Tuesday, April 26, 2016

For me...

In a modern-day miracle, I still don't have the AC running.  For someone who is incredibly sensitive to heat and who has a bum temperature regulation system, this is even more miraculous.  I set an miser goal of not using it until May 1st.  Today is warm and tonight will not be much lower, but tomorrow is another little shift downward in temperature, so I am going to try to tough it out.  Every day without either portion of my HVAC running is saving me oodles in money (comparatively speaking).  Since being felled by chronic illness, I have never gone this late without running the AC.  But these days, it's all about the money!

I posted my treadmill and my sleeper sofa on Craigslist.  I posted the treadmill because it is so very hard to bear my weight and exercise and the recumbent bike is really the way for me to go.  For the span of about 12 hours, I had a serious buyer coming, but then she got a free treadmill from her parents and the prospective sale vanished.  I had another nibble, but nothing further.  And the other bite on the couch turned out to be one of those check-cashing scams.  Still, I have all the time in the world to sell the treadmill, being tucked away down in the basement.  If I can sell it, then I will move the recumbent bike from the living room (easier to watch TV whilst torturing myself) down to the basement (much cooler anyway for all that sweating).

I recently sold some jewelry and two Robert Jordan books.  I thought my first edition Anne McCaffrey books would have sold, but I suppose that her fans all have those books and the next generation doesn't seem to adore her.  Personally, I think her son taking over the PERN series ruined it.  The books have been repetitive in plot and there is too much advocacy of homosexuality.  The series is about dragons, not LGBT rights!  SIGH.

I have the money set aside to try and address what my friend Emily noted as being more comfortable/making things work for me.  The couch is just not firm enough for my sit-upon.  It was a very poor choice on my part.  Granted, when I bought it, I did not realize I would be this ill and spend my time on it lounge on my arm like a Greek Goddess.  That puts my backside right atop the crack between two cushions.  Very uncomfortable!  My goal is to get a Plain Jane, economical sofa with two cushions.  But I am also leaning toward a love sofa where the GREEN chair is so that my living room is more comfortable in the seating options for visitors.  Plus, really, it is ever so easy for me to lie down all day long, so I would like the temptation of the GREEN chair less accessible to me, though I have loved that leather recliner for over twenty years.

Of the sofas I have seen thus far, this is my choice.  VERY plain.  [Not, mind you, those horrid throw pillows.]

One of the things I have done, in trying to decide if a love seat would work in the space, is play musical chairs with my grandmother's rocking chair, which had been to the right of the fireplace.  I have moved in to three different locations, with it currently being next to the chest that is along the wall behind the GREEN chair, near the front door.

The chair has been here for a couple of days now, and I think that I like it.  Of course, I have considered playing musical furniture to a greater degree and make this more of a reading space.  I could move one of the bookcases here and this chest to where the book case was.  The most likely one is the wide lawyer's case from one of the spare rooms.  However, the books in it are my picture book collection.  It is the lowest bookcase I have, but even so, I am wondering if it would be too high for the mirror, which would mean moving the mirror up.

Only, well, this mirror and this chest have been "together" since they resided in my grandmother's house.  How in the world could I separate them?  Also, wouldn't a marble top chest of drawers look a bit odd in a bedroom?  If you look closely at my blurry photo, you will see I put a copy of the Book of Concord on the corner of the top of the chest by the chair.  Take a seat.  Enjoy some doctrine!

The room is long and has the fireplace just inside the cased opening that divides the living room from the foyer.  The fireplace is opposite the chest.  And the space between the two is a bit of dead space.  A lot of dead space, actually.  I think that is where I would keep the chair, should I get the love seat, since, as I have said, it is the place the rocking chair has been in that spot the longest since starting its journey.  Amos, mind you, is distressed over each relocation.  I think my Fluffernutter is resistant to change.

There would be 3.5 feet of floor between the end of the loveseat and the start of the brick hearth.  I think that would be enough to provide a clear pathway from the front door to the dining room.  But my very talented interior designer mother disagrees.  We do not always have the same taste, so her word is not final for me.  But her doubt is giving me pause.

I think one thing that would help is that the couch is two inches less deep than my current sleeper sofa.  I know that swapping out a love seat where the GREEN chair is would define the space more, limit it in a way, but it would provide more of a sightline into the room since the back of the love seat is lower than the recliner.

To that end, I made another change.  The beautiful inlay table I have had next to the couch is now up in the solarium and the smaller mahogany table from that room is now next to the couch.  Smaller in table top size is an adjustment for me.  I am trying to see if I can make that work.  But what I like very much is the smaller in height aspect of the table.  That means, looking at it from the side, you can see the sofa easier.  The lamp is lower and does not dominate the sightline as much.

I have the matching table upstairs (from my grandmother via my sister).  It is funny ... for years I had a round table next to my bed and the rectangle table elsewhere (most recently in the spare bedroom).  But, about a year ago, I decided that since I wanted that table next to my bed, I could let myself have it.  Am I not silly?  I have this terrible habit of keeping things where they are instead of using them that would be most comfortable or enjoyable for me.

Take the solarium, for example.  I still struggle—albeit much less—with guilt over taking away the dual bed spare room functionality when I made it a place of solace for me.  One twin bed.  That is it.  As a spare room, the place is also more comfortable and restful.  It just sleeps one now, instead of two.

The antique mahogany tables are still high, so it does not actually fit the typical style of a table next to a couch (although the height works well beside my bed), but I love those two tables probably more than any other piece of antique furniture that I inherited. I don't know why.  But I do.  They are nothing special.   Solid mahogany.  Rectangular top.  Four-inch solid sides below the table top.  Candlestick turned legs, braced at the bottom.  I like having them by my bed and in my main living space ... now.

I guess all this is to say is that I have been practicing making choices based more on what I think rather than what I think I am supposed to think.  That and trying to reduce what discomfort I can because there is ever so much discomfort about which I can do nothing.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ashamed and silent...

I found the rug that fit my idea of turning the solarium into a place of solace rather than just another spare bedroom.

I found it originally at two stores for $199.  Then I found it on clearance at another store for $128.  Then I Googled promo codes until I found one that worked ($20 off a $100 or more home purchase). Finally, I borrowed money from Amos' maintenance and repair savings account and ordered it.  The rug arrived ahead of schedule today.  It is just plain perfect, if you ask me!

Between the rug and the rocking chair, it cost me $138 to go from my spare bedroom in the solarium to...

A spare bed in the solarium.  It is a difference that I have found most peaceful and restful.  Amos agrees.

Today has been a particularly rough day.  In the wee hours of the morning, about an hour after my near daily bout with violent waves of nausea started, my blood sugar crashed.  I was rather ill by the time I figured out something more was going on and made it down to the refrigerator where I shoved food into my mouth, hand over fist, after swallowing five glucose tablets.

When I have a migraine, the "after" of the migraine is quite shocking for me.  The cessation of pain is almost more than I can bear.  It is difficult to describe.  I mean, I actually struggle to believe that the migraine is really and truly over.

The "after" of a blood sugar crash is more difficult physically, than it is mentally.  Although, to be honest, I do not like how feral I am in my desperation to consume something to stop what is happening in my body during a blood sugar crash.  The "after" leaves me feeling really ill for many, many, many hours.  Sometimes more than a day.  I am weak and weary and do not feel much like eating or moving or even breathing.  I ache a bit.  And I often have a headache.  Basically, I just feel wretched.

And I am already feeling wretched.

I am so tired of late that I am barely doing anything besides caring for Amos and my physical needs, reading, and streaming some shows.  I dislike having such gaps in my online journal, but just how often can one write:  I am nauseous.  I am dizzy.  I am weak.  I fainted.  I napped.  I ate pulled pork tacos?

At first I was rather hopeful about the new antibiotic (which is actually really old school), but after several days of being better, I feel I have plateaued, with just three days left of medication.  I am breathing easier.  I have less gunk in my head.  My asthma was better.  But I am still producing fresh gunk, fresh blood, and I've been coughing again the past two nights.  All I can really do, though, is continue to pray as I take each pill.

And rest.
And rest some more.
You know, like falling asleep whilst writing this!

Electrician Man is coming on the morrow to service the AC part of the HVAC, to clean the outdoor thingamajig, and to change my HEPA filter.  Thursday is the next cardiology appointment.  I will be interested to see what impact using the recumbent bike has made ... if any.  I am more exhausted and my legs hurt every day.  I am not seeing the upside, but I know this is about heart function.  Mostly, what I care about is getting the time of my nightly testing changed from 1:30 AM!  I am thinking midnight, which means during fall/winter time change, it will be at 11:00 PM.   And Friday is house cleaning day.  Last month, The Maids had a few snafus, so I am actually not especially looking forward to them coming again, although my mother's gift of cleaning is very much welcome and appreciated.

Other than being nauseous and weary, I have been thinking ... more ... about what I have learned ... and still want to learn.

Friday, someone stopped by for a little while.  I showed her the "new" solarium and we visited whilst resting atop the daybed.  Amos, of course, joined us.  My visitor, whom Amos adores, started picking crusties out of his eyes.  The first few bits, she fed to him.  It took everything in me not to vomit.  I know he's a dog, but that was just gross!  Then she started flicking them on the floor!  That was not any better, to me.

What happened is that I found myself in that old, familiar mode:  Shut up.  Be still.  Wait until it is over.  It bothered me then, standing outside of myself and watching that.  And it bothers me now.  Why couldn't I have asked her to stop picking on Amos' eyes? 

He's my dog.  Why couldn't I just ask her to stop doing something that was bothering me?  Why do I still most often think/feel that I don't have the right to have my opinion/feelings/thoughts count?  Why did I stay silent when I wanted to speak?

This, I think, was made ... more ... to me because of the next sticky note in the research book on shame:  "Ashamed and Quiet."

"When I was in middle school, my aunt's boyfriend molested me.  I told my older sister and she told my parents.  I don't remember exactly what they said, but they called me and my sister into the living room and told us that we shouldn't talk about it with anyone.  My mom told me that she would deal with my aunt.  I don't know what happened, but I never saw him again.  My aunt never said anything about it to me.  My sister was so pissed.  She stayed made at my parents for years.  I just became a quiet person.  Ashamed and quiet." (BrenĂ© Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me [But It Wasn't], p. 7)

I know.  You are laughing.  "But, Myrtle," you blurt out, "you never shut up!"  Yes, I know.  I have heard more than I care to admit that I talk too much.  Maybe, though, I talk about nothing because I remain silent about what matters to me.  I remain silent because I grew up in silence.

I understand this woman's story.  So much of it is what I experienced.  It makes sense to me.  But what struck me was her last sentence.  I mean, I have railed against the silence about sexual abuse in our society ... and in my family.  But I don't think, until I "listened" to that woman's shame story, that I realized just how silent I am.

Ashamed and silent.
And so I natter
about nothing
when I long
to speak
and be heard.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Well done...

Today's appointment with the new specialist went very well for me!  In fact, whilst I brought it, I actually never got around to getting out the weighted lap blanket I use in my appointments.  I also had low blood pressure (closer to my "normal") and an acceptable pulse.  No physical signs of agitation were present.  Given I had used my emergency inhaler just before taking my vitals, that actually was good news.

Whilst I did struggle with shame during the exam part, it did not linger even past getting off the table, much less back in the car.  Even though I haven't finished the book, Dr. Brown's research on shame really has been immensely helpful for me.  What a blessing!

A part of me wanted to shout "YES!" when she was looking in my nose, for she was a bit surprised at just how inflamed and filled with gunk it is.  Not my nose, actually, but looking on up there.  The plan is to try a different type of antibiotics to see if a change will knock out the sinus infection.  If not, the next step would be to have a cat scan of my head.  To me, that sounds expensive. so I am hoping round three of antibiotics will tip me over into health.

What I liked was how confident the immunologist was about being able to clear up the sinus infection.  She was also a bit reassuring with regard to my asthma, because I have been coughing and such more and more and that worries me.  She thinks the lesser control is simply because of the sinus infection.  Clear that up and my asthma control will improve once more.

She also took the time to demonstrate the proper way to use saline solution spray in my nostrils. I have been using that since January, because my GP asked me to do so. But the lesson helped me improve my technique.

I was rather daring and asked her if she would be willing to treat my asthma.  I don't have a specialist for that here.  She agreed and scheduled an appointment three months out, hoping that by then I will be quit of the sinus infection.  She doesn't want to do an asthma work-up with that going on, which I understand.

Mary rode with me in the car over to the pharmacy to pick up my very economical prescription and another bottle of saline spray.  She stayed on the phone with me all the way through Taco Bell, getting gas, and pulling into the garage.  I cannot put into words how less lonely that makes me feel. Plus, I got to process my appointment straight off.  What a merciful friend!

I stopped for gas on the way home, despite the tantalizing aroma of Taco Bell in my car because the light had come on whilst waiting for the surge in pricing to lower back down.  I made the extra stop because I do not have any appointments for 10 days.  I plan (hope) to get some serious resting in ... and studying.  I want to tackle the next chapter of the shame research book.

All in all, I thought I absolutely earned the Taco Bell I got on the way home with my second to last gift card.  [I shall miss my treats once those are gone.]  I really earned brownie points for working through the shame, for managing it.  Granted is it not like it was an intimate exam.  That ... well, I know I need more work.  Still, it was a beginning for me.

Well done, Myrtle!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Getting ready...

I found this article, 10 Things I've Learned From Living With Chronic Illness.  I liked no. 8 quite a bit:

8. Never, ever, compare my pain and illness to those of others. My illness is mine, and mine alone. I’m completely entitled to feel everything–emotions, symptoms, and otherwise–that results from living with my illness. (I’m entitled to feel everything, that is, except shame.)

But I liked the entire article.  Some of it made me shout out "Amen!" and some made me wish I were a bit more Carpe Diem in my life.  If only I were not so darned exhausted!

This one line stood out:  The mind is a powerful tool, and I must use it to my advantage.  For me, this reminded me of the work I am trying to do on shame and the patterns impressed upon me in living with sexual abuse.  My friend Emily found this post for me, The vagus nerve, emotions and the difficulty with mindfulness practices, on a blog entitled Healing from the Freeze: Trauma, Dissociation and Embodiment.  I found the article both reassuring because I understood what the author was discussing and interesting in reading about the vagus nerve from a non-dysautonomia perspective.  I also found it ... a bit supportive in explaining why mindfulness is often difficult for me.  It is not because I am not trying hard enough! 

The author quotes from a recorded talk by Bessel van der Kolk given at the May 2011 22nd Annual International Trauma Conference:

"When you have a persistent sense of heartbreak and gutwrench, the physical sensations become intolerable and we will do anything to make those feelings disappear. And that is really the origin of what happens in human pathology. People take drugs to make it disappear, and they cut themselves to make it disappear, and they starve themselves to make it disappear, and they have sex with anyone who comes along to make it disappear and once you have these horrible sensations in your body, you’ll do anything to make it go away.”

“If these sensations last long enough, your whole brain starts fighting against emotions. And what happens in the long range is that traumatized people who continuously have a state of heartbreak and gut wrenching feelings learn to shut off the sensations in their bodies. And they go through life not feeling their physical presence.”

She then adds:

He then touches on a very important point and one that strongly resonates with me – “it’s a beginning of understanding why traumatized people have such a hard time with mindfulness and why mindfulness in principle doesn’t work for traumatized people because they cannot feel.” Van der Kolk had sent many of his highly traumatized patients to do mindfulness exercises with Jon Kabat-Zinn and found that many of them were returning in a state of upset and agitation.

Yes!  I totally get that state!!

I have very much been working on staying present when I am having a flashback and to try and focus on my environment when I am upset.  I do not do well with mindfulness during the former, but I have made strides in the later.  I have also, instead of mindfulness, tried to reach out for help, to not be alone with the overwhelming emotions so that I wouldn't flee.  My friend Mary has helped me through the storm several times.

Such mercy.

Tomorrow is the visit with the immunologist.  SIGH.  I find it odd that hearing the new GP tell me I could put off the appointment for a while (six months or so) if it is too stressful for me.  Just having the freedom of not going has helped me to work toward going.  That includes trying to think about getting through the exam and the shame that always follows.

I am a bit confused because the paper work sent to me said the appointment would be two hours.  However, on my online chart, the appointment is marked for only 30 minutes.  I find it hard to believe a new patient appointment could be accomplished in 30 minutes, but I have little expectations for the visit, so either way will be okay ... I think.

The paperwork I am to fill out and bring with me is history and onset of symptoms type questions.  For one, I stink at filling out paperwork these days. I find it arduous in that I get confused and I struggle for answers that I should know ... and know well.  For another, I have a tendency to overthink answers, knowing that I miss details, leave off words, and accidentally skip questions.

Four years ago, when I was trying to find a neurologist here, I created a medical history summary, so I spent a few hours editing it and condensing it into more concise information.  I also updated my list of doctors and my comprehensive list of medication and prescribed supplements.  The medical history is a bit distressing to me.  This summary of the wretchedness of my life.  On paper, five pages of paper, it looks almost manageable.  However, in real life, it often is not.  Manageable that is.

I find it odd that I will be in an Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology practice on the morrow and I spent all last night and most of today coughing.  It is like my lungs knew they were going to be near an asthma doctor for the first time in years.

I hAD been trying to not blow the plugs of bloody green mucus out of my head so that there would be stuff to look at during the exam, but I finally couldn't stand it any longer.  I have had less GUNK in my head since the antibiotics, but I am still producing fresh stuff and my sinuses are still bleeding.  It is painful, when the clogs rip down my sinuses, but it feels every so much better when they are clearer.  It is difficult for me, this "new normal."  Even though I am absolutely not ready to see a new doctor and to have a new exam, I do wonder if there is anything she can do.  I still do not get what IgA is and why it matters if that blood work is low.

Part of the reason for the medical history is that I have paid several times to have my records from Alexandria transferred from doctor to doctor to doctor.  It is very expensive ($275 the last time).  I have taken the position that I am not doing it any more.  So far, the doctors I now see do not have a problem with that.  I have kept copies of all my lab work and testing since I moved here and offer that up when I see a new doctor.  

I have the CD from Social Security Administration and can print out the records from what the investigator collected and the testing its doctors did, but no one has been interested in them.  I don't mind.  The neuropsych stuff was so defeating, having declined significantly in the 18 months since the previous testing.  If I had oodles of money, I would like to have that testing again, to see where I am.  However, I have a keen sense of what I have lost and know rather intimately just how much I cover my cognitive weaknesses.

Like this weekend.  I have spent the entire time, nearly, when I wasn't resting, working on preparing and rehearsing for this new doctor appointment.  Those appointments do not go well when a doctor asks, for example, about your surgeries and you have this ginormous blank spot in your mind.

Having printed, edited, printed, edited, and printed for a third time the history, I am fairly confident is has all the information that would not fit on the lines of the paperwork I had to fill out for this appointment and a general, yet comprehensive overview of my history.  I know my med list is good, because the other doctors have liked it.  And they all seemed to like having a listing of all of my doctors even though that information is in my online chart in the Parkview system.  So, I am prepared as well as can be paperwork wise.

I think, perhaps, too, I am a bit more prepared for the exam ... or rather for my lack of ability to cope in the present with exams.  I better understand what shame is and what happens to my mind and my body when I am in shame.  So, I think the "afterwards" will be better, will not be filled with ongoing shame.  That is my hope ... my goal, if you will.

Time shall tell if I am ready.
I think I am.
I sure hope so.

Saturday, April 09, 2016


The next sticky from the research book on shame I had wanted to discuss is:  "Outside of us."

Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture.  What comes form the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate. (BrenĂ© Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me [But It Wasn't], p. xxiv)

This is not the only time Dr. Brown discusses the fact that shame comes from outside of us, but it is the first (I think).  And I find it interesting that the thought is coupled with what is inside of us.

I wish I had better words to say why this is important to me.  It is definitely something that has been  percolating.

For one, as I think I penned before, when trying to seek help for shame, it has come back to me that shame is my fault.  And it isn't!  Whew!  It is such a profound relief to read this book, to learn about what I am feeling and what thoughts can be behind those feelings.  I think, in a way, I am currently curled in a ball around this notion of shame coming from outside myself, soaking up its comfort and warmth.

When I tried to talk about sexual abuse in college, I was "impure" and "no longer marriageable material."  From the Christian culture, I was shamed for not being a virgin, even though that was not something I chose or was even capable of preventing.  Yet the shame continued.

When I tried to talk about sexual abuse after becoming a Lutheran, the first response I received was "Oh, gross!  I don't want to know about that."  No, I wasn't even speaking in detail ... just the fact.  I think, honestly, that that response was some of the most hurtful words I ever heard.  And those words served to deeply reinforce my own self-view of being dirty, filthy, and, yes, gross.

This actually speaks to something that came up in counseling.  The counselor I was seeing wanted a goal of my receiving a hug in six months time.  That wasn't my goal.  It was hers.  She didn't ask me what comfort I wanted, the little girl in me wanted, or what comforts me most these days.  I get that the little girl was not comforted and needs to be comforted, but I also believe that I should be consulted about comfort.

I say this, whilst thinking, that if my friend Mary and her family did manage to come for a visit, I might asked her ... well ....

Anyway, if someone put a gun to my head and said I had to chose physical comfort, it would actually be a kiss to my forehead, like Becky did in the hospital when I had the pacemaker surgery.  I think, maybe, that's one of the reasons I found having the cross traced on my forehead so comforting.  I mean, I struggled with something holy being traced on something so very unholy, but I liked the comfort of the touch.

Secondary to that, it would be to hold my hand.

A hug, a-close-to-me-and-touching-my-body-ever-so-much-that-I-feel-trapped action, is not what I want.  And pushing me to want that actually undermines the boundary that I chose and set a while ago saying that I didn't want to be touched anymore.  It is not that I never want to be touched again, but I want it to be when I want it.  And, frankly, I think if wanting that takes me a few years (or a decade) then so be it.

What does comfort me?
What comfort do I long for?

I long for the comfort of words I never (or rarely) heard.  I long for words of love and affection, words of encouragement, words of pride, words of acceptance and belonging.

Words wounded me, deeply, as a child.  That damned psychologist speaking words in my ears about God creating little girls to help men as he helped himself to my body not the worst of them.  Words can would, but words can also heal.  Especially The Word.

I think, maybe, that's why I crave hearing the Word of God so much.  It is something outside of me that is the very opposite of shame.  It is words that do not wound.  It is comfort that affects both body and soul.

The comfort of words would also go a long way toward helping me heal from the ongoing, overwhelming battle with shame.  Both words that I speak (and have others listen) and words spoken to me.  Words can counteract the messages that shame.  Words can replace those messages, if spoken as often as the words of shame.  Words can be profound and powerful and so very personal.

But getting back to the quote, I like that it is coupled with what is inside:  the longing to belong.  In a way, that comforts me almost as much as learning that shame is not something I am doing to myself.  Because I often feel the alien for how much I long to belong somewhere.  I spent my life standing outside the proverbial window and looking in ... trying to understand what it was to belong somewhere.  School was a torture because of that.  And I felt foolish for wanting to not be the outcast.  But that longing was part of being human!  So, I wasn't alien, I was most particularly being human in that moment.

All four years of high school, I longed for my locker to be decorated, to receive a Valentine's Day carnation, to be invited to a party, to have someone to sit with me at lunch.  I wasn't a freak for wanting those things. I was normal.

Wanting to be accepted in a family, with friends, in school, at work, and at church.
All normal.
All human.

I think it would be helpful, even if it hurt, to try and think about the shame messages I carry inside of me. I think identifying them would be a good first step in working to banish them or at least lessen their power.  Some I have identified here:  being impure, being unmarriageable, being gross.  Others ... I battle shame just thinking them, much less trying to speak them.

Still, shame is not something I do to myself.
Shame is done to me.
Shame is from the outside.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Long and lonely road...

Last week, when I went to my counseling appointment, my counselor started off by saying that there had been a change to the email policy and she needed me to sign a paper acknowledging it.  I found that ... a bit odd ... for she had set a boundary about not emailing because she didn't believe it was a good form of communication.  Still, I know about singing off on policies, so I took the paperwork.

Only, well, the paperwork was about a whole lot more than emails.   One place I was acknowledging receipt of the privacy policy.  I don't have the privacy policy.  One place I was acknowledging receipt of the client bill of rights.  I don't have the client bill of rights.  One place, two actually I think, I was acknowledging both having a treatment plan and having that plan presented to me.  I don't have a treatment plan.

I was nervous and felt a bit pressured about signing the documents.  I fumbled my way through a half-joke about how signing would be a lie because I didn't have those things.  She said she could get me copies.  She offered for me to take the papers home to review and sign later.  But I honestly felt pressured to sign.  I mentioned not having a treatment plan a second time, but my counselor did not respond to that.

Why?  Why couldn't I find the words to say:  "I cannot acknowledge receipt of things I've never been given."  and leave it at that?  Why?  Why did I sign?  Yes, I lied on the program's paperwork.

The thing is ... we have talked before about the main reason I left my job at the foster care agency because I could not stand the fact that they regularly falsified paperwork for license audits.  I watched them, many times, falsify paperwork about the children.  I was horrified that social workers would do that.  The program manager and director condoned the practice.  In fact, before license visits, they would pull files, plow through them to see what documentation was missing, and then manufacture it.  You know, like documentation of a medical review.  Nothing important, eh?  It was just sickening.

So, there I was, with my counselor talking about the paperwork being for license compliance, knowing she knows how I felt about what I was tangentially complicit with at that foster care agency, asking me to falsify paperwork in my own file.

Why did I do it?

I am still at a loss to really explain what happened, but, at the end of the session, when it was time to leave, my counselor started digging in at things and pushing and pushing and pushing, leaving me rather confused, rather hurt, and very much feeling unsafe.  This is the second time in three sessions that she did so.  This time, she talked about it being her job to confront me.  Only this wasn't really what I would consider someone confronting a person.  It was so ... provoking.  I kept trying to say that I thought the conversation was not productive and I needed to leave and we could try to talk about the things she was raising later.  But she just kept ... pushing.

I was really not sure what was happening.
I still don't know what was happening.

I finally simply walked out.  And, realizing that what I was experiencing seemed to be her new style of therapy, I eventually decided to stop.  I am still wrestling with that decision.

Neither of the two times of ... provocation ... did I feel as if what she was saying and how she was behaving was what a counselor would do.  It was so confusing and very divergent from all the other times I have been in her office.  After the first time, I talked with my friends about it and wondered if I should continue.  I thought ... surely it won't happen again.  The next session was really focused and great.  The last one was not and ended so terribly.

I want to write a letter not about how the counseling ended but about being asked to sign paperwork that was not true.  Maybe one could argue it doesn't really matter that I received a privacy policy or a client bill of rights.  But surely it matters that I never received or reviewed a treatment plan.  And I am just plain flummoxed why she would present the paperwork acknowledging receipt of things without having those things present.  And the treatment plan?  Isn't it a bit galling to lie about that and to ask your client to lie about it?

Tuesday was difficult for me, because I feel as if I have lost a chance at healing.  Only I have been reading the book on shame primarily about myself.  So, what have I actually lost?  And I have made good strides since last September and that is ground gained that I can hold onto ... or at least try.  What I am proud of is choosing not to experience what I experienced a third time.  I deserve better.

It has been a long week and a particularly long day.  I have learned three more things about my past with which I am not sure what to do ... how to ... absorb them.  And, today, I was so very ill for hours and hours and hours, battling waves of nausea, trembling body, writhing innards, flushing heat on my face, sweating, dizziness, weakness, plunging blood pressure, and fainting whilst lying down (which I hate the most).  I tried, several times, to get up but ended up falling to the ground before dragging myself back up into bed.  The time between the first and second dose of Zofran was practically eternal.

And my heart is heavy, tonight, knowing that my best friend had to put her puppy dog to sleep, after a lengthy battle trying to address her health issues.  Becky has been battling her own illness, sick children, and work this week, all the while knowing a perhaps final assessment of her canine love was looming tonight.  How very hard to make a decision that is, in my opinion, a very loving one.  To decide about your pet's quality of life.  I had to do so with Kashi.  I know ... I know I made the best decision, the right decision, but it was brutal to do so.  Brutal to watch.  Brutal to be back in a home without your beloved puppy dog.  Becky is in need of great conform at the moment.

It's been a long and lonely road this week.  I have been so weary and oft so nauseous that I haven't written my way through it, when writing is my solace and the way in which I can process my days.  I have been hesitant to write ... about me.  I wish I had better words for my dear friend in her trials.  I wish I had more energy than it takes to languish on the couch, clutching my own puppy dog.

Monday is the appointment with the new specialist, the immunologist.  My hope is to accomplish some solid loin girding between now and then.