This week has been Too Much.

This has been a crazy week…


Things started to escalate on Tuesday, when I had an appointment with the diabetes nurse at my HMO. She seems kinda impressed that I’m managing the diabetes without medication and without even testing my blood sugars, which means that this interaction was much better than our previous meetings.

I mentioned to her that I think I’m addicted to sugar, as I can’t stop eating it (cookies, donuts, cheesecake, cannoli…) even though I KNOW it’s bad for me. She said that many people are addicted to sugar, and she suggested that I do a sugar detox to change my taste buds so I don’t want the sugars any more. She gave me an article to read that detailed a sugar detox; “Go cold turkey (protein & non-starchy veg only) for three days. Then you can add a dairy and a fruit back in…”

My response to the article was “Three days is nothing. I’d need to be cold turkey for like, three weeks.”

And then I started making a plan for this sugar detox, which will likely happen at some point, but I’d like to run the plan past both my nutritionist and my primary care first, just so everyone’s on the same page.

The emotional part of this is that I enjoy sugary things, and I will have to deprive myself of things I like to better my health. And that’s hard to wrap my head around, because there have been times where there was so few things that brought me any happiness at all, and now I’m reluctant to give up anything that increases my happiness quotient. (This is, of course, the addiction talking, and logically I know that kicking it will be better for me… and this is apparently a cyclical explanation. You get the idea.)


On Wednesday, I was supposed to have a one-on-one meeting with my supervisor; the bosses like to have these every two weeks to check in with you on progress, etc. (Personally I think that once a month would be enough, but I’m not the boss.). Only mine wasn’t a one-on-one, it was two-on-one, as the boss-man (my supervisor’s boss’s boss, who oversees a few different teams) was sitting in. When the person who hired you sits in on a random private meeting, it tends to not bode well…

My supervisor started by recapping what we’d talked about last time, how one of my personal goals is to pay down my student loans, because I know that having them hanging over me is going to prevent me from doing a lot of things that I want to do (such as traveling). She then asked me to fill in the boss-man on my plan & progress.

A bit of background info here: I’ve done 8 years of undergrad, yielding a BA in Math and an AS in Engineering, and I was working on a BS in Engineering/Environmental Science when I withdrew for health reasons. So I have a private loan (at 9.66%) and lots of Federal loans (between 3.4% and 6.8%); they sum to about $53,000. At the rate that I’ve been paying my private loan ($150/month, even when I was unemployed) it’ll take me about 13 years to pay that sucker off. My Federal loans are on an income based repayment plan, and because I’ve been consistently so poor my required payments are currently $0, though some of them are accruing interest. … MATH.

So I explain to the boss-man what the deal is. He asks what my take-home pay is like per month (about $1200), and then asks me what my bills are that I’ve been spending it on. THEN, he spends at least half an hour lecturing me about what he thinks I should do to pay off my loans. His plan included:

  • NOT getting an apartment (continuing to live with my dad, despite being almost 30)
  • Draining most of the savings I’ve built up since starting my job in March: leaving $600 “for emergencies” and using the rest to pay down some of my private loan
  • Getting a second job on the weekends and putting that income straight to the loans
  • Somehow living on only $200/month, and putting the other $1000 take-home straight to the private loan and it’d be paid off in a year
  • Maybe considering putting my cat down, because her healthcare is expensive

So I have to sit through this gods-awful lecture, trying my best to not cry in front of my bosses. Then they bring up my work performance.

A bit more background: I schedule trucks to deliver product from vendors (Hershey, Kraft, Hormel, etc.) to my company’s warehouses. The trucking companies request the appointment online, and it pops into the queue to be scheduled, sorted by which facility it’s going to. (We call those “webs,” for web-requests.) We have a 2-hour turnaround time for webs, and every two hours my supervisor runs a report that lists how many webs are pending, how many are over 2 hours old, and which facilities they’re for. Apparently my facilities always have the most webs pending, which says to my bosses that I’m not pulling my weight with the team. (Personally, I think their data is skewed. Like, what are the web flow rates (how many webs come into each building)? Because I’m pretty sure half the problem is that I have the busiest facilities.)

Anyway, the boss-man thought I was over-thinking the scheduling of each web. I had to correct him, “No, I’m easily distracted.” Which is true; between the noise in the office and my body being uncomfortable sitting for so long, it is hard to focus. (Another problem is that in the web browser of my mind, there’s always at least 5 tabs open at all times, and it’s easy to distract myself when I’m bored… Which is pretty often at work….)

The meeting culminated in talk that sounded to me like, “We really like you & we like having you on the team, but you need to start doing better with your webs or we’ll fire you.”

And then I had to go back to work for another 2 hours after this meeting ended.

After work I rushed home, gave my cat her medication, and made dinner. At the end of dinner I was literally almost done cleaning up when my stepmother came home and Dad said, “You need to do that somewhere else,” essentially kicking me out of the kitchen. Gods forbid I spend 30 seconds in the kitchen finishing my dinner while you guys are starting yours.

Naturally I cried when I got back to my room, but I couldn’t indulge long because I had to get to the dance hall before 7 because I had the cash box for taking money at the door. And then, I was stuck at the hall on clean up afterward and didn’t get home until 11:30 pm. And then I passed out for six hours and woke up on Thursday to go back to work…


Thursday was emotionally / spiritually hard. I listened to my iPod all day, and I think I did alright on my webs, but no one acknowledged that I was doing better or trying harder or anything. I felt like I was suffocating, turning into a drone. I left work, picked up the farm share, went to the bank to make the deposit for the dance, and went home. I might have cried a bit, I don’t remember.


Anyway, what I’m trying to get at here is that it was kinda a crap week. Any one of these things would have been enough to deal with on its own, but all of them at once is excessive. Also, despite me working here since March, my boss clearly has no idea who I am yet.

  • I have to get an apartment & move out. Not only is it LONG past time I do so, but 1) my dad is selling the house in the next year, 2) my stepbrother is getting out of prison soon & I don’t want him knowing where I live, and 3) my abusive ex-boyfriend still knows where I live, as I haven’t moved since we were dating.
  • $600 is not emergencies. An emergency is my cat spending three days in the hospital and I suddenly have $2500 in vet bills. $600 is not NEARLY enough to cover anything.
  • Getting a second job is plausible, I suppose. My excuses for not doing so are that I need time for things like exercising, snuggling my cat (gotta take advantage of the time we still have together), and house chores.
  • Living on $200/month is absurd. (I know some people do it, and I’m not putting them down. I’m explaining why I can’t do it.). I’m diabetic and I cannot live on meals of rice & beans. My other bills add up (phone $50, car insurance $35, YMCA membership $15), and that’s not including gas for my car. I’ve been poor. I honestly still consider myself poor. Why would I voluntarily make myself miserable?
  • Do not even think about suggesting I put my cat down. You would never suggest that a parent of a human child put their baby down just because their medical care wasn’t cheap. I have no intentions of parenting a human child; my cats are my children. This, was not acceptable.

</rant>

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Diabetes

So, as I believe I stated in the post on recent work changes, the new work schedule is not my natural rhythm.  To get to work by 8:30 I have to wake up by 6:15 am, and as it’s almost impossible for me to get to sleep before midnight, I have been perilously short on sleep.  Worknights (nights with work the next morning) I’ve been getting 5-6 hours of sleep, and that isn’t really balanced by 9-10 hours the remaining nights.

And that lack of sleep, combined with a low tolerance for people, incited bad food and exercise choices.  Like, cheesecake and cookies for dinner, and not dancing because I was too tired.

Naturally, that all caught up with me.

Since the beginning of August I’ve gained about 15 pounds, and a recent blood test showed that I have early Type 2 diabetes.  Talk about a wake-up call.

I have a friend that I met through dancing who has diabetes.  A few years ago, she had half of her foot amputated; she calls it Frankenfoot now.  And since then, she’s had multiple multiple other surgeries, on her nerves and her eyes…!  I think she’s almost blind in one eye now.

That is NOT going to happen to me.

This mid-level terror going on in the background of my mind has inspired me to start making lifestyle changes:

  • Severely limiting my sugars.  A tiny slice of my best friend’s birthday cake was my sugar ration for the week.  And I’ve switched to dark chocolate; you have no idea how helpful it is mitigating the wild mood swings and fiery internal rages I feel while trying to kick this sugar addiction.  It is really really hard to say NO to myself after an exhausting day when I know a cannoli will instantly make me feel better.
  • More activity.  I’ve started staying later at dances, taking more walks, and am trying to find a regular time to go swimming.  My Fitbit does help, and my bestie is working on a YMCA membership so we can be gym buddies.
  • More protein.  I have a pile of various meats in the fridge now.  I just need to make sure I eat them before they go bad.  But protein helps keep me full and energized.

And according to the bathroom scale I use, since I was diagnosed I’ve lost about four pounds.  Also, the skin lesion on my lower shin has greatly improved (hey, I’ll take any signs of improvement).

I have an appointment Tuesday morning with the diabetes specialist at my HMO.  She seems to be under the impression that I have been and/or am willing & able to test my blood sugars regularly.  I don’t think she quite understands the lengths I’m willing to go to to get out of having to prick my finger every day.  Thinking about it gives me anxiety; The last time I watched a needle draw blood I passed out, and it wasn’t even me getting bloodwork done!  Also, when I have my iron tested before donating blood, it Really Hurts.  I have sensitive fingertips.  I don’t think it’s a wise idea to ask someone with long-term depression to hurt themselves every day.  That can lead to Bad Things.  So I’m gonna lay down the law, and we’ll see what her response is.

My therapist was really supportive.  Apparently she’s got a strong family history of diabetes and knows how difficult it can be to manage.  She really liked my idea of using a planner to map out my exercise and dinner meals each week; I’m just waiting to run the idea past the diabetes nurse and my nutritionist before buying the planner.  (I also have been thinking about printing out inspirational exercise pics from Pinterest and taping them into the planner, to help keep me motivated.)  My therapist also suggested putting unsweetened cocoa powder into a banana smoothie with plain yogurt; I’m not a fan of plain yogurt, but if I can handle 88% dark chocolate I think I can deal with a not-very-sweet smoothie.

I’ve told my mom (and therefore my stepdad), my brother, and my bestie.  I also posted a message to my close friends on Facebook.  I have not told my dad or stepmother, as I fear they’ll have an “I told you so” reaction.  My mom’s reaction was “W.T.F.  Diet, and get back below 190.”  (Literally, that was her response via text.)  Diet, yes.  Lose weight, yes.  But I’d have to lose over 70 lbs to get that low, and I think that’s being incredibly unrealistic; Does she not know that I have more muscle than I did the last time I was that weight?  Usually my mom is really supportive, so I’m not sure what the deal is.  My friends have been pretty good about it, too.

So yeah.  Serious wake-up call.  I can’t believe I ever joked about this.  And I’ve advised my younger brother to get tested, even if just to establish a baseline.

Meesa back!

OMGosh, Blog, I’m so sorry I’ve neglected you for so long.  Life got banaynays (as it does), and while I’ve done some personal journaling in that time, I haven’t given any time to this Quest for Happiness blog.  I am here to fix that.