Friday, October 28, 2011

The light at the end of the tunnel

Which is easier?  Mopping the floor, or jogging 1km?

Believe it or not, the answer (for me, surprisingly,) was jogging 1km.

I was guessing that when I asked the Osteopath he'd probably say something about how my spine is straight in one action (jogging) while force is applied to it, and in the other (mopping,) it's bent meaning the force isn't being distributed evenly across the back making it more vulnerable in certain places, or something.  Actually, he did say something like that, (and then added in a bunch of other things having to do with centre of gravity, ribcage expansion vs compression in the motions, and so on.)

Then we talked about why it was that though I could jog a kilometre without feeling major twinges and pain... I still couldn't walk one quickly without that happening.  In this case he said it has to do with the fact that my feet are spending less time on the ground when I jog, so I'm not actually jerking my spine around with side-to-side forces from my feet as much as when I walk, not to mention the centre of gravity is forward when jogging, and the place of maximum shock to the spine (travelling up from a different heel-strike between the two activities) also changes the game there.  Neat.  Also: who knew a light jog was biomechanically easier than a brisk walk?  Oh yeah, probably competitive race-walkers, actually.  Anyhow, I learned something.

I've been adjusted again (As a sidenote: I don't think I'll ever really feel ok though about being twisted, feeling nervous for my joints as they are making popping sounds and are pressed upon in pretty uncomfortable ways, but ... if it works I guess I have to try and feel ok with it.) As with last time, it seems it's taking a good 2-3 days for the adjustment to settle in, so we'll see better how things are in a few days.

I'm supposed to see my regular doctor soon to follow up on my progress however, so I have had to test out a few activities despite it not feeling up to it yet in order to see what kind of improvements I'm noting.  Last week around 4.5 kg was the limit for me before things became uncomfortable, with respect to my lifting a bucket filled with water.  Today it's around 6.5kg, so we're getting there!  Hopefully I'll be back up to around 10kg soon (what I figure is the average weight of the heavier things I have to carry about at moments in my daily life.)  I've been encouraged by the Osteo to go for another little jog when I feel the adjustment has settled, and I can't wait to give that a go given how much of a pleasant surprise the 1k last week was.

So, finally a bit of sunshine (that doesn't have to do with a cute animal picture,) in this crappy, grey, 6 week long streak of whining.  I can't wait to have NOTHING to say about my back.  I bet you can't either!  Maybe I'll celebrate and buy some new running shoes!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Be at peace, says guru Lemur.

I realize the nervous and neurotic energy of my last post must be counterbalanced, hence this very meditative ring-tailed Lemur.

Neurotic ramblings

Day two of waking up feeling somewhat decent.  Since I felt alright-ish yesterday, I took on the Osteo's advice of giving a few 'real life things' a try.

I washed the dishes (nothing heavy yet though.)  I vacuumed the house!  (I never thought that sentence would deserve an exclamation point, but there it is.)  After that though, my back was giving signals from THE problem area, like "no further, or I'll get angry", so I stopped and did less active things after.  The vacuum borders on being heavy however, and the Osteo did say I'm not ready to deal with anything heavy yet, so maybe I was pushing a little too much?

But still... I did things!  And I'm not in great pain today!  So today I'm going to try and put a little more faith into what the Osteo said and try "a little jog."  I'm serious, the OSTEOPATH told me to give a little light jogging a try along with a few 'regular life activities' and report back to him for the next appointment on how it went.  I see him tomorrow, so I'll try to go for a kilometre or two, niiice and eeeasy.  If it doesn't go well, at least since I see him tomorrow if I'm in pain hopefully he can fix it.  *nervous face*

I still find it hard to believe that a blockage of the rib could be "IT"... but maybe it is?  After all, the ribs are connected to the vertebrae, so if a rib moves out of place, it could tug a vertebra just enough out of place to cause pain and irritation, I guess?

???  He's the doctor, I'm not.  I just have to remind myself of this when I'm being 'adjusted'.  I still wonder though why "the" place in my back gets SO angry when it's poked by doctors, while no other place on my spine reacts like that.  Hopefully he has an explanation that makes sense for this.  In any case, I feel better putting a little more faith in the Osteo since the specialist has said that for now I can continue with Osteopathy if it seems to be helping.  The specialist said the MRI is just to be sure there isn't anything else like the beginnings of a herniated disc contributing to this whole back-problem, and to close out the file, to be sure that if the Osteo gives the green-light to go back to work that there won't be any complications due to something not seen in the first scan.  Which sounds ... sort of reassuring?  I'd like to think?

Maybe a rib displacement really is the problem.  Whatever.  If I can jog today, I'll know I'm heading in the right direction toward being able to DO STUFF again.  Of course, someone else who is mildly skeptical about the rib-diagnosis has also pointed out to me that I have already had 6 weeks off, doing nothing, (which is a pretty long time,)  so maybe I'm just getting better naturally from giving my back a good rest for 6 weeks.  Even the osteopath did mention that my body had already done some "auto-healing", and said he could tell that a few weeks before I'd seen him it must have felt much worse.  I guess we'll see if I have even more noticeable improvement after my adjustment tomorrow.

Gah.  My head is turning all this stuff around, and won't stop.

Well, no matter if it's the rib or something else, or a combo of things, I'm glad at least that my doctors are being cautious and making sure that I'm in proper physical form to go and take on life in the same manner I did before, and that there aren't other issues before closing the case.  As much as I miss living life, being active and working like a normal person, I NEVER, EVER want to have this kind of injury again, so I'm really grateful they seem to have the same goal.  I sound like a real brat I'm sure when I say this, but this is actually the worst injury I've had in my life.  My quality of life has been crap for the past 6 weeks.  Protect your back always, ladies and gents, please.  You only get one, and it's attached to everything else in your life.

I'm pretty worried about the recommendation to try jogging though.  I'm still having trouble walking at my normal speed, with painful twinges shooting up my spine when I try. : /  But there is no way to know other than to try, I suppose.  Wish me luck?

Monday, October 24, 2011

I owe you some Otters.

If you've been following along, you know why.

Dazed and confused, and... sabotaged?

Yesterday I took all the drugs.
The anti-inflammatory cream, the muscle relaxants, the anti-inflammatory pill (which yeah, burns my belly from the inside,) the other painkilling anti-inflammatory cream.  I did nothing but sit, stand, and walk slowly.
My back was soo angry.

And after all that, today when I woke up my back felt better than it has in days.  Ever since the specialist poked me on Friday morning it was UNhappy.  I don't get it.  Though progress is generally in a good direction (I feel like it's getting better and stronger slowly but surely,) I still feel that one place, right in the spine that feels weak and starts to get angry the second I'm trying to walk at a normal speed, that feels compressed and angry when I carry something that's a little heavy.  When that spot gets angry, everything else flares up.

I ask myself "could that really be just from a rib knocking a bit out of place?"  Of course, not being a doctor I don't know.  On the other hand I have a specialist telling me he doesn't think that's the root problem and who thinks and MRI is probably what's needed to sort out what's really happened.  In the meantime, speaking of back problems, it would appear that I have a boss who's stabbed me in the back, and I don't understand why.

I was told the other night when at the hotel dropping off paper that my manager, the one I spoke to directly about my injury, told his boss that I never said anything to him about being hurt.  I spoke to my manager the day I got hurt about it (because that's what we do where I'm from if you hurt yourself at work, tell the boss so he can make a note of it,) and then when I was in much more pain the day after, realizing that it maybe wasn't just a simple little hurt, he asked me what was wrong and so I talked to him about it again, explaining that whatever I'd done the day before was really paining me.

He says I said nothing.  At all.  Ever.  I was really floored when my managers' boss told me that.  Not only is it like, the most irresponsible thing my manager could have done, but I don't understand at all why... why would he lie?  Was he mad at me?  Did he just think I was faking?  I just don't get it, and when I think about it, it just makes me feel really sad, and like I put my trust in someone who, for some reason I don't grasp, is trying to mess with my life.

My manager has seen me show up to work and do my best no matter if I've had a sleepless night, or if I'm sick as a dog.  This guy knows that even when I had a doctor's note to miss two days of work from a sprained ankle, that I only spent the first day resting and came in hobbling like a good little soldier the next day even though I didn't have to.  I've never had a client complain about my work, and I've always given extra days to the hotel when they've asked me to be there, I've come in early for days where we had big groups needing earlier service...   There is nothing I can think of that I've done over more than 2 years of working there that should cause anyone to disbelieve me when I tell them I actually can't work (and when several doctors agree on paper about that.)  I can't think of a single reason why he might want to try and mess with me like this.  I've been a good employee, and I've done what I was supposed to, and now someone I trusted is lying, and I can't figure out why.

And do you know how frustrating it is to find out that for 6 weeks your managers boss (aka: your big-boss,) has been thinking that you're just 'playing hooky', being lazy and pretending to be sick?  I ask myself too, how could the big-boss possibly believe that, when he too knows that I've given my all to that job, that I've been nothing except for professional for more than 2 years?  You see, my managers boss also told me that my manager has been saying stuff while I've been gone like "well you know she's planning on going back to Canada soon, so she's probably just decided she's tired of this job and is trying to keep her pay".  W.T.F?

I tried to set the big-boss straight.  I reminded him I've been nothing but willing and hard-working.  I reminded him I've always tried to handle things professionally, and I told him that my manager is lying when he says I never said anything about being hurt, and lying again because actually, if I go back to Canada, it will be YEARS from now.  I'm ACTUALLY hurt, I told him.  It's not even about pain, or not being able to carry something heavy... I can't even f-ing WALK at a REGULAR speed, which obviously poses a real problem when my job involves zipping back and forth all day at top speed, along with the other physical work I do.

I'm just floored by the whole thing.  Disgusted really, and confused as to how it is when I've been nothing but honest and professional that I could be treated with not only suspicion, but with bold faced lies.  Fine, I get that there are a lot of people in this country who try to cheat the system, I see it all around... but wouldn't you figure that after more than 2 years of really solid work, people might realize you're not one of those parasites?  That you might ACTUALLY be hurt if you say you are, and if qualified medical professionals are saying you are too?  I just don't get it.  I'm being treated like a liar and a cheater when actually, I'm just injured and trying to get better so that I can go back to working and living like normal.  I am beyond frustrated at this development.

And to top it off, today I have to try and get in touch with some legal advice.  There is a form the hotel gave me, and it's in French legal-language.  It's a subrogation form concerning articles of the law, and my research only tells me that a subrogation means I give up the right to something, and I can't find any clear information regarding these articles of the law other than that they have to do with work-accidents.  I can't simply sign something not knowing what my signature means, particularly not now that I know that things aren't being dealt with honestly at the hotel.  I don't feel I can trust them when they tell me "it's just a form to confirm that you received your regular pay for those first two weeks you were off work sick."  I've never had to confirm being paid before, and the dates on the form are wrong too.  It makes me wonder if this is just another way of the hotel (or at least one person who works there,) trying to screw me over.

I really hope it's not the case, but I can't help but feel that way right now, and I can't help but feel like a dumb foreigner because the company I gave my hard work and consistency to over the past 2 years has decided that because I can't work right now they might as well stab me in the back and throw me under the bus.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

6 weeks, 4 doctors

So.  I had my first appointment with an Osteopath on Wednesday.  Interesting.  I've never been to one before, but I'm supposed to trust that he won't hurt me.  He believes the problems I'm having are related to a 'blockage' having to do with my 10th rib being forced into an 'off' position.

Breathe in, breath out and relax, Crackity crack.  A few more twisted positions and a few more cracks and pops, and that was my first 'adjustment'.  Afterward I felt like someone had done the spinal equivalent of cracking the knuckles.  My muscles weren't the happiest and my spine felt... weird.  He said to give my freshly adjusted back a few days to settle, and then to give a few 'normal life things' a try before seeing him again next week... so we'll see.

I saw the specialist yesterday and he doesn't agree with the Osteopaths diagnosis, so an MRI is now booked.  Meanwhile, since the specialist poked about in the affected area yesterday morning it's been pretty angry.  I'm waiting for the angry to die down so I can possibly on Monday or Tuesday follow the Osteos instructions by trying to push the vacuum around, wash dishes, take on a few regular life things and see how they go.

If there could still be a problem with my discs however, I'm wondering if it's smart to have someone cracking my back...  I'll have to double check with the specialist about this.  In any case the Osteo doesn't seem fussed about it.  I told him the specialist thinks there could still be a disc issue and he brushed it off.  Which was, uh, not very reassuring.

I will say this though: Despite my hesitations about Osteopathy, one of the cracks he did seem to release a little pressure feeling I had when I breathed deeply since the back problem started.  So perhaps a rib was involved, but I'm not feeling (yet, at least,) like the rest of the adjustments he made have improved the problem spot.  I'll give him his shot at helping me, and he does seem really optimistic about being able to help me bounce back from this.  I kind of got caught up in his optimism the day I went to see him actually, I guess because I'd like to be back to normal sooner than later and I'd like to find someone who can help me get there.  But as of now, I can't really say I'm feeling much of a difference. : /

As the French say "On verra" (We'll see.)  And then after I've had the MRI, hopefully we really will see.  I'm tired of people poking me and taking their educated guesses.  I've seen 4 different medical professionals now about this over the past 6 weeks, and I've heard 4 different theories as to what's happened to my back.  Hopefully the MRI will make things a little clearer for everyone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One thing I have gained in Belgium:

Patience.  You can't survive (and remain sane,) here without it.  Even if you have what you consider to be reasonable patience when you arrive in Belgium as an expat, the country and its way of working will force you to further develop your abilities in this area.

Monday, October 17, 2011

In which I try to assuage my guilt.

I feel bad about all the negativity here of late.  While it's true that sometimes life hands you a big ol' steaming pile all at once, it's not nice to spread it around.  I'm going to try and offset the crap with good things, even if they are good things that don't come from my life at the moment.  I feel guilty that my blog of late is making for a bleak read.  So here, please take this albino baby seal.

He's extra special.

A day of surprises.

Yesterday was a day of surprises for me, good and bad:

- I met Tom, another anglo-expat in Liège for a chat, and that was pleasant.

- It was a sunny day, which for Liège, is always a welcome surprise.

Now, these things aside, some f-ed up stuff happened last night and I kind of need to vent.

While chatting with Tom in a bar, this guy The Boy and I know from elsewhere in Liège turned up.  I went over to say hi, but the conversation quickly became drawn out and I'm not great at putting the brakes on something like this, so it just kept going.  And eventually Tom probably felt like I'd forgotten about him, and decided to excuse himself.  This is something I feel bad about, because at times I forget my basic social skills, like remembering to introduce people, and being properly attentive and so on.  (So, I'm sorry Tom, if you're reading this, for my being so socially inept about that.)

At any rate, after Tom excused himself the dude we know from elsewhere essentially demonstrated his mastery of the art of pushing conversation on and on while pressuring others to drink.  I hadn't eaten much all day, so this was pretty bad news for me.  The Boy seemed to put up weak resistance and then dove in.

Things moved to another place, after a horrible 'emergency dinner' for me picked up at a Kebab, and they just kept going downhill with whiskey shots being ordered up.  I drew my line and said I was done drinking, and essentially got pestered in varying degrees by the others, but you know, WTF people?  I'm ON MEDICATION that's not wise to mix with ALCOHOL, and I take that pill before bed.  I can't go to bed drunk!  Call me an old lady, tell me I'm not as much fun as you thought, I don't give a toss.  I have one back, and I'm trying to get it better so I can go back to doing fun things (things that are actually way more fun to me than whiskey shots!)  I was as gentle in the rebuffs as possible, and stuck to sparkling water.

Sadly, The Boy had not at all drawn his line.  After a spell of our being there, quite suddenly The Boy announced that we had to go.  There was almost a whole pint of Guinness in front of him when he said it, and when it was pointed out to him, he didn't care.  (The Boy, to my knowledge, would never leave his Guinness like this, so I knew something was not ok.)  We said our goodbyes and left, and The Boy stumbled his way a half block before retching up a good size puddle on the sidewalk.  I told him we should go to his friends place, which was very close by since he was WAY too drunk to do anything, and he said no, he wanted to go home.  I said "I'm taking the bus, you should come with me since you can't even walk in a straight line... I don't know how you expect to drive in one."  No again.  So I waited at the bus, worrying about the boy, about everyone else who was out in Liège, about a great number of things really, and then got harassed by a creepy stranger while I waited, wondering sardonically to myself if things could get any 'better' that night.


This morning The Boy was very quiet.  He seems to have realized (all for himself) that he is out of control, and making some really dumb and ultimately harmful decisions.  I think he scared himself, or finally saw his impulsive behaviour with alcohol in a more honest light.  I don't know really.  I said very little, since after all the other BS that's happened involving him, alcohol and my expressing concern, I've learned it's done little good to express my concern or to try and involve myself.  I've learned to take a step back and respect that his choices are his, and my choice about when exactly I've lost my patience is mine.

So, The Boy told me this morning that he wants to stop drinking, and asked me if I'll support him on that.  I asked him if he really thinks this is addressing the core problem (like... do you know WHY you drink so much sometimes?) or just a scary symptom.  I probed what "stop drinking" meant too.  Not socially?  Not at all?  Right now it seems that he's aware he can't just stop everything since that won't help him to come to know his limits either, and in Liège going completely dry is near impossible.  He knows that there is nothing 'wrong' in his mind with a glass of wine with dinner.  He knows that if he's not driving home there isn't anything necessarily wrong with a few too many among friends at a party.  But beyond that, he seems to be suddenly hesitant.  Caution here I suppose is best.  I think I understand well enough what he means, but I don't know how well it's going to work in a place where people drink in just about every imaginable situation, and where you can actually be ridiculed for trying to drink in moderation.  I'm fine making my stubborn "no."   The boy however ... he generally crumbles under peer pressure, from what I've seen.

I told him I don't know how exactly I can support him on this, since a decision like this comes from ones own convictions.  I told him I'll back him up if someone tries to give him a hard time about not accepting a drink if he's already said no to it himself, but I also said that I've already tried to point out to him the times where he should have said "no" and that I can't and won't intervene or nudge him in the 'right direction like that anymore since it's only resulted in fights in the past.

I've also said that if anyone's asking him why he's suddenly decided to take a more moderate approach, he better not even jokingly say that it's because of me.  I've told him that he's made it quite clear to me previously that this is "his business, not mine" and so I'm sticking to that.  I can only support this if he's willing to take ownership for his decision and his reasons.  But as for my being emotionally invested in this?  No, not really.  After the Citadel I gave up my last shred of actual hope on this issue.  It's not my battle, and I've been told so many times that it's not, and to stay out of this thing which is 'not my business'.  But sure, I'll silently cross my fingers on the sidelines for you if you want.

We'll see I suppose.  It would be nice if he were to develop a little more self-control.  I'm hopeful he's actually had some kind of epiphany about his impulsive behaviour and how it's not serving him well, but honestly I'm not holding my breath.  It's kind of like when a smoker tells you they want to quit or cut back.  It doesn't mean they will succeed, at all.  In the end that's all up to them, their willpower, and their internal, personal motivations.

So although the day started well, the end was quite the unpleasant surprise, right down to the moment I got off the bus, and the guy who'd been harassing me gave me a creepy wave from the back of the bus with a menacing smirk that seemed to say "Now I know where you live."  That was the cherry on the pile.

It would be a nice surprise in the end if The Boy finally managed to stick to his better judgement.  Here's hoping there's at least one silver lining/breakthrough that can compensate in some way for the awfulness that was last night.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Snails pace.

Things are evolving here at about snails pace.  Are snails faster than sloths?  Well... whichever one is slower, that's me and this situation right now.  At the very least I seem to have found a little internal peace, so though what I might tell you is dreary, please know that actually, I'm dealing much better with the whole hurting my back thing than I was before.

The good news is that my scan at the hospital came back to my doctor and he said he sees nothing "grave", meaning no herniated disc is evident, nothing that could be classified as serious permanent damage.  This was a relief to hear.

The bad news is I'll be seeing a specialist friend of ours soon, who has stepped in at this point because he doesn't think that after a month of doing nothing that I should still have the symptoms I do.  He explained that he thinks an MRI is actually what's needed, since scans (3D Xrays) aren't nearly as clear, particularly when it comes to spotting disc issues.  So the bad news is basically that even with a scan that shows no problem, my specialist friend believes a herniated disc might still be lurking there.

I'll see my regular doctor again tomorrow, and I expect that since I still can't really do much of anything physical, he'll probably extend my medical leave from work.  I hope so at least, since my job is very physical, like a sport really what with the race-walking, carrying heavy things and so on.  Given that right now, I'm at the point where even a short and slow walk (one of the only things the doctor has told me is ok to do,) usually results in more pain afterward and reduced flexibility, I know that I would be an epic failure at meeting the demands of my job.  Even the simple things like clipping my toenails, shaving my legs, and tying my shoes aren't at all simple to get done for the moment, and it's been 4 weeks.

The regular doctor has said that since it's not something that's shown up on the scan, it must be a muscle/tendon thing, and so he'll be sending me to a Kiné (physiotherapist,) and he hopes they'll be able to figure out (finally) what it IS that's gone wrong and give me a good set of instructions like "you can and should do these sorts of motions, but definitely don't do these ones."  Right now it's just me going by feel, playing it safe, and taking muscle relaxants and pain killers daily... which I'm not thrilled about though they do seem to help at least for the time-being.

The ideal situation would be that the Kiné will proclaim "oh yes, I've seen this before and I know exactly what to do to fix you." and they'll be right, and have some treatment plan/technique that will help me see some real improvement in a fairly speedy manner.  As you might have guessed, I'm not thrilled that after a month I still don't have much instruction to help me improve my own health other than "move very little and take these pills."  I'm anxious to be better, I can't wait to feel normal again!

One thing this time has really shown me is that my sense of self worth is too closely linked to my mobility, and my ability to do work.  Logically I understand that this makes little sense, but I've also felt that each time my mobility has suffered so has my self esteem.  Each time I've not been working in my life, I've felt worse about myself too.  The protestant work ethic is only a good thing if you can work... the flipside isn't nice as it turns out.  So this has been a double-whammy for my ego.

Even now while I'm being told that my job is to get better, and while my income and job are, I'm told, protected, I still feel like the fact that I can't do as much means I'm not worth as much as a human being.  Obviously this isn't the right way to think about your intrinsic worth as a person, and it's not a set of attachments that will serve me well when I'm old, retired, and possibly infirm.  I don't really know how to tackle this 'mis-valuation' though, how to work through it.

As for the hotel... well, they are still heel-dragging, but I've decided not to take it personally and just to press on.  They are legally obliged to keep up and fill out the paperwork in a reasonable period of time, whether they want to or not, no matter how busy the hotel is or not at the moment, and I can understand that nobody likes dealing with extra paperwork, but it's got to be done.

I should add that the incident at the Citadel has smoothed on the surface, though I don't feel it has smoothed on the deeper level.  I feel like even if I didn't want to, I've taken another step backwards as far as emotional trust goes with The Boy.  I just can't deal with someone who says a good portion of the time that they want to build a life and a family together, and then hear from that same person when things flare up that it's probably best I go, that I'm not welcome with them in certain social circumstances and so on, that we are kidding ourselves and don't share any of the same goals.  How can you know which of the two opposites is true to this person when they are capable of saying (and repeating) both?

After awhile it's hard to keep faith that the one you hear more often (the good) must be true... because if it were then how is it possible for the same person to say something that is pretty much the antithesis, repeatedly, and with seemingly equal emotional conviction when they're upset?  I need more stability, comfort and consistency than this in order to believe in a relationship and in the idea that it could go the distance, that we could build a life.

We're certainly not at that level right now.  I need to be able to trust that I've got a real teammate who's going to stick it out, persevere and talk it out like an adult through misunderstandings and rough patches because their faith in our love and their desire to keep it is bigger than their frustrations.  I don't know if The Boy can do that.  I hope so, but I also know that I can't compromise on my needs in a relationship.  I can be patient, yes, but only for so long.  I'd like someone by my side who demonstrates an ongoing commitment to try and keep their integrity even when seas are rougher.  It's not fair to hurt your partner simply because you, in a particular moment aren't happy.  (I don't say I'm perfect at this, but I'd say it's clear enough that I try very hard to follow this principle, even when I'm seriously pissed off.)

Trust is slowly built, but easily destroyed by careless words.  Mine's in little bits on the ground right now.  I'm left with the lingering worry that this is someone who though I'd rather not, I may simply have to (in the end, should it come to that,) accept as a fair-weather friend.  I feel like maybe The Boy is someone who, after years of 'building a life together' might be capable of taking off one day when things aren't feeling perfectly rosy for him.  Have we spent all this time working on creating a foundation, testing it for weaknesses and addressing them before building up... or have we just dug ourselves a hole?  I'd like to think it's one hell of a strong foundation and that there's been lots of progress made and shoring up done over the last 5 years.  I'd like to think that all of our efforts to this point have been for something, but you know...  Maybe he's right, what he says when he's angry.  Maybe we're kidding ourselves.  Maybe he'll never be able to get control of himself enough to not say hurtful things he doesn't mean.  And maybe that will be the end of us.  And that creeping doubt is the thing that has made me take a tiny step backwards.

It will take a good deal of consistency over times good and bad to change this.  No matter how rosy the rosy moments are, they do very little to soothe the doubts caused by what goes wrong with us when things go wrong.  It's easy to be loving and considerate when life is easy.  It's simpler to say sorry after the fact, when things are calmer, and even to honestly admit the wrongs on both sides, sort through the misunderstandings and such, but in the end these won't keep you afloat as a couple for the long haul, I think.

It's harder to be loving and considerate in the thick of it, to remain a partner right in that moment even when things hurt and aren't going your way, rather than to abandon ship, set fire to things, and run away.  But in the end it's probably what counts the most to me.

That, and being able to stop living the physical reality of a 77 year old sometime soon.  That would be really nice too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A cure of sun and salt.

Hm, I never published this, but it seems to be finished.  So I'm publishing it now.

I am back from a week in Spain.

I was entirely clear with everyone before leaving for this week that I desired nothing other than to eat well, drink well, and learn to surf if possible, and it was exactly these things that I ended up doing.

Between the fatigue from work before going on vacation, and the fatigue from surfing (which will provide a workout for everything from your toes to neck,) I slept SO. MUCH.  This is doubly amazing considering the bed in our hotel was actually just springs covered by a piece of fabric.  A torture device, really.  I view the fact that I could sleep on it at all as undeniable proof that I was tired.

The Boy was bored enough during my lazing about that he read most of the girl-health magazine I'd brought along, not to mention 120-something pages of an actual book I'd brought (I have never seen him read anything book-like other than a user-manual, so that was shocking.)

I warned him that I wouldn't be the peppy voyageur I often have been, going here and there, exploring and so on.  I told him in advance so he could be prepared, though when we arrived and I wanted to do very little, somehow this came as a shock to him which is how he ended up reading and learning about, (among other female-francophone concerns,) a condition known as "la vaginisme".

I needed the amazing charcuteria where we went and bought various afternoon treats, I needed the fresh and insanely cheap seafood and wine, I needed to finally surf after wanting to learn for years and years, and I needed the amazing views offered along the beach (sculpted spanish surfer-boys and beautiful sunsets alike.)  I needed to roll my r's instead of making them at the back of my throat.  Spanish r's are so much more pleasing than French ones.

And, it totally didn't hurt to meet Manu, the drop dead gorgeous guy who attended the same surf-school as us, with the amaaazing eyes, staying on I'm not what sure floor in the same hotel as us... *siiiigghh.*  It's probably a good thing he was only there for the weekend.  First guy I've met since The Boy that has made me feel like THAT when I look into his (amazing, did I mention they were amazing?) eyes.

The Boy totally knew I had a crush.  I don't lie about these things, so I was honest in saying ", his eyes?  WOW."  And even The Boy had to admit that Manu was a gorgeous man who had 'something' about him.  I had hoped The Boy would find some solace however in knowing that Manu was also the first boy I'd seen that had really wowed me like that since him... but he thought I said that just to be nice.  The Boy needs to trust that I'm more honest than nice.  Nice and honest are not mutually exclusive, but they sure as heck aren't best friends.  Anyway, what can I say?  I'm not going to lie and say a gorgeous man isn't gorgeous.  I'm not going to say that a man who clearly takes care of himself and happens to be genetically gifted isn't attractive.  But I'm also not going to lie when I say that it's actually quite rare that I see a man I find 'magnetic'.  So yeah, that was the brief caliente bit of vacation.

Of course, there were other tensions, largely caused by the fact that I unplug from the work-world faster than The Boy, and there was a talk which I suppose revealed my feelings about what's possibly gone awry in our duo a bit more clearly.  The fact that I was better at surfing than The Boy for the first few days didn't help either.  I did give him some pointers on judging waves though, which seemed to help him after the first two days, and now we both are of the opinion that surfing is awesome, and we'd like to do it again.

It was a mixed bag, but still I got exactly what I needed out of it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I miss Spain

I finally got our surf pictures back.  The most impressive surfing moments however don't translate well to film and we feature as unidentifiable specks on a bigger wave further out.  The ones where you can see it's us are the ones where we're just finishing our ride as the wave peters out closer to shore.  Either zoom lenses or waterproof camera cases are needed to take good surf photos.  Lesson learned.

I am the tiniest speck in the middle.  You can't tell but I'm having a great ride there.

Yes, that is me surfing like a newbie there. :)

and there,

and there again.

I will finally have a scan tomorrow to see about my back.  Given that it's been three weeks since I hurt myself, and that slowly but surely the problem seems to be getting better, I'm not sure how much they'll see now.  They should have just done the darned thing when I couldn't move without pain... because I'm pretty sure that whatever happened to me would have been much more visually evident then.  At any rate, I'm hoping they figure it out because not knowing what's wrong with it is disturbing.

I'm weary from worry too as things have taken a turn for the crappy here.  My work seems to be uncooperative in the administration of my medical documents (which they are supposed to, by law, be forthright about, but it would seem they are not being so,) and last night I stupidly tried to go with The Boy and his friend to see the candle-lit pathways that (once a year,) light up the citadel of Liège.

Silly me, I thought we were going to see a quiet and beautiful annual tradition of Liège, but in reality it was THRONGS of people, lots of bars, loud music and oh yeah, a few candles along the sides of the roads.  I did my best to say little and try not to slow the others up too much with my injured-walk, because, you know... sometimes you don't get what you expect and that's life.  My perceived lack of enthusiasm for the idea of being driven home by someone who was over-the-limit for alcohol, and my demand that they do the right thing and switch to water for the last glass or two, however was the straw that broke the camels back and was met with angry words, and a general 'Thanks for ruining the evening, everyone back to the car, we're going home NOW.'

*Sigh*  I should really just start assuming that anything, even those things that are normally quiet and somber like... funerals possibly even, are also events where (in Liège at least,) there might be a bar and it might actually be just as good an excuse as any other for people to get drunk and disorderly.  I should also know better than to try and separate any Liègois from his bottle before he's ready.  Anyhow, it's not as though I have a problem with people getting drunk at a party.  I just have a problem with them thinking it's just fine to do such an irresponsible thing as to drive home drunk.

Regardless that this conviction comes out of caring for those around me, I've been told by the boy that I'm no longer invited to accompany him to party with him and his friends.  Fine.  I'll go the parties I want thank you very much, and I'll find my own (safe) way there and home, and maybe in the end I'll make a few of my own friends along the way.  Who knows, maybe everyone will be better off for it.

Right about now though, with all the merde hitting the fan between my health, my work being unresponsive with documents that they should be being responsive about, and my new slightly-more-than-before-social-outcast status, I'm really missing that feeling I had while surfing in Spain.  There I felt like I could do something right, that was also good for me, and that didn't hurt anyone's feelings or result in bizarre forms of retaliation.  It was simple.