JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Looking Back

Okay, you can tell from all of my postings that I'm procrastinating working, but I'm really in a lot of pain and dizzy and curious about what is going on and how to make it better. Anyway, I was looking back to see when this all started June 4, which is exactly a month before I'm supposed to travel back to Kansas City. It is also right after my mystical night with *Z*. Everytime I've been sick, it has actually been after having sex with some guy and getting my hopes up really high about the relationship and having a hard fall to the ground. I think that maybe I literally am not strong enough to get my heartbroken...and I tend to set myself up for it. Anyway, maybe I'm reading too much into all of this.


Recovering From A Root Canal

Here are some things that have helped me:
1. Massage therapy treatment that included cranial-sacrial work
2. Arnica Montana 30 (homeopathic)
3. Chinese herbal antibiotic, liquid form
4. Acupunture
5. Slippery elm losenges
6. Gargling with salt water and goldenseal

Any other ideas?

Silver Lining?

I feel like I'm complaining a lot on this blog. I should say that it was nice to have *A* here last night, and we played a Soduku puzzle in bed before going to sleep. He made me laugh this morning even though I'm in a lot of pain. And I have a lot of people supporting me. My dad was even sympathetic to me last night on the phone, and my niece sang me a song to make me feel better. There are good things; I need to not lose site of them.

Still Hurts

I don't know what to do; my tooth really hurts. It felt sort of okay until I had the crown put on, and that procedure hurt a lot, and it just gets worse. I guess I'm going to call the dentists and ask them what they think. I also have an appointment for a massage and acupunture, so maybe that will help me. I just don't understand. Plus, I have so much work to do, and I'm tired of sitting around and being dizzy from all of this medication.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Overwhelmed, BUT Healing

I just came back from the dentist, who put in a temporary crown. Everything went fine with the root canal this time (tfu tfu). He said that I can even travel on the 4th if I want to, although he made it seem like the temporary crown won't hold up until Fall. It'll be ready on the 12th, and I would love to stay here to have it put on.

I'm in a bit of pain right now, but I am really releaved that I'm past this. The dental hygenist said that the rest of my teeth are in really good shape, and she's even seeing improvement on their level of health. She said I get a gold star for hygine :P

I told my dad yesterday about everything with this. I was expecting him to freak out at me about not following his advice (just getting the tooth pulled). He seemed to sincerely feel bad for me; I think in part because he's so desperate to have me come back and help him take care of mom.

Alex will be here pretty shortly to start moving his stuff in. My stuff is everywhere and needs to be put away to make space for him. I am way behind in work and don't even want to start. I just want to go and hide somewhere for a couple of days - somewhere where there isn't pain, where I don't have to think about my mom dying, where I don't have anything that I have to do, where I can just be for a little bit. BUT, that's not going to happen. Maybe I'll decide to put off going to KC for another week and get the permanent crown and catch up on work a bit and build up my immune system a little before getting on a plane. *A* isn't going to like that, I don't know if I'd be able to find a decent ticket. Plus, shouldn't I just get a round trip at this point? Or will I drive back? There is so much to decide, so much to do. Still, I'm just grateful to be healing.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Leap of Faith/In Over My Head

So, I met with the endondist 45 minutes South of where I live. She suggested that I just wait til I get back to KC because basically there are too many people involved, and she doesn't want to do anything. I told her that I'm not travleing anymore with all of this pain.

She said that she's not sure if she can finish the root canal, but that it looks like the tooth is healing and the abcess appears to be gone. (All due to the Chinese medicine I received yesterday. I got Chinese antibiotics, which are working great and not taking much of a toll on my body.) If she can finish the root canal, it'll take two hours and she'll want to give me 1 mg of Xanax before she starts. So, I can't drive myself home. I'm getting my neighbor to take me; I said I'd pay her for her time. It is a big inconvenience on her, and I hate asking, but I don't know what else to do. The endodontist may even get in there and see that it can't be fixed and then stop and close up. Then, I'll still have to get the tooth extracted.

Even if it is successful, she said that the standard of a successful root canal is only 5 years. At that point, I'll have to have the tooth extracted anyway. I can't believe all of this. This is seriously more than I can take. I may have to put off going back to KC as planned, but the endondist says that we won't be able to tell until Friday, to see if I am having any problems. *A* is moving into my place in the next two days, so I really need to be out of here. I need to help take care of my mom. I'm so overwhelmed. My PTSD is completely triggered by all of this dental work. And, I'm still in horrible pain.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Spiraling Health Problems

I woke up at 4am this morning with serious naseau and abdominal cramping. I called the endodontist that I saw yesterday, who told me to just stop taking that antibiotic, to see a doctor, and that basically there's nothing he can do for me.

I went to urgent care at student health this morning. The doctor gave me 2 sets of antibiotics, one of which I have had serious problems with in the past. He told me that I need to get this taken care of and recommended that I don't travel in the near future. I convinced him to do some blood work, which doesn't indicate that the infection has transfered into my jaw, but does show a high white blood cell count.

I called my dentist and told him that I want to get this tooth out. He said he'd look into it and get back to me, but wants me to see this other endodontist 45 minutes out of town tomorrow. I spoke with the office manager for that office, who said that she may not be able to do anything for me.

I'm really scared. I've had health problems in the past, and I don't have that strong of an immune system. Nothing is working, the procedures are painful and expensive, and things are just getting worse.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Psychological Components

I spoke with my therapist on the phone about the place of my father's voice in the way that I think about the whole tooth issue. He doesn't really have any faith in modern medicine (or dentistry in a lot of ways). He right away told me not to have the root canal. And now the root canal thing isn't working. And in my mind, I connect my father's lack of faith in the world generally, his whole way of looking at the world with this decision. He's trying to control my life, thinks that he can do it better than me, and here maybe he's right. So, as I try to hold on to control of my life and push my father to give my mom some sort of medication or something to help with the Alzheimer's, what does it mean if he's right in this regard?

If I don't get well, maybe it is a bad idea for me to fly (the pressure makes it more painful and increases possibility of getting sick), then how can I help take care of my mom?

I know that I've put a lot of pressure on myself, and there's a lot that I want to accomplish right now - put aside the PTSD stuff, take care of my mom, keep up with schoolwork aka do my research, and it seems to be just too hard on my body. I've been here before; stressing myself out and pushing myself too hard. I try to let up when I get sick; I know what I'm doing, but I still don't know how to not do this though and still accomplish things.

My massage therapist says that I am somatizing all of the emotions that I'm not letting out. Maybe that is part of the healing, just letting myself feel all of this. But, it is hard because I don't necessarily have a lot of outlets to do that on a regular basis - other than this blog, in therapy, and with my friend K.

I miss my mom so much. She would have remembered, if she didn't have Alzheimer's, that I am allergic to penicillin. She would come and take care of me. I miss her so much, even though she is still alive, so much of her is just gone already. I'm scared of what's happening to her, my dad, me, that the world is so scary and things can fall apart so quickly, and that there isn't anyone to take care of me like mom did (even though there are a couple of friends and family members who will take care of me a bit, but its not the same).

Clearly, part of all of this is stress and chronic problems that I have with my left side - the migranes, the tooth pain - all on my left side. I carry a lot of tension there, so there isn't good blood flow and holding on of lots of toxins. Okay, enough rambling on.

Now a Serious Infection

I am so frustrated with this. I have really horrible pain in my tooth and gums. I had an allergic reaction yesterday to the antibiotic I was on. I had to really push to be seen by an endodontist, who is charging me $100 and said to just wait it out and gave me steroids and more antiobiotics. He also warned that all of this flying makes everything worse. I'm really afraid right now because I just really feel like something's really wrong. I don't trust these endodontists because they all tell me something different, and nothing is making this better. I'm afraid to have the tooth pulled because my dentist is seriously against it, and it sounds like a painful and expensive procedure. I'm dizzy and tired all the time and just really out of it. I have no energy to work. And, dental procedures are really scary for people with PTSD. Not to mention that my dad made a really big deal about not wanting me to have the root canal in the first place and thinks I should have the tooth pulled. I feel cold all the time (although I took temp. and don't have a fever); my stomach hurts. I'm just really frightened. *A* has been going to the pharmacy for me, which has been a big help, and my dentist was nice enough to get me into an endodontist this morning, but I really feel like no one has really figured out what's going on and knows if they can fix it. It might get worse and they seem to have no good options. Everything is painful, expensive, time consuming, and I'm supposed to somehow get on a plane next week and fly back to KC (and so dentists really don't even want to start anything here). Does anyone else have experience with root canals?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Many Resources

Well, I have an appointment with a dentist tomorrow and a promise from an endontist that I can get fit in if need be. I probably need to get my root canal re-done. I just started taking antibiotics which are going to seriously mess up my digestive system again, but I even spoke with acupunturists who told me to just take the antibiotics because an infection in the mouth can spread to the brain and/or heart and serious stuff pretty easily. So, I have to miss my presentation tomorrow if I get treatment. And my dentist at home (whom I called and prescribed the antibiotics)...i just forgot what I was going to say. I'm so out of it. I better go do more work to prepare the team for tomorrow.

More Tooth Pain: What Should I Do?

Well, I'm still on the East Coast and all of a sudden today in sessions, I got this really bad pain in the tooth where I had the root canal. It hurts a little bit on the other side. I'm not sure what's going on. The original endontist from KC's office said that it is an infection in my gums and I have to take antibiotics. I'm calling dentists everywhere, and I'm not sure if I need to have the root canal opened up and drained out, antibiotics (which will mess up my already messed up stomach), the tooth extracted, or what. I'm making calls around to get advice, but this sucks.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chinese Moss for Alzheimer's

*A* forwarded to me information about this Chinese herb moss stuff that is given to people with Alzheimer's in China that is supposed to be really powerful and is being tested currently in the States. I showed it to my dad, and he agreed to give it to my mom. He won't start until I arrive in town so that I can help on sneaking it to Mom for a trial period to see if it helps at all. Hopefully, it'll help her!


Monday, June 19, 2006

"Tuesdays with Morrie"

I just finished reading this book. Z had warned me that I shouldn't read it on the plane because it would make me cry, but tonight was the first night that I really cried reading it. I don't want to have to say goodbye to my mom, especially not this "long goodbye". It is a good book though and a very fast read; I recommend it to anyone else whose loved one is dying.

Here's a quote: "I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things in my life. On the people who are coming to see me. On the stories I'm going to hear....I don't allow myself any more self-pity than that. A little each morning, a few tears, and that's all (57)."


Feeling Young, Inexperienced, and Insecure

It was a good night; I enjoyed it; I really did. But, I am the only graduate student amongst tenured or tenure track faculty members, many of whom are in the top of their fields. And, I haven't wanted to talk about my mom and what I'm doing in KC. So, I'm stuck talking about my MA which I'm otherwise very unconnected to and not really working on right now and I just feel kinda out of place.

My advisor and the other team member today were getting on each others' nerves, and I got caught a little strangely in between, and now I'm sitting in my room at 9pm feeling a little lonely and trapped because some of the other symposium members are downstairs at this bar, I guess, schmoozing, and I just don't feel like it but there is nothing else around here.

I feel like I'm at such this crossroads - Will I become a great academic? Will I be there for my family? Will I have a family of my own? My advisor too, this great feminist scholar, makes some comment about how another woman here got re-married and how she can't find someone to marry again with. I said, well I haven't even been married once. She said: Well, it'll happen. I said: Wait, do you even believe in marriage? She gives me this spiel basically saying yes and that it worked for her parents, and I say mine too, but what the hell, it only worked in this patriarchial way, which she and I supposedly challenge, right?

And I haven't heard from Z. And *A* doesn't want a relationship "yet". So, tonight I'm just feeling a little unaccomplished and unsure of who I am and what I've accomplished.

Exhausted But Successful

Well, I just finished a 2 and a half hour meeting, and I am exhausted. This East Coast weather really takes a lot out of you. Plus, I didn't sleep well last night since I'm in this new place and jet lagged and there were a couple of noises in the morning. I think I may have to nap even though that goes against my whole cognative behavioral sleep plan. The meeting went really well though, and it felt really good to be in a room with important people talking about important things. It also feels good to be bonding with my advisor. I really just want to go home though and be in bed with my dog (who is in KC), so none of that is going to happen. When people asked what is going on in my life, I didn't know what to say because the only other thing other than this project is my mom going downhill, which feels strange to tell to strangers when everyone's being upbeat and presenting only the good things in their lives. I really don't think I would want to have to travel to things like this all the time as a lifestyle, although I know that it is expected somewhat of people in academia. It is reminiscent though of BBYO summer program and convention days.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Everything Is Illuminated

I just finished reading this book, which a friend recommended a long time ago. I have been sitting here crying as I read it for the last 30 minutes and cried on the last plane ride reading it. It is so beautiful and poinient.

I really related to a lot of the things in the book - loss, the weight of the Holocaust and all of the unspoken memories that even us grandchildren carry.

Here's a quote (p198-9) :
Touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing...memory. While Gentiles experience and process the world thorugh the traditional senses, and use memory only as a second-order means of interpreting events, for Jews memory is no less primary than the prick of a pin, or its silver glimmer, or the taste of the blood it pulls from the finger. The Jew is pricked by a pin and remembers other pins. It is only by tracing the pinprick back to other pinpricks -when his mother tried to fix his sleeve while his arm was still in it, when his grandfather's fingers fell asleep from stroking his great-grandfather's damp forehead, when Abraham tested the knife point to be sure Isaac would feel no pain-that the Jew is able to know why it hurts.
When a Jew encounters a pin, he asks:
What does it remember like?

I really feel this tonight. As I feel the prick of the characters in the book (which are clearly autobiographical), I feel the prick of my ancestors, of my grandparents, and then I remember what it was like growing up in the Midwest surrounded by wealthy WASPS with the memory of the Holocaust. I remember the terror that I felt the night that I was raped and the betrayal that my country didn't believe me or care that it happened, at least as it is represented by the police. I sit on my couch and trace back all of these pin pricks, which I can only understand because of this book and of the prick of my mother losing her memory. My mother is losing herself. I am losing my mother. The world feels so chaotic that it is hard to not search desperately for the one thing that cannot be killed like my mother and our memory - to try to find love and latch on to it. Instead, I have to remember that the world is not chaotic, to lose the focus of the prick and to learn to focus instead on better things, on beautiful things....a spiritual practice like a Buddhist meditation, to be pricked and not lose my focus.

Anyway, I know that I'm not making any sense probably to anyone other than myself. I'm just tracing back my wounds as I prepare for the next round of whirlwind travel tomorrow. I'm being picked up at 7am. There will be no food served on my 6-7 hours in the air. But, it is only until next Friday, until Shabbat. And then I will have another beautiful night with A and preparations for KC and taking care of my mom some more. And I will try to not lose my focus.


Men: A Big Disappointment

Well, I wrote to Z three times over the last three weeks, and I only heard from him kinda blowing me off I guess that one time. I am so disappointed. It was stupid of me to get lost in that beautiful night, to get so ungrounded when even though I've known him for 13 years, I guess I don't really know him and we live in different places and he never expressed any interest in a relationship. I just got really thrown by his passion that came out of left field. And, part of me just wants something really good in my life that is separate from all of this really bad stuff that I'm dealing with.

I know that I need to learn to let relationships develop slowly over time instead of jumping ahead 100 steps. And then I've got whatever with my best friend, who is clearly not interested in a relationship with me, well or I guess unclearly not interested. And I know him really well over a really long period of time. And don't get me wrong, my relationship with A is wonderful. I just wish that I could have a partner in life, so that even as I go through this really rough patch, I could count on something really beautiful, that I could ground myself in knowing that no matter what, at the end of the day I'll have that person there to take care of me and for me to take care of. As I write this, I realize that I sort of have this to a degree with some very close friends, but it just isn't the same. Maybe I just learn to better appreciate what I have instead of focusing on what's missing.

Migraine Still Here

My migraine never went away. In fact, I kept waking up from the pain all night last night. And now, I've already taken pain killers to the limit of what I should take but i still have a lot of pain, and I'm flying tomorrow. I realize that these headaches are a big sign from my body that I can't keep this all up.

I found this article about alternative treatments for migraines. I messaged A that he should help me with strategy #11....


Friday, June 16, 2006

Another Migrane, Excuse for a Spa Night

Well, the heat and the stress got to me and I ended up with a really bad migrane. I took this Midrin that is expiring because I never usually take it. But, I was watching Larry King Live about a possible Alzheimer's vaccine and a cervical cancer vaccine, and they were talking about the seriousness of inflamation, and I just figured that I can't let myself go with this lack of blood flow to my brain. Then, since I was almost dizzy from the migrane, I figured that I couldn't work. I started by watching my latest netflix DVD (Queer as Folk) and putting something under my knees to ease the pressure on my lower back. Then, I decided to use the rest of this mud stuff that I got from Body Shop on sale and put a mask on my face and just relax a bit. I found a place for a $40 massage that I'm going to go to soon. And then, I'll pick up A downtown and have some snuggles and a good night's sleep since he'll be next to me, and a big breakfast out somewhere. Then, its my last day at home. Sunday, I'm being picked up at 7am for the airport for this business trip. Still, I NEED to find a way to reduce my stress level.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sign My Guest Book

Hey, if you haven't already, please sign my guest book at:

You don't have to use your real name. You don't need to provide your email address. Just say what brought here and give any comments you might have about the site.

I Look Like Hell

I realized that I have to get my passport renewed (going to Canada and Mexico in the next year possibly and who knows when I'll want to go back to Israel). When I got the passport pictures taken, I was alarmed by how crappy I look. I have this picture taken 10 years ago in my old passport where I look amazing. But now, my eyes are saggy and tired and just my whole face looks exhausted. I have so much work to do before I go on Sunday. And I saw my advisor today who nudged me to work on my thesis this summer, which I should do, but when am I going to find the time and energy for? I was going to go work out and then have lunch with A, but he noticed that my voice sounds like hell when I called him back and recommended that I not put any extra stress on my body. I am seriously drained and am in desperate need of a proper vacation.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Next Door Neighbor is Moving!

I came home to see a for sale sign at my neighbor's place. I live in a condo and share a very big wall with this neighbor. Because of the whole issue with neighbors here (my other neighbor was murdered), it makes me nervous that there will be some stranger is going to move in. It also feels wierd that there will be so many people looking around when I'm out of town. I'm glad that my friend, A, is going to be staying at my place while I'm at KC....but it is just wierd. We all sort of made this pact to not move because of the murder, and now two neighbors are moving - I think influenced by the murder.....

Home Sweet Home...but no dog

It feels really good to be home, even though my dog is still in KC with my dad. I'm jet lagged. The next few weeks are going to be ridiculous because I'm 3 times crossing time zones in 3 weeks, and each time, it'll take me longer to adjust then I'll be at a place. I'm not sleeping very well, in part because of the jet lag and in part because I just worry about my mom. I need to start forcing myself to do the Stress Eraser before I go to bed, even though I'm exhausted and just pass out. All of this traveling is really expensive, and I'm noticing that I'm shopping more as a coping mechanism, I think in part because it is what I used to do with my mom.

I haven't heard from Z at all, which is disappointing. I have tons of work to do, but the disorientation and exhaustion and whatever else make it hard for me to concentrate. I haven't been able to concentrate well for like 6 months now, and it is really frustrating. My stomach is really upset because of the antibiotic that I had to take after the root canal. I have acidophis stuff that I'm taking, but it'll be a little while before I'm back to normal. I think that I feel that way about everything. I feel like I'm in this period of trying to heal and cope and things not being right, and that this is just the way that they'll be for awhile. Oh well, at least I'm home right now.

Monday, June 12, 2006


So, I only have a couple of hours before I need to have my dad take me to my mom's, say goodbye, fly back home, pull together work stuff, blah blah, fly across country for a few days for work, go back home, write an encyclopedia entry, make room in my place for A to move in, fly back to KC. I went to therapy this morning and found myself just wanting to vent instead of actually wanting to think through anything. I wonder if it is really a good idea to be staying with my dad all summer so that I can take care of my mom. Maybe I should stay at my grandmother's empty place, even though that's creepy and I'd probably feel guilty about going to visit her if I did that, and then it seems ridiculous to spend thousands of dollars on a hotel, but maybe if I consider how much therapy I might be saving myself!....actually I think in some ways it is good for both my dad and I that I'm here, but it is also really draining on me and I don't like having him get into my head....being around him so much, it lets his way of seeing the world enter my mind.....grrr, okay, must pack!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What's More Important?

While eating lunch, dad told me that he hasn't heard back about whether or not the cemetary where Mom will eventually be buried will allow her to have an autopsy (because of Jewish law and the way that those running the place interpret it). He asked me if they say that she can't have the autopsy, if I think that they (she and my dad) should be buried somewhere else. He started naming other options. It was a very wierd conversation.

I told him that he, mom, and my grandparents made the decision about where to be buried and to be buried together a long time ago and that this is the priority, to follow that decision. I can't believe that I'm talking with him about where he's going to be buried...and his voice is going, like it has been and clearly somethings going on there. I can't concentrate today at all. I'm going to try to force myself to work productively for half an hour and then go take my dog to visit Mom at her home.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mom's Getting Worse; Dad Yelled at Me

I don't even know where to begin. I am beind in work, had to leave to go to therapy, from there went to see my mom. I asked Mom: "If you could have anything in the world to eat for dinner, what would you want?" Mom: "Ribs." Me: Really because you eat that all the time. Are you sure? Mom: yes. So I had to struggle to even get her out the door because she was so confused. I got her to take her sweater and she kept trying to hang it back up. I tried to explain that she'd need the sweater because I'm taking her out to dinner, and she would say: So you want me to hang up the sweater?

It was so frustrating. Then, I drove us through horrible traffic because she took so long and went a far distance to get to this rib joint that she likes. Then, as we pull up, she says: I don't want to go here; I was just here. Oy. So I say, well where would you like to go? Mom: Red Lobster, Chinese Food. I notice that she's just reading signs from restaurants across the street.

So, I remember that this restaurant that we used to eat at every week when I grew up is around the corner, and I ask her if she wants to go there. She says yes. I take her there and she is excited to be there and that the owner remembers her father. She is confused the whole meal, trying to get up and leave and I say, but we haven't eaten yet, and so she says okay but then 5 minutes later, she puts her napkin on the table and asks again if we should leave. She also keeps asking about how we'll pay for the meal since she doesn't have her purse. I tell her that my father gave me money for the meal (a lie) and not to worry about it. The whole thing was so frustrating. And, she barely ate any of the main course. I joked with my dad later that this must have been like what it was like for her when I was growing up - I have no authority with my dad, without the man no instructions get followed.

Anyway, I take her to the mall to walk around after a bit of prodding. She says that she wants to look at the make-up and get an eye brow pencil. So I take her to Lancome, which is her favorite, and....I don't even have the energy to write the story. Short version- I spend a lot of money, she is just confused, I get frustrated.

I spoke with a staff person at her facility about why she isn't engaging in activities like she used to. She told me that since the place has more people, my mom gets shy, especially in larger groups and around the men. She said that if there were more staff, they could do smaller groups. This just makes me more frustrated because I completely understand the situation, but how am I going to fineagel getting more staff there. I am overwhelmed.

I drive home, trying to call my sister to have someone to talk about how sad it is that my mom is doing so much worse, but she doesn't answer. When I get back to the house, I make the mistake of talking and venting to my dad. When I tell him that I mentioned to the staff that mom's toe nails need trimming and that the staff weren't sure what should be done - - if she needs to go to a podatrist or get a pedicure or if someone can just cut them, my father YELLED at me "What are you crazy? A pedicure there costs $100!" I was tempted to yell back that who gives a shit about the money. He has plenty of money. He has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it, but he's stressing himself out about Mom getting a freaking pedicure, about an extra $1000/year when the place probably costs $60,000/year? And he can easily afford this all but it is just the principle of it for him. This pisses me off so much. I'm so sick of his ridiculous principles...he won't go to the doctor because it is too expensive but I think that he's probably got cancer because he appears to have a growth around his throat....I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have lung cancer with his family and smoking history. But he'd rather die than pay money to a doctor. I tell him that I don't care about inheriting the money that he should just take care of himself but he says it is the principle.

I think that my old therapist is right; this is clearly a Holocaust/persecution/PTSD mentality. I am so afraid that I'm going to get sucked back into his mentally ill thought processes, that I'm letting his voice back into my head when I've been fighting for years to get rid of it - his critical, conservative, paranoid voice.

I don't know what I'm doing here. I can't believe that I bought today a one way ticket back here July 4. I don't want to be here anymore. My advisor (from school) sent me an email inviting me to go with her to Oaxaca for a conference in November. It made me laugh. I want to be an academic, to have my own life, to live somewhere not KC. Augh!!!

My mom told me tonight, like she tells me almost every night, "You're a good daughter." I respond, "Well, you're a good mother." I know that being there makes such a difference to her, but I am really worried about what all of this is going to do to me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

One Day at a Time

Dad and I met with staff from Mom's facility to do her 30 day evaluation. It sounds like she's adjusting really well, and the staff are really on top of things with her generally. I'm going to try to fenagel schelping Dad to a support group meeting that they have there for the families of people there with Alzheimer's, but Dad doesn't sound very enthusiastic about going. I had a hard time telling him to go for me without laughing because I could tell how transparent I was being.

I have a conference call in 45 min. with my research team and just barely caught myself up on work stuff. It is hard to not spend all of my free time with my mother. I haven't even had time to put together many activities for her or look through the book that the Alz's Assn. recommended because I am just there with her all the time. My tooth feels a lot better, and while I have a headache, I have an appointment with this fabulous local chiropractor.

My keyboard broke down so I have to come to this message later in the night (its after 10pm now). I went to the support group BY MYSELF which I'm a bit pissed about, but the group made me feel appreciative of how good I have it. Another woman on Mom's floor gets really violent with her husband and another woman also gets very angry and mean. My mom doesn't do this at ALL. She really is incapable of violence and aggression.
She did though tonight ask me if I have kids. When I told her no, she looked very upset. I told her that my sister has two kids and I have a dog which we treat like a kid, but she didn't seem consolled. Oy.

When we got to her room, she said something like: someone mentioned something about tucking me in. I said, "yes, I'll tuck you in." She smiled. When she got into bed, she lifted up her arms and said "tuck me in." It was very cute.

Oy, it has been a super long day and I'm behind with work. But, it is too late to worry about it. I'll have to catch up tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I was having pain in one of my teeth starting Sunday morning. Yesterday, I went at 7:30am to my dad's dentist downtown, and he took me in without an appointment, took a couple of x-rays, told me that I need a root canal, that he'd arrange it with a, I have a super bad migrane, and I'm trying to work but I just started crying because I can't take how bad this pain is in my head with the tooth and the migrane and I feel naucious from the migrane and have lots of work to do. Luckily, my chiropractor will fit me in at 7:30pm tonight, but I don't know how I'm going to be in pain until then and then be on the Plaza at 7:45am tomorrow to get a root canal and in between comfort my mother. Oy, dad just called; he needs me to go to mom's place because he locked his keys in his trunk.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Mystical Night

"The more you bring the Zohar into your life,
your connection to the Light becomes stronger."

Finally putting vulnerability out
saying what's been held in
for half my life
wanting to touch you
to feel you emeshed in you
to let go of my pain and grief
feel only love and beauty and passion and goodness
for only half an hour
dazzled by your splendor
lost in pleasure

Help me make sense of his words
and what's between them
help me find the path that I grasp for
back to that mystical night
the dream inside a dream
radient darkness
satisfied with the fulfillment of my every desire
now only a memory
a lily amongst thorns
seen from a bright room
when looking out a window of darkness.
Let there be Light.

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I'm So Bad At Relationships

Okay, so Z wrote me back via email:

Dear [Karma],

It has indeed been an enchanted night - more like a dream in a dream. I do not know the source of your unease, for I have felt nothing after falling asleep. Even if I had, why would I be mad???????

Thank you for a splendid evening. As always, it was wonderful listening to you and realize anew what a sensitive, caring individual you truly are. I shall cherish it...

Shabbat Shalom dear



- -- -- - -
Now what should I make of this? He didn't even respond to me saying that I'd come to visit. It is a very sweet and endearing email, but how do I respond to it? Is he saying that it was just that night and that's all? What can I do to keep in contact with him and hopefully see him again?

Special Moments With My Mom

I took my mom last night out to dinner and then to services. She was excited to go, but also nervous about being out of her place. I had to be really flexible with everything both because of the timing of getting from her place to services and traffic and mom's mood. I originally planned to take her to the Cheesecake Factory, but we were running late, so I just took her to Boston Market. She is the kind of person who is just as happy somewhere casual as somewhere fancy. Afterwards, we had extra time, so we went to have hot tea. Then she got nervous about where my dad was and why wasn't he there, etc. So, I just called him and had him talk to her and say that everything is fine. Then, she was fine. She did really well at services with me finding transliterations for everything until we got to the Torah portion. Then, the Rabbi likes to read from the Torah and translate as he's going, going back and forth between languages. Mom got agitated that she couldn't follow along and kept talking pretty loudly, so we just left. I figured that it wasn't worth pushing it. When we left, she kept telling me over and over: "You know, I wasn't bat mitzvahed." I kept telling her that I didn't think that anyone minded.

Throughout the night, she kept saying that she wanted to go home. I was nervous that she was talking about the house and not the facility, but when we got back to the assisted living facility where she lives, she was okay about it after asking me once or twice: "Now you're going to sleep at the house? And I'm going to sleep here?"

I got her to participate in activities a bit even though she just wanted to lay down in her bed. She cracked me up that she kept asking me to do stuff for her. As soon as I'd sit down, she'd think of something else I could do for her. It reminded me of when I used to do this to her as a kid, that I'd just want the attention so I'd think of things she could do to take care of me. Anyway, eventually we layed down in her (twin) bed together. She asked if we could cuddle and then turned to her side and hugged me and petted my arm and told me "You're a good daughter." "You're a good mother," I replied.

She showed me this photo album that my sister made for her, and almost every picture of my niece, she said "that's you." Ha ha, that made me smile because I really love my niece, and I think that she looks a lot like me. Once she did say though "that's me" to a picture of my niece.

I'm still torn about whether or not to take her to see her mother. I got her to talk about it after she showed me a picture that had her mother in it. She said that she thinks that she should see her mother. Mom thought her mom was still out of town and was angry with her mom for not calling. I tried to explain that her mother couldn't call her, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't love her.

Every night, I tuck her into bed, and she gets really excited about it. After I have put her under the sheets, she lifts up her arms and smiles and says "tuck me in." I come over and play with sheets a bit/ruffling them up, and then give her a kiss and say "sweet dreams." Then, I get up to go and she says "are you going to tuck me in?" We usually go through this about three times before she's satisfied. It is pretty funny.

Oh, the other funny thing is that while she was showing me the photo album, she walked by me, and without saying anything, just tickled my feet. (Tickling each other is something we used to do.) I said "you tickled me?!" She looked back and giggled. It was very cute.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Why Hasn't He Called?

Oy, Z hasn't called me, and it makes me a bit unnerved. I wonder what he's thinking about the whole thing and if I'll hear from him. I got blown off today in a rude way by my friend, M. Grr, really annoyed with her. But, I had a good night with my mom, although I was a bit disappointed when "Go Fish" was too complicated of a game for her. She would look at one card, the second, and then back to the second. She wouldn't get to her third card. All of the other residents seemed to be playing better than her; it made me sad. Although only the more functional ones were playing with me. Now that I'm trying to organize activities for my mom in between the more formal ones, I'm getting stuck with taking care of tons of residents. Like tonight, I helped out about 10 residents while taking care of my mom.

Here's an email I wrote to send to Z. I'm not sure if I'll send it or even if I have his email address.

My Dearest [z],

I found this old email address of yours, which I hope is still your email address…. I’m not quite sure where or how to begin. I wish that I could have stayed in bed with you that night. I hope that you found my note and that it made sense. I was just about to fall asleep in your arms when some PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms starting arising. I’m not sure if woke you up too, but I started getting this reflex which physically jerks me awake just as I am about to fall asleep. I used to get this a couple of years ago (an after shock of the rape that happened years ago, that you know about). I had been sleeping wonderfully until recently.

See, end of January, something happened that re-triggered some of my PTSD symptoms. You may have read something in the papers about the xxxx. It was a scary night for me, in which there was some concern that this woman might try to shoot me as well. (I took out the explanation in order to not show all of my readers who don't know me where I actually live.)

My point is that my inability to fall asleep in your arms is due to all of this and NOT in anyway demonstrative of how I feel about you. I had not prepared to spend the night with you, hadn’t given it any thought, and when it started to happen, my brain just switched off altogether, and I just went with how it felt, which was wonderful and amazing and perfect. If I am ever given the opportunity again to fall asleep in your arms, I will prepare and don’t expect that falling asleep will be an issue like it was this week.

I hope that you aren’t mad at me, although I will understand if you are. I know that we both have busy schedules and have a lot of traveling to do this summer, but I very much want to stay in contact with you and would love to see you again sometime soon. If you’ll have me, I would love to take you up on your offer on coming to visit you.

No matter what happens, I’ll always remember the night that we shared together.

Don't Pity Me

Last night, I had dinner with my friend, M, and her family. They had been pushing for me to come over since M is in from out of town. Most of the night, they were treating me with such pity, inviting me to come over and spend more time with the family to get away from things, but like they're doing me some sort of favor...not like my friend K who both offers to come with me to help me deal with my life but wants to spend time with me because she wants to spend time with me and not because she feels sorry for me and wants to do some sort of mitzvah (not that K probably even knows what this word means because she's goyisha :P).

I haven't heard from Z, and it makes me feel a bit unglued. I spoke on the phone with my therapist about all of the reasons why making something real happen with Z is so pressurized for me - my desire to give my mom a wedding while she can still be there, the pressure from my family and community, my want of the validation, yadayada.

My feeling of strength and feeling like I can do this all is just not here today...ah ha, maybe its because i forgot to take my medication for the second day in a row.