Brace yourselves. This is going to be a long journal entry. This covers a lot of background story of myself, which I will make sure to go in depth as I continue to write on this blog. But, for the time being, you will get the simple version of how messed up I really am.
So, let’s get started.
I am a college student. And, as most college students tend to obtain, I have a part-time job.
I work as a Kennel Technician and a Dog Bather at a local pet styling, boarding, and daycare facility. Most of the time, I work on the later shift to close, which is simply from 3pm-6pm where I clean up the bathing area, feed the cats and dogs that are boarding, walk them, clean cages, do laundry, dishes, and yada yada yada.
Yesterday, however, I was apparently a complete idiot. Though, I didn’t even know it until this morning.
It started when I was “Checking In” two boarders. The procedure to check in dogs that are coming to board with us is to check them for fleas with a force dryer, set them up whether they go in a crate or a nice suite, give them bedding and water, and put their belongings in a tote in the kitchen that says their name on it.
I did that – except, I didn’t realize that these two boarders (who are siblings) were supposed to go in SEPARATE suites.
The way we know that is by their boarding cards hanging on their cage when they first come in. Because these two were supposed to be separated, their cards said “Small Suite 4” and “Small Suite 6” to tell us that they aren’t supposed to be together.
However, somehow I mistook that “4” as a “6”. Even when I double checked.
And Triple checked.
All because I had a weird feeling that they weren’t supposed to be together. However, there’s two reasons why I was struggling to read those numbers correctly:
- I was moving so fast (my job is pretty fast-paced) and my mind flip-flopped that four and somehow it magically morphed into a six.
- I get a lot of weird symptoms every once in a while, such as mild dizziness, mild blurry or double vision (mostly when it comes to small letters and numbers), mild dyslexia that I never had before, heat sensitivity, and tunnel vision. All this combined? 4=6.
Thanks a lot, body.
Even after I walked the dogs, I kept getting that weird feeling. It wasn’t like these dogs were even showing a hint of negative behavior that suggested they were going to fight – it was just instinct. I even recognized that feeling, but chose to ignore it instead.
So, I put them in their suite together, finished everything else, got off work, and went home.
The next day, I get to work at seven in the morning, and it turns out that those two dogs had a fight last night. One of the dogs was bleeding everywhere: ears, jaw, neck, paws, belly. Not only was he covered in blood, but he was also covered in his own feces.
The good thing is, one of my co-workers who is also a Kennel Tech and a Bather just got accepted into vet school and knew exactly what to do and how to handle the situation. I wasn’t sure what I would do without out. Sure, I know how to stay calm in these situations and not freak out, but I still wouldn’t have any idea what to do.
Thankfully, this dog was going to be alright. His blood was clotting, which was a good sign, and he just seemed to be in shock. My supervisor and her boss took the dog to the emergency room after calling the owner, and all that was left was my guilt.
It was overwhelming. I absolutely hate that feeling. Irritability? Sure, I can deal with that. In fact, I would rather be pissed off than feel incredibly guilty. It didn’t help that it was ‘that time of the month’ and I was an emotional wreck, so I just couldn’t stop crying.
And man do I hate it when people can’t stop crying. But, there I was, being what annoyed me the most.
Even after I went home around 10am, I lied in my bed and all I could feel was a heavy weight on my chest. It wouldn’t go away. I mean, I have a thing for animals. People? I may get over that quickly (yeah, sympathy isn’t a strong suit of mine). But animals? It’s something else entirely.
Yet even afterwards, I couldn’t stop feeling that guilt. It wasn’t the fact that I was fearing I may lose my job because I knew that if I was fired it just meant I could maybe focus on getting a job that is actually related to my career. It wasn’t even because that the dog was hurt because I was later updated that the dog was doing great.
Hell, it wasn’t even the fact that I was mad at myself for ignoring my instincts again.
It was the slap in the face when I realized that my “invisible illness” has affected way too much.
And, without even realizing, I ended up making a list in my head of all the things that this illness took away from me.
- My first job when I quit because my symptoms only were getting worse.
- Possibly my current job.
- My pride, self-esteem, and self-respect.
- My social life.
- My creativity, for the most part.
SometimesA lot of the times, my happiness.
- My money.
- My childhood.
- And basically, my life. My past, my present, and maybe even my future.
I cried harder. For seven straight years, I suffered with a wide range of symptoms. For the most part, I was trying everything to get people to realize that what I was experiencing was real and not in my head, and that it wasn’t going away. But, the second half of those years I spent avoiding making doctor appointments and pretending like it didn’t exist. Just the thought of going to a doctor and telling them my symptoms made me feel like I was on a verge of a panic attack. I couldn’t handle the idea of either being told it’s all in my head, or walking out broke and with more questions than answers.
But, what was I supposed to do? As I make a list of all my symptoms – from the most common and current, to the ones that I only get rarely – I get overwhelmed.
It wasn’t like I looked sick. It wasn’t like all these symptoms were even severe (anymore). Hell, it wasn’t like I was trying to lose weight or anything else. See, I’ve been in sports for the majority of my life, and I was on the dance drill team my junior and senior year of high school. I was an athlete, and I worked my ass off.
But, the more I exercise I do, the more severe my symptoms get. Even if I ran around the block, all I would feel is pain in my chest and shoulder, my side, and nausea to go with.
I told myself that exercise just wasn’t working. So, I went to the next best thing: Dieting.
That wasn’t helping either.
In fact, I was GAINING weight when I watched what I ate.
There were only two diets that actually made me lose weight.
One: Constantly working out like how I was on the dance team and eating however I wanted. Downside: If I wasn’t exercising or eating, I was sleeping. I couldn’t stay up long enough to do homework or anything else. In fact, I walked around school like a zombie. My high school career is just a blur, and my chronic pain was nearly unbearable – it was the worse it had EVER been.
Or two: A low carb diet. Downside: It’s like my body is trying to go into hibernation, and I LITERALLY sleep for 18, 19, 20, or even 24 hours straight. It’s practically impossible to wake me, my fatigue is so extreme, and when I AM awake, all I can focus on is pain.
So, what did I do?
I gave up. I ate like crap and enjoyed it. I binged watched on Netflix, wrote FanFiction, and enjoyed a practically pain-free yet boring lifestyle.
Then surprisingly, my weight stayed. It didn’t go up, and sadly didn’t go down – but, I was just happy it didn’t go up!
However, I am a five-foot-one 19-year-old, and weighed about 175 pounds. All the fat was pretty much in my stomach. I looked pregnant, but I stopped giving a crap (mostly). I sacrificed my need to have a beach body, the desire to go shopping, or the pleasure of sex simply so I can be pain free.
But a couple months go by, and finally the day arrives where the universe slaps me in the face yet again: Another reminder of how some of the symptoms that actually stay affect my daily life.
And, I realize something.
I am a goddamn idiot.
End result: I am setting up a doctor’s appointment and ignoring any and every excuse I come up with. I am also bringing a friend along for support because I know that will make a huge difference! Plus, I am also going to focus on recognizing my “weird feelings” more. I get them a LOT at my job [dogs are really unpredictable – yet I always predict what they are about to do 😉 ]
It’s a little late, but I’m going to say it anyway.
2017 – I. Will. Own. You.
Edit 7/24/17: So today, I was scrolling the internet when I came across my horoscope for the day. Usually, I don’t read these. In fact, I’ve never really been sure how I felt about horoscopes, so I never really cared. However, this one sure was interesting;
News from a boss, parent or someone in a position of authority might catch you off guard today. But it could be great news! (It will certainly be surprising.) If you don’t like what you hear, do not overreact. Don’t quit your day job. Wait until the dust settles to see which way the wind is blowing.
All day yesterday, my mom and I would talk about what messages this might be sending, and which direction I should be going. Maybe it was time for a new direction? I wasn’t sure there needed to be that much change, but then I realized that no matter what happens – change is happening.
I don’t think (in fact, I am fairly certain) I am not getting fired from my job, but either way it prompted me to do two things:
A) To take charge of my health.
And B) To start writing again on the side.
I guess I just need to wait until the dust settles to see which way the wind is blowing.