Tuesday, April 25, 2017
In the meantime, I'm extremely discouraged by the contract my district is offering me next year. When I agreed at the beginning of this year to take on the middle school and high school theater & one-act play, my understanding was that it would be for one year only. If it was something I felt confident in, I'd go take the ExCET for theater and then I'd be certified in it.
Well, I hated it. As in, it literally contributed to my catastrophic health crash in December, in which I spent three of the worst days of my life in ICU with bacterial pneumonia and sepsis. I'm still not all the way better from that, either -- I still have days of crushing fatigue in which I can barely get out of bed or answer my phone, and the lower lobe of my left lung still aches when I take a deep breath. Kind-of like a permanent "stitch in my side" feeling.
Anyway, back to my contract. No more choir, because I can't play the piano, but along with my art classes I still have to teach theater and they're giving me two sections of junior English. The new principal promised that he would carefully screen the middle school theater class (unlike this year, in which it was a convenient dumping ground for ill-mannered brats with no intention of learning drama) and make sure that the only students there will be ones who are actually there to study theater.
I haven't mentioned, however, that I do not trust administrators. Not ever. Maybe they don't mean to lie, but when push comes to shove, their promises become piles of pigpoop because they're stuck with kids they don't know what to do with, and the fine arts department is ALWAYS the first choice of dumping ground real estate. Oh, look! Here's a new kid with an ankle bracelet; oh, he's not an athlete? Meh. Who cares what we do with him? Just pitch him into an art class. Kids who don't play sports don't even ping the radar here.
I'm pretty sure they're trying to kill me off.
I haven't signed a contract yet, and I'm not sure I will. My mom said I needed to bargain with them, and I explained that this WAS their final offer. I've already e-mailed all of them with suggestions for how I could better serve the school district's needs. Doesn't matter. They don't WANT to spend the money to hire someone (they haven't even LOOKED or ADVERTISED for anyone) to teach theater AND choir.
It's a short trip to my mental rabbit-hole from here... workplace anxiety like this is a huge factor in me having a depression crash. Gradually losing sensation in my hands and then feet and then legs over the past year has furthered subjected me to crashing waves of fear and cowardice.
After returning home from the doctor yesterday, I made it up the ramp using a can and holding the rail, but after getting onto the porch, I tumbled sideways. I'm glad I didn't fall off the porch or break any bones, but that was a little scary.
Monday, April 17, 2017
I'm grateful that I had some students already in the room; two big burly fellows rallied to my aid and lifted me up into my chair. I won't be trying that one again anytime soon.
My next appointment with my neuro is on May 15. I'm going to ask her to start the process for me to get a power chair with a lift that can raise me up high enough to see my students' work (as well as do things like cook and wash dishes at home). If I ever see any physical improvement at all, it will take months or even years. And in the meantime, I need to be able to get around. I can push this regular chair around on an indoor surface or on a good sidewalk, but it's useless on grass or uneven surfaces. And there's just too much I can't do.
I'm thinking about starting blogging here again on a more regular basis. I'm aware that no-one reads it anymore, which is totally fine because I just need a place I can rant and sort my thoughts. I really am a cheerful person by nature, and I'm not angry with God about my physical condition because PLEASE, God doesn't owe me anything. But sometimes I still have feelings of despair, of uselessness, etc... and I think I just need a place to be able to write it out and then work through it.
I do want to gush a little about how awesome my church family has been. Honestly, sometimes (okay, all times) the worship service isn't spectacular, and the youth group never ministered to my son (which broke my heart a little, because church youth group was always such a big part of my life). But my son has found a place of service that he enjoys -- he runs the sound booth and has been awesome back there. And interestingly, he has become a fan of the old-school hymns (go figure!) that we usually sing. So all is not lost, at least on that front. I used to play a second keyboard to go along with the piano and organ, and I loved doing that, but I cannot play anymore. I can still sing, so they set up a mic and a music stand for me. Rick leads the music but does not select the songs; I think the pastor and pianist do that. Alice works in the nursery every Sunday and plays with the little ones. So even though it's not a "contemporary service with a band" kind of church, we've plugged in where we can and we do our best to help.
HOWEVER... however "imperfect" it may seem to an outsider who's been going to contemporary services... the kindness and commitment the members show for caring for one another? I'd rank it far and above most other churches I've been a member of in my life. The very first Sunday I showed up to church in a wheelchair, the deacons got together and began to work out the details of building me a ramp to get into my house. After three weeks of planning, they came to the house and totally just built me a fantastic awesome ramp. I am in awe of the level of commitment to service that these people have for one another. THIS is what "church" is really supposed to be. Not guitars and drums (although those things can be awesome). It's about loving one another. And the rest of the world sees this love and marvels at it ("See how they love one another!"). This is how Jesus wants us to be.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
The PA asked me who my hematologist is (the one who treats me for anemia and who does blood tests on me every three months). I told him, and he kinda raised one eyebrow. "She is going to find these results VERY interesting, I think."
Meaning, why the heck wasn't she routinely checking my copper levels? I'm a gastric bypass patient; it should be one of the regular tests.
The plot thickens. Or maybe it just opens up.
I'm now in a wheelchair during the school day; it had become difficult to get through my work day without being exhausted, and I wasn't at all confident in my ability to walk without falling, even with the cane.
In reading about copper deficiency, it appears that once I start getting copper supplementation, my degeneration should plateau, and in about half the cases, they recover some of what was lost. It appears unlikely that I will completely recover, however. Barring miraculous divine intervention, of course.
Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Yesterday, I received a call from the neurologist's PA -- the blood tests had come back, and they wanted me to come in to discuss the results. My mind reeled a little... I mean, he would totally have told me if it came back as a B12 issue, and he would've told me what they wanted me to do. But he said nothing at all about the results. To me, this reads as "this is something scary and we don't want to drop the bomb over the phone."
Rick reassured me by saying that perhaps it's just too complicated to explain over the phone, which is possible. But of course, Anxiety Girl can leap to the Worst Conclusion in a single bound.
So yeah. I've got to wait all day because my appointment is at 4:30pm. I asked Mom to accompany me; first, because I don't like to have to drive further than home-to-school-and-back because of my issues, and second, because if it actually IS scary news, I do not want to be alone when I get it.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Then the soles of my feet began to go numb, and has progressed up my legs. Today I will visit the neurologist, who will likely send me for an MRI of my thoracic and/or lumbar spine. I have had to use a cane to walk for several months already, and I had to resign my job as bus driver because it's hard to use the pedals.
I would've already been in this process, but in December I became seriously ill with bacterial pneumonia and sepsis, resulting in a three-day stint in ICU. Post-sepsis syndrome has kicked my hiney hard; every couple of weeks I have crushing fatigue and am unable to work for a day or two. I've gone far and away above my allowed work absences, which has killed my paychecks.
The fatigue and depression have prevented me from being more pro-active in seeking help for my neuro issues. I finally just gritted my teeth and made the call.
I am not going to lie and tell you I'm blissfully unconcerned... but I'm also okay. None of us ever expects the Spanish Inquisition [/montypython], and we all have to go through a grief process when we have to give up on our ideas and expectations out of life. But I will still trust God and look for the beautiful in every day.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Thursday, December 10, 2015
One of the redeeming qualities of the job of school bus driver is that I'm up so early, I get to watch the sunrise from the very beginning. This morning it was a particularly breathtaking show. I wish a camera could truly capture just how wonderful it is. I was also playing George Winston's December album (an oldie now, but a perennial favorite for me) on the speaker, which really made it a peaceful and fulfilling morning.
Makes up for days when it seems like I can't do anything right, and when it's my fault, regardless of whether it really IS my fault. Those kinds of days suck.
Today NEEDS to be better.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Honestly, doing piano lessons is like therapy for me. Not only do I get to be encouraging, I get to pass along helpful knowledge like how to count dotted quarter notes.
I don't feel quite as heavily despondent as I did earlier. I'm hoping that means I'll actually get SLEEP tonight, as opposed to last night.
Rick had been scheduled to work until eight o'clock tonight, which is about four hours of overtime, because the casino has been having their World Poker Tour tournament stuff, and they need the accountants there to process the big jackpots that come through. Tonight, though, we were all glad to see that he'd gotten to leave at five-thirty... and he brought home absolutely awesome news. Employees have little "awards" that they're able to dole out to one another when they see someone doing something "above and beyond" the call of duty. Rick had about twenty of these saved up, and every so often the employees are able to put all these "merits" into a drawing for something they might want (concert tickets, restaurant dinners, etc). This month, Rick put all twenty of his merits into the pool to get tickets to see Larry the Cable Guy. AND HE ACTUALLY WON TWO TICKETS! A week from this Friday night, he and I are going to get to go see Larry the Cable Guy. We absolutely NEVER go anywhere and do anything together, so this is going to be a huge treat. I'm actually kind-of giddy about the prospect.
And now? I need SLEEP.
How much more heartbreak do I have to endure today? One of my best art and choir students suddenly dropped both of my classes saying she was too busy. Now I get to spend my afternoon bus route fighting tears just like I spent the morning bus route. Why I left myself get upset by this stuff is beyond my ken at the moment.
To the left is a card I had made for a friend who had given me an exquisitely lovely gift; I wanted to thank her and tell her how much she means to me.
Before I could even get it in the mail, however, she suddenly ended our friendship.
When someone assumes ill intent on my part, it hurts... especially when I've tried always to be kind. As snarky as I can be, down deep I really do have an inner Pollyanna who believes that there's always always ALWAYS something to be glad about. I suppose that level of sincerity on my part is easily misconstrued by some as fakery or flattery... but it isn't. I really AM that way. I really do love people, even when they're unkind or harsh back to me. In fact, I often feel that abrasiveness in a person is a "challenge" on my part to find out why and to love them in a way that they will genuinely receive that love in the spirit I intended.
I won't ever stop loving my friend, regardless... but the hurt is also instructive, and forces me to back away and give myself time to recover. I may still send the card. I may not. Or I may wait and do it another time. I don't know. Grief over a lost friendship seems so very, very minuscule and insignificant in the face of the trials and struggles of others... which makes me ashamed of myself for grieving... so my usual instant response is to retreat into silence.
Hence my retreat from most social media, at least for a while until I feel more able to cope. I may go back to it tonight. Or tomorrow. Or it may be a long time. People who know me well also know what my telephone number and e-mail address are, so I'm not unreachable. And in the meantime I will continue to drive the school bus, teach art and music, and I'll blog here as my outlet.
In the past, I've been told that my Facebook posts are evidence of my need for affirmation. I'm going to spend this time considering that, and doing some self-evaluation. I don't want to seek admiration and back-pats simply for the sake of boosting my ego, but if that's how I come across, then I need to change something somewhere. I don't ever want to seem that way, and if that's truly what it appears to be, I am sorry.
Psalm 62:5 reads, "Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him." It's time for me to be quiet for a while and be certain that my validation comes ONLY from Him.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
A few days ago, Aundrea moved of her own volition up to the corner of the porch, which is the perfect spot for her. She's out of the way, but I still get to see her. And this morning I saw that she was entertaining a handsome (albeit diminutive) visitor! The male Argiope aurantia is much smaller than the female, as you can clearly see. Looks like maybe we'll get an egg sac this fall!
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
At the moment, she's enjoying a delicious feast for her dinner:
When she finishes off her meal, I'm going to have to move the box of cow bones because it's kind-of in the way... which means I've got to rig up something else for her to anchor her web to. I'm hoping to keep her on the porch where I can observe her.
Friday, July 31, 2015
But the big box had apparently been sitting out in her barn, because it also houses a lovely Argiope aurantia:
[editor's note on the next day: I caught a couple of small grasshoppers and dropped them into her web; she seemed rather pleased. I shall continue to contribute to her food stores, since I'd really like to encourage more of her offspring to take up residence here next season]
Thursday, July 23, 2015
TEXAS CHICKEN & RICE
1/3 cup Ranch Dressing powder
3 cups milk, half-and-half or heavy cream (I prefer the heavy cream, myself)
4-5 cups cooked white rice
3 cups diced cooked chicken
2 cups salsa
3 cups shredded cheese
1 T adobo seasoning
Whisk the milk and the Ranch powder together, then stir in the cooked rice. Pour this mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded cheese over it, then distribute the diced chicken over the cheese. Sprinkle the adobo seasoning over the chicken. Spread the salsa over this, then distribute the rest of the shredded cheese over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
This was very spicy and delicious. I have the distinct feeling the leftovers will keep being eaten until they're gone instead of getting tossed next week when the trash goes out.
If you're low-carbing, you could use riced cauliflower in place of the rice.