Friday, September 18, 2015

Feeling Alright

I went to the doctor today and got the dosage on my happy pills upped. Doubled, in fact. My prescription is written six months at a time, and with luck that will be just the right window for my new normal to have kicked in. Not that I'm suddenly pretending to know what the future holds. But I'm pretty certain I'm justified in expecting the turbulence of this year to slop over into the next, at least temporarily.

I prefer happy.

I was also talked into getting a flu shot, something I've never done before. Gonna be honest: The only reason I agreed was that they said it would be free because I was already there for the prescription consult. With money tight, the idea of getting something for free - even a needle in the arm - sounded OK to me. I think I've only had the flu once in the last decade, but, you know, free. And the nurse who administered the shot was so skillful that I barely felt it. Also, she was wise enough to not show me the needle until after she was done.

There's a fine line between professionalism
and insanity. Trust me.

And I was persuaded to make an appointment for a physical, which will take place next week. I haven't had a physical in...well, I don't even know. It's been a ridiculously long time since I've had a Pap smear or a cholesterol test or any of those things that indicate whether Death is stalking me somewhat closer than I'd like.

There are a number of reasons for that. But mostly I think that at some point, and problably longer ago than I realized, I stopped thinking of myself as someone worth taking care of.

One of the biggest long-term problems in my marriage was related to my spouse's laissez-faire attitude toward life. When we met, I was hyper-responsible and obsessed with following the rules - basically a little old lady in a young woman's body. His ability to live in the moment and relax was a revelation to me, not to mention very attractive. On the plus side, he taught me that it's OK to not take life so seriously all the time and to believe that things tend to work out fine in the end. I'm grateful to him for that. But on the flip side, his attitude didn't mature over time, and I grew to resent having to be the responsible one, and I allowed irresponsibility to become the default. Home repairs, car maintenance, financial management...I couldn't manage it all, and his flexible demeanor could turn very rigid when he felt pressured or criticized. So I emotionally retreated to a place where he wouldn't feel that way. As a result, there was never any money in the bank, never a plan to update the house, never a car that didn't die before its time because of neglect.

My health care became another casualty in the war of attitudes. Fortunately, I'm a very healthy person overall. But problems can develop at any time. The thought of that was too scary to contemplate, especially since illness is not simply debilitating but very expensive. And my spouse, unlike me, has had a number of fairly major health issues over the years. Eventually I began to tell myself that, since he was more likely to get sick, it was probably better if I didn't go looking for problems with my health. I stopped having well-woman exams, ignored appointments to have blood work done, and at the age of 47 have yet to have a mammogram.

There's a hereditary component to my lack of self-care, too. I'm not ready to go there. Let's just say I now recognize patterns in my life that didn't seem obvious when I was younger.

In any event, I'm reclaiming the right to take care of myself. (Or possibly claiming it for the first time.) It's not just for me; it's for Precocious Daughter, too, who needs a mother and a positive role model. I want to be both. I want her to be proud of me.

I'm going to take my meds, and safeguard my health, and allow myself to matter enough to make these things a priority.

It feels strange to have these thoughts. But it feels good. I'm all about feeling good.


  1. Take care of you, lady! We want you around as long as possible!

  2. If you've never had a mammogram, you're in for a treat. When it's over, you can roll up your boobs like that witch's legs after a house fell on her.

  3. Sometimes doing the right thing to be a good parental role model helps you to "fake it till you make it". Treating yourself as worthy of being her mom will someday become second nature. And once you can stay away from your ex, that will be a big help. PD is getting old enough to be able to schedule her own interactions with her father, other than conferring with you, you shouldn't have to be involved.... Take care of yourself!


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