i got a good nights sleep. and i ate the same stuff as yesterday, but it is working better today somehow. i don’t know. i just feel more calm today. serious disaster could still happy. and i will totally freakout if it does. but today, i dunno, i am just more calm about it. i don’t like i suddenly feel, “well, there is nothing i can do so i won’t worry about it”. i am very worried, i am just not as hysterical today. perhaps it is because i am working on my bathroom today.
i am going to drill the hole for my sink in my vanity. i have talked to MANY people. i feel safe in the knowledge, i feel i can do it right, i rented a jigsaw at home depot (only because lowe’s doesn’t rent tools). plumber comes on monday to deal with the drain pipe that is a smidge too low (see picture below). mirror comes back on friday the 13th. it cost WAY more than i had planned (like that toilet i didn’t really want to have to buy; though i like it lot more than my old one) and now the plumbing complications. i did stand up for myself, as i always do, and the floor is now perfect. no more random wrong tiles (see before/after photos below).
so, the day before my last day at work before my two weeks of holiday, i had an appointment with my psychiatrist about my anxiety. ever since RBG died i have been completely freaked out. i cannot listen to NPR, i cannot read articles like i used to, i ask my friends who start to talk about politics and the election to stop or i walk away. this is surprising. patrick and i followed politics quite a bit. we always email each other a number of times on the day of the election. he sent me a screen shot of texas being blue the first election i lived here (they had only counted travis county)! but right now, i cannot handle it. from either side. everything is so extreme. falsehoods on both sides. i love to listen to discussions on economics normally (yes, i am that nerd. though i found the classes really hard. of course, i was 18). but people lie about the data so much. both sides (though more the conservatives right now). today’s GDP numbers must be analyzed in its context, for instance. and i am DEATHLY afraid there is going to be violence on the day of and after the election. no one is going to accept the outcome. crazy conservatives have already done crazy things; like plotting to abduct the governor of michigan. see, nuts! and i heard interviews on NPR today (i have gotten VERY quick with the off button) with liberals buying guns because they fear it too!
anyhow, so they day before my last day at work i had a visit (virtual) with my psychiatrist about my anxiety. she thought it was perfectly reasonable, all things considered. i didn’t want to increase my benzos. while ativan is lovely, it is easily escalated. that had been what i said when i contacted her about the appointment; that i needed something other than more benzos. (more details than you need, FOCUS heather!) so, she wrote for Gabapentin (who knew you could use it for anxiety!) and Seroquel (which scares the crap out of me). the gabapentin i take 3 times a day as needed and the seroquel at bedtime. seroquel scares me because it is an anti-psychotic and i have had pts on it so the voices would stop. ok, they were on 600mg and i was getting 25mg, but it is still a serious medication.
well, the gabapentin has helped. the seroquel, not so much. i sleep hard, but only for about 6-hours. i am an 8-hour girl all the way. so, you know, some help.
but then i went to work on friday and got written up. basically for being sarcastic. and because my coworkers complain about me a lot. they are afraid of me. i got written up a few year’s ago for being “disrespectful” to a coworker because i was trying to convince other coworkers to talk to management about her. it was super bogus because…it just was. anyhow, my boss now made the comment she didn’t understand how long they would hold that against me. she said she thought it should just be a verbal warning but whatever (i appreciated that on her part). but we talked about a lot of stuff. i had told the naked picture story earlier (ask me next time we chat, i am not blogging the details). and i know that i can be sarcastic and critical. sarcasm was the language we spoke at home. but i wish people would say something. i don’t see it. really, i don’t. because it feels normal to me. this was a problem patrick and i had. it was hurtful, but he didn’t tell me. i HONESTLY didn’t know. i still don’t know. and no one will say anything. how will i learn if no one says anything?
and now i am petrified i am going to get fired. it seems like they have fired other people for lesser things. and i am single. and i just remodeled my bathroom (the money was spent before my holiday started). and, not surprisingly, i don’t have savings to fall back on. and unemployment won’t even pay my mortgage.
so, good timing on the anti-anxiety meds. and they have helped. but not today. i have been thinking about blogging about my anxiety for weeks. today though. today it is BAD. my sleeping has been pretty good. so has my exercising. eating hasn’t been very good, but mostly because i haven’t been eating much, not that i have been eating poorly. in fact, i have been good about groceries. today, perhaps i should have eaten more food considering the coffee and other prescribed medications. but still. wow.
i mean, i know, i can only go forward each day. but, really, so much right now. it is like, every time i think i have encountered the most stressful thing (like getting laid off from HP during the, then, greatest recession of my lifetime) the universe sends me something even more incredible. and here i thought completely retraining during an economic disaster was going to be the worst. oh my god.
so, here are some pictures of stuff going on in my life recently.
i haven’t listened to a full NPR show or looked at my feed on FB since RBG died. I just cannot listen to the rhetoric on either side. I skim through the Washington Post and NYT too. I saw that the debates were horrible. I do not know why anyone would be surprised. it is just a horrible place right now. and, while i am not afraid that the secret service would allow trump to stay in the white house if he lost, i am afraid of stupid asshole conspiracy theorists take up arms. trump basically ask the to last night (couldn’t avoid that sound bite).
so, i have all sorts of pictures of random life things i normally post on FB sitting around on my computer. so i plan to post them here.
susan and i are going ghost hunting in galveston today. i am nervous about going out in public so much. but i agree we need to get out of town for a little bit. for the record, susan believes in ghosts and i like hanging out with susan. i will report back!
susan, christie and i have been to a lot of cemeteries lately. i plan to do an entire post dedicated to that. i need to edit the photos first.
my new bathroom vanity should be here soon. I have been watching videos on how to redo a tile floor. everyone says i can do it, but i am starting to get really nervous. if it were just a rectangle, i would feel ok. but i have a closet in there so would have to measure the unique corders and cut the tile to fit. i draw HORRIBLY because of my eyesight. i just don’t want it to look horrible or end up and unfinished project. i am going to get some quotes regarding having someone tile it for me. if someone else did the measuring and cutting, i could totally do the labor. i am comfortable with making sure it is flat.
*edit: please add *make my own coffee to the “things i have started to do regularly since the stay at home orders”. i cannot believe i forgot that one! **edit: please add *replace all the hollow core doors with solid doors and *get a new screen door so the cats can look out but the cool air doesn’t fly away to the “things i want to do to my home”. that last one would probably be the cheapest of all of them.
things i have started to do regularly since the stay at home orders: *floss – i would say at least 5 day a week if not 6 to 7. seriously, i am into it *exercise – 5 days a week consistently. ok it is just my 7 min workout but it has helped *bake – i need more people/places to take my baked goods *read – ok, that isn’t new *play this stupid video game on my iPad – no i am not telling you what it is called. i deleted it. *send postcards – ok, not as much as i want, but WAY more than i ever have
things i want to do to my home: *have it professionally painted – get that purple spot off the ceiling where i didn’t notice i had my paint brush *have a fixture wired to the middle of the living room – it needs a light above the couch *redo my hardwood floors – i know i only just had the living room done. but it is too dark *remodel the bathrooms! – master first, hate the floor tile, counter is original from 1969 (a wonderful year, granted, but it needs redoing) *get a shade for the window in the kitchen – ok, this is easy *solar panels for my condo – i doubt the HOA would let me * more cat runways at the ceiling – like the famous cat house!
not sure what i would want to do first. probably the bathroom. but the fixture might be easier, cheaper and faster. paint would just be so expensive. but make a big difference (though i would probably have to have it all painted beige if i wanted to sell).
trips i would like to make: *the amazing 80 new wave/goth concert that got canceled *einstuerzende neubauten – concert in philadelphia that got canceled *muetter museum in philadelphia *cemetery tour – one of the planned routes i found *an atlas obscura tour – they look cool and sound fascinating! *ghost hunting trip to NOLA and Galveston – i’d want to go first class in NOLA * europe to see my friends *cat island off of japan *vegas with my peeps – more ghost hunting!
things i want to master as a baker: *cakes – weird, i know, but they always taste dry *scones – amazing while they are still warm, too dense after they cool *profiteroles – cause there ain’t nothing like profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and sauce au chocolat *something fancy looking – but that still tastes amazing
i would like to point out that my editor didn’t have an obvious want to underline the headings of my lists, so i switched to HTLM mode and added them myself. so glad i learned that back when it was still mosaic as a browser.
what other lists would you like to see? no, i won’t give you a list of the best sexual experiences i have had. and how could i possibly rank my fluevogs?! or movies?! i always think it is bizarre to pick one favorite movie.
there used to be a club on saturday nights called Haven. it was held at Elysium, the goth club in town. all the best goth and industrial. had my 40th birthday dance night there. anyhow, it is closed for the pandemic (hopefully it will reopen). but, the DJs have been hosting an online club night on twitch. i attended tonight for the first time. AND THE MUSIC WAS INCREDIBLE! decided to do my workout, take a shower and go to sleep…but when i got out of the shower the music was STILL INCREDIBLE! so, i started dancing naked in my living room. i totally could have been one of those shadow box girls.
i have been doing home visits. not all Covid. in fact, few of them are Covid. and i really enjoy it. friday night i even offered to my pronouncements for on-call if they needed help (hospice nurses pronounce death but MDs sign death certificates). but the heat. in my car. trying to chart. it is MISERABLE. like SUPER miserable. and i worry about my car idling for the AC. and it is bad for the environment. the team leader i am working under asked if i wanted to come to home team. i told her i had thought about it and i would consider it from Oct – Apr.
seriously, i want to move. i LOVE Austin. my friends. my goth club. my work. the breakfast tacos. my condo (barbie goth palace as Lucy and i called it). but it is always SO hot. there are no seasons. winter is like Jan 2-4. i visit my winter coats in my coat closet. virtually never wear them. i am so tired of feeling sweaty all the time. and since i gained 25 pounds after Lucy died, then lost it again, my boobs aren’t as, er, perky as they used to be. so, for the first time, i deal with boob sweat, and it sucks. and it is just going to get hotter. and austin isn’t doing anything (like Phoenix is) to mitigate the increasing temperatures. ugh.
the other annoying thing in my life are my cats. snape is an asshole. scratches everything. decides when i need to get up and then starts scratching stuff and generally being an asshole. gandalf won’t leave me the HELL ALONE! i swear, remember the first 11 months she lived with me and i couldn’t even touch her? how she wouldn’t sit in a room with me? now she won’t LEAVE ME ALONE! like every minute she must be near me, being petted. drives me nuts.
ok, last annoying thing. (motherly types skip this paragraph). i miss sex SO much. like i feel a little bad for the next boy i have sex with. the switch will flip and i will not stop until we are both lightheaded and sore. seriously.
when i leave my house for things other than work (aka going to the grocery store or once in a great while joann’s for fabric) i dress up. of course, i have always dressed up. but it was always simply habit. i automatically did it. now, i am quite deliberate about it. below is a photo of me in my new hat. and in my outfit for our excursion to the cemetery (susan, christie and i have been twice, susan and i 3 times). and one of my favorite covid mask memes. goodnight.
i am seeing covid pts now. i volunteered for the covid team on the home team side. i wear my PPE (and i am going to lose, like, 50 pounds from sweating). i take it off correctly. i isolate things in my car as much as possible. i take a shower the minute i walk through the door. i have a biohazard bag for my scrubs so they aren’t in my normal laundry. i use hand-sanitizer when i get in my car (even though i was wearing PPE) and when i walk though my front door. is it perfect? probably not. but it is as careful and i can be. i am comfortable with it. though i wear glasses, i am even wearing a face mask. the conversations are even harder. but it feels really good to help these families during these crazy times.
this week, i did have the first day since all this craziness started, that i felt sad and lonely home alone. i was sleep deprived. and, basically all i do is, work, bake and read. which isn’t much of a life. but also what SO many other people are struggling with. at least i get to go to work. it just makes me feel SO single. and trying to meet someone during a pandemic just seems like way too much work. but, you know, i am good at compartmentalizing and there is still a lot to do in american healthcare right now. (phoenix is offering $5200/wk for med-surg nurses to work in a covid ward. crazy, right?!)
strangely, i am not afraid of dying alone. as a nurse, a hospice nurse, i know my colleagues will surround me with support. but to die not having found love again is sort a bummer. but you cannot force it. and there is a pandemic. and i think my cats would be upset. even being home so much more they annoy the shit out of me wanting all my attention the minute i walk through the door. of course, snape did go to space yesterday.
i rearranged my living room. i needed to look at something different. but i don’t like it. but i need something different. that’s all.
we had zoom bookclub and it was awesome. it was a murder mystery that i had read. there is a reference to how important hats are to a perfect societal femme. so we all wore hats. i changed mine frequently. and i ended in a mob cap. which was also relevant to the story. it as a great get together. and considering how much i hate driving, i might ask to attend most book clubs this way in the future.
i have lost weight and gained strength during the pandemic. i even get up a little early and exercise (the vast majority of the time. but not everyday). i feel stronger and things fit better and better. dyed my own hair for the first time since college. my bathroom was totally black. i was able to get all of it up except a bit on some grout next to the sink. ultimately, i did a great job! i highly recommend the #madisonreed color. and their shampoo and conditioner are great too.
have i mentioned how much i love my new shower? i love it SO much. consist water temp is the shit! but now i really want to retile and change the counter. hm. i am working a lot of OT… (i know, i should save if, for some truly bizarre reason, i get laid–off and cannot find another job…but new tile!)
i haven’t won my signature red lipstick since March. i miss my style. i have picked up a couple of fabulous dresses on sale recently. perhaps i will get all fancy and take pictures so at least people know i have them.
and by that i mean, i stayed home and washed and curled my hair. isn’t that what what girls did on saturday night in the 50s?
i don’t miss people. staying home and baking and reading and sewing and varnishing the cats (what patrick and i would suggest to do when we couldn’t think of anything to do). i go to the grocery store once a week. i work. since the stay-at-home started i have started flossing every day, eating better (lots of fruit, still not enough veggies) and getting regular exercise. i think it is the lack of stress in dealing with people’s drama. also, it is that people are stupid and the stupid is showing extra a lot these days. i actually had a patient family member tell me that she thought it was “stupid-ass liberals making it up” (in referring to covid). i wanted to tell her one of our coworkers had it and another coworkers next-door-neighbor died of it, but you can’t do that. masks people. it makes a HUGE difference. i am very surprised by parents with young kids who don’t have them wearing masks. but, well, people are stupid. (and texas has had triple digit increases in positive cases for the last 5 days).
i told both my psychiatrist and my therapist i didn’t miss people. neither seemed too worried. my therapist asked if i thought the depression was getting worse. i said i didn’t think so because with everything go on, i felt pretty good. i don’t feel lonely. i do worry, as my friends start to interact more (even though it isn’t a good idea) that i will slow separate from them as i will have to stay home. i cannot risk exposing my patients if one of my friends get it and give it to me and i don’t want to expose my friends in case a patient or patient family member gives it to me. but i love my friends. i just don’t miss people.
so, i have a new shower. and by new, i mean, that the water now stays one temperature the entire time you take a shower! i had a plumber come out and redo the pipes and fixtures to make the flow steady and not vacillate! it is AMAZING! this is what old age is! consistent water temperature in my shower makes me SO HAPPY! i would post a photo, but it doesn’t really show anything. it has a new faucet but you wouldn’t no that unless you saw the old one. anyhow, of course, now i want to remodel the rest of my bathroom! maybe next year.
seems like life will never be the same again. while this started out looking a lot like the flu, it spreads infinitely easier and has a much higher death rate (over 5% here in the US as a whole). and the thing about clotting in the younger patients. THAT scares the crap out of me. ebola caused you to bleed out. covid-19 causes you to clot and they have NO idea why. having a stroke and NOT dying buy also not going back to baseline (think semi-sided paresis, or in normal words, one-sided weakness) is my biggest health fear. while i am actively dying, i can handle someone wiping my ass. with MANY years ahead alive, but so infirmed, no thank-you.
i really want to go and help. but i am not an ICU nurse. i am a med-surg nurse at best. and while i think i could do a lot of good as a hospice nurse in hospitals where almost no one makes it out, it is not a priority. and i get it. equipment is scarce (thanks trump white house) and risk is high (no one wants a coworker to get sick, let alone die.) those on the front line don’t want others risking their health either.
so, i sit, hoping one the agencies that i sighed up with will want me. i promise to be careful. VERY careful. i don’t want to die. even more i do not want to risk those around me. i got an email from Patrick asking me to be careful, not to rush in, “just thinking of how much you give of yourself if you are in a position to help others”. he said he didn’t want to go to DC to see my name on a memorial of those who died taking care of those with covid-19. it was terribly sweet. it was nice for someone to notice how much i want to help people. i had a friend, who wasn’t really a friend, say to me once that “for most people when they help you they want something, not you, you really just want to help them”. and yet it made me sad. for someone to know me so well but not want to be with me anymore. it leaves this hole because you are not really known by anyone. at least it makes me feel alone. it was SUPER sweet though. feels better to have received it than not be seen at all. it was SO nice of him to think of me that way and be concerned for me. i suppose that really is love.
but i hate sitting. i asked FB what i could do. people were stunned that none of the hotspots wanted me. it makes sense to me though. i even offered myself to the ME office in NYC (i have a friend in the forensic lab who has been 100% morgue for at least 2 months). i can deal with dead bodies, no really. bodies with yuckiness. do it all the time (fungating tumors are not a pretty thing). but i don’t think that made sense to them. i tried to sign up with Meals on Wheels. i drove for them in nursing school. until i was going to school everyday. but they aren’t orienting anyone new because of the stay-at-home orders. it is too much of a risk. which i get. i did do a shift at the central texas food bank this week. we packed 5000 meals that afternoon! and i plan to do it again. but they don’t have a lot of openings either. all sorts of people are volunteering. there was a mom with her two kids there. i thought that was BRILLIANT on her part. a way to get them out of the house, where they are probably losing their minds, AND help.
i have NOT been sewing masks. i sew for pleasure. i don’t want to sew for purpose. i don’t want to have people asking me to make them masks. i had several coworkers text me and ask if i could make them a mask. when i said i wasn’t making them, they were perplexed. they asked why, “i mean, you love to sew”. and i said that is why. just like my baking, i want it to be a pleasure, not a chore where i have to make other people happy. i have posted a picture on my most recent Gertie’s B6556 dress (a 50s Butterick pattern) below. it has space kitties on it. and i am making aprons for christine and i. they have sarcastic patches in the style of Simplicity patterns from the 50s. a pocket has never been so challenging. but i blame to poor instructions. it is an “easy” pattern but i swear they leave words out of the instructions.
my understanding of the meaning of life has been, “we are born, we live and then we die” for a VERY long time. and certainly part of it is being single for so long, but it seems the “we live” part should be helping other people. i get to live this middle-class life. there are so many fortunate things in my life. so, why wouldn’t i spend the rest of my time helping others? i certainly do things for myself (i am looking at you shoe collection), but isn’t what makes meaning is helping others. i am not talking mother teresa level helping. i do not want to forsake the comforts i have earned. but what else am i going to do besides sit around and read WAY more books than i should be. the equivalent of staying home and playing video games. i have the time and energy to help others, so what else would i do but help. Mr. Rogers said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” i want to take away fear. that is why i am a hospice nurse. what could be more meaningfully and rewarding than taking some of the fear and unknown out of death?
though i am aware some people are afraid of me. afraid what i will say next. how i will react. a skill i SO wanted NOT to learn but did. and i realize it is a double edged sword. people want me on their side because i will fight for them. but they don’t like it when i am on the other side. they like my help. they do not like when i am expecting something from them to help someone else. maybe patrick felt i was always going off and helping other people instead of helping us. i certainly felt that way about my dad and his job.
one of the things people know me for is my red lipstick. i always have my tarte fire lipstick on. well, in this day and age of face masks i had to find a way for people at work to know it was me! so i added some lips to my face mask (with mgmt approval!) i amuse people.
i bake a lot. to keep myself busy at home, i have been baking and sewing a lot. and planning projects around the house. it is pretty good at keeping me busy. and i know how lucky i am to be able to go to work. but there are sad days when i cannot even get out of bed to take my meds. and good days, where i am happy with what i have created or accomplished. but those good days aren’t getting as satisfying. and i know it is partly because Lucy and i would have been doing this together, but we are not. and part of it is just being single and alone with two cats who drive me NUTS! but i am alive, healthy and still working. so, that is pretty cool too.
bad things are happening at work. we are closing half the bldg because they are putting apartments up next door and it is going to be loud and dusty. upper mgmt waited too long to deal with it and, for the time being, we have no where to go. so, our hours were cut by 1/3 and we were offered to “pick-up shifts with home team” which is NOT what we all signed up to do. i have a lot of holiday so i can not work and still make my minimum income. gonna have to get better at being good financially.
but another horrible thing happened recently. they fired our best unit clerk. they fired him because of stupid shit. and they still employee the unit clerk who sucks. who doesn’t do anything right. at this point, all she has to do is answer the phone and she doesn’t even do that. we are crushed. they have nailed the final coffin into morale at the office. we take care of the dying! why would you take one of the most joyful people away from us? the only clerk that does their job right?
my therapist is going to go nuts. she wants me to quit SO bad. we talked about other things i could do. i just want to take care of people at EOL (end-of-life). it is so meaningful. i meet amazing people, and families and hear incredible stories. no other nursing has been as satisfying. but HACH is the only inpatient in austin. sadness. had a weird case recently too. a man on bilateral VADs (ventricular assistive device). normally, you only have them on the left, but he had them on both sides. and he decided to turn them off. i didn’t turn them off. the VAD nurse did. but i was there. i pushed meds that made him comfortable as it was done. it was weird. i have never been part of such an active decision death. does that make sense? my boss said, “closest we have to death with dignity in texas”. i agreed. it was still, odd. but his wife was there and that is what he wanted. so we supported it. and the VAD nurse said she wants all her pts to die at HACH, because we take such great care and it is such a beautiful place. but not to the staff.
i am doing more this year. not staying home and reading as much. i am going to Dallas at the end of March for the Oddities Expo there (lovely booth girl for Morbid Curiosity), doing a ghost tour with booze (though not for me), cheese and fruit plates at Victoria’s Black Swan Inn in San Antonio, Cruel World Festival in LA in May, ghost hunting in Galveston at the end of May, Bauhaus in July, more oddities festivals in August, PopCats and maybe even World CatCon in August. susan and i may go to vegas in late September. then, to end the perfect goth season, Einstürzende Neubauten on Halloween in Philadelphia (where i will also, FINALLY, go to the Mutter Museum!) so, yeah, trying to get out more. though, i am doing a lot of it alone.
i am enjoying myself, but tired of being alone doing it. i did look SUPER cute tonight!
so, the float was interesting. we will see how i feel tomorrow. the time went by faster than i expected. i thought i would get fidgety like when i have tried meditation. i didn’t. my body aches, but the said that often happens the first couple of times. my mind wasn’t racing, which i was very worried about. the fact that you float without having to do anything is weird. maybe i got salt water in my ears? i hate the ocean but this water was nice. of course it was clean and body temperature. it was a little cold when i opened the pod and got out. and i generally only wash my hair once every week and a half or so, so i have to deal with my hair now. i am hopeful that a few more tries will result in something truly helpful and not just lovely.