Kiss The Fiddler

Ramblings, moments of humor, random thoughts, experiences, insights, simple wisdom, and whatever else I feel like sharing.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Panic knows no reason.  Night or day doesn't matter to it.  Panic is a lot like pain.  It comes unbidden and unbridled.  Like a raging prairie fire across what little shred of sanity I have left.  It sucks air into my chest and holds it there until I'm way past dizzy.

I've been panicked a lot lately.  I panic when I wake up in the night and hurt so intensely that I am sure I'm dying.  Then I reach out with my foot and find my sweet's leg and I press my foot there, against that certain warmth.  I will my breath to move so that I may know I'm alive.

When I hear the wind coming, I panic.  I can hear it before it arrives at my front door.  Sometimes the wind makes the mountains roar.  Then it comes, the wind and the panic, rattling the windows, drawing the warmth away, covering the craggy peaks that are my solace with clouds that carry biting snow.

Two days a week I force myself to get the mail.  It's bills.  Always bills.  I am afraid to open them.  I find them confusing.  I feel ashamed that I can't figure them out.  I feel guilty that I haven't paid them.  Again, I've been sent to collections.  I know this isn't responsible.  I can't see a way through it.  And I panic.  There is never enough money.  I'm too damn expensive - always have been.  Stupid panic.  Concentrate on making my body move air.  Into my lungs and then out.  Don't stop in one place and forget to breathe.

I can't talk about the headaches without crying usually.  Because I am so afraid.  I am scared that I will die before I find somebody to help me figure out what's causing them.  Pain, nonstop crazy pain makes my mind do things I don't understand.  I panic about it.  What if I die this way?  What if I die and I can't find the craggy peaks to fix my eyes upon?  What if I die and I can't find my little boy's soft grubby sticky sweaty hand to touch?  Panic makes me crazy.  And pain terrifies me.

When I talk to a doctor or health care provider about the headaches, I don't know how to make them understand how long it's been.  I don't know any longer how long it's been since I really truly haven't had a headache.  I'm not sure I would know anymore what that feels like - to not have a headache.  Doctors want me to tell them when the headaches started.  I can't.  From where I am now, I can't see the beginning of them.  I know I had headaches as a child.  I know I had headaches in high school.  I'd come squinting up the sidewalk from the Ad Building to the dorm and plead to be able to crawl into bed.  I've been crawling into beds in darkened rooms to hide from a headache for longer than I can remember.  Pain has made me desperate.  I do not want pain to rule my world, but, right now, it does.

Right now, my curtains are drawn against what I imagine is soft evening light.  I don't know if there are clouds of mist or snow covering my craggy peaks.  When I finish this post, I will roll onto my side and close my eyes and wrap my head in a dark purple pillow case to keep out the fading light that pushes in around the edges of my bedroom windows.  This is not life.  This is desperation.  Pain filled panic.  This is not living.


Help the Fiddler (that's me)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

So, the headaches . . .

I'm starting a new diet to try to help my body heal from years and years of migraines and pharmaceuticals to try and fix the migraines.  Today is day 2.  And it sucks.  The diet allows absolutely no sugar.  No caffeine.  No grains.  Nothing processed.  Period.

The caffeine withdrawal sucks!  I had a migraine to start with.  And not giving my body the caffeine it's so accustomed to makes the headache so much worse.  Nothing helps the headache.  I can't even see straight.  Not seeing double, I'm seeing tripple.  I don't even know how that's possible.

Oh!  And the sugar withdrawal.  Brutal!  If you think that I'm nuts in saying that sugar withdrawal is brutal, you try it.  I'm serious.  Give it a go.  And lemme know how you feel 2 days in.

I hope this helps.  Because right now it completely sucks butt.

I know that it's not a good idea to self-diagnose.  But when you're as desperate as I am for something that helps, you're gonna look around at other possible causes and solutions.  One of the things I've found recently is lots of new info on Chiari Malformation.  The criteria for dx is that the brain be protruding at least 5mm from where it should be.  More recent studies suggest that this 5mm criteria is random and that any protrusion, if it causes symptoms, warrants treatment.  So I'm in the process of tracking down my latest MRI.  I will send it to another doc for a second opinion.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.  It's blustery and windy here.


Saturday, April 27, 2013


Dragons in the dark are scary.  We can't see them.  We don't know where they are.  We can't tell if they're friend or foe.

But dragons in the light - well, those dragons are REALLY scary.  Those we spend more than our energy to outrun, to hide from, to fence up.  And it never works, at least not for very long.

Dragons make us fear them.  And they they pull our fear and twist it around twisting, snarling, reaching out with tentacles that freeze us into some crazy grotesque shape that gives no hint of who we might have been prior to the dragon.  Then we are forced to stay there, frozen in the fear, and stare the dragon in the face.  It's like a game of chicken and the dragon always wins.  Each time you can bear to face it no longer, your twisted grotesque form cracks and you try to turn away, to run, you close your eyes, you jam your fingers into your ears.

And you realize, with panic, that it's too late.  Somehow you've become part of this damn dragon you've been running so hard from.  You feel tricked.  Bravery and courage feel hollow.

Your only choice is to stay and look at it.  Look into the eyes of that dragon.  Gather all that courage, hollow or not, wrap up the panic and channel it into some movement - any movement.  In the tiniest of movements, in hidden eeked out moments stolen from the night, you slowly come to realize that this is a life and death fight.

You don't know why, but you know you must fight to survive.  So you do.  Over and over again.  And it feels like razors cutting at your soul and you're afraid because it feels like you're going insane.  None of it makes sense but you hold on because that's where the ride is taking you.

It's a hard ride.  Some people run from their dragons their entire lives.  I'm not one of those people.  I plant my feet firmly.  I gather the panic and focus it and it helps me move in a direction.  A tiny movement maybe but it's something.  I will look. I will be twisted.  I will not shy away or hide my eyes.

So, Dragon,  you've been warned.  You'e better bring your A game because I'm tired of running from you and you are going down!


Thursday, April 25, 2013


This has been a crazy busy week for me.  I've helped teach 2 different CPST classes.

The first class was an 8 hour class (12 hour day) on Monday.  It was a Renewal class, for techs who's certification had been expired for up to 2 years.  We had 5 students and everybody passed.

Then, starting Tuesday bright and early, We started a brand new class of 12 CPST candidates.  So far, after 3 very long days of teaching, they've all passed all 3 written exams and all 3 skills tests.  Tomorrow they will complete the class by participating in a Child Passenger Safety seat check event.  The event will be hosted by Missoula Rural Fire and held at their Station one in Missoula.  It promises to be a full event with live media present.  Looks like we're gonna have a nice day for it.  Woot!

I absolutely love teaching.  Adults.  I enjoy teaching adults.  If I could figure out how to make a regular job or career of teaching adults, I would.  It's been a really fun week!


Thursday, April 18, 2013


So, I pretty much ran out of hope yesterday.  It hurt.

Woke up to a new day today.  It still hurts.  But I have a tiny shred of hope.  Maybe a new spring shoot.  Tiny plants are sprouting now in the springtime.  Perhaps it's that way with hope.

Some good things happened today.
     - I got an appointment with a doctor from California who has a reputation for successfully helping people with complex medical problems.
     - My phone died.  So I drove to town and the AT&T people were awesome.  They set me up with a new phone.  They helped me troubleshoot coverage issues.  They transferred all my contacts from my old phone to my new one.   They were very kind.
     - I got a haircut!
     - I called the vet to ask for more meds for my hospice kitty.  They offered to deliver the medication to my home.  Sweet!
     - Somebody offered to pay for me to see their Chiropractor.  I looked him up and my insurance covers him (sort of).  I called and made an appointment for tomorrow!
     - Somebody stopped by my house while I was gone this morning and left a bag of gifts on my front porch!
     - The sun is shining.

So, yes, I still have a headache.  But it's easier to bear when I also have a little bit of hope.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

There Goes the Bus

I am 9 years, 10, 11, 12 years old and school has just let out for the day.  It could be Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday.  The bus comes in 45 minutes.  I have the timing of the bus figured out.  I can hear it before I can see it.  If I start down the long sidewalk when I first hear the bus, I'll be at the bus stop by the time the bus arrives.  After I hear the bus, it comes into site.  The brakes squeak and it turns the corner and comes bumping over the railroad tracks and grinds to a stop at the end of the long sidewalk in front of my school.  On a good day, I'm there waiting with the rest of the few kids who ride the city bus.  We climb on and get out tickets punched and plop down into our seats.  We're on our way home.

But on many days, I don't make the bus.  I am "teacher's pet".  That means I got to help with "special jobs" after school.  Sometimes these jobs are fun - put stickers on student papers, color letters for a poster, plan a bulletin board.  And sometimes, the job means "helping" my teacher feel better.  He gets sad and too many days it is my job to make him happy.  For him, this means sex.  For me, it means torture.  Through it, I listen for the bus.  I pray that the bus driver will stop the bus and come help me.  Please, somebody, help me.  I am desperate.

If I hear the bus coming, hear the brakes squeal, hear it lumber over the tracks, hear it pass, and look out the window in time to see the rear of the bus disappear in a black cloud of diesel smoke, then I know that nobody will help me.


I am on the fire department in my town.  This means that sometimes I respond to horrible vehicle accidents.  When somebody is trapped inside their vehicle, I'm often the person who crawls into the wreckage around them, wedges myself into the back seat behind them and takes up the job of C-spine mobilization.  This means I place a hand on each side of the person's head or neck and do my best to imobilize the spine while the other firefighters work to extricate the victim and provide medical care.  When I'm in there, sometimes with their blood running down my face I'm so close, I talk to them.  I put my face right up close to their ear.  I tell them to breathe.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  That's all you need to do right now.  Breathe with me.  In. . . Out. . . In. . . Out.  And I tell them what's happening.  I tell them that the person who's touching your arm, he's a great EMT.  He's going to start an IV so you can have some pain medicine.  And that guy over hear next to your shoulder, he's the best person I know to help get somebody out of a car.  He knows exactly what to do.  It's going to be loud.  You're going to hear popping sounds.  The glass will break.  Ok, close your eyes.  That woman is putting a banket over your face to keep the glass from cutting you.  See, there.  Now we're both under the blanket.  It's okay.  All you have to do is breathe.  In . . . Out . . . In . . . Out.

As I do this, I can often tell whether the person I'm with will live or die.  I'm not highly medically trained.  But something about the way that I feel them with my hands tells me.  I'm usually right and I hate it.


I have had chronic near constant severe migraines for months.  For years.  My head has hurt since I don't know when.  I can't remember the last time when my head did not hurt at all, when there was no burning searing pressure stabbing pain inside or around my skull.  Yes, once in awhile, the pain is less.  Sometimes it's just this dull constant pressure that won't go away.  Those are the good days.

I've sought help from many many different professionals for the migraines.  I've seen neurologists, taken medications, done yoga, exercises, changed my diet over and over again, done neuro feedback, psychotherapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and other things I don't even remember to try to make the headaches better.  I've endured tests, MRI's, poking and prodding.  I've answered question after question and tried drug after drug.  Nothing has helped.  And I am desperate.

Some days, the pain is so intense that I am afraid I'm dying.  When that happens, I curl in my bed and breathe.  And I crawl behind myself, in a tiny cramped crumpled space and I place my hands on each side of my head.  I lean close to myself and I talk.  All you have to do right now is to breathe.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  In . . . Out . . . In . . . Out.  And, since I don't know what's happening, I make up a story.  Like the people I help who are trapped inside the wreckage of their vehicle, I sometimes thing I can tell if I will live or die.  Sometimes, crouched behind myself, hands on my neck, bent close, I feel that the patient will die.  And this terrifies me.

I am 9 years old.  And 10 and 11 and 12.  And the bus doesn't stop.  It turns the corner and disappears into its cloud of black smoke.  I am desperate for help and nobody comes.  I am 40 years old and I hurt so bad that all I can do is breathe, in and out, in and out.  And the bus doesn't stop.  It turns the corner and is gone.  And I am left to choke on it's black smoke.  Nobody can help.  The migraine keeps on and on and on . . .


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Train Wreck

It feels like my life is a train wreck.

The stress at my house seems out of control.  

My dear old cat, Anika, is ill.  I took her to the emergency vet yesterday because she was so obviously in pain.  She has a urinary tract infection and probably a tumor in her bladder.  We're treating her for the infection and providing comfort cares (pain meds and fluids).  I don't want her to hurt.  Once we got the pain under control, she seems happy and content.  She knows that she's free to leave, no strings attached, whenever she's ready.  She's a cat.  Cats are pretty good at death. 

I'm broke.  Not broken, quite, but out of money.  Quite.  I got my entire month's worth of funds on Friday.  It's not even Monday yet and the money is already gone.  I paid our household's monthly bills, bought a few groceries, put gas in my car, and took the cat to the vet.  Done.  Until mid May.  This sucks!  

My house is a mess.  I can't get on top of it.  I try to narrow my focus to one small area or task.  It doesn't help.  I'm stuck in overwhelm and it's getting me nowhere. 

I've had a migraine since Monday.  Yup, you read that right.  I've had this headache for a week now.  Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night were particularly bad.  Today has been a struggle but it's not been as bad as yesterday was.  I'm STILL waiting on the results of the food allergy test.  I feel like I'm out of options.  All my doctors can do now is toss drugs at the pain.  That helps, some. But only for a coupla hours.  This is NOT what I signed up for!

It's spring!  I should be happy.  I'm not.  I'm tired and crabby and I hurt.  My family is stressed.  Nothing seems to be going right.  I need a break.  Yup, it feels like a train wreck. 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Reality Check

There are days when I think that my son isn't affected by Autism.  Nope.  He's not autistic.  He's just a little quirky.  But it's not Autism.

And then reality comes giggling in through the front door with the little neighbor boy.

G is exactly a year younger than Luken is.  G came over this morning to play trains.  Watching the 2 little boys play together was quite telling.  G kept trying to engage Luken in play.  Luken, meanwhile, played his own game with the trains, at 100 miles an hour and maximum volume, whirling around G, squealing and screeching at the top of his lungs.  At one point, G looked up at me with a confused look on his face and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "Hey, I'm trying here but I don't know what to do."

Yup, my kid is different.  And I love him no matter what.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Going Back

I went back, last week, to the place where I was raped probably hundreds of times as a child.  I went back to my grade school.

I asked a good friend to be with me there so I wouldn't have to go alone.  The support she offered was comforting.  I was afraid.  I was afraid that being there would trigger flashbacks or a cascade of unstoppable horrifying memories.  It didn't.

The school has changed.  Or rather, the people have changed the school.  The classrooms part of the school has been completely gutted and re-worked.  It has a different layout and an addition.  There are windows from the outside into all the rooms that children are using.  And windows from the inside into all the rooms (except the bathrooms and furnace room).  There are lots of doors.

The copy room and textbook storage room are no longer closed locked dark places of torture and rape.  They're open cheery spaces off the main entry lobby.  The classrooms are open and bright.  It has a good vibe.  It felt like a place where children could be safe, be happy, grow and learn.  I am glad.

And I'm proud.  I'm proud that the people of the church involved believed me.  I'm glad that they didn't simply let things stay the same.  I'm glad they thought hard and worked hard to change their school.  I'm glad they've had long and serious conversations about how they can and will never allow such a thing to happen there ever again.  I'm glad they haven't forgotten.  I'm glad that my experience, telling it, reliving it for the courts, surviving it, has made a difference.  To me, it feels like these folks have really stepped up in the wake of something terrible.  They've taken a stand never to allow such things to occur under their watch.  And they are watching.  It makes me feel like it wasn't all for naught.

At the same time, going back there made me deeply sad.  Sad for the little girl who learned that her teacher could rape her, smile at her, and send her home knowing that if she told anybody, there'd be hell to pay.  Sad for the other kids whom I know endured similar abuses at the hands of this man.  Sad for the broken lives and torn families.

People sometimes say that time heals all wounds.  No, it doesn't.  For some kinds of hurts, it's as if time doesn't exist sometimes.  There are moments when the memory of it or the feeling of it is as present day as your coffee in the morning.  Time, for me, about this, has given me space.  Space to learn to live with what happened there.  Space to choose to heal.  And space to work on it.  But, last week, stepping into that school as a grown woman, over 30 years after the first rape there, I felt as small and scared as the 9 year old girl I used to be.

It was a strange mix of emotions.  Being happy for the change.  Being sad.  Feeling small and afraid.  And it's taken me a week or so to sort it out enough to write something that even remotely makes sense.

I hope, that by looking and going back to the places of the stories of my past, I can begin to put to rest some of the grief I've carried with me for so long.  Maybe, one day, I'll be light enough to not have a constant migraine.  I hope.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

its a mess

someone i know and love just stopped by the house to say hi.  awesome, right?

you'd think so.

but i live in a stye.  no, really.  my house is a pit.  it's a mess.  and i hate it.

oh, i don't hate my house.  i hate that it's such an effing mess!  i'm ashamed that it's a mess.

and i try to keep it clean.  but the mess gets away from me.  i run the dishwasher at least once a day.  i try to remember to put in laundry.  i see that the floor needs to be swept but i don't sweep it because i know that less than 10 minutes after i sweep it, it will look just as bad as it does now.

i am so frustrated.  and ashamed.  who can't keep their house clean?  well, i can't.


Friday, April 5, 2013

lots to say

It's been a busy week or so and I have LOTS of things need saying.  I kind of don't know where to start.  Lots of things brewing.

PSA of the day:  Wear your seat belt!  No excuses.  Buckle up.  Everybody.  Every time.