The first hyacinths - with the lavender bush coming to life...
It's been recovery period around here, as I'm sure readers are tired of hearing ad nauseaum, but this was almost incredible, even for a highly seasoned CFIDS/CFS/ME and fibro specialist like me. (After 38 years of this junk, I think the word "specialist" can safely be applied to me! Joking!!!) I hadn't yet recovered from my hair appointment three weeks ago (and I barely made it to THAT if anyone chose to recall and I hope you don't want to: YOU need a life!) so yesterday started a bit ... shall we say, "strained'?
You see, my driver's license expired back in October just as I was busy with that newly-developed hypothyroidism, and the pneumonia no one had spotted for months and then discovered only when doing a routine x-ray before taking me in for the emergency gallbladder surgery. (Don't worry: they took a day off for the IV antibiotics to kick in before surgery: they're not barbarians, after all!)
Now why, one may ask, would someone who no longer drives, doesn't even go down to the kitchen for months on end, have need of a driver's license? Answer: why, because it's almost un-American to NOT have a driver's license. As if those of us who are chronically ill don't already feel like disenfranchised citizens things are just made worse by not having a driver's license. Its as simple as that. It serves as identification for just about everything done in person. It's uses are mammoth. Furthermore, by not having a valid license, it seems to be that you've simply given up all hope of every being well again.
So, Tuesday started out a bit tense (HAAAAHAAAAA she adds hysterically) - ohhh, only about a 15 on a scale of 1-10. (Potetic license). And since today's Friday, I think I'll resort to bullet points. Besides, I'm lucky enough to be sitting up at all. Someone, please come over here and just shoot me! Now! Quickly!
- Mood: lousy. Hubs, who normally has the patience of Job, just exuded the kind of attitude that made you KNOW things will go wrong, which rubbed off on me. This, on the one day of all days, when I needed someone positive to be helping me, not someone ignoring the fact that I actually needed an ER instead of going to get the stupid license. Part of me was seriously afraid they'd take a look at me and my banged-up self with black and blue marks on my forehead, hands, etc. and turn me away, just as Qantas at first refused to allow me to fly one leg of my journey to Oz because I looked THAT bad! (Long story I'll spare you!) PLUS, I hate being late - it makes me crazy to see lateness in anyone around me - and this was much more than "just late"!
- Hubs and I have different visceral reactions to the DMV (for you non-American readers, that's the Department of Motor Vehicles) - like two totally different planets "different"! Hubs started his driving "career" living in an area where one to two days were necessary in order to get through the lines, etc., and come out with any hope of a license. Getting your licence new or renewed in NYC is a total nightmare. Mine was a fun experience in Virginia where you ran into people you'd not seen in ages.
So: hubs: DMV bad. Me: DMV (in Virginia) a friendly place PLUS in NYC I got a very interesting and great lunch out of it. (And yes, the NYC DMV has to be experienced to be believed!) OK ... back on track!
- Furthermore, there's just something about not having a driver's license that makes you feel as if you no longer belong to American life. There's a completeness that's missing, almost as bad as not having a job to feed yourself or have a place to live. And we Amercians ARE pretty helpless without our licenses. Our public systems of travel, apart for a handful of cities, don't exist or may as well as not exist. So, though I don't drive, in an emergency, I CAN!
- Fun fact and good to know: in at least our state (and I think it's like this is most states). there is a grace period after the license expires. Luckily, in our state it's a 6-month grace period. Note, you can't drive with an expired license, but you don't need to retake the tests. I see this as an example of how the powers-that-be do realize that things beyond our means can take place. And I absolutely could not afford to let my license lapse. Starting the whole process again (the written test and then the driving test) wasn't going to happen any way in my lifetime.
- And as Murphy's Law commanded, I was barely able to stand up in order to get to the bathtub, do my makeup, etc.
- Hubs was "losing" it when it came to getting me out of the house and tensions were beyond high. He'd worked hard on getting all my documentation ready in these days of heightened security and needed to even order a new Social Security card for me. It wasn't enough to remember your number as was the case (I think) in the old days. They wanted the actual card. I mean really, my library card (long lost) had more substance than a card little more than a thinnish piece of paper given to me many, many moons ago, somewhere around the time Noah applied for his boating license (probably at our "local" DMV, where applications for boating licenses swelled the number of people there.)
- But luck finally came our way. The license process went quickly, especially as a handicapped person (aren't they sweet to "upgrade" my status to "handicapped"? I wouldn't have argued "dead.") And most important to us females, the picture turned out to be the best ever.
- While reading my favorite blog, A Model Recommends, the night before going to get my renewal, I kept forgetting that the next day hubs and I were aiming to get that albatross renewed. When I started doing my face that morning, my year and a half of following Ruth, the model, paid off. The dreaded picture: it didn't look like the "escaped from a secure institution" because we were reminded to stay away from that, thank you very much! Furthermore, I exaggerated all my makeup for the photo. Also, thanks to Ruth, I was able to narrow the appearance of my nose with contouring and highlights. I'd even conquered the dreaded hooker lipstick look that haunts me. Best of all, as my own worst critic, I think I actually looked younger in the new license than in the old one, taken ten and a half years ago! GO skincare and makeup! (Now I just need to work on some fast developing jowls!) Crazy lady that I am, I was so relieved and thankful once I got home that I thanked Ruth on twitter AND on her site. Fear not: she already knows I'm not batting a thousand. And she is such a nice young lady (need we say gorgeous as well?) that she seems to care! The Patience she must have! (As I knock my head against keyboard realizing how CRAZY I DO sound!)
- It was incredible leaving the house because the weather was perfect blue skies with clean crisp air at 80 degrees with hyacinths and daffodils up already. The tulip leaves making their way towards the sun enlivened me. Of course, then that Up, Up, Up spirit of mine (totally fabricated and forced) had a price to be paid as soon as I walked back into the house, not even waiting for the usual one or two day later malaise, etc. But some things, as I often say, are just so worth it.
- And finally, I met our new neighbors with their three children which inevitably brought the sights and sounds of 30 plus years ago when *I* was the new neighbor with the young husband and three babies. Now our family is one of the oldest in our little neighborhood. As I type away in what used to be my baby's bedroom, many memories come flooding back, triggered by the children's shouts in their backyard or out on the sidewalk with other neighborhood kids. "Mrs. Neighbor" and I talked for a while, even sat on my front steps (front porch furniture not out yet) as I told her some of the history of our houses, just as the neighbor on the other side of my house had done so with me when we moved here over 30 years ago. And sweetly, she put her phone number in my cell so that in case of emergency... Oh she has NO idea, poor woman!
Who knew so much could be accomplished in one day? I am in more pain than I could have imagined and feel as if every cell of my body is glued to the earth. In fact, I feel as if I've moved to a HUGE planet where the gravitational pull flattens you. But it'll eventually turn into a good memory, or so I most sincerely hope!
As always, hoping everyone's feeling their best, only better. Ciao and paka!
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Note: I made a mistake. It's the passport which is renewed every 10 years. Our driver's license is renewed every 5 years. I knew something was off with that sentence but thought it was the grammar. Thanks to the reader who jiggled my memory.