image from: http://georgekelley.org/
Last week I took a road trip. Did I want to take a road trip, hell no, because it was from Alabama to Michigan. Yes, my friends, over 12 hours in a car for a person with chronic pelvic pain. NOT FUN. However, the reason we were going was important so I tightened up my proverbial boot straps, bought a 4 inch gel/foam cushion and a travel pillow, took a deep breath and we were off to see my in-laws. Now, most of you are probably thinking “I would be more upset about seeing the in-laws than the ride there.” I however am one of the lucky ones who is loved by my in-laws and the feeling is mutual. I don’t have a large family, so I loved the fact that I was adopted right in. Maybe it had something to do with M- getting his shit in order around the same time we started seeing each other (before me he was one of those who went to the bar every night just because he was bored- his last girlfriend before me was actually a stripper if that helps you get the gist of it) but, for whatever reason, his family and I hit it off famously. Now, he comes from a family of 10 brothers and sisters. One died about 12 years ago, but that still leaves him with 9 siblings and a bus full of nieces and nephews. BIG family! Two siblings and their kids live here in the states and everyone else lives in Mexico. His mom, dad, and one brother came up for one of my surgeries (the first surgery after we got together but I think it was actually surgery number six for me) because she wanted to help out. They stayed two weeks and it was great having someone take care of me again! I completely fell in love with his mom and dad during those two weeks – and they with me. When I went to Mexico in 2009 to visit, my trip went from the planned two weeks to a whole month because his mom wanted to make sure I met all his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and got to see as much of Mexico as possible – and I saw a lot! While in Mexico City to see the Basilica, we had the afternoon free to do whatever until the mass that night. I requested to see the national museum, but no – his dad had the whole family running around downtown and through the “mercados” to find the bridal shop because he wanted to show me the dresses. How sweet is that? He loved me so much!
This past December his father died. He was very old, but for the most part healthy and his death was unexpected. Neither us nor his sister in Michigan were able to get away to go to the funeral. Because of this, his sister decided to have a mass for her father in Michigan. That was the reason for the road trip. His mother, three sisters, and a nephew came up from Mexico to visit for a week and go to the mass. Hence, road trip.
Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to see the family, but I knew it was going to be painful – and it was – in more ways than one. As any of you with chronic pain know, you hurt worse when you are stressed. Let me throw this one piece of information in so that you can better understand everything. M- has a very short fuse. He will get worked up about anything and everything and 20 minutes later it’s over and forgotten. I don’t quite work that way. I am pretty laid back until you do enough things to piss me off. Kinda like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Well, at this point I’m the camel and my back is damn near close to breaking… So, we were supposed to leave on Friday but he hadn’t gotten paid yet. He told me he thought he would be at a stopping place at his job on Monday (usually he underestimates time – like saying he’ll get a job done in a day and it takes a week – I’m used to it) and we could go then. Well, I was unable to go ahead and pack because I needed a suitcase (it would take a whole other post to explain what happened to my old suitcase, so we’ll just skip that part for now) and how can one pack without a suitcase? Well, he comes walking in the door around 9:30 Monday morning saying that we have to leave by 12:00 noon. ??? We still had to go to the bank, cash the check, go buy me a suitcase, get the oil changed in the car, and pack for ourselves and three dogs!
Oh, did I mention that when he’s in a hurry he gets very snappy? So we are running around like two chickens with our heads cut off to try to get everything done in 2 1/2 hours – impossible. We left here at 2:00 pm with him bitching about when we would get there, me trying to get comfortable and ignore his bitching, and one dog so nervous about the car ride that I actually had to sedate him to get him to stop shaking, whining, and drooling. The only ones that were enjoying the ride were my two girl dogs who love car trips. I got him to agree to let me drive for a while because it had been “long enough” since I had taken my meds and I had a good three hours before I would have to take them again. So, I drove for three hours and he slept (thank God!) and when it was time for me to take my meds, he resumed as driver. Between stops for gas, food, and bathroom breaks for the dogs and for me (of course my stomach was acting up) the twelve hour drive (and that’s counting gas stops) ended up taking us 14 hours. We got to the hotel at 4:00 am, checked in, and passed out.
The next day, his sister picked us up and everyone went out to eat. Then, we went to a farmers market for a few things, and to a grocery store for the rest before going back to her house for the evening. I guess we left there about 10:00 pm and got to bed around 11:00pm. Next day was shopping. M- hates shopping. Whenever possible I try to go without him because after 10 minutes he’s ready to go. I suggested that he spend the morning at the hotel resting and he agreed – until the next morning. He said he hadn’t come all this way to spend time with his mother just to sit at the hotel, so he promised to behave and he came along. We drove over an hour to an AMAZING outlet mall. I enjoyed the first 30 minutes until the bitching started. He was “ready to go”, “are we done yet?”, he “hungry”, his “back hurt”, he “starving”, and no I couldn’t stop and look at that store because I had “already bought something you needed, didn’t you?” He was driving me crazy! We spent all morning there and when we left I was ready to strangle someone (preferably him) . I was so stressed out, hurting, and limping from my knee (I found out that it is a “complete bucket handle type tear of the lateral meniscus which has flipped centrally and anteriorly” nice job, huh?) that I was actually relieved to be leaving. Then, I get told that we are stopping at another mall. Seriously? We ate lunch before splitting up and agreeing to meet in a couple of hours. I wish we had done that at the outlets too, but oh well. After leaving there we finally went back to his sisters house. I was asked a few times during the day what was wrong (apparently I was too exhausted and hurting too badly to do a good “happy face”) and I would just say that I was hurting or that I was tired from the trip. One of his sisters asked me later that evening if I was ok and I told her yes, that I was just tired and hurting a little. Do you know what she said to me? You’ll never guess. She tells me that I am just too negative. That when I hurt, I need to convince myself mentally that I’m not really hurting and that will bring me much more peace…*crickets chirping in the background as my jaw drops to the floor*…and I tell her “thank you for the advice I’ll work on that”. ??? REALLY ??? His mom wanted to know what was going on so I told her. In general, I am a very transparent person (which is why you could probably see the pain and frustration in my face) but we have always been very close and I’m comfortable talking with her. I also wanted her to know how much she means to me in case M- leaves me. He has recently said on more than one occasion that he has about had enough (of the house never being clean because I don’t have the energy to do it and of me always playing “poor pitiful me”) and should probably just leave. I say if he feels that way he’s free to go because I didn’t ask to be sick and I do the best I can. An hour later, though he says that he didn’t mean it and he loves me and I should know that he’ll never leave. Anyway, she told me she completely understood because his father was the exact same way, short fuse and all, and that his brothers are like that too. She told me not to worry that he has told her many times that he knows he made the right decision with me and that he loves me.
The next day M- was nice enough to let me sleep in while he went to his sister’s for breakfast. After breakfast when he came back he was livid. He said that his mother told him that he had better treat me right or leave because you never know if he made me mad enough one day I could snap and kill him or something (she has always been one to exaggerate things). She chose to say this, however, at the breakfast table with everyone around and so then they start talking about how different I am now than before. Of course I’m different! Before things got this bad I was a very happy-go-lucky joke around with you kind of person. Even now I have a good sense of humor and am quite the smartass when it’s time to play around. But I had just pushed my body and my emotions way past the limit and it was all I could do to even sit there and talk with them all with a fake smile on my face. Did none of them understand that? Well, it wouldn’t have been a big deal if M- hadn’t come back to the hotel telling me how I had really screwed things up with his mother, that now she hates me and thinks that I’m some kind of psychotic killer. So, he comes to pick me up well, not too happy (basically he was mad that he got in trouble with his mom for being a jerk) and was taking it out on me. Now, since I didn’t have the whole story at the time, I freaked out. I cried and cried and asked him why he didn’t defend me and that they all knew me better than that. Instead of trying to comfort me, he through gas on the fire and said “well, if you didn’t screw up I wouldn’t have to defend you for anything – and quit crying, God you are such a drama queen”. I spent the next hour outside the hotel room bawling my eyes out and then told myself “I have two more days here. I will talk to his mom and make sure things are ok and that’s all I can do.” I didn’t have the physical or emotional strength to do anything else. So I talked to his mom to make sure she didn’t think that I was some kind of psychotic killer. She laughed and said that she had just been trying to straighten him out *mental note to self not to get mom involved in “talking” to him anymore because its not worth the drama* and she gave me a big hug.
The rest of that day and the next just passed by in a haze. I was so emotionally raw and physically exhausted that it was the best I could do. On the trip home M- refused to let me drive (because he is too damn proud for his own good) so the 12 hour trip turned into 17 hours because he had to stop twice to take a nap. The next three days I spent in bed because my body refused to cooperate with me. I am feeling a little better now. I had a nice long talk with my psychologist about M- and she made sure I understood that the problems aren’t “all in my head” and that I am not a “pillhead” like he had kept telling me and she reminded me that it’s not my fault that I’m sick. So, here is where things stand. I am sick and it’s not my fault. I have good days and bad days. When I am able to work around the house I will and if I don’t have the strength or if I’m hurting too bad I won’t. If M- doesn’t like the way things are, he can do the chores himself or he can hire someone to help me clean and do laundry. If not, then he can leave. Whatever has shifted things from him being a loving, caring, understanding person into Mr. Hyde is something that he will have to work out. I am sick and this is my life now. I have had to accept that (and yes, I still have trouble sometimes accepting it) and now he will have to accept it too. If he isn’t able to accept it, then so be it. That’s his problem not mine. And no, I definitely will not be taking any more trips anytime soon. Damn road trip!
Please feel free to leaves comments, suggestions, or advice on any of my posts.