We haven’t been living the same since.

This past two weeks has been nuts and I kinda want to document it more for my own mental recollection, but y’all can read it too if you’d like.

Mostly, I am amazed at how quickly things progressed. I remember watching the special features on the Titanic DVD, and James Cameron gave the extras a number on his panic scale as a way of letting them know how freaked out they should be acting. You know, 1-10, where 1 is totally chill and 10 is THIS SHIT IS SINKING WHERE IS THAT FLOATING DOOR?! My point is that I feel like I went from 1 to 10 in the span of about…5 or 6 days. Well, that’s not true. I suppose I was at a 2 for a while, but honestly I expected Covid-19 to be more how I remember SARS or Swine Flu – I remember seeing it on the news, and I was concerned, but it never affected me and I was never all that scared. We made jokes, and it passed. But this – I suppose I went from that 2 to about…a 9 in those few days. And then each day that passes I think that I can’t possibly get more paranoid but oh yes, Melissa’s nervous system, I sure as hell can. Especially when I intellectually know that this shit is going to get way worse before it gets better.

To back up, on Monday, March 9 I was having a meeting with the board members of my MOMS Club. We met in a happily crowded cafe, and we went over our agenda and planned out activities for the spring. I remember assuming that we would actually attend and enjoy all of these activities. An Easter egg hunt, a moms night out, an end of the year picnic. And then the week continued on and things in Washington state started ramping up a bit, Seattle had been shut down, their schools were starting to close, and there were rumblings that ours would soon close. Perhaps after our spring break, which was to start effectively on the 19th. Had there been deaths in Oregon yet? I can’t remember.

And then, that Thursday the 12th, a neighboring school district suddenly decided to close starting the next day. I say “suddenly” because it felt sudden to me. I’m pretty sure they were the first school district in the state to close, which was surprising considering there were more cases in other districts. At any rate, we knew ours wasn’t far behind. Turns out ours was only hours behind! Our school district decided to close starting the following Monday (the 16th). I remember this starting a second wave of local food/toilet paper shortages. There was one (just one? more?) even before all the school closure junk started. At this point I had resisted any panic buying, mainly because 1) we already had much of what we needed and 2) there wasn’t any availability of stuff that I was actually interested in buying, like all the cleaning supplies.

A side note: after all this, I find out that my husband, who does all the grocery lists and meal planning, had been stocking up on certain things for weeks. I’m the one who does the grocery shopping and putting stuff away, and so my misguided assumption when he bought more coffee when we had just bought some, and an additional box of wet cat food even though we had plenty, was that he was just forgetful. Nope. He was being awesome instead. PLUS, on a whim in early March I had just bought more toilet paper than I usually did. Why? I supposed only because I didn’t want to have to worry about remembering more too soon. I don’t know. I like these weird coincidences; we’re also not a family who tends to buy “too much” or in bulk or to store and/or hoard. We only buy what we know we’ll use in a reasonable amount of time. It’s how we stay frugal and make sure we’re not wasting stuff. But I digress.

Once we got notice that schools were actually closing, shit got real, at least for me. I started to internally panic…which quickly led to external panic. I announced to my husband that I was going to go to Target. I’d been seeing empty shelves for a few weeks now at the grocery store and I especially wanted to get some extra cold meds because we were (and still are) super sick with a nasty cold bug. I was terrified that we’d be stuck at home with sick kids and wouldn’t have Tylenol.

I got to Target and got what I could, which was a few paper towels and some Tylenol meant for infants (my youngest is 3) because it was ALL THAT WAS LEFT. When I got to the cold meds aisle, I almost burst into tears. My worry was starting to consume me, and the only silver lining was that everyone in the store was being super, duper nice. We were all fucking scared.

The next morning, Friday the 13th (woo), my husband told me as I got up that my oldest had pink eye. FUUUUUUUCK. There went his last day of school. I seriously started whining that all I wanted to do was GET TO MY PILATES CLASS BECAUSE I KNOW ITS THE LAST ONE AND THE WORLD IS ENDING and so my husband graciously stayed home from work for a few hours so I could 1) run to Walgreens because a friend had told me that had cold meds AND THEY DID! Thank god because we’re about to break into the meds I ended up buying that day, and 2) work my ass off so hard in Pilates like my life depended on it.

I got home, and another friend texted me. I don’t want to freak you out, she began, but there’s a run on the store and the food is going fast if you want to get down here.

I can’t! I texted back, panicked yet again. I fucking still had to pick up my youngest from preschool (which turned out to be her last day, because endoftheworld).

That friend was amazing and picked up some stuff for me, that totally got us through the following week (Thankyouthankyou) because we had to wait longer than we’d planned for our normal grocery pickup slot. It also allowed me to continue doing Whole30 because GODDAMN IT I AM FINISHING THIS THING BEFORE THE WORLD FINISHES BEING A CUNT. (too much? I’m stressed.)

And after I got my girl home, that’s when everything changed and we haven’t been living the same since.

Whole30: The Last Day

Ok guys.

A lot has happened since I last posted, mainly that the world is going to shit. Schools are closed, people are working from home, and everyone is watching Frozen 2 on loop. We’re definitely headed into the unknown…amirite?!

And now, today’s the last day, you guys!!! It’s Day 30 of the Whole-fuckin-30. I definitely hit a groove somewhere in there and started to eat and make my food choices without much thought. Now, I get up in the morning and make my eggs like I’ve been doing it always.

But here’s the thing. It’s not really over, because now I have to reintroduce all them non-whole30 foods the proper way because I want to see what makes my body angry or this was all for nothing. Tomorrow, I get legumes. I plan to smother my face in peanut butter as soon as I’m conscious. Then it’s non-gluten grains, followed by my personal fave, DAIRY, and lastly, gluten. We’ll see how the next 10 days plays out.

Top two things I definitely missed: ice cream and crunchy things to add texture to meals, like chips and crackers.

Surprising things: I didn’t get sick of eggs! I still really like them. Also, I think I actually prefer almond butter to peanut. I guess I’ll know for sure tomorrow.

The hardest part: Not partaking in alcohol and sweets in social settings. Emphasis on social. I have willpower for days, and the principle of out of sight, out of mind totally applies to me regarding food, but when I’m around all these other people who are having yummy sangria and frickin gooey rice crispy treats, I tends to get a little more than a little grumpy.

Another thing that made this hard is that I came down with a nasty sinus infection last week (which I’m still fighting, grumble), and being sick makes everything harder. It makes you tired, it makes you grumpy, and it makes you reach for the comfort food. Forever the stubborn rule follower, I stuck to my guns because I wanted to say I did this the right way.

HOWEVER.

I did not deny myself some sweet, sweet NyQuil that is actually 10% alcohol, which I confirmed after ingestion. Having a shot before bed after being sober for 25 days was like my own personal party! #noregrets

So. Congrats to me in about…5 hours when I go to bed…for successfully completing Whole30!

But honestly, the real celebration will be a week from now when I finally get to have my ice cold, sweet, fatty, smooth deliciousness. Hopefully, it’ll actually be there in grocery stores when it’s time for me to have it. Fingers crossed.

Frozen Terror

Aaaand now I have two sick kids in the house. Ugh.

To put a funky spin on things, because normal illness isn’t fun enough, my oldest woke up last night in a sweaty, fever-induced screaming night terror. Well, technically he didn’t wake up, but my husband and I did. Thank goodness my other sick kid slept through it all. Oh, and it made the cat nervous in the service as well. Don’t get me started on how weird our cat is.

Most things about parenthood make you feel powerless, but this one pretty much takes the cake. And dear baby jesus, they are aptly named.

Took me a long time to calm down and get back to sleep after that.

The funniest part? My son was screaming lines from Frozen, which would have sounded way creepier had I not immediately known the reference.

Creepy because the line was, “HE HAS NO BONES!!”

I guess Frozen-inspired nightmares run in the family?

Maybe we need to lay off the Disney raves for a while.


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Tough Right Now

Life is really tough right now.

I knew it would be, but this doesn’t make it any easier.

People ask how I am doing, and what am I supposed to say?  I tell them the truth – that it’s hard and that I am doing the best that I can – but if I truly stop and express to them just how hard and just how much I struggle, then I fear I’ll just fall apart.

I need more human contact.  My son needs more human contact.  It’s good for us.  But getting there, getting OUT, is SO. FREAKING. HARD.

Today we got up and tried to get to playgroup.  I got up around 7:45.  The playgroup started at 10:30.  By 11:45 I was still feeding my youngest a bottle.  I texted to cancel.  We ended up taking a walk, by ourselves, in the freezing cold because it was the easiest and quickest way to get outside.  Yes, it was better than nothing, but man, it sucked.

And that’s the thing – I don’t expect perfection, but I feel like I am trying my hardest and that I’m still failing.  At some point in the day, I’m always failing SOMEbody.  Sometimes it’s me (because I can’t make social contact with friends), or the baby (because she’s screaming hungry and has to wait), or my toddler (because he’s screaming that he wants to go outside but has to wait), or my husband (because he listens to me complain and cry and fall apart).

I usually start the day off trying my best to cope, like today.  But the time ticks by and more and more gets in the way of reaching our meager goals (getting to playgroup), when it finally comes crashing down because my toddler kicks me in the jaw and I burst into tears, or my baby won’t nurse even though I know she’s hungry and I burst into tears.  These days, it’s rare to get through the day without feeling like the walls are crashing down on me.

I have glimpses of hope and reminders that life gets better.  I try and hold onto those.  But living in the moment requires breaking down, because the here and now is often unbearable.  That’s why I am always on my damn phone – if I can just check out for a minute, maybe I can regroup and reenter my life.  Or just pass the time; maybe when I lift my head, things will be different.  Better.

So I’m coping.  At least I am getting more sleep these days, but I am still choosing sleep over most other things.  I choose sleep over chores, over human interaction, over getting out of the house.  Because if I am not moderately rested, nothing else matters.  That may sound dramatic, but it’s true.  Here’s the catch, though: if I’m not a zombie physically (sleep deprived), then I’m a zombie emotionally (isolated).  It’s like I can’t win.

Not to mention that this winter, everyone and their mom is sick.  Everyone in my family was sick a month ago, including my newborn, and that was pure hell.  Less sleep and meeting with other people all mean a higher chance of getting sick again…so perhaps hunkering down is what we just need to do right now, even though I don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter at the moment.  I suppose all these circumstances just mean I super prioritize what get togethers we try and attend.

Lest I begin rambling, I will simply repeat my point in closing.

Life is really tough right now.

Down with the Sickness

The hubs and I are sick.

And, man, it sucks.

Being sick on a regular day sucks, but it sucks harder when you’re a parent.  And even harder when both parents are sick at the same time.  It’s the suckiest.

Both of us have been coughing and sneezing and hacking and gagging that my toddler thinks this is a new game.  Even though he’s still healthy (I have no idea how he hasn’t gotten our viral plague as of yet), he’s started fake coughing because he thinks it’s now the cool thing to do.  If this goes on much longer, we’ll have given our son some sort of complex.

We’ve been cooped up for several days now, and I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out.  Our produce is almost gone, we’ve dipped into my NyQuil reserves (this is not a joke), and we might be sick of each other.

As a SAHM and an introvert who is prone to self-isolation, the social commitments I make for my son and I each week are crucial to my sanity, and when one of us is sick, we can’t go talk to the other humans.  And that makes mommy something-something.  So the only silver lining is that, this week, my husband is home sick too.  WOO!  PLAGUE PARTY!!  We can sneeze the Overture of 1812 better than Ferris Bueller’s keyboard.  Seriously, it has been nice to have him home with us, because at least I don’t have to sick-parent a well-kid all by me onesie.

However, this situation has also given way to arguments over who is sicker, and thus who gets a free pass from parenting the not-sick, full-energy child.  My partner may or may not have said that he’s so sick that he’s not at work and deserves a break.  And I may or may not have said that I AM STILL AT WORK EVEN THOUGH I AM SICK AND I DESERVE TO POOP ALONE.  And then we agreed to disagree after the argument devolved into a mutual coughing fit.

In related illness news: I discovered that I can now hit Adele’s sexy, sexy low notes. I’d better get this down in the studio before my immune system decides to wake the fuck up.  Also, after visually confirming that my voice wasn’t coming from a would-be creepy male kidnapper, the hubs told me that I should start a late night sexy-talk line (that’s what they’re called, right?) and use the alias Bernice in order to earn a little extra cash.  You know, for our kid’s college fund.  Or so I can buy some more NyQuil.

Birthday and First Trimester Recap

Today is my birthday, and it’s right around what will be my baby’s half birthday (WHAT?!).

I am 14 weeks today!

What a difference a year makes.  Last year, if you recall, I had some fun drinking adult beverages and then attempting to throw a very heavy ball down a hallway, all whilst dressed up in the clothes of the time of my origin.

A lot has changed since then, and I imagine a whole lot will also change in the coming year.  I’ll look back on this time and wonder where all my freedom went, where all my time went, where all my sleep went.  But I imagine I’ll also wonder how I ever got by without a drooling, pooping, screaming angel strapped to me.  Weird.

I’d like to take this opportunity and do a little recap of my first trimester, since it came and went in a whirlwind of leaving jobs, packing, the holidays, the flu, and moving.

I think it’s interesting that nausea and vomiting are the only acceptable pregnancy symptoms that people seem to be allowed to ask about.  Or interested in.  And that those symptoms really weren’t a major issue for me, so conversations beginning with those kinds of questions are pretty much nonstarters.

I remember sneaking a copy of What To Expect at the shelter where I used to work before we started to try to get pregnant, and it was horrifying.  While I knew on some level that pregnancy affected the whole body, I had no idea about the sheer range of potential side effects.  Face skin turning colors?!  Anal bleeding?!  Eyes frickin changing shape?!

How come nobody asks me about my eyes and how they are doing, hmm?

I feel like my pregnancy symptoms started happening before the pregnancy.  As soon as I went off birth control (that I had been on for the entirety of my adult life), I felt like a 13 year old kid all over again.  My skin became greasy and broke out everywhere.  Like, all the places.  I usually shower every other day, but I quickly started having to shower every day to keep from feeling so hormonally gross.

Which reminds me – I watched the movie of What To Expect because it was on netflix instant view and I was bored and full of pregnancy hormones, and thank goodness for Elizabeth Banks’ character’s storyline.  She struggled to get pregnant, felt horrible during pregnancy, and actually uttered the wonderfully descriptive term ‘bac-ne.’ (How does one spell that?  It’s like ‘acne’ and ‘back’ had a baby, only this baby aint cute.)  It felt validating to see a pregnancy experience that wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and that I could partially relate to.

Once my pregnancy train left the station, I started feeling heartburn for the first time.  It prevented me from eating a donut at work for about an hour, but I eventually prevailed.  Soon after, I became so exhausted that I couldn’t make it through some days without taking a nap.  I remember the first day the movers were packing up our stuff, all I did was stand there and watch, and at 3pm when they left, I felt like I had done all the work.  An hour nap, and I still had no problem getting to sleep at night.

At that point, the flu struck and I couldn’t tell what was flu and what was pregnantness – I just felt like a zombie in pajamas.  I only wanted comfort foods like ramen and PB&J.  I slept all the time.  Interestingly enough, still no vomit.

Once I was feeling fairly normal again, the completely random food aversions hit.  Our first night in Portland, we were exhausted from driving all day (and being pregnant) and so we ordered pizza.  I demanded no meat because that sounded pukey.  Nevertheless, the veggie pizza arrived and, while it looked amazing, it smelled and tasted like barf.  I forced a slice down and then passed out.  A few days later, Brian cooked us up some veggie burgers and I thought I’d have to run outside to escape the stench.  For the first time, their look matched their smell.  Ralph.

What confused me through all these food aversions (that only happened at dinnertime) was that I couldn’t tell – was I hungry or was I pukey?  The answer was yes, all of the above.  I hated that this babe was ruining mealtime for me, and I am thankful that the phase didn’t last very long.

Heartburn continued, although it hasn’t been predictable or consistent like the bloating and constipation.  Funny that people love to talk about food coming back up and out, but in the absence of an exit, it’s suddenly gross.  I am no stranger to GI issues, as some of you know, but this was/is by far the worst batch of symptoms for me.

It was also weirding me out.  Am I full even though I only took two bites of my cheesey blasters?  Nope, it’s just gas.  Am I starting to show?  Uh-uh, it’s just gas.  Did I just feel the baby?!  Nope – gas.

I think the only other major symptom left is the constant peeing.  Twice, sometimes three times a night.  Like clockwork, too.  And forget trying to laugh or sneeze and stay dry.  My belly had better grow bigger faster, because now that I actually want to eat a horse, there’s no room for it with all that pee, poop, gas, and the reason we’re having this party in the first place.

I forgot to mention the one good side effect of all this – since getting knocked up, my migraines have all but disappeared.  Thank you, first trimester gods, there is a silver lining.

As I already alluded to, the second trimester is treating me well so far.  I’m told I need to enjoy it before the third, and I definitely plan to – starting by stuffing my face with a huge birthday dinner in a few hours and demanding that the bartender mix me up a mocktail so good that I am convinced it’s the real deal.

Drifting in Portlandia

So we’ve been here about a week now.

Here means just outside of Portland, Oregon.

It’s been a little rough, as I expected it would be.  I also suppose it hasn’t been as bad as my worst fears, so that’s something.

Brian and I both came down with the flu over Christmas (given to us by the movers who packed up our stuff), and that made for a pretty rotten holiday.  We made the most of it, but we were not able to do everything we had planned, and we were forced to skip seeing loved ones for fear of getting them sick, which really sucked.

We returned to our mostly bare apartment for one night in sleeping bags so that we could rise early, grab the cat, and make the 10 hour drive to Portland all in one day.

I have a love-hate relationship with this cat, and that morning it was definitely hate.  And pity, I suppose.  She refused to eat any of the sedative-infused food we offered her.  We had given her some a few weeks prior as a trial run, just to make sure she wasn’t allergic and to see how she would do.  I can only imagine that she remembered that experience and was like, “No effing way I am doing that again, you guys.”  We tried putting it in dry food.  We tried hiding it in chicken.  And then we tried just forcing it into her mouth and down her throat.  To no avail.  At this point we were behind schedule, so she got shoved into the cat carrier, hungry and unmedicated, and off we went.

Despite the struggles of the morning, Sadie (the cat) did pretty well.  She howled solidly for the first 45 minutes and then would pass out for 20 minutes at a time, only to wake up and howl some more.  I had to just emotionally detach myself from her in order to cope.  I kept telling her, “I love you, and you are safe,” which I think was more for my benefit than for hers.

The drive up was pretty damn gorgeous, and wonderfully uneventful (the cat howling aside).  We passed Shasta and saw a bit of snow in the shade in the mountains.  We stopped for lunch in Ashland, which was good to check out again.

We arrived at our new place after dark and I was just exhausted.  The cat was freaking out and had no bed to hide under.  We unloaded most of our two cars, ordered pizza, and then passed out on an air mattress.

This is the first time I’ve ever moved somewhere and not had something waiting for me on the other side.  We moved because my husband found an amazing job, which is awesome, and we are both thankful for that.  As for me, I am now left with the daunting task of trying to figure out how to get relicensed in this new state and how to find a job.  I know zero clinicians in Oregon, and so I am left to email perfect strangers to answer my questions.  We left the warmth and sunshine of California, and I can definitely feel that tugging at my wellbeing.  I wonder to myself if Oregon will ever really feel like home.

To sum up, I feel scared and sad, and somewhat stuck.  I am fighting it, but the energy only comes in spurts.  I am very, very thankful to have one good friend in the area I know from California, and of course my husband is there for me, as I am for him.

I don’t like moving and I don’t like change and I hate the unknown.  In my moodier states, I feel like I am on a raft, just drifting aimlessly in an endless foggy sea.  That just makes me want to curl up in a ball and wait until the raft bumps into something.

I guess I’d better fashion myself a friggin paddle.

Fill Your Bucket

The other day, one of my clients started to ask me a personal question in the domestic violence support group I run.  I could feel it coming.

“Hey Melissa, I don’t mean to pry into your business, but I was just curious…”

My blood pressure started to rise.  I could feel my armpits start producing more sweat than usual, which meant that I’d soon soak through my shirt and be stuck to my cheap office chair until lunch.  My face started to get hot, and I knew, I just knew, that my face was starting to turn red.  I hate that.

So which question was it going to be?  Was I married?  Did I have kids?  How long had I been doing this work?  Do I know what it’s like to be a victim of violence?  Did I have to use a prescription strength deodorant?

“…how is it that you hear stories like ours day after day and you don’t fall apart when you go home?  How do you do this work?”

Ah, this was an easier question to answer than most.  A lot of people- clients and non-clients -ask me why I do this work, and the answer is simple: because I love it, I am actually good at it, and I feel like I am making a difference just by connecting with people.  How freaking cool is that?!

But my client’s question was a twinge different than that.  She was asking me, in so many words, how do I take care of myself?  How do I keep myself from going crazy, from getting depressed, from losing hope?

My honest answer to her was that some days, some weeks, I fail.  Sometimes I fail to take care of myself and sometimes I do hit a wall and just start sobbing because Will Smith’s character in Pursuit of Happyness has to get into a line for a homeless shelter and he reminds me of one of my clients and the world fucking sucks.

I know this is a cliche thing to say, but hey, cliche things are such for a reason: my clients teach me so much.  They teach me how to be a better therapist and how to be a better person.  For instance, a former client of mine once told me how she reminds herself to put herself first and to take care of herself before trying to help others.  She said, with her wicked awesome Boston accent, “See here.  We all carry around a bucket with us, right.  And you can’t fill your kids’ buckets if your bucket is empty.  You gotta fill your bucket up first before you can fill anyone else’s, and that’s how it is.”

That is how it is.  I can’t possibly expect to help all the clients I see each week and hear all of their horror stories and sit with them while they cry unless I fill up my bucket.

I fill my bucket with yoga.  I found a cheap yoga class that I go to every Tuesday night.

I fill my bucket with cardio, usually on Thursdays, even though I loathe it with the fire of a thousand suns.

I fill my bucket by making sure I shower regularly.  For me being borderline OCD, showering is a real time-consuming production, and it’s like exercise to me in that it feels like a chore, but it makes me feel so much better when I am done.

I fill my bucket with some Kardashians, washed down by a bucketfull of mocha chip.  Their lives are so fucked up that one can’t help but feel better while yelling at giant ass cheeks on the TV screen.

I fill my bucket by getting enough sleep and eating regularly and as healthily as I can.  I can’t stress just how important these things are.  If I haven’t slept or eaten, I become a monster even when I’m not working.

I fill my bucket by owning a vibrator.  I never thought I would ever write that sentence, but there it is.

Lastly, I fill my bucket by hanging out with healthy people.  I spend so much of my time with my clients, who come to me at their lowest, when their own buckets are empty.  If you’ve ever spent time with a person who is profoundly depressed, then you know just how emotionally and physically draining that is, especially when you’re tuned into that person’s needs.  Feelings are contagious- both the good and the bad.  If they weren’t, it would mean that we didn’t care, and that we weren’t connected.  Sometimes I just need to be reminded that not everyone is suffering, and there aren’t child molesters around every corner.

I’ve learned by trial and error what I need to fill my bucket, and how to listen to my mind and my body to notice when my bucket is getting a bit too empty and I am heading for Hot Mess, CA population: one.

When I find myself sobbing on a Friday night because Bella broke Jacob’s heart and he prefers to ruin yet another pair a pants by transforming into a wolf before getting naked first, then I start to take stock of my week.  Did I have any really tough sessions with clients this week, particularly with kids?  Did I miss yoga this week?  Did I eat the entire shelf of Hostess cupcakes just to spite my fellow shopper who was too damn slow?

Usually, if my waterworks are triggered by the smallest thing at the end of the week, chances are I had really tough therapy sessions, I’ve chosen a trauma-related book to read for fun, I’m watching a documentary about Holocaust survivors because it’s interesting, and I didn’t properly fill up my bucket.  This has actually happened before.

At any rate, I gave my client a much abbreviated answer to her question, but I did answer her honestly- that I am human and I do my best.  I also wanted to let her know that I practice what I preach, in that I don’t spout all this bucket crap to my clients and then ignore it when it comes to taking care of myself.

So, my dear Psychos, how do you all fill your buckets? 

The Price of Wisdom

I’ve been a little under the weather lately.

And by under the weather, I mean had a wisdom tooth pulled with only local anesthesia.  I’m kindof a badass like that.

It went fairly well, and I am happy with my decision, because if I had really wanted to be put under, I would have had to wait several more days, and I couldn’t endure any more anticipatory anxiety coupled with increasingly crippling wisdom-tooth-induced headaches.  That, and general anesthesia reminds me of my cancer surgery, and that’s a very bad thing.

So now I just settle for post-wisdom-tooth-being-ripped-out-of-my-head headaches.

Seriously, who thought up an 8 hour dosage painkiller?  I was prescribed Motrin that can be taken once every 8 hours (well, to be honest, I was actually given a choice between Vicodin, Tylenol with codeine, or juiced-up Motrin.  I actually had to think about this one, cuz hey – street value, peeps – but I decided I’d like to be able to drive myself to work and not slur my words in front of my clients.  And I actually made this choice post-extraction.  I know- I should be given a medal or something.).  I also have to take these meds after eating something, and I descend from mid-western folk.  Allow me to translate: we eat our three squares with minimal snacking or else we get the hose.  Or get locked out of the house in the snow with no shoes, but that’s tough in some parts of Northern California, so the hose it is.

So let’s think about this for a second.  My workday is 8 hours long, so I guess I’ll take a pill right after breakfast but before I get to work so that it’ll kick in once I get there and have to deal with crises related to violence and suffering.  Good start.  Unfortunately, the label lies (said in Voldemort’s voice) and the magic wears off around hour 7 and 14.3 minutes, so in the middle of my last session of the day, the gaping hole in my gums starts throbbing and spreads through my occipital lobe and ravages the [small] part of my brain that houses sanity.  Sorry, client, but I can no longer hear you over the din of a box of live kittens being seared by turbo jet exhaust.  Fast forward to 5pm-quitting time.  By this time it’s too close to dinner to snack (my mother’s voice reverberates in my already pulsating head…something something spoil your dinner…) and I can’t take my next goddamn pill until I eat something.   So here I am, speeding home, trying to see the road through my blinding pain.

Once I get home and eat and take my pill, I start to feel better.  More like a human.  I think my horns and red eyes actually shrink and fade, respectively.  I go to sleep after rinsing my mouth with salt water for what feels like the zillionth time that day (more on that later), and I hope to she-sus that I don’t wake up when my pill wears off in the middle of the night because it only lasts for 8 fucking hours and I took it right after dinner because I couldn’t wait and because I don’t fucking eat right before fucking bedtime.

Wake up, repeat, and feel my pain.  FEEL IT NOW.

Also take into account that I must rinse my mouth with warm salt water every time I eat.  Makes me feel like a fish, but not the drunk kind.

The icing on the cake is that, while I have a bit of swelling and that is to be expected, I also have some bruising on my cheek where the dentist very roughly wrenched my drooling, completely numb mouth open and braced with crazy force to basically pull bone from bone.  So I’ve been going to work, seeing clients who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and one side of my face is bruised and swollen.  This is going to be great for business.

I feel like I should wear a sign around my neck.  Maybe I’ll attach a doctor’s note for further proof.  FML.