Friday, December 12, 2014

Step Out of Christmas

This was the attitude I had towards Christmas when I was young:

Weeee! Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa! Presents! A Charlie Brown Christmas! Rudolph! Frosty! My whole family together! Star Wars toys! Trying to stay awake at the midnight church service! My brother waking me up at 6am to play with all of  our new toys! Sunday school Christmas Programs! Snow in which to play! Daddy's firehouse Christmas party, where we'd all sit on Santa's lap and get a gift! Baby Jesus! It was all so thrilling.

As I matured, my attitude was more like this:

I wouldn't necessarily say I was growing cynical, but more realistic. My father was gone, and as families grew and married and split off, there was less of sense of gathering together, less joy. Less magic. I suppose that happens to everybody. But I still believed in miracles. I still got choked up singing "Silent Night" under candlelight at church, though we all got too tired to go to the midnight service anymore and went at like 7:00 pm. I figured out that Santa didn't exist. (I think when I broke the news to Luke about that, he was much younger, like 6, and I just said, "You do realize that there's no Santa and it's really your dad and me, right?" And Luke said something nonplussed like, "Yeah, I figured.") As Greg Lake closes "I Believe in Father Christmas," "The Christmas we get, we deserve." 


Once I had a child, I sort of got to relive all of that childhood wonder, except it all left me exhausted, because it was I (and my husband) who had to assemble all the toys from Santa in the middle of the night, but it was wonderful to see my son's eyes full of wonder and charm. He loved to help decorate the tree and would put all of the ornaments on the very bottom, almost toppling the tree over. He took away a lot of the disillusion I'd been feeling towards Christmas. I tried to keep that spark alive, if only for Luke's sake, even after the divorce. I'd try to fulfill his every wish and fantasy. I wanted Christmas to always be as special to him as a kid as it was to me. I did my best, even when the purse strings were really tight.

The entire time I dated Chris, I never once met his family or was invited over for a holiday. He was always welcome to come to our house for a meal, dessert or just to visit, and he'd met my family, but I was never invited over to his or his parents' house, as if I was some sort of embarrassment. The closest I got to people he knew was a stuffy New Year's Eve dinner with some of his old Northwestern cronies and their uptight, snooty spouses and one smart-mouth brat who magically disappeared into the transoms of nowhere. Nobody was nice to me and I felt like a total outcast. Meh, fuck 'em. But I always thought it was odd that in 3 1/2 years, I never met Chris' parents or his sister and only met his daughter once, as a "friend" of Chris'.

Our last New Year's Eve as a couple, he was having a dinner party at HIS apartment for all the aforementioned assholes, so I made plans with a girlfriend to go to a singles' party out in the suburbs. She met a guy and blew me off, so I stayed home alone and watched a Flaming Lips streaming concert on the internet lying on my bed. My son and mom were away. Granted, I gave my friend the go-ahead to dump me for the guy, but it was still a shitty time. My then-boyfriend, finding out I had no plans for NYE, didn't even extend a sympathy invitation to me? Are you starting to see why I hate the holidays?

My friends and I, who are NOT by ANY MEANS stuffy people, have always been very generous and inventive with one another at Christmastime, which results in smiles, imbibing and merriment. The kind of inventive merriment you don't need a PhD to understand. One friend in particular got extremely creative a couple of years ago and if you read my blog regularly, you'll find it around Christmas of 2012. 

Sadly, so very sadly, we're not friends anymore and that bums me out majorly this time of year, when I'm at least usually excited about picking out that special something for a special someone. I cry a lot. I am left singing something more along these lines:

Christmas is two weeks away. My health has been dangerously poor. I'm blown up like a puffer fish with water weight that just won't go away (the doctors call it "cyclical edema"). Too many diuretics fuck up your whole body, and aren't working to rid myself of the swelling. I had a residency weekend at school last weekend, and in walking too much and lugging around my 40 lb briefcase, I wrenched my already weighed down back and it's killing me. My right knee is totally swelled up and hurts like a son of a bitch. Pain management? The utterly useless Naproxen, which is literally the same ingredients and makeup of taking 2 Aleve. Not cutting it at all. I can barely walk and when I do, I can't catch my breath, so I'm double-dutying on the inhalers. I was in the ER on Sunday night (after the marathon school weekend) thinking I had congestive heart failure, I was so blown up and unable to breathe. I got an albuterol treatment and was sent home. 

Naturally, since I have a congenital heart condition already, I had 2 EKG's taken--one in the ambulance and one in the ER. My psychiatrist wanted a copy of the ER EKG to check for what are called QT intervals...something to do with the length of electrical impulses between heartbeats. I don't know. In any event, I have "Long QT Syndrome." Mine is bordering on moderate to severe. The ER wasn't looking for it. They were just checking to see if I was in normal sinus rhythm,which I was. But the psychiatrist knows to look for it because it is a huge risk factor in taking Geodon,especially for such a long time. All kinds of complications can arise from it, and you're not supposed to exert yourself physically at all or it can cause things like...well, sudden death. I wanted to exercise some of this weight away after the water weight is gone, but I can't even swim!! Isn't that cray-cray? I need to see an electrocardiologist, a specialized cardiologist. This is out of Guy's area of expertise. I tried texting him when I found out I had this disorder, but he didn't respond. I called his office and was referred back out to the electrocardiologist and that he, like her, was booked until February anyway. So nothing will be done about this life-threatening condition until mid-January. 

The holidays. Lots of suicides. Just have to keep thinking Luke, Luke, Luke, LUKE.

Not looking forward to family tension, people crabbing, who's bringing who to Christmas, how much indigestion I'll get, or if I'll keel over the whole shebang. I'm very, very depressed over the whole thing, and to boot, I still have school shit to finish up on and registration for next term to complete.

This leaves me with this musical sentiment, which is where I'm totally at right now: 

Keep the "ist" in Christmas and have some grog.
Hope your holidays are happier than mine will be.
But I've got my Luke, the best gift ever.