The Gap

2014 February 15
by Jenny

Today is one of Those Days, a day where all I can see is the Grand Canyon-like chasm that exists between the projects I’d like to work on and my actual capacity.

This was a rugged week. My husband was out of town all week on business, so it was up to me to hold things together on the home front. That by itself is always a challenge, but it was made even more difficult by Atlanta’s second winter storm in as many weeks. And I know I was tired and anxious, but I got really triggered by all the mean comments-some global, and some directed at me personally-about how we were overreacting, drama queen Southerners who couldn’t find their own ass with both hands and a map, and how we didn’t deserve any sympathy whatsoever, get back to us when you have a real emergency.

But this was a real crisis for me (and many other people too) that did have the potential to turn into a serious emergency.

You don’t get it, I wanted to say to all the people who mocked me on Facebook. This was the first time I’d ever had to deal with potentially dangerous weather all by myself. Always before I’ve been with my husband or my dad in this kind of situation, and I don’t have their skills or physical abilities. I don’t have any physical abilities thanks to fibromyalgia. You try coping with aggressive weather in a body compromised by years of chronic illness.

You don’t know, I cried to myself, that the last time we had a significant accumulation of ice a tree crashed through our roof, and that I still have nightmares about it. And you can say that lightning doesn’t strike twice, but our house has been struck by lightning three summers in a row so yeah, whatever.

You have no idea, I yelled at the national news media, what it’s like to have to make calculations like, should I take the medications I need to manage my illness but cause myself to be unable to respond to any crises because of all their side effects, or do I forgo the medication and be able to cope with potential emergencies, and suffer agonizing pain instead.

You can’t imagine, I raged at New England and Canada, how terrifying it is to face a possible power outage when you depend on medical equipment to manage your illness.

So today, I am done. I am empty. I’ve got nothing left. My husband is back home, and I don’t even have the energy to sit in a movie theater with him for a couple of hours.

It is really, really hard to be here in this gap. Unless you’re in it-and may you never, ever have to be-you can’t understand it.

So yay me. Yay Atlanta. Yay the South. We totally rocked this. If I have to be snowed in and iced out there’s no one I’d rather do it with, and no place else I’d rather be.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. 2014 February 16

    I agree! Yay, Jenny! I love your posts and I bless you for writing them.

  2. 2014 February 16

    This blogger from New England does understand. I heard certain DJs make disparaging remarks about Atlanta’s residents’ reactions to the winter storm. They were particularly insensitive and clueless.

    Hope you forgive and can let go of it.

  3. 2014 February 17

    @Cheerful Monk-thank you so much!

    @Square Peg Guy-Yes, thanks :) I’m feeling much better here on the other side of things.

  4. 2014 February 17

    Even though Nashville missed it this time, we’ve been through it before. We do not have the infrastructure for this weather. It is so much worse when we have conditions which drain the energy and life out of us. I do mine also reacts horribly to the weather. So you’ve rocked to make it through.

  5. 2014 February 17

    @Nell-yes, go all of us chronic illness patients. We totally rock!

  6. 2014 February 17

    You really described well how the weather affects you personally-something nobody would be able to wrap their heads around if they weren’t aware. As someone with a laundry list of chronic conditions too, I also take the weather seriously, and know I have to consider factors others just can’t get.

    I live in Northern Canada, and extreme weather is our rule, not exception. We can have tornados, blizzards, droughts, floods, extreme wind, blistering cold, and also heatwaves (most people here dont have A/C because we so rarely require it). At times all in the short space of a week or within the same month. We just never know what is going to come at us.

    When we saw on the news how bizarre and harsh this winter has been for our neighbors in the States, we were amazed. We know that if you are not used to snow, ice, wind, and their effects, a whole city can shut down and quickly be left in dire straights. It is no small event if you are completely unprepared or unaccustomed to such weather. 6-8 months of our year is blanketed in ice and snow, we carry on because we are prepared and for us it is normal, we have the mechanisms in place to deal with it all with out batting an eye. Without such infrastructure and preparations in place, it is a whole different ballgame, for sure.

    We had a bad tornado season years ago, when my husband was on the road for the summer. I slept according to the weather, and stayed up for days when it all got intense. So stressful to be alone through all that. A few years later, I was very thankful that when our big 30 yr. old tree snapped off and fell in front of house that it fell away from our house. If it had fallen the other way, we would have been crushed, inside our living room at that moment. I don’t think my fella is going to make light of the weather, even what he just thought was a bit of wind could have been unexpectedly tragic.

    I have contingency plans, a go-bag, and stocks of water and food in our basement. My husband teases me about in this, but I tell him even if we just need this stuff once it will be all worth it.

    Your posting really puts the possible effects of recent weather into perspective, which is unique to your situation. Let the haters minimize and mock. Ignore such ignorance. Those of us with health concerns know better. The simple stuff never is, and we know that it’s called extreme weather for a good reason.

    Thanks for your blog, and sharing your perspective. It’s awesome. Keep it comin’.

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