How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Life is Overwhelming at Times

Well, sometimes life throws us big curve balls. 

A cartoon image of Jodi lying down underneath a gasoline gauge.
The gauge reads “E” in the red zone, symbolizing “empty.” 

I have once again been going through big things. 

My son has expressed an interest in learning to drive. So I was all ready to give him a driving lesson in the beginning of July. And I took a mis-step while we were walking to my car, and I ended up with a sprained ankle (and a face-plant full of dirt). 

It is now closing on the end of August, and I am still dealing with this sprained ankle. Who knew these things could take so long to heal? 

In addition to that, I probably did a face-plant into some sort of shrubbery that I was allergic to. Because a few days later, I ended up at the doctor again with something on my arm that had been there a few days at that point. 

The doctor diagnosed me with Shingles. Ack - I only just turned 50! I hadn’t yet had the moment to get a Shingles vaccine. I am only barely 50. And they sent me away with 2 medicines - one to take with water and a meal, and another to apply topically. They told me, “do NOT use any heavy cream, like Vaseline, with the Shingles.” 

Well, it turns out I was allergic to the topical cream. It gave me a chemical burn on my arm. I am such a stranger to medicines, that I didn’t know what I was experiencing was abnormal. I used the cream twice, then just couldn’t do it again. And it burned my arm so badly, my skin all peeled off. It peeled off layers of color of my beautiful tattoo, too. I didn’t want to photograph my arm to show friends, either, because it looked horrifying. 

After a week of this, I finally did send a photo to a close friend of mine. They showed their co-worker who said what I had been thinking - “it looks like a chemical burn.” 

Meanwhile, I had to babysit my arm around the clock. My arm. Babysit my arm. It’s a bizarre thing when someone has to babysit their own body part. It was draining and burning and hurting and the only relief I could find was when I ran it under cold water. This went on for about 2-3 weeks in July and early August.

I finally went back to the doctor and showed them my arm. The nurse who admitted me said, “that doesn’t look at all like what it looked like when you first came in.” That opened my eyes that what I was dealing with had been completely different (and much smaller) than what I was dealing with now. 

The doctor had no idea what it was, but he told me I now had a bacterial infection in addition to “whatever it was,” and he told me to follow up at the emergency room the next day. 

So I went to the emergency room the next day. They confirmed the bacterial infection, confirmed that the new medicine I was put on was a good one to clear up the bacterial infection, and they told me I needed to follow up with a dermatologist (a skin doctor). 

I tried several “local” dermatologists (all “local” ones are an hour away!), and either they couldn’t see me at all, or they could see me as early as January. No joke. 

Thankfully, where I used to live, I have a dermatologist. That’s 2 hours away, but I called her just the same. Her receptionist made a slot for me the next day. Thank goodness!

She also confirmed the bacterial infection, said the medicine I was on for that was fine. And she gave me 2 topical medications to mix with Vaseline (!) to apply to the chemical burn.

My pharmacy closed before I could drive back the 2 hours home, to pick up the new medicines. But I decided to just put the Vaseline on without the other medicine added to it. Hoping that would help. 

Oh wow - did it sure help!! It softened the chemical burn, torn up skin so much, that the next day, when I showered, most of the bad skin just fell off in the shower! It was such a relief to have a lot of that stuff off of my arm. It had been pulling and stretching and tearing at me. It was so painful a

I got the medicine for my arm and mixed it with the Vaseline, and it’s been about 2 weeks now, and my arm is staring to return to its normal color, sans “tan from the sun gained over the years.” It’s like new baby skin forming. 

In addition to all of that, my landlord was raising my rent, so I had to figure out what to do next. I have decided that for the moment, I will have my stuff in storage while I stay with friends and figure out where I will be living now. I am grateful to say I have a few wonderful friends who are going to let me stay with them for now, while I figure things out. It’s been quite the experience to pack my belongings in to boxes and label them, while only being able to use one arm. 

And, I have 2 other very big things going on that I don’t post about on public forums, and those things have their own paperwork and issues cropping up here and there. It’s a LOT to deal with, and I have been overwhelmed beyond what I have ever felt like overwhelm was. 

At some point, does life calm down? I sure hope so. I have books I want to write and paintings I want to paint. And my dogs would love to have fun things to do, too, I am sure. 

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