Monday, April 28, 2014

Rambling Pep Talk

    There are days when I feel beat up, beaten down, and struggle against feelings of defeat. It isn't easy going through life alone, working so hard to make ends meet, taking care of all the little things that keep life moving along, fixing broken vehicles that I can't afford to take to a mechanic (or just staring blankly at them, in some cases), plumbing, painting, wiring, mowing, pruning, slashing, burning, planting. Not to mention cooking and cleaning, keeping myself well fed and decently clothed. Let's not forget the Fire District, with a weekly drill night, and random pager tones that can go off at any time, night or day, calling me out to anything. And then there is the Ironman training to add a whole different dimension to an already complicated and busy life. I choose to go through life alone because I don't have time to spare to try and build a relationship. I choose to go through life alone because I have already wasted so much time and energy on relationships that went nowhere and benefited me very little. (If anyone is wondering, I do not  put my marriage into this category. My marriage, though it ended after 15 years, was a mutually beneficial partnership with a very nice man that produced two fantastic sons, and I have absolutely no regrets in that department. In case anyone was wondering.) So here I am, sipping my rosemary, sage, mint tea, alone, overwhelmed by the accumulation of broken vehicles, dirty dishes, tired feet, and low bank account, having a lonely little pity party of one. I choose to be alone, and yet cry out to the universe over the injustice of having to toil through a lonely life, without the benefit of a partner. See; Pity Party. Some nights I just can't help myself. It was a tough day at work, I'm stressed over finances, but I get home thinking I will fire up the motorcycle and get him ready to ride to work the rest of the week. Guess what? He won't start. He turns over just fine, but wont fire. He has never done that before. It is devastating, he has always been one friend I could rely on.  And then to top it all off I have had so many reminders of happy couples seemingly thrown in my face at every turn. Everywhere I look, everyone I know seems to be in a happy relationship. Hell, even my meathead younger brother who has struggled with substance abuse all his life, has been with a wonderful woman for over a year, and has been sober for the last 6 months. Everyone is hooking up but me. It is weird, feeling like the only single person in the universe. Yes, I know that is not true, really. But within my little universe it seems to be the truth. Remember; Pity Party. What this all boils down to, knowing myself as I do, is an over reaction to stress as I flirt with the edges of depression. Yes, Spring is here, but this is often a really tough time of the year for me. I know I need to keep my head down and just keep moving ahead, but it isn't easy. I get so tired, and yet keep doing exhausting things. I don't know of any other way to cope and deal. Just keep moving, pushing, reaching, striving, painting, pruning, planting, mowing. I will keep fixing what is broken, painting what is dull, pruning away dead limbs, planting seeds of change. I will do it alone because I choose to. I will battle loneliness and despair, combat it with activity and training. I will continue to burn the candle at both ends, falling into bed each night exhausted, knowing I did not waste a moment of my precious time. Too much time has been wasted already. But g'damn it is tiring, and difficult to do it all alone. But in all honesty, I know that I do so much more because I am alone. It is the rock and the hard place. But I chose this. It is my choice.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wear Your Seatbelt

    Yesterday, another quiet Saturday evening disrupted by the bleating of my pager. It was a motor vehicle accident. A pickup that had flipped and rolled, ending up on its side in a ditch. The lone occupant was partially ejected through the rear window. An excellent public service announcement for the need to always wear your seat belt. From the moment of my very first call I knew that it was not my place, nor my inclination to judge any of the victims, my patients, these people who may very well be having the worst day of their life. How they got to need our help is not what is important, but how kindly we treat them is. Once again, I found myself cradling, protecting, a bloody head. Talking calmly, quietly. Reassuring this once-stranger that we were doing everything and anything to get him out of the truck and onto a life flight helicopter. I am good at this. At least this one aspect of it. Staying calm and kind in the midst of a certain level of organized mayhem. Flashing lights, power tools, metal being wrenched apart by freakishly powerful cutting tools that make cutting metal as easy as slicing a piece of pie. I find that half of my brain shuts it all out and focuses strictly on the entity and life form in my care, while the other half of my brain keeps tabs on the comings and goings of my fellow First Responders. An interesting thing about motor vehicle accidents; the paramedics are not allowed to approach until the patient has been extricated. Only firefighters in the proper protective gear are allowed to be hands-on at the scene. We are fortunate to have a number of very qualified people in our organization. My station has several EMTs, and one paramedic, who happened to be first on scene. I was in the second vehicle on scene, oddly, in the officer's seat. I directed the guys in the back seat to set up traffic cones and then I was immediately put in charge of head and neck stabilization. Once you are in that particular job, you stay there until it is done. It is a critical, though narrow, duty. And one I take very seriously. It may not be as glamorous as attacking the vehicle with the Jaws of Life, or shearing through steel with power cutters, but it is what I am good at. Once the roof of the truck was removed, and we carefully rolled the patient (who was doing far better than one might have expected) onto a backboard, carried him to the waiting gurney, then and only then could I relinquish the job to the Life Flight paramedic. I stepped away. One of my cohorts gestured to me, suggesting I shed my turnout jacket. I looked down and realized I looked like a walking biohazard. Oddly, it didn't bother me as much as it might have. I was doing something I am good at, and if it was a bit messy, then so be it. I know a day will likely come when I walk into a scene that is far gorier, with a patient who is not doing so very well, and it will be shocking and disturbing. I will likely come face to face with death from a multitude of causes. All I can hope is that when this happens, I will still be able to speak calmly and kindly, reassuring my patient that we are doing everything and anything we can to make sure they get where they need to go as quickly as possible. I do love this job.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life Is Funny

    Funny how events manage to make me take a good, long look at where I'm at, in all regards. I have really come to the conclusion, that despite some efforts to the contrary, I am in no way, shape, or form even remotely ready to allow myself to enter into anything resembling a "normal" relationship. I don't feel any bitterness or angst at this realization. Maybe a bit of gloomy resignation, though. I have waded into the waters of relationships, twice in the last year or so. And twice failed. I think I emit a "do not enter" vibe. Early this year I tested the waters with my toes, and was shocked at my own lack of interest. Truly, no interest. I felt nothing. It frightened me. Made me feel broken, damaged, unbalanced. I walked away and resolved to just let it all go. I do not need anyone to make me feel whole or complete. I actually feel more vibrant, intact, and vital than I have in... in... in I don't know how long. A decade? More? I finally feel like I am my very own person. Deep down to the core, I am Me. I am Mine. It is a giddy sensation, really. The funniest part, is that in my realization that the last thing on earth I need or want is a relationship, I have managed to find a kindred spirit in the morass of life. No, we don't want to go steady. We don't feel the need for daily texts, endless chit chat, date night, declaring our... our... whatever it is, on Facebook or other social media. Instead, we get together when we have some free time, which is a rare thing for both of us. There is no pressure to spend X amount of time together, or apologize for a busy life. It is unique, this thing I have found, it fills a need without being needy. It is the absolute least complicated situation I have ever found myself in. There are no lies, no broken promises, no failed expectations. It is open, honest, interesting, a bit deviant. There is nothing grown-up or adult about it, and yet it is a most mature and intelligent exchange. There is no pressure for me to give up one iota of my freedom, no requests for compromise, no passive-aggressive ploys for attention, no guilt tripping over my ridiculously full and fulfilling lifestyle. I am Me. I am Mine. And that is the way I like it.