Life After Divorce











Wow.  I am blown away that another year has come and gone.  2009 kicked my ass, both in a good way, and a less-than-good way.  Not bad, per se, but if you have been reading, you know that it hasn’t been a walk in the park by any means.  I am glad to see 2009 go, and am thrilled that I actually managed, perhaps for the first time ever, to achieve my New Year’s Resolution… divorce.  Sure, it took me 11 months to get it done.  Eleven long, grueling months, but it is done, nonetheless.

One year ago today, I was abducted from my miserable existence.  Last New Year’s Eve, my best friend, Lori, agreed to attend my family’s annual NYE party with me, since, as usual, my husband refused to go.  Not because he wanted to do something else, or even because he didn’t like going out on New Year’s, but because he thought I was going to leave him and didn’t want to get involved in a family function that would hurt him.  It was the same reason he gave for skipping Thanksgiving, and also Christmas.  Not really why he skipped those on other years, but whatever.  So, I dragged my friend out into the cold, dressed in our best approximation of formal wear, and we had ourselves a blast.  I think we rolled into the house about 6 am, and I put her ass to bed on the couch.  When I woke up around noon, Lori and I started discussing what we would do to enjoy the first day of the new year.  You see, New Year’s Day is a football day, which means that the husband would be sitting on the couch for hours watching endless games, highlights, and commentaries; leaving me virtually ignored.  So, I didn’t even think to include him in our plans.  This is, after all, what happened for the previous 10 years.  So, when he called me (from the bedroom, into the living room), he was less than happy that I wouldn’t be sitting there bored to death watching him watch football.  He started throwing around some of my favorite terms of endearment, such as ice queen, I rolled my eyes and hung up on him.  Then, when I went to get dressed to start the day, he started in again telling me how I was the problem.  Long story short (ok, not short… get used to it) Lori overheard everything he said to me, and as we made our escape she said, “Oh NO!  I can’t believe the way he was talking to you!!  I thought he was nice, but he is a douche!  This is an INTERVENTION!!!  YOU ARE NOT GOING BACK!  I AM KIDNAPPING YOU!”  At this point, I was pretty fried, I will admit.  She got on the phone with another friend and they plotted getting me out of the house.  I stayed pretty quiet, as most people hit with an intervention do, until the jerk started calling obsessively.  I finally answered the phone and he informed me that a process-server had just been to our door, and that I was being sued.  I lost it.  I finally came completely unglued.  The reason for the suit was due to a bad debt obtained during the three-year period when he just decided that he didn’t like his job, and wasn’t going to go at all.  He makes the decision, and I get burned with the consequences.  As I was attempting to get back in my car, the door wouldn’t open.  I finally managed to get it open, and the flood gates opened.  I cried all the way back to Lori’s house.  I laid on her couch and cried for hours.  I was exhausted…. mentally and emotionally drained… and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Lori told me that she and her five-year old daughter discussed it, and they invited me to move in to their apartment.  I will admit that I was resistent. I am stubborn… I will admit it freely.  I didn’t WANT to leave my place.  It was MY place, and if anyone should be leaving, it ought to be him!  But… I finally had to admit that the likelihood of that happening was slim-to-none… I had to make the choice.  Go back, be stubborn, and be miserable… OR take the leap and try to do it a different way.  It took me less than three days to decide I was never going back.  My friends, while happy I had done something, never really believed that I would stay gone.  But something my friend Jeff said to me really hit home.  He said, “You know… you can keep complaining about the situation and never doing anything – and eventually… we are going to get tired of hearing about it.”  I decided he was right, and I didn’t want to be “that girl.”  I am a smart, independent woman MORE than capable of supporting herself.  Hell, I supported myself AND him for YEARS.  It HAD to be easier to do it on my own.

Going back to get my stuff, since we left with nothing, was tough.  The first time, I told him that I was just going to spend the night with Lori because she was having a rough time.  Chickenshit, I know.  But, I didn’t want to deal with a scene.  We went over, and she put on her best depressed face, drawn hoodie and all, and I packed as much into two tote bags as I possibly could.  Poor little Em… she knew it was a secret that she couldn’t tell him… he tried to talk to him and she almost flipped out.  She comes running back into my room and says, “He’s trying to talk to me but I have a SECRET!!!”  Needless to say, we got the hell out of dodge as quick as we could manage.  We also bribed Em with ice cream, so you know, she was VERY motivated not to spill the beans.

The next day, Lori called me at work to let me know that Em was thrilled that I was moving in, and she had begun packing her toys up in Ziploc baggies so that I could move into her room.  The sheer thought and loving compassion from a then-four-year old girl brought me to tears.  I began going back home when I knew he would be working to get more stuff out.  It was hard, for sure.

I am so thankful to my many friends and family members who invited me out on a regular basis to take my mind off things, and to let loose and have a little fun for a change.  First was the “worst party on Earth.”  Yeah… it really sucked LOL.  Next was my cousin’s bachelorette party, which was a lot of fun and involved a party bus and copious amounts of alcohol.  I am not much of a drinker, but it was still a total blast.  I don’t remember a lot of the first few weeks… they really passed in a blur.  I slept in Em’s bed, and will admit that I may have cuddled up with a giant stuffed dog named Razaroo, and I might not admit to crawling into a giant purple castle-shaped tent.  Maybe.  But I kept telling myself… “I’m OK!!!”

February brought along my annual out-of-town scrapbooking retreat with some of my girlfriends.  It was a lot of fun, and I got a lot of work done.  It was also the first time that I can say I don’t think we will be invited back, but those people suck anyway lol.  I also convinced the girls that we should swing by The Salt Lick (outside of Austin) on our way home.  Rogna kindly pointed out that a 70 mile trip was NOT on our way home, but I begged to differ – Especially where the best BBQ on Earth is concerned.  They relented, and after we stuffed ourselves silly, eventually agreed.  Mmmmm… all you can eat BBQ.

The next weekend was the wedding reception for my cousin and her awesome new hubby.  They got married in Mexico, but then had a reception back at home so that we could all celebrate with them in style.  Enter the soon to be ex.  Unfortunately, our invitation arrived while we were still together, so he wanted to go.  I told him I didn’t care if he went (it is a free country, after all), to which he said, “but I want to go as your husband!”  [yawn]  He did end up going, but I was much too concerned with catching up with my favorite cousins to spend any time around him, much to his chagrin.  After this (and before, too), I started to receive a barrage of texts, voicemails, and calls from him asking me to come home and reminding me that our lease was set to expire at the end of the month, and he didn’t have any place to go.

About a week later, I started feeling sick.  I had been on meds for anxiety for about a month, but they didn’t seem to be helping.  As you know from my Panic at the Disco! blog, I do not do well with anxiety.  After three days straight of throwing up, my body had enough.  Enter the Three Stooges of ambulatory care.  These bozos tramped through my room in muddy boots, got lost on the way to the hospital, and couldn’t get a vital sign right to say their (or more accurately MY) life.  I was admitted into the hospital for 5 days.  Many gory and horrible things occurred (read the old blog), and I was released on Friday night, still anxious and vomiting.  After a miserable night where I very nearly lost the will to live, literally, I was taken to a different (aka BETTER) hospital, where they performed emergency surgery to remove my lap band.  I felt SO much better immediately after surgery that I probably could have skipped all the way home, IV and flappy gown blowing in the wind.

I recovered at my mom’s house for a few weeks… because, seriously?  Who takes better care of you when you are sick than your mom?  No one… that’s who.  And can you believe it?  That dillhole shows up at my mom’s house while I am doped up on pain meds with that stupid apartment lease for me to sign.  Douche nozzle.  I am referring to myself, of course, because I signed the stupid thing.  Idiot.  Guilt trips will take you far, but you will discover they do not accumulate the frequent flier miles associated with that much travel.  He kindly took off as soon as my now-roommate showed up, probably afraid that she would take his ass down with a Xena Warrior Princess-like jab to the throat, or perhaps a swift kick to the [fake] knees.

March & April had me feeling better than I had in a long time.  We were eating better (South Beach Diet), working hard, and getting things into a groove.  I even bought myself a new bed.  I didn’t really mean to… really… I was just looking.  But when the guy showed me the floor model… a $1400 bed marked down to $500… that felt like heaven… I was sold.  I always wanted a new bed.  I was so sick of hand-me-down beds.  I bought that sucker and had it set up to be delivered to the Chateau (what I have lovingly been calling our apartment).  Talk about Red Carpet service!  If you are thinking of buying a bed from the Mattress Firm… do it.  Pay the $60 for delivery.  They literally showed up with a red carpet.  And booties to cover their shoes so as not to make the same error as the Stooges.  And they set up the frame and mattresses for me.  And the bed was a good 3 feet taller in my room than it was in the store.  I had to take a flying leap to get into the thing!  I call it my Princess and the Pea bed (aka The Princess Bed), and it is heavenly.  To this day, people cannot lay on this bed without wanting to snuggle down and fall right to sleep.  [sigh]  I am writing this from my bed now lol.  But a few weeks later, once my bank statement came in to his apartment, he called and gave me the riot act over buying a new bed and how that told him I wasn’t coming back.  It couldn’t have been the 5,000 times I TOLD HIM I wasn’t coming back… it was the bed.  The next day I had my mail forwarded to a new PO Box.

I also had to lock down my Facebook account, for crying out loud.  At some point, I started getting “Friend Requests” from him.  I kindly ignored them.  After a week or so, he asked me if I was ever going to add him as a friend, to which I said, “hell no.”  After that realization, he decided to have other people spy on my FB status updates to extract information, which he would later call or text me about, generally at 3:00 am.  I locked that sucker down tighter than a drum.  To my knowledge, there haven’t been any other breaches.

While my new found freedom was nice, the paying half the rent at two apartments really sucked.  I was so pissed about that damn lease, but there really wasn’t anything I could do about it.  He wasn’t going to move, and I couldn’t get my name off the lease without him signing off on it and qualifying for the lease on his own (which was never going to happen).  He also started hounding me about doing something with our dog (namely, he didn’t want to take care of him anymore).  Around the middle of June, the anxiety started creeping back in.  I ran directly back to the doctor for help, and he doubled my Lexapro prescription.  I am fully convinced that this threw me over the edge into full-blown panic attacks 5-6 times a day.  Another trip to the ER, countless doctor’s visits, and every test known to man (btw my gall bladder is operating at 94%, thank you very much), and I come out with a diagnosis of “Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome and a prescription for antidepressants.  Basically, the long and short of it is that my nerves in my stomach are highly sensitive and easily irritated.  Add that together with an acid stomach and raging anxiety issues… Boom.  Misery.  Since that day, I have taken my meds (meant to dull the nerves in the tummy) and haven’t had another episode.

During this time, I also took a little trip to a Psychiatrist, because holding two Psychology degrees myself, I find it important to keep a tight watch on my mental well-being, and let’s face it… my marriage did little to help my self-esteem and massively exacerbated a low-lying depression that I had probably been dealing with for years.  After a few talks with whats-her-name (seriously… I don’t have a clue what her name is), I felt better about my situation and my choice to move on with my life.  Oh, and in July I got an early Christmas present.  I found out that our lease expired in AUGUST, not September, like I originally thought.  Weeeee!  Oh Happy Day!  I immediately began packing, got a storage unit, and enlisted my girls to help me pack.  I also begged some loving family members to help me with the actual moving.

And the husband… he was a prince.  Of frogs.  He wanted everything.  He “needed” it.  Blah, blah, blah.  A friend of mine told me that typically in a divorce, one person gets the stuff and the other one is happy.  Guess which one I am??  I gave it all up.  I didn’t care.  I was so tired and ready to move on, and sick of arguing about every little thing that I walked away from some very nice things.  Oh well.  Come to find out the jerkwad sold it all.  Butthead.  I really miss my TV.  But, my little 13″ color TV with the built-in VCR my parents gave me on my 18th birthday has been getting me by.

September rolled around and I was getting really edgy about the divorce.  I really couldn’t afford a lawyer, and I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  All of the things you can Google wanted you to buy this fool-proof kit bullshit.  I don’t really go in for things like that (though I am strangely compelled to buy things as seen on tv), so I was skeptical to say the least.  I asked for advice from a friend who is a lawyer, but it didn’t really lead me where I needed to go.  And then, one day, I had an epiphany. You file for divorce with the District Clerk’s Office.  I used to WORK for the District Clerk’s Office.  I had 500 friends working in the District Clerk’s Office.  I just bet one of them could help me!  So, I called one of my favorite people and she says to me, “Oh, honey!  That’s easy!!!  This is what you do…”

One week later, I had officially filed for divorce.  My husband was kind enough to eventually realize that we didn’t have anything to fight over, so he signed the waiver to contest.  All we had to do was wait 61 days.

And then he remembered the camera.  For Christmas 2008, he went out and bought a bunch of expensive stuff that I told him not to buy as a “present” for me… including a Blu-Ray player (long since hidden by him), a ridiculously large, pink Coach purse, and a really nice HD camcorder.  Since he knew he couldn’t get anything for the purse, I guess he decided that was the “gift”, and promptly started demanding that I return the camera to him.  Suck it, asshole!  You got EVERYTHING!!  This was my inital thought.  After 2 weeks of constant harassment, threats, and basic stalking, I decided that the old stubborn me was never getting anywhere, so I gave the camera up.  Yes, it was a nice camera.  No, I don’t for one second believe he was going to “sell it to pay off the debt” like he claimed.  But, it was one less thing for him to hold over my head.  One less reason for him to ever contact me again (not that it has stopped him).  So, I gave it up.  I wish I would have had it to record my niece’s awesome reaction to the tricycle I bought her for Christmas, but whatever.  The picture of her riding it in a princess costume will live with me forever.

By mid-November, I was so ready for everything to be over.  I was counting down the days on my calendar.  As I got close, I called the clerk’s office again to make sure I could go in on the day I wanted to… good thing I checked.  They did not hold the uncontested docket on that day.  So, I went the next day instead.  I was very nervous… especially since I seemed to be the only schmuck there without an attorney.  But, I just followed behind one of the attorneys and eventually landed myself on the 9 am docket.  After being called in front of the judge, sworn in, and reading my testimony (pre-printed, courtesy of the courts, thank you very much), I was waltzing out the door mentally singing Freebird.  A celebratory jewelry party with friends later, and I was waltzing through the door of the Chateau a single lady.  I thank all of my friends, family, blog readers, and random other people for all of their support and encouragement.

The rest of the year flew by in a blur.  Thanksgiving came, and with it a visit from my brother.  I was thrilled to see him, since he lives in New York and doesn’t get down that often.  I had my first date in over eleven years, and it was… well… a disaster.  I mean the date itself was fine, but the guy ended up being a tool after the fact.  In fact, a week later he called and begged me to “take him back.”  Umm… dude… it was one date.  Weirdo.  I had another first date… and then a second… and a third (that’s three dates with the same guy), and so far so good.  He is a nice guy, and it is fun to hang out with someone and just be yourself.  No pretenses… no self-consciousness.  Good times.

And then it happened.

And I laughed so hard I almost wet myself.

And I believe I wrote a Facebook status that went like this:  “Dear Baby Jesus in the Hay… THANK YOU for the gift of laughter… and for the fact that the last person to view my online dating profile happens to be my ex-husband.”  That’s right, folks.  On a site that doesn’t ask or list you name or even your email address… the last person to view me was him.  And of course, he started to send me the most horrible, vile, and mean texts you have ever read.  And trust me, one day you WILL read them.  As will the courts, if he doesn’t leave me alone.  So, I blocked him.  Good times… Good times.

So, another year has come and gone, and with it I am happier, healthier, and a lot wiser.  I have high expectations for 2010, and I am thrilled that I get to continue my journey with great friends, a terrific family, and myself.  Because that is truly what I have gained this year.  I have the self I always wanted to be.  I will always have goals and will always move forward, but life after divorce is about to get a whole lot more interesting!

Happy New Year to you all!  Please continue reading, and leaving me those comments.

xo,

Liz

(PS – Sorry for the 3,600+ word post.  It was a hell of a year!  If you stuck with it to the end… kudos to you!  And to me!  LOL)

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{December 8, 2009}   Insanity

So, I heard this one time that the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.  That is, apparently, what I am likely to do.  Every. Stinkin’. Time.  I run to what I know… what I always did… regardless of how it makes me feel.

Let me give you a little tip.  It always feels like ass.  Every. Stinkin’. Time.

My pledge to myself is to step out of my comfort uncomfort zone and do it differently.  My goal is to do it the RIGHT way, no matter how long it takes.  Because doing it WRONG over and over is just a waste of time.  I am tired of wasting time.  Doing it the right way MAY feel harder, but it will be the best means to the best end.  Of this, I am convinced.

I would like to thank my roommate for talking me out of the first story window this evening.  She convinced me that all I would do is sprain my ankle, and then I would be unhappy with a limp.  And we all know that’s not worth it.



{September 27, 2009}   Dear Nutcase…

Dear Psychotic-Soon-to-be-ex-husband,

Yeah… that attempt you are making at blocking your number when calling me 30 times a day and at all hours of the night???  Not working.  I’m still not answering the phone.  I don’t answer the phone for ANY blocked number… especially at 2:30 am.  Sorry things aren’t working out like you planned, but if you keep it up, I will call the cops… idiot.  Oh, and those harassing and threatening text messages?  I am sure they will enjoy those as well.  Good job!

Give it up.

Hostilely,  Me

What do you think??  Too direct?

Ohhhh and Happy Birthday to Me!!  Yeah, I know it’s your birthday too, but this is the first one in 11 years that I have not allowed you to ruin for me!



{July 1, 2009}   Woman in the Mirror

2:22 am

So.  I can’t sleep tonight.  I should start by saying that I have been sick.  Oh yes.  Very sick for the past 3 weeks or so.  Like lost 25 lbs in 8 days sick.  And for no apparent reason that anyone can explain.  Except for the Anxiety.  Oh yes… there has been anxiety.  And vomiting.  And missed days at work… And… And… And…

I am sick of it.  No pun intended.

Why can’t I sleep?  Well, today, I went back to work for the first time in a week and a half.  Well, I went back one day last week, but let’s just say that ended in disaster.  I went in to work today at 2:45 pm and stayed until 7:15 pm.  I got a lot accomplished and felt really good for the first time in weeks.  I had another doctor’s appointment this morning where Dr. Hottie, as cute as he is, was unable to tell me anything helpful.  He has recommended more testing.  Another doctor.  And a psychiatrist.  Ugh.  But I am willing to do what it takes to get better.  I hate being sick.

Why else can’t I sleep?  I slept about 16-20 hours yesterday.  I guess I am just not that tired.  Oh yes… and at 1:45 am I got a text from HIM… wondering when I was going to be able to pay MY half of HIS rent.  On a place I haven’t lived in 6 months (tomorrow!).  GRRR.

I have been told that I have a lot going on and that it is totally understandable that I have anxiety.  Ok.  I accept that.  But the last few days, with a slight nod to the untimely passing of the Late, Great Michael Jackson, I have been looking at the Woman in the Mirror.  I know that there are things beyond my control… but what about the things within my grasp?  I have not done a thing about those things.  Nor anything, really, to move in a forward direction.  I think in order to really move on and get well, and, better yet, BE HAPPY… I have to take a hard look at all of the things causing me stress and try to see what I can do about those things.

So, in no particular order, here are some things that have been weighing heavy on my mind.  If you don’t care… then skip it.  This is my blog <smirk>

  1. Codependency – I hate to realize that I totally became a co-dependent enabler during the course of my 11 year relationship.  Please note that I am not yet 33, so this relationship effectively has lasted 1/3 of my total life.  I hold two degrees in psychology, and it makes me feel REALLY lame to fall into this trap.
  2. Steve – Enough said.  Well, I must add this part:  I had an epiphany, of sorts today.  I realized (and I know it sounds stupid, but leave me alone… I am new to this break up shit) that in order for me to be happy and do the things I need to do to move on with life… Steve won’t be happy.  He isn’t going to be ok.  Not yet, anyway.  I really wanted this to be a situation where we could amicably part ways like adults and move on with our lives.  Man… was I living in an after school special!  I can’t break up with him AND have him be happy.  He is going to have to mourn the loss and find his own way to move on.  I have to accept that bit of information and just do what I need to do.  It sounds harsh… but that is HIS problem.  I can’t keep taking on the pain and emotion of everyone else, at the expense of my own happiness, and worse, health!  (See co-dependency!!!)
  3. BFF – I had a really inconclusive ending to a friendship that I have held dear since my Sophomore year in high school.  It was really a devastating blow, and I have been going through the hardest situation of my life, and I don’t think she even knows about it.
  4. Finances – I make pretty good money and love what I do, but since I have been financing (out of guilt and some retarded sense of obligation to someone who roped me into a new lease when I was on pain killers) the rent for my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s apartment and some of his bills.
  5. Automotive – I am currently driving a car old enough to have it’s own driver’s license.  I have several bad tires and no spare.  Shouldn’t be an issue… except for the paying of the douchebag’s rent

These are just to name a few… I won’t put you into a coma with the details.  But in looking at this list, there are things within my realm of control… I just have to do it.  So, that is my goal.  My wonderful roommate has been helping me get these things out of my brain and onto paper, which is much more helpful than it sounds.  Once on paper, we can break them down into manageable tasks.

Today when I went into work, I felt lighter.  I was able to get A LOT accomplished, and left feeling upbeat and happy.  I even managed a true dinner… A first in several weeks, let me tell you!

So… in summary… I still don’t know if I can get to sleep anytime soon, but it feels good to start working things out.  As for the doctor’s and psychiatrists, I will be a good little patient and do what they tell me to do.  But I know that action creates happiness.  As I always say… Utopia is not by chance, but by choice.  What are you choosing today??

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you wanna make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself

And then make a change.

~Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.  I will always treasure my time on stage in the 2nd grade talent show… Beat It will always live in my heart.

Christmas 1984-049

Beat It, 2nd Grade Talent Show

(I’m the blurry blonde)



{May 8, 2009}   Anti-versary

April 21, 2009

Playlist Choice: Over You by Daughtry

This day, eight years ago, I married the man I was in love with.  The person I loved most in this world.  The person I wanted to be with more than anything… It should be a day of celebration.

But on this day, eight years later, it is a day of sadness and reflection.  Sadness because things did not work out the way I planned.  Sadness for the children I never had.  Sadness for the misery I allowed this man to inflict on me over the years.  Reflection for the red flags I saw and ignored, and the ones I never noticed.  Times like this allow you to look backward with perfect clarity and see every misstep… every altercation…. every indication that ‘he’s just not that into you.’

The days of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole are over.  A friend reminded me that even when you try to trim the edges to make it fit, there is always friction.  I am not looking for perfection.  I wouldn’t even desire that, being a behavioralist… I know that is not possible.  I know that passion and desire don’t always come in a neat package.  We don’t always fall in love with the person who is best for us…

Sometimes it is just the person who fills the void.

Other times, we love that person with all our might, but it just isn’t enough.  Sometimes you have to make the ultimate sacrifice and do what is best for BOTH parties.  That is what I feel I have done.  It would be EASY to stay.  To ignore things.  To keep moving in a quasi-forward direction.  To grow further apart until we are that old couple living in different rooms and rarely speaking… oh wait… we were already there… at age 32.

It is HARD to implement change.  It is even HARDER to stick with it once the decision has been made.  Not because I wanted to go back, but because it was what I knew.  People never understand this concept until they are in the situation.  Believe me… it is HARD.

But, on this day, I gave myself a silent pat on the back for sticking it out and doing what I feel is right for me, for once.  If he really thought about it… he would realize that too. 

But he didn’t.  He asked me out to celebrate instead. [shaking head]

But what can I say?

I’m a catch!  And it is HIS loss.

😉



{March 26, 2009}   Panic! at the Disco: The Remix

Once the party starts… you can’t leave.  The bouncer has blocked the exit and your only choice is to hang out until the music stops and they turn the lights back on.

Oh, those fucking lights.

I began to feel anxious about 9 pm.  I had eaten a Subway for dinner, because it sounded like a good idea at the time.  It was light and I was starving.  But after eating half of the sandwich, I didn’t feel right.  Unfortunately, when you have the lap band, this is often the case.  I could feel it – it was stuck.  Crap.  When something gets stuck, there is only one way to get it unstuck…

But that is a one-way pass into the disco.  That crappy, drunk-ridden club where the jerk next to you spills his drink down your shirt and then proceeds to feel you up while “helping” you.  It is miserable.  It is uncomfortable.  And there is NOTHING you can do about it.

I tried all of my typical tricks.  I tried soaking in a hot bath.  That works for a while.  The hot water will relax me enough to fall asleep.  In the tub.  For some reason, people are always concerned I will drown [shrugs].  I say whatever works, right?  So that works just long enough to get out, dry off, and put some clothes back on.  Then, it sucks again.

I tried listening to music.  I love to sing and music usually calms me down.  No dice.  I tried helplessly laying in the dark with my eyes closed hoping that my brain would eventually short-circuit and I would fall asleep.  To no avail.  I ended up back in the tub three different times.  I watched every infomercial on my mother’s wretched no-cable-or-satellite TV.  I laid in the dark cursing her clock that ticks like a time bomb.  Counting the minutes as they seemed to roll backwards.  Further and further from morning.

I didn’t want to wake my mother.  She was so tired and I already knew I was keeping her up with my gagging and frequent trips into the tub.  I just laid there… all night… and listened to the thumping of the disco.

When daylight broke and Mom finally emerged from her den, she was not surprised to see me wide awake and looking panic stricken.  We had to wait until a reasonable hour to call my surgeon (from the lap band surgery).  It was Saturday, which meant calling the answering service and then waiting for a call back.  We explained to the doctor about the slipped band, the panic attacks, and the vomiting.  He was very concerned, as all of these things can lead to really dangerous issues.  He told my mother to bring me to the Emergency Room so that he could check me out.  Again, it was both a panic and a relief.

Thankfully, when we arrived at the ER, it was empty.  I was quickly assessed (I know I looked like hell) and taken back into a room for some tests.  The doctor looked at my tests and x-rays and came to talk to me.  He said that the band hadn’t actually slipped – the other doctors didn’t know what they were looking at – but that I was already on the surgical schedule, so it was up to me what I wanted to do.  His suggestion was to convert from the Lap Band to the Gastric Bypass.  I told him he was out of his ever-loving mind.

Take this shit out of me.  NOW.

I told him that I have never done well with it (a fact he had always blamed on me not doing what I was supposed to do).  I told him that I felt like a transplant patient who was rejecting a new heart.  He acted like this was absurd, but since I had disturbed him on Saturday, he would go ahead and remove it.  He didn’t want to.  But I knew why…

I had gotten the information, reluctantly, from him last year.  He has never had to remove one that he put in because it didn’t work.  He didn’t want to ruin his statistics.  Fuck your statistics.  This thing has been killing me for over 2 years.  I felt it ever minute of every day.  It was uncomfortable and painful and did not EVER help me lose weight.  30 lbs… big fucking deal.  I could (and have) do that with Weight Watchers.  Take this shit out NOW.

So they did.

And amazingly enough…

Everything changed.  My blood pressure dropped immediately.  My blood sugar returned to a normal range immediately.  I felt fucking fantastic.  For the first time.  In YEARS.  Maybe ever.  I knew it.  I had been telling them for years… and I was right.  Suck it, Doctor Can’t-Pronounce-Your-Name. I was right.  It WAS being rejected.  I WAS sick because of it.  And now it was gone.

I was in physical pain, of course.  But, I still felt better in that pain than any day since having that horrible, strangling device put in back in 2006.  Choir of angels, and all that jazz.  One doctor, we will call him “Doctor Hottie”, suggested that I might have been allergic to the lap band.  Well, hell… I am allergic to everything else.  I am even allergic to the dissolving stitches!  Why not the band??  I ran it past another doctor and he agreed.

So within 24 hours, I was released to my mother’s care.  I already felt 100 times better than I did before the surgery, and a 100% better than when I had the surgery the first time around.  I had energy… I had commitment to getting healthy.

I was happy.



As Heckle and Jeckle rolled me into the ER, I was still really anxious.  Not just from the massive anxiety attacks, and not just because I hadn’t really eaten anything in 5 days.  But because there is always that moment when you are afraid to tell anyone that you are anxious because they might dismiss it… or tell you that you are crazy… or worse… tell you that you should go see a shrink and that there isn’t anything wrong with you.  And that is the worst thing you can hear at a time like that.

I was transferred onto a bed in the ER and listened to the EMTs relay my vitals (incorrectly, I might add) to the nurse when my mom and Lori wandered in.  I was losing track of time, somewhat, but was surprised they were already there.  Not too surprised, as the Stooges got lost on the way to the hospital [dramatic eye roll].  But as they begin to hook me up to machines that dripped and beeped, I was begging for something to take away the disco.  I don’t really know how long it took them to give me something, but I am pretty sure I was mostly unconscious within moments.  I kept fading in and out and would hear the strangest things…

No one told me she was diabetic!  I don’t know anything about that! [Mom – we have had this conversation MANY times.]

… and us whiteys always get the shaft [groan… let me not hear more of this conversation]

I am going to spank that crying kid!  That crying kid is the patient… in the ER… I am going to spank him anyway! [double groan]

And apparently, through it all… I am told that I was actually unconscious AND arguing with people.  With gusto.  Interesting!  I remember coming to right about the time my mother, for the thousandth time, was for some reason butchering the last name of a friend of my brother’s.  I can’t imagine how on Earth he came into conversation, but I hissed out the appropriate pronunciation – “HE-BERT… not A-Bear.”  About that time I noticed that I was no longer alone with my mother and Lori.  I noticed that my Aunt Mary was sitting directly in front of me.  That was unexpected, but explained the spanking comments [giggle], and to my right… my dad.  After a blood test or 12 (again… no idea) and a chest x-ray… I heard the words I had been waiting to hear:

Ok, we are going to admit her.  We are just waiting for a room to open up.

A choir of angels began singing softly in my head.  Oh, Thank God!  This is when I get better!!  Right?

I was finally taken upstairs to my own room around 8 pm.  Lori had left to go care for her daughter.  Dad and Mary left… somewhere.  I was so exhausted… I asked for some more panic medication… it kept the nausea at bay long enough for me to pass out for the night.  I slept hard.  It hardly bothered me when nurses and techs would come in all night long.  I don’t know if someone called Steve or not… He was mentioned several times while I was unconscious, as I recall, but the general consensus was they would rather poke themselves in the eyes with red hot pokers than expose me to him while I was doing so very poorly.  (See previous posts for why)  I didn’t care.  I didn’t want him there either.  They knew that well enough… as I was too tired to poke out my own eyes at that point.

Monday… sitting… sleeping… vomiting…

Tuesday… sitting… sleeping…

Wednesday… massive party at the disco.  I had a male nurse this day for the first time, and my assessment of him was that he was incompetent  a typical malea douche bag.  I was ridiculously anxious and began vomiting relentlessly.  I begged repeatedly for something to help me out.  After several hours… I was laying face down on my bed willing away the anxiety.  Quietly.  Miserably.  The douchebag comes in and asks me something.  I don’t remember what.  I said, “I am having SEVERE anxiety.  Can you PLEASE help me.”

DB: I have seen people with anxiety.  You look pretty calm to me.

Me: It is a facade.  I am attempting to keep myself from running down the halls screaming.

DB: [Mumble]

Me: I hate you.

Shortly thereafter, I saw a familiar face.  The GI doc from my last trip to the hospital a year earlier appeared.  I told him it was happening again and that I was in agony.  He immediately doubled my Lexapro dosage and ordered a CAT scan.  DB nurse came back in after the doctor left, right about the time my mom showed up after work.  He came in with two giant cups of barium flavored ass lemonade for me to drink within an hour.  I remembered this from before, of course… but as I was still throwing up violently, I had no idea how I would possibly get it down and keep it down.  Mom sympathized, but DB nurse whips out some dog tags he is wearing around his neck, regaled me with some story about his dad storming the beach at Normandy, and then basically told me to suck it up.

When he left the room… I thought my mom was going to come unglued.  I was glad that I wasn’t the only one noticing his douchebaggery.  I ended up drinking every drop of that vile concoction… and keeping it down.  As I was wheeled into the CAT Scan room, the tech asked me if I managed to keep any of it down.  “All of it.  Why?  Was it an option to just have a little??”  Fuckers.  I will spare you the details of this procedure… you can experience that fresh hell on your own [shudder].

Thursday, the doc came back and said he thought my lap band had slipped, but other than that, everything looked fine.  Uh, genius… a slipped lap band is a VERY big deal.  Sadness… pain… fear.  And that was BEFORE he showed up.  I don’t know how he finally got wind of my situation, but there he was.  Sauntering into the room like he belonged there.  With a new apartment lease in hand.

I just wanted him to leave.  But, he stayed for hours.  I tried to feign sleepy, but it didn’t work.  He was pleasant enough, but I was uncomfortable.  I didn’t want the cause of my anxiety infringing on the sanctuary of my private room.  He kept hinting for me to sign that lease.  The lease I promised to sign so that he wouldn’t become homeless.  The lease that he was using as a life preserver to cling to our dying relationship.  I hated that lease.  I was annoyed.  I told him a wise person once told me never to sign anything in a hospital.  I also told him it was time for him to go.  So he did.

Friday… another procedure.  This time, a camera going down my throat.  Oh joy.  They decided that I was well enough that afternoon to go home.  By this time, I just wanted to be anywhere but that bed.  I was keeping down “food” (if you can call it that… it is a hospital, after all), so they thought that was ok.  They also tried to convince me that I was an Insulin-dependent diabetic and sent me home with insulin and needles.  Uh… that is new… and doesn’t make sense.

After a LONG trip to Walmart and some dinner, I settled in at Mom’s house.  And amazingly enough…

I began to hear the music.  The lights dimmed.  The disco ball dropped.  And I was twirling out of control. 

Again.



{January 7, 2009}   Quick Update

I wanted to post a quick update to let you know what has happened, and why I haven’t been posting.

Christmas was OK.  Steve acted like a big baby and refused to come to a family Christmas party unless I wanted him there.  Whatever.  But, he got me massive Christmas presents, in the form of a Blu-Ray DVD player, a HD camcorder, and a massive pink coach purse with a smaller clutch because he wanted me to have a good Christmas.  And probably to guilt me into buying him a TV we can’t afford/don’t need.

New Year’s Eve… he once again chose not to attend because he wanted me to basically beg him to go.  Here’s the deal… I have been to almost every event ALONE for the past 10 years.  I don’t really care if you come or not.  It will NOT affect my good time.  Unless you are a douche.  Then it will affect me a lot.  I took my friend Lori as my husband instead.  hehe  We had an awesome time.  Lori had a little too much to drink and ended up crashing out on my couch.

The next morning (ok.. afternoon… we were out REALLY late) we were sitting around talking and deciding what to do for the day.  I already decided that I would let Steve watch football and we were going to go watch Steel Magnolias.  I invited Steve for good measure… and he started in with his whining about how mean I am… how cold I am.  A robot.  The Ice Queen.

Suck it… I’m out!  We left to go pick up Lori’s daughter, Em.  She said, “I finally get it.  I heard the way he talked to you.  That is totally unacceptable and I am going to stage an intervention!”  Along with another friend, they helped me see that I really needed to do something drastic.

As I was walking out to the car, Steve called me and told me that there was a note left on the door by a process server… I am being sued.  By a debt collector.  A debt that was incurred and went unpaid during the time when Steve just decided to stop working.  I snapped.  I was driving down the road sobbing.  Why did I let this happen???

I decided to stay the night with Lori.  I couldn’t go home.  I was angry.  Hurt.  Miserable.  We went and grabbed clothes on the pretense that Lori was having a bad day and needed company.  Poor little Em was trying so hard to keep the secret that I was coming to live with them.  He asked her how she was doing and she flipped out and ran into my room and said, “Mommy!!  Steve is talking to me!  I can’t talk to him!  I HAVE A SECRET!!!” 

Incidentally, Em told me, “Lidabeth, you can stay in my room forever!  And I am moving into Mommy’s closet!!”  A correction for CPS records – her TOYS are moving into Mommy’s closet.  She is moving into Mommy’s ROOM.  She also got so excited that I was moving into her room… that she packed up her toys into Ziploc bags and began moving them.  Adorable!!

So, that is where I am right now.  I am living in a room, donated by my sweet friends, that, until yesterday, contained a pink & purple castle tent and a ginormous stuffed dog the size of a Buick named Razaroo.  Today it is empty… waiting for me to make decisions and possibly start a new life. 

It’s amazing how you can know so fiercely that you want something… and then it begins to happen… and it scares the living shit out of you.  My husband has nowhere to go when our lease expires.  He is not close with friends or family, and does not earn a steady income (real estate agent + tanking market = holy shit!).  I am riddled with guilt and anxiety about his future.  People tell me that isn’t my problem… which is true… but how do you just STOP caring about someone you have been with for 10 years?

I think this will be a very interesting time for me.  To see what I can do to love myself again.  To give myself the same advice I would give a friend in the same position.

Stay tuned for my next post:  Dear Younger, Dumber Me: An Open Letter to Myself



et cetera