Friday, January 03, 2014

A somewhat happy New Year's

Living without any painkillers at all is not difficult if you don't have to walk around too much and you can apply warmth to dull the pain somewhat. I've been using my old knee braces, which are masters of insulation, and covering up with several layers of clothing: leggings, thermals, and a fleece sweater as a lap robe. Of course, this would be difficult to do at the clinic. Since I can't take tramadol anymore, the next best option is codeine.

I'm more or less recovered from the serotonin syndrome; no more awful headaches, wooziness, or nausea. My lithium levels were tested and came back WAY low, so I'm pretty sure we can increase my dose. My thyroid results were somewhat abnormal, which might mean that the lithium is finally, inexorably destroying my thyroid function. But that's easily controlled with synthetic thyroid hormone.

I see Dr. New today and need to see Dr. Cool as well, for a new codeine prescription and more blood work to determine how poorly my thyroid is faring, but that won't happen for a few more days thanks to the huge storm that blew in last night.

What did I do on New Year's? I went to a small party given by friends of a friend. I'm not feeling 100% myself; the lithium dose is too low. But I've been relaxing at home, not stressing out at work, so I figured I could handle a small party, and I didn't want to be home alone again by myself. Fortunately, my friend Chester (yes, strange name for a Jewish guy) and his wife Amanda invited me to join them at a friend's soiree.

The first person I saw was Ikey Abadi. As usual, he thought I looked fantastic. "You've lost weight!" he said. (Thank you, Apostherapy. Walking in wobbleboard shoes really does tone your muscles.)

"I have," I said. "But you thought I looked great when I was bigger, too."

"Listen," he said. "I love women, and I don't discriminate. Fat women, I love their curves. Skinny women, I love their..." He paused, seeking a descriptive.

"Angles?" I suggested.

"Exactly!" He reminded me not to tell any future Cohen that I meet of my inappropriate status.

"Do you wish I hadn't told you?" I asked him.

"Listen, back then, it mattered more to me than it does now," he admitted. "But you go ahead and meet a Cohen now and marry him, and I won't say a word."

I also ran into my disastrous percocet date. Fortunately, this time I was able to greet him lucidly. There was a karaoke machine, which of course I couldn't resist, belting out a few numbers, even though few people seemed to be paying attention. One of my new year's resolutions is to sing more, because singing makes me happy.

As I was getting ready to go, I joined a group of three other women waiting for the elevator.

"I really enjoyed your karaoke-ing," one told me. "You did such a great job!" Tall, blonde, heavy but curvy with a very pretty face.

"Thanks," I said.

"I'm Susan," she said. "You look familiar."

"Ayelet," I responded. "I think I've seen you on Facebook."

"That's it!" she said. "Where do you live?" I told her. "That's not far from me. Do you want to split a cab? My feet are killing me."

"I can drop you guys," said one of the other women in the elevator. "I just have to get my car from the garage." Which was really nice of her. Susan and I chatted in the lobby as we waited. We talked about our frustration concerning dating. Like me, she's out of her thirties and not a perfect size six, and she was feeling somewhat sad and desperate about her situation.

"It's not us," I said. "It's the men. They're seeking perfection, when they're nothing special. Did you see Steve sitting on the couch?" I asked her. Steve is a guy I went out with years ago.

"We had one date," I said, "and he made absolutely no effort. Didn't pick me up at my door, just went to the cafe and sat and waited. Waited 45 minutes to call and ask where I was. And then when I got there... he was barely present. Didn't really talk much; it was like pulling teeth. And this was years ago, when I was thinner. Just sat there in his baseball cap, as if I couldn't tell he was bald, and acted like he really didn't care if I was there or not."

"Do you think he's gay?" she asked.

"I've heard theories that a lot of the older single guys on the west side are gay," I said. "So maybe. Or maybe he's just waiting for Cinderella to sweep him off his feet, and anyone lesser is just not worth his while."

"Where do you usually daven?" she asked. Tough question. I hedged.

"If I have a lunch invitation, usually I'll go where my hosts go," I said. "But mainly I sleep in these days. Going to shul is so difficult when you're older and single. You stand around and see all the new young things socializing, and you feel judged by everyone there."

"That's so true," she said. "That's exactly how I feel."

The car was retrieved and we piled in. The conversation continued, as the other two ladies were also both 40something and single. We didn't come up with any answers, but we did commiserate. (And yes, I realize this means that it's possible my single status is not only due to the pornography I was inappropriately exposed to during my adolescence, but I still think that played a significant part.)

So New Year's wasn't a triumph, but it wasn't a tragedy. I'm feeling better every day, in terms of the serotonin syndrome, although my anxiety is uncomfortably high due to the lack of lithium in my system. My employers are sending me leave of absence paperwork instead of harshly threatening me about my absence, which is kind of out of character for them, but fortunate for me.

I have a job interview in a few days at a new agency located near my apartment, and supposedly I'll soon have a follow-up for one of the positions I interviewed for in December and really liked. If I can find a better job, I think I'll be much more content. (And I think a few days of lithium could really make a difference in how I feel. Last time I went up from 600 to 900 mg, I felt better almost immediately. Until the serotonin syndrome kicked in.)

I'm looking for a better job not just in terms of my responsibilities, but in terms of the personalities and office politics. Where I currently work is a toxic mix that the witches of Macbeth would relish. There must be better agencies out there who pay more than lip service to employee wellness. I know, because I've interviewed at a few. The job wasn't the right fit, but the agency was non-toxic, as far as I could tell.

Also, I'll try to be more social without being a heat-seeking marriage missile. To enjoy my life as it is without trying too hard to upgrade it.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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