I have been so lazy about updating lately, that I sit here at the computer sometimes and check my own blog to see if I've updated. I haven't. Sorry. I resolve here and now to be better about this. I've been somewhat reclusive, a little up and down healthwise (although not at all in a serious way), and have suffered some writers block about what to put up here. I was feeling that I was tired of talking about my illness and all of this crap.
Anyhoo, I am over that feeling now, so here I go again. I had a good follow up on Monday, everything is healing well and I am doing great. I got my staples out, so feel free to discuss chickens, poop, monkeys, boogers, whatever. I'm okay.
I went to an AA meeting today that was hilarious. I mean, parts of it were serious, of course, but the lighthearted parts are what really put me at ease right now. One guy today said: "Well, I used to sit at home and drink by myself. Just me and my dogs. I'd talk to them. I guess my dogs are some of the people I need to make amends to."
I shared with the group that one of my fears is that I won't be as tolerant or nice when I am sober... in other words, people will realize that I am really a bitch. Then I realized that 2 of my oldest friends, both past drinking buddies were also in the room, and either one of them could easily have spoken up to note that they already knew I was a bitch, even when I was drinking.
But anyway, the issue is big when it comes to going out, or being around people who are annoying, drunk or not. I just don't have much tolerance for repeated stories, stupid jokes, insensitive comments, unsolicited advice, and staying put for longer than I want to in any given situation. I know that having a nice buzz helped me to relax and tolerate that much more than I used to. A woman today talked about being at a party of many friends who were sober, and still feeling like she wanted to kill everyone in the room... it all came down to the fact that she had the option to leave at any point, and just didn't take it.
For the record, here's the real story...
In 2001, I had acute pancreatitis that they immediately identified, but as the organ shut down, they provided supportive measures and waited, in 2 or 3 weeks it started working again, with no sign of having digested itself or any other long term damage. I was warned about the worst cases of pancreatitis, and that it might be impossible to tell exactly what caused it... was it alcohol alone? Was it my high triglycerides? was it a combination? We do know that it wasn't the gallbladder. Those are the big 3 causes. If one has pancreatitis and is able to correct or remove whatever was causing it, there's a good chance it won't return.
I never did get my triglycerides under control, and I did continue to drink, although I cut out the rum and cokes and stuck mainly to Chardonnay with an occasional tequila shot, and if I was at a bar that had no wine, I would drink vodka/soda. I was trying to cut down on the sugar, you see. Smart thinking. I continued to gain weight and only sporadically took my Lipitor to keep my cholesterol/triglycerides under control. I had a "small" case of pancreatitis last spring (only one week in the hospital).
How much/often was I drinking? Well, that varied. 2-3-4 evenings a week? Obviously I must have tended to spend more time in bars in the winter, as my pancreatitis always flared in the spring. This past year, when Fester and I broke up, I found lots of good supportive friends. Unfortunately, that meant meeting up with these friends on different nights of the week, so from January on I was our 5-6 night a week. 5-6 glasses of wine? more? I don't know... that varied, too. Usually I maintained quite well, but sometimes I would just fall down. Oops!
My job kept me in a routine, and I have always loved it, so I had no problem with maintaining a dedication there. Although I can't help but think that dedication will take on a more organized and efficient look now that I am operating on all cylinders. My friends remained supportive, but some expressed concern over the drinking, while others got drunker and I had to keep away from them because they were dangerous to me. My dogs? I think they probably wish we walked more, and I will work on that. My finances? I definitely dropped my basket on that one, and had to be rescued before I lost my house. Still working on those amends.
This most recent visit from the pancreas fairy was obviously the BIG one. The pancreas shut down, as did the kidneys, I went into shock, I was on oxygen, my blood pressure dropped to 50 something over 30 something, and the pancreatic digestive juices started taking over and ate up the poor little pancreas until only 25% of it was left. (the head... whatever that means). I have full blown diabetes and have to test my blood sugar now, inject insulin, and watch my diet. I have no appetite and I am dropping weight like crazy, which is not a totally bad thing for the moment. I still have an abdominal drain which is annoying and is ruining my options for heading to the swimming pool this summer. I spent 4 days in LMH ICU, 4 days in a regular room at LMH, 12 or so days at home recovering and feeling terrible (compared to now), and then had major surgery to take out the dead pancreatic tissue and excess fluid (more than 6 liters that day). The surgery took over 4 hours, and I was released from KU MED ICU 5 days later, then went home from KU Med 4 days after that
One of the nurses at KU once assured another nurse while they were taking my vitals "She's not an alcoholic, her body just can't tolerate alcohol. It's not like she was a morning drinker or something." This makes me laugh to think about. No, I wasn't sitting in the alley or under the bridge with my brown bag of wild turkey. I didn't add vodka to my morning smoothie. I didn't count the hours until I could leave work and get to the bar (well, some days, maybe.) I didn't lose jobs, or get a DUI, or get arrested. She was right, my body can't tolerate alcohol, but I am finally tired of the pull , and ready to figure out how to get more out of my life, rather than just putting away the bottle (or box) o'wine and "living with out it".
I'm finding lots of good books that are funny and smart and right on about living a different type of life, and as I sat in the AA meeting today, with 2 of my oldest friends also there in the room, all of us at different places in our lives, I just felt grateful that this time I am not only happy to quit drinking, but even more eager to learn more about living sober.