Sunny Days in DC

Jack of All Trades, Master of 3-ish.

This is what an asthma attack feels like…

On Friday, I woke up from a nap with a little bit of a tickle in my throat. I figured maybe my throat was just dry, but no matter how much water I drank, that little tickle wouldn’t go away.

For those who don’t know, Friday night was the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. Generally, if you’re in good health and not pregnant, you fast for 25 hours. I was expecting to fast, and then write a loooooooooooooong bitchy post about how much it sucked. But anyway, before we fast, most people go out to a big dinner. The husband and I went to a Chinese restaurant in Dublin. The door was open to let in the evening breeze, which should have been lovely, except for the smokers out front. 

“Should I ask them to close the door?” I asked. Which was stupid. Why didn’t I just GET UP AND CLOSE THE FUCKING DOOR?! But I didn’t. I started coughing in the restaurant. As we walked back, that tickle in my throat moved down into my lungs, and I started coughing non-stop.

I know how people view folks with asthma. We’re all short and we breathe heavy, and we can’t play in sports with the other kids. The stereotype is pretty well personified in an episode of South Park, where a Jewish asthmatic kid comes to visit. The thing is, for most of us, it drives us crazy. I remember being a little girl and just WANTING to go run and play, and never understanding why I was always sick. It was humiliating to explain to the other kids why I was wheezing or why I couldn’t get over a cold as quickly as they could. And I think, until fairly recently, that might have even been how my husband viewed it. He’d never REALLY seen me in full on asthma mode, because as much as it may have impacted his life before (read: not all that much, really), I had managed to keep it under control.

But this is Europe. People smoke. People smoke in the US, too, but for some reason my asthma has gotten worse here.

So there we were, Friday night. I’m trying to maintain a conversation, and at some point I stop even trying. Then I stopped walking. Finally, I collapsed onto the ground, coughing and gasping.

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Some folks stopped, and helped us into a cafe where I was able to get a coke (little known trick: if you’re ever with an asthmatic who has lost their inhaler and they’re having an attack, caffeine will slow the attack until you can get serious help). We sat there as my coughing subsided. My husband must have asked me 4 or 5 times if we should go to an ER, but I wanted to get Max home to bed. It wouldn’t do my asthma any good if I was panicking because he was screaming and exhausted.

So here we are now. It’s Monday. I couldn’t see anyone over the weekend because I think the clinics were closed, so I’ve had this low-level ongoing attack for four days.

You know how you’ll see an ad from time to time, and they liken an attack to trying to breathe through a straw? Maybe that’s how it is for some people, but for me, it’s worse. I cough and cough, because my chest tightens. Then I get thirsty, but no matter how much I drink I still feel dehydrated. That’s because my bronchial tubes start filling with fluid. Is this gross? I can’t tell. It moves down into my lungs, and I cough and cough, but no matter how hard I try, I just feel like I’m drowning inside my own body. It’s horrible. It’s horrible, and humiliating, and I wish I didn’t have it. People ask me why I am just NOW thinking about weaning Max, at 15 months. You know why? Because if there is ANY chance that extended breast feeding would mean that he didn’t have to collapse on the street of a foreign city, not knowing when he would be able to catch his breath, I will fucking do it. I’ll nurse the shit outta this kid. I’ll eat fucking goji berries or whatever else. 

So that’s my deep dark secret. That’s my weakness and humiliation. I have another 35 months in a country I really enjoy, but may be slowly killing me.

 

 

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Let’s all write about suicide! WEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I get it. I do. September is Suicide awareness month, and also the Bloggess (if you REALLY needed that link, you are a naughty little blogger indeed!) has written something on it, and I believe everyone’s favorite terrifying Le Clown may have touched on the topic as well. So I understand. Most people don’t blog because their lives are SO amazing that they feel the need to share the awesome with the rest of the world, though I hope some folks do.

I personally started this blog because I needed an outlet for my rage and pain. I had actually written to the Bloggess at this point in my life, and told her how fucked up everything was for me, and how I didn’t know what to do. I had a new baby, and absolutely zero way to financially provide for him.

“That’s nothing!” you might say to yourself, but we all have our own demons, and mine looks a lot like poverty.

So here is my token Suicide post:

Don’t. Just don’t. Suicide solves nothing and it ends nothing, other than the opportunity for things to get better.

At my darkest, I thought my son might be better off without me. A little voice whispered in my ear, “but what if he needs you later on, and you’re not there?”

You may think no one does, but SOMEONE needs you. Don’t take yourself away from them.

So far, you have a 100% win rate of surviving shitty days. That’s a pretty fucking awesome track record. If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m her. Legit. I am. The Bloggess was there for me, so I am paying that shit forward. I’ll even give you my Irish cell phone number, and you can call me in the middle of the night, because I have a toddler so I’m always up anyway! I’ll tell you stories about how I cluck like a chicken and moo like a cow in the playground to make my son laugh, and how other moms will back away slowly from me. Good times.

So there you go. I’m gonna have some chocolate now.

#FuckDepression

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My very first Irish panic attack: tastes like ‘Merica!

Of the settlement money I received when my lawsuit ended, I was supposed to save HALF for taxes, just in case. That shouldn’t have been hard for a normal fucking person, but my husband and I had just decided to move to a country in recession because life hates when things go easily for me. This morning, the husband and I looked at our bank account, and realized we had 1/4 of the settlement left.

Gentle readers, this takes us back to where I was when I first started writing this blog. Jobless. At home. Watching our bank accounts dwindle. It’s all very Circle of Life.

So now we get to the crux of it. When I first moved over here with my husband, I said that I would stay as long as financially possible. It’s been a month. I don’t know whether I should stay on and continue to look for a job, or move back to the States and try from there. What I do know is that we can’t sustain my being unemployed much longer.

The other day, I told my friend that I was giving this whole deal until October. If I haven’t found a job by then, I told her, I’ll have to move back. She felt I should extend my search time frame and cut myself some slack. But for those of us who have been unemployed and struggled not for weeks, not for months, but struggled for YEARS to get back on our feet and put a roof over the heads of our children, it’s not about just being proud of the progress you’ve made on the SEARCH. I need a JOB. I need money. I need to be able to pay the bills and get out of the house and not feel like I’m circling the drain AGAIN.

I don’t know, you guys. Do I stay? Do I go? But how much longer can we keep this up? How many more posts are y’all willing to read about my being unemployed, again? But I can’t complain too much; I agreed to move here… let’s see what my next move will be.

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I don’t speak their language, and also I am now eating cheese. Lots of cheese.

I’ve moved to Ireland, which is a nice way of saying, “HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” We were here about a week before we found an apartment (YAY!), and I was in the apartment about two weeks before I forced every mother, nanny, and random homeless woman on the playground to be my friend and show me where all the cool babies hang out. That’s right: when charm doesn’t work, I simply force you to be nice to me with my American/Jedi mind trick of offering cookies. Anyway, it worked, and Max and I hit up the local church (there’s GOBS of churches around here, you guys!) to get some quality toddler time in. Then Max pooped himself, we all sang songs (not about the poop, that would be weird), and Max passed out in a wee little toddler stupor on our way home. Mommy-win. HUZZAH! I am a stay at home mom who is no longer forced to actually STAY AT HOME.

But that’s not why you read this blog. You read it to hear the stories of the time I accidentally-on purpose flashed our tour-guide my nipples, and yelled at a half naked man on the street, and I’m not even sure why I yelled at him, because I can’t be entirely positive he was saying anything mean to me. So, let’s get into that, shall we?

After the aforementioned orgy of toddlers and toys and Barney (oh my!), Max took his afternoon nap. We had a lovely lunch of noodles and sardines (don’t judge me), and I was all, “F THIS! It’s a nice day out! We’re going to the park, kid!” and he was all, “Fuck yeah, mommy!!!” “kitty.” So I strapped him into the stroller/buggy/pram, and off we went to the park in what I can legit call some SERIOUS heat. I thought Ireland was supposed to have MILD weather! Whatever. As I turned a corner, there was this sunbathing beauty on his front lawn. And by that, I mean the man was easily in his 70’s with nipples the size of silver dollars. Since it was eleventy-billion degrees and I had burst into flames no fewer than four times since leaving the house, I had taken off my SWEATER that I had put on that morning when it was cold enough to see my breath. I was wearing a dress, so I’m not sure what the deal is, but I assume the sight of my pale flesh offended the man, although to be honest I have no idea what he yelled at me because I speak a language called ENGLISH and he yelled something at me that I can only assume was a dialect of fucking KLINGON.

“OH YEAH?!” I yelled back, because I’m a New Yorker so I do that, “Well why don’t you go slap a bra on those man-boobs?!”

Let’s all take a moment to wonder why the Diplomatic Corps refused my application, shall we?

Moving on, I located a cheese monger in Dublin. Yes, I WILL allow you a moment to giggle at the 21st century use of the word MONGER. I also have a FISH MONGER near me. I giggle constantly at that. Anyway, I went to my cheese monger and asked for Irish goat or sheep cheese.

Fact 1: Did you know Irish cheese is DELICIOUS?! Because: yes. So, SO much yes.

Fact 2: Did you know I have zero will power and the only reason I am not currently FINISHING off all the cheese I bought two days ago is because I need both hands to type? I am going to be ten thousand pounds when I leave this country. My husband and son will be able to ride me as a floatation device. If we sail home, I’ll have to worry about orcas trying to mate with me.

Also, I have to line-dry all my clothes like I’m in a Charles Dickens novel. DAMN YOU, EUROPE! YOU TAKE ALL THE GOOD CHOCOLATE, BUT YOU HAVE SHITTY LAUNDRY SERVICES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY???

P.S. my posts will most likely, almost certainly, just maybe get better. Although they may not. No promises. Read at your own peril. I’m going to eat some cheese.

20 Comments »

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