Underneath my yellow skin

Ever more bitter, rarely more sweet

When you’re in a situation that feels hopeless, it’s hard not to become bitter. There is a commentor on one of the blogs I read who is oozing in negativity. Having read about her situation, it’s understandable. Unfortunately, she’s at the place where she feels like she can do nothing about it but constantly complain.

I’ve been there. I am currently there re: my family. It’s funny because the medical trauma I recently went through* has been a boon in many ways. It feels weird to say especially because it included me dying twice But, it’s the truth. I realized a lot about myself during that time. Most of it good, some of it…sobering.

On the good tip: I fucking love my body. Decades of body issues disappeared in a flash. That’s not exactly true. They were already starting to mitigate with the help of Taiji, but when I left the hospital, you could not say shit to me about my body or my face. Not that my parents didn’t try, believe you me. They wanted to go there with my weight, which I had shut down decades ago. I explicitly told them they could not bring up my weight. Of course they moaned and groaned about it because ‘they were just worried about my health’. Uh huh. That’s straight-up bullshit, by the way.

When I was anorexic and my junior counselors in college told my mom, she had nothing to say. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. No words of concern or encouragement. The only thing she had to say was that she was jealous my waist was smaller than hers. So, health concerns? Hell, naw. That wasn’t it at all. It was purely weight and how I looked. She put me on my first diet when I was seven, saying I would have a beautiful face if I lost weight.

When I look at pics of me as a teenager, I was chunky yes, but I wasn’t grotesque as I was made to feel by my mother. I was thick in part because I have dense muscles, but I was fine. My mom monitoring every morsel that went into my mouth gave me a complex that lasted decades.

Taiji started making me feel at ease in my body. Then it helped me walk away from a minor car accident with only a big bruise on my stomach from the seatbelt. Or maybe the air bag popping. Other than that, I walked away without a scratch. I couldn’t say the same for my car, sadly.

That’s when I started to realize that my body was a wondrous machine. After waking up from my medical coma (walking pneumonia, two cardiac arrests, stroke), I was in awe how my body had taken a beating and kept on ticking. I don’t thinkĀ  can overemphasize how bleak the prognosis was.

I was not supposed to live. The doctors talked to my brother about pulling the plug. He was pondering having to make the decision when they called him to tell him I had woke up. Even then, though, they warned him that I probably would need months if not years of rehab. I probably wouldn’t be able to walk and talk the way I had before.

I had blurry vision when I woke up. I couldn’t read the font on the menu the hospital gave me. Or my phone. I could speak with no problem except very occasionally forgetting a word. Two or three days after I woke up, I tried walking for the first time. The physical therapist (PT) had a walker handy, but she encouraged me not to use it if I didn’t need to.

Which I did not. I was shaky. I was slow. But I was able to walk down the hallway, up the stairs, and back to my room. The second time I met with this PT, she said she had nothing left for me. She lifted all restrictions on me and encouraged me to walk as much as I could. I passed all the tests with flying colors.

A week after I woke up, I walked out of the hospital on my own volition. I did no rehab. I had a nurse aid come once a week to wash my hair. My mom did the cooking and laundry, taking care of my cat, and helping me towel off after a shower. That was it. I didn’t need help with anything else. My brother made the font on my laptop bigger, and I was able to read the internet the third or fourth day I was home from the hospital.

Everybody’s faces were melted when I first woke up. One big eye in the middle of the forehead. Mouth and nose smooshed together. Plus, I had tickertape synesthesia (my brother looked it up). That meant I saw pictures with words as people spoke. One of my aides was named Leif Woodsman (or something like that). So every time he talked, his name showed up in a leaf font with trees and stuff surrounding them. This stopped before I left the hospital.

The melted faces lasted for about a week after I went home. Even my cat had a melted face. He was the first one to have two eyes again. The blurriness disappeared in a few weeks as well. So did the barbiturates/sedatives/narcotics. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t that I had no body–it was that I was too drugged up to feel it.

Seven months later, the only issue I have is a tiny bit of short-term memory loss. I can get around it by writing notes, though, so it’s all good. I just have to remember it’s an issue.

I’m not saying I would choose to go through what IĀ  went through…but I’m not saying I wouldn’t, either. If I knew that the result would be what it has been? Yeah, I would choose to do it again. Except. The family dysfunction. The medical trauma didn’t make it worse, but it brought into sharp relief just how dysfunctional the family really is. It made me realize how enmeshed my parents are in their dysfunctional marriage and that it’s never going to change. They are 82 (father) and 79 (mother). They have been married for nearly 55 years and have only grown more codependent as the years have gone by.

My mom says she wants to know why we’re not close like we used to be. First, we’ve never been close. That’s just her delusion. Second, because I can’t trust her. She’s always going to put my father first. Expecting her to do anything different is folly on my part. Third, any time I bring anything remotely real up like my love for weapons, she has nothing to say.

I’m fine with us having a very superficial relationship. In fact, it’s what I prefer. My medical trauma showed me what was important to me–and someone who is interested in me as a person tops the list.




*When do I have to stop saying ‘recently’? I’m going to say when the year anniversary hits. Around the two-month mark, I wondered how long it would be before I stopped counting in weeks. If I remember correctly, it roughly around eight weeks (two months). Now I wonder when I’ll stop counting in months. Probably when the first year anniversary hits.


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