Articles from December 2014

Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–February 1995, Part 8

On probably Sunday the 26th, the most likely date, one of the sororities held an 80s party in the Pub.  It was part of a theme week held by the fraternities and sororities.  There was a party each night, starting with a 50s party and ending with an 80s or 90s party.

I just went to the 80s party, since I was most interested in that.  On the day of it, 80s pop music was piped into Bossard during meals.  Charles complained because those weren’t the 80s metal songs he knew.  But the rest of us enjoyed it because we were into pop rather than metal in the 80s.

During the party, however, somebody apparently forgot it was an 80s night, and played a mix of songs none of us knew or that seemed to belong to the present day.  It may have been a radio station.

In getting ready for this party, I found a shirt I’d never worn, that my mom gave me.  The collar was torn–apparently a garage sale find.  It was really one piece, but made to look like a sleeveless sweater worn over a long-sleeved shirt.  The sweater part was green, and the shirt part was white and green-striped.

This kind of shirt was popular in 7th and 8th grade, but by the time my mom got it, it had gone out of style, so I hadn’t worn it.  It was perfect for 80s night, however.  I didn’t know how to roll the handkerchief-necklace that was so popular in 6th grade, but tried it anyway, rolling my big, brown scarf and pinning it around my neck.

Astrid remembered kids folding over and rolling their pant legs and pinning them tight, though I didn’t remember that; I just remembered fighting with my jeans every morning, wondering why the legs of all my new pairs had such tiny hems that I could barely even get my feet through them.

Nowadays, I only had two pairs of jeans, both either straight-legged or gently tapered, nothing like those mid-80s jeans.  I wore one pair and pinned the cuffs as Astrid described.

I still had a big, plastic hair clamp lying around, popular in 7th and 8th grade, and held up the hair on one side of my head with it, just as the clamps were worn back then.

Several TV’s were set up with Ataris on the Pub platform; I sat there along with several other students.  Both of my absolute favorite games were there: Pitfall and Demon Attack.  Frogger was also there.

I played them the best I could, though I had a hard time working the joystick and fingering the button without my thumb getting tired.  I guess I was rusty.  There were two kinds of joysticks there: the small, black standard and the long-handled, easier-to-use deluxe version.

(By the way: Also check out Pitfall 2.  I played that all the time on our Radio Shack CoCo computer in 1986 or 1987, usually listening to Whiteheart’s song “Fly Eagle Fly,” which fit with all the bats flying around.)

Persephone was also there; after a while we got to talking.  We were there so long that my friends left without me.

She had finally broken up with Phil for good.  (At least, that’s what she said then.  I don’t know if they got back together later.  I do know they were finally “done” before December.)

We had many things to talk about and agree on.  She told me her own problems with him; we laughed, complained and agreed about the ways he treated girlfriends.

She still went dancing with him as friends on Saturday nights, and laughed as she watched him flirt with girls there.

She said, “Phil practically lived with me and Trina” in Muehlmeier for a few months.  He didn’t like going home, where the dysfunctional living got worse.  (Either that, or a summer with my family showed him how a functional family lives, and made his own unbearable.)

He was at least as bad with Persephone as with me, if not worse.  She said:

“Once, he even slapped me.  I slapped him right back so hard that he never did that again.”  Good!  Persephone didn’t seem like the type of person to allow abuse.

“He didn’t want me to be friends with you.  That was suspicious.  Was he afraid of something?”

“We were very unstable: We broke up five times!”

“He’s not to be trusted.”

“I couldn’t believe his immaturity.  One night, one of his friends came over to my room to visit Phil and me.”

(It sounded like his Vampire Friend S–.  He didn’t want to introduce me to this guy, for fear he’d steal me away–as he sometimes did with Phil’s other girlfriends.)

“This guy thought I was pretty, and tried to steal me away from Phil.  Things ended up in a huge argument, and Phil ran away.  We finally found him hiding under my bed!

This guy even got my roommate Trina to spy on me!

“Phil’s minivan finally died because he knows nothing about taking care of a car.”

“Trina even had a crush on Phil.  She and his friends used to spy on me for him!”

(That reminded me of September between our first and second breakups, when I felt like Phil’s friends were spying on me.  Now that I knew he did this to Persephone, I felt less paranoid to think he did it to me.  Since Trina was also her roommate, this was especially hard for her.)

“Oh, it was a major rebound for him.  He’d call me by your name, and I’d say–” with an angry tone–“I’m not Nyssa.”

“He treated me like a child.”  Just as he did me, and just as he did his mother.  “He respects you if you’re his friend, but not if you’re his girlfriend.”

“I think he has an Oedipal complex.  He complains about his mother but is trying to get a woman like her.”  To be fair, wanting a girl “just like Mom,” especially if Mom is a wonderful person, is not so bad, but treating a woman like a child is bad.

“After he got your last letter, he called Pearl over Christmas Break to ask what was going on.  Then he saw the school counselor, who advised him to stay away from you.”  I was glad, because I’d asked him in the letter to do just that, because he was being cruel to me and I didn’t want to see him.

“I didn’t play Dungeons and Dragons with Phil.  One night he complained to his D&D group because I wouldn’t have sex with him!  Then one of the girls in the group came to me and scolded me!”

This woman should’ve known better than to scold another woman for not giving her body when she didn’t want to.  Persephone didn’t buy it, of course, and was very upset about this.

I said, “What a loser.”  If she didn’t want to have sex with him, she didn’t have to.

All these revelations confirmed to me that it wasn’t me, it was him.  And that I was well rid of him, as painful as the breakup was at the time.  He was not just immature, but controlling and abusive, while pinning the blame on others.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

On Orthodox praying with non-Orthodox

Recently, and every once in a while, I come across fervent claims and arguments that Orthodox Christians are not allowed to attend religious services of or even pray with non-Orthodox Christians.

This is impossible.  Not only is it unnecessarily exclusionary to fellow believers in Christ, but it cannot be true:

Witness the fellowship between the Pope and Patriarch.  They are attending each other’s services and praying with each other.  If they can do it without being excommunicated, so can I.

Not only that, but many of us Orthodox Christians–some through the blessing of our priest, some because we converted after marriage–are married to non-Orthodox Christians.

Am I no longer allowed to even say grace with my husband, son, mother, father, in-laws?

I am the only Orthodox one in my family, and have prayed with them all my life.  Am I to suddenly stop, even though their Protestant faith is how I came into the Christian faith to begin with?

On Christmas Eve, I went to my husband’s church.  Sometimes, he comes to mine, such as for Easter (Pascha).  Is this not allowed?

I did not participate in the liturgical confession/absolution, of course, because I can understand that being forbidden.

But why not the Apostle’s Creed, which has absolutely no heresy in it?  Why not our shared Lord’s Prayer?  Why not the prayers and the carols?

Every time I see such arguments or discussions on the Web–which I don’t see at my own parish or from my own priest, by the way–I remember the behavior of our ex-friends, Richard and Tracy:

Whenever we shared a meal together (which was every day when they lived in our house), my husband and I would have grace as normal.  I forget who said it back then, if it was me, my husband, or my son, or if we took turns.

But rather than join in, Richard would have his family wait and not bow their heads or close their eyes.  Then he would lead them in his own prayer.

I found this extremely insulting.  As if our prayer was not good enough.  Heck, I was an Orthodox catechumen when they lived with us, and officially converted a year later, yet they still did not pray with my family when I led it!

So I am very much against the idea that we should not pray with our non-Orthodox brethren, because I know what this exclusion feels like.

We all believe in the same God and the same Christ, even though we do not agree on matters of doctrine, sacraments or practice.  And in a pluralistic Church, with so many denominations throughout the world, it is unrealistic to expect everyone to agree with us Orthodox.

I will not share the Eucharist with others.  I can understand that prohibition.

But prayer and worship?  Or attending weddings and baptisms for friends/family members?

Or, if I were still in college, joining a pan-Christian fellowship organization?  Or joining a pan-Christian fellowship organization for adults?

Why ever not?  We are stronger together than divided.

 

Torn between FIVE Men! Me?–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–February 1995, Part 7

Sharon and I plotted to go to The Brady Movie, which had just come out in theaters, with Krafter and Stimpy on a double date.  But before we could say anything about it, Stimpy told me (totally oblivious) that he just saw it with his good friend Misty, a thirtyish gay man.

Misty was a sweet guy, and also flamboyantly gay, at least online.  I loved playing with him in tele.  Fortunately, he and Stimpy were just friends.  But dang it, now our scheme was ruined.

On Saturday, February 18, Krafter drove Sharon and me in his minivan to his house.  (Stimpy didn’t have a car.)  We watched MST:3K there, sitting on the pillow-filled, white couch in the immaculate living room, watching a big-screen TV.

I sat close to Stimpy on the couch and kept inching closer.  I forget what else I did, but it was obvious to Sharon what I was doing.

****

I couldn’t believe how quickly I got a reply from Cugan: within a few days of sending my letter.  I showed his letter to Catherine, who read more into it than I did.

She thought the line, “If you cannot find someone [to drive you to the next SCA meeting], let me know, and I’d be happy to help,” and his phone number, to be signs of interest.  I hoped so, but didn’t want to read in things that might not be there.

We were both impressed to find that the universe actually favored me: Cugan was a conservative Christian, a Lutheran (Missouri Synod).  I asked Catherine if that was compatible with Nazarenes, because I’d had quite enough of religious friction.  She, a member of ELCA, said Lutherans are probably the most compatible denomination.

I planned another letter, hoping to start a correspondence that may lead to more than friendship.

****

On the night of Monday, February 20, I went online and found Stimpy.  Somehow, the conversation turned to dating.  I don’t remember if he noticed me coming on to him on Saturday, but he might have.  I asked if he wanted to be considered my man, and he said okay.  I wrote,

“I just got out of a bad relationship only a few months ago, so I don’t want a serious relationship yet: I’m scared of it.”

This is one reason why I pursued several guys at once: If the heart is so divided, the rejection of one will not hurt, and none will be able to wound it with mistreatment.

It gave me the chance to find out what each guy was really like, to find a compatible one, and to weed out deceptive ones like Peter and abusive ones like Phil.  I even flirted with Stubby, though he had an online girlfriend.

Stimpy wrote, “I’m not going to push you, and it’ll be nothing you don’t want.”

We agreed that we could see other people.

That same night, Catherine called and asked, “Do you want me to call up Cugan and get some information out of him?  I’ll say I’m doing a poll on who’s married and single in the shire.”

I didn’t know it for quite some time, but she was actually direct, asking him what he thought of me.

Soon after I logged off TCB that night, the phone rang again.

Catherine said, “I just talked to Cugan.  You know what?  He thinks you’re cute.”

Of course, here I was in Heaven because Cugan thought I was cute, but also ambivalent because I’d just asked Stimpy to date me.

I knew it was okay to date them both if they both wanted me.  I’d never played the field before, despite wanting to with Peter at times, so it intrigued me.

After I told Speaker of my agreement with Stimpy, I still called myself “your Nyssie,” but Speaker wrote, “No, you’re not my Nyssie.  You’re Stimpy’s Nyssie now.”  I tried to tell him it wasn’t exclusive.

And I also wrote to Brad from the Superbowl Party.  I never had three guys interested in me all at once before.

If I got serious with any of them, I’d have to give up the other two–and give that one a chance to turn abusive.  Brad was more a pen friend than a boyfriend, though: We were writing to see if we wanted it to go farther or not.

****

On the night of either Friday the 24th or Saturday the 25th, Krafter hosted a “Python-a-thon.”  He invited those whom he considered to be the nice and cool users of TCB.  So Avenger and Lima were not there, of course.

Sharon and I were invited.  An engineering student named Franz was there; either I or someone else called him Znarf.  He was one of Avenger’s favorite targets.

I believe Stubby was there, too.  A few others were also there, mostly guys.   Krafter showed Monty Python movies: The Holy Grail, The Meaning of Life, and Life of Brian.  I’d never seen The Meaning of Life before, and it was quite a treat.

At some point that night, when everyone else had gone home and left Sharon and me with Krafter and Stimpy, somebody mentioned the SCA.  Krafter said he thought about joining a local group, but then he met a member who didn’t believe in bathing or modern dentistry.  (I later found out who he meant.)  He didn’t want to join anymore.

Sharon and I stayed over until the next morning.  No, there were no orgies or improprieties.  🙂  I cuddled up with Stimpy on the couch, and eventually fell asleep.

Sharon, Krafter and probably Stimpy watched late movies they found on TV, such as the re-make of The Fly with Jeff Goldblum.  I was asleep when they turned it on, and since I couldn’t stand to ever see that movie again, I tried to go back to sleep.  (I had to see it in my Sci-Fi Winterim class freshman year; it was gross.  😛 )

After that, whenever I saw Stimpy online, I usually typed “cuddle stimpy,” and he typed “cuddle nys.”  This called up the actions, “Nyssa is cuddling with Stimpy” and “Stimpy is cuddling with Nyssa.”

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991:Ride the Greyhound
January 1992:Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Furious at the Judgment on Nonie’s Morning Sickness (My Five Wives)

This is NOT something you can ever understand until you have walked that mile. Morning sickness is not the same, and I don’t want to hear about how “bad” it was to vomit a couple times a day over a month or so.

I don’t want to hear about only “being able to eat crackers”. I would have given my right hand to keep down crackers most days.

These are things I am not supposed to admit in polite conversation – but HG is not a polite illness. It is callous and horrible and takes women and babies from our lives.

This is NOT morning sickness. This is not a pregnant woman being a drama queen or lazy.

This is not something a few crackers before getting out of bed can fix. Or ginger. Or what ever else is in the normal bag of tricks for morning sickness – I tried them all.

This is a truly debilitating illness in every possible way. I hope that next time the world hears of a mother suffering from HG their advice will not be “suck it up.” –Mama Bice, HG: More than morning sickness

I go trolling the Net and Facebook for comments on TLC’s polygamy shows, “My Five Wives” and “Sister Wives,” hoping to find fans discussing things that get me curious.

But instead I find so much judgment that I can’t believe it.  People keep seeing all these dreadful things that I just do not see when I watch these shows.

They make all sorts of horrid pronouncements about the character and behavior of the various people on the shows.

I just don’t see those things at all.  I see happy people going through the normal trials of marriage, but multiplied because of all the wives.  I see normal people with normal behaviors.

I don’t see weepy, sad, whiny, mean women at all.  I see normal reactions by women with various temperaments, to situations which are unusual for most Americans, probably edited for the screen to make situations more “dramatic.”

Remember, drama keeps viewers.  Normal, day-to-day stuff which does not cause anybody to weep, would be booooring, and viewers would run away in droves.

I believe the people who post those things are just “hate-viewing” the shows.  I believe they are queen-bee-style bullies, mean girls, because of how viciously they react whenever somebody calls them out for what they say.  Remember, the people in the show can read what they write.

I believe these commenters just plain don’t like polygamy and are seeing things that aren’t there, because of their biases.

But the latest judgment and ridicule has just gotten to me so much that I had to blog about it.  Especially since it revealed to me just how much ignorance is out there on severe morning sickness.

Nonie on My Five Wives is suffering from morning sickness.  We are told that it is debilitating and severe.  None of the wives or the husband appear to judge her on it.  They are the ones dealing with her, after all, not the viewers, yet none of them has complained about it.

My heart instantly went out to her as she dragged through the day.  I thought her behavior was understandable for someone who probably feels like she has stomach flu that lasts for months.

Yet so many people around the Net are calling her a “drama queen” and accusing her of being lazy, playing it up for sympathy, that sort of thing.

Well, excuse me, have you EVER had to deal with this?  Not just bad morning sickness, but hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)?

HG is NOT just “morning sickness.”  Women who get this are NOT “drama queens,” “lazy” or “playing for sympathy.”

The term has not been used on the show, but I have posted about it on their Facebook page.  Nonie’s behavior makes me strongly suspect that’s what she has, especially since the other wives don’t judge her for it.

Also, none of the commenters know, either, if it’s HG, since the name has not been used.

But “severe morning sickness” has been used, the term those of us who have had it (but without knowing the proper term), would call it.  Without knowing for sure, those commenters should certainly not judge her.

I do NOT see her “whining” about it “constantly,” as many have accused.  I see someone struggling just to keep her head up.  Her head is probably dizzy, and most people would also struggle.

I am impressed because she at least gets dressed and brushes her hair; obviously she is skipping makeup.

My fury at people’s bizarre cruelty, led me to Google the Net for more about HG.  Princess Kate has dealt with it; people even mocked her in the media, even though she was hospitalized for it.

Charlotte Brontë DIED from HG.

I missed this during Princess Kate’s first pregnancy, since I don’t watch The View, and was so far removed from my own experiences (in 2003) that I wasn’t paying attention.  But The View was inundated with angry messages after trivializing the princess’s condition.

Other sufferers of HG also complain that their plight is trivialized by others: family, strangers, even doctors and nurses at times.  Because HG is so rare, and most women experience morning sickness, people apparently think you just throw up and then feel fine.  That these women must be whiners, or not want their babies, or they’re lazy drama queens.  That anyone can just deal with morning sickness along with a job, other children, housework, etc.

Wrong-o.

Warning: This is graphic, because I see other blogs about this are just as graphic, if not more so.

HG is so severe that your “morning sickness” never goes away.  After you throw up, you still feel sick.  Nothing stays down; eventually, you start puking up bile because there is nothing in your stomach.

You begin to starve, and lose weight rapidly.  If you are not treated early, you can end up with an IV pumping in fluids, and taking expensive medication usually used for chemotherapy nausea.  Which upsets your insurance company, who begins paying for less and less of it.

How do I know this?  Why am I so upset?  Because I went through it myself.

When the first bout came on, I thought it was stomach flu.  I spent all my time on the couch, unable to hold my head up.  I could barely take care of myself when my husband was not home.

Multiple times vomiting per hour went on for days, even after nothing was left in my stomach.  The slightest movement of my head made me sick, so I was afraid to move.

How many days it lasted I don’t recall, just that I had to take unpaid leave from my job because I couldn’t handle anything: food, smells, even walking to the bathroom.  I could not take a shower without getting sick.

I could not do housework at all.  I’m not a lazy housekeeper: My diligence has been noted by many.  I can’t stand lying around all day, either.  This was forced on me by my condition.

This is like the worst stomach flu you have ever had, which had you crawling on the floor, camped out in the bathroom, or lying in your bed, never letting up even right after you have just vomited.  Only it does not go away in a few days.

Would you call someone a slacker, drama queen, or whiny for staying in bed all day for the stomach flu?

A package of Target clothes arrived while I was sick.  Even the sight of that made me sick.  I’d think of the beautiful clothes inside, and feel sick.  I was forced to return them, because even saving them for later was impossible.

As the days passed, I began thinking, “I’m so hungry!” in plaintive cries, because I had no nourishment.  I lost weight rapidly.  I even thought about abortion, even though I oppose it, because I feared my life depended on it.

My doctor took me seriously, and when all the other remedies did not work (I even threw up the Emetrol), he prescribed Zofran.  Almost immediately, I recovered enough that I got up and cleaned the house.  The next day, I went back to work.

Far longer than you’re supposed to get morning sickness, I still had to take the Zofran.  I would try to get off it because it was getting harder and harder to get the insurance company to pay for it, and without insurance it would be $500!!!  But then I’d start puking again, and have to go back on it.

The symptoms finally abated later in the pregnancy, in the fifth month, I believe.  I went off the Zofran and did not vomit again.

But I still often felt nauseated.  Even the newspaper and computer smelled so weird that I could not be near them for long.  I kept thinking I smelled a gas leak, even though professionals came in and confirmed there was none.

Fortunately, though, I was well enough to keep up with the housework and other things.  My mom was surprised at how much energy I had in my final months of pregnancy.  If not for early intervention, things may not have gone so well.

All the symptoms finally went away after the birth.  My son was large (10 lbs 6 oz), but healthy, so I have no complaints about using Zofran during pregnancy.

But there are many women for whom even Zofran and other medications are not enough.

This is no laughing matter.  This is not just weak women who can’t deal with morning sickness like everybody else does.

Nobody made fun of me or accused me of whining, so this is not personal.

My anger is for the sake of the many women who have been treated like “It’s all in your head, you princess, so get out of bed and make dinner for your hungry kids.”  (And, well, the effects of heightened smells can often make it impossible for a pregnant woman to cook.)

Some other websites and blogs on this:

Like Ressler, she now had other children to care for. But she was so sensitive to smell — and scent was so distorted to her — that she could not bear to be near her daughters.

“Their skin smelled like old, and their breath smelled like Korean food,” Kemp remembers. “Their diapers sent me over the edge.”

She abandoned a looming book deadline, hired two babysitters to cover the hours when her husband was at work and sequestered herself on the third floor with a 24-hour IV nutrition line.

Every night, she says, her family “ate sandwiches in the basement. They were not allowed to cook anything. If they cut an onion, I could smell it three flights up.”

…Kemp gave serious thought to terminating the pregnancy. “My doctor told me, ‘Some people abort at this stage. If you can’t take any more of this, you can abort.’”

After spending time on message boards filled with fellow sufferers — some of whom had terminated, others who did not — she decided to continue with the pregnancy. –Lisa Belkin, Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy Sheds Light on Rare Condition

 

Given the Gawker mandate to be glib and ruthless, whether or not they know what they’re talking about, I won’t pretend to be shocked by a dashed-off remark in Monday’s post on Kate Middleton’s pregnancy:

The Palace also reported that Kate was admitted to the hospital today with “hyperemesis gravidarum,” which is what they call regular old morning sickness when you are a princess.

Nor, for more or less the same reasons, was it surprising to watch the ladies of “The View” dismiss the duchess’s condition with a flurry of bubbly interruptions, ignoring a nurse’s earnest response to Barbara Walters’ half-hearted question about whether HG is serious:

“It can be,” the nurse said sheepishly. (In an open letter to the duchess, HG sufferer Betsy Shaw gives Kate “permission to slap” Walters.)

I have no idea whether Kate has HG or not. But the fact remains that it can be a brutal, crippling condition that goes largely ignored and untreated, partly due to its overlap with ordinary pregnancy sickness and partly to our attitude toward suffering and the suffering of pregnant women in particular.

…Some days are good. [My wife] can have a conversation, manage a strained laugh, maybe even take a walk. She’s still nauseated at every moment, but maybe she makes it through the day without vomiting. Which does happen.

Other days, and these tend to be strung together, she can barely sit up, and just the effort of having a conversation makes her shudder and rush to the bathroom, retching all the way.

Even the quality of the vomiting is different. Violent and persistent, it can often resemble drowning, particularly when it becomes so painful and scary that it’s interrupted by moans and cries.

Last month, I forgot to eat breakfast before taking some vitamins and found myself over the toilet. After a few terrible minutes of nausea the pills came up and I felt better almost immediately. A few minutes of nausea.

One of the cruelest parts of HG is that vomiting provides zero relief; you feel just as bad as the moment before. –Evan Derkacz, True Story: My Wife Has HG

 

Less than a week after Thanksgiving, I ate the last meal I have eaten up to this point. I was seven weeks pregnant. Three days later, I was hospitalized for 11 days.

During my hospital stay I was given IV fluids and several of the medications most frequently prescribed for HG — Zofran and Reglan — through my IV.

One day after several nurses attempted eight times to put in a new IV, the doctors decided to give me a PICC line, essentially a permanent IV in my upper arm, since it was obvious I would need long-term IV hydration and medication.

Although I was still unable to eat more than a few bites of food at a time, and only occasionally would they stay down, I was discharged.

Now at home I receive home health care where a nurse visits several times a week to check on me and change the dressing on my PICC line. I am also on a pump that gives me a continuous flow of Zofran through a subcutaneous needle inserted in my stomach.

Because I have a strong needle phobia, my husband has to stab me with the needle every other day, as well as administer the different bags of medicine and fluids because I am too weak to change them myself.

I have two daughters, ages 4 and 19 months. HG has taken me from them, although they do not understand why. Mommy lies in bed all day and cannot play with them.

I can barely muster up energy to read a book before bed with each of them, although I try to do at least that to stay close to them. –Alexa Davidson Suskin, What it really feels like to have HG (I especially recommend this article because she goes into graphic detail, far more than I did, about what exactly is suffered)

 

Just because you’re a duchess doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to be miserable. Pregnancy is a blessing, yes, but no one can feel blessed when they can’t keep even a sip of water down.

Be patient with yourself. The gratitude will return and that baby will know you love him or her, despite all your misery.

It’s perfectly normal to feel like tearing the eyeballs out of every well-meaning, yet clueless, person who advises you to eat crackers, drink ginger ale, try Sea-Bands, crystalized ginger, lemonade, gentle exercise, etc.

It’s also normal to be haunted by thoughts about termination: Hearing your doctor tell you she can make you feel more comfortable but cannot actually take the HG away, the only thing that can make it go away is to not be pregnant, can be a heavy, heavy burden.

Take the drugs the doctor offers and try your best not to feel guilty about it. We all feel guilty about it. And know that many of us who have survived HG report back that, despite our worst fears, our babies are perfectly normal and fine. Just fine. — Betsy Shaw, Dear Kate: I feel your HG pain

 

Most affected women have numerous episodes of vomiting throughout the day with few if any symptom-free periods, especially during the first three to four months. This leads to significant and rapid weight loss, dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and nutritional deficiencies often requiring hospitalization.

If prolonged or more severe and not treated promptly, these can lead to kidney or liver damage. Numerous complications, some of which can be life-threatening are possible without adequate medical intervention. –Her, Diagnosis

 

Also, this website has information and support forums for HG sufferers.

This episode of Dr. Phil describes HG.  I missed this when it aired, however, because I no longer watched the show in 2007.

 

Reflecting on A Year Ago….

In preparation for the third Hobbit movie, my family has been watching the previous two installments.  Tonight, we saw movie #2.  As Bilbo went up against the dragon, I remembered where I was last year as I watched this in the theater:

I was just beginning to revise and re-post the story of Richard and Tracy.  I saw my depression, Richard’s betrayal, my loss of a best/close friend (Richard) because of this, discovering that my spiritual mentor (Richard) was never actually my friend, loneliness, doubts about God, and Tracy’s bullying and abuse, as the Dragon.

I was Bilbo fighting it, wondering how I would ever get out of it.  I was Bilbo telling my story now, so others can know what happened and glean their own lessons from it, for fighting their own dragon.

Tonight, as I watched the dragon again, and little Bilbo finding his courage to fight goblins, Gollum and the dragon, I realized that those feelings were no longer in my head.

(I also noted that I could understand people’s expressions much better now.  As a child/teenager, I often said I preferred books so I could find out what people were thinking.  Now I can see it better.)

Sure my story is still about the dragon I had to face with courage and fortitude.  But it is now a story that is done, just as Bilbo could relate his story years later without the fear he once felt as the events took place.

The dragon has been slain.  The depression is gone, nothing now but a distant memory, not even a recent one anymore.

The loneliness still comes up now and again, but is diminished because I am building various friendships and acquaintances at various levels now.

Somebody in the writer’s group called me his friend, and he and his dad cry out welcomes when I come in.  The president said he likes my quiet and respectful demeanor, and there is no reason to change that because some people don’t understand it.

Richard’s betrayal only stings a little bit now.  It still leaves me with sadness at times, but more and more over the years since, I have realized the magnitude not only of his betrayal, but of his deceptions.  I see only too clearly the Pharisee behind the false piety.

I just plain don’t care anymore.

Just as I used to feel so hurt after severed relationships that I wanted to die, but eventually, I forgot all about that person, and moved on.  I might e-mail an ex occasionally or friend him on Facebook, but all the pain, hurt and even desire for his company, is gone.

Just as I was sad when my former boss left the company in a spectacularly bad fashion, and I missed him, but now I barely ever think of him.  Especially after I found out his wife divorced him for being abusive, and he went to jail for threatening and violent behavior.

I still have many doubts about God, and often about Orthodoxy as well, but I have stayed put in my church.

In it are people, services and events connecting me to this church, as they have begun to depend on my husband and me for many things: Bible readings, making candles, running the website, washing dishes at Greekfest, etc.

I feel that if I left, many people would be not only disappointed, but in the lurch.

I was once scared of Tracy.  This is why I never spoke up to her face about her abuses of others or her treatment of me.  This is why I did not stand up when she smacked her toddler upside the head, or started yanking/spanking/slapping/screaming at two little girls who had done absolutely nothing wrong.

I feared what she would do to me if I did speak up.  This is why I went into a tailspin of fear after she found my blog, threatened and began stalking me.

Now I no longer fear her.

Heck, now she’s become more of a symbol to me than a real person: a symbol of a pathetically self-deceived abuser who tries to force everyone to see her as what she wishes she were.  But instead of fear and loathing, now I feel something else:

Sometimes, it’s a laugh at how pitiful her antics were, at her pathetic attempts to be superior and keep others under her control, at how obvious she was.

Sometimes, it’s fascination at how someone can act the way she does, as I study the Cluster B disorders which obviously drive her behavior, no longer as an abuse victim but like a curious scientist.

But it’s a feeling which is oddly divorced from the fact that her abuses happened to me.  It’s not forgiveness exactly, but more like when you’ve watched a movie: You feel pain, anger, joy, etc., while watching the movie, as if you were the characters.

But when the movie is over, these emotions are now detached from you because it was only a movie, and the characters live only in one’s imagination.

In my case, the events and things I described really happened, and they happened to me, but when I revise old posts or remember something, I feel as if it were only a movie I watched once long ago.

Basically, the same way I feel when revising or writing memoirs about abuse or other things.

If these people ever repent of what they did, my Orthodox faith compels me to forgive.  So I have one little window perpetually open for that, never closing it because that could condemn me to Hell. 

I know they will read this, and just want to be clear on that in case–maybe twenty or thirty years from now–they reflect on their actions and feel remorse out of fear of Hell. 

But forgiveness does NOT necessarily mean restoring friendship.  I no longer have that pull toward Richard which would make me desire friendship in the least.

But the healing has finally come, without forgiveness.  The moving on.  The dismissal of all former feelings of fear and sadness, with no trace left over.  Like when every last bit of snow is finally gone mid-spring, even from the mall parking lot.

The dragon is gone and nothing is left but the gold.

 

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