The other day I came across Glennon Melton's thoughts about funks. It made me smile both because I have been in one and because she referenced Tone Loc's Funky Cold Medina. My funk started in September, right about the time I switched to the NEW SHINY job. It's a great job, much less stressful, better pay, better benefits, great co-workers, less despair, less cynicism, less to worry about. There is a revolving front door with 2 of the four compartments set up with seasonal displays. Quite a contrast with the old job's front door which featured a sign that said no firearms or knives, with the addition of pictures in case you can't read.
But you know I am a professional worrier and so I do worry. I worried about those I left behind, patients and colleagues. Would they think they weren't important, that none of it mattered to me, that they didn't matter? Would they give up their tiny little glimmers of hope, clutched tightly, hidden in a hand? Had I mattered to them, made any kind of tiny difference?
At the new job there is some visibility of my baggage, but mostly I am ON all day, baggage tucked neatly under my desk, barely visible. It is a big drain on my energy, huge in fact. I don't cry on the way to work because I don't know these new folks well enough to let them wipe my tears.
My next door neighbor's daughter had a baby girl two weeks ago. She moved in full time with her Dad next door right around the time her pregnancy became visible. She is twenty something, certainly she is old enough to have a baby and be a Mom. Her Dad put a balloon up on the mailbox: "It's a girl!" I sent a welcome baby card and received a nice card back. We chatted in the driveway about babies and umbilical cords and car detailing. She is starting her own business. It makes me happy to see her bravery and her her dedication to this new life.
I thought back on earlier funks, in particular my post baby funk. I couldn't fit shoes on my bloated feet, only slippers, refused to take narcotics after hospital discharge. I had underestimated the amount of Fentanyl still circulating in my body at the time of discharge. No problem I can handle this post C-section pain- piece of cake. Until 12 hours later, and then 24, and then 48, by which point I was pretty much raining tears most of the day. I had this beautiful, gorgeous little leprechaun of a baby, a miracle. And I was horrible, and fat and ugly, and lost and bewildered and I would NEVER be the same!! I explained all this to Melanoma Man along with the minor detail that I had forgotten my Prozac for two days in a row. The mere fact of forgetting launched a whole new wave of tears and caused me to aspirate the Prozac I was now remembering to take. Then I was sure it would burn a hole through my lung or aspiration pneumonia would ensue and what have you. Melanoma Man listened, suggested I take the Percocet, said goodnight and fell sound asleep. I was of course infuriated and misunderstood and all the drama. I came to know what he already knew, that I would never be the same again, but that I would be better.
Last Sunday at church, just the two of us. News of another cancer warrior who just got the news, "there's nothing more we can do." Melanoma Man looks as pale as he did when news of cousin Roy's death came. We had breakfast at church and were treated to a " Bless your heart," which I have always had trouble with, but now I understand why. The bless your heart people are insulated, standing on the shore, watching you bailing out your boat with the assuredness that this will never happen to them, to their high quality boat. It is pity that is bestowed by "Bless your heart." Mrs. Bless Your Heart introduced me to her visiting parents. "This is Sarah. She has the most precious boys. And Sarah is a... What are you? A nurse? Oh I thought you were something more." All this on the Eve of nurses week. It makes me want to be mean. It is why I like to go to the service and then run for the hills rather than stay for breakfast or Christian formation, otherwise known as Sunday school. I am afraid I might get formed into someone like her. I have decided not to have hurt feelings, but instead I will conjure up a vision of Dana Carvey as the Church Lady every time I see this woman. That makes me smile.
Melanoma. Man's spirits and ambitions are high. He has volunteered to share the job of Scoutmaster for the Boyscout troop with another Dad. It keeps him going, being needed by the boys and watching them all grow. He is feeling better, the best I have seen him in two years in this medical limbo called "disease progression free survival."
Dreams have returned after a long absence. Three Saturdays ago I woke up feeling not quite right. MM was wary of me and asked "what's up?" Nothing I replied. " it's definitely something," he said. After a few minutes I realized I was trying not to cry. A few more minutes and dreams from the night before started floating by. I dreamt of my house filled with roaches. We call them Palmetto bugs here in Florida, but they are really just abnormally large roaches. Just behind the veneer of that dream-a dream that the angels are coming soon, not for MM, but for someone else, likely a former patient from the old job. I told MM about the angels and he said " what does that mean?" I know that if you have to ask, then I should not explain it. I let him change the subject.
Mother's Day weekend coincided with our sixteenth wedding anniversary. We hung out at home due to me having cold/cough/ sore throat. The four of us did simple things like take a trip to Ace hardware to get seeds and marigolds and then plant them together. Melanoma Man and Butter worked on a science project. MM told me how envious he was of his elementary school classmates who got help from parents with homework or even had conversations about school with their parents. I see him getting to do with our boys all the things he missed doing with his parents.