Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde...Subtitled: When Good People Go Bad...

I imagine we're all familiar with the novella, "The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". But, just in case one among us is NOT, let me refresh your grasp of late 1800's literature.

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was first published in 1886...or so Wikipedia says...my unvalidated source for all online research. Ehem. Wikipedia goes on to say: "This story represents a concept in Western culture, that of the inner conflict of humanity's sense of good and evil. The novella has been interpreted as an examination of the duality of human nature (that good and evil exists in all) and that the failure to accept this tension (to accept the evil or shadow side) results in the evil being projected onto others. Paradoxically in this argument, evil is actually committed in an effort to extinguish the perceived evil that has been projected onto the innocent victims. In Freudian Theory the thoughts and desires banished to the unconscious mind motivate the behavior of the conscious mind. If someone banishes all evil to the unconscious mind in an attempt to be wholly and completely good, it can result in the development of a Mr. Hyde-type aspect to that person's character."

Yeah, yeah, Wikipedia...whatever. "The actual story line is about a good doctor who has covered up a life full of secret deeds (I'm STILL quoting Wiki here because I lack a better summary). He feels as if he is constantly battling within himself between what is good and what is evil, and is pushing away people dear to him. After drinking a potion of his own creation, Jekyll is transformed into the cruel, remorseless, evil Edward Hyde, representing the hidden side of Dr. Jekyll's nature brought to the fore. Dr. Jekyll has many friends and has a friendly personality, but as Mr. Hyde, he becomes mysterious, violent, and secretive and as time goes by, Mr. Hyde grows in power. After taking the potion repetitively, he no longer relies upon the potion to unleash his inner demon."

In 2009, I think the title of this novella would best be summed up as, "When Good People Go Bad"...just like that show in the 90's about good pets that go bad! Yes, sadly I've stolen THAT title, too. :-)

"But," you ask yourselves inquisitively because that's how you are. "Why is the CHEESE talking about good people going bad and where in the h - e double toothpicks is she going with THIS one?" I DO like the way y'all think. LOL

Well, my preciouses...the CHEESE is going to dance out on that far limb here (probably falling and breaking my neck) and discuss when good people go bad, because I've been encountering quite a bit of this phenomenon lately...not only with others, but also within myself. **GASP** I know...hard to believe, isn't it?!? Well, probably not that I'm going to TALK/WRITE about this topic, but more likely hard to believe I'd demonstrate any insight into my OWN behaviors (and the latter truth remains to be seen).

Here's the rub: We've ALL experienced others in our lives who we THOUGHT were one type of person or who's behaviors demonstrated themselves in a positive light, only to become sorely disillusioned by something negative we discover in them or uncover a malicious intent. Many of us have been in RELATIONSHIPS with these people, some even living with or marrying them...because the "Mr./Mrs. Hyde" was either not easily seen or we simply chose to overlook it, believing only the "Dr. Jekyll" could possibly be sleeping in our beds or sitting across from us at the breakfast table. Such are the blinders of love (and our faulty subconscious!). We see what our eyes (and hearts) CHOOSE to see...just like we project ourselves into the world as we "think" we should be seen. In 23 years of working in psychiatry, I have yet to meet a person who wakes up in the morning believing their own behaviors are WRONG or morally unjust...we choose to BE what we want to see also, often for the benefit of others or society...and we justify our own behaviors on this same scale.

Yet, inside each of us exists our own version of "Mr. Hyde"...some might refer to this as our *shadow* while others go so far as to call this our *dark or evil* side. That is, of course, if one believes in the duality of "good versus evil". Each of us spends a great deal of psychological time trying to *purdy up* our dark side(s) and make this part of ourselves more acceptable...we try to justify the behaviors of our shadow selves in many ways...either by projecting our internal negativity (I prefer this term, negativity, over the use of the word *evil*) onto others or simply overcompensating with extreme goodness in hopes of somehow stamping out or covering up our own negativity.

When good people go bad, there are many behaviors we employ in this process. Gossip, dominance, deliberate withholding, and verbal abuse are just a few of the more benign behaviors "good people gone bad" utilize in expressing their dark selves/shadow selves. Out and out physical violence or malicious intent to defame or steal from another are more of the extremes.

I've personally been encountering a great deal of gossip in my life about others and harmful words others have spoken about me...and, the travesty of my shadow self has also been ENGAGING in this negative behavior as well. When I engage in gossip, it is a primitive behavior and attempt to temporarily make myself feel better or to CONTROL a situation that feels out of my control...and ALWAYS at the expense of others. That's just how gossip works. If it didn't, there would be no impulse to engage in it...a temporary *fix* is sought as a means of finding temporary *relief* from something bothersome in my own psyche. It is also a means of attempting to rally false support for myself when I am feeling weakened by something else. In other words, I PROJECT MY OWN SENSE OF WEAKNESS/SHADOW SELF/LACK OF CONTROL ONTO THE LIFE OF SOMEONE ELSE WHEN I GOSSIP ABOUT THEM. I am in turn, attempting to expose what I deem as the gossip recipient's weakness as a means of hiding or denying my OWN weakness(s)...a "look how bad they are or what they did" attempt to distract from my OWN *badness* or shadow self.

Often times, when I feel weakness in myself or learn someone else is spreading gossip about me, I feel hurt and anger...which only perpetuates my sense of weakness. Rather than examining if what is being said behind my back might be TRUE or confronting my own sense of hurt/anger/weakness, I instead retaliate with carefully crafted COUNTER GOSSIP...after all, if someone is saying something hurtful about ME, isn't it fair game to return the favor?

Sadly, the answer to the above question is "no". The sense of temporary relief/expression of anger via gossip only serves to further perpetuate a vicious and unending cycle of hurtfulness...to myself and toward another...like a hamster on a winless exercise wheel, never going anywhere and always revolving back around to the same place.

I've been worn down recently by a few situations in my life (see previous post on admitting depressive symptoms!) and I'm tired. Like a boozing, over-eating, lazy athlete, I've been letting myself *go*...I haven't been taking the time or care necessary to maintain a healthy psyche because sinking is frankly less effort than breaking the water and surfacing. But just like obtaining a fit physical body, my emotional/mental body requires constant care and observation...lest I fall into negative habits that ruin my "game".

Today I'm going to start by identifying and embracing my "Mr. Hyde"...the little booger is there inside me and the only person I seem to be wasting energy *hyding* from is myself. Today, I'm going to practice acknowledging my shadow self, and then taking RESPONSIBILITY for it...I'm going to refrain from gossip or even LISTENING to someone else gossip. I'm going to pay attention to my shadow self and be mindful of what triggers this side of me to come alive...I'm not going to drink my own potion and transform into this other self. And owning my shadow's existence/Mr. Hyde is the first step in taming this inner negativity.

Not engaging in gossip sure may cut down on my fatigue factor...I wonder if I really have that much to SAY when I'm not focusing on others?!? Hmmm...life just became a quieter journey...LOL.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Cold, Hard Truth...

So...I announced to my Always Really Nice Practitioner (ARNP) this weekend that I thought I *might* be having symptoms of clinical depression, and she more or less announced BACK to me this has been obvious for quite some time to those around me. WTF?!? Why am I always the last to know or be let in on the secret? I said to her it sure would have been a nice gesture if *those around me* would have had the kahunas (brass ovaries or balls by definition) to SAY something...but then I remembered, I DO bite...so I can't really hold *those around me* responsible for not wanting to get their hand chewed off by a rabid dog such as myself when reaching out to pet it. Sigh.

I'm not really sure if there's a chicken or the egg theory as a cause for what has begun to feel like a dark period in my life (and no, not menstrual...psychological! Although peri-menopause hormones really have not HELPED the situation.)...I've certainly had a host of *unusual* stressors of late.

My work hours have become quite taxing and I am STILL dealing with that accommodation request which I can't mention to you (or I'd have to have you shot)...because I WORK for Big Brother and therefore, know BB watches over me...kind of like Baby Jesus, only not in a necessarily "loving" way. LOL

Then, there is this constant, nagging, gnawing, aching, annoying, irritating, agitating FREAKIN' PAIN I have been trying to manage in my body...this drains me, stealing my joy and bumming my voyage...like a constant pebble in my shoe (only poking me in my shoulder and back, but you're smart enough to make that jump in analogy, right?). When I try to describe the pain to others, words fail me...it's a deep nerve pain and, if you've never experienced it, consider yourself fortunate versus trying to assist me with adjectives to describe the continual hell in my spine.

I DID get the TENS unit...it's pulsating tiny, electrical shocks as I type, deep into the muscles of my back...it's rather like a S & M toy (sadism and masochism, for those of you not into deviant behaviors!). IT HURTS GOOD. Thank you again, Jane, for the suggestion! But unfortunately, I can't leave the little dominatrix box blasting on my shoulder/back ALL the time...it's just not recommended...and having electricity pulsating into my spine every 1.5 seconds offers it's OWN distraction in a somewhat negative way when trying to follow the conversations of a bouncing psychotic person at my work (that's referencing PATIENTS, not my coworkers...just for clarification). This little stimulus package (economic AND physiological) costs about $800, so the company is "letting" me borrow it for a month to see if I can't live without it before deciding if my insurance and I will cough up the fur ball of cash to buy it.

I seem to also be taking WAY too many medications for my liking in dealing with this discomfort...the meds leave me hung over in the mornings and with cotton mouth, like I've been on an alcohol bender for 24 hours...minus the blackout sex, throbbing headache, and lack of knowing where my car keys are (not that I have any IDEA what a *24 hour alcohol bender* is like...ehem). But if I don't take the medications, the trade off is feeling like I've been run over by a semi-truck in the morning...either option leaves much to be desired. And I personally think I'm a far more manageable addicted-Courtney-Love-type person in the mornings than I am a flattened-road-kill-nasty-smelling-in-pain-type person...I dunno...just my opinion.

My good friend, Skeeter, was also just here visiting in Seattle on the spur of the moment this past week...one DOES this type of unannounced/unplanned trip after receiving a diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer, three weeks post bilateral mastectomy. I now hang my head in shame for my "pink envy" I have so flagrantly discussed here on CHEESE (although, those breast cancer peeps DO still have all the good colors and fund raisers compared to the Multiple Sclerosis *Movement* peeps!)...thank GOODNESS there is so much focus on breast cancer...ten years ago, my dear friend would already have been pushing up daisies at this stage in her disease. We had a sweet, yet difficult/teary-eyed time together as we struggled to find words to balance the grief with the good times...her incisions look like something from a horrific Frankenstein movie with drains hanging out of both armpits...this was enough to sober me up and realize how FORTUNATE I am to JUST have MS. I am certain I would not be so full of grace as my friend if I were wearing her shoes...and she remarks how freeing it is to not have to wear a bra? I seriously need to quite beauching about the minor discomforts in my life...

And of course, my 45 birthday looms just around a sharp corner. I had an epiphany as to WHY forty five seems so freakin' OLD to me...it is because at around the age of 12, this is how old my MOTHER was...45. And I remember thinking how absolutely ANCIENT I thought she was at that age! I am now also interfacing with medical students and other professionals who are the same number of years OLD as I have been practicing nursing!!! 23 years...I seriously CAN say I have underwear as old as they are (something I like to announce when trying to put a green-behind-the-ears medical student in their place)...but if I do say that, I'm liable to have an investigation into the *WHY* I would be saving or wearing 23 year old underwear. I really can't win with this... :-)

I suppose the point I'm trying to make here (if I really have one at all) is, I honestly don't know if there is any one cause for my depressive symptoms...it just is. That's the cold, hard truth. From my sudden tearfulness to the extremes of insomnia, I have no clue where or how this *blue* fell over me...only that it is here and I must be responsible for recognizing it and doing what I can to mitigate the effect it has on my life.

I'm going to start by cranking up my TENS unit another notch...then maybe placing the electrodes on my forehead. If it were only that easy...sigh...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I filled out a missing person's report...I'm trying to find myself. I'll let you know if I show up any time soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

MS Dumb, Or Is It Just Me?...

The BUBBIE always cheers me up...even when I'm sailing off the end of the earth.

Today she shared with me one of HER MS (or not? Jury is still out on her personal disease brand) Moments, which caused me to laugh heartily. It was silly and just one of those things only another person struggling with MS or memory issues/cognitive issues could appreciate.

And then, I remembered one of MY favorite MS Moments...something I could only share with y'all because YOU can laugh/relate.

I generally drive to work because of the strange hours I keep...but on occasion, if working the dreaded daylight hours, I do take a Metro bus into downtown (which is an entirely DIFFERENT experience and packed with its own stories due to the wonderful selection of *bus people* I encounter). One must remember: I am not fond of day time hours. I am not fond of waking to an alarm. I am not fond of bright sun when I rise out of the hut to stretch my bat wings.

Anywhozit...one such work morning, I was running late for my bus (as is typical when trying to ready myself for work with my eyes closed), so I was forced to jump in my trusty horse and buggy and drive to work. I completed my nearly 10 hour day and walked outside the building to head to my bus stop. It had been a particularly *stress-filled* day, so I wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders...not to mention, I had just worked a DAY SHIFT (ewwww...). I was running behind at the end of my day as well, so I made a mad, gimpy dash to my local bus stop just in time to hop inside a Metro before the doors closed and crimped my fat arse between the glass. I was happy the day was over and rode in don't-make-eye-contact peace the few miles to my home.

When I arrived home however, I was filled with a sudden panic: My car was missing from the driveway! I immediately assumed it had been stolen because this is where my mind goes. My mind doesn't say to me, "Hey you, knucklehead! Nobody would WANT your car because it's old lady wheels...where'd ya park it?" No, my mind says, "Oh freakin' CRAP! Somebody's done swiped your wheels!!!"

It took me several minutes before I remembered I had driven my horse and buggy to work...and left it there...but not before I had pre-dialed 911 on my cell phone and was just about to press send!

By the time I was able to catch another bus BACK downtown (because they cease running frequently after the commuters have returned home) and retrieve my vehicle, I was in hysterical laughter. It's times like these, all there is LEFT to do is cackle at one's self.

So, in my words to Bubbie:

Regular travel time from work to home = 15 minutes
Forgetting your car is parked at work = 1 hour by bus/return
Being a dumba$$ = PRICELESS

And, now that I've shown you MINE...show me YOURS? What's your favorite, personal MS Moment/DumbA$$ story??? The mic is open...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Falling Off The Face Of The Earth...

It COULD happen...I've packed a bag just in case...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hate Comes Home (ophobe)...

Sigh. They're here...in my beautiful city. I'm talking about the Fred Phelps wackado protesters from Kansas. They are picketing black churches, Jewish establishments, and tomorrow the local high school in the "hood" where I live nearby (because they must think this particular school is FILLED with blacks, Jews, and gays/lesbians?!?). All seven of them...Fred's family, that is. I couldn't even post a link within Freaky Fred's name up there because I don't WANT him getting anymore coverage for his hate than he already gets...heck, I couldn't even post one of the infamous pictures of Fred's gang of seven with their hate-filled posters for this reason. So, I chose a group of MONKEYS instead! Fitting. Although, I think even the primates refrain from this type of animal behavior...my apologies to primates everywhere.

Would it be so WRONG to wish for one of the becoming-all-too-frequent drive by gang shootings to occur in my "hood" around the same time these freaks are protesting tomorrow in front of the High School? Yeah, I suppose that wouldn't be too "Christ-like or Godly" to wish violence on this group of ignorant wackados. It would be like shooting a cage full of monkeys...so sad...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Whining: Just Anger Forced Through A Very Small Hole"...

I have this blog title in a quaint, little picture frame on my desk at work...it's a subtle reminder for ME as well as anyone who even dares to THINK it might be OK to come to my cubicHELL and WHINE. About anything...but especially about their own aches and pains. And I, being the ever-conscientious-not-wanting-to-sound-like-air-escaping-from-the-tight-orifice-of-a-balloon, also try very hard NOT to whine about my particular brand of aches/pains called "Multiple Sclerosis". I imagine it is annoying to my coworkers and friends to always be hearing about my latest pinch, or ache, or tightness, or "hug", or...

But (and a very BIG *butt* at that), since this is MY blog, I DO take liberties here to annoy YOU with my not-so-conscientious-air-escaping-from-the-tight-orifice-of-a-balloon WHINING...because I can. And I will. It's cheaper than paying a therapist. LOL

I finally made some late night blog strikes in the wee hours of the morning, making my usual knock on some of my favorite MS blogger doors (and if I didn't leave you a comment on YOUR blog, it's because after catching up on 50 or so blog entries, NOTHING I have to say is either witty or entertaining...I spared you!). And, when I made my way to BlindBeard's blog, I not only discovered I had neglected to pick up my ever-so-bootiful SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS AWARD ("Aye, Aye Captain!"), but the ever-so-bootiful Blindbeard had written a touching post entitled, "Boogers, Bitches, and BlindBeard Blues"...it would have brought tears to my eyes, except I am incapable of feeling (oh, please...I jest...the post is Hi Larry Usly funny. But I AM incapable of feeling due to a hardening of the arteries surrounding my barely beating heart.).

Anywhozit, within BB's above mentioned post (yeah, I'm getting to it already), she talked about going to a Pain Clinic for an assessment because she was sick and tired of dealing with the annoying PAIN of MS. OK, so I'm loosely grasping at straws here (in an attempt to relate to the world around me and be less antisocial), but I realized I have neglected to update you, my preciouses, about my OWN pain! What a twist of fate it is that BlindBeard caused this connection and now YOU get to hear about MY pain issues (so, basically what I'm saying here is, BLAME BLINDBEARD, NOT ME FOR THIS WHINY-A$$ED POST!).

If you've somehow forgotten what a pain in the a$$ I've been...I mean what a PAIN IN MY NECK I've been experiencing, let me remind you. Or, better yet, just go reread every other post on this blog because it's all I seem to be mentioning of late as far as my MS goes. Pain. And this most recent bout of insufferable pain began right after I completed a week stretch of night shift duty at my work place (felt a need to clarify the nights were worked at my PAYING job, not my charity job as a hooker...where I pay OTHERS for sex).

After treatments and consultations with my neuro regarding this unremitting pain, it was finally decided mutually my body could no longer tolerate the rigors of working during vampire hours in long stretches due to the cascading sequela of MS symptoms that follow. Or, in layman's terms, I can't work a stretch of night shifts anymore like I used to pre-MS and pre-old age unless I want to experience the wrath of the MS gods upon me. Seems pretty straight forward and simple, no? Key word in that last sentence IS "no".

You see, part of my job description (again in layman's terms) is to do exactly what I am told to do...I AM a *govmet* employee after all. If my employer says, "Jump!", I am supposed to say, "How high?"...not "What the f^ck?!?" or question the wisdom of my superiors, lest I find myself on a freeway feeder ramp with a sign reading, "Unemployed because of stoopidity. Will work for self-esteem." **large portion of original post missing here thanks to BLOGGER and I can't recall it to recreate! See post script**

Turmoil ensued in my life following this declaration of my inadequacies. Secret, closed door meeting followed...the pathways between cubicHells were abuzz. I lost sleep. OK, I exaggerate a bit (when HAVEN'T I?!?). But there WAS a lot to find out and prepare for if I really WERE going to publicly announce my inadequacies to my employer and not simply drift out to the freeway with my cardboard sign.


So, due to the secretive nature of all government agencies (and my own, frank paranoia of such), I really can't say much more about my ADA request here (not even in sarcasm and jest, should this blog be pulled into court at a later time!), but I WILL inundate you with trivial information about my PAIN. Aren't YOU the little luckies, my preciouses?!?

I met in person with my neuro ARNP (I know?? How odd I would actually SEE a provider versus Internet medicine!), who I shall hence forth refer to as the Always Really Nice Practitioner (ARNP), on Tuesday of last week to complete the reams of paperwork necessary when making a formal ADA request (I then rented a U-Haul and had the reams couriered to my office)...and, to discuss this never-ending pain I am having in my shoulder/neck/arm on the RIGHT side of my body (left side has always been the bad girl rebel, so Ms. Right side has become a mystery). I held her captive (hostage really) for a very long time as we hashed over papers, then what has worked, hasn't been successful, and what I am WILLING to try in combating this pain (and my willingness waxes and wanes on any given day).

Thanks to Jane (you know who you are!), I was carrying with me the suggestion of trying a TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) for pain management, since the pain seems to be localized to my right side/arm (yeah, I KNOW the picture up there is of ECT...electroconvulsive therapy, not TENS...but it's really just a matter of electrode placement now, isn't it?!?! LOL). My ARNP didn't flinch or bat an eye at this request and promptly filled out a prescription for it (anything to shut me the he!! up, no doubt). She also weighted down my prescription load with a script for massage therapy and Lidocaine dermo patches (I'm rather surprised there wasn't also a script for a dog muzzle, but whatever). We are staging a grand assault on my pain...I hope it doesn't hear us coming and try to change its militant tactics in advance.

I've got a physical therapy appointment this coming Wednesday with my favorite PT person, Madam Z, who will wire me up for sound with a TENS unit I can borrow for two weeks to see if it has any effect on my pain level. If it does, I can then petition my Almighty Insurance Company to PURCHASE a unit for me or bite the bullet and buy my own if they say "no". Failing those two options, I suppose I can storm chase and try to position myself for lightening strikes to my body, which I wouldn't necessarily be OPPOSED to if this pain keeps up without relief! And, who knows, a good "jolt" of lightening might also work as ECT for me AND improve my mood...win/win all around if you ask me...but, YOU didn't. LOL

Alrighty then...I have no more strength to continue pushing my anger through a small hole (whine) about my pain issues. Thank you again, Blindbeard, for inspiring me to write this post (just saying that to be sure everyone despises YOU for sparking my whining rant rather than thinking little, old me could have POSSIBLY thought this up on my own!). And now, I think I will go hop on the deck and flop like a fish (Sponge Bob fans will get that reference)...

What in the heck is WRONG with BLOGGER right now?!? This is the second time this week I have attempted to write a post in which BLOGGER eats part of it without warning!! I can't retrieve it, can't pull up anything via autosave, etc...unfortunately, large chunks of my witty humor have vanished and the recreation just isn't the same. GETTING MIGHTY TIRED OF THIS, BLOGGER...FIX YOUR SH!+ PLEASE...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Light The Blogger Candle...

Words escape me right now. I just visited Sherry's blog (Have Myelin?) and learned her daughter passed away today. There is little one can say to comfort a bereaved mother, so I will not waste effort here.

I am instead lighting a BLOG CANDLE for Sherry and her daughter and hope you might also do the same on YOUR blog or, if you do not author a blog, light a symbolic candle in your heart.

Though miles may separate us, there is more than MS that bonds us all. That glue, my friends, is LOVE...

Peace, comfort, and LOVE to you, Sherry.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Dear Quantico/FBI:...

Recently, I've noted a few *hits* on the ol' statistics log from "Gate-23, Quantico Military Base", peering into an old post of mine regarding my thoughts on the movie, "Jesus Camp" (what else WOULD the military be interested in on this rambling blog?!?). For those of you not *in the know* about Quantico, Virginia, it IS the site of a large military base, which also houses the training academy for the Federal Bureau of Investigations as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration. I only know this because I *googled* Quantico and I, of course, am a BIG fan of the TV show, "Criminal Minds" (where the alleged FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit is housed...at least on the show!)...*Googling* and television are sound fact checks, aren't they?!? LOL

I'm pretty sure if the FBI (or ANY military branch for that matter) is gawking/snooping around here on CHEESE (and they're NOT actually *snooping*...if the FBI WANTED to look at this blog without me knowing it, they would...just like I'm sure they have pictures of my last colonoscopy framed on their desktops unbeknownst to me!), it is in response to the more recent shooting/murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas..."they" (the FBI) are probably monitoring blog sites closely now for bloggers that even TYPE the word abortion into the text of posts (for those of you again not *in the know* about Dr. Tiller, well...GOOGLE his name!) in search of FANATICS on BOTH sides of the abortion debate.

So, since "they"/Big Brother/FBI have already BEEN here on CHEESE lurking around (and I say this with great sarcasm) in search of information specific to my thoughts on abortion/Jesus Camp/religious fanatics (because, although I have had moments of LIVING in terror during my 45 years on this planet, I am NOT a *terrorist*!), I thought I'd just come clean now and save any time wasted on further investigation. Let me proceed:

Dear Quantico/FBI:

Contrary to any negative slander or libel about the CHEESE, I have never participated in or belonged to any type of terrorist group while living in the United States of America...unless one can count 4-H or the Kenny Roger's Fan Club as covert, organizational, terroristic groups. I do not own a gun of any type, but I DO possess a really cool sling shot and a baseball bat for self-defense purposes only. I also do not own a handgun because I would statistically be more likely to turn the gun on myself than to use it defensively. Does my lack of possessing a firearm now make me a member of the "Pro-Life" club? Or, do I HAVE to own a gun and believe firmly in Jesus and capital punishment before I can be considered a member of the "Pro-Life" Movement? Just wondering...

I was raised in the "Be Dipped Or Be Damned Church Of Christ", as a child, a fundamentalist, religious organization. My congregation WAS, however, quite progressive because we had a piano AND an organ for musical accompaniment (this is NOT the case in many of the Church Of Christ denominations). I left the BDOBD Church Of Christ when I attended college, converting first to Catholicism (because I needed the intense structure of a black and white world), then Judaism (because I needed to feel "chosen"), followed by a period of worshiping the Almighty Dollar. Once I accepted the fact I would never OBTAIN the blessings of the Almighty Dollar, I slipped into a period of worship/fellowship with Alcoholics Anonymous. My current religious practice would most closely resemble that of a Couch Pagan, who's philosophy is to "do as thou will, but harm none". Oh, and for the record here, I DO think Oprah has some terroristic qualities...you should probably check her out, too...I wouldn't drink HER Kool-Aid any more than I would that of Jim Jones. But I guess he choked and died on HIS Kool-Aid in Guiana, so that's a moot point, eh? You guys seriously never saw THAT one coming?!?

To address my political/personal/religious views about abortion (since I know that's what you are really interested in, after all...and whether or not I could be the next loose cannon, fanatical, narcissistic, antisocial gun(wo)man to pop a cap in some unsuspecting and undeserving individual), I'd have to first say I am not FOR abortion. Frankly, I'm not really "FOR" anything. I think when or if I become "FOR" something, I lose perspective...but that's just MY perspective on being "FOR" anything. I CAN and WILL tell you, I am AGAINST STOOPIDY, however.

My first exposure to abortion occurred in college (right before my conversion to Catholicism...hint, hint), when my good friend, who I didn't even know HAD a sexual partner (because I lived under the BDOBD Church Of Christ rock), announced she was pregnant. SHE was from a good, God-fearing, law-abiding, Catholic family, so naturally she DIDN'T TELL THEM. She also was only 19, single and a sophomore in college, and couldn't/didn't want to raise a child. We drove to Planned Parenthood in the far away city (out of the corn fields), crossed hateful, yelling picket lines, and she proceeded to have an abortion. I tried to talk her out of it at the time because I was raised believing abortion was a sin and that she would burn in hell. But I also did not/could not raise her budding offspring growing in her belly, so I kept her secret and accompanied her to the clinic...feeling dirty and sinful the entire way. I noticed none of the protester/anti-abortionist onlookers at the time ALSO never volunteered to feed, clothe, raise her unborn baby either, but I suppose that would require more than a grotesque picket sign and an opinion now, wouldn't it? Looking back on the experience, I think the CHOICE to have the abortion and crossing that evil, nasty, name-calling, spitting crowd of abortion protesters probably was sufficient PAYMENT for any sins she (or myself) might have accumulated. It was truly a low point in both our lives and, fortunately neither of us owned a GUN then, either.

My next encounter with abortion followed nursing school (along with two more dabblings in other religions) and employment in Houston, Texas. My other half at the time was a big shot, mucky muck in the Houston Planned Parenthood Clinic...the second largest PPC in the nation. Alcohol and life helped to soften my morals at this point, so the fact I was sleeping with a known "baby killer" at the time seemed somehow fitting. I say "sleeping with" rather loosely because, rarely was their a night we were not awakened by the Houston Police Department requesting the key to the main clinic so they could send their bomb-sniffing dogs through after receiving yet ANOTHER bomb threat. It was definitely a weekly occurrence if not more.

I lived and breathed Planned Parenthood and was privy to the many ins and outs of such an organization. The first time the other half called me in a panic on my day off, desperately needing a *recovery room nurse* for the abortion clinic, I have to admit was a turning point in my life. Not being FOR abortion, I had to make a quick decision: Could I really administer care to these women who had just willingly terminated their pregnancies? I probably consulted my spiritual gurus, Vodka and Lemonade, then put on clothes and drove downtown...it's all a bit hazy how I first started filling in as a nurse in the abortion clinic, but I did. And later, I even began VOLUNTEERING my nursing services to other parts of Planned Parenthood (I know!?! GASP!).

One of my most memorable volunteer moments at the Planned Parenthood in Houston was during the G7 Summit in 1990 (the precursor to the WTO). I DID volunteer as an escort prior to this Summit, walking women from the parking lot to the clinic, through spitting, name-calling, and hateful abortion protesters, but the G7 Summit called for a different tactic. Yes, dear Quantico/FBI (even though I KNOW you weren't there watching me then...no one was...especially not even the HOUSTON POLICE when we called!), I was the dirty, homeless woman across the street on the curb with the walkie-talkie down the front of her shirt (pre-small-cellphone-days), quietly calling into the building with status reports on the near 300 abortion protesters that flanked the perimeter during the G7 Summit. I was also the second one (roof top watcher had the first glimpse) to notice the group of teenage boys carrying gas cans from the nearby station toward the clinic. I was also one of the people who had gasoline thrown on them by these juvenile delinquents (in the name of GOD, of course) and threats to be set on fire if I didn't break the human barricade we formed to prohibit these pubescent, most likely sexually active without birth control, males from entering the building and setting IT on fire...while we patiently waited for the hands-off Houston police to FINALLY show their a$$e$ and PROTECT life and property. I DO hope none of these vehement abortion protesters ever had to experience someone spitting in their face and being called every vile and vulgar name on record...in the name of GOD, of course...I seriously don't wish that conduct on anyone, no matter WHAT God they choose to pray to.

I now WORK for a branch of the government (yes, you already HAVE my fingerprints on file) and my involvement with any type of political "movement" (religious or otherwise) consists of reading a political newspaper from the comfort of my toilet seat while relieving myself of any *inner* constipations of character or spirit. I attended a NARAL dinner once with Dr. SWWNBN, but I don't even donate MONEY to any political or religious organizations, unless the National Multiple Sclerosis Society counts (now that I think about it, they ARE a bit fanatical about their "Joining the Movement" cult!)? I probably WOULD donate money or time to the local Seattle Planned Parenthood, but they've never asked me to. I'm still not FOR abortion, but I remain AGAINST STOOPIDITY in my old age. And as far as religious affiliations go, let's just say my FAITH has kept me away from organized religions or cults...thank God.

So, Quantico/FBI, if you've come here to CHEESE in search of your next Postal Poster Child for your FBI's Most Wanted List, I'm (not) sorry to disappoint you. I'm about as apolitical, areligious, asexual, a-hole-ish as one can be without being completely a-nonymous and a-loser. BUT, if having an opinion IS considered being terroristic, then add me to that Post Office bulletin board...because, in the words of the late Charlton Heston (this may be considered blasphemy to Heston fans...brace yourself), "You can take my opinion...when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!" Or was that his RIFLE?!? I forget...

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Truth Hurts...

...sometimes literally.

Yeah, it's been a week since I last posted any musings here on CHEESE. I'd say, "sorry", but I imagine a majority of you are quite THANKFUL there has been less babble from the beast. I've also been experiencing a delay in my ability to jump onto YOUR blogs and leave my rambling comments...it's not been for want of trying (although, I DID seem to make it over to Shauna's blog to peer into the photo of scat she posted just for lil' ol' me...there are some things that must NOT be missed!).

I'd like to say my lack of posting and perusing has been because I am traveling around the world or secretly consulting on a project for world peace...heck, I'd like to say my absence has been because I've been SLEEPING or reading a great novel! But, the truth of the matter is, I've been quite preoccupied managing the every day tasks of my life while gritting my teeth through PAIN.

The pain in my neck and right shoulder has taken up residence and appears to be a phenomenon I will be forced to reckon with on a daily basis from now until eternity. :-( I had hoped five weeks ago when this pain commenced, it would be a short-lived episode that might leave me as mysteriously as it had arrived...not the case. As is typical for an MS body, the pain has certainly *changed* its course over time...going from a skin-burning-I-can't-stand-my-flesh-touching-anything kind of pain to now a deep, constant ache...as if my shoulder blade and humerus have a bone vise squeezing them. I've even begun to experience pain in my RIGHT leg...a most unusual sensation, as my RIGHT side of my body has always been...well...RIGHT! I've never experienced Multiple Sclerosis symptoms on this side of limbs.

It's not that the pain is that crying, blubbering agonizing *smiley face* number 10 on that stupid nursing pain chart (you know the one I'm talking about? Those ten faces they show you to describe your pain because we're all too dumb to just call out a number between 1 and 10?!?). No. My pain level checks in each day at around a 5 or a 6 (that frowning, eyes furrowed *smiley face*). But it's a 5 or 6 CONSTANT pain...all day...all night...seemingly forever...and sometimes peaking at a 7 or 8, give or take a Vicodin or two. It does not leave me. Not even when I ask it to. And it is bumming my voyage and stealing my joy.

Most of my daily energy is consumed just completing the necessary tasks one must do when they don't own a servant or a wife...household management and going to work. The pain seems to zap my energy reserves as it requires much effort on my part NOT to reach out and slap the more annoying people in my life or bark like a rabid hound whenever frustrated. I tend to be one who has a *low stoopidy tolerance* anyway...so you can just about imagine the amount of self-restraint I must impose on my "id" to keep from shouting out unthinkable Tourette's-like utterances throughout my day! It is frankly exhausting.

My latest personal saying is, "You can't force funny"...especially when PAIN is a heckler in the audience. So, I've stayed away from THIS blog (and yours...you can thank me later) because I am finding little humor in my everyday life right now. Unless, of course, one can find humor in the dental dust I am accumulating from grinding my teeth down to nubs in discomfort!

Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named suggested a few weeks ago that I see a spinal rehabilitation physician. I have "poo pooed" all suggestions I see ANYONE who might even remotely fantasize about poking, injecting, or cutting into my spine (she had previously referred me to a neurosurgeon due to the horrible structural changes in my spine from osteoarthritis, which I promptly ignored!)...I'm quite certain I would NOT find *funny* or humor in partial or total paralysis!!! And MY luck dictates any type of "procedure" done on my neck most likely would result in permanent sucking of my food through a tube and breathing through a hole in my neck because the neurosurgeon would probably SNEEZE just as he/she were cutting around my spinal cord. BUT...I may have to stick my tail between my legs and deprogram my thinking that all physicians are imbeciles to consult. Maybe there IS something reasonable out there in the form of relief that doesn't involve potential paralysis?

So this is my painful truth, my preciouses...the CHEESE has a REAL pain in her neck (and other areas of my body) at the moment. And I'm pretty sure if a few people don't cease tapping on my last good nerve because of their stoopidity, I'll probably be reporting a pain in my A$$ soon, too... ;-)

Monday, June 01, 2009


If you've been stumbling into CHEESE for a while for lack of anything more constructive to do, you already are aware my job title is that of a *Commitment Specialist*...that's right...I "commit" people as part of my employment. Practically speaking, I evaluate folks with an alleged mental illness (another favorite word of mine...alleged) who are behaving in a dangerous manner BECAUSE of that mental illness, and I make a legal decision/sign the court documents to *commit* them to a psychiatric hospital (or not). Hence the title, *Commitment Specialist*.

*Commitment* is a part of my every day work life and a task I do not assume lightly. Likewise, in my personal life, (again, if you've been paying any attention to your perusings on CHEESE at all!) I am all about *commitment*...to the point I develop anal spasms if I feel/perceive I am falling short of any particular *commitment* I have agreed to in my life. Sometimes I am known to grit and crawl my way through a *commitment* because of my inability to tolerate the tightening of my anus that comes upon me if I were to say "no" or "I can't do this or that now". After all, I was raised with a work and personal ethic (by a law-abiding, hard working, God-fearing, Midwestern mother!) to uphold my end of any bargain and to keep my promises...it goes against my grain (and my anus) to do anything otherwise. And I FEEL like a failure, or worse yet, a *liar* when I DO NOT follow through with my *commitments*.

Lately, it seems the Universe is hell bent on challenging my notions about *commitment*...and It's been doing so in highly educational ways (said with tongue in cheek)...by placing multiple commitment phobes (you know the type...the yes/no/maybe answer-ees!) and promise-breakers in my path as well as forcing ME to evaluate prior *commitments* I have made that must now change due to health reasons.

I try not to judge people, but I must admit I am an *action* oriented thinker and I tend to trust others based upon their actions instead of their words. One of my favorite sayings (and one I use in many trainings about communication...another *C* word) is, "Most people will not recall what you say, but they will ALWAYS remember what you do and how you made them feel." I believe this statement and I try to live by it (or another favorite saying, "Live by example"). And lately, I've been noticing I am feeling quite poorly about some of the ACTIONS others are taking around me and in my life...or, better put, INACTIONS!

Commitment phobes tend to be those types that will TELL you one thing, while DOING another. They are the people in your life who, when noticing YOU complete a particular project or task, say, "Oh, I was also thinking about doing that"...to which I want to reply, "BITE ME", or "If you took the time to THINK about doing this or that, why didn't you go ahead and take the time to ACT upon this or that?!?" Especially when the task at hand is unpopular or difficult...it doesn't make me feel better to hear anyone say they THOUGHT about doing something, but didn't go ahead and do it and NOW are taking the time to watch me COMPLETE it! We all know these types...and let's hope you are not one of them because I don't want to have to vote you off the CHEESE island!! **Faint sound of Tiki torches being snuffed out for effect here**

Another group of people who annoy me (and I've had my fair share of run ins with this group of late) are those that *commit* to do something up front, then claim they have FORGOTTEN to follow through. I tend to go out and buy these folks a new, ball point pen and a pad of paper, and encourage them to WRITE THE EFFING THING DOWN so they don't "forget" next time...beyond that, I restrain myself from full facial slaps or knuckles to their noggins.

I feel short changed by people who don't follow through with their *commitments*, especially when that lack of follow through directly impacts my life (the REST of you are on your own!)...I feel disrespected and discounted...I sometimes feel hurt and often feel angry. I would really rather prefer someone NOT tell me they are going to do something or follow through with this or that rather than feel the fallout of their lack of *commitment*. And, if the above happens too often, I tend to be a true Leo (who is loyal at all costs until crossed!), bare my fangs, and disappear proudly into the jungle shaking my mane, never to answer the person's email/phone calls/or knocks at my door again. Harumpf!

So, you can just about imagine the depth of my conflicted feelings/thoughts I have been experiencing of late while making some important life decisions about what I CAN and NO LONGER can do in my work life as well as my personal life because of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. It has been a long and arduous road down the path of accepting my MS is now prohibiting me from doing some of the things I used to do with ease...prohibiting me from following through on some of the *commitments* I have previously made and causing me to conserve my necessary energy just to complete basic tasks. MS has caused me to FEEL like one of the commitment phobes above, which has nearly caused my anus to bleed from all its spastic responsive tightening! (And, if you listen closely, you can probably just make out the far away sound of this anal retentive personality tightening up like the locks at Fort Knox!)

Not only has it been a painful process on my metaphoric a$$, this has also been a painful emotional process...I am, after all, a DO-ER and much of my self-worth and sense of achievement has come from being the "go to gal" in both my work and at play. I have ALWAYS been the one to *get the job done* and I am a respected professional because of it (yes, dear coworkers reading this...you KNOW this is true, so shudup already! LOL). Being a *committed* individual is who I am...my identity...and it saddens me to gaze in the mirror and now not recognize the face of the person staring back at me. I am having to come to grips with an ever-changing persona and belief about myself, paring down my *commitments*, and having to say "no" because of my body when my heart is screaming "yes!"

I try very hard each day to practice positive inner talk and remind myself I am STILL the same person and STILL a valued coworker, friend, companion, sister, etc...just the same person with LESS ability to juggle all of the flaming batons I USED to keep up in the air (didn't want to use the "balls" analogy here because I KNOW some of you would run with that picture of me keeping my "balls" in the air...GMTA!), but I'm STILL a juggler. And I try to remind myself the QUALITY of my work and personal interactions are STILL the same, just done at a bit of a slower pace or less often. I must say to myself out loud sometimes that I am "not a bad person because I didn't do" yadda yadda. I am not lazy, I am not irresponsible, and I am not *wrong* for saying "no" to certain challenges and CHOOSING an easier course to follow.

On good days like today, I am at peace with these changes...

"The giving up of personality traits, well-established patterns of behavior, ideologies, and even whole life styles...these are major forms of giving up that are required if one is to travel very far on the journey of life."

~~M. Scott Peck~~