Tag Archives: anxiety

So There IS a Wrong Way To Do It

Therapist: “We’ve been talking about the importance of taking some time to meditate in order to relieve anxiety and practice mindfulness. How has that been going for you?”

Me: “Well, I do it every single day. No excuses.”

Therapist: “Really! That’s great! A lot of people find it very difficult to make time for it every day, so good for you.”

Me: “Yeah but I can’t say I’ve really noticed any benefits…”

Therapist: “That’s surprising.  Tell me about the conditions while you’re meditating.”

Me: “So, ok, I know you’re really supposed to sit up, but honestly I prefer to lay. It’s much more comfortable for me.”

Therapist: “That’s fine. There’s no wrong way to do it. ”

Me: “That’s what I figured. Also, I prefer to do it at night because my days are a little too busy.”

Therapist: “Ok, that’s fine.”

Me: “Ok, so I lay down every night, I close my eyes, slow my breath and try to clear my head and all that, but I just end up falling asleep every time.”

Therapist: “Ok, so. That’s not meditating.”

Me: “It’s not?”

Therapist: “No. That’s just you getting into bed and going to sleep at night.”

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As I’ve mentioned on this blog and to anyone I’ve ever met anywhere at any time for any reason– I’m a sweaty person. Like this but sweatier.

Our current apartment runs extremely hot. We’ve posted many a video of Nora on social media and she is always stripped down to the diaper– friends think this is because we have a “free the baby from the burden of clothes!” hippie attitude, but what they don’t realize is that I, too, am naked behind the camera because it is 5 fucking thousand degrees in our home and WE’RE ALL JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE. (I’m sorry if that mental image of naked me ruins your enjoyment of Nora’s videos (Brothers. Dad.), but you’re welcome if it enhances it (No one? Oh ok.)).

So due to this hot apartment/me being a sweaty mammoth combo, I need to sleep with the air conditioner on throughout the night. In fact, the AC isn’t even enough– I need the fan too. Eric, whose body functions like that of a person meant to live on this earth and not in a 70-degree isolated space bubble, does not enjoy this nighttime freeze-out ritual. He insists that if we just keep the window open, it will have a similar effect, with the added bonus of saving both money and energy.

I have tried this crazy window-scheme he’s concocted, and I simply disagree with his assessment. It’s not the same. He then tries to argue that I have not given it a real chance, as if me doing it that whole one time for 10 seconds isn’t sufficient enough to draw an accurate conclusion of NOPE THIS IS TERRIBLE HELLFIRE AND I HATE IT.

So, like any good, solid married couple with opposing viewpoints, we have agreed to compromise and have the AC on full blast, the fan on high, and the window sealed shut.

Eric, over time, has learned to accept that this is the situation, and has ceased to verbally comment on it anymore, as he knows, much like when he tries to teach me about the stock market or how to make toast, it is a waste of breath. I am who I am (the worst. the best? inexplicably and unadvisedly someone’s mother. Set in my ways.)

But what he DOES do is passive aggressively send me the monthly email from Con Edison explaining how much energy we waste use compared to other homes. It is, without fail, always over 150% more than similar apartments in the area. He sends these emails with no explanation– he just forwards them along and hopes I’ll open one and, you know, feel something.

I do not.

He does make sure to follow up when he gets home from work, though. The conversation goes something like this:

Eric: “Did you get my Con Ed email?”
Me: “Yes.”
Eric: “….”
Me: “Yes I did.

I don’t know why he bothers.

But guys– today’s email really got me. See below.

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Maybe it’s that the percentage is over 200 for the first time ever. Maybe it’s the fact that Eric took the time to deliberately change the subject line to 233%, so I can’t earmuff that shit. Maybe it’s that he added the “I give up on you and life” cry-laugh emoji. Maybe it’s that image of a polar bear floating away on a block of ice (not sure if that directly relates, but goddamn that’s upsetting). Or maybe it’s that gif I once saw of a dog so sad he can’t even muster one ounce of excitement for what has to be the largest, most wiggly bubble ever (completely unrelated. Now I’m just spiraling.) But the point is, for the first time, I felt something.

So tonight I turn over a new leaf.  If I can’t be motivated by Eric’s discomfort (oh, you don’t like the temperature? Remember when I grew a human from scratch, stored it amongst my organs, and then carried a farm’s supply of lactose in my boobs for a year? I’M SORRY YOU’RE COLD.), I should at least be motivated to serve the greater good.

So you win, Eric. No more winter AC.

But make no mistake– I’m doing this for the dog.

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AFTER That

I’m tutoring a middle schooler for an important test she will take at the end of the year. She is super anxious about it, so I promise her I will have her fully prepared.

Kid: “Ok but what if you just, like, up and die before the test? THEN WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!”

Me: “Ok, well. I certainly do not plan to die this year. But if I did– which I won’t– well, I suppose you could start by feeling sad about the sudden and tragic loss of your dear tutor and friend.”

Kid: “Oh– right, yes. OF COURSE. Sorry. Of course I’d feel sad.”

(silence)

Kid: “But like, AFTER that…?”

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Some People Are Just the Worst

Last month we officially joined a Kiddie Gym, and I’ve been taking Nora there almost every day. Due to my social anxiety (which results in an inadvertent yet epic resting bitch face that I am completely oblivious to until a homeless man inevitably sees me on the street and screams “Smile, sweetheart! Life’s not so bad!”), for the first few weeks I  pretty much kept to myself and probably wasn’t giving off the friendliest vibes to other moms.

Then today I decided that I’ve become more comfortable with the familiar faces and perhaps it’s time to try to be social and (gasp!) maybe even make a friend.

So this morning Nora was climbing the mats with a toddler boy who started getting a little rough, and his mom, who seemed pretty cool and normal and like someone I could totally be friends with, stepped in…

Boy’s Mom: “Nick, honey. Be gentle with the little girl. She’s just a baby!” (turns to me) “Sorry about that, he doesn’t know his own strength. We’re working on it.”

Me: “Oh, no worries at all! And it’s fine, Nora’s tough. I’m just impressed you knew she was a girl! Everyone always assumes she’s a boy.”

Boy’s Mom: “Oh, no, no! I’ll never make THAT mistake again!”

Me: “Oh did you think some short-haired baby girl was a boy and the mom had absolutely NO sense of humor about it?”

Boy’s Mom: “Yes…”

Me: <laughing> “Some people are just the worst.”

Boy’s Mom: “It was you. Last week.”

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We didn’t become friends.

Your Business

I go to pick up a couple medications at CVS, and a male pharmacist is ringing me up…

Pharmacist (to Nora): “Hi cutie!” (then, to me) “Are you breastfeeding?”

Me (taken aback): “Excuse me? Um, NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS?!?”

Pharmacist: “Oh, I….”

Me: “JESUS. Why do men– or anyone for that matter– think it’s ok to ask a woman that? I really don’t understand. It’s completely inappropriate. Honestly, shame on you. And I say that on behalf of all women.”

Pharmacist: “I’m required by law to ask you that before handing you this medication.”

Me: “Oh.”

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(10 second awkward silence)

Me: “Please still give me the drugs.”

Nora Left Eye Lopes, Part 3

(Continuation of Nora Left Eye Lopes and Nora Left Eye Lopes, Part 2)

So last I left you, Nora was doing great but sporting a somewhat funky-looking cyst on the corner of her left eyebrow, at one of the sling surgery incision sites (there are four such sites, two on each eyebrow. The other three sites are completely fine and healed, barely visible). Here’s a diagram of the situation on her left eye, for visual learners:

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As mentioned previously, the cyst does not seem to bother her at all (except when we have to clean/medicate it), but the problem with leaving it be is that it is constantly opening and reforming, and every time that happens, it runs the risk of becoming infected. That would be crappy for many reasons. I don’t think I need to explain them.

Plus no one needs a cyst permanently sitting on their face. Life is hard enough.

In a last-ditch effort to get rid of the cyst (we’d already tried various topical steroids and antibiotics, to no avail), the surgeon prescribed an oral antibiotic. He hoped that this would do the trick– if not, it would mean that it’s the silicone sling itself causing the chronic irritation, and so it (the sling) would have to be removed.

So Nora took the oral antibiotic and the cyst went away and we all lived happily ever after because LIFE IS RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES AND UNICORNS THE END!!!!!

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Bwahahahahahahahahh jk guys. But you knew that.

You’re on MY blog, not [insert name of someone I’d hate]’s blog.

Life never gets tied up in a neat little bow, so here we are at the next boulder in the road. Get out your chisel. (Is that what one uses to break through a boulder? Listen I’m not outdoorsy nor have I ever used a tool).

The cyst remains. And while we’ve grown so used to it that we’ve considered giving it a name, starting a college fund and raising it as our own, the doctor feels it needs to go. And the only way to do that is to remove the sling (you know, the one holding her eyelid up).

So we have another surgery scheduled for Monday. Yes, this Monday. July 22nd. Because some people go to The Hamptons in the summer, but honestly we prefer the bright florescent lights of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Day Surgery Division.

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Same doctor. Same hospital. Same general anesthesia. Same crippling anxiety thought spirals of hell positive attitude leading up to it.

The doctor seems hopeful that because there are two slings in the eyelid (refer to professional diagram above), the inner sling will be sufficient in keeping the lid up. If the lid DOES droop, to the point where it could affect vision, he will be able to discern that mid-surgery, and we will then have the option of putting in a replacement sling in a slightly different location (all this can be done in that same surgery). The downside to this is that Nora will then have three incision sites in that one brow. And, of course, the chance of another cyst-like reaction at the new incision site.

The good news, again, is that the surgeon seems confident that the one remaining sling will suffice (especially since this was the better, less droopy eye to begin with), and that removing the troublesome sling is not going to affect the cosmetics, or her vision, at all (then why did he put it there in the first place? Standard procedure? Slightly better chance of symmetry with the other eye? IDK guys I guess I missed the day they taught that in the medical school that I didn’t go to).  Furthermore, he feels that if he DID have to put in a replacement sling, the likelihood of a cyst forming again is small, especially since the other three incisions healed so nicely.

His confidence seems promising, and the odds do seem to be in our favor– however, this is only the THIRD time in his TWENTY YEAR career that he has had to remove a sling, so I’d say my faith in odds right now is akin to my faith in Eric’s hair-regrowth shampoo.

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Thankfully, Eric remains positive and hopeful (regarding both the surgery and his hair), so I don’t have to. This is a marriage strategy and not an accident. It’s written in our ketubah: “In sickness, and in health, Emily will constantly assume the worst and Eric will keep the entire ship afloat by himself, so help him God. He’ll also get Emily iced coffee and egg salad and never comment on how much she’s sweating.” It’s all there in Hebrew.

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So that’s where we are. One of the four silicone slings will be removed on Monday. The surgery is slated to take 120 minutes, from prep to finish. I will eat my feelings next to the hospital’s frozen yogurt machine, which likely still has my chicken-nugget-greased fingerprints on it from February. Eric will wander around introducing himself to various dogs.

Nora, I assume, will handle it better than both of us, because she’s still zero years old and life is just a series of eating, pooping, and maniacally swaying to Queen:

 

And I’m sure all this hardship will make Nora stronger, and it will all work out in the end, just like it did for Freddie Mercury.

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No, I’m kidding. Obviously. I DO believe this will all be fine, I’m just sorry my sweet little tater tot has to go through this. AGAIN. I’m not necessarily confident that this is the last time we will deal with this issue, but I AM confident we’ll be able to look back one day and this will all seem like a distant memory and a minor roadblock. I know that day will come, because, no matter how hard life has been at any point, and no matter how hopeless things have seemed at any  given moment, a good dose of distance and perspective has always made the value of the struggle seem crystal clear.

But right now it’s surgery-anticipation mode, so I’m sorry, I’m just not there yet. But I will be.

And until then, I’ll cope in same way any other loving, caring, fiercely devoted mother would.

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