If you know me at all, you know I don’t do it very often. I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy with the express intention of crying my eyes out because I couldn’t seem to do it any other way. Except of course on the occasion someone (usually a man) pissed me off so badly (usually at work) that tear drops started shooting out of my eyes horizontal to my face, much to my horror. But that was also rare.
I think it’s a widow thing because before that notable event, I remember crying more. Boys made me cry a lot back when I cared what they thought of me. I’ve cried over many many boys. Then I became a widow and something in me snapped. I stopped crying mostly because I hated the effect my crying had on anyone around me. They would look simply…aghast. Horrified. Pity would ooze from their faces without intention and for some reason I couldn’t bear it. So I taught myself not to do it except for when I was alone. And only occasionally even when I was alone. I used to be afraid back then that if I allowed myself to cry, I would never be able to stop. So I didn’t (for the most part).
When I was diagnosed with MS I didn’t cry. I was in shock and relieved. I was as scared as I’ve ever been – but I didn’t cry. I was numb. I’m still numb. But the tears have come for me, usually in bed at night, usually when I think about the idea that I might not be able to live my independent life as I always assumed I would (because I could and I clearly like it that way) – but now, maybe there might be a kink in my plan. I’ve cried watching Grey’s Anatomy episodes (again) this time specifically about that Wilmer Valderamma character who had MS? Of course, he died. Yeah. Thanks Grey’s Anatomy. I can always count on you. I’ve cried out of frustration and fear. But not in public. Only alone.
Today, at Infusion Day Number 5, I cried in front of people.
There are two nurses at the infusion center – we’ll call them Nurse A and Nurse B. Nurse A stuck me on my first infusion day and I didn’t even feel it. She seems to be the lead expert Nurse – hence her A rating. But since then, I’ve gotten Nurse B. Every time Nurse B sticks me, she hurts me. Not a lot. But it hurts. And she is super nice and always acts like she’s being super careful – but the simple fact of the matter is, she works in a place where her primary JOB is to stick people with needles and she isn’t that great at it. In my short experience in the Infusion Center, I’ve seen Nurse B inadvertently cause bloody messes – literally. One of my fellow infuses writes a black X on her hand each time to remind her not to use that hand – the geyser causing hand. I’ve seen her try one arm, then the other, then the hand, then the other…and watched other people roll their eyes as she keeps trying and I just close my eyes because I can’t stand to watch it.
Today was my turn. I need to emphasize that she is a good woman, a good person and she obviously has great intentions. But today was my day. I tried to maneuver it so I’d get Nurse A – but it’s hard to do that without openly dissing Nurse B and nobody wants to do that. I mean, nobody wants to insult the lady with the needles. So I got Nurse B. She ties me off with the rubber thing. She sticks me – roughly in my left arm and tsk’s a couple of timed before pulling it out again. Unties the rubber thing, and ties it around my other arm. Sticks me again (again, roughly cause it hurts) and AGAIN it doesn’t work. There’s blood on my arm now. And out it come again. Now we try my hand. I hate needles in my hands but at this point, I’m just wanting it to be done. Nope. Out again. Other hand? OK…after two more tries, the other hand works. And at this point? I am full on crying. In front of people.
I try really hard not to but I cannot keep the tears in my face. Nurse B is whispering to me, “calm down, calm down you’re going to be ok. I need you to relax.” And I’m trying but the sound of her voice just makes it worse and the tears come more steadily. She’s telling me in soft tones that I must be dehydrated…and I cry harder. ME? DEHYDRATED? I was up 5 times last night just peeing. I’m not dehydrated. She starts whispering, “Sip. Sip. Sip slow on water. Sip sip. Don’t gulp! If you gulp you just pee it all out.” She’s making me feel like I’m even drinking my damn water wrong! The way she says “Sip Sip” over and over again make me feel homicidal
Other have noticed now – and they tell me “Sometimes you just need to cry.” “I know you feel crappy and sometimes you just need to let it out.” Nurse A comes with a Kleenex and I dab…and that was that.
I didn’t want any of them to know the real truth. I was crying because I was pissed off. She hurt me. Her primary job is to insert IVs and she sucks at it. Her whispers made me want to punch her in the face, which made me feel like a monster. She sat right at my knee and stared at my face while I cried. And I wanted to punch her even harder. She is a kind, caring woman! She didn’t deserve the pure red hot molten anger that was oozing from my face. I had three bandages on both arms. I was shaking. I wasn’t upset. I was pissed. Probably not just at Nurse B. They were right, you see. It was so much more than the amateur sticking job I got this morning and that pissed me off too!
I was just so pissed off at the whole fucking thing. And the fact that not a damn thing anyone said was going to change the fact that I might still feel like shit the next time. And the next time. Nurse A said it could be two or three more times before the “magic” kicks in and that just made me even angrier. She said I had to understand that this was a big deal. That my life has changed. I had to give myself a break and not fight it so much. Accept the fact that feeling shitty comes with the territory. It’s just the way it is. Sleep all day if that’s what I need to do! Mourn. All very wise words, none of which I was wanting to hear.
My veteran infusee’s…they got it. They didn’t whisper at me. They didn’t stare at my face like Nurse B did, waiting for me to stop. The just looked straight ahead for the most part. I could tell that they got it. They’ve all been there. They get it because they are experiencing it too. Even when the “magic” kicks in, there’s always some weird ass thing going on that you don’t really know what to do with…Is it my MS? Is it old age? Am I imagining it? Am I sleeping too much? Am I missing out on life? When is this ever going to change? Will this ever change?
Here’s the silver lining. I feel pretty OK right now. Maybe it will be magic infusion number 5! Maybe I just needed to cry some really angry tears for the magic to kick in. Maybe the angry tears were blocking the magic from working!
Maybe not. Maybe I need to remember how to mourn. That shit takes time. Now I remember.