Yeah, that’s a word I made up. I’m stressed out, but I feel festive too and am enjoying the holiday atmosphere that Ben has created in our house. The tree is up—my wonderful 7 1/2-foot artificial pine is finally getting some use after six years in storage—and there are lights draped over everything that’ll stand still, just like when the kids were growing up and I went balls-to-the-wall on everything Christmas. I like watching my son decorate. He enjoys it every bit as much as I did, even though he’ll bitch about tangled light strands and struggle with the staple gun. He’s never punctured himself with it (as far as I know) but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Like me, he is not the most graceful human ever born, although I can state in all honesty that I have never walked into a pole, and he has. On multiple occasions. In front of other people.
As for the stress factor, there’s a lot to be concerned about, only some of which is related to domestic matters. COVID-19 is spreading faster than a rumor, causing more shutdowns (thank God Clint’s salon is still operating!) and hospitals are almost at capacity. I’m probably going to have surgery on my battered left ankle, which is the one I broke last year, but I don’t want to do it until the virus is on its way out. Speaking of the ankle: now I have to wear a big, ugly brace called an AFO (ankle-foot orthotic device). It’s the kind of contraption you see on some old people, you can wear a shoe, but you can’t wear pants over it because the brace is so bulky. I still have to be fitted for the AFO, they are custom-made for the individual patient. But I hate the idea that I’ll need one of these things for the foreseeable future. I’m currently wearing the boot I got when I fractured the ankle because I need the support, but that’s only temporary; the AFO is for the long term, at least until/unless I get fusion surgery. I’m also living on large doses of Aleve and Tylenol which take the edge off the pain. I know better than to try to get narcotics from anyone in this town; besides, they’re not all that when it comes to pain relief. It still hurts, you just don’t care anymore.
Which has kind of brought me to a crossroads. I’ll be 62 next month, but I don’t feel that old, not in my mind anyway. My body, on the other hand, is decades older than my spirit, and now all the bad things I’ve done to it are coming home to roost. The ankle was really the last straw; now I’ll need to get a disabled parking permit for the car because there is no way I’m parking out in the south 40 and hobbling to the store. I need to lose weight, a lot of it, and it just isn’t happening even though I know I’m aging faster than I have to because of it. Right now it could go either way—I could drop some pounds and maybe halt this downhill slide, or I could just go on as I’m doing and let the chips fall where they may…like in my lap. I prefer BBQ chips, by the way.
Oddly enough, the only thing I’m not particularly worried about is my mood. I’m steady as a rock. There’s been no fall depression, not even after the time change, and I think winter will be OK too as long as nothing I AM worried about hits the fan. Most days I don’t feel bipolar at all, it’s like it never even happened. I no longer have to do a daily gut-check to see if I’m slipping down or ramping up. I just feel…normal. Of course, I’m on a shitload of drugs to make me this way, and I’m not going to experiment with them. I like the way I am now. It’s different from when I was “stable” before I got the full effect of the meds. I know what they are doing for me, and I’m not even tempted to cheat. (Not that anyone around here would let me…)
So, that’s how my December is going. I hope I can pull another blog post out of my head before the end of the year—I know I’ve been negligent lately and I’m sorry. There’s just so much going on and my thoughts tend to get tangled, much like Ben’s Christmas lights, and I have trouble choosing which items are worthy of sharing and which aren’t. Hopefully I’ll be able to sort it out soon. Happy Holidays!