How was your January? Mine proved to be challenging in a couple of different ways. I got sick with a tooth infection. A week of milling around on the couch, dragging myself to training sessions for work and work itself, drifting in and out of sleep, gobbling pain pills trying to quell what turned into quite a debilitating pain radiating along my lower jaw to my ear. I had the pain under control after a week of antibiotics and had another week to make a decision about my tooth: a root canal ($1,000) or an extraction ($250). I asked everyone I knew about their opinions. At first I leaned towards an extraction but finally chose to give the tooth a chance and opted for the root canal.
The first part was done on Tuesday and already (2 days later) I'm feeling so much better. No pain meds and my energy has increased ten fold. I had to sign an interesting consent form that my dentist recited to me beforehand. It involved being aware that a dental tool could break off in my tooth! My dentist told me that if that happened, she'd just carry on and leave it in there!
"One in...oh, maybe a thousand chance that would happen." She smiled reassuringly, then added, "But you could be that one in a thousand."
So far, so good. I'm not.
Rob, as always, was attentive and thoughtful when I was sick. He brought me a pretty pink primrose. And a box of persians! For those who don't know, persians are native to Thunder Bay and are basically soft cinnamon rolls topped with raspberry icing. They're delicious! A strange thing to bring a diabetic with a tooth ache but hey it worked! For a week I lived on persians and diet cola!
Sorry the Persian Man photo wouldn't go the right way no matter what.
Weather has also been a challenge in many ways--a long-lasting bitterly cold front, most days the past week hovering to highs of about minus 20 degrees Celsius with windchills in the minus 40s. Apart from this morning (-32) we've been lucky with cars starting. A stress when I have to work early in the morning though. But our house is lovely, cosy and warm. We're very fortunate. I also quite like hunkering down and in general find the cold easier to deal with than excessive heat.
Before this super long cold spell, we had days of thaw which is playing havoc with our kitchen roof and ceiling but which has also created a gorgeous array of icicles which sparkle and shine on sunny days.
While I was sick, Spook (our tortoiseshell cat) often came to sleep on my bed through the night. Her presence is soothing, especially if she purrs or snores or twitches in dreams. One dark night when the tooth pain had woken me, I reached out to touch Spook, put my hand on the bed beside her. She touched my fingers with her paw, softly, and we both fell asleep like that. Those little things can get you through and bring such comfort.
I believe that I get sick for a reason...that I've let myself get run down, let things get to me. So i examine what has gone on that could have led to this infection. Dane left in November, Dad left at the beginning of January. Both Dad and Dane I saw weekly (if Dane was in town) and I talked on the phone to Dad about 4 to 5 times a week if not pretty much everyday when Sandy was away and before he met Sandy. So even though their leavings were good for them and I could appreciate that, somewhere deep down I think I felt abandoned. That's where my darkest thoughts spiral, my most hateful thoughts about myself: to a feeling of abandonment and immense self pity.
When I was young (I like to think very young but really can't remember how old), I used to sob on the stairs at home, heart-wrenching sobs saying out loud, "Nobody loves me. Nobody. Except Kim." Kim was our oldest corgi, ginger in colour, and a real sweetheart. He was always so protective of me...running circles around me to make me stop when I was on walks with Mam and Dad and had run ahead too far. And he always, always, sat beside me on the stairs while I cried into his fur. Everyone else used to do their best to ignore me and go about their business. There was no consoling me when I got like that. And it was usually sparked by being disciplined. But Kim was loyal. Well, most of the time. He was a fat little corgi and a greedy one. He left me whenever food was around. I used to cry harder. "Even Kim doesn't love me any more!" But he always came back to sit beside me...once all the food had disappeared.
I think the stress of monitoring Kaden and giving him insulin which I don't think always goes into his skin, also contributed to feeling run down.
Christmas was good but brought its own exhausting schedule. I didn't keep up with tai chi regularly which is a huge boost to my system. On Christmas Eve, Rob and i visited his sister Kat. I'm used to Kat who can be quite negative at times. She lived with us for a few months years ago and i got adept at steering her talk to being more positive and to letting her remarks drip off me like rainwater. But on Christmas Eve Rob had to go on a delivery and I was alone with Kat. She was feeling stressed with visiting her mom in long term care. I tried to listen and be empathetic but I couldn't get a word in edgewise. She completely unburdened on me to the point where I felt like I was under assault and I huddled into the corner of the couch. Too late for shielding, too battered to even respond, given no chance to speak. I went to a dark place of remembering similar past abuse and felt totally exhausted when Rob finally came back. I just wanted to get out of there. I should have been better prepared but I wasn't. I made myself move on quickly and forget that. After all the next day was Christmas. But my body remembered. And reacted. Not just to Kat's onslaught but to old scars.
I feel better acknowledging these things, understanding that they could have been factors in making me slow down and pay attention. Sometimes we just need to acknowledge...yes, that's unfair...or yes, I need to be gentler with myself...or yes, I need to feel all those feelings, not bury them. Sometimes we need to acknowledge what gets us through our rough spots and concentrate on that.
What are your creature comforts? Do you have enough of them in your life? How can you be kinder to yourself today?
'Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars: you have a right to be here.' Tread gently, my friend.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.