A light halfway.

It’s been a little over a year since I saw the surgeon for the top surgery consult. A week or so ago, I thought it couldn’t hurt to call and see how much longer the waitlist was for me. After insomnia and restlessness made a mess of the last week — the memory’s even more shit when “sleep” is just “lying semi-awake in the dark” — I finally got some good, deep, immersive-dream sleep yesterday and remembered to call.

The receptionist who answered said the surgeon was going through the clients he’d seen last October, and she could probably give me a surgery date now. I was cautiously optimistic as she went to fetch the surgeon’s booking schedule, then elated as she said that yep, she could book my date: the first week of March.

I’m so relieved. The dysphoria’s been bad enough that I need to have my chest covered all the time so I can’t see it; at one point after a shower, I clawed at my skin in semi-meltdown because I couldn’t stand seeing it, even peripherally. I look forward to the day I won’t have to see them anymore, and instead see part of the body I need to have for my own mental well-being. The recovery’ll suck at least as much as the hysterectomy’s did, but it’ll be worth it.

Speaking of mental well-being, I put in the legwork last week to get started on medical cannabis. A friend let me try some low-strength Hempworx oil, and its effects were noticeable and beneficial enough at the time for me to consider going further. Unfortunately, Hempworx lied when they said they’d continue shipping to Canada after marijuana became legal, so local options became a must.

I mentioned this desire to my psychiatrist, who told me there happened to be a clinic for it in the same building as her office, so after our appointment I immediately set out to see them. I received a nice information packet about the clinic, their procedure and some general cannabis info, and had to fill out a questionnaire online before the intake appointment. That appointment consisted of three stages: an intake worker, a doctor trained in cannabis research to ensure there’d be no contraindications with existing meds, and a cannabis specialist who knew about each company providing it, ingestion methods, terminology, and so forth.

The entire thing was pleasantly surprising. They took my pain seriously and without judgement, which is exactly the opposite of what I’m used to, and were shaking their heads when I told them about how other doctors and even my previous disability workers had treated me: my last temporary disability worker had “goes into victim mode” in my file notes, for fuck’s sake, and my rheumatologist doesn’t believe fibromyalgia exists. (At that, the doctor asked, “Is he an older guy?” which I confirmed, and we both nodded ruefully.)

All in all, oils will be better for my chronic conditions, since their effects last longer but take a little longer to kick in, and I can vape the dry herbs and flowers for more immediate relief if necessary. Turns out conduction atomisers compatible with my vape mods exist, so I can use that and save money instead of buying another unit altogether. The company whose products I chose take 1–2 weeks to process the paperwork, with the doctor’s recommendations and my medical information sent directly to them so no other doctor visits are required, and they send me my stuff via courier to my door — which, no lie, was a big seller for me.

If the stuff works half as well for me as non-recreational strains have for another autistic friend, and lets me cut down on other, liver-damaging pills, I’ll be so fucking happy.

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So. It’s been a while.

Yep. Still alive despite asshole brain’s attempts to the contrary.

I’ve officially been on T for over a year now. My voice has deepened somewhat, to the point that my brother asked me outright why it was. As the occasion was both my nephew’s birthday party and new pregnancy reveal (they’ve since discovered it’s a second boy), I wasn’t about to make an almighty mess of their glorious occasion — I already know how coming out will go — so I simply shrugged. “Just is?” he asked. “Just is,” I replied. He left it at that. For now, anyway.

Things with my parents in general remain the abusive same. Mom broke her laptop somehow trying to install something, leaving the screen black. I determined that the system was working, since the mouse worked, but for some reason the background was black and no icons were visible. I already know the answer to the issue is “Windows,” so I attempted relogging into her user account and voila, everything was fine. I took her laptop home to fix and spent almost 12 hours tidying it up, removing bloatware, upgrading her programs and antivirus, and sorting through the moshpit of files on the desktop, which meant opening them to read so I could put them in subject-appropriate folders.

What I didn’t expect to find among them was my dad’s Power of Attorney document. I was, however, not surprised to find no mention of me in it. PoA goes to my mom and brother, in that order. That’s it. Moreover, the document is five years old. They decided this without me and I wasn’t supposed to know. This is how I found out.

I’d always known via their words and gestures that I was their disappointment and they only love me because I’m their spawn and they feel obligated to, no matter how many times they denied it. Now I have proof, and it carved a burnt, bitter path through my chest.

When Mom came by to retrieve her laptop, I sat her down in my apartment lobby to show her what I did with it. Eventually I let her know I’d found the document and read it. Her immediate reaction was conciliatory, suggesting they change it so equal PoA fell to me and my brother. I told her it didn’t matter because it was too late: if they dismissed me back then, there was no point to it now just because I found out, and I knew guilt when I saw it.

After we were done with the laptop, she tried to convince me to print out three lines of contact info on labels the size of my little finger. I told her I’d just done 12 hours of tech work for free and that no one would be able to read print that small. She promptly tried to emotionally manipulate me by saying they don’t charge me for the food and stuff they give me.

Excuse fucking me? The food and stuff they freely offer?

Right then. I have no time for this abusive bullshit.

When I continued refusing to do it, she packed up her laptop and left in a silent huff, not even bothering to say goodbye.

As expected, I didn’t hear from them for at least a week. Dad called three times after that and I didn’t bother picking up the phone. As expected, he took this to mean something had happened to me and freaked out enough that they both came to my door and knocked on it until I woke up. As expected, Mom tried to tell me I’d hurt her feelings by saying no and we proceeded to have a mini argument about the same shit as before. I refused offers of food and grocery shopping and spare cash — I had $2.88 left in my bank account at that point and honestly I’d rather starve — and sent them on their way after reassuring them I was fine. Mom left without saying goodbye again.

It is an abuser’s tactic to blame you for reacting in self-defense to their abusive behaviour. It is also an abuser’s tactic to pretend nothing was ever wrong the next time you see them and to give you shit for not going along with the false peace, i.e. not letting them get away with what they did. My parents regularly do both these things. I’m sick of it.

I’m seriously considering coming out to them so we can make the separation emotional and permanent and just fucking get it over with.

Still plodding along.

Probably goes without saying that I didn’t manage NaNoWriMo. Brain health tanked two days in, and the concept was kind of shit, anyway.

HRT dose increased again. Haven’t noticed much difference from before. Dysphoria’s still bad and I wonder how much longer I actually have to wait for top surgery. I’m drinking as much as my wallet will allow.

Wonder of wonders: I scored some plastic money. Used most of it to buy a special kind of pop-up tent via this Indiegogo campaign. The ease of assembly and breakdown should be kind to my crappy physical health, which generally puts the kibosh on outdoor activity as it is. So why this fancy tent? It’s because I’m preparing for homelessness. No, nothing’s happened to endanger my current living situation: I’m being practical and preparing for nasty curveballs. Also, the plan for the end of my life is still in effect, and this will help with the necessary travel when I get to that point.

Speaking of travel, a trip to Europe is in the works for the end of June. Dad wants to go back to his home country, and, given his advanced age and ailing health, it’ll probably be his last visit. The logistics for three are a little crazy-making and a lot expensive, mostly because I plan on going from here to there for a week (parents are going for two weeks), then flying to visit godsibling for a week — we’ve known each other something like 20 years and never got to meet — then going home. It means three separate one-way tickets for me, which, somewhat hilariously, add up to be cheaper than plotting a multi-city route on a single ticket. I hope the tent arrives before I leave so I can bring it with me, as I anticipate using it for cover from the sun while we tourist about in Dad’s home country. More importantly, I hope my health holds out for the duration.

Most importantly, I hope I actually survive his country. Things there are significantly less than ideal for someone like me, and by “significantly less than ideal” I mean “shit there is fucking terrifying”. As much as I want to see where part of my blood comes from, I almost would rather not, and if I didn’t know it’d be Dad’s last trip, I’d have declined my parents’ request to accompany them. I can only really, really hope no one with the power to fuck up lives notices me. It’s been a long time since I actively had to hide, and I’m going to be afraid for my life while hating myself even more for every second of it.

Oddly, a good thing has happened: an indoor gardening setup with full-spectrum growlights I ordered several months ago finally arrived, and my health finally managed to stay together long enough for me to assemble it. Using a 2:1 ratio of veggie/herb soil mix and compost, I planted blue mallow, chamomile, rosemary, oregano, spinach, spearmint, lettuce, green and yellow onions, tarragon and tomatoes. That happened on March 20, which I, in my perpetually brainfogged state, didn’t realise was the first day of spring. The lettuce, green onion and tomato sprouted exactly six days later, and the lettuce and tomato are already growing true leaves. Tiny oregano sprouts are also coming up. Another few weeks and I might actually have food; at the very least, I’ll have tomatoes, because I certainly didn’t expect all six seeds to sprout.

My life feels like a constant fall down a gravel hill.

And a little more.

Good news: I’m on the waitlist for top surgery.

Bad news: The waitlist is 18 months long.

Oh well. At least I’m on it. If there’s a cancellation, it’ll occur sooner. I hope I’m ready by then, mentally and physically, whenever it is.

Two stumbling steps forward.

HRT dosage increased last week. I find I itch more, especially my back, and continue to be grateful for the $6 investment in a back scratcher. I just wish I didn’t have to keep using it so bloody often. Clogged pores worsening and sleep increasing. I continue to have one linnie due to said sleep making me miss the shop hours where the owner is in attendance.

Next week, I see a surgeon to consult with about top surgery. The timing is good, for the chest-related dysphoria is very, very bad. I find I really can’t look at myself anymore, not even to continue saying goodbye to that part of my life.

Attempting NaNoWriMo this year. Not sure why, as I don’t have any stories I burn to tell, let alone the idea of one. Somehow, I still made my daily word count. This confuses me.

Today’s depressive episode is very bad and the urge to withdraw from certain social circles because I no longer feel like I belong in them — if I ever did — is strong. A glass of scotch sings me to sleep tonight.

I think a reread of Seanan McGuire’s Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is in order.

A small amendment.

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After listening to Toby contact call every bird she hears, whether it’s an actual bird or one she hears through my speakers, I’ve decided she will not be my only bird. Birds are social creatures, and, as much as she’s bonded with me, I’m not another bird. She’s lonely for her own kind, and I can’t do that to her for the rest of her life.

The bird store I get my supplies from happens to have two linnies, a male and female that used to be a breeding pair but are now kept separately. Linnies are semi-flock birds, i.e. they get along better in smaller numbers, and only with their own kind; trying to get them to flock with different kinds of birds usually results in a dead bird, regardless of what “the Internet” says.

So, come next cheque, Toby will have a lovely green girlfriend. I’m not sure how old she is — I think I was told around 2 or 3 years old when I was there last — but the site now says all their linnies are seniors, and some company for a while is better than none. If nothing else, it’ll give me time to work on getting another from Toby’s breeder, if I can.

I try not to be so sunk into my own bloody misery that I drag innocent things down into the mire with me. I try.