"Why was your week shit from shit-munching bacteria?" I hear you all ask.
Let me tell you.
Largely, it was the pain issue. Since December my back had been getting a lot better, and only popped and hurt occasionally. I was even doing some light sculling. (This was back in March.) Then, a couple weeks before Easter, things started going downhill, and fast.
By last Tuesday I was in constant, splitting pain. It was as bad as it had been back in November at the time of the initial injury. I had gone all the way back to square one.
Phyically, I was less than useless. I couldn't sit at a desk, which made working impossible. I couldn't bend over, which made everyday life impossible. And I was in constant agony. None of the painkillers I had helped. Wednesday I actually called in sick to my temp agency and told them I couldn't do the job they had scheduled for me. I felt like a complete heel.
And psychologically I was falling to pieces.
- I hadn't rowed or been on the water for ages, which was making me miserable.
- I hadn't been able to do any other significant exercise as a substitute, so I wasn't getting my usual regular doses of seratonin endorphins or whatever the hell the brain chemical is that's stimulated during exercise. That stuff is critical to my mental health, and I bloody well know it.
- My inability to go about my daily life without assistance has been making me fell broken and a burden to those around me, espeically the Pirate. I've been fearful that he might leave me because he deserves a woman who is strong and healthy and who doesn't need looking after. I know this is irrational, but knowing it's irrational doesn't make the feeling go away.
- My inability to sit and work for any long period of time was making getting research done difficult to say the least, and when I was sitting I was in pain which was making it all but impossible to focus.
- Falling behind in the work was stressing me out.
- My aunt fell and broke both her feet. She's 74 and morbidly obese. This is a problem.
- My dad has just been in for surgery (well, you already know about that bit).
- My other aunt has a lump and has to have a biopsy to determine malignancy.
- The kid in the flat next door to mine dropped dead in the shower last sunday. We were friends. He was 23. Heart attack. No one saw it coming.
- Did I mention my back hurts?
(Ironic aside: the people at the office where I work every Friday told me the love because I'm always so cheerful and sunny, unlike the girl who holds my post monday through thursday, who is apparently depressed and does nothing but whine all the time. It seems I manage a pretty good facade.)
I've been afraid to share these feeling with the Pirate because I don't want him to think I'm a nutter as well as damaged goods.
Friday I finally went for a mental health evaluation. I decided there was no point in living like this if I didn't have to. I filled out their forms and told them everything I've told you (and then some), and my GP's conclusion was that I am "significantly depressed."
Finally the NHS gets something right!
So now I'm on happy pills! whee.
Are you wondering about the title yet? So far this has all been "woe is me," and not much "hail the Pirate."
So Friday night the P came over, as usual. He knew it had been a rough week, (he even brought me strawberries to cheer me up) but he really didn't have any idea how bad I was. He found out pretty quickly when he arrived and I burst out into tears. I told him everything, including being on anti-depressant meds, which he seemed ok with.
I was in no condition to cook, so he took me for dinner to an Italian restaurant I like. Unfortunatley something I ate had a violent arguement with my stomach because I had barely finished my cappuchino when the churning started. I almost didn't make it home before the trots began.
Not being able to bend over, I had difficulty getting myself undressed, so the P helped me out of my clothes (he's got some experience at that), and got me into some loose, comfy jammies. Every Friday we listen to replays of our favorite radio programs on my computer (available from the BBC Radio 4 website), so he put on some soft lights, got the programs playing (The News Quiz and Genius), and settled himself on my bed where he let me lay against his chest, all propped up with pillows to make me still and comfy. And for 2 hours I just lay there, stomach churning, back aching, half-listening to the radio and crying quietly while he stroked my hair and kissed my forehead. Eventually the meds took hold and I fell asleep in his arms. At some point he got up and laid out the bedroll and sleeping bag for himself and went to sleep on the floor, but I was long since unconscious.
The following day, Saturday, was much better. The muscle-relaxant really seemed to help and for the first time in a week I wasn't in pain. Pirate had a cricket match, but I wanted to stay in Bristol to watch the Varstiy Boat Race between Bristol and UWE.
It was a glorious day to be down by the harborside. The sun was shining, there was a light breeze, conditions on the water were excellent, and University of Bristol Boat club kicked ass. We won 4 out of 5 races, the senior women being the only Bristol crew that lost. (I maintain this is becuase I was on the bank and not in the boat where I should have been.)
I felt wonderful. I could move and bend and stand and sit without stabbing pain. I shouted myself hoarse cheering for my team mates, and saw loads of friends I havn't spoke to in ages, some of them in years. I even ran into a old team mate of mine from Manchester, Speedy. I havn't seen Speedy in over 3 years. What a coincidence! It was a great day. I was only sorry the P couldn't be there with me to share it.
Then I set out on my bike to the P's house. It's about 23 miles, but it's a really nice journey. Unless of course you get two punctures in your rear tire, you realize that your rear wheel is so warped that the brakes can't work properly. (See previous post.)
When the Pirate came to collect me I felt really guilty. (When I called he was hanging out at the club watching the world cup final on the big projection TV.) He was so cheerful about it, though. He pulled up to the curb, kissed me, and gave me an orange and a banana to much on while he futzed around putting the back seat down in the car and loading the bike in.
As we headed off home he said, "Right! Here's the plan: when we get home, you're going to get in the shower and get cleaned up while I unload the bike and put the car to rights. Then we're going back down to the club to watch Sri Lanka kick the Australians' smug asses on the big projection TV."
Problem: I hadn't packed any clothes!!!!!
I knew I'd be arriving late in the evening, and that I'd be leaving first thing in the morning for the boathouse, where I'd just be wearing my stanking cycling clothes again, and going straight home from there. So I didn't see the need to pack real clothes. All I had was my pyjamas.
"No problem!" came the reply from our cheerful hero. "You can wear mine! Lucky we're the same size, eh?"
So there I was at the Pirate's local cricket club wearing his black track-suit bottoms and a T-shirt that's slightly tight on him. They fit pefectly. Scary.
When the (disappointing) outcome of the match became apparent we went home and looked at the bike, where the (disappointing) state of the bike became apparent. Time for bed.
Sunday promised to be another lovely day. I was still feeling pretty good, not much pain, but the combination of the valium and co-codomol at night make it pretty hard to come awake in the morning. It doesnt' help that the happy pills i take in the morning also make me groggy. It's a bit like walking underwater all the time.
Normally when I have to get up early and the P doesn't I just get dressed, fix myself some breakfast, and sneak out. This time the P got up with me and fixed me an omlette for breakfast.
The significance of this is not to be overlooked.
In the 9 months we've been together, the number of times he's cooked for me can be counted on one hand, and he's never, ever made me breakfast. (Unless you count slicing the bread for my toast for me.)
But sunday he made me an honest-to-god omlette. It's the little things; it really is. That omlette said "I love you" more than a fancy gift ever could.