Monday, January 28, 2013

Toxic Fog, inside and out.

TOXIC FOG you guys.
That was the headline for the Salt Lake Tribune on Saturday.

And to warn you---I am on pain pills, and tired, and feverish. So apologies for the non-sequiters you may find...

I didn't sleep well Friday night (broken jaw pain, stomach pain, stress, and nightmares about shootings and Mussolini and drowning), so I woke up early Saturday morning and snuck out of bed, careful to not wake Eli, and started running a hot bath.

While the tub was filling with pink bubbles, I went to the dark kitchen to make some tea and went "whooooa" because I couldn't see outside.  It was as though someone had covered all of our windows with gauzy, gray curtains.  So I pressed my face up against the glass (I enjoy weather in all forms) and was stunned by the intense, sleazy fog encasing the morning world.

We don't get fog in Utah. So I was confused, but it looked pretty neat, and I thought it would clear.
I hopped in the tub with Edith Wharton (just her book, not her.. well, her dead body I suppose it would have to be..) and the hot soapy water was just easing away my stomach pain when Eli pushed the door open and cried out "TOXIC FOG!!"

I wondered if he was sleepwalking, or if there was a great new band he heard of called "The Toxic Fog" but no, he had his phone in his hand and held it up to my face.  It was a news article explaining that the confusing fog I had observed earlier was, in fact, poisonous, and that Salt Lake City's pollution is currently #1 WORST IN THE COUNTRY.

We were warned to not go outside.  Especially pregnant women and children.
Eli and I decided to escape the Toxic Fog, so we did what we always do during these January smog-fests in the valley-- we drove up to Park City.

You can literally see the sick yellow air wisp out as you go up Parley's Canyon, and you turn round the big bend and the sun pops out and it is like a new world. You remember what the sky looks like, and how freeing it is to be able to see 15 feet (and more!) in front of you.

We wandered Main Street on the 2nd-to-last-day of Sundance and I was desperate to see RObert Redford, but alas...
Every since January, when Sundance rolls around, I get this deep yearning to see him--not even talk to him or shake his hand, but just to SEE Robert Redford, and it hasn't happened for me yet.  It's weird, I know.  Whatever. Don't even get me started on Harrison Ford or Clint Eastwood.

We had a drink at No Name Saloon and celebrity-watched and people-watched and had a fun time.
But then, the dreaded moment when we had to drive back down the canyon...

as we entered the fog again and I observed just how palpable it is, I realized I feel the same way.
Foggy.  All this health trouble has gotten to my head, and I've had this flu-bug for a month, and have been feverish for the last few days, and I feel like not just my lungs, but my spirit is struggling to breathe against this oppressive smoke.
My head is foggy with depressive thoughts, worries, and guilt trips.  I feel like a burden to my husband and my family because of my health issues.  I feel bad that we're spending so much money on multiple CT scans and such, when we want to buy a house this year.  I know it is all out of my control, and that is what makes me panic-- I know I need to RELINQUISH control and ACCEPT it... it reminds me of that saying -
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

I know it needs to be done, I just haven't been able to fully do it yet.  It is so difficult to know that there is a serious issue with you--your own body-- that you can't do anything about. And accepting that it isn't my fault and that is okay.. well, that takes time.
I think when we see the specialist tomorrow and get a tentative game plan, it will be easier for me to breathe... and relinquish control.
I know a big part of the issue is that my doctors of recent have not been rock stars.  So it has made me intensely protective of my body and my healthcare, and given me some nasty trust issues with the medical community in general.

Yesterday, I was sitting deep in thought, considering the toxic fog outside and my current state... I feel completely drained, both from the constant pain, and the emotional tsunami of it all, and that E.L. Doctrow quote came to mind

You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can see the whole trip that way.

I pondered on that for a bit, feeling slightly bolstered up, and glanced outside.  It was snowing.
Pure, white, powdery flakes, covering all the mud on the ground, sweeping the smog out of the sky, and I smiled.
Oh, the metaphors!!  Yes, I still feel awful under it all--it is still there, like the crusty grass and muddy rocks under the snow--but I need to remember that a little fresh snow on top can make all the difference.. even if just in the form of a cupcake or a good book or a smile.

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