I used to enjoy Twitter because with somewhat impaired vision it was easy to hold the iPad mini close to my face and either read, RT, or send a tweet. With a limit of 140 characters, it was simple and didn’t require Siri or a dictating app. It took awhile but I finally had the settings adjusted so that gruesome animal photos didn’t appear in my timeline. I basically use Twitter for funny memes and K9 tweets. It became nasty leading up to the election in November and downright vicious after the election results. People seemed to divide based on political affiliation. Many from both parties had their Twitter accounts suspended because of hateful tweets. Social media brewed morally repugnant extremism; conspiracy theories, pedophile rings, white supremacy, Satanic rituals, fake news and Pizzagate. Users quickly divided into two groups ~ the libs and the alt-right.
And I still haven’t figured out Pepe the Frog except it belongs to the alt-right.
The alt-rights are also referring to themselves as the Deplorables and the liberals are being called Snowflakes. I’m clueless on both.
The alt-right is joining a new social media site called Gab which promises no censorship. Someone told me there was a several week wait; I took a pass as it just doesn’t appeal to me.
I’ve never been a heavy social media user. Never felt the need to post a breakdown of my daily routine on the internet. I’m not saying it’s wrong but rather it’s just not for me.
I actually began to enjoy blogging for the short time before my “eye surgery gone wrong”.
Now it takes twice as long (if not longer) because the dictating app doesn’t “get” my accent. I’m not offended however because most Mainers don’t understand me either.
So I’m counting down the days till my right eye is repaired on Jan 31 and praying they don’t make my next appointment 3 months out. Sasha saw the vet today and he told me that because of a severe storm warning for Tuesday, his dentist’s office called to reschedule an appointment he made months ago. His new appointment? June! At least I know it’s not just me.
I’ve been having a difficult time the past week or so whenever I attempted to do the next entry in my GDS Sasha’s blog ~ only because the time period I’ll be writing about was very difficult for me. Then out of the blue on Thursday a woman on Twitter reached out and asked if I was the person who used to have a Facebook page for my black dog named Callie. I was dumbstruck and sat down because it really caught me off guard. She said she put two and two together because she remembered I had a German Shepherd with a Facebook page as well, was passionate (ok crazed) about K9 deaths due to handler negligence so connected the dots. All she wanted was some support because she was lost and floundering and oh God do I remember those feelings. She had been rejected by every animal organization she applied to for even the smallest of financial grants and said she recalled I wrote a two-part article called “My Dog Has Cancer ~ Now What?” Honestly? When I wrote in Callie’s Crusade I never thought anyone was reading it; it was more of a catharsis for me. Well, perhaps catharsis is an oxymoron for while I wanted to purge my emotions at the same time my writing kept Callie with me. Fortunately I still have all my paperwork from Callie’s illness and was easily able to pull up the articles she was looking for. When she gave me her email address I realized she lives in Florida. I asked if she had applied to Emma’s Foundation but she’d never heard of it. Emma’s was started by a wonderful women as a way of honoring her late dog who died from cancer. From the organizations humble beginnings it’s grown exponentially. They were located in Vermont and were one of the very few if not the only organizations that would assist animals in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine. There are several in New England that are only open to applicants from Massachusetts. As luck would have it the founder and president of Emma’s relocated to Florida in the beginning of 2016 and has had many successful fundraisers both there and in New England. Emma’s is now available to dogs from Florida so I gave the information to the woman. She was ecstatic when she emailed me on Friday to say a gentleman from Emma’s reached out to her that day shortly after she filled out the online application. I felt happy for her and Maggie because I felt sure Emma’s would lend her a hand. Plus the founder has become a friend and she is just such a kind and compassionate woman. Something this poor lady really needed. Maggie’s mom said she saw on Emma’s website that they were having a fundraiser today (Saturday) and did I think she and Maggie coud go as she didn’t live far from where it was being held. I emailed the founder and she happily said “Sure! Can’t wait to meet them”.
Today is a rainy day and I was just fiddling around writing about the El Faro tragedy for it sunk one year ago today. I received an email around 11am from Maggie’s mom and I expected it to say she was at the fundraiser. Instead, she was at the emergency vet because Maggie has a hemoabdomen (abdomen full of blood). She was so distraught! I responded by saying perhaps it was her spleen which would be the best diagnosis. But she replied that Maggie’s spleen ruptured in February and was surgically removed. Maggie was very weak and they’d given her a blood transfusion but at that point (3:55pm ET) they still didn’t know where the bleeding was coming from.
I wrote the usual things about trying to stay strong don’t worry about money now but focus on Maggie. Then she emailed the words I knew all too well “Help me I’m terrified“at which point I began crying and still havent fully relaxed. It’s the absolute worst place to be ~ a netherworld between the life or death of your faithful and much-loved companion. When the prognosis can change drastically in a matter of minutes. You’re cold and alone even if you’re surrounded by family. I can’t quite describe it but it is horrible. My heart aches for her yet I’ve never met her or her Maggie. I emailed my friend (the founder of Emma’s) to update her because I knew the fundraiser was over at 4pm and thought ~ I don’t know. Maybe she could connect with Maggie’s mother.
Every day it seems there’s another horrific case of animal abuse in the media. Puppies being raped, dogs and cats enduring horrific torture at the hands of psychopaths, family dogs being stolen and killed for “fun”. Yet I never become immune to it which is why for my own sanity I limit myself to unnecessary K9 deaths. occasionally something so egregious will hit me and I go off on a media blitz but for the most part I stick with working dogs. Their deaths due to carelessness upsets me yes but in a semi-detached way. whereas loosing a family dog to cancer sends an arrow right through my heart.
PS: As I was finishing she emailed to say Maggie is stable but they would like to keep her. She opted to take her home; a decision I agree with. I told her that since Maggie entered her life they’ve been making a memory book together. To keep making them hour by hour and never let that book close.
I’ve been so preoccupied with bringing my dogs blog somewhat up to date that I’ve pretty much let every else go. However I made a decision that is huge (for me at least) and even though I’m relieved by it at the same time I feel as if the sword of Damocles is hanging over my head.
I’ve been unhappy with my small Catholic parish for quite some time. Some of the parishioners would openly mimic the former priest if he made a gaffe in speaking during his homily. I’m a creature of habit and always sat on the left in the 8th pew back from the alter. This “influential” family sat in the 6th pew and I’d watch them giggle, talk amongst themselves and shake their heads the few times the priest misspoke. He was at the podium on our side of the church so I know he saw them. Not sure what it is about the elite in my community because a wealthy and highly respected family had my dog before me and suffice it to say they were not good to her. The priest was like me, an outsider, or as the locals call us “flatlanders”. I was quite sad when he announced earlier in the summer that he’d requestedto be relieved of his duties at the parish and the diocese had granted it.The parish had an ice cream social for him as a going away gesture and (4) people came. It was sickening considering it was following the more heavily attended Sunday mass and people were already there.
The his replacement came whom I’ve dubbed Father Granola. I think I wrote about him a few posts back. The parishioners fawn over him yet he’s got the personality of a turnip.But, he’sa native Mainer. This is his first parish assignment as he was previously a hospital and college chaplain. He’s not a young priest direct from the seminary as he’s mid 40’s but he’s only been a priest for about 10 years.The first night he offered mass he streamlined it by cutting out announcements and things he felt weren’t necessary, like the names of the recently deceased. He stares at the ceiling most of the time and speaks in such a flat monotone that I personally struggle to stay awake. I could probably tolerate all of that but I simply cannot tolerate the BS that goes on with the members of the parish. The hypocritical behaviors and outright meanness has taken its toll on me. I realize every church has its own unique character, or “flavor.” Some congregations are very traditional, while others are more informal in how they express their beliefs. Some may see themselves as very conservative in theology, while others may be more moderate or even progressive. Having said that, I’ve never been a member of a church where parishioners are so openly repugnant and adults in their 60’s mock a priest for saying the wrong word or mislabeling the name of a town. Who in their right mind behaves like that? Maybe children in second grade but not intelligent adults. It’s not a Catholic thing, a Methodist thing, a Jewish thing ~ it’s an ugly thing. A perfect example of abhorrent behavior. I just cannot sit there every Saturday night listening to a priest talk about organic seeds and watch people gush over it. Yet at the same time I feel disloyal, as if I’m passing judgement on others when I shouldn’t be. I feel guilt for walking away from the only religion I’ve ever known but in all honesty, I don’t know it anymore nor do I understand it. I don’t necessarily believe that the only way you can have God in your life is by entering a building once a week. He doesn’t live there. He doesn’t have a bedroom set up behind the alter. I think God is within us; He makes us who we are and defines our values and guides our moral compass.
This whole thing is causing me more angst than I anticipated. If there was another Catholic church I’d simply go there but the next closest one is 55 miles and I’m not making a 110 mile round trip. I don’t like all the driving I do now and am not adding another weekly trip into the mix.
In time I might have the answer ~ then again I might not.
On a brighter note, some of you might have read my posts during a recent (3) day blog challenge. I focused on Blue, a (6) month old puppy found October 2, 2015, on the outskirts of the woods near Sunday River Ski Resort in the Western Mountains of Maine. His muzzle had been taped shut. The ACO took him to Bethel Animal Hospital where he was treated for an extended period of time.
He was saved by one of my veterinarian’s, Dr. Gary Stuer, who owns BAH. Dr. Stuer said the most remarkable thing about Blue was his ability to love. He was adopted by a wonderful family and on October 8 will be at my veterinarian’s Open House. I’m definitely going and hope to get a lot of pictures of this remarkable boy. We should all have the capacity to forgive and love like this abused yet loving pup. The name of his forever family has remained confidential as Blue’s abuser has not been identified. The HSUS has offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of this despicable person.
I’m not a savvy blogger so unsure of menus, icons etc. Please click to see my German Shepherd’s blog, Sasha’s Journey, which I’ve created to chronicle her unique and complicated medical issues which include stem cell therapy. She has a You Tube channel, also called Sasha’s Journey, which covers her journey from onset until present day. Please check both of them out and if you find them interesting, please subscribe and follow. Sasha is a work in progress but most of all, very much loved!
I guess I should write about this as it’s affected deeply me for weeks. I was sailing along doing well as far as my PTSD. The severe flooding I experienced in 2012 after being fired from my job for reporting workplace violations seemed to have resolved. It was a good thing because I still haven’t found a new therapist. I had one and hit it off well but my insurance won’t cover her. Something about she has the wrong type of accreditation; she’s an LCPC as opposed to a LCSW. In the Western Mountains of Maine there aren’t many choices unless one wants to drive an hour to see a therapist. I’ve found my insurance company reasonable in the past so intend to ask them for a reconsideration. I was just so busy between getting my German Shepherd’s blog up (BTW that’s not her picture up there), traveling for her weekly treatments and grad school beginning at the end of July with a required (10) day stay at one of their campuses.
Then out of the blue an email crossed my path about mid August. The story was so horrific that I was triggered immediately. I mean, I could literally feel it spread through my body ~ both cold and warm at the same time. The abuse this 4 year old girl suffered was very similar to what I had endured. Although I never thought my name was Idiot, I had been called it many times. In the past if I was triggered that intensely I withdrew for a while until I could get my emotions in check. However because of my dog’s medical issues I had veterinarian appointments so hiding out at home wasn’t an option. Dogs are very important to me as I never really knew unconditional love, no make that love in any form, until I emancipated myself and adopted my first shelter dog. It’s been a dog that’s gotten me through some of the worst times of my life so not keeping her appointments wasn’t an option. Then in the past when I’ve been emotionally fragile due to triggers I’ve found solace in the Catholic church but this summer I’ve taken, for lack of a better word, a sabbatical from it for several reasons. It’s a small parish where everyone knows your name (like Cheers ) yet they are mean, spiteful and unkind. So much so that the previous priest asked to be reassigned. He was replaced with a granola priest who I’m convinced will have the parishioners out there planting a church garden next spring. Plus he stares at the ceiling and speaks in a dull monotone (he’s only 40). Yet the parishioners fawn over him like high schoolers at a prom. I was in the departing line one time and heard the couple in front of me telling him how wonderful it was to have a priest that, “Is one of us”. They were referring to him being a native of Maine whereas the previous priest was, God forbid, a transplant (like me). Then next up our diocese settled a sexual abuse case from many years ago and it came out that they would have settled earlier but wanted the victims to sign a confidentiality agreement to never discuss the abuse which the now adult victims vehemently refused to do. If anyone has read some of my past posts, then you know I had a similar situation where I wouldn’t sign that type of agreement. I was flabbergasted as it was my understanding that the church was no longer “covering” up sexual abuse by priests. Guess I was wrong and it left me very unsettled. So seeking comfort in the church wasn’t an option either.
Instead I’ve thrown myself into writing Sasha’s blog, sometimes for 8 hours straight. It had originally been a Facebook page where she had over 200 followers but Facebook is simply not the venue for me so I deactivated my account. Since Sasha’s medical journey began in March 2016 that’s where I started the blog. Yet, when I’m not taking her to the vet I ignore people and stay home. I don’t have a lot of friends. Strike that. I have one good friend and some acquaintances. I haven’t talked to my good friend since I read about this abused child. I just don’t feel like engaging in banal conversation. Perhaps that makes me sound terrible but I’m trying to focus on what’s best for me for once instead of doing what other people expect of me. I never liked making small talk anyway but especially when I’m upset.
Anyway, that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. I still haven’t figured out how to put a share widget on this page for my dog’s blog but when WordPress Live Chat comes to life again on September 26 I’ll try and remember to initiate a chat before 7pm ET. I usually forget about it till long after that. Or, maybe I’ll just order one of these books. Seriously I’m a fan of the “Dummy” books.
I am going out on a no-dog related adventure next week. My iPhone 5S must have known Apple was launching a new one because it died ~ as in deader than a doornail. I’m a visual person so want to see the size difference between the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The only thing I DO know is that if you opt for monthly payments through Apple you get Apple Care free. Verizon has a similar deal. Whereas if you buy it outright you get nothing, nada, zilch.
No significance to this cat picture other than I like it so much I used it as my screensaver at most of my jobs.
I’ve been reluctant to write anything because the past week if it could go wrong it has and honestly? Nobody wants to hear someone who’s whine mode is in overdrive.
My dog GSD Sasha received her first pair of custom boots from the shoemaker last Saturday ~ these are actually meant to be her water shoes as the river that abuts my property has a very rocky bed. She had some minor abrasions however from knuckling on the asphalt parking lot when we initially visited the shoemaker and until they were 100% healed I didn’t feel comfortable taking her in the river lest the one remaining open abrasion become infected. They seemed to be healing a tad slow so I switched from bacitracin to Calendula and the difference is amazing. My target date for *River Swimming* was Friday but it’s been raining all weekend. Hopefully she’ll get her everyday boots complete with Vibram soles next Saturday. For anyone interested in seeing a video of the shoemaker putting them on her for the first time as he explains everything or one of me describing just the boots, you can see them on her public You Tube channel called Sasha’s Journey. They are the (2) videos dated August 6. I also have a small photo album on Sasha’s public Facebook page that can be viewed by anyone with the link ~ one doesn’t need to have a FB account.
Boots aside I have a dilemma and not sure what to do at this point as the entire fiasco is causing me severe anxiety. The only thing I do know is that I’m tired of being treated like a second class citizen. Prior to my aborted AT hike in 2015 I went to an optometrist I’ve used a few times for eye exams and new glasses because the only local ophthalmologist has an excessive wait time for appointments; you usually have to book at least 8-10 months in advance. I gave her my existing pair (love the frames) to have new RX lenses put in plus ordered a second pair, new frames and lenses. Fot thecompletely new pair I even ordered transition lenses as I wanted them for hiking. For some crazy reason they were both approximately $415 which no one could explain. So after paying a bit over $850 I went home only to have difficulty seeing with the glasses. Yes I wear progressive lenses BUT I take them off for reading **Will get back to that**. I called and was told to bring them in for an adjustment. Fine. Didn’t work. Called again and had to wait (2) weeks to see the optometrist. She ordered a different RX for (1) pair of glasses. When they arrived it was like looking through vaseline coated lenses. Her response? Its been over 60 days so if I need different glasses she would be happy to schedule me for another eye examination but I would pay for the exam and new glasses. She said I had rapid cataracts (I was 49). Made an appointment with my ophthalmologist who I’ve been going to off and on at least yearly since he opened his practice. The only reason I got in at (6) months was because of a cancellation. He said I had beginning cataracts but they weren’t the rapid type. In November 2015 I had my right eye done and early December the left. Because with surgery ones vision changes, what his practice does is have you see the optical department, pick out new glasses and when they come in you take them home. Because your vision changed for medical reasons, health insurance covers part of the cost of the new glasses. The practice submits to insurance first and then bills you the remaining balance after insurance payment. The first problem was once my eyes settled down from surgery, I realized I could no longer read without glasses. I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was as he never told me that would happen. The Rx glasses came in the late December and I knew immediately they werent going to work but I had to wait until mid-February to get an appointment with him. His office has a prominently displayed sign that he is the “only ophthalmologist between here and the Canadian border”. But seriously? For a well established patient? Meanwhile I kept going into his optical department and the woman would adjust the frames to no avail. Finally saw him in February and admit I didn’t advocate for myself as I should have for I left with no changes. As the winter snow melted I started going in the yard more. I fell over icy chunks of snow, fell over the cat inside, the dog toy, I even fell over something in a parking lot because I didn’t see it. I couldn’t read with the glasses even though the ophthalmologist said I should be able to as they were progressive lenses. His staff would talk to me in an almost condescending tone “Do you know what progressive lenses are?” or “Did you realize you have to turn your head to see out of the different sections of lens?” (NO but do you know how to turn around so I can kick your ass???).This despite me telling them I’d worn progressives for years. I called again in a few weeks because the glasses had gone from being a nuisance to a liability. That was mid March and the first available appointment was July 13th. I was like “Are you kidding me?????” Explained that I couldn’t drive, was falling, couldn’t knit, but the best they could offer was to put me on a cancellation list. Fast forward to June. I was sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office and struggling to read a piece of paper. A patient came out from seeing the dentist and approached me with a big hello. I COUD NOT SEE WHO IT WAS! Here it was a nurse I worked with for over five years.
That did it. The proverbial straw. I went home, typed the ophthalmologist (using the cheater glasses I keep all over the house) a nice but firm letter detailing the struggle I’ve had with the glasses he prescribed. How I’ve worn glasses since I was 20 and never experienced anything remotely similar to this. I also wrote that I was disappointed he was unable to see me in a more timely fashion considering I was one of his first patients when he established the practice. I mentioned that he never told me I would lose my ability to read without glasses nor did he inform me of the option to have a complete corrective lens implant (Multifocal IOL’s) and pay the difference above the insurance payment. I ended by saying I was not paying the $213 balance (I had received the bill a few weeks prior) because why on earth would I pay for glasses that were a health hazard? I took the letter, a copy and the glasses to his office. Even though the answering machine says open 8-4 apparently they close at 2 pm on Mondays as only one staff member was there. I asked her nicely to sign the copy to acknowledge receipt of the glasses. Well my God she acted like I was an axe murderer! If I hadn’t recorded her reaction I wouldn’t have believed it. She refused to sign, refused to accept the glasses and tried to slide the window shut as she tossed the glass case out and towards me. Since I’m ambidextrous I caught the case with my left hand and tossed it back in just before the glass shut. Then I left. I really thought I’d hear from him but I didn’t. That rather surprised me as we had always got along rather well, sharing a mutual love of dogs and hiking.
Then I received another bill ~ with a late charge added. I wrote yet another letter only this time more stern. I laid it out in precise terms that I was not paying for glasses I couldn’t see with, I’ve been his patient for 10 years yet he made no attempt to ameliorate an unsatisfactory situation. I closed by saying I had recorded the interaction with the staff member when returning the glasses plus I had hard copies of all phone bills indicating the dates and length of calls to his office. I mailed it certified with restricted delivery. What happened? Tuesday I received a typed letter from the office manager saying since I was unkind to the staff it was best if we parted company (as if I would go back there), that I had “forgotten your glasses at the desk” and she’d be happy to mail them to me. Also wrote she will send my records to a new ophthalmologist for me (yeah right and they’d mark it with PIA) but I will continue to be billed and accrue late charges until such time they turn my account over to a collection agency.
Now I couldn’t make this nonsense up if I had to! I think I’m living in the twilight zone or there’s something in the water because in my entire life I’ve never encountered such difficulty with medical providers, insurance agents, car dealers, plumbers ~ you name it. I feel like I’m in some kind of alternate reality. One could say “Is the $213 + interest worth a battle” considering I just ended a four-year legal issue. But I already paid over $850 in 2015 for glasses that I couldn’t see out of now this? That’s over $1,000 in a little over a year and I still need to get glasses I can actually wear and see with. I asked my husband what he thought but he gave me his stock answer “I didn’t know”. I kid you not ~ that’s his answer to everything so not sure why I bothered asking. I could report the problem to the licensing board but that entails another battle. It gets old. It’s draining. Yet paying for glasses I can’t wear feels like I’m giving in to bully tactics.
I would be less than honest if I didn’t say how much stress this entire “eye” issue is causing. If truth be told I had a terrible winter because of my inability to read without glasses AND not being able to read with the cheater ones as clearly as I would like. As for knitting? Forget it. Perhaps if my near vision gradually worsened there wouldn’t be an issue but to lose it overnight was upsetting. I’m one of those people who actually like glasses. I went the contact lens route in the 90’s but more for fun as I got them in a different colors. For work (nursing) I always wore glasses so as to have the best visual acuity. I also think that the entire vibe of the ophthalmology office upsets me, from the assistants talking to me was if I was an idiot, to the woman acting like I was a deranged axe murderer because I wanted her to accept/sign for the glasses and ending with the doctor with whom I’ve had an excellent report for a decade.
I’m trying to work on PTSD issues which include feelings of self-worth but this “stuff” keeps getting in the way. I’ve noticed I have increased insomnia and have caught myself clenching my jaw. I won’t even get into the headaches from continual eye strain. How can something that’s supposed to be relatively easy i.e. getting new glasses turn into such a fiasco?
I’m really open to suggestions. And for what its worth, I really don’t like the cheater glasses.
PS: I found out AFTERthe fact from my church committee that most people don’t use the local optometrist nor ophthalmologist because of less than stellar experiences.
It seems like so many things are happening at once. As some of you know I’m working on MFA. The whole whistleblower thing makes me leery of practicing nursing ~ at least in this state. Since my first bachelors was in a completely different concentration, I’m continuing that. It started already with a ten-day residencies that is considered the beginning of each semester. It’s on the coast which is a bit of a drive as I live in the Western Mountains. I stayed there some nights but because of Sasha came home a few others. Coming from an urban area I’ve never adjusted to everything being so far away. Nor that there is often only a 2 lane highway where one is usually trapped behind logging trucks.
When I am home trying to do anything online is an effort in futility. It took 10 hours to upload an 8 minute video to You Tube! Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I have DSL which is the ONLY option available in my area except for satellite and those who have gone that route regretted it. So usually I wait till I’m in a Starbucks to upload my dog videos. Ridiculous right? If I need to download something I make sure all devices are in airplane mode. Crazy…
It’s also been extremely humid which causes me severe sinus headaches but because of widespread drug abuse, getting even a small prescription for an effective pain killer is impossible. Fortunately the humidity is due to end and I can’t wait. It’s normally not a problem where I live so hopefully it won’t be a recurring theme next summer if for some reason I’m still living here in 2017.
Looking forward to catching up with everyone’s blogs the next few days!
This has been my most difficult post to date. I actually wrote it a week ago but whenever I tried to post I simply couldn’t get my finger to scroll the touchpad to the Publish widget. Even tonight the simple task of proof reading has taken on a life of its own ~ so I’m just doing it…
I’ve pondered my own question since I initially posted it on June 22 and think that in my case it’s safe to say it doesn’t. Life will be going along at a steady happy pace then out of the blue something happens and you’re transported back to a place you thought was long gone. A place, a time, or even a state of mind that you thought was buried with time yet here it is, front and center, reducing you to a bundle of spiraling emotions and tense nerve endings. You actually experience a physiological state called fight or fight.
The other night I wanted to escape all the horror in the world; the attack in France, assassination of police in Dallas, the civil unrest brewing in America and the ongoing terrorism in other parts of the world. I wanted to forget about my drive to spread the plight of K9s dying in hot police cars throughout social media. I wanted a night away from researching my dog Sasha’s complex and ever-changing medical needs so I turned to an ongoing and numerous subject ~ my hair. Blogged about my efforts over the years to have Pantene like hair and failing. I went to bed that night without a weight on my shoulders and it was truly wonderful. The next morning I was home alone with the dogs when it sounded like a knock on the front door. The dogs went ballistic because a knock on my door is truly a rarity. We live off the beaten path and our driveway is akin to a steep, dirt logging road disappearing up through trees. The only person that comes here with any regularity is the UPS delivery driver because I buy through Amazon frequently.
I don’t even have politicians soliciting my vote during election years. Complete solitude but instead of welcoming a knock on the door I went into a full-blown panic mode of almost epic proportions. Regressing a minute, panic induced because a knock on the door terrified me until I was about 23. It was approximately 14 years since the original life changing trauma, I was a mother and I NEEDED to lock it away because intellectually I knew I was safe. I knew my fear was irrational and I could not allow it to define me any longer, especially with small children who depended on me. I put the traumatic memory in a compartment within the deepest recesses of my mind and sealed it shut. I did the same with each horrible memory, one by one. I could not be the kind of mother my children needed, the kind of mother I ached for as a child as long as those memories were floating loose in my head. Once I completed the compartmentalizing and sealing process, I actually felt better. I won’t lie and say my psyche wasn’t in turmoil and chaos from time to time but I couldn’t afford to be so I suppressed it. I had an image of the storage area in my mind; it was a dark room with columns of boxes which not only appeared welded shut but each with a chain and padlock. For the most part they stayed safely locked away until 2012. Then came my rude awakening ~ that traumatic memories which have not been properly addressed and processed can never truly be left behind. Instead they lurk below the surface, ready to trigger you at any given moment and often without a precipitous factor. When an employer accused me of theft in retaliation for reporting activity to a state agency which I was ethically and morally bound to do, I knew I was risking my job but it never entered my mind that the repercussions would be so costly to my mental health. Of all the ways they could choose to retaliate they inadvertently stumbled on the ONE thing that most assuredly wold drop me to my knees ~ an unjustified accusation of theft. The very thing that caused so many of my childhood beatings. Of lying on the floor crying that I didn’t steal this or that but not being believed. Of being beat with a leather belt, kicked with feet or being pulled by the hair. All by the parent I loved and at the bidding of a truly demented woman. Even worse, there were no relatives to intervene, no teachers expressed concern about my frequent bruises and cuts, no social service agency reports nor police involvement. As I previously wrote when I tried to describe that day, all the individual compartments within my mind, relics of past abuse and terror, flew open and I was flooded like I never knew was possible. It was as if EVERY incident, EVERY beating, EVERY lie, EVERY emotion was front and center in my car, accosting me from the dashboard. I remember at one point suddenly pulling over, getting out and shaking my head hoping that would bring me back to the present, as if standing for a minute in the bright sun of a summer day would erase the horrors on the dashboard. It didn’t and even now, four years later I don’t know how I drove home. I have a deep-rooted fear of the police because they removed me from my childhood home before I was even ten years old. Not because I was a physically abused child, not because I was sexually assaulted the summer before kindergarten. It was because my crazy stepmother called them. My father came home later than usual that day and smelled of beer. I had the impression for several years that he wasn’t allowed to go to the bar unless he took me with him, a practice that began the summer before I started kindergarten. My mother would have conversations with herself during the day while sitting in the living room with a tissue tightly clenched in her hand. She wore a pained expression at times and an expression of smug superiority at other times. Superiority was the look she had as she showed me her dresses that she said were cheap substitutes of her expensive ones, switched by the nameless faceless people I was terrified of for many years. She radiated smugness as she proclaimed “They can’t fool me. I’m too smart”. That was the same expression she alternated with the pained look of a victim during the conversations she had sitting alone in the chair. I knew from listening by the door to her talking with herself that women were chasing my father in the bar; that they were trying to take him away. So began my ritual of going to the bar with my father. He had to come directly home from work, eat dinner (or not) then he and I left for the bar. I remember hour upon hour of sitting on the bar stool as he played pool with his friends. I had an endless supply of cheese puffs and orange soda from my fathers drunken friends. I would sit on the barstool staring at large jars of pickled eggs, pickled pigs feet, and just pickles that graced a section of the wooden bar near the beer taps. To this day I despise orange soda, cheese puffs and anything that’s pickled in any way, shape or form. I don’t drink alcohol, never went to a bar/club, play pool and so far haven’t had a conversation with either myself or a tissue.
PS: I snapped the header photo last week with an iPhone in Bethel ~ home to one of the several ski resorts in Maine. I drive there every week for Sasha’s acupuncture.