stupid decisions

I am faced with some, mine and others.  My own include the decision to go on a trip in about a week.  The trip involves plane travel and a lot of time off of work.  Ok, not a ton but for someone who has a lot of sick time use, taking 4  days to just f-off is a lot.  And I am apprehensive about it.  Extra apprehensive since I used a CRAPton of sick time last month due to getting the flu on top of all the usual, day to day stuff my body throws at me.  And hey, here’s a new day to day thing it’s throwing at me.  A new trick.  Severe nausea and upper abdominal pain.  What’s up?  No idea.  Is the liver unhappy from the several weeks of fluconazole?  Is my gallbladder acting up?  I’ve never had gallbladder problems, but why not, right?  It’s a strange nausea, a sort that is relieved by eating and then creeps back in within an hour or so of my eating, ramping up until I find myself checking potential puke receptacles in my immediate area.  I’m telling you, this is some intense nausea.  I’ve had less post-op.

Satellite image of Winter Storm Saturn at 9:45 am EST Friday March 8, 2013.

Nor’easter in the north east? How unexpected!

Why is that relevant to the aforementioned trip?  Because I hadn’t counted on it in my “yeah I think I can do this” estimate for travel.  I hadn’t counted on a new and resource sapping symptom that I’d have to haul around like an oversized carry-on.  And I certainly hadn’t factored it and the week of flu-based sick-time into my equation of “do I have enough time off at work to do this?”

Others’ stupid decisions include work not closing yesterday.  Up here in Big Northeastern City, we had a bit of a nasty storm Thursday night into Friday.  It was predicted to drop 1 to 2 inches of snow, then blow on out to sea.  Instead, it stalled and dumped pile after pile of snow on both Big Northeastern City and Ye Olde New England town where I live…which is just south west of the city and just high enough into the hills that we get about 1.5 times the snow the city and more coastal areas get.  Everything around Big City closed Friday, and consequently few plows were seen, most going by with blades up.  But the Mayor of Big City made his the decision about whether to call a snow emergency based on the forecasts and the current weather reports, which continued to be dead wrong well past the point where a quick look out the window would show anyone just how dead wrong they were.  Hard to rely on a weather report that’s saying “1 to 2 inches of snow” when there is clearly at least 6 inches on the ground already and snow coming down at about an inch an hour.  But rely on it they did, and as goes Big City, so goes my employer.  Eventually, when there was about a foot of snow in Big City and when our Olde New England hill town was cemented in under the shovel breaking burden of well over a foot of heavy wet snow, my employer sent out the usual email, text message, and phone call alert that they would be closing shortly.  Ye Olde New England Town got a total snowfall of just over 29 inches, btw.  Big city has not exactly advertised storm totals, but I’m seeing at least 13 inches.

All Friday morning, I sat here sweating my decision to stay home, to take more of my earned time off after a month full of absences, and a week before I am to go away for a fun and nausea filled “vacation”, from which I may need time off after to recover.  My boss has been tetchy lately, and most recently (Thursday in fact, the day before the big storm) gave me a bit of shit about when and how I can work from home (she has to approve it in advance…all well and good for times when I know in advance that I am not feeling good enough to get and stay at work, but not so great for times when I wake up feeling crappy and can’t manage it but could manage 8 hours at home).  So yesterday, I had to make the unpleasant call of saying “Ok, well we just broke a shovel trying to dig out, it’s still coming down, the road hasn’t been touched, so I am not going to be able to get in today and” because I didn’t have advance notice to ask if I could work at home “I will be taking a personal day.”  And all because the people who had to decide about canceling or limiting business as usual abdicated that responsibility.  Yeah, I said abdicated.  I don’t count yesterday’s “business as usual” approach to a major storm as simply a bad call.  I count it as my employer saying “but the mayor said it’s ok!” and the mayor saying “but the weather forecast said it was ok…” and so on.  Anyone with half a brain and who has lived in Big Northeastern City knows that Nor’easters go bad with some regularity and to stick to a shitty forecast despite clear evidence that the forecast was shitty is not doing your damned job.

The weather here is like my body.  To say that a worse than expected storm is unaddressable (both before and during the fact) is a load of hooey.  Where we live, Nor’easters come.  And sometimes they come, then stall out and just camp over the area, dumping a whole bunch of snow.  While it may be unlikely that this will happen – much like it’s unlikely I will get on my plane and then re-enact the puking scene from The Exorcist – it is possible…and certainly within the realm of somewhat probable outcomes.  So why not plan for the possibility that the storm will be bad?  Or why not at least change plans when it becomes clear that things are worse than expected?

Since this is how I think, I am wondering about my trip.  Do I cancel it?  Do I shorten it?  I will be letting a lot of people down.  But if I go and am sick, it’s going to suck and be full of letting people down anyhow.  And I may end up missing MORE work on the back end when I get home from the trip from hell and am flattened.

I’m stuck with the reality that I am oriented in a vastly different way to trouble than most other people.  I am willing to acknowledge that perhaps I swing a bit far on the limitation side of things, but that is because I absolutely hate getting stuck in that tree (see this post for an explanation of what it means to be “stuck in the tree”).  Do other people just assume that someone will come and save them when they make a dumb decision?  What about when they are deciding for others?  Because for me, I always feel like my decisions about what I  can and can’t do involve others.  They involve my co-workers, my husband, my friends…anyone who I might commit to and then have to reneg on because my body had the equivalent of an unexpectedly stalled Nor’easter.  And while I might be ok with beating up on myself (I’m not usually, but I might be), I am most certainly NOT ok with signing them all up to deal with the consequences.

(Photo credit:  NASA/GSFC.  Satellite image of Winter Storm Saturn at 9:45 am EST Friday March 8, 2013.)

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6 Comments

  1. I had the worst nausea in my life when I got gallstones. THE WORST. I couldn’t go on vacation if I was sick……..I am not a happy traveler. Hope you feel better.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I’m a little concerned that this is what’s up here. Let’s see, as I recall, the ex told me it’s “fat, fair, female, and forty”. I’m three out of four if you count “fair” as skin and not eyes and hair. 😉 So hoping it’s not that. But yeah, the idea of traveling with this is very unappealing. If I hadn’t actually passed out on a plane once, I think I’d maybe have a different perspective.

      Reply
  2. This truly sucks. I wouldn’t travel even if I had the money. I went waaay overseas in ’06 to my dream destination since forever as I had been working 1/2 time and in a different “situation” then and would rather have surgery than do that again. It’s so hard to NOT be able to have fun when the rest of the world is. I know your dilemma and it’s just not fair. 😦

    I also have NO idea how you can live in that climate! Nearly 30″ of snow? I leave my dry desert for 15 mins. and am a non-functioning mess (talk about pain-induced nausea).
    I think you brought up a lot of issues with control, which is my biggest problem. You can’t control your body, when you will get sicker, when the weather will act up (and I presume brings more pain like me), etc. It’s a never ending struggle for those of us who need control, but it got taken from us.

    Maybe you need to “just do you.” It’s too tiring to worry about letting people down, etc. They need to understand that you are a different person now (a terrible realization), which they usually don’t get, and you have limitations on what you can do. I go over this again and again with certain family members asking when I’m coming to visit humid, overcast Seattle like they miss me so much (sure). Never ever if I can help it!

    A (who is off to bed as the sun has risen and I may die…)

    Reply
    • LOL, oh New England. I lived in the Great Midwest for a while. That was worse. All those lakes and no sea breeze. Frozen wind coming out of Canada that started in October and ended in April, if you were lucky. I’ll take my maritime northern over landlocked any day. But it has changed since I was a kid. The summers now are more like Midwestern summers. There have been whole months in the summer where it feels like the weather is just trying to kill me.

      I don’t think I could ever go to Seattle. Nope. On my list of never to visit places. It sort of seems like the state motto should be “welcome to Seattle, enjoy the joint pain!”

      I have problems with the just me thing. You know, there are social consequences for letting people down (especially in-laws!) and as much as I try not to let it get to me, it does. It’s a work in progress.

      Reply
      • I got you. That’s why everyone disappeared in my life since they couldn’t “get it.” I sure hope you can figure out a way to do vacations with the family that work for all of you! Yes, don’t ever go to Seattle–my muscles hurt to the bone and my slight arthralgias go crazy. It takes me 30 minutes to walk from the plane to baggage claim (happens that fast). Noticed the same thing when I flew into JFK on a layover for that big excursion overseas I mentioned. Summer and 100% humidity. OMG.

        Funny about the Upper Midwest… My family is originally from Chicago and one side left after the war as they had briefly lived in Seattle in their youth and preferred the weather and hated the Chicago winters! I’ve only been in the summer (pre-illness) and that was bad enough (so humid). So, that’s how I ended up being born/raised in Seattle. Seattle was a fairly cool, laid-back city before all the Californians moved there and ruined it (despite the dreary weather).

        Sure hope they can figure out the nausea situation (hate that and barfing–ugh)… everyone I know who’s had gallbladder problems is overweight like Mo said, so sort of odd. Will wait for an update. I sure hope you can have a few days of fun at the very least. 🙂

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