Friday, October 4, 2013

Off the Rails

A while back, someone (who shall remain nameless but rhymes with Hecki Berod) reminded me that I should write more. Or again, as the case may be. It's been ages since I put fingers to keyboard in order to actually SAY something. So, here is my attempt. But who am I kidding? I get more out of the writing than anyone will ever get out of reading it.

Things here have been... unlucky. I've been taught all my life that with hard work, good things will happen to you. You make your own luck. You can't just expect good things to happen to you. If things go badly, you have to take responsibility for those events. And for a long, long time, I believed it completely, taking it all straight to heart. When things didn't go well for me, I blamed myself and my inadequacies. It had to be all my fault, right? That's what I'd always heard, anyway.

Fast forward to March of this year (2013 in case you're time-challenged.) While driving to my grandmother-in-law's funeral (rest in peace, Grandma Lorraine), something happened. I was in so much pain. I insisted that Rhett immediately take me to the ER, because this amount of pain? NOT NORMAL. My gall bladder was chocked full of stones and about to pop. Great. An hour away from home with 4 kids while in my funeral clothes, and I choose to have my gall bladder nearly burst? Awesome, self. You win at weirdest timing EVER. But, a few good drugs, some emergency surgery, problem solved. Right?

Nope. After surgery, I still had pain and reflux and all sorts of weirdo gastro problems. I'll spare the details because... well... yuck. I was sure that it was my body just getting used to the idea of not having a gall bladder anymore. Wrong. There was something amiss.

In July, I had a full on attack of pain that left me almost unable to speak with my heart racing and my stomach completely revolting. The gall bladder pain? Nothing in comparison. Back to the ER we went, this time while in Topeka. Guess what? I had gall stone(s) left behind after surgery. Apparently, I was passing them. My liver was severely compromised. And worst of all, I had pancreatitis. In a nutshell, that means that your pancreas is inflamed, swollen, and STARTS TO EAT ITSELF. Dear sweet baby Jerome! WHAT. THE. HELL.

While in the hospital, I had an absolutely horrendous experience. My doctors were inconsistent with my care. They gave me the wrong meds. There was a huge host of other problems and mistakes that made it impossible for me to trust them anymore. So, I asked to be discharged. They agreed that would be fine and that I could easily recover at home. Within less than 24 hours after leaving, however, I ended up in another ER, in another town, because they'd forgotten to give me antibiotics and meds to manage my pain. (Pancreas eating itself = hurts like hell and needs antibiotics.) Wow. I really know how to screw the pooch, huh?

I could go on and on about the luck I thought I was making for myself. I could mention the double pneumonia and the countless doctor's appointment and the financial strain that this has put on my family. But, in the end, that's a waste of good words. And instead of wasting words, I'm going to get to the point: sometimes, unlucky just happens. And sometimes, it's not your fault.

Considering my long held belief that everything WAS my fault, I had to change my thinking completely. No one deserves or can cause this many things to go wrong in a 6 month period. NO ONE. Personal responsibility for your part in your own life is one thing. But all this business? The chaos and craziness? Utter bullshit that the Universe handed to me on a platter? No. And when I finally came to terms with the idea that I wasn't to blame, I found a little piece of peace. Proof positive that all I can do is my best and hold on for the ride.

In case you're wondering, I feel about 1,000 times better than I did a couple of months ago. Thankfully, my body has largely healed itself. Tests have been done, and it's believed that I don't have anymore bastard gall stones hiding out in my liver or lying in wait in my bile ducts. I've been deemed mostly "cured." But am I? Now, my life has been turned on end in the realization that I'm not in charge. Whoa. That's a bit of a shock to the system.

I'll eventually get over the shock, but I'm still knee deep in it at the moment. If I've learned nothing else in my 39 years, I've learned that life is messy and chaotic and CRAZY. Shock is normal. But, it will go away one of these days. Maybe.

Dear Self,

Life isn't fair. Don't take it personally. Don't (always) blame yourself. Just hold on because sometimes, the ride gets bumpy. And sometimes, it goes completely off the rails. Hang in there.



  1. Oh, Jenny, I'm so sorry you went through this... but I'm glad that you're feeling better and even more glad that you stopped blaming yourself!

    None of us deserve the random things (good or bad) that happen to us, any more than we deserve what we are born with (or without).

    It's what we do with our lot that makes us. You have made yourself into an awesome woman, and I'm proud to be your friend!

  2. I'm glad you're being nicer to my friend Jenny. You've been on my mind a lot these last few days

  3. Even if I had your awesome writing skills, I'm not sure I would have the courage to put myself out there the way you do. So hats off to you friend! And I'm glad the little prompting worked. Because I think you've got a lot of great things to offer!
    I guess that's why the world is so hard on one another... because we are also so hard on ourselves. I sure wish we could cut each other a little slack. We are all only a couple of unlucky instances away from needing someones help and grace. I always cringe when I hear people say that they work hard for everything they earn and that they've never needed anyone's handout. Well the world just hasn't caught up to them yet. They are lucky... not better... not harder working... not more blessed... just fortunate. Thanks for reminding us all to be a little nicer to ourselves and everyone around us.
    And I'm glad you're feeling better.

  4. Pete always says luck is a series of correct decisions. And your correct decision of going to the ER, then leaving and going to another hospital. All correct decisions.
    You are always on my mind... I might need to start charging you rent, but I like you too much. Mwah.


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