Kettle Black

So much has happened. It’s lame to start an entry that way, but so much has happened in the last 20 months that I don’t even know where to start.

My dad died. Then my mom died. In fact, my mom died because my dad died. She ostensibly died of cancer, but she really died of a broken heart. I was able to visit her in November, and then near the end of her life in January, and it’s something that I will never get over. I dream of them almost every night, and in my dreams there might be a way to save them if I try but I can’t quite do it. I know that in reality I could never save them; that she needed him and she was just waiting to be with him again.

I spent the last weekend of her life with her, just sitting with her, feeding her, bathing her, and it was the most profound few days I’ve ever experienced. I’ll never forget them.


My in-laws, who have always loved and cared for me, helped me to say goodbye.  They organized a memorial service for her.  They invited all of the aunts and uncles and cousins, made all the food, and prepared remarks.  I felt very blessed.

I left my job. I’m much happier now. Though I miss my friends there, I’m being a housewife again, and things are so much better. I’m focused on the kids, and they are getting good grades, and I put a hot home-cooked meal on the table every night. I’m cooking and I’m liking it. I have a huge collection of cookbooks that I largely ignored while I was working but have turned to once more to find inspiration. I have a fantasy of cooking my way through Alton Brown’s books and blogging about it.  In the meantime, though, I’m tweaking old recipes and trying new ones.

Part of the reason for this change in employment status was that I was in constant pain, and in the course of my treatment, I’d become a little bit too fond of my pain medication. The pills were helping me get through the day while I was working, which was not an ideal state of affairs. I would take them just to feel normal.  I was making money, but I was constantly exhausted.

Here at home, I am attempting to kick the habit. I’m hovering just over half the daily dose I started with. Ryan has had to play bad cop, which can’t be fun, but he helped get things under control (spreadsheet and all). Most recently, though, I am making progress through herb-based pharmaceuticals, if you catch my drift.

Medical marijuana is legal here in Hawaii, and with a medical record two inches thick, I was able to get a card. From there, all one needs to do to obtain it is to find a dispensary. I looked at reviews and heard from friends, and picked one. I’ve tried different products and varying delivery methods, limited as they are in Hawaii. I’m figuring out what works and what doesn’t, but cannabis is more complicated than I anticipated… and of course much more expensive than those tiny white pills.

Because I have led a square, boring-ass existence up until this point, I have very little experience with drugs. I started with homemade brownies from a friend, which were a delicious introduction. Then I got some gummies from another friend, and they were very high in THC, but because I’m a dummy, I didn’t realize how potent they’d be. Using them has been an exercise in learning about my tolerance.  I’m not looking to get loaded.

Between the constant ache in my joints and the anxiety I have, I need something, but obviously, opioids aren’t the answer.  It’s hard for me to get used to the idea of using pot though, because I grew up in the age of ‘Just Say No.’  I’ve never liked feeling drunk or high or out of control to start with.  Through experimenting, I have learned that I don’t need to feel high. There’s a balance that I’m finding that keeps the pain down and my mood relaxed and mellow, and I’m usually able to skip the last pill of the day.

Another lifestyle change is my gym membership. One condition of my staying home was that I exercise three times a week. Through a program at Kaiser, the membership is basically free after forty-five visits. I just got the notice today that I hit the target and that they’re sending us a check. I got there a lot sooner in the year than I expected.

I don’t know if I’ve lost any weight, but I feel accomplished, which counts for a lot.  Sometimes I even feel a little sore after workouts and I’ve come to like that feeling.

2 thoughts on “Kettle Black

  1. Good for you, Jen. I so appreciate your honesty and transparency; constant pain is never easy to deal with. You are one courageous woman, and I know you’ll continue to follow your new program. I’m grateful that Ryan is such a huge help to you, too.

    Gym pain is good pain, if there is such a thing. Going there is good for you all the way around, and will help with depression, should that be a problem.

    I may be across the ocean from you, but my prayers and aloha are with you always.

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