that I’m dialed in, IT’S SO GREAT. If all this was happening a year ago I honestly think I’d be out of my mind (there’s no way I’d have applied for this doctoral program).

Annette and I took the dogs in to the vet for their annual checkup last Saturday. We knew we were going to be scheduling surgery for Sydney (she’s got a couple growths that need to be removed…the doc isn’t too worried about them, but they need to go). We didn’t know we were going to be scheduling surgery for Cooper even sooner. Turns out the poor little guy has a tumor in his belly, probably near the spleen. The doc is very concerned about this, and after a lot of conversation we all agreed that if the doc gets in there and it’s a mess, the kindest thing to do is not let Cooper wake up.

And the thought of that fucking kills me. I really don’t want to lose my boy on top of everything else. That’s happening this Friday. Here’s a pic of them from last night right before bed:

And because I don’t wanna close this post on a downer:

First off, NEVER fly Viva Aerobus. They’re the Spirit Airlines of Mexico. Getting to Cancun was the single worst day of travel ever. All the classic nightmares you’d have with international travel (missed flight, lost luggage, ride from the airport to the resort not coming through…) slapped between two stale pieces of bread to make the perfect shit sandwich. 23 (!) fucking hours to get from home to the resort.

BUT once we got there, holy shit. It turns out drinking margaritas in a pool doesn’t suck. The resort was amazing and I’d love to tell you all about it, but I never even got to the beach. I did NOTHING. For four days. I slept, I ate, and I drank margaritas in the pool. I’ve never gone on vacation and done NOTHING before. It was glorious. It was everything I never imagined it wouldn’t be. Next time we’re going for a full week. Next time. In three years. When I’m done with this degree. Hopefully.