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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

That Time Of The Year + Random Stuff

January 18th is the anniversary of my lungs collapsing.
In 2009, I suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax (lung collapse) in both lungs. I had walking pneumonia, didn't know it, which had a lot to do with my lungs collapsing.
Left lung, 100% collapsed. Right lung, 70-75% collapsed. 
By the time I got to the hospital the doctor told JP if I'd waited two more hours I would have been a goner. Terrifying stuff.

12 years ago on this day, at around 4-5am while in ICU, a doctor came in and inserted a chest tube through my ribs and into my left lung - with no general anesthesia. If you're thinking that having a 1" tube inserted into your body is excruciatingly painful, you would be correct. I remember the pain - which was about a 47 on a scale of 1-10 - and wondering why a doctor was kind of straddling me.
I was in ICU for 3 days and then regular room for 7 days; my memory of most of it is absent and I recall only bits and pieces from the entire 10 days. 

I could not walk, I could not talk. JP stayed at the hospital with me about 18 hours each day, going home just to shower and sleep for a bit. When I was in ICU, he went into the chapel with the on-call priest and prayed for me with him. He held me up when they made me get out of bed to try to walk, he roamed the hospital hallways looking for the vending machine that had my favorite cookies - Knott's Berry Farm Boysenberry in case you want to send me some :-)  He helped me eat & made sure I did, propped my pillows to help me find comfort with a chest tube stuck in me, washed my face, rubbed my feet, helped me change clothes, watched me while I slept & a bunch of other stuff that I can't remember. (My lungs were collapsed for at least a couple of days which meant my brain wasn't getting enough oxygen. End result? A little bit of brain injury in the area of my brain that affects memory amongst other things. I have a lot of blank spots now where memories should be.) 

dr. evil  aka JP
Here's a weird aside: some people I'm related to accused JP of trying to keep me from them while I was in the hospital trying to live...as if he suddenly turned sinister or had just been lying in wait for when I was stricken with a life-threatening illness and he could then implement his plan to isolate me from people I am related to. They deduced that because when they called he would say "she can't talk now" because I literally could not talk, that I actually
could talk but for some unknown reason he did not want me to talk to anyone. You can't make it up if you tried.

It's a strange addendum to the big story but one that needs to be included but thinking about it makes my head hurt (more than usual) so I will write more about it when I write my book on dysfunction but it will have to be at a later time. 

It took me about 5 years before I could even talk about any of this and even now I do so with great reticence. And although now I know it's therapeutic for me to talk/write about it, my whole body tenses up when I do so and I get a bit dizzy (dizzier?) in the head + a bunch of other unpleasant things. January is a bad month for me and the 10 day period of 1/18 - 1/28 is especially hard as it is a trauma anniversary. I tend to isolate for these ten days and reflect and try not to think too hard which is mostly futile. Anyway, sometimes you just write because you need to and sometimes you write because maybe it will help even one other person.

Because of this traumatic event - and a bundle of others that I won't get into right now because I care about you and don't want your head to explode when I start listing them ♥ - I've been diagnosed with C-PTSD and that kind of changed a whole lot of things for me, as you might imagine. I find that there are some people who don't understand that I have to shut down or take time to prioritize myself, which kind of sucks (all around) but, oh well, right? I can't imagine ever asking anyone to validate their trauma and I won't devalue my own self and my own experiences to appease anyone. It's like, sorry if my trauma inconveniences you...not. šŸ˜

And then there are other people - JP, Sherbher boyfriend Kev - who will make it possible for me to do whatever I need to do whenever I need to do it. Sometimes they even recognize a flare-up or a trigger or reaction before I do. We are in our own bubble of unconditional love ♥
I hope you have one of those, too.  


The inauguration of our new President happens during this tricky time period for me (1/20) and after the horrific events that happened in our Capitol on 1/6, I was really extra anxious on top of my everyday anxiousness on Inauguration Day. I'm not really politically-oriented at all but I am patriotic  and was looking forward to watching the swearing-in and I did so with my hand on the remote control so that if anything bad started to happen I could shut the TV off instantly. Thank God nothing did.  

One thing that always irks me, though, is the use of celebrities at every single thing: inaugurations, Super Bowls, etc.  Lady Gaga (typing that name makes me feel silly - doesn't it sound like the name you came up with when you were 10 and plotting out your life plan to be an internationally, wildly famous star?) sang the national anthem and JLo (sort of) sang, too. Why not Cindy from Idaho (in her new Walmart dress) or Tommy from Oklahoma (wearing a new Carhartt jacket), etc?  Those are the people who would interest me.
And then that night's Celebrate America tv concert thing.  All celebrities.
I couldn't care less about celebrities and I certainly don't associate America with them which, I know, puts me in the minority (it's okay, that's where I always am). I would have much preferred to see everyday unknown Americans from all walks of life performing. That would be the best way to Celebrate America, in my opinion.

But I've always thought that real magic lies in the ordinary, the everyday, anyway. I hope you agree.


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