I sure hope it rains today

Rain… rain… rain… come on…

Like countless people in the Great Plains of the United States, I am praying for rain. ‘Cause I’ve gotten myself into a situation I really want to get out of, but can’t – unless it rains. I agreed to go out with some friends after work to an outdoor event, but I am bushed. I’m just wiped out from this week, and I sorely need some downtime, starting after work. My spouse is going to be out of town for the weekend, so I have the house to myself and I have only one obligation on my plate — and that takes all of an hour to dispatch.

But I promised my friends I’d go out with them, and I’m on the hook.

Now, some might say, “Take care of yourself, put yourself first – don’t worry about what they think or say.” But these are my friends, and they’ve been there for me, so I really feel obligated to the relationship(s) to go out. I’m sure I’ll feel great when things get going, but then there’s the risk of me staying out too late — which usually happens when I do stuff with this crowd.

The annoying thing is, these are not my “Tier 1” friends — the ones who know about my TBIs, the deaths in my family, my marriage issues, my money issues. They are my “Tier 2” friends, whom I turn to for logistics help — like covering for me when I run short on cash, or helping me out with errands I need to run, or giving me a lift to the gas station when my car is being serviced. One or two of them might actually morph into “Tier 1” friends over time… but that won’t happen if I don’t spend time with them.

So, I have to spend some time — and tonight is the one night that everything has come together perfectly to spend a few hours. My spouse will be out of town, so there’s no pressure to be home for dinner… it’s Friday, so whatever sleep I miss tonight I can make up for on Saturday and Sunday… and this event is free and in a part of the nearest city that I love to visit. So, it’s not all bad. It’s not bad at all.

But I really hope it rains.

Because I’m behind on my sleep. I got about 6-1/2 hours last night, and I need to make up the balance. I also need to buckle down and study this weekend. I need to get into my own groove and just chill — starting tonight. I need to not do anything — just repair the damage of the past three weeks. I’m still not over my meltdown from a couple of weeks ago. I’m still foggy and out of whack. I need some convalescence time.

But then the voice in my head says, I can rest some other time. The time to live is now! And here’s the perfect chance.

Yeah, but I want it to rain. I want to go to bed at 9:30 and go to sleep with the sound of the rain on the roof. I want to empty the dehumidifier a bunch of times and clean out my garage. I want to put my home office in order and make room for myself in the midst of all the paperwork. I want to make a list of things I’m going to do, and then just do them.

These friends of mine are “good timers” — that is, they’re all about living for today, having as much fun as possible right here, right now. They foray into relationships with people they know socially, they have messy, awkward affairs, they refuse to commit, and then they move on… wondering why they have bad reputations amongst the pool of potential dates. They have nice cars, nice condos, nice jobs. They have nice clothes, they go to the right clubs, they are seen in the right places. But their lives are hollow and desperately seeking, and each time they tell me about how they want to settle down and have kids someday, they sound a little less sure that it will ever happen. Because they’re not making the effort to help it to happen.

They’re too busy having fun.

Maybe that’s why I really don’t want to go out with them tonight. Because my life and my priorities are so very different from theirs. To my knowledge, they’ve never lost everything or come within a hair’s breadth of total disaster. They’ve had their hardships, as we all have, but in their adult lives most of them have never had to completely rebuild from scratch — and the ones that have… well, they don’t seem to give much serious thought to the real reason for their difficulties, so they keep doing the same things over and over again. They seem so serious about the trivial stuff, and they treat the important stuff like it’s trivial.

I guess that’s the real reason I hope it rains. Yes, we need the rain. The reservoirs are down, there are water bans in effect in towns all around the city. And the farm-picked produce has been small and sparse. Corn is intermittent and miniature. Peppers are smallish and intense. Everything growing is smallish and intense. But my reasons for wanting to not hang out with people tonight are purely selfish. I just want to take care of myself, and not be bothered with people who make a career out of getting all riled over stupid sh*t and holding grudges. Big whoop. Who cares? You’re alive and you have all your senses about you. You aren’t sensitive to light and sound and crowds don’t disorient you. You can understand what people say to you the first time without cupping your ear and saying “Pardon?” like a friggin’ 85-year-old (no offense to 85-year-olds). You don’t jump like you’ve been shot when someone makes contact with your shoulder, and you can remember what someone said to you 2 minutes ago. Life is good. You have no idea. But instead, you sit around feeling sorry for yourself and going off over the most trivial things imaginable and flirting with everyone in sight like it’s the best use of your time and energy. Please.

Well, enough of the rant. I’m just feeling tired and sorta raw today.

I just want to get some rest and take care of myself and not have people give me sh*t about it, like I’m just ducking out ’cause I’m a party pooper or I don’t like them. My life is not about making your life seem okay. My energy is not 100% at your oblivious disposal. Please. Give me a break.

But then again, these are my go-to folks, when things get rough and I need some help. So, yeah, if it doesn’t rain, I’ll go out with them for a while. I’ll hang out. I’ll probably stay out too late, too. I’ll spend a lot of energy, but it’s an investment, really — not a waste. Lest I forget, this is how some relationships are sustained. You go out of your way for each other, even when it doesn’t “suit”. So, I’ll do that tonight.

Unless it rains.

Either way, really, it’s good.

Dangerously dizzy… but life won’t wait

I’ve been increasingly dizzy, the past few days. My left ear is squishy and has been making its presence felt. Pressure in my head, and fatigue… I haven’t had good sleep hygiene, for the past few weeks, and it’s catching up with me.

It’s a scary thing, because it’s so disruptive for my daily life. I have things to do and stuff to accomplish, but if I stand up too quickly or move too suddenly, the whole world starts to rush and spin and I get very sick on my stomach. It also makes me extremely irritable, so I snap out at every little thing, which makes me very difficult to deal with at times.

The only thing that really saves me, is being totally focused on what I’m doing, and not moving much while I’m doing it. Working at the computer is a perfect solution for me, because I have to sit up straight and stay focused on the screen in front of me.

The only problem is, it’s Saturday… a few days before I take off on my marathon trip to see family… and I have a whole lot to get done. Dizziness puts me in more danger of falling or having an accident. If I’m not careful, I can get in a lot of trouble. The last thing I need this holiday season is another concussion — most of my adulthood injuries have coincided with holidays, when I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off and wasn’t paying proper attention. I was fatigued and disoriented… and I fell or had a car accident. Not good.

Yes,  I need to be very, very careful, in everything I do.

I think a big part of the problem I’m having right now is the impending holiday rush. The prospect of driving through several states to see multiple families, over the course of nearly a week is making me a little nervous, and that’s setting off my schedule and my focus.

I have been doing really well with keeping to my daily exercise, which helps.  I just finished my morning workout, in fact, and I feel noticeably better than I did before it. I worked up a sweat and got my heart pumping, which in turn moved the lymph through my system to clear out the grunge. I love lymph. So basic, so essential, so useful. Without it, I’d be in a heap of trouble, and I count my blessings that I don’t have lymph drainag problems, like folks with edema do.

Anyway, I’m feeling better, and I have a full day ahead of me. But I’m pacing myself. And I’ve blocked off time this afternoon to sleep. I haven’t had a good afternoon nap in weeks, and it’s taking its toll. If I don’t nap at least once over the weekend, it catches up with me — and that’s what’s been happening.

And now I’m really dizzy, with a lot of stuff to do, and I regret doing chores last Sunday, instead of taking my nap. I had three solid hours to myself, to use as I pleased, and I frittered away the time on futzing around and doing little chores that took longer than I expected.

Ah, well,  so it goes. At least I’m aware of my dizziness, so I can accommodate it and work with it. When I’m really, really dizzy, I find that keeping my posture ramrod straight and moving very slowly and deliberately helps tremendously. Also, if I sleep a lot and drink plenty of fluids and avoid sugar, that helps, too. I’ve taken medicine for vertigo, but it didn’t help a bit. Anyway, it turns out the medicine is really just for nausea that results from vertigo, not the vertigo itself — at least that’s what the PCP I had at the time told me. Come to think of it, they could have been wrong. They were a bit of an idiot, by average standards. (And it was a scary six months in my life, when they were my primary doctor.)

But now I’ve got a pretty good PCP, and I trust them a whole lot more than the last several I went to. Trusting your doctor is good. It simplifies a lot of things, in many ways, not least of which is the office visit experience.

But more on that later. Right now, I need to stay focused on my dizziness.

Tracking back over the past week, as it’s gotten steadily worse, I have been looking for what I’ve been doing differently that has contributed to this. The one thing that I’ve been doing regularly, that is very different from before, is that I’ve been eating pieces of chocolate to keep myself going. Not just chocolate, mind you, but those little Dove chocolates with peanut butter in the middle. I thought that the peanut butter would give them more staying power, but what I’ve noticed over the past week is how much sugar is in those little puppies.

Zoinks! Who eats this stuff regularly?! They’re dangerous! Sure, they give me a little pick-me-up when I need it — like driving home late from work when it’s very dark, I’m very tired, and I’m having a hard time seeing. But I’m finding that when I eat one, I crave another one about 10 minutes later — like I spike, and then I crash and am worse off than before, so I need another “little” piece of candy to keep me going… and my system gets totally fried by all the sudden, extreme ups and downs.

Which contributes to my fatigue… and apparently my dizziness.

Not good.

So, while I’m doing my errands today, I’m going to remove the chocolates from my car — just throw them out — drink more water, eat more fruit, and be very, very careful when I’m out and about.

The last thing I need is another accident or fall.