When I was little one of my favorite books was Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. In the book Alexander has a string of bad luck including such tough events as slipping on his skateboard, being stuck in the back on carpool, losing his best friend, and no desert with lunch. Alexander wishes he could go to Australia and be rid of his bad day.
The thing I enjoy most about the book is there is no happy ending to the day or ice cream cone to make everything better. It simply says:
“My mom says days are like that…even in Australia.”
Isn’t it the truth? There are some days that just stink and where everything feels hard. I think it is great to let kids know they are OK if they have a bad day.
Today was a bad day for me. It actually started last night where my wicked sinus troubles turned into a full-blown ear infection. My ears hurt like I was descending on an airplane and they were about to burst. Luckily I had some old drops from a previous ear infection and that helped alleviate some of the pain. Nevertheless, it was hard to sleep.
Naturally I woke up cranky and less than rested. I had such visions for the week. I was going to train every day and be a wiz in the pool for the upcoming meet on Saturday. Then the meet was going to propel me towards glory in the Slam the Dam race in Vegas next Saturday.
I was caught up with most work projects and was looking forward to a productive, fulfilling work-week as well as a number of social activities. Then Saturday, the sore throat came, Sunday the cough and by Monday I was a snot-filled, wheezing machine.
“Take the day off Monday. You’ll bounce back”. I said with great optimism. Now Thursday is fast approaching and no training has been done. I am totally unprepared for the meet on Saturday (if I get to attend at all) and my work-week has been thin at best. (Let’s just say its a miracle I work from home and have been able to squeeze my hours in. )
I also missed church, FHE, visiting teaching, voice lessons, 3 sessions with various trainers and anything else that would be uplifting or exciting during the week. Most importantly I went without crucial training time that I really needed to be ready for my events. Instead, I’ve spent the last 5 days sniffling through a box of tissues until my nose is raw and sore and watching Toddlers and Tiaras and wondering ‘why anyone who isn’t sick watches these shows?’
So as you can imagine it was a cranky, sore and stuffy Rachel that went to the doctors this morning and as always they were thoroughly unhealthful, unsympathetic and ponderous but provided me with the most-needed prescriptions. I was on my way.
This is where I made a fatal error. Last week I had been to my OBGYN who had given me a medicine that is not covered by insurance. She recommended I fill the prescription at Costco so I decided to fill all 3 of mine today, including the antibiotic. After spending over $200 (I always do at Costco! ) and waiting over an hour (20 minutes my foot!) I finally got my prescriptions and $196 later I was out the door. Did the Costco employees box my stuff up like they usually do? No. I had to find boxes myself.
Luckily I had some help loading my car which of course was a block away in the massive Costco parking lot. By the time I got home I was exhausted but could I rest, no. I had to lug all of the perishables up to my 2nd story apartment without any assistance (Downside to living alone…).
After 3 trips to the car and back I began to put items in the fridge and freezer. Unfortunately in my haste to be done I inadvertently left the freezer door open and WHACK! My head and the door met in a loud crack. Let’s just say while there may not be a concussion, a goose egg there most definitely will be. With a slam I packed the rest of the perishables in the door and cried.
I, like Alexander, wonder why does everything have to be so freakin hard? Why can’t I just lose weight like a normal person? How come Jennifer Hudson can lose 100 lbs in a year and have a baby while I am still 262 with PCOS, pre-diabetes, a painful ear infection and a head that’s throbbing like one of those old Looney Toon cartoons after a character gets hit with an anvil?
I also have no relationship or even a dating life (although how one develops a dating life is beyond me! What does that even mean? Please someone tell me what living in a dating life is like? How does anyone actually get together, and even more so, how do all these plus size girls I know meet people? I find it so difficult and losing the 50 lbs hasn’t helped one bit. In a way, it is easier to be fat and single because at least they aren’t rejecting me for my personality or so I thought…)
In addition, I’m going through money like it is candy (Whoever said exercise/healthy living is cheap is insane. Since the beginning of August I have spent at least $750 on my 2 trainers, equipment, entry fees, and that doesn’t include my gym membership or medical expenses. Not to mention the added expenses healthy eating adds (most of the time at least)). I don’t have debt but I never seem to be able to save!
Its like I’m a cliched character at the beginning of a romantic comedy except without the sarcastic best friend or the boy who secretly likes me but ‘we’re just friends’.
I just want to swim in my race and do my best. Is that too much to ask? I’m reminded of one of my favorite books by Norah Ephron called I Feel Bad About My Neck. In one section entitled Exercise she says:
“I would like to be in shape. I have a friend who gets up every morning at 5 am and essentially does a triathlon. I’m not exaggerating. She is Ironwoman…A few summers ago I decided to do some swimming, and within a week I had swimmer’s ear. Have you ever had it? It’s torture…My own theory about Van Gogh is that he cut off his ear because he’d made the mistake of taking up swimming…”
She goes on
“I myself swing between two universes. I spend time getting into shape; then something breaks, and then I spend time recovering and then something new breaks. So far, in the breakage department I have managed the following: I pulled my lower back doing sit ups; I threw out my right hip on the treadmill; I got shin splints from jogging and I entirely destroyed my neck just from rolling over in bed. ”
“A few years ago I made the mistake of confusing the movie Chicago with an exercise video. It was, without question, the greatest exercise video I have ever had. I could lift weights forever while watching it. For the first time in my exercising life, I was never bored….But after 3 weeks I woke up one morning in horrible pain and I couldn’t move my arms. ”
“Millions of dollars in doctor’s fees later, it turned out that I had not one but two frozen shoulders, the result of lifting too many weights for far too long. It took 2 years for those frozen shoulders to mostly thaw, and in the meantime, I had pretty much resigned myself to the prospect of never being able to scratch my own back…But I am now exercising again. I have a trainer. I have a treadmill. I have my TV set over the treadmill. I exercise almost 4 hours a week and I would rather be in Philadelphia (although not in labor!).”
There is something cathartic about reading her words because while I (knock on wood) am not prone to broken bones, it seems the pantheon of other illnesses is awakened when I set a goal or try to push myself in my training.
When I was in college two of my friends entered the St. George Marathon and upon proudly finishing they had to be sent to the hospital for an IV and treatment. I always found it such a hollow victory when they would say ‘at least we made it to the end’.
Now I get it. If I am in that race October 1st and they take me to the hospital after I finish it will be a victory- at least I will have ‘made it to the end’. All of Satan’s minions could try to keep me from that race, but I will swim if it kills me. Ok. Maybe not kill me, but still, I get the victory of their hospital-lain achievement and it’s certainly going to take A LOT for me to give up.
Setting and keeping goals is tough because life gets messy. People have no idea how hard it is to get into shape and on days like these I wish the ‘fat haters’ could walk in my shoes, and feel how I feel especially when they are prone to criticize the obese and heavy. It’s really hard and the days of agony far outweigh the days of fulfillment. That’s the way it is.
As Alexander’s mom says “Some days are like that”…
To having a better day tomorrow, to antibiotics working, and to being able to complete my goals somehow, someway. Thank you everyone for your friendship, love and prayers.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest I am going to watch Survivor and the premieres of Modern Family and The Middle- yeah! Premiere week! On days like this I love TV! (Except for Toddlers and Tiara’s- it will only make you feel bad about the world!)
I also understand that in the scope of human travails mine are at the bottom of the totem pole but as my aunt Chris once said in a prayer ‘Our problems are small but they are difficult for us and we need help”.