How the Amoeba Cat became a creature made of spun glass

My leg in an immobilizer.
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Content warning: this is an incredibly depressing post about the injuries I’ve suffered over the past 2 years. It’s also rather graphic. Do not read if you suffer from emetophobia (fear of vomiting), for one, or if you don’t want to read anything somewhat TMI. I also talk about depression, suicidal thoughts, and I do not end this post on a happy note. This is not an inspirational story of overcoming adversity. It is a matter of fact telling of things that happened to me and how much they fucking suck.

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As most of you know, I have a spinal injury. It happened, I believe, in 2009, but somehow didn’t flare up till 2012. Bodies are weird. I’m quite sure it was 2009 because that’s the only time it could have happened — there was a drunken theatre party and a few of my compatriots decided to start wrestling and landed on my head. I felt my entire spine compress, a line of loud pops ringing out from my neck to my pelvis.

The pain was short-lived, so I didn’t think much of the incident. The fact that afterwards I started feeling a new pain in my lower back whenever I walked uphill or anywhere for a long period of time was easily ignored: I’ve had chronic back pain since I was 9 or 10. This was obviously just a new permutation of it. I ignored it.

It was in January, 2012, after I got home from my trip to Orlando, Florida, that the spinal injury finally made its presence fully known — 3 bulging discs in the lumbar region — and I became a self-proclaimed cripple. (Was it the rides I went on at Universal Studios that finally tripped the back into full blown agony? Or was it the 3 feet of snow I had to drag my heavy, Harry Potter-merchandise-laden suitcase through when I got home to cold Nanaimo? We may never know.)

I was bedridden for weeks and it was only with physiotherapy was I able to walk again, albeit with a cane. I completed my theatre show, knowing it would likely be my last. I adore acting and I always give 110% to any role I’m in. The reality of my life post-injury is that I must always be careful, and I cannot trust myself to be careful if I’m in a show. Whatever the director asks for, I will do. I cannot set boundaries; I sacrifice myself on Dionysos’ altar.

I stopped going to physiotherapy — not because I was done with it, or because I wanted to stop, but because it’s not covered by MSP and I have no extra insurance. Each visit is in the ballpark of 50 dollars, and I would have to go a few times a week for several months to get the sort of results — back to a degree of normal living — that I want.

Instead I’ve tried to remain as active as my back will allow me to be, and kept as positive a worldview as I can. I was suicidally depressed during my weeks of being bedridden, crying into my mother’s arms about how my life was ruined and I would never be the same. My youth was over — something I felt I never really had in the first place; a childhood cut short by the trauma of an abusive father and an 11-year long divorce. My 20s was when I started to reclaim some of what I’d lost, and now that, too, was cut short, by a body that was broken.

But I had come to a point where I was finally starting to feel better about my different life, and I had begun a job search for work outside the home — something I didn’t think I’d be able to do again. (I get zero assistance, even though I’m permanently disabled.) Maybe after I got a job I would even be able to afford physiotherapy, I dreamed. Maybe within 6 months I would be able to walk without the cane.

Then on Friday, July 4th — Independence Day! The irony burns — after coming home from driving Mr. Katje to pick up his truck from the mechanic’s, I slipped and fell in the kitchen. My leg twisted severely, and I was racked with pain so terrible I screamed uncontrollably for 5 minutes.

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The Saga of the Move: Part 4, or “The Pre/sequels We All Drank Enough to Forget”

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(Parts One, Two, and Three.)

The worst of this move is over, thankfully. Moving out of a place is a lot harder than moving into. (Also I think there could be a sexual innuendo in that sentence, but I’m too tired to make it work. Feel free to give it a try in the comments.)

As soon as I got off the ferry I drove to Pirates and Fairies on Lake Sasamat. I arrived just as the sun was setting, which was around 8 p.m. I’d missed three meals out of eight of the weekend, as well as my big chance to actually make an announcement about selling my books. I ended up selling exactly zero copies of Bellica or glasstown, which did not help my already pretty sour mood. Missing half of an event I look forward to all year sucks lizard eggs.

I was very tired. So tired I spent most of my time sleeping, eating, and frakking (and not as much of that part as usual; that’s how tired I was). I didn’t even feel like dressing up, and that’s one of the parts I look forward to the most — running around in costume screaming “ARRRR I BE GLITTERTITS MCGEE! PREPARE TA BE BOARDED UNF UNF UNF.”

But, you know, it was good. It was a time away from the stress, as much as I can get away from something that follows me like a Time Beetle on my back. It was also lovely because my boyfriend is lovely, and madly in love with me. He saved bacon from Saturday morning for me in the cooler in his cabin. ALL DAY. And he saved me dinner, because he knows how much I love pulled pork. So when I arrived, I got to stuff my face with meaty goodness that symbolized his deep and abiding love for my crazy ass. That’s a pretty awesome thing to arrive to, especially when you’re an emotional eater. Eating food to symbolize love when that food actually does symbolize real love? Way cheaper than therapy.

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The Saga of the Move: Part 2, or “The Stuff I Own Strikes Back”

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(Read Part 1 here.)

We now had more problems than we’d started out the day with: not only did we no longer have the use of TG’s truck to get rid of some of the big stuff, including the mattress and box spring, but now we had to work on getting the truck to Courtenay Car Centre and getting it fixed.

We worked on the second problem first. Mom arranged for her and TG to wait by the truck for BCAA to tow it to the car place (this is two days later). She would then come down to Nanaimo to help me, as well as somehow cramming my massive mattress into the Pegasus (her Volvo station-wagon; mine is the Galactica — yes we’re giant nerds).

I was expecting mom to arrive at my place mid-afternoon, but she was several hours late. Apparently she and TG had waited in the blistering hot sun for BCAA for over two hours. They couldn’t call, because his phone was out of minutes, and she’d forgotten her phone at home. So finally she drove around in search of a phone she could use, and called BCAA again, asking where the hell they were, and it turns out the original request for a tow had gotten lost in the system. She arranged for them to tow without her presence, which for some reason hadn’t been possible before (yay silly company policies), and then came down to my place.

She’d instructed me to fold my mattress in half and tie it with rope. It’s all foam, so this was feasible…just not easy. She walked in to find me lying on top of it in an awkward position, shouting more bile and vitriol at the thing than I thought I had in me. She came and helped, and with our combined fattitude and lexicon of swear words we got it done.

Being fat can be incredibly useful when one is moving or packing a very full suitcase. I’m just saying.

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The Saga of the Move: Part 1, or “A New Home”

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Some of you may know that I moved recently. I talked about it a bit before my blogging, social media, and Youtube hiatus — not a planned hiatus, by the way, I just got so bogged down with the realities of moving and other work (like finishing the proofing of Bellica‘s third edition) that I literally had no time to write or video myself doing stupid shit.

All of my moves have been difficult, but this one seemed harder than most of them. Probably because it was just me and my mom doing most of the heavy lifting, and I have a spinal injury (that is now doing a lot worse than it was). Also because the place I was moving into was even smaller than my two-room basement suite that I’d resided in for one and half years, and I had to not only pack my belongings but, horror among horrors, sort and organize them so I could send half of my stuff to storage in Powell River (read: mom’s garage). I also had to get rid of stuff. My biggest problem was my double-sized foam mattress that I dearly loved.

I’m not really good at either of these things. Well, ok, I am good at organization, but it takes me a long time, and I didn’t have that time in August. So it was very stressful, trying to get it done SOOPER QUICK, as my timetable demanded. I was also trying to get out of my place a day early so I could make it to Pirates and Fairies on Lake Sasamat early on the first day (Friday, the 31st of August). Pirates and Fairies is an annual event that I’ve attended since 2010. It’s where I met my boyfriend, and his mom runs the whole weekend. It’s a hell of a lot of fun and I was planning on being a vendor and selling books there this year, so I needed to get there on time.

You can probably guess by my saying the above that I didn’t make it on time.

This move was a clusterfuck of clusterfucks. Each cluster of fucks was created out of smaller clusters of fucks, down and down and down until we got to hypothetical particle clusterfucks.

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