I have this vision of the Oval Office having “FUCK FUCK SHIT FUCK”s bouncing off the walls like molecules pinging in boiling water.
It is not uncommon for that now-golden-hued room to hear expletives, but I’m betting that as the days unroll with the word “Russia” in each sentence, the “Shit, fuck, damn’s” have been accelerating and getting progressively louder. (And amusing side note: When searching “trump White House expletives,” the suggestions at the bottom of the page all had Bannon’s name in them. Hilarious… and expected.)
For 100 days, I cried and wrung my hands in terror that someone in the White House would accidentally (or on purpose) hit The Red Button and our world would be annihilated.
During those first 100 days, with every stroke of the president’s pen that removed women and children’s rights, that signed away our natural resources so the rich could get richer, that created enormous doses of xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, ordering the confiscation and deportation of people struggling to stay alive and on and on and on… and with every bizarre cabinet appointment, my heart broke and despair settled in.
I was directed by my doctors to stop watching the news because all it did was submerge me deeper into depression. I was joined by millions of others who had the new PTSD diagnosis called President Trump Stress Disorder, our nation’s leader now holding the distinction of being the first president to have an anxiety disorder named after him.
An epidemic is sweeping the nation, causing sufferers to experience feelings of hopeless doom, certain annihilation and cataclysmic collapse. It’s an existential plague manifesting itself by enveloping the stricken in a black cloud of despairing suicidal thoughts. The malady that is striking down innocent citizens left and lefter is … the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. It is literally making people sick.
But now, with the variety of Russian headlines intertwined with you all in that Oval Office, I am glued to the TV, the real news, (what you call the “fake news,”) and I sit on the edge of my seat waiting for the next delicious morsel of information.
“45” is what I call POTUS, the 45th president of the United States, that horrid man who squats in the White House tweeting (LYING) about random topics to divert our attention from the fucked up bullshit he does that will, PLEASE GODDESS, get him impeached.
We had some really nasty storms here in Orlando the past couple of days. During one particularly enormous gust, the electricity slammed off.
And They Vanished
I easily have hundreds of thousands of photos on my computer and several hundreds of thousands more on an off-site photo storage facility, SmugMug, that caters to professional photographers. (I love SmugMug; they are awesome.)
Anyway, I am in my photos several times a day, so when I opened my Pictures and it was nearly empty of my folders, each one holding thousands of pics, my stomach clenched and I thought I was going to throw up.
Had I done something to them? Deleted them? Filed them somewhere else? I am in this Manic Phase, could I have done something with them and not remembered?
I’ve been on the Internet since 1995 and I know how computers work pretty well. I know how it holds things… and how it loses things. I have lost everything twice in all these years, two computer crashes that swept everything into the ether. My pictures, my words. Everything I’d put on the computer, gone.
(Back in the olden days, it was a challenge saving things. Those enormous floppy disks, then 3.5 inch floppies/diskettes… nothing held much data and I knew nothing about external hard drives back then.)
The first time my computer died and everything vanished, I thought I was going to die. Quite literally. I was in a state of shock for far too long, then in mourning after that. I can still touch those emotions all these years later.
The second time it happened, I blinked, knew everything was forever-gone, took a deep breath, sighed, shrugged… and started all over again on the next computer.
Once I learned how to back-up my work, I did. Having a blog helped tremendously, my knowing my words would be forever online. Then, when I began taking hundreds, then thousands, of photos at births and at Disney World, I tried to keep them on at least 2 computers. Finally, SmugMug came along and I was able to put my pics in a safe, off-site place as well. I felt enormous relief.
But I have not sent any pics into SmugMug for at least 2 years.
So, 2 years of stuff has vanished. Blessedly, Meghann has every picture of her family, grandbabies included, so even though my copies are gone, she has them all for me. Thank goodness for Facebook’s Photos sections, too, so I can grab Aimee and Tristan’s pics again. However, there are loads of pics of me that I do not have anywhere else. Gone.
As I said, I am pretty good on the computer, so while I was distressed earlier tonight, even crying at times, I set to work looking for the lost files. Starting at the top and working my way down the tree, I searched. And searched. I scoured the Recycle Bin, recovering everything just in case I was missing something in my being upset. I poked around all the hidden places files and folders could hide, yet found nothing. I tried to move the computer’s date back in time, but it was stubborn and wouldn’t let me.
I was getting frustrated when my wondrous cyber-lover jumped in and brought logic and sensibility into my view, replacing the enormous mountain of emotion I’d been floundering in for the last several hours.
He Googled the problem and, lo and behold, this has happened to others before me! (Can you hear me laughing at how crazy I was not thinking about Googling earlier?!)
Apparently, there are apps to use to recover lost data. I am quite scared about downloading just anything lest there be nasty viruses included in them. I’m trying to figure out whether I should research and grab a recovery app to try and find my lost photos… or should I just sigh loudly and move on. At the moment, I am in a resolved place that the Universe doesn’t want me to have those pictures.
I cannot work. I can barely write. I am sleeping 100 hours a day.
Yet ANOTHER Visit to the Psychiatrist
Over and over and over I go, like on a loop, sitting in the Psych’s office, trying to form words that explain how I feel:
Premonitions of Agoraphobia
Infinitely sad (made worse by Aleppo)
So, so, so tired
And words I do not share because they will toss me in the hospital if they fall out of my mouth. We’ll just let them sit in there and rot.
Another change in meds. Lowering the Risperdal, upping the Wellbutrin. Will it make one iota of a difference? Can’t I have some speed, please? “We don’t want you having those horrible hallucinations again, do we?” (Yes, please. If I can stay awake.)
I go a couple three days without reading even headlines. Then, like tonight, I peek at what is trending.
And now I am despondent.
Just the headlines are enough to make me want to crawl in a hole. Imagining these people in control, making rules and regulations (or undoing regulations as the case may be)… it’s terrifying.
I do not say the word “rape” lightly. I do not use it randomly. I have been raped. I know the seriousness of the word.
So when I say I am horrified seeing who is going into the Cabinet because they are going to rape the United States, I mean it with all the terror that comes with the word.
The people being appointed are going to make the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) “conflict” look like a picnic. They are going to dig deep into the land, tearing up beautiful homes, ruining National Parks… and the repercussions will be felt/known/experienced for hundreds of years after these fucking pigs are out of office and dead.
I felt hopeless for a couple of hours. My chest felt like someone was sitting on it; I struggled to breathe. My blessed cub held me and talked to me as I cried about how horrible this all is.
And it hasn’t even begun yet!
I think that’s the scariest for me is if I am this upset and sad now, what am I going to be like in a year when we are in the middle of the rape, still years ahead to be attacked… every which way we try to get away, to fight our attacker, he strong-arms us and continues the assault.
Not Giving Up
I saw this photo:
I cannot let anyone die alone.
No LGBTQIA+ youth who is outed because of new laws will not be alone. We will do everything in our power to save you from the evils of “conversion therapy”… torture.
No woman who has to have an illegal abortion because abortion has been outlawed will not be alone. Those who can will learn to do abortions safely, despite the laws, risking jail, but finding the risk is far less than a woman attempting self-abortion.
No Muslim who has to “Register” to be in this country will not register alone. Women who have their hijabs mocked or pulled off will be defended so she is able to practice her religion in this country that still allows religious freedom (so far).
No woman who is attacked… grabbed “by the pussy”… will not mourn and heal alone.
No Black man, woman or child will endure the escalating hate and murder alone.
No immigrant, here legally or “illegally,” will fight to live here alone.
No Native American will have to wrest their rightful land back from the lying White people alone.
No disabled person will be left to live or suffer alone. We will find the tools they (WE!) need for anyone who still has needs. We will not let the world become completely able-ist, forgetting/not caring for those who have challenges.
No writer, photographer or artist will be censored. We will find ways to get the words and images out to the world.
No child who is hungry and has lost their free breakfasts, lunches or dinners will starve alone. We will find food for you precious babies of ours.
And then there are the promises I cannot keep:
We will not know the impact slashing Social Security will have on our elder Americans. Will they die alone freezing and starving while those in charge have billions of dollars to spare?
What are we going to do for our mentally ill (myself included)? What if our free care is removed? What if we are not allowed our medications, therapy, our psychiatrists?
We know a only fraction of our brothers, sisters and others who have killed themselves because of their despair of who is coming into the White House. What of all the others who are misgendered, hidden, reported as dying of “natural” or “accidental” causes when they really overdosed on purpose. So many suffering without our knowing they are there.
I need to go house by house looking for those in pain. Like the Christians in Germany who saved the Jews, taking chances, risking death even… all to save even one soul.
I might cry again. No, I will cry again.
But I cannot give up. I cannot let someone die reaching out for another hand. I know mine is not the only one searching. Maybe, just maybe, if we all keep holding our arms out, joining hands, we might be able to save more than just one person.
It’s really sucky to just be living your life, tooling along as usual, talking with your lover… and then BAM! have your head smacked with a baseball bat and suddenly being an incoherent, crazy person contradicting yourself and being mean to the last person on earth you want to be mean to.
I can’t even find the words yet for how embarrassed and ashamed I am for hurting someone I love so much.
I know. triggers are triggers and sometimes cannot be helped because seeing them down the road isn’t possible.
NOTE: I am a retired midwife. That alone makes many, many people nod and say, “I can see what’s coming now,” because care providers are the worst patients ever. I lived up to that expectation. In spades.
I had to have my Pap yesterday morning. It took until this morning for me to be able to relive the experience for a post.
It Unfolds This Way
I am ushered behind The Door by the Nurse-Practitioner’s assistant (LPN? I don’t know) and right there is the fucking scale. Knowing my weight, I told the girl and she said I had to get on the scale, she cannot take my word for it. I looked at her and said, “I am not getting on the scale.” She says, pretty snotty-like, “Patient refuses weight” and jots it on my chart.
I rolled my eyes.
She takes me into the exam room and there, laying out is the baby-sized paper top and a teeny sheet to cover yourself with. I wore a shift with no undies, no bra, expecting to just lift everything up. Easy peasy. I also spied the plastic speculum in the wrapping: medium.
The assistant took my blood pressure (incorrectly) on my forearm and I had to show her where to put the bladder tubing over my artery on my lower arm. She wasn’t happy I changed her rhythm. Tough shit.
Went over meds, any current problems, past STDs (HSV & HPV) how many sexual partners this year. I laughed. How many in a lifetime? I said hundreds. She turned and said, “Are you serious?” (which I thought was rude as fuck); I said I was. I imagine she then typed into the computer: DO HIV TEST.
When she was done with the computer question & answer part of the fun, she proceeded to tell me to take off my bra and underwear and put the teeny covering over my top, opening in the front for breast exam and to cover myself with the miniscule paper drape. Even the Chux on the table was infant-sized. Then she left.
The table was lower than the one above, so I sat on it… on the Chux and drape, with zero intention of taking my stretchy dress off.
Then my mind started going:
She (the wonderful Nurse-Practitioner) isn’t going to be able to see your cervix with that medium spec. You need a large at least, if not x-tra large. I already know my walls fall inward ( a common multip and/or fat issue, of which I have both). What if I need the specialized ones where the spec has the blades on the side, too? What if I need to go see a GYN? Are they going to fat-shame me because I need a special speculum? I hate Hate HATE putting my legs in the stirrups. (I can feel the tears welling in my eyes just writing this out.) What if she tries with the medium and cannot see my cervix? Then I will have to see someone else and do this all over again. Maybe I will just skip it altogether and just talk about my Dexa Scan and the Hematologist I need to see for my chronic anemia.
Where did all this anxiety come from?! Fuck, I have had at least 30 or 40 pelvic exams before, including student midwives so they could learn what a fat body feels like. This was so different, though.
Maybe I will just skip it altogether.
The Visit Begins
In came the NP and the assistant who was already gloved (a no-no). I didn’t say anything because I was too anxious about my body.
I love this NP. We share an obsession with Disney stuff and talk about it all the time when I see her. I told her how good it was to see her and I relaxed a little.
She had the HIV test in her hand (we used to do the oral ones when I was a midwife, too) and I said, “I guess you want to do the HIV test now?” and opened my mouth. She did the swabby thing over my cheeks and gums and then put it in the solution for the 20-min wait.
I shared my latest labs. My HgbA1c was down from 7.7 to 7.2 in 3 months. Yay! She was going to give me a referral to the Hematologist because my anemia had now turned chronic (Hgb of 9.9-10.1 over 9 months) and to the Endo again for the osteoporosis I now have (both the anemia and the osteoporosis from the Gastric Bypass in 2001) to get shots.
I then point to the speculum on the side table and tell her it ain’t gonna fit, do they have a large one? Ayup. They do. The assistant chick got it out from under the cupboard.
I say I do not want a bimanual exam because she won’t feel anything anyway and they always hurt because the provider tries so hard to find my tubes and ovaries and my liver already hurts. She said no problem. Just the Pap. (The fucking Pap.)
She asked if I had had my mammogram this year. Nope. Do you want a breast exam? Nope. Just the mammogram; I examine my own breasts, thanks. She said, “No problem.
The Fucking Pap
Then it was time when I had to lay back and put my feet in the stirrups. I whined about how fucking flimsy they were and she said she thought they were better than the leg supports and I said that, for fat people, the leg supports are far superior because it is difficult to keep our legs under control in the lithotomy position.
She put her gloves on then began touching my labia and I felt the fucking speculum. I know they aren’t supposed to hurt and for fuck’s sake I have done 100s of spec exams on women myself so know how it goes for many… it isn’t comfortable. Or pleasant. For me, they fucking hurt.
Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow until she was in and swerved the spec around upright, then the pain stopped. Opening it was fine. She said, “I see your cervix right there!” I was so happy I could have screamed. When she took the specimen, it didn’t hurt. Coming out was fine. That going in… sheesh. Sex sure doesn’t hurt like that. (Lube, lube and more lube, that is why. No lube is used on the specs lest they contaminate the specimen.)
And she was done. I wanted to cry with relief because she found my cervix so easily, didn’t have to take it out and retry again and again or send me to someone else. Goddess forbid something be wrong and I need to have dozens of them. Ugh.
(And in case you are wondering, yes I am a Survivor of Sexual Abuse & Rape and am sure that has an enormous hand in my discomfort issues.)
And my HIV test was negative. Yay! Good for 6 more months.
Fuck am I glad that fucking thing is over with for a year.