More Shit That’s Pretty Cool!

I feel like lately my posts sound like a first grader coming home from school hyperventilating to their parent about everything that happened that day.

“And then this happened and this happened and then THIS happened!”

But a lot has happened already this year and I’m still trying to organize and process it, and I’m bringing you all along on the ride because who likes to go on road trips alone right? I mean, it’s a lot easier to siphon gas from people’s cars when you have a lookout.

That said, I’ve mentioned in passing that I have some heart issues.

Over the past twenty years I’ve been to half a dozen cardiologists, tried a number of medications and had surgery twice. It seemed like the last surgery I had in 2010 had done the trick until about June of last year when I started to really feel like shit again. I didn’t want to have another surgery I had to go down the medication experimentation route–and let me tell you how much fun this was because I’m one of those people where if there’s a 1% chance of a bizarre side effect I will be that 1%.

Over the year I ended up trying so many different meds that I was seriously losing track of which one I currently taking. In April the doctor decided to think outside the box and prescribed me two new meds. The first thing that I noticed when I picked up the meds from the pharmacy was that the one bottle was a lot larger than usual. I unscrewed the cap and made a face at the contents.

“Holy shit these things are huge! Are you sure they’re meant for humans and not for horses?” I asked him.

“That’s them,” he replied without looking up.

“Well there should a Linda Lovelace instructional video that comes with them because I have no idea how I’m supposed to get these down my gullet.”

The eighty-year-old pharmacist finally gave me his attention and gave me a dirty look. That was good enough for me so I grabbed my bag of horse pills and left.

I took the pills as soon as I got home–which was not the best idea since I was going to fall asleep soon but I’m impatient like that.

And this is going to sound cliched but when I woke up the next morning I already felt like a different person.

Seriously it was like this:
awwww yeeaaa riding on a t-rex

Over the next three months I continued to feel better but it wasn’t until I happened to see a recent picture of me next to a picture from a few months ago in a Facebook album that it I realized just how shitty I had felt and how shitty I looked this past year.

I’m not completely fixed–I still get tired and I still have the occasional arrhythmia–but I’m feeling so much better and most importantly I’m writing a lot more efficiently since I’m not fighting to stay awake all the time. That right there is worth choking down some horse pills every morning.

Oh Hello March, You Fucking Douche Nozzle

beware the ides of march, ides of marchHappy Ides of March!

In honor of this holiday, and to explain why I’ve been MIA for over two weeks, I present a fictional tale of me and Julius Caesar, another person who has cause to think that March sucks.

STORY TIEMZ!

(I’m doing this because, for one, it amuses me to have arguments in my brain with dead people, and two, because making it somewhat funny helps me deal.)

((For those of you who don’t fancy a story but still want to know where the hell I’ve been you can CUT TO THE CHASE.))

****************

As I sat down at my computer, the ghostly visage of man wearing a torn and blood splattered toga appeared before me. It was Julius Caesar.

“What the fuck do you want?” I snarled at him.

“You speak with barbed tongue toward one who merely appears to share lamentations about this cursed month,” he replied looking hurt.

“Look Caesar, we went through this last year. March is much more of a shitty month for me than for you,” I replied.

“I would see us revisit this argument and draw new conclusion,” he said in that snotty tone of his. “Our last meeting saw your quarters recently abandoned in favor of more familiar surroundings.”

“Yes, I moved from my apartment during which I nearly cracked my head open on a coffee table and then spent the next month trying to unearth my shit from the mountains of boxes scattered around the house. I still haven’t found my K-Y Jellies from Around the World collection,” I glared. “And I had to hunt through those boxes with a broken hand.”

et tu brute, ides of march“Ah yes a broken hand. Such an injury is surely more grievous than say being stabbed twenty-three times,” he clutched his hand to his chest where deep gashes could be seen weeping bloody tears through the shredded toga.

“Oh please! Not only did I break my hand but I had to deal with an awful doctor.”

“And I was afforded no physician!” Caesar countered.

“That’s the best thing that couldn’t happened to you! Apparently doctors turn to into complete idiot-moron-assholes in March and even if you had made it to a doctor you would have died anyway!”

Caesar sighed and pulled out a chair. “As you wish. But these events are stale and I would brooch argument with events of more recent days. Favor me with details of the slights seen in this March.”

“Okay, let me just break it down for you, Emperor-boy.” I gave a humorless laugh, “On Tuesday of the first week of March I received a letter stating that I owed the government for money in back taxes.”

He nodded, “Alas one must render onto Caesar what is Cae-”
“Shut up,” I snapped. “I didn’t owe ‘Caesar’ shit. My ex-husband received a large sum of money and filed it with my social security number.”

“A misfortune, yet one surely corrected by merely presenting evidence of such duplicity.”

“Oh surely,” I said in my most sarcastic tone, “because it is so easy to have something corrected within the government–especially when my anal fissure of an ex used his own birth date and fucked up mine in their records.”

“Perhaps if you spoke to them more gently,” Caesar tilted his head in reproach.

“You mean that maybe I shouldn’t have told them that their words fall from mouth like shit from ass?” I snarled.

Caesar look startled and opened his mouth to reply.

“I did not say that,” I interrupted him, “but I could have. But let me continue because that was hardly the worst thing that happened last week. I had mentioned that my dog was having surgery, remember?”

“I recall such an entry,” he nodded.

“She had the surgery on Thursday which should have been a simple teeth extraction and scaling, but this is of course my life and nothing is simple.
“I dropped Kira off at the vet’s surgical center at 8:30 in the morning and was told that the office would call me after lunch to let me know that she was ready to be picked up. As it happened I did not hear from the vet until after 2pm and it was to tell me that Kira’s heart rate had dropped near the end of the surgery so they took her off the anesthesia and gave her oxygen. That was several hours ago however and her heart rate was still low and her blood pressure was dropping. The vet had given her medication to counter the anesthesia but Kira still wasn’t waking up.

“I called my mother to meet me at the surgical center and then left to go there with my cousin. My aunt ended up driving my mother and she arrived at the vet’s office a few minutes behind us. The vet tech took us into an exam room and finally brought my Kira to me. She was completely limp and felt cold even through the blanket that they had wrapped her in. I tried talking to her, saying all of the words like “cat” and “walk” that would usually make her perk up but did not get any response.  The vet came back to listen to her heart a few times as I held her and reported that her heart was starting to drop again. She had that she may have an underlying heart condition that was causing her to struggle. She went out and then came back to tell me that she had called the emergency animal hospital and that they were waiting to see Kira immediately.

“We ran out the vet’s door at which point my own heart issues kicked in and I started to collapse both from dizziness and from threatening hysteria. My mother grabbed Kira from my arms and we stumbled to the car where my aunt was waiting to drive us to the hospital. I kept talking to Kira as we drove but she was not responding. I placed my hand on her chest and felt her heart beating slower and slower until I finally let out a strangled cry that I was losing her. My mother grabbed Kira from my arms, shook her and screamed her name. Miraculously Kira’s eyes opened slightly but then she went back under.

“We were nearly to the hospital when my aunt took a wrong turn and had to go into a jughandle that would have put us on the opposite side of the highway from the hospital. (Fuck you, New Jersey and your fucking roads.) The hospital was in sight so my mother and I jumped out of the car and ran down the block to the hospital. We burst into the hospital where the receptionist immediately called a nurse who appeared almost instantly and took Kira from us into the back room. What followed where thirty of the longest minutes of my life.

“We were finally told that we could go into an empty room and that the vet would be in to see us. As I went into the room and sat in the chair all I could think of was that this was how it happened with my dad. He arrived at an emergency room and then we were shoved into a back room where a doctor came in to tell us that he was gone. I sat in a stupor waiting to hear the same thing about my Kira.

“The vet finally came into the room and told us that they had done an EKG on Kira and there was nothing wrong with her heart. They gave her different medications to counter the previous ones and she had finally woke up. They needed to keep her overnight in case she went back under but if all went well then they expected to send her home the next day. My mother began to cry in relief but I was still in too much shock. And besides that the vet was already showing me a printout of what the bill would possibly be.

“I signed the voucher and went out to pay the receptionist. As I was signed the credit card slip, I happened to see a white ball of fluff toddle past the opposite door.”

kira, bandage

She had stretched out her paw to touch me as she slept.

“‘That’s my dog!'” I shrieked. ‘Can I see her?'”

“The receptionist called into the surgery area and then told me that I could wait in the back room again and they would let me see Kira.”

“The door to the surgery area finally opened and a very unsteady Kira walked into the room. She lifted her head slightly, looked at me, and then her tail have a few weak wags and she wobbled to me. I dropped to the ground to hold her and sobbed my fucking face off. I thought that I would never see Kira wag her tail at me again. We were all crying and rubbing her and my poor drugged pup finally drooped down and started to doze off. As much as I didn’t want to leave her I knew she needed her rest, and I also wanted to make sure that the vet was watching in case Kira went into more than just a nap, so I let the nurse carry her back to her crate.”

“The vet called me later that night to assure me that while Kira had some bloody diarrhea and regurgitation, she was still doing well. Needless to say, I did not sleep, but it wasn’t until the morning that I realized that it was snowing. Even more than before I wanted Kira home so that she could see it.

“Finally at 9:30am the vet called and said that I could come get her. I was out the door by 9:33.

“It was still snowing so I had to force myself to drive slowly, but then I ran into the hospital office. To their credit, they did not make me wait, but took me right into an exam room and went over Kira’s discharge instructions. To my wry amusement I noticed a “WILL BITE” sticker on Kira’s chart.

“A few minutes later, a less groggy but more indignant Kira walked into the exam room. She again wagged her tail and came immediately to me and even gave kisses but as she did she cast pissed off looks at the vet and nurse and hid behind me.

“I had already taken care of the balance of her bill so I gathered Kira in my arms, picked up her bag of medications and walked out the door.

“Kira tucked her head under my chin but as soon as we stepped outside she lifted her head and sniffed at the falling snow. Her tail gave a few wags when the flakes landed on her nose and then she tucked her head again and we finally went home.”

Caesar stared at me.

“And that was just the beginning of her recovery,” I added.

Finally he reclined his head. “I proclaim you again victor in the battle of who has more cause to be wary of March.” He stood up. “We shall revisit this argument upon a day.”

“And I hope that you shall be the victor, Caesar. These are laurels that I could really do without.”

***********
CUT TO THE CHASE

My ex received money and filed it under my social security number and didn’t pay the taxes.

My dog had fourteen teeth removed and nearly died from an overdose of anesthesia and pain medication during the surgery.

I was so sleep deprived that I fell down the stairs and mashed my scapula. (Luckily I didn’t break anything but my back looks like I was beat.)

FML

The good news of course is that, after a hellish week of groaning in her sleep and an upset stomach, Kira is finally recovering. I cannot say thank you enough to all of the people that we had saying prayers, sending positive thoughts and healing vibes to her. As I was sitting in the vet’s office, not knowing if Kira was going to make it, I can’t tell you what a comfort it was when my phone buzzed with another tweet or message saying that someone was pulling for Kira.

I’m a blessed bitch.

I’m a Disaster Area But I Make Up For It With Cute Dogs

The other day The Bloggess tweeted that she had fallen off of the self-harm wagon, and that she was having issues with ICD. A number of people responded with questions about what ICD stands for. Some attempted at being clever and others were genuinely puzzled about the acronym. For those of you that don’t know, ICD stands for Impulse Control Disorder. You’ll notice if you read the definition that self-harm is an “other form of ICD”. It then occurred to me that ICD is an oxymoron. And it was surely a moron with a fancy PhD in Psychiatry who came up with the term while he or she sat on the outside and tried to categorize the mess that people like I sludge through at any given moment.

anxiety girlFor many of us I don’t think that self-harm is an impulse control disorder because the problem isn’t so much the control, it’s about the impulse in the first place. Truthfully I have the best fucking impulse control in the world because for every stupid, manic thing that I’ve thought or done there are at least fifty that I don’t act on. A normal person doesn’t have the impulse to hurt themselves. They don’t know what it’s like to have to fight something that you intellectually know is incorrect but that your basic instinct is telling you is right. Logically I know that slapping myself during a panic attack shouldn’t make me feel better, but Jiminy Cricket’s evil twin who sits on my shoulder assures me that it will.

And the awful thing is that sometimes it does.

For a split second the sting in my cheek makes me forget the war raging in my brain, the irratic pounding in my chest. Unfortunately the moment passes all too soon and it’s followed by the return of all of the symptoms of my panic attack only made that much worse by the guilt and anger that I did something so stupid. You would think that the memory of the guilt and anger would keep me from hurting myself again, but of course it wouldn’t. Because I have ICD.

I’m almost to the next step in my novel, and the best way I can describe the feeling is that it’s like being in gym class when your asshole gym teacher makes you run the mile dash even though you forgot your inhaler and your almost to the end and you feel like your heart is laughing hysterically but nothing’s coming out of your mouth because you can’t breathe and all you can think is how much it would suck to collapse this close to finishing and silently telling that teacher that she’s a fucking cunt. And you hardly ever, ever use that term.

On top of this Kira has to have dental surgery on Thursday. I made light of how traumatic it is to take Kira to the vet and turned it into a funny anecdote because that’s what I do, but in truth it’s a challenge to not cry hysterically when Kira screams at the vet. On top of her screams though, I have the terror that something will happen during the surgery. I know she will be fine–I know this–but we’ve already established that the logical portion and the emotional portion of my brain are woefully disconnected.

Also the hard drive on my fucking shitty computer is going which isn’t stressing me as much as you would think, but it’s pissing me off that I have to waste time trying to figure out what to do about a replacement.

So that’s where I’ve been up to for the past two weeks. I did however make this month’s BirchBox Unboxing video and the bloopers video, but the big news was that Kira and Lily got their first BARKBOX.

The Hoo-Ha Freezes in Hell AKA The Polar Bear Plunge Recap!

freezing unmentionables, frostbite on my unmentionablesWell, we did it. We plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of January.

And the verdict of it is? It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It definitely helped that the air temperature was 46 degrees–and I am extremely grateful that God smiled on our stupid asses and waited until this week to send the current deep freeze which we are experiencing on the US east coast–but that said, it’s still no picnic to be standing on a New Jersey beach in nothing but a bathing suit in the middle of Winter.

I woke up on Plunge Day and my nerves immediately started twisting my guts into knots. The first thing that I did was yank my hair into a set of messy pony tails because when you are going to plunge into a cold ocean you really don’t give a fuck about the world seeing you looking like the dirtbag that you really are.

polar bear plunge wildwoodAfter a very *ahem* entertaining hour and a forty minute drive to the shore, my mother, brother, Jewels and I arrived at the check-in point at the Wildwood Convention Center. I noticed that I was shaking–not unusual for me with my arrhythmia–but I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t my blood sugar dropping so I crammed a piece of a bagel into my face despite my jumping tummy. Finally at 12:30, the organizers began to herd us all out to the beach. Now, the thing that I don’t like about Wildwood is that the beach is hella long–you have a decent hike to get to the water line–so I’m not surprised that they made us move out that early since the Plunge was at 1pm sharp. The problem with this was that you had half an hour of just chilling freezing on a beach, staring at the water and thinking ‘what the fuck am I doing?‘.

The plungers had their own roped off area where we were gathered into our huge group to countdown and then take off for our freezing Hell together. I had noticed in our “Plunge Packet” of info that it suggested that if it was your first plunge to not go near the front of the group so that you could go into the water at your own pace… so who wants to guess where we stationed ourselves in the group? Yup. Right near the front.

polar bear plunge wildwoodIn typical Kat fashion, my countdown was off and as I was screaming “Four!” the pack started taking off. Nonetheless I grabbed Jewels’ hand and began running, too. I’ll be honest and say that I kinda, sorta don’t remember details about the run because I was so jacked on adrenaline and just determined to get as far into the ocean as I could before cold/nerves/my heart gave out that I went on auto-pilot. I remember screaming as we approached the water at full speed. I remember losing my flip flops as soon as we entered the water and not even considering to stop and pick them up. And then the next thing I knew the waves were crashing around my waist and I was only a few feet from the wall of life guards stationed in the ocean at chest height to keep the plungers from going too far.

I’d made it!

I turned around to Jewels, held my fingers up to do a “1, 2, 3!”, grabbed my nose and then dropped my full body into the water as a swell came. As soon as I stood back up, I started to feel dizzy and was having trouble breathing. Jewels had stood up too but since she couldn’t feel her feet she ended up falling back into the water for a second dip. She managed to gain her balance and we started trudging back to the beach. I fucking hate admitting this but I was really struggling and it was only the thought that if I passed out that it would be into freezing water that kept me upright. Jewels may not have known it at the time, but she was holding me up during our celebration hug when got to the shore. The good news though? When you are about to pass out you feel warm so that when we reached the beach, while most people were beating it for the towels and robes, I was just like “Nah, I’m good, don’t need the towel right now”. I eventually did wrap myself up and then we began the hike back to the convention center where they would have lunch for us.

When we reached the ramp to get onto the boardwalk there was a huge clot of people made up of both plungers and spectators making their way on the boards.
“I think that if you didn’t plunge that you should have to wait and let us dripping wet people go first!” I complained to Jewels.
A lady in front of us who was bundled in a hat, gloves and jacket turned around and stepped aside so that we could walk ahead of her. I was shocked because I spout off so much goofy shit that I’m used to people not taking me seriously, so I felt like a jerk and started stammering and apologizing. The woman was really, really sweet though and just smiled and told me that I was completely right. (I still felt like an ass though.)

The food at the lunch was, um, rather… not good. But it was food and it was warm and it as nice of them to provide us with lunch in the first place so I didn’t complain–especially because each plunger could bring a guest to eat for free, too. While we were eating the Special Olympics athletes came on the stage and did a group bow to say thank you, and if the chicken soup didn’t warm you up then that certainly did.

Believe it or not, even though this entry is long, this is actually the condensed account of The Polar Bear Plunge. There was so much that happened, and it was just such an incredibly fun experience. To help convey more of what it was like, we shot a lot of video and then put it all together into a mini movie. It’s long, but I think it’s entertaining enough to get you through 17 minutes. 😉 (FYI, watch to the end for an Easter egg–especially if you’re a fan of my dog, Kira.)

Finally, another huge thank you to our supporters. I’ll be putting your links in my sidebar very soon!

PS-This is so Number 11 on my List of Shameless Shit: “Dress to show some skin” because putting on a bathing suit is daunting enough, but you have to be completely shameless to put one on in the Winter when you’re pale and not only at your “Winter weight” but at your “writer weight” where you have been too busy with edits to hit the gym. Not. Attractive.

If You Don’t Know Then You’ll Never Understand

And then I sat at my desk and made this.

im fine, depression sucks, skull pills

The most useful thing these pills have done all week.

Yes, I freely admit that I’m fucking disturbed. I like to think it’s part of my charm.
But then that’s coming from someone who just made a skull with her medication.

Depression sucks.