July 14, 2021 – Evolution

It seems like life is ever-changing. People and what they stand for can drastically change in a matter of days or weeks or months or years. This appears to be the case now more than ever. Even I find that I’m constantly changing; whether it’s for the better or the worse, I cannot be certain. But it’s not just me in a state of evolution, it’s my husband, my kids, my mom, my siblings, and from what I see on the news, a large majority of the population. And the changes are happening at a fairly rapid pace, certainly fast enough to take notice. Even our home is in a state of evolution! For me, the personal changes that have occurred have been substantial, and it seems like the turning point was my kidney transplant. I cannot explain why I’m different but many of the things that used to ‘define’ me are no longer. Dancing is no longer part of my repertoire, nor is painting (art). I paint plenty of walls and trim, but I cannot recall the last time I painted something on a piece of canvas. Appearance-wise, my hair is different, even my clothes. I was observing some much older women at a craft store the other day, and to my horror I realized that I looked a great deal like them. Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

Have I suddenly gotten ‘old’? I’m too young to be old. But when I look in my closet and all I see are ‘comfortable shoes’, it makes me wonder. All of my jeans are ‘relaxed fit’ and all of my shorts/capris go well past my knee caps. The theme of my wardrobe appears to be ‘comfort and coverage’, which is also apparent by the number of loose fitting 3/4 length and full-length sleeved tops I have. There are some sleeveless tops in my closet but I refuse to wear them by themselves. I only wear them if I can pair them with a cardigan. Honey, nobody wants to look at these arms (or legs)! When I was in high school, I was voted the winner of the ‘best legs’ competition. I can assure you, that is no longer the case. Appearance matters aside, I definitely sense that I am no longer the same person I was as recent as two years ago. And I’m not sure I like it. I experience fewer ‘extremes’ in my moods and that’s a good thing to a degree. I started supplementing my Prozac with l-methylfolate and from what I can tell, by taking that in addition to eliminating sweets from my diet, I’m much more ‘balanced’.

In years past, I always yearned for balance, but now that I seem to have achieved it, life seems a bit lackluster. I don’t experience the lows, but I also don’t experience the highs. I miss the ‘highs’. I miss feeling a bit manic and slightly out of control. I miss when I used to laugh hysterically for no apparent reason, just because something ‘struck me’ as funny. Life seems much too serious for my liking at the moment. It’s almost as though my spark has been extinguished and I find that unacceptable. The big question that seems to elude me is how to get it back? Food used to give me so much satisfaction, especially sweets. Whenever I went anywhere or did anything, I always thought about the food options that would be available to me. I used to get excited about watching a movie because when I watched movies (pre-transplant), I’d devour a bag of popcorn, a 24-oz soda, a bag of licorice, some Junior Mints, a huge handful of peanut M&Ms, along with some Jujyfruits or Raisinets or Hot Tamales or Milk Duds. When I watch a movie now, if I eat anything at all, it’s a sliced-up apple and a handful of peanuts. Whoopie-doo!

It’s just not the same any longer. The elimination of sweets from my diet was self imposed but there are a lot of changes that occurred based on my doctors’ recommendations (due to the threat to my health). Buffets? Nope. Salad bars? Not today. Deli meat? Only if it’s microwaved on high long enough to kill the bacteria. Sushi? Who cares? I never liked it anyway. The only way I like my fish prepared is battered and deep fried. You can keep that raw stuff! What I struggle with even more than the elimination of buffets and salad bars from my diet is the lack of ‘sun’ in my life. Yes, I am referring to that thing up in the sky that is hot-as-blazes, that you’re not supposed to look directly at (for fear of possible permanent damage to your retinas). God, I miss the sun! When I go outside, I have to limit my exposure and cover up from head to toe. If I don’t take the time to apply SPF 50+ sunscreen, and wear a hat and a UPF 50 long sleeve top and long pants, I risk skin cancer (one of the side effects of the anti-rejection medication I have to take). The days of throwing on a bathing suit and hopping in the water are long gone!

To a Pisces, that’s practically a death sentence. Pisces and water go hand-in-hand. Waah-waah! I know, I sound like a big baby, but I really do miss playing in the water. It was one of the things that brought a lot of joy to my life. But enough about me. Since I’m talking about evolution and changes, I probably should spend a little time discussing my husband. When I met him, we were both in the military. After two years, I got out, but he made a career out of it and devoted over 28 years of his life to serving. He took his career very seriously, and over time he rose up in the ranks, eventually reaching the top tier as an enlisted member. Up until we relocated (7 years ago), I knew him no other way. He was ‘Mr. Military Guy’ through and through. I also knew him for one other significant and much less favorable ‘thing’, drinking to excess on a regular basis. If I had a dollar for each time he would wake up in the morning (after hitting the bottle hard the night prior) and vow never to drink again! Initially, I was hopeful, but after 3 decades of hearing that all-too-familiar promise, I became rather (shall we say) skeptical.

The thing about people is that sometimes they surprise me. And nearly two years ago, my husband actually stopped drinking altogether. Yes, completely. It caught me totally off guard. I always envisioned growing old with him and his friend, ‘the bottle’. It’s always been the ‘three of us’ and it’s hard to imagine our relationship any other way. You must be asking yourself what brought him to his senses and helped him learn to say ‘no’. Well, I’ll tell you…gout. Gout doesn’t sound like such a terrible thing, but it does when it happens to you (or my husband in this case). My husband doesn’t like to be in pain for days on end, and struggle just to stand or put on a shoe because his big toe is throbbing so badly. And when it happened enough times (after my husband put away a few too many), he became wise as to what was causing it and gave up alcohol, just like that! I would have liked it to have been for a more noble reason but as it turns out, gout is what caused him to swap beer for Gatorade and/or flavored fizzy drinks. Believe me, I’m not complaining. I’ve never felt so indebted to a medical condition in my life!

Sobriety is a wonderful thing but it brings about a great deal of change. Bars and nightclubs no longer appeal to either of us because each involves alcohol as well as the temptation to drink. As quick as you can say, “Bob’s your uncle,” our social life dried up. Activities we’d previously enjoyed with friends, mimosas over brunch or a glass of wine with dinner or a six-pack of beer while playing poker or watching the Superbowl, are now things of the past. My husband experienced much like what I went through except my crutch was food (buffets, salad bars, and sweets) rather than alcohol. As a result of this change in him, our relationship has improved tremendously but I hardly recognize my husband because he is so different (for the better). His assorted habits of chewing on his nails, drumming his fingers on the countertops, clipping his toenails in the bathroom at five in the morning (while I’m sleeping), recycling his fizzy drink bottles without removing the caps, watching hours of ‘how to’ videos on YouTube, and/or watching everything except the road while driving, I’ll take any day of the week over waking up next to a guy who smells of a distillery or brewery (and vomit).

So much evolution has taken place in such a short amount of time, it’s nuts! With my husband and I, I believe the changes overall have been for the better. I also feel that way about our house. Each day, as we wait for it to sell, we continue to make improvements. But that’s not always the case, especially when the subject matter is my mother. She’s definitely headed in the other/wrong direction and it’s worrisome. Her grip on reality is getting looser and I’m not sure how much longer she’s going to be able to retain her ‘freedom’. My brother told me that the other day she was speaking complete gibberish, and then yesterday she got confused and walked into somebody else’s apartment (not her own). It caused quite a clamor. It sounds like moving her into memory care is right around the corner, and that will be sad because she will lose her ability to come and go as she pleases. I never wanted this kind of life for her but Alzheimer’s has a funny way of disrupting plans. Anyway, on that sour note, I suppose I’d better finish up and head to bed. We have another showing scheduled and I have to get up extra early and start ‘dehairing’ the place once again. Sigh.

Thanks so much for stopping by! And I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. Much love to you, my friends!!

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