My grandmother used to portend that bad things happened in threes, which was all my anxiety-prone mind needed to commence fretting when something unfavorable arose. Despite this, when what turned out to be the first of 3 bad things happened to me recently, it didn’t even occur to me to worry that 2 more awful things were to follow.
A few weeks ago, I was heading home at lunch to take Abby out since I had to teach in the evening and wouldn’t be home until late. I was following a curve in the road when I saw a 4 x 4 barreling toward me. The driver, who was yakking on his cell phone when he hit me, later told me that the look on my face was one of abject horror, probably because I couldn’t believe I was getting into another car accident. This one, however, was decidedly not my fault. He plowed into the driver’s side of The Goose, ripping the side mirror off, tearing up the doors, and shattering the windows. “I just couldn’t stop,” he offered in disbelief. It had just started raining so he might’ve hydroplaned but I more suspect inexperience was the culprit; he’s very young and this was his first accident. On the scene, he told the police he had insurance. My car wasn’t drivable so he gave me a ride back to my office, as he happened to work nearby. During the short drive, he apologized several times and told me he’d been listening to Christian music at the time of the accident. It’s possible he was trying to butter me up but I thought he was being sincere. We exchanged phone numbers and I assured him that the most important thing was that no one was hurt. It didn’t take long for my insurance to uncover the icky truth – that he was uninsured. That meant my insurance would cover me and then go after him. Unfortunately, the cost of the repairs was enough that they opted to make my vehicle a total loss and give me its value. They compensated me well but finding a new-to-me car in good condition when I only had a paid-for rental car for 5 days seemed impossible. Plus I love The Goose and was not ready to give her up. *sad commiserative honk*
I’ve been concerned about my Dad for some time. He’s bi-polar and has always struggled to keep his medicines regulated. I hadn’t actually seen him face-to-face for several years, not on purpose but because things kept coming up that made visiting difficult. But my brother and I could tell from talking to him on the phone that he was in bad shape and rapidly deteriorating. We tried intervening from afar but it was clear he needed an on-scene advocate so he flew to Indianapolis. I was wholly unprepared for the terrible state he was in when he arrived. I’ve never seen him in such awful condition and I’ve seen him in a number of bad states. He was a mere whisper of himself – a complete wreck. Ultimately, he had to be hospitalized for several weeks, which was scary and difficult but absolutely the right thing to do. I visited him almost every day before realizing how heavily it was weighing on my own mental health. It’s so sad to see someone go downhill and feel totally helpless. Thankfully he’s doing better but can no longer live by himself so it’s up to my brother and I to arrange assisted living, sell his apartment, make sure he’s being well taken care of, and OH, not have a nervous breakdown during the process. Overwhelmed doesn’t even being to describe how I feel. Double
Because I know better than to prove my grandmother wrong, I fell in my office, tripping over nothing but falling summarily on my knee and turning my ankle. Other than searing mortification, I didn’t feel much right away but a few days later, had terrible pain & swelling in my shin. I could barely put any weight on that leg so I went to the doctor. Luckily nothing is broken; my doctor thinks I tore a ligament. For my exercise for the last few months, I’d been swimming 2 days/week and walking 3 days/week so I was really nervous about this injury derailing my momentum, which caused me to spiral into panic that I would gain back a ton of weight (160 pounds lost at last check!!) and die alone, with rabid, feral dogs feasting on my bloated corpse. I was determined not to let that happen so I kept exercising but was in a ton of pain, even swimming laps, forcing me to relent. I’m in the midst of a week off, which seems to be helping but it’s clearly going to take several weeks to heal. This injury has highlighted a bizarre fear I have when I’m in the midst of any ailment, physical or mental – I’m seized by the awful thought that I’ll never be well again. I know it’s not rational but it sure is a bitch to counteract!
So there you have it – my triumvirate of suck. I’m in full-on one-day-at-a-time mode and trying to take good care of myself in the meantime. In the past, I would’ve just used food to deal with my feelings about all of this but I’m hellbent on keeping that nonsense at bay. That means using all the tools I’ve learned about over the last few years – therapy, support groups, exercise, journaling, meditating, mindfulness, and reaching out, to name a few. It’s really putting me to the test so I sure would appreciate some positive vibes directed my way.