This happened, and then that, and now here we are
|July 24, 2019||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Please note: There is some bad words in this post. It’s because bad things happened. Perhaps you are a person of grace and dignity when everything goes to hell. I, apparently, am not. Feel free to skip this one if that sort of thing bothers you, and if you just must unsubscribe to posts because of my lack of propriety, shut your eyes real tight, scroll to the bottom of the email, and hit the unsubscribe link.
After 2 1/2 weeks of severe abdominal pain I finally went to urgent care. I figured it wasn’t anything too serious since I had waited long enough that I would be dead if it was.
Their best guess? Ulcers.
I looked at him incrediculously. Ulcers? But this is the least stressful couple of months that I can remember in the last FIVE YEARS. He just looked at me and said “your age and profession = ulcers.”
Apparently being a veterinarian in your thirties, is the hallmark of ulcers. Also suicide.
[deleted: a rant about just how wretched working veterinary medicine in a service industry can be where not only is “the customer always right,” but the justice is served via social media mob]
But in all seriousness, I have ulcers now? Not when going through my senior clinic year with a
dead sister, a dead best friend, oh and a dead cousin too! Did I mention I was pregnant? Going blind? Then a grandma died, there was a lot of work drama (that cost a ton of money and emotional energy to extract myself from that I still can’t talk about here) that literally made me wish I didn’t exist any more. About the time I recovered from that, it was a whirlwind of medical diagnosis and then treatment. It’s been a rough 5 years. ***Never mind. I find this list depressing too. It’s been 5 years of madness. We will leave it at that.
But no ulcers! And yet….here we are with the quietest 4 months I can remember and I have ulcers?
Let me tell you why horses with ulcers look like shit. It’s because they feel like shit.
Anytime I ate something, or even thought about eating it put me in a fetal position on the couch. At the end, faced with 45 minutes before a dentist appointment I could barely fathom the thought of having to walk from my car to the house. Couldn’t I just sit in the car for 45 minutes until it was time to leave? (no, it was 100 degrees outside). The latter was the biggest red flag of them all. Unable to walk down the street. Three months to train for my next 100-mile. Perhaps it is time to stop telling myself “surely it will be better tomorrow” and just go in.
Then I actually used my brain and had a revelation.
Let me tell you a little story of how Dr. Mel probably gave herself ulcers.
Oh yes. This was probably self-inflected, and not because of stress, my job, or my age. .
Remember when I ran Loco 100k 6 weeks ago? I was a couple days into a two week antibiotic prescription when I ran that race. I fully expected to feel nauseous and maybe have some other GI symptoms during the race, but figured it was worth it. YOLO and all that.
Sure enough, I almost puked during the race when I downed an ill-advised chocolate milk, and then woke up puking the next morning after the race. At the time the medic and I chalked it up to my paltry electrolyte consumption during the race, but I remember thinking that my antibioic-compromised GI tract probably was a factor too.
Also. During the race I took 400 mg of ibuprofen every 4 hours. Oops……..BUT I’ve done it before!!!!! It’s always been fine!!!!! (don’t do as I do…)
Except…Gi stress from ultra+GI flora annihilation from antibiotics+ibuprofen = trouble.
Apparently trouble that goes well beyond that day, or even that week.
I finished up the antibiotics in mid June and I noticed that my GI tract was really not bouncing back like usual. I just didn’t feel right. I usually handle antibiotics really well, but it just seemed like things weren’t working as well. The few runs I did SUCKED. I tried random probiotics. They didn’t really make a difference. So, I ignored it. Two weeks later I started to get severe shooting pains after eating. I stuck it out and two weeks after that I had painful cramps and my abdomen felt bruised. THAT’S when I decided to go in.
One should probably not be on pharmaceuticals while running an ultra. Only run an ultra on meds if you really NEED to. It’s fine to wait weeks to go into the doctor.
Ummm….I’ll figure it out….later.
Now for the best part.
After I recovered from ulcers on the very first day that I felt well enough to see my horses and perhaps go for a run, someone rear-ended me in my brand new car.
I’ve owned it 6 months 2 weeks.
It had been a month since I had seen the ponies. My GI tract did not feel like it was trying to eat it’s way out of me, and for the first time in a long time I wasn’t napping on the couch as soon as I got home from work (dealing with chronic pain is a lot of mental work…) I was going to see my horses and maybe even go out for a run! Life was about to settle into something livable again.
Then someone F*CKING REAR-ENDED ME BECAUSE SHE WAS LOOKING IN HER VISOR MIRROR TO GET SOMETHING OUT OF HER EYE.
How hard did she hit me? Her air bags went off and she wedged her car underneath my back bumper so hard I had to drive forward before her car would move. Trashed my bumper, my exhaust, damaged multiple panels on my car, including my rear door. At this point it is unknown whether she damaged the hitch I had installed on the car last week, or if the frame on the car is tweaked.
It isn’t the money. That’s what insurance is for and I have credit cards to float stuff if needed until reimbursements come in. I’m sad about the car too. It’s the only new car I’ll probably own because new cars don’t make sense for the amount of miles I drive. Now it’s wrecked and in my experience, putting humpty-dumpty back together again is never as good as factory. But, even that isn’t why I’m bitter and resentful.
What pissed me off is the time that it is going to take to deal with this. HOURS on the phone with the insurance company. Trying to get a rental car (the rental place in Yuba City is “out of cars.” LOL, I cannot make this stuff up). Having to drive the truck with a mechanical issue to work up the hill and cross my fingers it gets there. Horsey time? Training? Creative space to write? GONE. You can’t buy more time. She can’t reimburse me for the time it’s going to take out of my life to deal with this stupidity.
So, will you understand that why when I got out of the car, and she tried to hug me I told her not to touch me? If I’m being honest, I said in a very calm but serious voice “don’t fucking touch me.”
Harsh? I don’t like people touching me in the best of times. A stranger that just crushed the back of my car? No, you do not get to hug me. I do not want to comfort you, and I do not want comfort from you. I want your license, registration, and insurance. I want to call my husband. I want to cry over the fact that once again my horses and my running take a back burner to adulting.
In case you think I was a completely black-coal-hearted person, I assured her I did believe it was an accident. Of course she didn’t mean to. Of course she feels badly about it. “Bad” is an appropriate way to feel after you plow into the back of someone’s car because you were negligent. I told her that 15 years ago I rear-ended someone in a low speed crash so I had been in her place before, and it sucked. But, I didn’t tell her it was OK, but it wasn’t.
Perhaps you feel like I did when I woke up this morning.
You know, you should have been gracious. the outcome is going to be the same whether you let her hug you or not. Whether you had been friendly and giving or not. You should have made her feel better. You should have shown grace in a tough time. You should have pretended you weren’t so upset. Other people would have been given her sympathy and a shoulder to cry one. You could have given her comfort and you didn’t, therefore you are a bad person.
Those feelings are BULLSHIT.
Growing up female (and still being female, last time I checked) in this society results in some deep-rooted norms that go all the way to your soul. Now add growing up in a conservative christian church full of sermons of the perfect wife of Proverbs, and Paul’s possibly ill-directed teachings. Now, let’s add in a profession in the “service industry” where for the price of a doctorate degree, I can be treated with less respect and courtesy than I was ever shown as a young professional with a Bachelor’s degree.
What this adds up to is a lot of conditioning to put other’s needs first. To be the smoother of feelings. To sacrifice ones self for the betterment and elevation of others. To make everyone in the room come to agreement. To be told-and eventually believe-that a supporting role “behind the scenes” is more worthy than taking any credit due. That boundaries are important only in the abstract. To take up the least amount of space in this world. That you have not fulfilled your purpose until you have given away every last drop of yourself.
I have a right to recognize my own needs and enforce appropriate boundaries to protect myself. I have a right to say “I don’t want you to touch me.” Because that’s what *I* need in that moment, even if it would make it easier for *her* if I let her give that hug. (think of this as an extension of the circle theory of how not to say the wrong thing).
It’s “OK” not to “make it better” for the other person. Why are we so against feeling our feelings? It’s uncomfortable and awful but perhaps if we spent less time trying to not feel, and helping others around us not feel (“It’s OK!” “Shake it off!” “Let’s cheer you up!” “Look at the bright side!”) society would be better off. She was feeling regret and probably shame. I was feeling anger and frustration. All very valid feelings to feel in that moment considering the situation. Squashing down those feelings and pretending everything is ok does our psyches a disservice. Our brains aren’t really that stupid. Think about how drained you are after caring for someone else selflessly. There is always a price. You are not required to pay that price always and in all situations.
Here’s the other thing that’s worth talking about. If I were a man, would she have automatically reached out to hug me? No, I don’t think so. She didn’t hug the man that I hit in front of me, because she slammed into me so hard that my foot jerked off the brake. My husband is male, white, and straight. This is my second accident in 15 years. In that period of time, he’s had several. I’m positive he’s never had to tell someone not to touch him after a car accident. He’s never had to devote even a small part of his brain in a crisis towards making sure someone isn’t invading his personal space. It’s laughable to think of an entire post being written by someone like him on the concept of “don’t touch me” after you wreck my car. It just doesn’t happen (or at least, not as frequently).
I’ve heard privilege described as starting a large marathon. Some people are closer to the start line and actually beginning the race. Everyone is trying to finish the race in the best time possible. The gun goes off and everyone surges forward. The race doesn’t have chip timing, your time starts immediately, whether it takes you 3 seconds or 3 minutes to get across the start line and actually start ticking off the miles. You can help others and others often help you, but it’s damn hard to overcome a 3 minute deficit at the beginning. In really big marathons it can take as long as 10-15 minutes for everyone to cross the start line and begin the race.
Privilege is also about mental space. Mental space is limited and really important. When it’s filled with dealing with extra crisis’ brought on because of my gender, I have less time and energy to devote to solving my actual problems– am I injured, where is the non-emergency number for the police, did you give me my license back, and how many minutes do I have to pick up my kid from day care? Perhaps this is why privilege is so hard to understand. Often it isn’t anything big, it’s little annoying things that add up, reducing the mental space needed to do actual things– instead of justifying, reassuring, and drawing your boundary lines over and over and over.
What I did needs no apology. It may not fit the image we have of a smiling gracious poised women who handles everything with aplomb, but you know what? I don’t care.