The Face of Insomnia

I posted on Google+ the other day (or perhaps it was yesterday) that I’m so stressed this week I’m taking a step back from online life.

This was apparently a lie, because now the stress has snuck into my brain and prevented me from sleeping — the activity I’d slotted into my “online time”.

I am exhausted right now. I would do anything to sleep. It is 4:22 am and I’m supposed to be awake and getting ready for my day in 2 hours.

So, what to do?

  1. Write a blog post complaining about my insomnia, complete with ridiculous picture of myself.
  2. Work on The Jade Star of Athering.
  3. Drink ALL the coffee.

I know that in about two hours my body will go “Oh, hey, time for SLEEP!” and knock me out if I’m not vigilant about it. Any other day — any other summer — I’d let it, but tomorrow/this morning is class. I have to go to class. This is the very last class I need to be in for my degree and I’ll be damned if a little insomnia is going to get in my way now.

I just have to get through the next two days. Wednesday my group presents, and then I can stop stressing.

Wednesday. That’s it.

*prays for a Timelord and a Tardis*

 

Mundane Monday: on being optimistic

On Saturday, I spent perhaps an hour and a half crying — no, sobbing, raging with tears in my eyes, lamenting my situation to the heavens above. They didn’t listen very well, but I don’t expect them to.

Then on Sunday I did things. I was generally productive. My boyfriend came to visit me and we got to watch some TV together, because I was feeling well enough to sit up for a little while. It was a fairly good day.

Today I got around all day without the walker. A big feat, considering I had to go get bloodwork done at a lab and then went to physiotherapy (which was nice, though a bit tough at points). And then I walked back to the apartment after physio. (It’s across the street.)

I was upset on Saturday, and I had every right to be. You see, I’ve never been young. Well. I’ve been young, but I’ve never felt physically young. And I’ve suffered enough emotional traumas to age me prematurely, so I’ve never felt mentally young, either. I’ve never fit in with my peers — never understood them, or been able to relate to them. What has seemed important to them has always baffled me.

My obesity started when I was a young child, and it complicated health problems already extant. My inability to stay healthy continued my downward spiral, and as a consequence I’ve never felt like a young person in this body. I’ve never felt that youthful joy, that energy, that feeling of immortality. I’ve always felt older than I am.

I sort of had this dream of getting healthy, presumably losing some weight, though perhaps not all of it, and then becoming young. I had this dream that I’d get healthy and then finally be able to do all those really spontaneous things that young people do: sky-diving, maybe, or a four-day hike through the wilderness. Maybe I’d take up street hockey, or horseback riding. All those physical things, those things that make it a joy to be in your body, those things I’d never really enjoyed before because it was exercise and exercise has always been tainted in my mind by both emotional trauma and the fact that it’s difficult for me to do.

I’m fat-positive, and I do believe in HAES. But the fact is, my body is not healthy at this size and it never has been. I felt much better when I was 60 pounds lighter. My frame operates better when there is less adipose tissue weighing it down.

Now, my discs are bulging.

And what that means is that my dream of being a young person is gone. I’m not being overly-dramatic here — I have to be careful. I’m forever that unfun friend with the back issues, who has to constantly be on guard lest she injure herself doing something completely normal that everyone else can handle. And the thing is, even though I had my issues, I tried to never let anything get in the way of doing things.

Which is possibly what led me to this predicament.

So no, I’m not going to be fun, spontaneous Katje anymore, and I’m never going to be able to feel that youthful immortality. Which, perhaps, is better for me in the long run — but at the moment I’m having trouble seeing the bright side.

I’m trying to be optimistic, though. I’m looking at what I can do.

I can go jogging (once I’ve lost some more weight, and once the back is healed). I can take up boxing. I can probably do some forms of martial arts. I can write, I can paint, I can sing, I can dance burlesque. I can go swimming. I can canoe and kayak. I’m going to have to be careful doing some of these things, but ok — that’s my new reality, now, and the point is I can do them in the first place. They’re not completely stricken from my list of options.

And I have to force myself to be optimistic. To be happy with what I can do. Because I’m basically a cat declawed, and there’s no going back from that.

An Update on the Back Situ

Well, last night we went to a different emergency room — one here on the mainland — so I could get an x-ray. About 30 seconds before my x-ray was to happen — wheeled into the room, everything — the power went out. We ended up waiting around another few hours while they worked on getting the computers to work again. Thank the gods for mom’s Kindle. All told we were there for 7 hours.

The x-rays showed my bones as being normal, so we got a referral for a CT scan. It was scheduled for this afternoon and I just got back from getting it done.

Can I just say, ow.

The amount of radiation in the CT scan is much larger than the radiation in an x-ray. And I could feel it. I have a slight headache now and aches and pains all over my body. My ears got uncomfortably warm a few minutes into the scan. Oh, and the machine is big and terrifying.

It was like having a 100,000 cellphones on my body, irradiating my organs.

I really hope it shows something. We’ll get results on Friday.

In good news: the doctors here treat me like a human being. And I am slowly getting better, even if the CT scan makes me feel like crap. I was able to bend down for something today. Woot!

 

[hardly] Mundane Monday: Mildly Concussed [TMI health issues; bodily functions]

I have a mild concussion. 

It should be the least of my worries; what with the possibly herniated disc. On Thursday I had really bad back pain and tried to sleep it off; by Friday it was worse. My mom came for a visit on Friday evening. I was incapacitated so we called the nursing hotline. Because I had tingling and numbness and because I’d spent an hour on the floor at some point that day, crying, unable to get up (until I finally did force myself to do it, through the pain, which may have injured my back further but godsdammit I had to pee) the nursing hotline suggested that I get medical attention right away, because otherwise my condition would only get worse.

Now. What exactly my condition is I don’t know, for shortly after the call with the nursing hotline we called the ambulance, because I couldn’t get out to the car to get to the hospital, and the paramedics couldn’t get a gurney through the snow of my backyard or into my hobbit hole of a home, and so they doped me up on laughing gas so I could walk, supported, out into the ambulance. The gas made me sound like Darth Vader at a comedy club. I apparently waltzed past 4 firemen in my underwear and didn’t even notice. Mind you, that sort of meh feeling towards modesty wouldn’t have changed without the laughing gas; if I were sober I merely would have made awesome comments about the situation instead of giggling like a mad fool.

And so I was marched into an ambulance and driven to the emerge. at Nanaimo Gen., where I was wheeled in a very uncomfortable wheelchair into the building and then, shortly, into a treatment room. The doctor did a brief brusque physical exam and decided it was muscle strain before instructing a nurse to shoot me up with some painkillers. 

I tried to tell him, as did my mother, that I have 15 years of chronic back pain and it’s possible it’s more than just a muscle strain; that we’d like more tests run. Nothing doing. He wouldn’t even listen. 

I ended up lying down on the table in the treatment room, dozing, trying to forget the pain (which the painkillers had only dulled) while my mom sat in the chair and dozed herself. At some point I knew I had to get up and get to the bathroom or I’d pee myself. The bathroom was only a few feet away from the treatment room and so mom helped me up and helped me walk to the bathroom door…

…at which point my back seized up and I could go no further, and the pain started gripping me harshly, and mom started calling for help and we were steadily ignored until I started screaming, because the pain was so bad, and then a nurse was grabbing me on the underside of my upper arm, on the bat wing, harshly — so harshly I felt sure he would rip off a chunk of my flesh or at least leave a bruise — telling me to shut up because there were other patients.

I don’t know what happened after that, because the next thing I knew I was on the floor, with a major ache in my skull and people all around me yelling.
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