What Happened to This Year??

So much mystery and misinformation has surrounded the stuff I went through in the past year. I want a chance to say what happened, from my perspective. I’m not looking for sympathy, apologies, or anything like that. I want to provide some understanding to what has happened and some of the why. I am tired of the rumors (that still continue) and being looked at like I am, so I’m putting this out there. I have no legal obligation to not say anything, but I’m likely going to piss off quite a few people for putting their business out there. But never fear, names aren’t included.

March 31st the wife of a good friend (who was also a good friend) messaged me and asked if he had been somewhere with me during that workday. I was still groggy and I legitimately didn’t remember, as I’d slept until I had to go to that ceremony. She seemed really worried and I inquired further into what was going on. I wanted to help her. It turns out that she was having a problem with someone. That someone ended up being the woman having an affair with her husband. I called another friend, who was close to the mistress, to ask if she had known about this. She had no idea, and in fact defended her adamantly saying that she wouldn’t do that. I took her word for it and got back to my friend’s wife to ask if she was sure. Oh she was very sure. She had seen her husband’s personal email and Facebook messages with naked pictures and dirty talk back and forth between her husband and his mistress. She had a concern that something happened at a work event, but I calmed her by saying that I was with him the whole time and nothing actually happened. Starting that day, I was going over to see her almost every day after work. I began waking up early so that I could get off early and go see her. She would talk to me about what happened the night before, the things she read during the day, and she even showed me some of the pictures the mistress sent to her husband. She was so very upset. I was the only person she was talking to about this. She didn’t have anyone else at the time. She didn’t trust many people, understandably, and she didn’t want it getting out because of how she knew. See, this had happened before with another woman he worked with. She found out (for sure) because of Facebook messages and emails. She didn’t want him to know how she found out about all this because she still wanted the access in case this happened yet again. I kept telling her that she should inform the First Sergeant, his supervisor, somebody if she wanted something done about it. To be honest she was scared to take action and felt powerless, even though I offered to back her up the entire way. My other friend was kind of kept in the loop about what was going on and was constantly trying to get the mistress to tell her so that she could also help. She never did. Those two (mistress and husband) became increasingly paranoid and started having attitudes with me (and my other friend) at work. He would pull me aside and tell me lies about how things were and I felt like I couldn’t call him out then because his wife did not want me to. I kept to what she wanted, even though I was hurting for her and wanted to help stop it. I ended up telling my supervisor about what happened because I had a dilemma. I was about to sew on my next rank and I had asked the husband to tack them on the day before I found out about his actions. I didn’t know how to retract that request without making him suspicious about what I knew. (Looking back, I don’t know why I was holding onto that friendship. Maybe it was because I knew if he didn’t like me, I wouldn’t see his wife or kids? Maybe I didn’t want things to be awkward?) My supervisor asked if I wanted his to take action (he was also the husband’s supervisor) and I told him no. I had no proof, it would just cause issues, and his wife didn’t want to do anything about it yet. This woman continued to be cheated on, knowingly, and continued to talk to me about it. Honestly it was causing me a lot of grief too.  I’m very sympathetic to people. I have a tendency to take on their problems, but I try to respect their boundaries.

Something finally made me snap and pushed me to go forward. The mistress told her supervisor that certain people were spreading rumors about her and she wanted them to stop or she would go to leadership. Her supervisor told mine, who knew what was going on. He knew I wasn’t doing what she accused me of doing and asked what I wanted to do about it. I was so angry. This girl was trying to ruin my integrity and make my life difficult because she wanted to sleep with a married man, knowing it wasn’t okay with anybody but the two of them. I told my supervisor I wanted to come forward. I was not going to be pushed under the bus for someone else’s wrongdoings. I carefully talked to an officer about my side of the story, especially since the wife still didn’t want the information to come out. He understood and said that I should think about it, talk to the wife, and get back to him. That’s what I did.

I went over to see her that afternoon. Her husband was there and the room was very tense when I walked in. I told her I wanted to talk outside. I was still trying to somehow protect her from him knowing. We stepped outside and I began to tell her what happened at work that day. And she looked very sad. He came outside a few minutes later, saying that he was tired of being left in the dark and people talking behind his back. I repeated what happened at work that day and I tried giving her the chance to support me without revealing what/how she knew. She chose not to. She told me that they were very upset that my other friend was spreading rumors and that their marriage was great. She told me that I was a sister to them and she didn’t want me to lose that relationship with her and their boys (who I loved very much as well). The only word I could say that entire time was “okay”. I was angry that she was doing this, but I knew that it was only because her husband was right there. He butted in and started telling me that the perceptions weren’t true and he was helping the mistress with things that were going on in her life. I continued only saying “okay” until I broke away from that to tell him that he didn’t need to explain himself to me. I told them I was being questioned and I was going to tell the people what I knew, and that he and the mistress would probably be questioned as well. The husband asked me why things were going on behind his back and why people just couldn’t be upfront with him. I was going to answer (with what? I don’t remember), but he started going off on a tangent and I stopped listening. After he stopped talking and a little bit of silence I said “I’m just giving you a head’s up” and began to leave. The wife said “thank you” and I left the house, disappointed.

On May 3rd, the next day, he tried to talk to me, telling me that his wife wanted to talk to me and he would give us privacy and not be there. He apologized for the way he acted the day before and said the wife didn’t want me out of her or the boys’ lives. I told him I was mad at him for spreading rumors (telling people we had a falling out, etc). He asked if we could take a walk to talk about things and I said no and I never answered him regarding my decision to go over to talk to her later. (Really, what was there to talk about at that point?) What I didn’t tell him is that I was in the middle of writing a statement about everything I knew regarding that situation. I included everything I saw, heard from the wife, heard from other people. I included information about a confrontation I had with the mistress when she was giving me attitude, and the looks I was given the entire month.

Since the talk about the confrontation was blown way out of proportion, here’s how it actually went:
About mid-April, the mistress was giving me dirty looks for a few days prior to this, but this day was different. Every chance she got, she made a point to look and scoff at me. If looks could kill. I finally got tired of it when she joined our friend at a computer. I turned around to say something to our friend and the mistress was just glaring at me with the most evil look I’ve been given, so I got up and approached her.
Me: Is there a problem? [quietly]
C: What?
Me: Is there a problem?
C: Yes.
Me: What is it?
C: I’ll talk to you when I feel like it.
Me: That’s fine, but you need to stop giving dirty looks in the workplace. It’s very unprofessional:.
C: Noted.

That was it, actually a boring conversation. No yelling, it was all very quiet. It was tense afterwards, but not many people heard what happened. She told people I yelled at her and embarrassed her in front of others. That was not my intention and it’s not what I did. I only wanted the dirty looks to stop. They didn’t, actually. The attitude got worse because she was becoming more paranoid that I knew what was going on.

I came forward with all of the information I had about this situation. I had no proof that things were going on, no pictures or recordings, or even seeing the sexual actions with my own eyes. I provided screenshots between the wife and me, some friends and me, him and me. Unfortunately, a sexual assault came out during this investigation as well. He had grabbed my behind a few times (at work and at his house) and he slapped my behind at work. This was about six months prior, but I had talked to him about never doing it again and therefore thought it was handled. By the way, that’s not how the Air Force sees things. It was such a stressful process and so much blame was being thrown around. Come to find out, I wasn’t the only one and I was then happy that it came out. At least this could put a stop to his behavior. At the end of the investigation, three sexual assault charges were placed on him in the form of an article 15 (I don’t know the details about the other two and I wouldn’t put them here if I did). He had lost two ranks, one for inappropriate relationships and the other for sexual assault. There was an administrative discharge board that convened and ended up voting to retain him in the Air Force because they deemed the following (I’ve shortened most of the actual wording):
1. The conduct surrounding and including the sexual assault is not the member’s usual and customary behavior,
2. The conduct surrounding and including the sexual assault is not likely to recur,
3. The sexual assault did not involve penetration, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person or to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person;
4. The assault was not committed by using force causing or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm; threatening or placing that person in fear that anyone will be subject to death, grievous bodily harm, or kidnapping; first rendering the other person unconscious; administering to the other person by force, threat of force, or without knowledge of consent (drugs, intoxicant, etc.), impairing the other person’s ability to appraise or control conduct;
5. The sexual assault was not the result of an abuse of rank, grade, authority, or position;
6. Under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the Air Force is consistent with the interest of the Air Force in maintaining proper discipline, good order, leadership, and morale. (Noncommissioned officers have special responsibilities by virtue of their status; fulfill an integral role in maintaining discipline; and, therefore, must exhibit high standards of personal integrity, loyalty, dedication, devotion to duty, and leadership.)

If you know me, you know how I feel about every one of these statements. Some may be true and some could not be farther from the truth. This was decided by a board of officers on this base, completely removed from our unit.

The guy is getting out due to high year tenure anyways. That’s what happens when you’ve been in the Air Force for quite a while and then get bumped down two ranks. I probably don’t have to say it, but I don’t talk to any of those three people anymore. First was because of a no-contact order and then because it just wouldn’t have done any good. I did reach out to the wife after everything was said and done, but she doesn’t want to talk to me. I would still be there for her and the little ones if they wanted me to be. It still breaks my heart that this happened. I just hope their lives get better. My intention was never to ruin anyone’s life. I came forward with the information I had because things were going on that weren’t supposed to. They were having such a massive impact on the workplace, the morale of others, and it became quite obvious that there was favoritism and relationships going on that weren’t supposed to.

People have accused me of ratting them out, taking place in wrong-doings myself, causing problems for them, telling others things I shouldn’t, etc.. The only information I had was about this event that I explained here. I didn’t say anything about other situations that were going on (that I knew about) because those weren’t my focus at the time. Sure, some were impacting the workplace, but I guess I just hadn’t reached my boiling point with them. There are many things tolerated that shouldn’t be. There are many situations that either shouldn’t have happened, or maybe were reacted to so harshly because of everything else that was going on.

What was the point in me putting this out there, publicly? Well, I needed to finally say it. It still hurts because I lost some good friends. I lost some friends who I thought were good and actually weren’t. I’m trying to dispel rumors, stop mistreatment, and to get people off my back. So much else happened in this past year, but this took up so much mental and emotional energy. I have my own opinions about the sexual assault reporting/justice process, but I’m not explaining them here. You know if you’re meant to.

PRK Update – Day 365 after Surgery, January 2017

I meant to do a six-month update but it probably wouldn’t have been any different from this one, to be completely honest. My vision corrected itself quite well in the three months after surgery. I was worried for about a week at one point in month 2 or 3 that my vision just wasn’t going to improve anymore. It plateaued and it wasn’t as good as was being corrected with glasses or contacts. I brought this up during my appointment and the tech giggled a bit. She told me that my vision was, in fact, 20/15 in my left eye and bordering 20/20 and 20/15 in my right eye. She looked at my file and also noted that with glasses and contacts my vision was corrected to 20/10 and 20/15 in my left and right eyes, respectively. I felt a little foolish and laughed. The inner-me who is spoiled and has high expectations was actually very disappointed that I only improved to that point.  I got over that really quickly though, when I put it into perspective. All of my appointments went exceptionally well. My eyes have healed wonderfully and I can see about the same still. I don’t have my one-year appointment until about a month from now, but it’s hard to make appointments sometimes.

At this point I have zero complaints. A slight inconvenience is that my eyes are drier than they used to be, but I use artificial tears maybe once every day or two. The dryness isn’t even that terrible. I am just so frikin thankful that I had the opportunity to do this and I took it. I would still recommend this procedure to ANYBODY who can do it. I’m not sure about LASIK because I didn’t get that one, but I would definitely choose this again and again. The only advice I have from lessons learned is this little bit:

  1. Don’t lie to your surgery staff during your evaluation. About anything. Even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, don’t do it.
  2. ARTIFICIAL TEARS FOR DAYS!!! Always keep a few bottles around your dwelling. You may lose some, run out at an inconvenient time, send a bottle through the washer and dryer, the possibilities are endless. Backups are always good to have.
  3. Make sure you have someone who can take care of you during the healing process. I’m a pretty independent person and I could have gotten around just fine by myself if I needed to. However I had good friends and my husband to talk to me and help me do things (and cook for me) while I was healing. It was so helpful!
  4. Just take that plunge. The unknown (especially in medicine) is always very frightening, but go with your gut. If you have a good experience during the evaluation, the place is clean, and the staff is super helpful and friendly, just go for it. Don’t hold back because you’re afraid of the pain or that something bad will happen. Life’s too short to not take risks that could better your future and your quality of life.

 

“Just because a man lacks use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.” – Stevie Wonder

 

The Whole30

If you know me well enough, you know that I don’t partake in “dieting.” I have no real reason to lose weight, as I’m healthy in that regard. And I can eat healthily without going on some sort of fad diet. However I’m trying out the Whole30 starting tomorrow (18 July) in order to maybe fix whatever’s going on in my stomach. A little ways back I started noticing that I was lactose intolerant. It hasn’t been medically diagnosed, but if I eat ice cream, liquid cheese, or drink milk I’ll be sick to my stomach and have awful diarrhea. And if I take Lactaid before doing this, I’m typically fine. I’ve also noticed within the past few months that my stomach is pretty much in a perpetual state of being upset even if I don’t have any kind of dairy. Constant tummy grumbles, bubbly tummy, and constant borderline diarrhea have become kind of a norm and I recognize that it’s not a good place to be. Instead of going to the doctor to get put on some sort of medication that’ll have side effects and its own restrictions, I’m going to try to figure out what else makes my digestive system so upset. A friend of mine, Kaylee, suggested this to me.I figured writing the plan down publicly would also help keep me in line regarding this. I know it’ll be so easy to slip, but I won’t let anyone down intentionally.

This program is basically a 30-day reset for your body, even more intense than going “paleo.” After the 30 day period is up, you’re supposed to reintroduce different foods a little bit at a time to see what affects you.

What’s okay to eat? (Just some things I wrote down)

  • Clarified butter / Ghee
  • Fruit juice (as a sweetener as well)
  • All fruit!
  • Green beans, snow peas, sugar snap peas, bean sprouts
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Almond/coconut flour
  • Bacon (as long as there is no added sugar) *this is really hard to find, as I’ve found out*
  • Coffee
  • Cacao (100% only)
  • Homemade baked potato chips
  • Citric acid
  • Coconut water/milk (with no sweeteners)
  • Dates
  • Mustard, some Dijon
  • Potatoes
  • Pickles
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Olive oil

What’s NOT okay to eat? (Just some things I wrote down)

  • All sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc)
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Grains (rice, germ, bran, etc)
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Beans
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Sulfites
  • Quinoa
  • Almond milk (unless you make it yourself)
  • Gum
  • Hummus
  • Vanilla extract

To tell the truth, I’m very curious to see how I’ll deal with the restrictions. It’s really difficult to find food and drinks without sweeteners or grains. And it takes a lot of time to figure out what to make and eat, especially when I’m the only one in the house doing it. Here’s my dinner plan for this week:

  • Monday: baked chicken and potatoes
  • Tuesday: steak fajitas (I won’t have tortillas, cheese, or sour cream)
  • Wednesday: potato soup
  • Thursday: steak and potatoes
  • Friday: chili (with no beans)

Lunches will be either salads or leftovers from the night before. Or even leftovers in a salad. I’m not a huge fan of eating “rabbit food” as frequently, but it’s for my health and comfort really. Breakfasts are going to be an apple, banana, and hard-boiled egg or some breakfast recipe I have. This totally depends on how early I get up before I need to be at work. Or if I can make it the night before. Some things I won’t be able to do that, but it’s okay.

This is the first time I’m drastically changing my diet. There are some friends that are concerned about how my mood will swing during this time. I really hope that’s not the case and I’m going to make a conscious effort to not be a grump. And I can’t really justify blaming any bad attitude on a diet change. That would just be on me not being able to control myself and that’s not okay. I’ll give at least a weekly update, maybe even try for every five days. we’ll see how it goes. Cheers!

How am I doing?

The last time I posted on here was a goal update and my frustrations about someone in my life – my father. As many people already know, he took his life on June 8th and was found by his wife. My siblings’ mom (and my former stepmom) Trish called my husband and asked him to tell me. I received a text from her after I got off of work asking if I was home and I called her. She asked if I was home again and when I said no, she told me to call her when I am and had talked to Will. I called him to make sure everything was okay (knowing that it wasn’t) and he said he’d talk to me when I got home. I was scared. I was very afraid that something had happened either to my grandmother or my father. My grandmother had gotten into a car accident the week prior and couldn’t talk due to being sick. And my father… well, my last blog post generally described what was going on with him. I cried a few times and prepared myself for the news I was going to hear. I snapchatted a couple of friends and called another to tell her I may not make the softball game that night. When I got home I sat down on the couch and my husband told me that my father killed himself that day. “Okay.” — That’s all I said at first. “Okay.” I took a few breaths and asked how. “Do you really want to know?” He asked. I said yes and he told me. He hanged himself. I asked a couple more questions that I don’t remember now and started to cry. I didn’t understand why I was crying. After all, my father and I didn’t talk much at that point. And honestly it was not really a surprise. I knew it was going to happen and I could not do anything to help. I said I wanted to go to the funeral. It was surprising to hear it come out of my own mouth, but I was sure at that point. I was in shock and then told my husband that I wanted to go to the softball game. That was a bit surprising to him, as this was (obviously) really heavy news. Partly why I wanted to go was that I knew my commander would be there that night. I wanted to tell him after the game. Another reason why I wanted to go was to have some normalcy. So I did. In fact, Will even went with me. The softball game went pretty normal (we won!) and after it was done I let my commander know what happened. I could barely get it out when I was trying to tell him because I just started crying at that point. Much harder than when I was first told at home. The rest of the night was filled with wanting to eat and go to bed. And the many phone calls. It was frustrating me at the time, but I know it was because people cared.

The next day I was in the first sergeant’s office for almost the entire day. A friend of mine, Tanesia, was also with me while we were at work. The first sergeant was able to get my husband’s and my plane tickets to leave that weekend and come back the next. I figured I’d get out early that day, even if it was against my want, but I didn’t get out until after 4:00. It was an exhausting day, but I was very grateful to have people who cared about me so much to stick by my side and make sure everything was taken care of.

We flew out to Iowa that Saturday and drove down to Arkansas on Sunday. Once we got to Arkansas, Trish, four of my siblings, my husband, and me were taken into a private viewing room where my father lied. It was a very emotional time, as anyone could imagine. My stepmom, Becky, took us in there, spoke to us for just a minute, and said we could even touch him if we wanted. Then she left so we could have our time with him. It was surreal to me then. The tears were flowing, but I had no control over them. And all of the thoughts were coming to my head. I was upset and angry and angrier and sad for the family. Once I felt like I was done, I walked out to the lobby to be with the family. My grandmother, cousin, aunt, and other family members were out there. It was emotional, but much lighter than being in that room. After everyone was done, we walked over to the funeral hall. The decorations were set up (very nicely, I might add) and we all looked at the things on the table. I was fascinated with the box of coins that he had and looked at every one of them, explaining what the purpose behind the coins was. The I started looking at the two uniforms hanging up, shown at the bottom of this post. One was his army combat uniform (ACU) and the other was his flight suit. They had strings sticking out from normal wear, but I was getting nervous and awkward and starting hyper-focusing on taking the strings off. There was a small pocket knife in his box of coins that I decided to use for this. While I was methodically cutting strings, I turned around at one point to see people starting at me. I was extremely uncomfortable and instead of saying something about it that would probably have been rude, I went right back to what I was doing but focusing even more. I turned around again and saw Trish and my siblings staring (in awe), got more anxious, and went right back to what I was doing. Finally I stopped once I cut most of the strings protruding from the uniforms and we ended up leaving soon after

The next day was the funeral. My husband and I got there pretty early and I checked out my father’s uniform jacket that he was wearing to make sure it was presentable. This was my way of trying to make sure things went well, since I felt powerless to do much more. Then I decided to touch his hand. I thought maybe it’d make it all feel more real. It didn’t. To be quite honest, he felt like a Halloween decoration. After that we sat in the foyer and the staff started playing songs and going through the slide show to make sure all of that was set up well. I started to cry and immediately went outside, as I wasn’t ready to feel that. Will and I waited outside for quite a while until family started showing up, expressing condolences, and carrying on inside. We took a few pictures inside and sat down after a while. The funeral went as I imagine all funerals go. (This is only the third one I remember going to) The pastor spoke, a song played, someone else spoke, a song played, others spoke, another song played. The pastor ended it and the attendees came around to express condolences again. I was numb, but the tears were flowing easily at this point. I was trying to comfort my sisters in the row with me during the funeral and shook hands after.

The next night in the hotel room is the first time it hit me. One of my brothers was asleep in the other bed in the room and my husband was lying with me. We were talking for a bit and as our conversation ended and we got quiet, I started crying. It didn’t feel like a normal cry, or even a hard cry. I was sobbing heavily and started hyperventilating. After about 20 minutes of this and my husband trying to help me breathe normally, I finally calmed down and went right to sleep. There were so many thoughts swimming through my head. Those thoughts are included below.

So how am I doing? I’m angry, to put it gently. I am so mad that this happened. Like I said above, I knew it was going to. It was a matter of WHEN, not IF. I knew that and accepted it a long time ago, although it doesn’t make it hurt any less. I’m angry that he gave up. I’m angry that he didn’t try harder. I’m angry that now we don’t have any more chances to remedy our relationship or tell each other how we really feel. I’m angry that he applied for some kind of treatment through the VA and was denied because they felt he needed more outpatient treatment before they would grant him that. Is it their fault? Not necessarily. From what I knew, he was in and out of the hospital for months and didn’t continue the outpatient treatment that he was offered. I’m angry that he was so dang stubborn. I’m angry that he couldn’t see an end of his issues that wasn’t death. He could’ve been helped. He should’ve gotten help. I feel like he didn’t want it badly enough and that hurts. Many, many people at the funeral kept telling me how much he loved us kids and how proud he was of us and how much he spoke of us. I’m angry that we didn’t see that. I know people’s intentions for saying those things were good. I really do. However I just can’t accept that. He rarely spoke to me and our relationship was almost nonexistent. If you ask me how I’m doing and I say “well” or “okay,” I’m not bullshitting you. My bad feelings come in waves and I try my hardest not to let the waves hit me in public or at work. Allow me to be okay and please don’t keeping prodding. I’m open to talk about it and I don’t need or want people tiptoeing around me or walking on shattered glass. I’m really okay. If I’m not, I will tell you. I’m strong enough to hold it together and honest enough to tell you when I can’t. I appreciate the condolences, but I want to be treated like normal. And to my family, I’m here for you. I love you so very much and if you want to talk, I’m here. I don’t know all of the things to say, but you can count on my honesty and that I’m at least trying to comfort you. I’m sorry this has been so hard. You’ve heard this a million times, but it’s not your fault. It’s nobody’s fault. Please know that he made a decision. Even I’m struggling with “maybe if I tried harder” and “I should’ve tried to talk to him more,” but I know that’s bullshit. Sure, I could have. However that very likely wouldn’t have helped. If it did help, it would have only pushed the date.

I’m very thankful for my leadership. They helped me out so very much and checked up on me constantly. I’m also very thankful for my friends who have been here when I wanted to talk (as little as that has been, to be honest) and listened to my mouth diarrhea through voice and text. I’m very thankful for Trish and my siblings for having my husband and me stay with them the entire time. I’m thankful for my husband for being my shadow during this past week and a half. The only times he left my side were when I told him to stay with siblings while I went somewhere with another. He’s been my rock this entire time. I’m also very thankful for Becky, my stepmom. She had a big part in making sure everything went smoothly for the funeral. She also supported my father for quite a while, helping keep him alive and going longer. She also facilitated us children taking things that belonged to my father and asking for our input throughout this process. She’s gone through a lot and I cannot imagine losing my husband like this.

If you’re thinking that suicide is an option, please please PLEASE reconsider. Talk to the people who are important to you. Don’t let pride hold you back. Tell people how you really feel, maybe tactfully. Allow people the chance to help you. Allow yourself the chance to help you. This is such a selfish act and it doesn’t need to happen. What’s weighing you down and the issues in your life will not just go away when you do. They’re passed onto your family and your family then deals with your death and all of the feelings wrapped up in it along with what was weighing you down. I beg you to please get help. I also ask for people to be kind in situations like this. There’s no place for hateful words or drama especially during an event such as this.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Goal Update and Intense Pent Up Frustration

Goal Update

  1. Get in shape: Well I haven’t worked on this at all and there have been obvious results. My husband did come up with a great idea to clean up our mess room and make it more of a work-out area. While I’m not currently making progress, I’m getting prepared to do as much as I can with the condition my back is still in.
  2. Eat healthier: It’s going. I forgot to make a meal plan for this week, so it’s been a bit rocky. But we have done pretty well up until this point. Go us!!
  3. Enjoy Alaska more: Mother Nature just dumped about a foot of snow on us this past weekend, so that wasn’t happening. (No exaggeration. Almost a whole 12 inches.) Summer’s just around the corner though! Well, in a month or two anyways. But I get to pull out my grill soon and have firepit get-togethers and enjoy the last summer we have here! I’m excited for that part.
  4. Save money: We’re doing very well in this realm. Our savings account is beefing up and we have almost half of the minimum we want by the time we go home, and almost a third of our “hope-so” goal. It’s exciting. It’s really great to have such a cushion and I honestly wouldn’t have given it any thought by myself. So thank you, my dear husband, for bringing up the idea to do this. It’s a wonderful goal to have!!

Intense Pent Up Frustration

It’s rare that I really let out my deep feelings about an issue, and it’s rare for me to feel so strongly about something that makes me so upset. I feel like I’m stuck in a vicious cycle of caring, not caring, something happening, and starting the cycle over again. The point in writing all of this is to let out some of the emotions and maybe it’ll get back to this person.

***I’m not going to reveal actual names or genders in this situation, but some of you reading this may know the situation. Please don’t take this as something that should concern you. This is me letting it out. Also, there are feels. Strong feels.***

Let’s call this person Casey. That’s a very gender-neutral name. Now Casey and I haven’t had a very good relationship since I was (we were) younger. There are a lot of reasons why and they are the fault of both of us along with some external factors (people and environments). Casey and I talk maybe once every month or two and it never lasts very long – sometimes only a couple of texts back and forth. Casey has been in some pain for a while now and this person is in and out of medical care. This is where the cycle comes in. I’ll describe it in terms of a 12-hour clock in order for me to express my thoughts in a clear manner.

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12:00 – I’m very passive and think of Casey every once in awhile. I hope Casey is doing alright. Is Casey in the hospital or in trouble of any kind? I really want the best for Casey, but I’m neither here nor there about the situation.

12:30 – I receive notification that Casey isn’t doing so well. I the informant what’s wrong, if Casey is holding in there, and how others are taking this news. This is the early stage of worrying.

2:00 – I’m still asking questions and expressing my concerns for Casey and the people who either care or are apathetic towards Casey. This is when I’m getting upset and wanting Casey to be better and hoping that this isn’t too negatively affecting the people in Casey’s life. This is also when I want to be there to help not only Casey, but those in Casey’s life as well. I’m frantic now and it’s hard to focus for the next few hours on this clock (few hours to few days in reality)

4:00 – In reality, this is about when I’d get home from work after hearing about it that morning or the previous day. I’m talking to the person who notified me of this situation and expressing more thoughts about it. These thoughts are no longer worry or concern, but anger and frustration and wondering how to make this stop in the long-term. Of course it’s not going to stop until Casey  looks at the situation from a point of view that’s not Casey’s. This is when I start really being concerned for other people in Casey’s life and I only want this to stop for not only Casey’s sake, but everyone else’s as well.

7:30 – Anger has lasted quite a while now and I’m upset again, as well as scared. I’m upset because I’m scared something worse will happen to Casey (rather, Casey will do something worse to Casey) and I don’t want to deal with that situation. I don’t want to be by Casey’s bedside because something crazy happened. I don’t want to go to a funeral or even have the chance to decide whether or not I WANT to. I’m scared that this is going to affect the people surrounding Casey in a negative way and I don’t want that for them. These are people I’m protective of and people that I don’t think should experience the relationship and the feelings that I am about any of this. I know it might be too late for some and it has definitely affected others and to me it’s just unfair. I start thinking about the decisions Casey has made throughout Casey’s life and how they have affected everyone else. I think about the impact that future decisions and instances will likely affect others and I get sad. This needs to end somehow. Casey needs help and I can’t do a damn thing.

10:00 – My emotions have calmed down. I’ve let some frustrations out to only a few people (my husband, my closest friend, and usually the person who told me about the current situation). I’m back to feeling passive and hopeful.

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The biggest part that I haven’t explained yet are my deepest thoughts, which I will definitely NOT go into in a public forum. However I know this needs to end. And I cannot bring myself to talk to Casey to say, “Pull yourself together. Pull your head out of your behind. Look at what you’re doing to other people [specific names/relationships here]. Is this really the life you want to leave for them? Why are you being so selfish about this? What are YOU thinking, Casey? Can I help in a way that won’t drag me down into the darkness with you?” Because that’s what it is. Darkness. I’m afraid that if I had the chance to talk to Casey I’d either make our relationship worse than it already is, or I’d push Casey over the edge. That’s my biggest fear regarding this situation. Because pushing Casey over the edge would not only affect Casey and me, but everyone involved in Casey’s life, their lives, and mine. People who really understand the person that I am know that I’m caring, but I’m very blunt with the people I care about (and some that I don’t). I don’t typically have a problem saying what I think needs to be said. Sometimes what I think needs to be said isn’t exactly the case though, and that is my downfall.

I just want Casey to know that I love you and I really want things to get better. But they’re not going to get better with the way you’re going now.

PRK Update – Day 35 After Surgery – Thursday, 18 February 2016

Well things have gotten a lot better in the past 27 days. I can use a computer all day at work now, taking limited breaks. I was really trying to force myself to be “normal” when I first got back to work and caused a few headaches, but that’s about it. I’ve been better at taking breaks or looking at other things when I feel like I’m straining. I’m able to walk around the building without my sunglasses, but I’ve been doing that since I first got back to work anyways. I joked with one of the officers when he asked where my sunglasses were, saying “I’m not as much of a baby as some people around here. I can walk around most of the day without them when I’m inside.” He laughed, but it’s not untruthful. I was able to make it most of the day without wearing them until I went outside and I’m not out to grab attention or take advantage of being able to wear sunglasses indoors. I have put them on around lunch a few days because the lights seemed brighter than normal, but I’m generally okay indoors at this point. Other electronics have become so much easier to use as well. I still use lower brightness so that I don’t feel overwhelmed though. There were times I forgot my sunglasses on my desk and had to drive without them. Realistically I could have easily gone back upstairs to get them, but I figured I’d tough it out. That happened twice and hasn’t happened since. No way, Jose. That sun is bright!

I’ve been driving just fine for a couple of weeks now. My vision is definitely not as blurry as it was before. My eyes do switch back and forth (rather, left and right) with who will be better that day. And it is almost daily. It’s not even a huge difference, but enough for me to notice and get annoyed. I would definitely say that everything is getting so much better still. It’s just amazing how I can wake up in the morning, rub my eyes, and see really well. The double vision I had before has gone away for the most part. I have a smoke detector in my bedroom that shines a little green light and sometimes I’ll see that twice, but I’ve had no other problems with double vision. I’ve also stopped waking up so often at night at this point. I’m back to waking up 2-3 times a night, but that was normal before.

I do miss just being able to wake up and go hang out with Amanda and the twins now. Tuesdays and Thursdays were really great when I could do that, but my leave has been over for a couple of weeks now and it’s a bit sad. It would be much sadder if I didn’t love my job though!

If you’ve been lucky enough to have never had to wear glasses or contacts, I don’t think you’d be able to understand how big this is to me. It’s just so dang amazing though. I can rub my eyes and not move the contact around in my eye and wake up and be able to see right away. This is one of the best opportunities I’ve taken advantage of in my whole life. I’m so happy my friend James convinced me to at least take the chance.

 

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretsky

Goal Update, Back Troubles, and 564 More Days

1. Get in shape: This is the one goal I haven’t made much of an effort towards in the past few months. That’ not completely my fault, but I do know that I can do more to remedy this. I’m on a military profile until this coming Christmas. That means I’m restricted from certain activities. In the time since I first established these goals, I’ve also gone through the medical board process and have been assigned a code. So basically my profile says that I cannot run or do push-ups. Because of a recently broken toe, I also can’t be timed for a walk test. I can still do sit-ups and have my waist measured! So that’s nice. The code from the medical board just means that I cannot go to a military base without a military treatment facility (hospital) located on the base. I can’t go to Korea and I pretty much can’t deploy to the desert. Now that I’ve explained my excuses for not working towards this goal, here is how I have. Last spring I made sure to pass my pt test with some score in the 80’s. One day while I was in my language refresher class, I spent my lunch running in the hangar to be sure I was going to pass the next week. I did. During the summer I was pt-ing quite a bit and even made a 91% on my pt test in October. That was absolutely wonderful! I also completed a triathlon with my siblings’ mom last July and received a medal for placing 3rd place in my division! And then I went on the profile because of my back. (That will be explained later in this post)

2. Eat healthier: I’m doing better at this as time goes on. Would you like to know what helps the most? Two things. One. Not being able to pt a lot. I start to see the little bit of weight piling on and I rethink how I’m eating. Two. When my husband gets on board with this goal, specifically. About a month ago he came to me and said he wanted to start eating healthier as well. I said, “so be it!” And we have been ever since. We have our nights when I make pulled pork or something crazy. For the most part, though, I’ve ben finding healthier recipes that he really likes as well. He’s also cooked a few things to try to help us out. It’s absolutely wonderful and I don’t have to make two meals or tell him that I’m not making two.

3. Enjoy Alaska more: This one is a rollercoaster. Sometimes I like the place enough, and most time I don’t. It’s not a bad place to live or to be in general, but it’s not MY place. I’m not an outdoorsy person. I’m not big on hiking or hunting. My idea of fishing? Wake up at a normal time, go out on a boat, catch fish and throw it in a cooler with water so it stays alive for a while, drink beer/soda/water/tea for a few hours and eat sandwiches for lunch, and go home after a while, realizing I’ll have a sunburn for days! Alaska’s idea of fishing? Wake up between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning, go stand in a river or right next to it, catch the fish and knock it out before too much adrenaline gets in the system and spoils the meat, go home after a full day of fishing like that and still be chilly. It’s not a bad life to live if you’re into that sort of thing, but I really like Florida fishing in the heat. I have really learned to appreciate the beauty of this place though. The winters are a bit rough, but the mountains are gorgeous and going places with my friends, like the reindeer farm, is a great time.

4. Save money: The same time my husband came to me about eating healthy, he came to me and brought up the idea of saving like crazy and the possibility of retiring early. While I’m still a bit confused on the details of his idea, I think it’s a great one! After my eyes get better, we’re going to look at some investment options together and make sure we’re on the same page with all of this. In the meantime, we have over 8k in savings.

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My back. That has been a problem for far too long. People always ask me, “How did it start?” Well, it happened in December 2013 when I was getting ready for work on the night shift. I was all dressed and almost ready to go when I went to put on my boots. I leaned over to tie them and that’s when it happened. I felt a searing hot pain and like my muscles were being ripped apart. Now I had pulled my back a few times in the couple of months before that, but it was never that bad. I stayed still for a few minutes and then got up to go to work, moving so very carefully. I arrived at work, got out of the car, and fell right back in. At that point, I didn’t have the strength nor the willpower to get up from my position. I decided to call up there and tell them I wasn’t coming in, but I was going to the ER right away. I did that, received a steroid shot, given ibuprofen, and sent home for the night. As the months went on, it became more of a recurring thing. Every once in a while, the slightest movement would sent the same feeling through different parts of my back. There was never any pain below my bottom rib or above my shoulder blades.

At first I talked to the doctors and they sent me for xrays. Nothing showed up, so I must have been faking it. I had two, TWO, military officers (part of my doctor’s team – she was deployed at the time) tell me to my face that I had to be faking it, malingering was a crime, and I needed to get over it because they weren’t giving me a profile. I hadn’t asked for one up to that point, so I don’t know why that was stated.

Another couple of months went by and my doctor was finally back from her deployment. I told her about what was going on with my back and told her that it was time; I really needed a profile. I was so ashamed of asking, but I couldn’t do some of the things required of me for pt tests. She gave me one and immediately gave me a referral for another xray and an MRI. I was so happy someone was finally helping instead of accusing me of wanting to skip out on pt tests. The xray, again, didn’t reveal anything. The MRI revealed some extra fluid in my spinal column. While that was an issue, it wasn’t what was causing my pain. The neurologist told me that if I felt any tingling or numbness in my extremities or lost bladder and bowel control, I needed to go in right away. That hasn’t affected me at all even to this date, so it’s just sitting there. They don’t want to take it out, as the risk of complication was greater than the benefits (as there are no symptoms) right now. I didn’t want anything extra done anyways, so that was fine. My doctor gave up at that point. She told me to come back if I needed anything. Otherwise, take it easy.

I did that until about last spring, when it got much worse. The pain was coming about once a week and I needed to get something done. I was so tired of this just happening and not being able to do anything about it. I went back to my doctor and she sent me to physical therapy. They did procedures called “dry needling” four times. It didn’t help. In fact, it didn’t nothing except cause more pain. After the fourth time, the physical therapist didn’t want to keep doing that, which I thought was very reasonable. I went back to my doctor and received a referral for pain management. The hospital couldn’t accept me because their patient load was at capacity. I was a bit upset at first, but I went off base to a wonderful pain management doctor.

Dr. Larry Kropp has helped me so very much since I started seeing him for the back pain. He didn’t try to throw meds at me or tell me I was fine. He scheduled me for a PET scan (bone scan) and then when that came back as normal (although I found out that I have one slightly displaced disk in my lower spine), he decided to schedule me for steroid shots. I have had two so far – one in October and one in December. Each one was for a different side of my back. Since the October shot, which I was consciously sedated for, I’ve had no pain in my right side. Since the December shot, I’ve had no pain in my left. I’ve had a bit of pain right above my shoulder blades twice since, but not enough to be concerned. Maybe I’m just so used to so much more pain, that’s a small amount to me now. I don’t need to go back to him unless the pain starts up again, but that was such a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t mind if I needed to. Going to a doctor’s office where I’m treated like a person and they take the time to sit with me and get to know what’s going on is just absolutely wonderful. I’m so very thankful for the opportunity to go there. Goodness knows I’ve had many obstacles to get (and stay) there.

 

Military Life. I’ve told every person that has asked that I’m not staying in the military. I’m not obnoxious about it, I don’t flaunt it everywhere, and I have no negative feelings about the military whatsoever. I’ve realized that it’s just not the life for me. There are so many reasons behind my decision and it’s been made and practically solidified.

Reason number one: The DLPT. Defense Language Proficiency Test. The most stressful thing I go through once a year, every year. It doesn’t test a person’s language ability. It tests how well you can take a test. That’s a rant for another day. But it’s one of my biggest grudges. I understand that there needs to be a way of making sure linguists are qualified to do their jobs, but that’s not the right way. I am better at my job than that test could ever tell anybody. Realizing that I only need to do this test two more times before I get out brings me so much joy.

Reason number two: PCS-ing. I came into the military, knowing that I’d need to PCS every few years. I have been fortunate enough to only be stationed at three bases, two of which were for training. Alaska was my first duty station and after being granted an extension (instead of leaving three months from now), it will be my only duty station. I asked for the extension, knowing that I’m not reenlisting and not wanting to move twice in a year and a half. I also absolutely, positively LOVE my current job. It’s something that I’m pretty good at and something that I really care about. My leadership so graciously helped me through the extension process and approved it on their level. And the “big air force” approved it as well. We do not move until August of 2017. Score!

Reason number three: My husband’s career. My husband received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Florida in December 2012. What has he done with his degree? Nothing. And that’s not his fault. Since we got up here, he’s worked at gamestop, Guardian Security (who treats their security guards worse than crap), and GEO (a corporation that runs halfway houses across America). He’s used some of the knowledge from his degree at GEO. He’s a case manager there, so he’s basically a probation officer for individuals who are still incarcerated. He’s applied for the Anchorage Police Department and for various probation officer jobs, but with no luck. I know that he has contacts back home and probation officers here that would give him stellar recommendations. He knows people and has done ride-alongs with officers back home in the Tampa area, so getting a job there would be much easier than here. One of his friends/classmates is a probation officer down there. That’s what he wants to do. He really wants to do something that matters and try to fix the system so that it’s less broken. That would make him happy. He’s sacrificed all of that to follow me up here with my job and the life I’ve established. I am more than willing to give that up for him to do something that will make him happy.

Justifying. The reasons for me getting out may seem very small. However this was never meant to be a career. I joined when I had nothing else to do. I failed out of college, was stuck in a job that I’d go nowhere without a degree, and I wasn’t happy at home. This was meant to be a building block for my life, and it’s been exactly that. Sure, I love the job I have right now, but I won’t be guaranteed something like this anywhere else and I’m not staying in a place that doesn’t make me happy. I also want to go home more than anything and stay there. My reasons may not be enough for some people, but they’re enough for my husband and for me. The people living these lives.

While I am getting out, I have no negative feelings about the military in general. They have provided me with so many wonderful opportunities and so much to start my life out right. I am very grateful for the wonderful leadership that I’ve had and I see the bad leadership that I’ve had as an example of what kind of leader I shouldn’t ever be. I’ve met some of the best and the worst people and I’ve had some of the best and worst experiences. All in all, it’s been a pretty great ride so far and I plan to finish it out as the best person that I can be.

 

“You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.” – Unknown