Sunday, August 06, 2006

From the word Start

A few years ago, life and reality dealt us a blow we did not expect. Living with illness is something I am all too familiar with. Sickness, suffering and not knowing whether one is going to live or die is at the top of that worry list. As of late the subject of HIV and AIDS is at the forefront of discussion as the BIG HEADS of science and Medicine are meeting in Toronto this week. Many of us are hoping for the magic bullet. I have been hearing horror stories from long term survivors who are so fucking miserable and sick – that it unnerves me to my last good nerve.

On my birthday I saw this old queen on television that has had issue after issue and is on 80 pills a day treatment. I was speechless. What kind of archaic medicine is his doctor practicing? It felt as if we were back in the 80’s with so little to choose from. I guess I want to say that – I am a walking, talking, miracle of God’s grace with only a 12 pill day.

I guess I am grateful that I am not like most of them. I am not miserable in my own sickness any longer. I don’t sit in misery about HIV any longer. I have bigger fish to fry these days and I guess I no longer think about my own illness because I am focused on the illness that plagues the life of my husband.

Bi-polar II rapid cycling is not a picnic and has its moments of grace and also of insanity. I am learning as we walk along this life that I have to anticipate the cycle either beginning or coming to an end. I have to pay attention to the little things because those “little things” can and usually do give me clues as to where my husband is going in his head. We have been on the same medication regimen for a solid 6 months and the last 2 months have been particularly difficult.

There is so much one has to know, that I tried to keep one step ahead of the wave and still it overtook me in July. It took us both down a road that we have seen before, but not for the fact of mental illness, but because we were poor in those days, fresh in sobriety, trying to build a life together, learning how to collect pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. It took us years to figure out how to be financially sound and responsible. Parts of the Bi-Polar issues are trends and cycles, addictions and problems. Issues that I had not spent time looking at before – now I know better.

I talked to banking people and we worked out financial plans and I got advice as to how I can control the flow and payment of funds to and from the bank. I had to pay out more money this month (August) than I had originally planned, but they tell me that with this plan we should be able to dig ourselves out of this financial hole we are in quicker than expected. Spending is an issue with most people, but even worse for someone who is having issues. When you add up addiction and sobriety, bi-polar and life issues of a personal issue, it is amazing that he did not kill himself before now. I guess my being here kept the demons at bay because I protected him.

But as well, my protection enabled him to take advantage of me in certain areas, which I am trying to fix. Aside from the emotional issues he deals with, there are financial issues we both must look at and agree to change because we have to or else we will end up on the street. Cycles come and go they can last for days or for months or for weeks, it all depends on how you treat the cycle. Manic depression is the other name that Bi-Polar disease represents, so one has to keep the low from going too low and the high from getting manic. And that takes some work. We have had manic days and we have had low days. Proper vigilance is costly if you fail to see and read the signs.

Eating and sleeping habits are big key signs to look at. If one is eating too much or sleeping too much or are addictive behaviours presenting themselves? Everything in this world can be looked at in addictive terms, because if you don’t see the bigger picture then you are missing the idea of the exercise. So you see, I don’t have time to worry about getting sick or being miserable, HIV takes a backseat to whatever the issue of the day is at the moment. Talk about learning to “live in the moment.” I have never lived in the moment for so long – it takes one day at a time, sometimes, one minute at a time.

I don’t have time to deal with the issues of some people. I can’t deal with high maintenance women with issues. I can’t afford to live in the past, and I surely cannot help someone who doesn’t want to listen to advice when they ask me for truth. Some of my friends are angry at me because I spoke truth to them, and told them what they need to do, when they asked me for help. So I am at a loss to help you from here on out, you are all on your own. I don’t need any more drama in my life, I have enough.

Hubby went to the gym today and I had a few hours to sit here and think. I listened to some music and did some reading; this was after my visit to the mother house. This is the first time I have had to face a death head on in some years. Needless to say, it has been 11 years since I have lost a family member and I don’t know how this is going to affect me personally. But the longer I sat by Sister’s bedside I could see she wanted to let go, and I did not think about “permission” until I got home. I called my uncle in Drummondville and told him what was going on. The Quebecois family of my mothers brother’s and sister’s do not keep in contact with me and I don’t assume to think that they would, none of them have reached out to me since I came to Canada. So why bother now. I have had my share of one way relationships and I just don’t have the strength to keep one going today. So that was my afternoon.

There is so much going on in my life that I have to remember to take care of me, and I do that. I am good to myself – I do honour my spirit and my soul. On Tuesday I take care of me and my fellows at my home group. I forgot to mention that I worked on a little more editing of my manuscript – I think I am finished with it now. I got through the last 10 chapters and the end of the book, so I need to go print it out this week and hand it off to Donald.

I guess we choose our battles – and I have chosen mine. I may not be the perfect partner in marriage – but I do my best with what I have and I love unconditionally. Because if I was not here, who would love someone like Peter. Many of my friends tell me that I should walk away from my marriage and get a life. They tell me that I should not have to deal with this crap that I do? So there is a new wall that stands between me and some of the men that I used to trust to give me sound advice. So this is what I have to offer you tonight. It is pensive and thought provoking. If you had issues in your life, how would you deal with them? And what is important in your life and what can you do away with that holds you back from moving forward? I hope that my doc brings back some news on the medical front, which reminds me that I have to go drop labs this week. UGH!!

Goodnight from Montreal


Blogger Beverly said...

"I have never lived in the moment for so long." Jeremiah..that is powerful.

I pray you are appreciated for all the meticulous detail you attend to where your loved one's disease is concerned. Man, I'll take you as a friend any day...

Good is your aunt?

1:03 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Life is so much sweeter when we stay "in the moment", and I commend you for sticking by your partner in his trying times while also dealing with your own issues. I hope you'll have many many healthy years ahead of you!

11:15 AM  

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