Sounds bad, huh? Of course when those words came out of my mouth, I didn’t realize how it sounded, I was just stating the truth. If I were younger people could laugh and say “oh, from the mouths of babes”.
What I meant of course, is that when I went to my rheumatology appointment this morning, and the doctor did that thing where he touches me all over my body (that still doesn’t sound right!)) to see where and what is hurting, I hurt so much that tears just started falling.
I have had a good run on the pills I have been taking in regards to managing my pain, however around June this pain got worse. Worse, still, when I stopped birth control. The pain is to the point that nothing is comfortable. Not standing, sitting or lying down. This is how it was before I started seeing the specialist. Even he said “We were having such success with the amitryptaline!” And we were. No one is more disappointed than I am. It’s my body – head to tow – that feels bruised and swollen every day. Even sleeping with memory foam on the bed, it’s just too painful.
I had been looking forward to today’s appointment for some time now. I spoke with my boss in August about how thankful I was I had it coming up. The falling over type exhaustion that was making me both dizzy and nauseous until I closed my eyes and passed out for an hour or so. The pain that shot through my body while sitting at the desk forcing me to take many more breaks than normal to stretch and hope that was enough to get me through the day. The Advil popping. Ugh.
Cut to this stupid, irritating strike. The pain I am in regularly was of course augmented by the physical aspect of the picket line. Being told you can’t sit and you have to walk the entire time or you won’t get paid (bullies everywhere, people) kept me feeling too guilty when I sat more than 5 minutes an hour. Yes, I could have worked in the office, but I still have pain sitting down and just getting around in general. It was getting bad regardless, apparently stress is a huge factor in auto-immune issues. I can’t handle everything. Work was stressful enough the past 4 months because of missing staff in my office (my supervisor), I needed to hold down the fort and desperately needed time to recoup when things were back to normal. Only things didn’t get back to normal. I had to go on stupid strike where the added stress of money and not being able to get work done for my boss on top of the walking around was just too much.
Mentally and physically I knew a fall out was coming.
And it came today in the form of an 8 week medical leave from my specialist. I have to start new medication (Lyrica) to see if that gets the pain and system back in check. If I were just sitting in the office I think I could manage both – the meds and healing – because I would only have work stress to bother me and although it is stressful I can handle it. I have understanding bosses.
What I can’t do is heal and deal with the strike.
So I am on leave for 2 months. I am both relieved about this and guilty (abandoning my friends – not the union – but my friends). I am also newly stressed because there is conflicting information regarding how or WHEN I get paid. One side says you get paid when the strike ends and the other says the employer should cover the leave even when on strike. I don’t even know who to believe any more. I have sent an email to those that should be able to answer me, but as of yet (in the last 4 hours) I have heard nothing. Obviously I would like this confirmed NOW because I need to know where my next pay check is coming from.
So I am on sick leave and on strike and in a lot of pain and in monetary limbo.
I have had better Septembers, in case you were wondering. Also, it’s getting very difficult to keep trying to find a bright side.
Today’s strike attire – part 1!
If I was looking for a way to lose weight, well, I think I have found it. Five or so hours of walking a day, plus eating healthier, but also not being able to eat because of stress, does wonders for a person! I might even break down and invest in a scale (which I have not owned since the fire in 2006) and see what the numbers are. I know my legs from hip to ankle have slimmed down a bit. This makes me happy. Not to mention, while not collecting a regular paycheck things like buying food will happen less and less so I won’t even have food to eat. I should patent this diet program and make millions from it.
Most people eat when stressed. I can’t eat. I don’t have an appetite, nor can I keep food in my body for very long. The stress of walking up the mountain to the picket line on my body has also been seeing results. I’ll have a nice, firm, bottom by the end of this!
Except tomorrow we’re being moved back to our original location, while I am happy that I don’t have to deal with the mountain, I am also sad to lose our quiet spot, where we can leave our bags by a tree and feel safe since it’s a dead-end street. Still, walking is walking and 6-7Km a day of walking non-stop is something.
I didn’t go in on Monday. I was nauseous and feeling ill all weekend and on Monday I knew I’d need a bathroom more than I would have access to, so I stayed home. I will of course miss out on a much needed day of strike pay, but I knew I couldn’t handle the outdoors thing in my condition. So I stayed home, slept and read. I needed a mental health day I think on top of the physical part.
We kid about going on medical leave once the strike is over, but I don’t know how far off from the truth that will be for some people. I already know my body doesn’t handle stress well. I get sick, sick, sick. Add the physical pain to the pain I already suffer from daily, which is augmented by stress, then you have a useless person on your hands. I haven’t even thought about the lack of money yet. We did get our first pay today, so woo! But it’s going to be very hard going forward missing out on my full salary. I am forever thankful that I don’t have to worry about clothing, feeding and schooling children on top of this. Or being a single income. If I am struggling I can only imagine how miserable it is for others.
Costume change! Strike attire day 9 – Part 2!
We all have these white t-shirts that have the union name on them and say “On strike” in French and English on the back. They come in one size – large. I was delighted to find that it’s not a tight shirt on me (the walking helps) but it has a tight collar, and I hate things around my neck, so I hacked at the shirt and rolled up the sleeves. Much more comfortable! I won’t carry a sign or a noisemaker because I do not want to be on strike, but I can wear the shirt for part of the shift.
I have to say regardless of the health issues that stress is causing me, it’s not the same as if I was still in the office. I have not had a migraine in weeks, my shoulder and neck are fine and I feel healthier. The walking and outdoors is good for me. I just have to head to bathville at night – bath plus advil and then bed. I am also sick of wearing my running shoes.
Still, I oddly feel healthier and it’s also nice to wear yoga pants and t-shirts every day. Sort of like getting to go to work in pjs and get away with it!
This is certainly an experience. One I don’t particularly ever want to have to go through again. I think it’s going to be a while because we’re back in the saddle, so I might as well keep journaling so I have something to look back on.
I do know that I would not be able to survive this without my two very best of friends. We stick together and help get through the ordeal. Friends help make even the most miserable times feel a little less miserable and I love them for it.
Have any of you, my 3 or so readers, been on strike? How did you cope? I’m curious. I feel like I want to barge into a negotiation meeting and tell both sides “Suck it up! Stop being children over this and just solve the problem already!” Everyone seems to be playing a game of chicken waiting for the other side to cave. I am tired of it and it’s only been 9 days. Ugh.
Strike attire Day 5 (I feel mean today, nobody better get in my way)
I don’t think I have gotten this much colour on my skin since I was a single-diget aged kid who used to spend all day at the beach. Imagine! People spend a ton of money to go south to soak up the rays when all they have to do is go on strike and picket for 4 hours a day at their own place of employment! I’m not spending money at all! In fact, I’m not even making money! Good times!
Yesterday and today have been hot, humid and not particularly fun. My legs and feet are in so much pain I almost stayed home today. I had a mini meltdown when my shoelace knotted and I couldn’t get the stupid thing undone. I was going to miss my bus, I couldn’t walk down the stairs and I am just TIRED.
Oddly, today, around 1:00pm, most of my pain vanished. I think I passed the point of no return. I am happy I have two days off to sit at home and not climb mountains. I might even sit through choir practice.
We’re keeping each other’s spirits up. At least we’re trying. Yesterday and today we had some sing-a-longs happening on the line and of course, those of us from music harmonized. Heh. We can’t help it. We’re musical.
I’m slathering on the SPF 30 every two hours. The stupid stuff drips into my eyes when I sweat though and then I have stinging eyes, that run and I can’t see. It’s so much fun! The fourth day was cool and overcast, so I was pretty happy.
We’re seeing support from other groups and it’s helping keep morale up. In fact, Thursday everyone on the picket lines were gifted with pizza which was paid for by one of the other unions on campus. I can only imagine THAT take-out bill! The pizza hit the spot and gave us all a moment to sit down and laugh together. I have been having fun counting calories burned and I figured since we hit the 25KM mark for walking in 3 days, a couple of tiny slices of pizza would be nice! I was so full from that that I didn’t even get to my own snacks!
I am out of clever-type tank tops to wear though. I have some more witty t-shirts, but it’s been way too hot to put those on. Today’s attire was boring, so I didn’t photograph it. Heh.
I don’t want to be doing this. I have to because I need the tiny bit of pay it’s going to bring in. As I have said in each of these posts, I am trying to see it as a boot camp and a good form of exercise, but I’ll tell you – I HURT. I am discouraged and I am exhausted. If I wanted to be on my feet all day, I’d get a job that requires that. The biggest problem is the steep hill I have to climb to get where I am going and then walking on the hill for 4 hours. I can already notice a difference in my legs from this though, so, huzzah?
I don’t particularly think that striking is the best way to get what you need, but I don’t really have a choice. I can’t go out and get another job because I am so wiped out from my stupid picket shift that I wouldn’t make it. We’ve been really lucky and have avoided any rainy days, but I know they are just around the corner as the season changes. Not that I want to stand in the rain for hours, but I might prefer it over the sun.
I am so happy it’s the weekend. I shall not walk anywhere for two days and it’s going to be heaven!
Hoping to write this weekend about all the exciting meals I have been making! Today’s lunch was preempted by my wonderful husband bringing me McDonald’s cheeseburgers and sitting with me for a few minutes. Yes, McD’s isn’t the best, but I needed a pick me up! And hey, almost 30Km walked in 4 days towards the end! GO ME! Sure the 3000 or so calories I burned with the walking probably made up one cheeseburger, but I don’t care.
There’s always something to chronicle in my life lately – from the street destruction last year, to this stupid strike… I can’t wait for the day I can look back on all of this and laugh.
Today’s strike attire!
We’re being told we have to wear the strike t-shirts they gave us. It’s all white with green “On Strike” written on the back. Can you say BORING? I shall bring it with me tomorrow and wear it like a cape. I have more t-shirts to break out on this tour, yo!
Last night I got a strange second wind and went on a 3KM walk with Shawn and the dogs before bed. That made over 10KM of walking for me. 1,186 calories burned. Thankfully my walk with the family wasn’t all uphill. Today I could hardly stand. I made it up the hill back to our steep picket location but, by golly, if I don’t feel like I could saw off my legs at the hips right now. I have already downed a bunch of advil and taken a hot, hot bath but I don’t see a bright and shiny future for these appendages tomorrow morning.
Things are getting… tense on the front lines. Mostly with each other. I have so little patience for people trying to bully us around right now. I’m tired, I am in PAIN and I don’t want to be there. So if you’re thinking you can convince me it’s perfectly legal to block cars from getting by when it’s not? I am so not taking that.
Sort of hoping this doesn’t go on much past next week. Sure I’m getting fresh air and getting in shape (no scale, but I know my size has changed from both this activity AND the Clean Eating thing I have been trying to stick to) but I am tired. Exhausted even. I can hardly stay upright from the bus to my house and then I get here, let out the dogs and just crash, fast asleep until Shawn calls around 5:30 to say he’s on his way home. This means I am sleeping from 3:45 or 4:00 until 5:30. It’s not normal. My feet hurt so much I can hardly stand. Thankfully the incline of our location is helping keep the back pain at bay.
I know I am out of shape, but I have already been dealing with extreme fatigue with the “fibro” issues. (I quote it because I don’t like the label). I get this fast, urgent, extreme needs to sleep RIGHT NOW and if I can’t lie down I get vertigo and fall over. When I do lie down, I’m out dead to the world for 45 minutes to TWO HOURS. It makes me feel sick I get so tired.
I have so many other things to write about – like my fancy supper dishes I have been making! And Sophie’s potential pooping problem (I know you’ll just be glued to your computer waiting for THAT post)! Right now this stupid strike is taking up all of my thoughts, even through the night. How irritating!
Today’s strike attire!
If I only had kids, I could gleefully relate the story to their children about how I had to go on strike and walk a picket line uphill both ways! At least that’s what it feels like we’re doing. Pretty much I blame Mo for this new location since last week she said “We should picket further up the hill to get more exercise!” Grr.
Everyone at our location was moved. There is no longer a picket line where we were last week. I think this is because the few residential places near it complained about the noise. Heck, I would have complained about the noise, too if I could. We brought ear plugs it was so bad. (Snare drums are not meant to be listened to for 4+ hours in a row right next to your head.)
Unfortunately, our new location is waaaaaay up the steeeeeeep hill and I nearly didn’t make it. I stopped at one point and tears leaked from my eyes. That was just getting there in the morning.
Plus side, we’re working off more calories (967!) and my back didn’t hurt nearly as bad as our little oval went up and down hill for 4 hours. About an hour into our first location we were sent to a second one, which meant we had to go up and around, rather than through to the other end of the parking lot. On the way back I couldn’t even make it up the stairs and Mo and Elise were at the top before I could get halfway. My lack of endurance is embarrassing. How out of shape I am makes me want to cry.
When I got home I sat on the couch, started this post and then felt my eyes start to close. Off the dogs and I went for an hour-long nap. I couldn’t even stand to make the dinner I was going to make tonight, so I have sent Shawn off to Subway to pick up something healthy(ish).
Today was the first day we met with Those Kinds of Union People. You know the ones. The ones who don’t want to move out of the way to let the cars pass. The ones who need to accost every single person that goes by. I hate those people. Bad enough they want everyone to carry noise makers (I do not). I am not about to deny access to people to a parking lot when it’s ILLEGAL to do so, just to make a point. If people don’t want to cross a picket line that’s their prerogative. So while one person in particular was causing all sorts of trouble and making others follow, we stepped aside and had a snack break. I’m not playing along when the game gets stupid.
I didn’t want to strike. I need every cent of my crappy paycheck. The union has robbed me of that, so now I have to show up to get even crappier pay and do my 4 hours of picketing. That’s all they get out of me. My presence. Once in a while I might carry a sign, but other than that? I’m only there because I need to pay my mortgage. I highly doubt the employer is going to change their tune even with a conciliator coming on Thursday. I’m sort of hoping that a arbitrator shows up shortly after and we can just end this and get back to work.
Then again, thinking positive. I am spending 4+ hours outside, in the fresh air, getting exercise I would only wish I could get sitting at my desk for 8 hours. The pinched nerve in my shoulder thanks me for that. I am trying to look at that as the positive aspect of this stupid ordeal. Plus, being on that hill all week will tone my thighs and butt a little bit, right?
I’m running out of goofy-themed shirts that are cool (temperature) enough to wear though. Might break out my Willow/Tara shirt for tomorrow, but it’ll be rather warm I think. Plus it looks like rain. Great.