Thursday, September 3, 2015

Nice While It Lasted

After a horrible night's sleep I woke up this morning to someone banging on our door at 6:30. Blearily I put on clothes and stumbled downstairs. The man at the door asked if my car was in the road - they're working on the road - and I pointed at my car in my driveway. I pointed out which cars belong to which homes so they wouldn't get towed.

Robbed of the extra hour's sleep I had really been looking forward to I examined the moment and realized that I was actually pretty full of energy. Despite not sleeping how I wanted to I was ready to face the day.

Lois woke up to the banging of the door so while she played in her room I took a shower and prepped for the day. I did my exercises, shaved, and cleaned up. I got Lois ready to go and looked at the clock.

I panicked.

I was late and needed to get Lois to school! We booked it out of the house and drove to her preschool. At some point, probably right before I pulled into the preschool, I realized that I was actually an hour early. Not late. Stupid brain.

 We grabbed some breakfast, ate together in the car, and then I dropped her off.

Somehow I was still full of energy. Just yesterday I was looking forward to this time on my own so that I could take a nice 2 hour long nap without any interruptions or worries.


I cleaned the hallways, upstairs and down. I tidied her room, which has badly needed it for a while. The living room floor got picked up and toys put away. I worked in the kitchen a bit.
I was productive. Where had this energy come from? I had no clue. I took a little time for myself, sang, and even danced a little bit. I finished up the few exercises I couldn't do while in the shower and generally got through my to do list for the day, plus some.

Most days I don't get the list done and yet here I was, done in 2 hours.

I picked up Lois from preschool, brought her back home, had some lunch, and we played outside. I worked in the garden (she "helped) and I marveled at how good I felt.

At about 2, the headache came back.

I hadn't realized it had ever gone away. I just hadn't noticed. It's such a constant in my life that I just expect it to be there. Unless it's spiking I don't even notice it anymore but it's definitely there.

And the energy was gone. Disappeared as though it had never existed. Gone with the breeze. Headache in, energy out.

We're avoiding surgery because there's no guarantee it will fix the problem and the other symptoms have faded to the point of not mattering. No surgery to fix it unless/until things get much worse. The headache will continue.

I have some great pain pills that help a lot but I can't live on them: I'd prefer not to kill my liver until I'm maybe 80 or 90. So while I could continue on without the almost-daily pain because I have a free pass on some really good drugs, I'd rather avoid that. Bad liver, addiction, being spaced out when I need to focus on Lois; these are all things I'd like to avoid.

For a little while I felt what it was like to live without that pain without the fog of opiates.

It was beautiful.

It was horrible.

I hate realizing just how much these headaches of mine are really affecting me every day. These headaches that I don't even notice when they're not at their worst. I don't notice them but they still sap my energy, they still pull me away from doing all the things I love.

But for a little while I felt good. I felt normal. I saw who I probably would be without these headaches and I loved it. I'll miss that me for a while. I look forward to meeting him again.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Blending Art Into Life

Today is the day before Lois' third birthday, which is really all kinds of awesome. As Laura pointed out earlier, this means that 3 years ago we were sitting in the delivery room, waiting for medicines to take effect and to meet this little bundle of awesomeness who has grown up into this bigger bundle of awesomeness.

It's been an interesting 3 years, really. I lost myself a bit in being a father: I gave up much of what I love in the world so that I could focus on the slightly difficult job of making sure this willful baby didn't kill herself or permanently injure herself somehow. I know that sounds simple but it's somehow quite complex and difficult because children are freakin' insane.

Still, in that time I've come back to myself a little bit and found a balance. The surgeries (especially the brain surgeries) really didn't help but I've finally found time again in the day to work on the things that make me who I am.
 Art, for example. One of the few things I actually started getting into after becoming Dad was drawing. The brain surgery, unfortunately, took a lot of that away from me and with a combination of the surgery itself and time away from it, I lost most of the skill I had acquired in the year before.

But I'm back to working on it and I love it more than a little bit.

I've been playing with pastels. Oil pastels. One of the things I love about this particular medium is that I can put colors next to each other, on top of one another, in the general area of each other and then I can use tools to blend them together in a mess of different ways. I can scrape away colors, merge colors, and make interesting patterns of shadow and light depending on how I push against them and the tools that I use.

 That's what my days have been about, really. Not just the art but the blending of "being Dad" into "being Jeremiah." I can only be happy when I'm the person I want to be or am at least striving toward that person without failure after failure.

I'm taking each day an hour at a time. I'm stepping off the internet quite a bit more than I used to because I find that it sucks me in for hours at a time if I'm not careful and while I can merge "surfing the net" with "entertaining, teaching, and playing with my amazing daughter" it doesn't really blend well with any other activities, as I see it.

I've taken back up the mantle of art and I'm making sure to set aside time every day to go outside (unless it's raining) and work in the garden with Lois. Sure, this means that I've lost a few more plants than I would have in the past (she brought me a few green bean plants the other day and said "Here, daddy, I brought you beans!") but we're both learning and every failure becomes another learning opportunity.

I'm using an array of different tools to push the bits of my life and personality back together, to merge it all into a blend that makes a color of life that I enjoy. I work on things that maybe I don't like so much (like cleaning the house, which is a necessary evil); on things that I enjoy but can easily excuse myself out of ("but it's hot outside, I don't want to go work in the garden!"); and on things that I truly enjoy (like finding out what new colors or shapes I can make on my canvas today).

There are other things, too, of course. My life isn't just cleaning, keeping the crazy toddler alive, gardening and drawing. Tomorrow I'm going to try canning. Yesterday I made steak for 4 people because I love to cook. I'm learning, being responsible, and generally loving life.

Every day I'm finding new tools and trying to exert as little pressure as possible to make things come together in a beautiful swirl of color. Too much pressure, I'm learning, just breaks me. Little pressure, lots of tools. Perfect blend.