Posts Tagged ‘health’

Tooth Ache

January 12, 2018

My tooth hurts.

Achy.

I’m hoping it’s temporary.

I’m one week and two days away from getting the permanent crown put in.

I’m not in severe pain, it’s just there and a touch disconcerting.

I got notice today that my dental insurance is about to end, as though it was much good, and I’ve looked up on my PPO to see if there is dental available through my plan.

It looks like there might be.

Then again.

Who the fuck knows.

I had made a opthamology appointment four months ago.

Yes.

I said four.

And today I got a message to call the office.

They weren’t sure if my insurance covers the visit.

I gave them all my information and am awaiting details.

It’s so frustrating.

I have not had this experience before.

Having to wait such long times to be seen, not being able to be seen, having to figure it all out on my own.

I had Kaiser for such a long time I got super spoiled by their facilities and the easiness of booking appointments.

I wish the school hadn’t changed over to this health plan, but it’s what I have and until I can afford something different, it’s what I’ll be using.

I do get a stipend from my family, so there’s that, it’s just the inability to be seen that has me really flustered.

I didn’t go bananas on the woman who called me but I did question why the hell it took so long to be contacted if there was a question in regards to the coverage.

I mean.

I just would have kept my October appointment with my ophthalmologist on Irving street.

Really nice guy, Dr. Kurtzbay.

I liked going there, although I did not like paying out-of-pocket for the services.

The last two pairs of glasses I got were both over $450.

Plus I was a little flush, for me, and I bought a pair of prescription sunglasses.

Which I managed to hold onto for about four months before losing them.

Sigh.

Anyway.

When I got this new insurance I was excited that there was ophthalmology and dental included.

Of course.

I haven’t been able to use the services, I haven’t been able to get in to a dentist or an eye doctor, so in a sense it feels useless.

I have used the insurance once to be seen by a new primary care physician in an Outer Sunset facility that reminded me of a bad made movie scene in a third world country.

I have the number for the only dentist facility that my insurance purportedly covers and I’m going to call them tomorrow and see if I can get in.

If I can’t then I will renew my own out-of-pocket dental care for the second year in a row and just stick to my guy over at Sunset Premier Dental.

He’s not first world, but not third world either, and he takes appointments on Saturdays, so there’s that.

Speaking of appointments.

I get to see my chiropractor in the morning.

I have a 9 a.m. session.

My back as been feeling better, I will say that, not 100%, but significantly better, I’m not in nearly the same amount of pain as I was a few months back when it started to act up.

I think this is my fourth session.

I’ll have a few more sessions still covered by my family and then I will see about continuing.

I really like her energy, it’s just $85 a pop and she wants to see my weekly.

Add that to my personal therapy at $120 a session, and the week get’s expensive quick.

I wouldn’t really be thinking that much about it, but the unexpected dental stuff did eat up my little buffer.

I’m not too worried, however, I’ve gone over my numbers a bunch of times and I’m going to be just fine.

Tighter than I want to be, sure.

Wishing I hadn’t committed throwing in $200 to the party on Saturday, yup, but fuck it, whatever.

When I was out drinking and using I blew more than $200 a night and frankly, I’m happy to help host a party and have a fun time and a good dj and friends come out to dance that I typically don’t see.

It’s only a few days away, my sobriety anniversary and it still doesn’t have that anxious feeling around it, I’ve nearly forgotten, in fact, that I had an anniversary coming.

I have heard people say that before, especially busy people, but I never really thought that there would be a time when I would not be acutely aware of an upcoming anniversary.

And I’m just not.

It’s rather nice.

The party makes it rather nice too.

So.

I’m not going to focus on money, it’s all God’s money anyhow.

I’m just going to focus on what needs to be paid next and have faith that I’m taken care of.

Paid my phone bill yesterday.

Felt great.

I actually like paying my bills.

I mean, even though I didn’t want to shell out the money to my dentist, I really like that I was able to pay it and pay it in cash, well, not paper-folding money, but you know, by debit card which is not a credit card.

I have not even used the credit card I got a few months back, I’m not even sure I will for that matter.

I like paying my debts with cash.

It feels good to be accountable.

And it feels really god that tomorrow is Friday.

Fuck yeah.

I’m ready for the weekend.

So ready.

Seriously.

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Unfortunately

January 7, 2018

That’s not covered by your insurance.

My dentist told me this morning.

Ugh.

I sat in the chair and thought to myself, maybe I misheard him, maybe I didn’t hear that right, I mean, he speaks mostly Chinese, which I find oddly comforting, I don’t need to know what he is talking about to his assistant, but I’m pretty sure I had heard what I had heard.

Fingers crossed, please, tell me I didn’t hear what I heard.

Sigh.

But.

I had.

“Crack,” he’d said to the assistant in between poking and prodding and checking my teeth.

I was just in for a routine cleaning this morning.

I had all intents on going to the 10:30 a.m. yoga at the studio on my block and then meandering into my group supervision at 2p.m.

The supervision happened.

Yoga, well, yoga did not.

Nope.

Instead I was under the drill all morning.

My dentist took a picture of my tooth and showed me the crack.

I was surprised by how big it was and also that I hadn’t had any pain to indicate that there was a crack in my tooth.

Which was a really good thing.

No pain meant that it was probably fairly recent.

It had to have happened within the last three months, it wasn’t there the last time I went to the dentist, and it probably had occurred more recently than that.

Certainly nothing came to mind.

Nothing that I remember eating and doing any damage to my teeth.

“It’s not grinding your teeth while you sleep,” he said, answering a question I was just about to pose, “there’s not indication from any of your other teeth that you grind them while you sleep.”

Well, that’s good news.

“You eat anything crunchy?” He asked.

“Nuts?” I said, I do like raw almonds with my apple as a snack.

“Nuts, no good, nuts bad for teeth, you no more eat nuts unless you want to pay me big bucks and keep me in my mortgage,” he chuckled.

“Um no, I do not want to come back for another cracked tooth, I’ll lay off the nuts,” I replied.

Irony.

I kept thinking about my night-time snack, a couple of end of season super ripe and delicious persimmons and some raw walnuts.

Sigh.

No snack tonight.

I’ll still have my tea though.

I was really surprised by the photo and super glad that my dentist had caught it and he explained that I was lucky if there was no pain it meant the damage was manageable and that I would not have to have a root canal.

Fuck yes.

But.

I would have to get a crown.

And thus ensued the “your insurance doesn’t cover this,” discussion I had with my dentist.

Like I said, not really the conversation anyone wants to have on a Saturday morning, but I also knew when he started telling me about the differences between what my insurance would cover, it wasn’t going to cover the full amount, it would have still be $825 out-of-pocket, versus the better quality crown that the dentist was recommending, at $1200, I just sucked it up, made the decision to take good care of myself and signed the paperwork for the better product.

I was asked if I could start the work today and of course I said yes, bye, bye yoga class, and I went out and plugged the meter for parking another two hours and went back into the office, used the bathroom, prayed a bunch, came out signed off the paperwork and got ready to get injected with Novocaine.

He gave me a local, but I still felt the prick of the needle.

Ugh.

I hate needles.

I hate shots, hate, hate, hate.

The second injection was horrible, the local anesthesia hadn’t quite numbed me out in the second location, that one just plain good and hurt.

I sucked it up though, what was I going to do?

And then the dentist went to fucking town.

My god.

I will just say that smell of my tooth being ground down was overwhelming.

Not a pleasant smell, the drill, not a pleasant sound.

The taste of blood in mouth, horrifying.

I just breathed and prayed and breathed and prayed.

I had my mouth wedged open with some sort of device, that also sucks, frankly, it hurt my jaw keeping it open so long and my face felt tender for hours.

As of right now, I am happy to report, that the pain is really ok.

It’s there, sensitive now and again, a dull throb, but it’s doable.

And I have been able to eat.

They did a bunch of molds to get the fit right and then they did the temporary crown.

The permanent one takes two weeks to be ready.

I have to be cautious with the temporary one, nothing crunchy, and no gum.

I can handle that.

And two weeks from today I’ll go in and my dentist will give me the permanent crown.

I am assuming it will mean more Novocaine, but I’ve got two weeks until it happens.

I’m a baby around dental stuff, but at least I showed up and I did do the work and I paid for it all in full at the end of the session, I could have put it off until the permanent crown gets put in, but I figured I had the money in my account, just pay the damn thing.

And for that I am grateful.

I had the money.

I didn’t always have the money.

A little while ago a dental bill for $1285 would have floored me.  It was not pleasant, I will say that, and I did go through a spurt of brief financial anxiety, but I’m ok, I really am.

And so grateful I chose well and chose to take care of myself and my mouth.

There was a homeless man on the sidewalk sleeping when I came out to climb into my new car and go home and make myself a fancy espresso drink with expensive organic coffee beans.

I have it really fucking good.

I have no money problems.

Fuck.

I don’t have problems.

I just have opportunities to learn.

And.

To be stupid grateful at how good my life is.

It really is.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2018

I really haven’t any resolutions to share with you.

I prefer to just treat each day like it’s a new day instead of having expectations that I need to change or get better or perfect something.

I need to grow a little everyday and not try to cram a bunch of resolutions into my day and think that I’m going to change over night.

Little bits by little bits.

Baby steps, baby.

And I took some nice ones today.

I got out of bed.

I know.

Crazy.

I really wanted to stay in bed and in fact, did sleep past the point I would normally get up.

My brain was trying to hijack my body though and convince me that I didn’t need to go to yoga.

I needed to go to yoga.

It, my brain, almost won out, but I have smart feet and I also have inborn knowledge from having done enough yoga that I always feel better after a class, even if it’s with not my favorite instructor at the studio.

Which is the excuse that I used the day before to not go, but really, I assure you I had gotten plenty of exercise the previous twelve hours to not feel upset about missing a class and I think that I needed the extra sleep yesterday.

Today, not so much, and I knew that I would not be happy with myself if I skipped yoga two days in a row during a time that I could be going to yoga.

I can’t typically make it to classes during the week, work and my internship conflict, so I’m a weekend warrior.

To not go on both Saturday and Sunday would have been sacrilege.

So I got my happy ass out of bed and into my yoga clothes and I stayed in them for a long time.

It was a great class, I was really surprised, maybe not having any expectations that I would enjoy the class I actually did.

I came home thinking that I wanted to go on a bike ride too, the bike ride had been running around in my head for a few days now that I think on it, and I figured I could actually make it a nice physical day for myself, maybe even go back to the late yoga class.

It’s a restorative yoga class, so it wouldn’t have been like a big effort, although I didn’t end up going, something else came up.

But.

I did go on the bike ride!

It was great and in fact, I might let myself go on another tomorrow.

I was supposed to meet with a ladybug today, but she had to cancel, so after a good check in via phone, I pulled my bike out and pumped air into the tires, grabbed my messenger bag, a water bottle and my bike locks, in case I wanted to stop anywhere I could lock up my bike.

I rode out from the house down 46th to Sloat, then up to Great Highway, up past the zoo a bit, and then stopped right before the hill to gaze at the ocean for a while and snap a quick photo of my bicycle, she is a pretty, pretty thing, before I headed back down Great Highway, riding past my turn off to Fulton Ave, the up to 47th and around the park for awhile, around the soccer fields and the back side of the Beach Chalet, I went past the archery fields and eventually popped back out onto Lincoln Ave at Chain of Lakes, back down to 46th, then two blocks back to the house.

IMG_E0126

It was smashing.

I am so glad I did it.

Aside from the exercise it also felt really meditative and I reflected over and over again how amazing it is that I live somewhere so beautiful, that I literally am blocks away from Ocean Beach, that I get to ride my bicycle around a world-renowned park, that I get to live here in San Francisco.

It is a huge gift.

After the bike ride I had a late lunch and then made some chicken soup.

I’ll be visiting my person tomorrow, he just had a hip replacement surgery, and I wanted to bring him some more chicken soup, he’s gone through the two big Mason jars I gave him right before the surgery.

I’ll be heading is way by 1 p.m. and we’ll go for an easy walk around the block.

Like literally.

Just around the block.

And maybe a few minutes of hang out time.

I don’t think he’s got the energy for big visits, but he wants to see my face and I, his.

It will be good to see him.

I’m also going to hit up another yoga class tomorrow.

It’s nice to have a Monday off and the studio is open.

That will make three yoga classes over the weekend and a bike ride.

Not bad.

Especially for someone who is  loath to exercise.

I generally like it once I’m doing it and I know how important it is to move my body, but my brain is a sabotaging machine.

Anyway.

I signed up for the 10 a.m. yoga class and I’ll see my person at 1p.m.

Other than that I have no New Year’s Day plans.

Doing the deal somewhere and chilling out with my new book.

NEW BOOK!

That’s not a psychology book.

I know.

Crazy.

I went up to Blackbird Books, the new book store in my hood next to Trouble Coffee, and splurged on the new Jennifer Eagen book, Manhattan Beach, I’m going to indulge my literary self and not read any psychology for at least a week.

So freaking sexy.

I may just spend most of tomorrow lazing on the chaise lounge after I get back from helping out my person and just read.

Such luxury.

And that’s it, that’s my New Year’s Day plans.

To chill the fuck out.

The year is going to be full and amazing, hello, I’ll be graduating, going to Paris, and starting  PhD program, traveling to D.C., and who knows what else will happen, seeing many clients and nanny’ing up a storm.

Wishing you and yours the Happiest of New Years!

Big love from the city by the Bay.

May the year bring you so much love and joy.

So much.

You Look Much

December 31, 2017

“Better than when you came in!”

And.

“I remember you from 19th and Dolores, I mean it, you look amazing.”

He said to me with a big grin.

It’s nice to run into folks who remember me from when I first got sober.

I have changed quite a bit.

I mean.

So much.

It’s extraordinary.

Hell, I feel like I’ve changed a bunch in these last four years and certainly since I’ve been in my graduate program with school.

My life really blows my mind at times.

My great job.

My relationships.

My new car.

Um, hello.

I got her washed today.

First of all, fuck, it’s pricey in the city, but oh, man, she looks so pretty when she’s clean and I just know it will keep the life of the car up to take care of it.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to go check out the place on Bayshore that you can get a membership to and get unlimited car washes for $29.99 a month.

I paid $33 today at the one on Divisadero.

I got a wash a few weeks back, my last weekend of classes, at the place on Van Ness and that was $30.

The one on Divisadero did a much better job.

However, $33 is a bunch of money.

If I can get unlimited washes at the place on Bayshore for $29.99 a month, I go once and it’s pretty much paid for itself.

It’s a place called Shine-N-Seal.

It’s a bit out of my way, but I was thinking today when I left my group supervision that it’s worth checking out on a day when I’m getting out of group since I’m in the Mission and the Bayshore is not so far away, maybe a ten minute drive.

And after dropping the $33 at the place on Divisadero I’m ready for something a little more economical, especially since I’m realizing how much I really like having my car and I like having her clean.

Like.

A lot.

It’s super nice.

Plus.

Grocery shopping today, being warm, being able to bring more back than when I’m on my scooter, listening to music in the car, I really dig on that.

Anyway.

I have reflected a lot today how good I have it and I’m super grateful for that perspective.

I also got hella sleep today.

I was up for a little while this morning but then decided screw it, back to bed.

I didn’t go to yoga, I have a hard time committing to the instructor for the class I could have gone today, I just do not like his classes and when the option to crawl back into bed was happening, well, I just rolled with it.

I mean.

Fuck.

I felt like a million bucks today.

Super rested.

I got lots of laundry done, all fresh linens on the bed, all my towels done, and a run to the grocery store before I left for supervision.

Which was so chill.

There were only two of us so I got to go over a load of my clients and also check in about some school stuff, intern stuff, applying for my intern number, which will happen after I graduate in May.

Some talk about the PhD program I’m considering going into.

Yeah.

I said that.

I am getting pretty serious about it.

My supervisor at my practicum site told me he would support me through the process, he did the same thing I’m considering, like almost to a “t.”

“Carmen I worked full-time, I ran this place, and I got my PhD at the same time, you can totally do it and I’ll write you a letter of recommendation for the program.”

He went to the same graduate school program that I am in.

He also remembers me from 19th and Dolores.

And basically I got, “baby you’ve come a long way,” in no uncertain terms.

I have done a hell of a lot since getting sober, it is incredible when I think about.

Super grateful.

Over the moon grateful.

Blessed.

Crazy graced.

Lucky as fuck.

I don’t know how else to express it, but that I want to keep doing the deal and staying in the boat and doing the work, man I want to live this life and keep getting to do all sorts of amazing things.

Like get my doctorate in psychology.

Because.

Why the fuck not?

I’m only going to get older.

Plus, I can put off my student loans for a while yet, I have a place to accrue my internship hours, I will go for my MFT license and I will be a licensed MFT with a PhD.

Yes, please.

Today I had a few moments before showing up for group supervision, I went to Gus’s Market and got a salad from the salad bar and some stupid expensive blackberries, but gosh they tasted so nice, and a bottle of bubbly water, because I roll like that, and when I was walking down the hall on the fifth floor to supervision there it was.

“Take a Peek!”

A sign on one of the offices.

Oh yes, yes please.

Let me take a peek.

Look at that.

It was a big office, bigger by far than most of the offices I work in out the building.

I totally took a moment today dream my private office.

The space smelled of fresh paint and had a big window, double the size of most of the offices I am in, and it got sunshine.

I envisioned book shelves and file cabinets and a couch and a therapist chair and a place to have a tea-pot and a little mini fridge and oh, I could put down a nice cozy rug and hang art on the walls.

I just got into it.

It’s years away yet, but it’s not that far down the road.

My own private office, my own private practice.

I’ll be Dr. Martines licensed MFT and psychotherapist.

I’ll set my own hours, so that I can go to yoga in the morning and do the deal whenever I fucking want, I’ll make good money, I will have great health insurance and I will take nice vacations, I’ll have parking in the private garage in the building and live in a home that’s not next to the garage and below a barky dog, oh, man, I can see it.

It’s really not that far off.

It was super sweet to just have that moment in the office and I know that I might not be in that office space, but I will be in one, and I’ll be taken care of as long as I keep doing the things that I need to do to stay in recovery.

My life is fucking amazing.

REALLY.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Whole Lotta Nothing

December 30, 2017

Not that it was bad.

No.

It was divine.

I only left the house today to go to yoga.

And.

I almost didn’t go.

My brain said, hey, you were sick yesterday really bad, you should lie in bed and make sure that you’re ok.

Even though I was pretty much back to my normal self by the time bed time rolled around last night, no nausea, no headache, so no reason for me to lay in the bed this morning.

I got up and got dressed and walked over to yoga.

And it was good.

I got nice and warm and sweaty and had a good work out and stretched and my back is slowly feeling better, between a couple of chiropractor visits and doing a little more yoga, I have a much happier back.

Sure, some poses still not great at and I couldn’t hold a few of them today, tough on the tender ankles, but I know that balancing is helpful for strengthening my ankles and I also did some foot exercises today that my chiropractor recommended to me for strengthening my ankles.

I went though and I am happy I did.

It was the only time I went outside today.

I ended up taking a huge hot shower, wrote many pages in my notebook, and then had my best friend over for hang out time.

Lots of talking, hanging out, getting caught up, and I made some yummy food.

I cooked up my version of a Cajun gumbo/jambalaya.

Sans the crayfish.

I used shrimp instead.

It wasn’t really a gumbo and it wasn’t really a jambalaya, but it was somewhere in between and it was tasty.

I am very happy I made it too, knocked out some food prep for the week, what wasn’t eaten was put up and frozen and I’ll probably run some over to my person too, who’s recuperating from a hip replacement surgery.

I got the best text message from him regarding one of my soups that I had given him.

I made him an Italian sausage with white bean soup and then my version of chicken soup with veggies, brown rice, and Andouille sausage.

He was very, very happy with them both, but I think the latter got the big applause.

I do like to cook, it’s a nice way to show someone who you care for that you love them.

Since I don’t eat sugar or flour I don’t make super intricate stuff for myself, but since I know how to cook and have cooked plenty with those ingredients, I know how to combine flavors.

Sometimes I have no idea where the stuff comes from, I’m just like, hmm, put that with this and see what happens.

It’s a nice skill to have and I’m always surprised that so many people can’t cook or don’t know how to do even basic stuff.

I’m not a great cook, but I’m good and I feel like I’m definitely better than the average bear.

My friend seemed quite happy to eat the food.

I don’t recall any complaints.

We hung out past sunset, which really isn’t that late since the sun goes down around 5p.m. and by the time my company had left and I washed up the dishes and put everything away I had absolutely no desire or urge to go outside.

It’s just too cozy in my little house and I’m happy to stay put.

It feels rather nice to not have clients tonight, to not have work either, which is why I was able to go to a 8:30 a.m. yoga class today, the family I nanny for went out-of-town for the weekend.

I’ll be going back into work on Tuesday.

Back to therapy, back to seeing clients, back to it all.

Fortunately the kids will be going back to school by that time as well, working early every day this past week, with the obvious exception of yesterday having called out sick, is a bit of a grind.

I don’t mind it horribly and I’m always glad I can be flexible for the family, but it will be nice to go back to my regular hours.

In the meantime I don’t have a lot planned for the weekend, and no plans at all for New Years.

I would just rather skip it.

I have my dance party on January 13th and that will be my dancing fun, I don’t need to go and be out amongst the hoi poi over the weekend, I’m more than happy to skip lines, drunks, amateurs, and Uber and Lyft crazy drivers from out-of-town.

Not sure what I’ll do, if anything, to celebrate.

More yoga.

The studio has classes on Monday, so technically I could do yoga tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday, making it a four-day run for me.

I think that’s the best idea.

And maybe I’ll take a little trip to Stinson or Muir in my car.

I got my FasTrak in the mail today, so I can pay tolls via that instead of cash and it’s a no brainer to get over the bridge.

I do have group supervision tomorrow, lest I forget, though it was a very, very quiet week for clients, only one client, I only have to attend group, which is nice, but I do have to attend.

My solo supervisor is still out on Monday, which is New Years Day, so I won’t start back up with him until the 9th of January.

A tiny bit more of a break.

School is back on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of the month, January that is.

I still have a few weeks before I have to start thinking about it, although I already have a tiny bit.

I just checked my grades, I’m still carrying a 4.0!

Huzzah.

That’s always nice to see.

I also need to start looking seriously into applying to the PhD program at my school if I’m going to do that.

I think I have to apply by February or March.

My supervisor at my practicum site already said he would write me a letter of recommendation.

I definitely want to have that!

Plenty to think about and do over the next few months, but for the rest of this weekend, I’m just going to chill out, do lots of yoga, cook some nice food, maybe I’ll even buy a book that’s not related to psychology.

Maybe.

 

Locked And Loaded

December 8, 2017

I am so ready to get through this weekend of classes.

Last one of the semester.

My books and notes and papers and readers are packed.

My lunch is ready.

Coffee is set.

I’ve done laundry.

My house is clean.

My head hurts, but that’s a story for another time.

I’ve been not feeling well now for a bit and I’m more than tired of it and sort of worn down by the low-grade constant ick I’ve been in now for over a week.

I have been taking some over the counter stuff recommended by the pharmacist and patiently waiting for my doctor appointment on, sigh, December 21st.

Although if it gets much worse I might pop into an urgent care.

When?

I don’t fucking know.

It’s not debilitating, but it’s low-grade constant pain and I’m really tired of it.

I can work, I have worked all week, I’ve seen clients, I just have been sick the entire time, again not enough to warrant calling out and it seems to be something that I am really going to have to speak to a doctor about, it’s not a cold or flu.

It does seem to be some kind of weird reflux thing and as such I’m taking the generic version of Zantac that the pharmacist prescribed until I could get into see a doctor.

I’m on a new health insurance.

Fuck I hate it.

I have to find a doctor on my own and nothing says fun times like waiting on hold while bad music plays for a very long time to only be told that the facility is not taking any new clients.

None.

UCSF.

Fuck you.

How can you not be taking new clients?

It’s a huge fucking facility.

But nothing.

And the amount of bullshit I went through to get to actually talk to a person was way beyond.

I called the number my insurance gave me only to get someone in accounting.

“Yeah, I keep getting calls from United Health Service, and yes, I do work for UCSF, but I’m an accountant.”

Well, that doesn’t fucking help.

The accountant gave me a number.

I called the number.

It was for a time share in Florida.

I shit you not.

I gave up that day, then tried again the next.

This time I found a number on UCSF’s website.

I called the next day only to be told that I needed to go on the website and then the machine hung up on me.

What the fuck?

Back to the website, a ton of digging and I finally got a number and found a list of doctors taking new clients.

I called every one of them.

Not a single one was seeing new patients.

I asked if I could get put on a wait list.

No.

Well what the fuck?

I was told to just keep calling back.

Are you for real?

Holy shit.

So.

I still have an appointment with the doctor I had called five weeks ago to be seen.

I was aghast that it was five weeks before I could be seen, but thank God I kept the appointment, or I would be another five weeks out.

I did also find the urgent care I can go to, it’s at Davies on Castro.

I am hesitant to go as I said it’s not an emergency, it’s just low-grade constant pain.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I will muddle through.

I will get through this weekend.

I will get all my papers handed in.

I will do my final group project on Saturday.

I will show up for class and participate.

I still have not done my dream reaction paper but I haven’t had a dream to write-up.

I’m hoping I get one tonight that I can do.

Otherwise I’m just going to have to piece something together.

I can probably also do an active imagination piece if I don’t have a dream to write on before the class on Saturday.

God, please let the medicine kick in.

Gah.

I think I’m just getting old.

Reflux, what the fuck.

I have to say, it is not fun.

But hey, it’s not cancer, or a broken leg, and my ankle’s doing better too.

Much better.

In fact, it’s funny, the appointment was made to check out my ankle and also my back and neither of those things will I be going in for.

In fact,  a week from tomorrow I’ll be seeing a chiropractor for the first time in about a decade, so the back thing will get worked out.

As for the ankle, just being careful and taking it easy on it and I will ask the doctor to check it out, but mostly I just want the reflux to stop happening.

It might be the most obnoxious health thing I have ever dealt with.

Anyway.

I hate complaining and I’ve pretty much kept this on the down low.

I did have a fit with my person on the phone about my inability to find a doctor to see me and he was the person who recommended I talk to a pharmacist and that was super helpful, and basically I just have to deal with this for two more weeks.

I’ll say one thing, it’s absolutely killing my appetite.

I have not felt like cooking much at all, rather had to force myself to make soup yesterday.

Just trying to be gentle with myself and take care of the next little things in front of me.

I’ll get through this.

There have been much harder things in my life to get through.

I’ve almost convinced myself.

Almost.

Heh.

Anyway.

Speaking of food, time for dinner.

And then winding down to get a good night sleep and get myself off to school in the morning.

It’s going to be a good weekend.

It’s the last one of the semester!

Thank God.

And Just Like That

November 29, 2017

I have registered for my last semester of class!

I can hardly believe it.

It feels very surreal.

And.

Fucking amazing.

I will have three classes next semester.

Once a month I will be in class.

Five weekends.

I will be in class from 9 a.m. until 4p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

January.

February.

March.

April.

May.

I will graduate Saturday, May 19th.

Holy fuck.

It’s really happening.

I have to take Integrative Seminar, I really don’t know what that is, and Research Methods, which sounds boring as fuck and like a class that is a box to check off.

The other “class” is my practicum, or what I often refer to as my internship.

I’ll still be seeing the same amount of clients, but I may move some of them around, I’m not quite sure yet.

And that’s ok, that can be figured out later.

I was just looking over the piece of paper that I have been making little check marks on for the last three years.

Here’s a list of the classes I have taken and passed, passed pretty well, you could say, I’ve got a 4.0 thank you very much.

I have taken Group Dynamics.

Therapeutic Communication.

Human Development

Integral Philosophy

Psychodynamics I and II.

The Clinical Relationship.

Professional Ethics and Family Law I and II.

Multicultural Counseling and the Family.

Applied Spirituality.

Gestalt Therapy.

Family Dynamics and Therapy.

Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment.

Child Therapy.

Trauma.

Couple Counseling.

Community Mental Heal & The Recovery Model.

Special Topics in Psychotherapy.

Transpersonal Psychotherapy.

Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Counseling.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Jungian Dream Work.

Psychopharmacology and Human Sexuality.

Elder, Spousal, & Child Abuse.

And practicum which includes Individual Supervision and Group Supervision.

Whew.

That’s a lot of reading.

Just reading the list made me shake my head, I did all of those?

Really?

Amazing.

And I just have to do three more classes.

Sure.

I have to finish this semester first, but I will, I will.

OH, and although its a not a “class” I am also required by my program to attend 52 weeks of personal therapy with a licensed MFT.

Today marked 26 weeks.

Half way there.

I’m not actually worried about getting in all the therapy, which is one little thing that I don’t have to stress about, thankfully, my therapist went through my program and she told me that she would sign my paper even if I didn’t get the full 52 weeks.

I get the sense though that I will get the requisite amount of hours.

The therapy is good for me.

I have been getting to work through a lot of things that I never even knew I had to delve into, some of which I probably have been needing to address for years without even realizing I did.

I like my therapist a lot and she really has a good perspective on me and who I am and sometimes there is a lightness and a friendliness and almost a sense of talking to not just a contemporary, but a friend, a friend with a lot of perception.

A lot.

And a really helpful way of reframing my experience and also validating all the work I do.

I do a lot.

In some sense I’m a fucking therapists wet dream.

I do the work, I don’t make her work, I process the fuck out of my shit.

I do a lot of grieving, I let go of a lot and then I jump right back in.

Today’s session left me pretty wrung out and sad.

It was mainly expressed first through anger, which has always been a very dangerous emotion for me, I don’t think it was ever safe for me to express anger in my family and I didn’t often even realize I had it unless I was enraged and that feeling, rage, scared me to death.

Very dangerous and very rarely expressed.

Almost never.

I can remember a few times touching into it and frightened me badly.

I know better now, there isn’t really anything wrong with anger, it’s a sign, and it’s a primary emotion, it’s a top emotion, but there’s generally secondary emotions underneath it and that’s where I need to look, under the covers of anger and see what’s underneath.

Most often for me, it’s fear.

Fear of losing something I think I have or fear of not getting what I want.

I had a lot of fear come up today and it was hard to slog through, but I knew the anger I felt was about fear and eventually it all came out and I felt sick with it, on fire with it, I felt like I wanted to vomit it all out, retch it into the wastebasket, scream it into a pillow on the couch.

I just cried a lot and it moved.

It’s probably still moving.

Ah, all the things I get to work on, so very many.

I have discovered so much about myself from doing my course work and now, in the therapy, getting out the secrets and the sadness and the trauma and all the stuff I carry around like it’s a special knapsack full of rocks.

I just want to let them all go, put them back into the stream and let myself float away.

I have burdened myself for so long with false ideas.

“I failed,” I crumpled into my hands, I buried my face in my palms and just sobbed.

I won’t get into the specifics, they’re not relevant, but I can say in a general sense that I have been carrying around the idea that I failed at something and that I had not even realized I believed about myself, that I failed so badly at something that I ruined another’s life.

A.  Who am I to say I’m God?

I’m just not that powerful.

B. I was a child.

I was a child doing an adults job.

Granted.

A super precocious child who might have given off the impression that she knew what she was doing, but ultimately, at the end of the story, I was doing an adult’s job with the resources of a child.

A poverty-stricken, neglected, abused child.

Smart as fuck.

But a baby.

I was just a little girl trying to hold it all together and I couldn’t, I couldn’t make it work and I have been, for years, decades, even, carrying around this idea that I failed.

I was shocked when that popped out of my mouth.

My God.

Oh, sweet, sweet, baby girl.

You tried so hard, you didn’t fail, you did the best you could.

And you got out.

I could barely carry the burden of taking care of myself.

Jesus Christ.

I’m still in awe of my session today.

That so much got sorted out.

Really astounds me.

Therapy.

Wow.

It fucking works.

It so damn does.

Thank God.

Thank fucking God.

Hobbled

November 24, 2017

I did not do much today.

I did not go very far.

I stayed at home most of the day with a brief three and a half hour outing mid day.

My ankle really was tender this morning.

It took a while to get going and I was really gentle on myself.

I have had it elevated most of the day and I’ve iced it three times already.

I’m actually thinking maybe I should ice it again while I blog.

Hang on.

This may take a minute.

Ok.

Frozen bag of peas going on.

It’s a party.

Actually the party was up on Portola from whence I have just come.

I spent the late afternoon and evening with six of the most fabulous gay men.

God.

I am so lucky to have the fellowship and community I have.

I got propped up in a big comfy lounge chair, got an ice pack and had constant refills on my sparkling water.

Plus loads of chat.

I am a little out of the loop with some of the cultural stuff the guys were talking about, I don’t get out to as much of the social stuff as they do, really my head’s been so far up my ass with school I’m surprised I even knew what day of the week it was.

I did a good bunch of homework today.

Yeah.

I know.

It’s a holiday, but it really made the best sense of my time.

Especially since I was reminded by a member of my cohort that the paper for Transpersonal is not due the last weekend of classes.

No.

It’s due next Friday.

Fuck me.

I sort of remembered that, but as I had been thinking in terms of my online classes have the components that needed to be done by the weekend, not really my in person classes.

This is also a class I have a final project presentation for.

Which frankly is a little fucked.

To have a final paper and a final group project really feels like too much work for this class.

Sigh.

Anyway.

When that came to my notice and my need to be slow and gentle today, all else sort of drifted off.

I did do a lot of writing this morning.

And I did laundry.

But then.

I did homework.

I got a webinar out-of-the-way that was an hour-long and wrote a response paper to that.

Then.

Yes.

I did.

I completely finished my take home exam for CBT.

I don’t have to do anything more for that class but attend the last webinar on December 3rd at 7p.m.

Done and done.

Super happy to have that take home exam done and turned in.

When I finished I gave my mom a call and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving and then I hobbled out to my car and drove up to the highest part, or just about of Portola.

The view was so pretty.

There were few cars on the road.

I listened to music and found good parking.

And then I spend three hours with some of the sweetest guys ever.

I was loath to go but I also needed to come home and have dinner.

There really wasn’t anything there for me to eat and I knew that going in, so I had a late lunch and wasn’t really hungry anyway.

But as it got close to seven p.m. I could feel that I would be soon and it was a good idea to go, get home, get my foot elevated again and put on the cold peas.

Meaning.

I’m chilling out.

Literally.

And it’s early and I could do more homework, but this is where I will say, hey, it’s ok to not do more homework tonight, it is a holiday, albeit an almost done holiday, and I don’t have to push myself further.

I got done a lot today and I really don’t want to watch any child or elder abuse videos right now, I’ll save that for tomorrow.

I get to go get my massage tomorrow.

Looking forward to that.

I won’t do any yoga tomorrow and probably not either on Saturday.

But.

I do think I’ll try for the restorative yoga class on Sunday, I think that will be helpful.

And I’ll keep taking it slow.

Aside from a grocery shopping run and the massage I don’t have other plans.

I may go do the deal in the Inner Sunset.

That’s probably the best idea for me.

And I’ll keep chipping away at the work and I’ll get my papers written.

And I’ll get my final group project sussed out.

I will.

Things come together, they always do.

Just taking it nice and easy and slow.

One day at a time.

And real fucking mellow.

Like.

Easy does it.

Mellow.

Thanksgiving

November 23, 2017

Is just a few hours a way and I keep forgetting its Thanksgiving.

It’s a holiday so all about the food.

And.

Well.

I’m not really in that place anymore.

For me Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what I’m thankful for.

I have so, so, so much.

Love.

A home.

A bed.

A closet full of clothes.

I have food in the refrigerator.

I have a laptop.

An Iphone.

Recovery.

Sobriety.

Abstinence.

Shit.

I have THREE vehicles.

I ran into a neighborhood friend out walking his dog this afternoon as I was headed into a job in the Mission and he saw me getting on my scooter, “not taking the car?!”

And I told him that since I was going to the Mission for a five-hour job and it’s only two-hour parking it was easier and cheaper to ride my scooter.

Five hours of metered parking for a scooter in the Mission is $1.55.

I don’t know what five hours of parking at a meter in the Mission would be, but I know it’s triple if not quadruple that.

Fuck.

Probably more.

“Nice to have choices!”  My neighbor said and strolled off with his dog and a “happy holiday!” over his shoulder.

Damn.

He’s right.

It is nice to have choices.

I used to not have any choice but my feet.

I was so broke for so long, especially in the early part of my recovery, even taking a bus sometimes was out of the question.

It took me a long time to get financially stable.

A fucking real long time.

It feels surreal to know that I have a car on the street, add that to the list of things to be thankful for, I own a fucking car.

I really never expected that to happen this early into my therapy career path, I figured it was in the hazy future, not like, this past Monday!

I have choices.

I have a bicycle.

I have a scooter.

I repeat, but, it still is amazing to me.

That.

I have a car!

Wow.

Yeah.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

I have a job.

I am in graduate school.

I have wonderful friends.

I have better relationships with my family than I have ever had.

I have perspective.

I have faith for the future and a deep abiding belief that I am being taken care of.

I don’t have great big plans for the holiday.

Like I said, the food part paled for me many, many, many years ago.

Tomorrow I will be with my person and some other friends in the Upper Castro/Twin Peaks area, I think I still am waiting on the address and details, for “pizza and Netflix.”

I obviously won’t be eating the pizza.

But I will be enjoying the company, that is a given.

And that’s all I really need to do.

I will sleep in and rise without an alarm.

No yoga at the studio.

I got a good work out today and frankly my body could use a rest.

Not sure how, but I once again sprained my fucking right ankle.

I am currently icing it.

Same ankle that I sprained right before I left for Paris in May.

Not as bad as that sprain, but still it’s gotten tight and swollen, so I took some ibuprofen and I have it elevated and I’ve got a bag of frozen peas on it.

I’m sure it will be fine after a couple of days of chilling out.

God’s way of saying, slow down.

I’ll do homework.

I might even knock out a bit tomorrow, depending.

Then Friday I’ve got the massage in Pacific Heights and I’ll do a tiny bit of Christmas shopping.

I’m not really a Black Friday kind of gal, but there are a couple of stores on Fillmore Street that I want to pop into, mainly Nest, I got a very sweet Christmas ornament there last year.

And the rest of Friday and I suspect all day Saturday, will be homework.

I’ll finish up a CBT assignment, do all of my Child an Elder Abuse homework assignments and finish up the readings for my other classes.

If there’s motivation to do so Sunday, I may write a paper, or work on my final project presentation for my Transpersonal Psychology class.

All the things.

They will get done.

The big push towards the end of the semester.

One more weekend of classes!

Whatever I don’t get done this weekend will be attended to next weekend, then, yes, one more weekend of class!

Very excited for that.

And I’m going to call it a night.

My ankle feels pretty numbed out.

Time for some tea and some rest.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May it bring you many blessings.

And.

Much.

Much joy.

 

And. End Scene

November 13, 2017

I made it!

I got through the school weekend.

Only one more left in the semester.

Holy shit.

Very excited about that.

Although not at all excited about the extraordinary amount of work I will have to produce for the last weekend of classes.

Four papers.

One final group presentation.

Plus wrapping all my online CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) webinars and assignments and doing all the work for my online Child and Elder Abuse class.

Whew.

It’s a lot.

But.

I’ll get it done.

I always do.

I did have a moment today, though.

I was pretty wiped out by the class, a lot of emotional content for me was coming up, shocker that, go get a degree in psychology and watch the stuff surface, and I really couldn’t even decide what the hell I was going to do with the day.

I had some ideas.

Maybe I’d go shopping.

But.

I’m trying to hold out from purchasing anything as it looks like I’m getting quite close to actually putting down money on a car.

My application for a car loan was approved and I can go into the Fiat dealership in Berkeley and get the Fiat 500 Pop that I’ve been eyeing.

It seems surreal that it’s actually happening.

I even transferred the money out of my savings account today.

I am not sure exactly when I’m going to go and get the car, the dealership actually offered to deliver it to me!

But I want to go into the dealership and go with a friend and make sure I’m doing all the things correct.

I have never bought a new car before so it’s all completely outside the scope of my experience.

Anyway.

Clothes shopping, though tempting, did not seem like the best idea.

I vacillated between rushing out and getting over to the Mission by 12:15 p.m. to do the deal, or just taking it easy and seeing where God wanted me to go.

Rushing is not what I wanted to do and so I meandered towards the Inner Sunset.

I realized I was super hungry and though I needed to do grocery shopping and I could just make food when I got home, I was too distracted and it felt like too much and when a friend in cohort asked what I was doing for self-care today, it struck me that I had no good answer for her.

“Maybe yoga?” I replied.

And it struck me that maybe I wanted to treat myself a little.

So.

I went to Marnee Thai in the Inner Sunset and got my favorite dish there–banana curry with duck and brown rice and a big mug of tea.

It was perfect.

And I did do some clothes window shopping and even tried on a few things, but didn’t buy anything.

Instead.

I went and got a manicure and perused a trashy magazine.

I got a decaf, yes, I’m that person, past a certain point in the afternoon I go decaf, cafe au lait at Tart To Tart and finally did my numbers from my spending plan for October and then did a spending plan for November.

After that.

I went grocery shopping after and that felt very good and proactive.

I did some work around the house and attended to a few small things and did some food prep.

Then.

Yup.

I wrote.

I wrote a lot.

I re-wrote the narrative completely for the “People Who Usually Don’t Lecture” folks.

I meet with them again tomorrow in between supervision in the early morning and work.

I think I had been dreading doing that work and not having an idea of how to get it going, but as I finished balancing my check book and I was sitting by my computer, I just did it.

I just kicked it the fuck out.

Then when I finished it I realized I could make the 6:15 p.m. restorative yoga class at my studio.

Yippee!

I scurried into my yoga gear and walked over, getting nice and settled in as they dimmed the lights and light the studio with candles.

So pretty.

So relaxing.

Such a nice gift to give to myself.

An hour and fifteen minutes later I came home, made a hot dinner and proofed my narrative.

I just sent it out a few minutes before starting my blog.

Super fucking happy.

I’m going to go take a shower and chill out.

Fuck yeah.

 

Oh.

And here’s the piece in its entirety, I may still change it, but well, I thought you’d might like to read it.

Enjoy.

 

Running Away From Myself

I ran away from home to San Francisco. I was 29 years old. I had just graduated from college with my undergrad degree in English Literature, which would translate to a career of asking “wilt thou like fries with that?” I had also just gotten a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, and I had won an award for a manuscript of my poems from the UW Madison Book Store. I was on my way. I was going to be the next great American novelist. I had a plan.

I was going to find myself in San Francisco. A friend later told me that she was quite concerned for me, one does not find themselves by moving across country in their two door Honda Accord with all their possessions and a two month sublet in the Mission District. I, however, was convinced that I needed to move to San Francisco, it was home, Madison, was not. I never considered it to be running away from myself. I just thought I was getting the hell away from the craziness of my family.

I was running away from my mom who was smoking crack, from my sister who was shooting crystal meth with dirty rigs, from my homeless father, who would spare change for beer money outside the brewing company I was the manager at. I had been to San Francisco to visit a friend the year prior and knew it was where I wanted to be. I moved here Labor Day weekend of 2002. I had a blast. I drank, I danced, I partied, I went to clubs, I cut lines at 1015 and DNA Lounge, and one day did blow in the bathroom with a friend, maybe it was the Mezzanine or the bar at The W Hotel. I had arrived! I made so many new friends my phone could barely handle all the numbers. I was having the time of my life.

Then I started to have repercussions from all the partying. Drugs are like that, fun, fun with problems, then just fucking problems. The problems led to me getting really creative with my money, stashing it in my bra or sock or back left pocket of my pants so I wouldn’t spend it on coke. But inevitably, after a few drinks, I would call my dealer. And the money ran out, really, really, fast. I was gregarious and the life of the party, and as a dear friend told me later, “just because you didn’t go to prom in high school doesn’t meant that you get to be the prom queen now.”

Yet, I kept going. I got ominous warnings from my friends, I got warnings at work, and I pissed off my roommate for bringing the after party back from the clubs at 4 a.m. I accidentally did a line of meth in the bathroom at the End Up one night, with a new friend who I thought was giving me cocaine and two days later found myself still awake deconstructing Laura Croft in a trailer in Brisbane where my new best friend was making banana walnut pancakes in the kitchen.

I still don’t know how I got home. I started making deals with myself. Don’t drink tonight; I noticed I was quick to call my dealer after a beer. But didn’t you see how hard my job was, what assholes I was working with, and how much my feet hurt? It had nothing to do with the three grams of blow I did the night before while dancing at DNA Lounge in platform Steve Madden heels, no, it had to do with the head manager at my restaurant giving me a shitty section where I had to run all night long to serve my tables.

Things spun out of control. Faster and faster. One night I was just going to go home and a friend convinced me to grab a bottle of wine from the restaurant and go back to her place. A bum outside her door spare changed us as we were going into her apartment, I gave him a cigarette. Hours later when I left, he was still there and he offered me some crack cocaine. Of course I smoked it. And twelve hours later I found myself hiding on a piece of cardboard between parked cars on Minna Street smoking rock with a homeless man who was angling for me to become his girlfriend.   It had to stop. It had to.

I tried a number of ways to control and enjoy my drinking and using, but things just never took. No matter what I did. I lost that fine dining restaurant job, I lost friends, and I lost a lot of dignity. I left a $500 a month rent controlled room in a large Victorian house in the Mission for a room on Potrero and 25th for more than twice the rent. I figured I wouldn’t spend my money on cocaine if my rent were more expensive. I was wrong, was I ever wrong. I remember waking up one morning for a lunch shift and wondering what I had done the night before and when it finally came to me as I was getting out of a cab in front of work I was so overwhelmed I leapt out, and ran and vomited in the bushes before going in for my shift.

Finally, on January 10th, possibly the 11th of 2005, I hit the bottom that would change my life. I went to the restaurant I used to work at to see a friend, I wasn’t going to drink. Nope. I wasn’t, but the bartender put up my regular, a double dirty martini on the rocks with extra olives and a pint of Sierra Nevada. I drank a sip of the beer and called my dealer. I rang a friend, he met me out, and we went all over the city and at one point ended up at my house. He left his drugs with me, “you won’t do them will you?” He asked as he left. I did them. I stole from my friend and in that moment I made the decision, I was done, I don’t know why stealing a few grams of coke from a friend was how I smashed into my bottom, but it was. I made a cry for help. And it was answered.

It came from unexpected places. I thought I was just going to go to rehab. Instead I got introduced to a community and an amazing fellowship, and I drank a lot of coffee, a lot, I still do. Twelve years and some change later, notice my star tattoos? One for every year I’ve been sober, I still don’t know how the magic all happened, I am grateful beyond belief that it has. I get to do and be someone I never even knew I wanted to be. I am a nanny, I’ve been one for over a decade, I get to give children the kind of love and attention I missed getting as a child. I’m also a third year graduate student in psychology, I go to a full time graduate program on the weekends at CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies) which is located on Mission and 10th in the SOMA. The back of the building abuts Minna Street.

That same street where I gave a homeless man a cigarette, and he smoked me out with crack, I was once again twelve years later. I will never forget coming out of my Psychodynamics class at the end of the semester, holding a paper I had just gotten an A+ on and hopping on my scooter to go home. As I pulled out, I heard the roll of a lighter be flicked and the inhale of breath, there was a girl, a young woman, hair up in a messy bun, eyes downcast, smoking crack on a piece of cardboard between two parked cars. She was I and I was she. I can never, not now, not ever, express the tremendous gratitude I felt in me at the moment. As I zoomed off on my scooter, from my grad school program to my little studio by the sea. I was no longer running away from myself. I was just going home.


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