So I’m one of those dense people that will damn near kill herself, just so I can convince myself that I felt a little bit normal.. at least for a moment. Especially when it comes to my heart. My broad diagnosis is Autonomic Neuropathy, tack on Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and I’m a big bag of fun.
I take care of myself for the most part. I up my salt intake, stay super hydrated, exercise to the best of my ability, the works. Sometimes though, it’s just hard to admit that I can’t just do everything that I used to be able to. Hell, it’s hard to admit that somethings are just different.
A great example is temperature regulation and sweating. I have a super hard time regulating my body temperature, and when I sweat, I sweat A LOT. This past summer, I decided to take the kids to Summerfest to see Reverend Horton Heat. It was a partly cloudy, 75 degree day, and it was time for the kids’ baptism by fire into rockabilly. I was psyched. We got there, and by the time we got halfway through the park, I was overheating. It wasn’t hot, it wasn’t even particularly humid, but I could feel the sweat beading up on my forehead and on my back.
Walking through the park was starting to fuck with my heart rate, so once we got to the bleachers, I sat down for the show. Despite sitting, getting my heart under control.. I continued to sweat. By the end of the show I was soaked. By soaked.. I mean drenched. I looked like I had jumped in the lake. Talk about embarrassing. My face was beet red, I was burning up, and all because my body couldn’t control itself. We spent the entire ride home with the kids chattering, and with me beating myself up inside my own head because I stopped to by myself an over priced DRY shirt.
So yes, I have a hard time accepting all of this. Especially the symptoms that effect my day to day drastically. I’ve had a decade to get used to all of the Crohns Disease symptoms. I guess the heart shit is just more.. fresh? One of the things that really gets to me is how it effects my outdoor activities. Especially my yard work.
It sounds kind of lame, but I thoroughly enjoy working outside in my yard. Whether it be mowing the grass, or weeding my garden. The last couple of years, it’s just gotten progressively more difficult. I mean, when I first started gardening, I used to be able to dig up my garden bed, by myself in a day. Add the fresh dirt/manure/etc wasn’t a huge deal, and I could plant everything by myself as well. Mowing the lawn? That was something to be done with a couple of cold beers set off to the side. Raking in the fall? More beer and a fire at night to burn it all. (Sidenote: there’s no leaf pick up here, and there’s a no burn law – so I burn at night because.. my yard. Eat me.)
Now, digging up my garden and adding new dirt is a two person job or it takes me all week. Planting, I still manage to do by myself, but it puts me on my ass for the rest of the day. Mowing the lawn? This was my heart rate:
.. and I have a relatively small yard too. It only takes me half an hour to mow it. There’s no beer involved anymore, just two bottles of water. So that leaves me to raking leaves.
Let me precursor this with a little information about my next door neighbor. I share a driveway with a very lovely family, and the father in this family has very nicely tolerated me for a decade now. He helps me out from time to time, and I like to think that he’s adopted me even though it’s much more likely that he just thinks I’m a moron and he doesn’t want me to die some preventable death. It’s hard to tell as we don’t speak the same language, much as we try. His house and yard is very nice. He is super neurotic about it. Now, my yard isn’t horrible, and I like to plant flowers and fill my bird feeder, but I also don’t cringe that hard at the bald patch in my grass by the front door. His yard makes mine look like a dumpster, and unfortunately for him, my two gorgeous maple trees that just dumped all of their bright yellow leaves onto the ground? Part of that ground includes his driveway and yard.
My poor neighbor has been out with his leaf blower every day, blowing the leaves from my trees off of his yard, driveway, my driveway & walkway, both of our drainage ditches back into my yard (he’s also known for shoveling my walkway in the winter when he thinks I’m not looking, much like he unclogs my drainage ditch or fills my car tires).
I know it bothers him. I know it does, and I feel horrible. Jon hasn’t been able to handle it with his work hours, and then of course we got a random 4 inches of snow on his day off. (because who needs an Autumn when we can hop right into Winter riiight?!) and while I handled the first round with the mower, I haven’t raked because.. well. I know I won’t be able to handle it this year. I know I can handle some of the raking, but when I say there’s a lot of leaves, I mean… a metric fuck ton. Like a good 3 inches of leaves covering my entire yard.
… and I’m not ready to just hand over the fucking reins to Jon or someone else and admit that I can’t handle taking care of my own lawn despite the fact that I stay home. It’s my god damn yard, fuck off.
So I spent sometime online just searching for alternatives. From mulching attachments for the mower, to leaf-grabber-thingies to baggers. What I ended up buying was a push yard sweeper. It’s similar to what I’ve used up on my Dad’s property behind his atv. It essentially uses a brush to sweep yard debris into a bag which to empty when it’s full. It isn’t perfect, but it’s less work than raking. I’m excited, it should be here by Monday, and I plan on tackling the yard on Tuesday barring more snow.
However it occurred to me, this was my first purchase I’ve made purely to assist myself because I couldn’t just do something the same way I used to anymore. I guess it’s the first time I’ve admitted defeat in a way, instead of letting myself use my stubbornness to figure out a way to complete a task. I don’t know, it’s an odd feeling. I guess I’ve avoided this moment for a decade plus and now my brain isn’t quite sure how to process it.
Either way. At least I won’t have to listen to the leaf blower every day now.