I tried watching some shows like Adam Ruins Everything and some docco about "how AI will change everyone's job", And then I channel surfed and came across RAGE playing Johnny Cash's cover of HURT, and just "lost it", and howled and cried and sobbed for almost a couple of hours. I felt so weak and lone and vulnerable after the last month and a bit.
No Theo any more. With a very thin support network realised just how much I'd relied on my pets for comfort and affection. Mystery was right next to me while I was howling - but a cat's not the same as a dog - no friendly wagging tail, no madly enthusiastic greeting when I get home, no faithful pooch sleeping on the bed at night. And that's gap I feel so bad.
No Ang anymore. Back in 1996 when I did my "geographical" to Sydney and stayed in a halfway house that almost drove me suicidal, the people who managed that place suggested I go for a visit to Newcastle for a week. I did, and stayed with Andrea, who preferred being called "Ang" (pronounced Anj). I liked Newcastle because it reminded me of Albany, where I'd lived when I first moved away from home. And when I made the decision to move there permanently I stayed with her for a few months until I moved to Carrington. Even after I moved to Barnsley I kept in contact with her, at least while I still had a car. I would drop in and chat with her, but after a while when I knocked on the front door there was never any reply. There was a good chance that she was out or down the back in the garden, but I didn't know that at the time.
I was upset to hear of her death via social media, but I was able to make the service for her and later the wake. Apart from a deliberate "outing" of me at the service, it was perhaps the best service I've every been to, recounting Ang's life in a way that really made you feel that she'd lived to the full. Two things stick in my mind. After Ang had a heart bypass I visited her in hospital and she told me that the doctor had told her that she had at least another 15 years of life. But I can't remember when that was. Was it in 2002? If so the Doctor was accurate. But the other thing was a discussion about the Tao and Zen. Ang wasn't "religious", but she studied whatever, a LOT. And it was about a Zen master, who hearing that he had a painful and terminal disease, choose not to end his life earlier, but to sit with it, and observe its effects until the end. At the wake I learned that Ang had been diagnosed with Leukemia in 2010. From 2010 to 2017 is a long time to battle a cancer. But from others at the wake I realised that she hadn't just "sat with it", but engaged with her community, friends and family in the best way possible.
And since Theo's death, and more so after Ang's funeral, I've been having pains in my chest. And I've been doing this, that, and the other to keep myself busy. I hd pains, and was struggling with breath. I have asthma but this seemed worse than usual. I've been told that there's a flu going around that affects your breathing and gives you aches all over. Maybe it was only that. But the chest pains got worse. I have a history of epilepsy and an anxiety disorder which gives me panic attacks, and depression. And I've had "panics" before where a set of symptoms pointed to one thing but which were actually another (like bad posture + overweight = chest pains) so I put going to the doctor off, and off again. Last Friday morning I was having trouble breathing. Possibly the asthma and the weather combined, maybe not. So I turned up to the clinic and they put me in the nurses room and gave me an ECG, and then referrals for a blood test, a transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE)and a stress test. I got the blood test done Friday, and booked the others for Monday and Tuesday respectively.
Come Monday I had the TTE and that was fine, and did a little shopping including four 60 ltr containers, and went home. But it was a cold and windy day and hat kept blowing off and so I put it in my bad and just walked from the bus stop to home with the sun in my eyes. And walked straight into a pothole, falling over and hurting my knees and scraping my palms on the blue metal road. It was painful and I lay for a few moment. I was unable to get up and crying with the pain. And there was no one about, no one in the street anywhere. Most places had their junk outside for council collection. A four wheel drive went by checking those out and just ignored me. After a couple of attempts I was able to get up and drag my stuff home. Next doors was out, so I sat down for a bit, and then went back to the clinic at Glendale and had the scrapes dressed.
Next day (yesterday) I went in for the stress test. I felt exhausted and disd a bit of shopping for extra band-aids and alcohol gel on the way. And I had an injection of tracer in my right hand for the first 11 minute heart scan. This was really painful by the end because your arms are up and crossed over your head, so that the scanning machine can move around your chest by degrees. And at the end of that I needed help to move my arms and get me off the machine. I needed to come back for the same thing with the stress test before it, in a few hours. I ate an orange and was able to catch a bus into Adamstown when I had a satay beef lunch special, and then caught the bus back. I was already exhausted and just sat watching the TV until called. And then I went into the room with the treadmill, was hooked up to an EKG and had another tracer injection. Only the nurse couldn't find my veins even after several goes, had squeezed my hand into a fist over the scraped part (ouch), and supervisor misgendered me and finally they found one in my left inner elbow and then put a bandage over that.
And then I was on the treadmill with a 10% incline and even at the lowest setting I was struggling and after three minutes on that I could barely breath. And that bit was over. And I was in tears by the end of of it. In fact I'd been in tears at the start of it. Then it was back into the scanning machine for 9 minutes with the crossed arm position and all I could think of was "don't panic, don't panic, don't panic" and I didn't but I was crying and needed to be lifted off at the end of it. And all day I'd had a headache which had started out as as like a small spot at the back of my head and graduated to an iron band around my head, and I hadn't been allowed to have tea or coffe or aspirin for 24 hours before the test and I was desperate for something. The nurse got me a coffe and a biscuit and I sat there for a while and then caught a bus to 9 ways and then a 267 which went from Newcastle all the way home, bought some fish and pumkin scallops for dinner and walked in the middle of my street back home, where I collapsed in fron of the TV after feeding the cats. And then I went to bed and woke up at 2:30am.
And then, in the middle of the night, after watch Hurt, I had my panic attack. I was just feeling old and decrepid and not coping, and all it seemed like was that I'd started that long walk down a dark corridor to oblivion, feeling vulnerable and exposed all the way, with no point and no hope and entropy winning in the end. Years ago when I started my "transition" in the public service I'd been forced to use the disable toilets three stories away from where I worked. Then one day I was sick and went to that and found boxes being stored in it and slipped and fell and lacked the strength initially to get up. And when I feared I might have to wait until the cleaners came before I got out, I realised that I was in an environment that didn't support me. And I had that feeling again after the pothole spill. And I don't know what to do about it, can't see the options that will change things for me here, rather than just sustain a minimum.
And I know I have to sit with this, until I do.