It’s now been two years since you left us and I’m sitting here drinking a Guinness, thinking of you, remembering when we first met. That night at the Great Dane, drinking our favourite Black Earth Porter, just talking, talking, talking. That was a night I’ll treasure forever. That was the day I met my “sistah from another mistah”, as you once told me.
So much has happened over the past year. The physical issues I wrote about last year got worse and worse. By the time it was all said-and-done, I made 20 visits to the ER, racking up $1200 in co-pay charges (more on that later), each preceded by physical pain I have not felt before nor after. It was almost more than I could bear, especially those times I ended up spending days in the hospital while the doctors tried to figure out what the hell was going on. So many tests with zero result.
Eventually, having reached my patience limit on this whole ER thing, I begged my doctor for anything he could do to keep me from going back. Contrary to what I was told way back when I first started going, there was a version of Dilaudid (the only drug that would make the pain go away) he could prescribe for me. It was a suppository, but by that point I was well beyond any “oogie” feelings about shoving stuff up my ass. Whatever it took, I was all for.
I thought of you during that time. It became clear this was a drug that was nothing to fool with. The hoops I had to jump through were much different than the other prescriptions I had dealt with before, and even then it was only for THREE suppositories! Remembering your (eventually lost) battle with pain killers, I was especially cautious about only using it when absolutely necessary.
Sure enough, it worked! Oh, part of the reason I was going back to see him was my own personal attempt to figure out the whole pain thing, which was to get the anti-depressant out of my life. I wasn’t sure if it would help, but it didn’t seem to be doing much for my state-of-mind, so what did I have to lose? We worked out a schedule. I’m not saying this path solved my issue, but by the time I was off the drug, the episodes became more and more infrequent, eventually evaporating completely. So after nearly a year of walking through the ER’s revolving door, I was finally able to manage the pain on my own. Eventually, as I mentioned, the episodes stopped entirely.
At some point in the middle of that chaos, a certain someone became a frequent fixture in my life. If memory serves, M was someone you had at one point suggested I pursue due to our similarities. Turns out you were right, though I fought it at first. She didn’t run away when my health was failing and, most importantly, she didn’t run away when I shared my secret. She’s, without question, one of the most understanding people I’ve ever met, at least when it came to the topic of me. She understood me and my particular brand of chaos and insanity. Just like you, but she has her shit together so much better than either of us, at least to a level that has kept us together. We’ve been a couple now for almost a year, and there is no end in sight.
I must say this is a relationship unlike any other, for both of us. For me, there’s a subtleness that’s been a welcome relief. She simply knows how to “deal” with me, and vice-versa. I’ve never felt so motivated and so supported without an ounce of pressure. Regardless of my positives or negatives, she just lets me be me. Because of that, I’ve accomplished so much over the past year. The major bonus about this is that while she gets (big) credit for helping, I retain a measure of ownership for my own accomplishments. LIke I said, this is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in any relationship in my history.
One of those accomplishments is that I’m finally a licensed driver! It turns out that I’m a pretty good one at that, which still surprises me at times. I’ll be driving down the beltline and suddenly realize, I’m driving! After 42 years of being a “professional pedestrian”, the idea of me driving remains somewhat unbelievable. Once I get my finances in order, I may actually get my own car, which I hope will be a VW bug. I don’t care what model or shape, I just want a bug. Though I do have some specifics, like it must be a turbo deisel and, if at all possible, near-zero emission.
Speaking of finances, 2011 took a serious toll on those and my credit score took a huge nose-dive. Partly due to being primarily focused on resolving my health issues, but partially also due to the fact that I just didn’t care to make it a factor in my life. I found it surprising how long you can let your finances go with little affect on your day-to-day life. Banks will gladly pay your bills if you don’t have the money, probably because they’ll happily add those overdraft charges. Credit card companies will let you go months without paying, likely for the same reasons. Even UW spent months trying to get in contact with me, only recently sending my non-paid $1200 ER bills to a collections agency. We’re talking about almost a year here!!! In any event, my solution until recently was what I term the “Ostrich Method”. I just ignored it all.
Recently I finally got tired of that method and decided to take action. With, once again big help from M, we sat down and worked out a plan and now I’m well on the road to taking care of my finances. It’s cost me $ and cost me many points on my credit score, but that’s all just money. The major bonus for me has been the peace-of-mind that comes with finally taking ownership of my responsibilities and fixing the problem. You know how much I like fixing problems.
So anyway, mom had a heart-attack a few months back, but she’s recovered well. Things were really though for her, but, like me, she’s starting to get things back on track. She’s gotten out of a pretty ugly situation with her job, finding a new one closer to Madison. Within the next month she’ll be moving in with me in order to focusing on the new job and finding a place she can afford. It’s so nice to see the both of us getting on better, happier paths.
Tomorrow M and I will be re-painting the rooms upstairs where I’ll be staying. I picked earth-based, bright colours and look forward to the change. Heck, the house even looks so much better than in 2011. You can almost see the change in my own thinking by the changes where I live. I hope to never again get to the point where I have to wipe off my feet before going to bed at night.
There’s still plenty of challenges ahead, for sure. That’s the way of life. I really wish you were still here as I think you’d be very proud of me. I told a friend recently that the world lost a wonderful soul when you died, and I believe that down to the core of my being. While the pain of losing you has diminished over time, I don’t think there will ever be a time it will completely dissipate. You had so much to offer the world at large, were you only able to manage your demons. Regardless, I will keep your memory alive because you had a soul that deserves it.
Until next year.