Time would be a present.

It’s only Monday and I already feel like I’m losing it. I worked Saturday to make up time, had a horrific migraine yesterday and went to Costco anyway because I had no food in the house, so I was a sweaty mess by the time I got the stuff back home, was a stress case today at work – one guy I’m with a project on wrote to ask when I would get such and such done, and I said I hadn’t looked at it yet, I was working on X because I was told X was top priority.

So he asks are there many changes for Project Y? I don’t know, I am working on project X. Well, how long will it take me? A LOT LESS TIME if you stop emailing me and let me work, how about that?

So I watched one episode of my current TV series while I ate, did a load of dishes and a load of laundry and now I have to fall asleep right now… if I want 8 hours of sleep. I hate feeling all raggedy-edged about shit, like I’m fragile and bitchy at the same time. I’ve been taking some pot truffle every night – I seem to be building up a tolerance so I can enjoy a tiny bit without getting antsy and anxious, but I suspect that Ativan is going to be this week’s primary sponsor!

Promise to the boss.

So after  deciding to go forward with some music last night I was really excited.  Then today came, and I don’t know what it was. For one thing, I thought that I had sickleave but I don’t.  So I can use my vacation time, or make up the time, or go unpaid.  Both of which obviously increase the stress of what I thought was coming up to be a good week off where I could catch up on some stuff and rest and re-gather myself to make it through the end of August.

The secretary called into the office when I was all worked up about this, and I started like crying and doing the sobbing gasps practically right away.  Awesome. It took a LOT of concealer and Visine to make me look normal again.  Then I had a meeting at the end of the day with my boss and some other project members, so I let him know I’d like to meet with him afterward briefly.

He offered to meet with me before, because he probably just read my request as my wanting a couple minutes of his time, and I said I preferred to wait till after the meeting. And then as usual, I teared up and choked up and was on the verge of crying and told him that I could either talk to him or I could stop myself from crying but I couldn’t do both.  So I started to cry and explain the problem with the sick time to him. He was really great about it, and flexible, and willing to just work it out so that I could do whatever I needed to do. He said actually that maybe I should just go home now and not even bother coming in the next day if I didn’t feel up to it. He asked me if I was going to be all right and I was like “yeah, in the immediate future, i’ll be fine.”

Then he asked me if he could establish a safety contract with me.  As in, can I promise him that I wouldn’t kill myself in whatever period of time. I exclaimed, “I have a shrink for that!” He responded, “you have a concerned boss, too.”  And seemed pretty serious about it and so I said fine how long do you want to have it for and he suggested the end of the year and I totally let out a big hee haw guffaw, like let’s not get carried away here. So he asked what I would be comfortable with and I said I could guarantee until a week from Monday, when I was scheduled to reappear at work.  And now I am super tired, so this will need a sequel.

 

What time off plans will be most vacation-ey.

My shrink has been on holiday, so I haven’t seen him for three weeks. Or rather, Tuesday was the first time I have seen him in three weeks. In the meantime I’ve started crying at my boss, and I’m just sort of feeling worn out with the stupid summer weather and attendant migraines.

When I cried at my boss, I had said that I hadn’t really been on a good vacation since 2009, and that I didn’t actually have many vacation days accrued yet, and he said he was happy for me to do whatever I needed, that he didn’t want to lose me, etc. So I had said to him, I think this was last week, that I had thought about taking some time off around the Labour Day long weekend and the beginning of September.

By the time I got to my psychiatrist this week, five weeks  away was just seeming like way too far, and that there was no way I could go to work five days a week for five more weeks until I got time off. It ended up being a pretty long appointment because he was trying to figure out what would be the best for me to take a little bit of time  I have to hopefully nip this in the bud so I can be rejuvenated and not wait until I totally hit the wall.

I didn’t just want to start days off immediately, because I’d be stressed out about work that wasn’t getting done and whether I can remember what I was doing and what I was supposed to do when I got back, and I couldn’t imagine whether it would be better to just work shorter weeks and take a long weekend for a few weeks in a row, or take off a big chunk of time, or what.

So  it ended up being a pretty long appointment before we figured it out, but my psychiatrist made what I thought was a great suggestion and then he wrote me a note for it. So I’m working a four day week this week and next week, then taking a week off which will really be like 10 days with the statutory holiday.  So I’m trying to decide what to do. I haven’t gone camping in ages, and although the weekends are mostly booked up there are quite a few walk-in tent sites available for Sunday through Friday.

I would have to pick up a tent,  which is one of the few things that I won’t be getting at Costco because I don’t need a tent for 8 people, but really I don’t even need a camp stove as I’m happy to pack some sandwiches and hotdogs to roast over the fire and marshmallows and maybe some cans of boost. I can travel light.

My frugal self thought that I should look on Kijiji first, but I’m a bit leery of buying a used tent because who knows how the last person packed it up, and I don’t really want to assemble a tent in somebody’s living room before I decide to buy it, and then I wouldn’t find out if it had a leak or small tear until I was getting rained on anyway.

My big dilemma is really if I should concentrate on all of the million projects that I have at home, including chores and more fun ones like finishing off some jewellery on making, repainting my little antique cupboard, or just try to get away..

I know is it going away is the most vacation-ey thing,  but I’m always kind of behind the gun with grocery shopping and laundry and cleaning because of the migraines, and it seems to me almost even Stephen: I could go away and then come back to a messy house which is stressful, or I could stay home but then not have any actual getaway which is stressful in a different way..

I’d like to think that I could just go to a nearby park for an hour or two, but I never seem to actually make that happen.

I woke up with a migraine, and have been taking medications for about 2 1/2 hours, and now I am mostly pain-free and about half drowsy. Which I think is a fairly doable level.  I’m in the headspace where I’m not tracking with my migraine app right now because I know that I have migraines literally all the freaking time in the summer, and it’s just depressing to see how much it actually is.  I want to go into work today so that I actually have a long weekend instead of a migraine day and then a workday and then a regular weekend because that kind of defeats the point of having the time off.

Really the problem with having a migraine is having to move. I think if I could do everything by dictation, the way that I do blogging, without having to look at anything bright or get  out of bed, I could work. It’s mostly that my head hurts more when I move, and they’re so much movement involved with getting from my bed to make sure at work; into the bathroom to get ready, out of my apartment, out of my building, into the car,  Drive to work, into the Parkade elevator, down the hall, into my department, into my office. Then I finally get to sit down and not move my fucking head until the end of the day. Here goes nothing.

I can lead a horse to water…

I had an upsetting interaction tonight. I saw a blog post where this journal had straight up told this lady that they didn’t want to take her book reviews any more because they were badly written. He didn’t even want to try to edit them, he just outright refused her work. She posted the review in question and had hundreds of comments from people – her fans I guess – assuring her that the editor didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground, and she was an AWESOME writer!

She’s obviously smart and there were parts that intrigued me but my God, the thing WAS badly written. She completely failed to use proper punctuation, had run-on sentences and used a lot of overwrought and flowery language that seemed just a little off the mark.

So I wrote a comment suggesting that maybe she could seek other feedback about her work, or take a writing class, and maybe consider if there was room for improvement in aspects of her writing. I didn’t WANT to write the comment. I thought as I sat down to write it that it was a waste of time because she wasn’t going to listen to me because she didn’t want to hear it. But I thought that it was such a shame if her work went nowhere because of punctuation and vocabulary and structural flaws overshadowing the ideas, that I’d like to try.

Of course she replied saying that was her writing “style” and that she knew she was a very good writer. She had taken writing classes “as a kid” and worked as a professional editor (that I find hard to believe!)

So I tried again, a little more pointed this time, that maybe considering feedback was a good thing, and improper punctuation isn’t a matter of “style” for prose, and that if I was her editor I would have had to rewrite every sentence. Again, more assertions that her writing is top-notch and that she is perfectly capable of hearing the truth but she only disliked the editor’s approach.

How can you say you are open to “the truth” when the only truth you will consider is the one you want to hear? I mean, geez, it’s like giving someone a hint like “Wow, in summer I sure find it hard to stay cool. I reapply my antiperspirant after I walk/bike to work just because it’s so hot out” and they reply “Well I always smell like a daisy” and you say “Hm, really? I think everyone has to make an extra effort during heat waves” and they say “I smell awesome!” so you finally yell “YOU HAVE BODY ODOR” and then they get all offended at how “mean” you are. I re-posted her last comment with corrected punctuation and it was like 11 corrections in 3 sentences.

Anyway, one of her fans called me the most arrogant prick in the world for my trouble. If I was insisting that I was awesome at math and someone showed me 11 errors in 3 computations I hope I’d be mature enough to think wow, I better bone up on this, or start double-checking my work, or something; not double down and insist that doing math wrong was “my style.”

Why I get emotionally invested in throwing pearls before swine (metaphorically) I don’t know. I guess I try to think how I would feel in that situation but I guess being open to improvement and taking feedback are skills in professionalism and professional development and we’re not all there. This gal is probably only in her 20s for all I know.

The irony is that in wasting my time with her, I was procrastinating on a paper that I’m in the middle of editing to the tune of $50 an hour. Next time I’ll not work for free for some stranger on the Internet, haha. Just sad that I wasted my time and sad that she is totally deluded about her writing.

Two days in the life.

8 am – Leave to catch the bus.
9 am – Arrive at the hospital to get ketamine at nine.
12:15 pm – Allowed to leave (They want you to stay two hours after your treatment ends)
12:30 pm – Catch bus home
1:15-1:45 – Feed cat, and myself
1:45-2:15 – Nap for half an hour (feeling exhausted)
2:20 – Leave for neurologist appointment @2:45
3:10 – Leave neurologist with a face full of Botox
3:15 – drop triplicate prescription off at drugstore
3:20 – drive to work
3:45 – arrive at work
4:00-5:45 – Super important work meeting. Boss asks if I can get the work done by the end of the next day. I say of course.
5:45-5:55 – I had a migraine onset during the meeting, so I need to get on top of it now. Ransack my desk and purse and realize I don’t have any triptans (migraine specific drugs) with me. Shit! Take a Tylenol 3, a stiff shot of CBD extract and start drinking a Pepsi.
6:00 pm – Start working on stuff for Super Important Project Deadline from the meeting. Since I didn’t get to work until almost 4 o’clock, I’m going to have to stay here all night. Besides, the idea that I could wake up with a migraine tomorrow and not be able to make it into work is stressful, so I want to try and finish this tonight.
6:30 – Symptoms getting worse. Give myself a needle full of Gravol.
6:45 – So drowsy! I start drinking a Pepsi.
11:55 pm – I’m done my work, hallelujah!
12:15 am – Stop at pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.
12:30 am – Arrive home. Check email, get into bed and try to unwind.
1:30 am – Fall asleep

Wednesday:
10:00 am – finally manage to wake up after multiple alarms. Soooo tired.
10:45 am – I gotta have a shower.
11:25 am – Leave for 12:00 pm massage appointment.
12:00 pm – The Botox made a noticeable difference. My face and head are much more relaxed, but my neck shoulders and upper back are a crunchy mess. The massage is more painful than relaxing, but I know it will feel better later on.
1:30 pm – Arrive at work and stop for a flat white (2 shots espresso) on the way.
1:35 pm – Arrive at my desk. Take 2 Dexedrine and hope it will help me be alert.
2:35 pm – Call to reschedule my 4:00 pm doctor’s appointment. The idea of driving to it and it eating up work time is stressing me out.
6:00 pm – I should be working until 8:30 at least but I’m just tired and fried.
7:30 pm – Give up and go home. It’s just been “presenteeism” for the last couple of hours anyway.
8:00-9:00 pm – Pay bills, look up upcoming pay dates, update budget
9:00-9:51 pm – Organize and refill meds, so I have some in my purse, some for at work and some for at home.
9:51-10:15 pm – Eat something.

So… where is the time for fun? Or housecleaning? Or cooking and packing lunches? Or socializing? I thought maybe if I kept a diary I’d see where the time was going, but it sems like it is work, migraine, or doctor’s appointments 24/7. I think having chronic migraines in the summer is depressing in and of itself.

So tired. Weary.

I missed work Monday because of a migraine then agreed to do a little side project yesterday (I’d like to have some spare dollars so I can get massage therapy and wait to be reimbursed in the insurance company’s sweet time) so that’s two days of work to make up over the weekend. It’s just this horrible cycle of always playing catch-up, and then I’m not balanced and not relaxed, which just makes it harder.

It takes so much time to go to the doctor/ RMT/ therapist/ neurologist/ psychiatrist/ hospital/ pharmacy and work and have migraines. I just don’t see myself as able to keep up a full-time job for much longer because I’m weary on a soul level.

Wednesday I went to work, booked a doctor appointment with my GP for 5:15 to try and get a referral to a dermatologist because my acne is worse than it was when I was a teen. I had to wait around for a half an hour which I spent washing my make up off so he could see the severity of the situation. When he came into the room, he said he was so sorry to hear that I was having such trouble with my depression. It totally dis-combobulated me. I was all ready to play the part of his patient who hadn’t seen him in months, and was coming in for a referral for my hormonal skin, no big deal. I don’t know if he looks up people’s electronic medical records before he sees them or if the receptionist does that as part of the chart or what. And I get that it makes sense, but it just totally changed the tone of things.

So he basically diagnosed me with bad skin due to stress. I’m breaking out on my face, and on my cheeks and joy line instead of my t-zone where I used to. Then I have huge patches of itchy dry eczema of the come and go on my hands and chest. So he prescribed me some kind of antibacterial cream from my face and a stronger steroid for the eczema, and I didn’t really have the presence of mind to push for referrals so I asked him to write me a prescription for migraine drugs, while he was at it, and said I would be back if it didn’t work. Then I went to the drugstore. And waited half an hour for it to be filled. Then the pharmacist said my total was 120 something dollars, and I just about had a heart attack because I just given them my new health benefits information with the card that I just got that day, which was supposed to give me 100% coverage. So the pharmacist figured that the plan wanted me to get generics, and they didn’t have two of the medications so I’m gonna have to go back to get them tomorrow, and so it was like 8 o’clock by the time I got home so I microwaved a bowl of peas and checked my email and went to bed.

Yesterday was the side job, so I had to get up super early so that I could catch the bus to go downtown to be on time, and I did, and I worked all day, and then I tried to finish all the paperwork at the end of the day but I was too burnt out. So I stopped working at 6:30, and went and caught a bus, but the transfer I needed was only running once an hour so I ended up walking most of the way home and didn’t get home until eight, just like the night before.

Today my skin just looks fucking awful, because I put Differin and the antibiotic cream on it which was obviously not a good idea, so I still have the bad complexion I had before, as well as a couple of dry red patches of skin that makeup just wouldn’t stick to. It was just sliding off and pilling and making my face looks super patchy. It’s like the worst make up day I’ve ever had. So then I started getting anxious that I couldn’t get my face into any kind of shape to go to work, which just made me get shaky and sweaty. So I went to work, stopped at the parking office to be told that it was too late to make any changes for this month, and didn’t actually arrive to the office until 10:30.

I had an appointment to see the hospital chaplain at 1, so I only got a couple of hours of work in before I had to leave. I wept at him for an hour and a half. I didn’t think I was that sad, but I started crying practically as soon as I saw it down. I guess it just takes so much energy to hold everything in and put on a good show at work that I’m not really in touch with stuff during the day.

So it was 3 o’clock by the time I got back to work, and I still had five hours to put in. It was just so shitty. I was totally unproductive and I felt just bleary and puffy and teary-eyed and tired. I managed to get a second wind a little bit toward the end, but I didn’t really put in a full days work. So I got home it shortly after 8, opened a can of tuna, and that brings us to now. I’ve been out of the house for basically 12 hours a day for one reason or another, and by the time I drag myself home i’m tired. There’s nothing in the fridge, except ketchup, so I have to go to the bank, then grocery shopping and back to the pharmacy, and I need gas, and I’m going to have to do some laundry before next week, and meanwhile I have to work two days out of this weekend, and probably have a migraine as well. It’s just so fucking exhausting, doing it all myself, and the cried out, wrung out, puffy eyed feeling doesn’t go away with a cup of coffee or even a Dexedrine.

I know in my head that most people that have this level of migraine consistently aren’t holding down a job at all, let alone working full-time, and I know how much time it takes for me to try and manage having a physical and mental illness, but still have this vague feeling that I ought to be able to pull things together somehow, there’s no point just stumbling through the days like this.

Crying like a baby.

I was going to quit the outpatient group, and had actually called and spoken to them yesterday about it. Then this morning came, and I couldn’t get out of bed. There didn’t seem any reason to get out of bed.  Why not sleep till noon and then go in to work at 1 o’clock?  I got all sad at the thought of just moving invisibly like that, invisibly going on the bus to my invisible work and then back to the house. So I went to today’s group, and told him that I’d like to try to go next week.

But I went to service Canada to give them a copy of my medical papers, and then I had to phone the EI  line from there and wait on hold and then get a new guy and be put on hold again, and then it turned out that I needed to have the numbers for January and February for how much I worked and how much I made, which I didn’t have, because those were at work. So I went to drive home because I don’t have money to park at work. It’s like $14 a day and they don’t take debit. So went home, caught the train to work,  got teary-eyed on the train and looked out the window and said sternly to myself “don’t fucking cry on the train!  Get a hold of yourself!”

Then I got to work and figured out the fucking EI, which is really hard because their periods don’t correspond with my pay periods and I  cried through the whole thing. I only got like an hour of work done and I feel like I’m at the point where I’ll never make the time up, so fuck it.  And I don’t have as much coming to me for EI as I had hoped, which sucks because there would’ve been no problem being off work and getting benefits for three months if my dick ass boss had allowed it.

I’ll basically have to wait until the next check to see what a normal average pay period paycheck will look like  but I think it’s going to be significantly less than what I was being paid before,  so I don’t really know how that’s going to work out with planning to try to go to Depeche Mode.

I just feel tired and sad.

Job security.

It was a really long day today. I had ketamine in the morning, and then  saw my psychiatrist afterward so I didn’t get to work until 4 o’clock. I was in that semi still having a migraine partly over having a migraine phase, so I was cold and sweaty and clammy and generally feeling disgusting.

My boss came to talk to me  when I got to work and it went much better than our conversations and previous days. I kind of felt him out about the position with benefits, saying that there are a lot of qualified people out there, and he said that as far as he was concerned it was just a formality,  and if there were qualified people he might consider them for additional work. Then he apologized for the delay.  So that’s good. Really good, actually. The pay is way less then I’ve made in the past, but the benefits mean a lot and there aren’t a lot of jobs where I can come and go as I please and take us much time off in the middle of the day for appointments as I have been.

Now I’m at home and I still have that sticky clammy post-migraine feeling. Yuck.

Also, crying.

I cried on the bus on the way to work yesterday. Then I cried on and off at work until 3:30 pm.  Then on the bus to home.

The guys in my office didn’t notice a thing which is kind of good and kind of bad but I am worried this is a sign that I will Not Be Able to Hold It Together…

Aaaand losing weight again.

For the first couple of weeks home from the hospital I was trying to keep my weight stable, thinking that I “needed” the energy from eating to cope with work and trying not to screw up my metabolism.

Well, I don’t notice any difference if I eat or don’t eat, so now I’m not pushing myself and the scale is moving down. I have managed to start eating a bowl of fruit and yogurt and granola each day along with my protein shake and latte. Mostly because it requires no cooking at all and I have a bunch of Costco frozen fruit in the freezer. Vegetables, not so much because you can’t let them just thaw and then eat them – they’re gross.

Thursday’s group at the hospital was Ask-The-Dietitian time and so I threw out the question of not being hungry and totally not being motivated to fix anything anyway, so what to do.  The dietitian was the same one as in the hospital and replied that cheese and crackers with some carrot sticks or something was actually a good balance of carbs, protein, and veggies which is practical. People in the group started giving me recipes for one-pan dinners (e.g. just cut up some potatoes and veggies, put chicken on top, cover with Stove Top stuffing and bake) and I was like “you people are not listening to me, I haven’t even bought eggs since December because I can’t get it together enough to cook them.”  Funny to see what people think is “easy.”

I’m kind of shitting myself over work, and procrastinating heading there now. We’re doing a publication, which is a horrific variety of an academic group work project, and I have been waiting for this one guy’s lit review that he’s had the papers for since literally August.  He gave me his first version which was so filled with mistakes it was useless in October, so I was like “yeah, maybe it would be easier if you just gave this another shot keeping in mind these tricky (totally not tricky if you spent five minutes reading the paper you moron) points!”

Then my boss was all like “Omg, you have to come back to work now, or you won’t have a job”, so I came back under duress in February, and like the day I was back mid-February I had a phone call with this guy to go over all the fuckups that he hadn’t done anything about since October. Meanwhile my boss has been like “So, is the project wrapping up?” and I was like “No. Not wrapping up. I don’t even have data from This Guy yet, from August, but everyone else has turned theirs around within a week.”  Then the next day he comes to ask if we’re making good progress and wrapping up, and I’m like NO, I’m STILL waiting on That Guy’s data.

Apparently the original deadline was the end of March, which was not unreasonable considering we had intended to get the lit review done by the end of November, but now that it isn’t done, even today, I can’t just singlehandedly do the rest of it in a week. Anyway my boss must have called That Guy, who he is being diplomatic with for political/career reasons, and That Guy sent me an email saying he was setting All His Time aside for this Very Important Thing.

All right, good! So Wednesday he sends me his “revisions” and he must have spent all of five minutes on them. I’d sent him an email outlining all the fuckups that we discussed on the phone and we had agreed that he would redo one entire paper but then he hadn’t done it. We were supposed to connect yesterday (Friday) afternoon by phone. I called him twice; he said he was at a restaurant for lunch and at 3:00 emailed me to say he was still having lunch, could we talk Monday.

Meanwhile my boss comes in with his daily “are you finished yet” spiel and I explain to him that what I have got from That Guy is basically all wrong, and that I was now waiting until Monday to connect with him, and Boss says that I should just go over what I  found with him and see if he agrees, instead of trying to make him find the information himself. I tried to point out that him saying “Oh yeah, sounds good” to my data isn’t really what is meant by duplicate review but he clearly doesn’t care about the academic integrity of it, so fuckit – I’ll do whatever he wants.

What is burning me up is that my doctor discharged me so I could get back to work to satisfy him, and now I’m exhausted working from 9-12:30, group & travel from 12:30 – 3:30, work from 3:30 – 8 or 9 pm plus coming in  on the weekends (what I am procrastinating on now) to make up for my ketamine treatment hospital days. And now I’ve been at work a month – a MONTH – and the project is no further ahead because That Guy isn’t doing his share, so I could have just continued on my doctor’s timeline and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

My boss clearly wants to blame me, though, so I’m going to have to progress tactfully – I can’t just say “We are behind because of That Guy, not because of me,” because he doesn’t want to hear it. So I guess something like “I completely understand the urgency to get this completed. If you have any feedback on how I could have been more efficient in this process I’d be very happy to hear it” might be appropriate?  I thought about creating a log showing that I’ve had <1 day turnaround for everything given to me, and that the delays are all that stuff hasn’t been given to me, but if Boss wants to screw me over he can and will, and all the documentation in the world won’t change that.