It’s February Already?

I’m going to be very honest here… I’m in a bad place at the moment. Not so long ago I celebrated my first full year post marathon hospital stay. Upon getting home last year I had to push myself to walk again. I had to push myself to lose weight so that my BMI was low enough to qualify me for the transplant list. As I got more mobile, got smaller, and finally started to feel that I had some strength, I was more than ready to get back out into the world and experience it in a way I had denied myself for so long because of my bad habits. I didn’t get to do that though. This virus came about and I was in no position to chance catching it. So my world, while no longer restricted to a small hospital room, was still restricted to my home and my trips to dialysis every other day. As this wore on and spring passed, along with summer, than yet another autumn I didn’t get to be my Halloween best, into a cold winter I saw the depression steadily creeping over me.

I knew a month ago I was battling with some serious demons. I think the worst demon is guilt. Here I am a year after what should have killed me. I have a beautiful home my husband invested in for us. I have a pool out back, and my first ever not super used or handmedowned from my aunt or father car out front. My business is thriving. My husband’s business is thriving. I’m slipping on cloths I’ve been too overweight to dream about wearing for the better part of a decade. Soon I’ll be on the list to get vaccinated and I have nieces who want to get tested to see if they’re eligible to offer me a working kidney. I should be so brimming with happiness and life that sunshine is springing from my ears and rainbows from my ass. I’m not though. I’m scared all the time about all of this being gone. I’m lonely for my family and friends, who I have not seen in two years now. I want to embrace what feels like a do-over in life and for some reason I can’t and I feel so stinking guilty about that. I can’t figure out what is wrong with me.

So I made a decision. I can continue to wallow in my self created pity trap or I can get my shit together. Saying it won’t magically make it happen, but at least it forces me to turn towards a set direction and try and move that way. For the moment I’ve shut my shoppe down. I won’t even try and make light of it–I attempted to take on help with my business knowing full well I’m a perfectionist who has a hard time with one-working with others and two-giving up even a tiny bit of control. In this instance I should have went with my horribly controlling ways because that help did nothing but help me into a mess I have to try and straighten out and fix with customers who expect more from me. And the timing was not exactly a gift. Man, the timing…

I had a bad dream one evening. I don’t remember the dream, which is unusual for me. I’m the kind of person who will wake up from a dream and continue to live it in real time as though I were about to write it out like a story. I woke with a start, feeling very strange. Then I had the weirdest sensation. I tried later to explain it to my husband. I got really dizzy for such a split second I wasn’t sure if it had happened or not. Then it felt like my body jumped. Not physically moved, but moved on some type of level I have no vocabulary for. The best I could sum it up was I felt like I came to one of those invisible forks in the road of life and I started down one path and then quickly jumped to the other path before it was too late. I don’t know what I left on the road I vacated but I just knew I was grateful to have leaped. As I sat there in bed trying to get my senses together I realized my chest was hurting. I didn’t think much of it. I was too riled up from the other thing. I laid back down, cuddled up to my husband and fell back to sleep.

Over the next two days the pain in my chest got worse and worse till I was sitting in dialysis in pain with every single breath. I had them take me off the machine and went to the ER. I honestly thought I was having a heart attack. At the ER my EKG was normal, my enzymes were good. With the exception of the typical tests showing that my kidneys were fried, I was all good. And even there my test levels had risen enough to put me in stage 4 renal failure as oppose to end-stage. They decided it must be muscle related and sent me home. Three days later I was back in the ER–this time not able to breath, in so much pain my blood pressure (which runs low) was through the roof. My normally resting pulse rate of 72 was 146. They gave me morphine for the pain and it barely touched it. And I thought to myself–hey! This is when I got out of the hospital last year. Happy anniversary to me!

This time the ER doc was a bit more thorough, mostly because I had seen my own doctor between ER visits and she was more worried that I had a pulmonary embolism. She began tests to check on that and by the time I called her the next day she told me to get my ass back to the ER. There was my problem: Multiple blood clots to both lungs, small, but complicated by a partially collapsed left lung. They decided to admit me to the hospital. Their major concern was that I still have trouble generating new red blood cells. And these blood clots did not originate from existing blood clots in my legs. So they wanted to figure out what the issue was with this sudden clotting, especially when I get blood thinners at dialysis.

The details of the next few days and tests that followed I’d prefer not to relive. I finally got to go home after dinner on my fourth night. I came home to a shit storm of business poo. Timing, f’ing timing. So as I began to say I’m giving myself a little vacation to catch my breath. To chat with my demons. To straighten out something I shouldn’t have let someone else do. I mentioned being a control freak yes? I live by the motto if you want something done right you do it yourself. I spent the majority of my life not being able to trust others. I had a mother who felt it was perfectly okay that I use the same threadbare towel for three years and the only time I got a new toothbrush and some actual toothpaste was when i visited the dentist. I know she loved me, I’m just not sure she ever knew how to be a responsible parent. A father who, trustworthy or not, was halfway across the country and so obsessed with his own issues he didn’t have time for anyone else’s. I learned through difficult lesson after difficult lesson that you have to be able to rely on yourself. Unfortunately for me that has made me a bit pathological about it.

This felt good. I haven’t written in so long. I’m only ever truly happy when I’m creating. It’s something I need to do. This will probably be the only way for me to pull myself from my funk, at least until it’s warm enough to go thrill my inner mermaid and float for hours in that shallow, above ground pool. So I will take my exit for now. And I have to say one of the places I’m truly blessed is with the people I’ve met through this site and my decks. So many wonderful and beautiful people who, even though they don’t really know me, have been there for me as though we’ve been fast friends forever. That means everything to me. Be well each of you. ~ Bethalynne

Posted in: Personal Bruhah

Published by Bethalynne

Bethalynne Bajema is a life long artist and writer who works as art director for her family business The Attic Shoppe Trading Co. Among other projects, she's a prolific collectable card deck maker, adding tarot, lenormand and regular playing card decks to her portfolio over the past decade. When not working or taunting squirrels, you can follow her attempts to become a Practical Magic aunt on instagram or visit her online portfolio.