Angst Girl

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A Hairy Situation

Thursday I had an appointment to get cortisone shots in both knees because I have numerous bone spurs and acute arthritis. I got up, shaved my legs, took a shower; the usual personal care routine. I was very nervous about getting the shots because sticking needles in my knees just seemed, well, WRONG.

I was having the shots done in the radiology department of a local hospital so they could be done with x-ray guidance. I got to the hospital a little early and the radiologist was running a little late (of course) so I was sweating it out in the waiting room for about 25 minutes thinking the worst about the upcoming procedure.

I finally got into the room and met all the people who would be assisting the doctor. There was a total of four, yes four, people assisting the radiologist. I was surprised it was such an ordeal and that didn’t help quell my anxiety any. Finally the time came and I got situated on the world’s most uncomfortable platform. I was on my back with my knees slightly bent which is not the most comfortable position for me and it seemed to take forever for them to get started.

First he inserted a smaller needle with lidocaine to deaden the area. Then he inserted a bigger needle and kind of moved it around a little to get it in the right area. The lidocaine was really doing its job and I really didn’t feel too much. The first knee seemed to take forever then I switched around on the platform and he did the other knee. The second knee didn’t seem to take as long and before I knew it it was all over.

They had me stand up and walk around a little and assess my pain level. It was amazing; my right knee was pain free and my left knee (the one I had recently hyper-extended) was much better than it had been. I was over the moon with my “new” knees. The radiologist reminded me, however, that what I felt was the effect of the lidocaine and that it would wear off in about six hours. It would take a day or two after that for the steroid to kick in so the regular pain would return for a while.

So I thanked the team and went on my way. It was later that day that I was sitting in front of the TV that I noticed something horrible. I looked down at my right shin and saw it: a small row of hair that I had missed in my morning routine. Dammit!

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I was at the DMV the other day getting my middle name corrected on my driver’s license so it matches my passport. The office opened at 8:30 AM and I thought I was being smart by getting there a little after 8:00. Ha! There was already a line of about 40 people waiting outside the door. I almost left but decided I may as well get it over with and I dutifully joined the line at the end.

Shortly after I got there another woman wearing professional clothing got in line behind me; let’s call her Fancy. A short while later another woman, let’s call her Mouthy, got in line behind Fancy. Mouthy immediately began talking to Fancy, a woman she obviously didn’t know. Throughout the course of this conversation I learned that Mouthy used to work three jobs, one of which was home health care, and she was making $50,000 to $60,000 a year. She now works with autistic “kids” (this annoyed me because she followed that up with the detail that they were anywhere from 18 to 55 years old – NOT kids). Mouthy has a live-in boyfriend who owns his own business. She could have gotten a four-year degree but stopped after two years because she was too antsy.

All during this conversation, Fancy responded in a friendly way to all the information being spewed at her by Mouthy. The whole time this conversation was taking place I was feeling grateful that Fancy had arrived before Mouthy and saved me from the deluge of information. I know for a fact I would not have been as friendly as Fancy. I HATE it when strangers come up to me and try to strike up a conversation. I’m not interested in conversations with people I don’t know. I’m just not wired that way.

When I was employed at The Evil Empire, I took a few self-assessment classes. You know, the kind in which you’re assigned a color or label or animal that places you into usually one of four different categories that is supposed to tell you about how you interact with others. I was always labelled as a strong leader with little interest in small talk. Yep, that describes me to a T. I just feel like small talk is a waste of time and I have no patience for it. I do, however, understand that there are people who expect and like small talk and I try to comply, to a point. I will try to meet people halfway but I want them to meet me in the middle, too. But I’ve found that small talkers are relentless in their pursuit of small talk. Even though they are met with a lukewarm response from me, they keep forging ahead trying to draw me out.

I find it utterly ridiculous that Mouthy shared so much of her personal information with a complete stranger. She obviously has a compulsion for small talk that goes beyond the usual boundaries.

Thank you, Fancy, wherever you are for saving me from the clutches of Mouthy.

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As you know, I’m leaving on my Big Trip to Europe in October and I’m super excited. However, I’m also super anxious. I’m a large person and that brings about all kinds of difficult situations. At home I’m able to mitigate those but on a trip where I’m encountering all kinds of new situations it will be more difficult. I’m worried about walking, standing, sitting on the plane, getting on and off buses, fitting in restaurant chairs, etc. The anxiousness rounds off the edges of the excitement and that kind of pisses me off because anticipation is part of the fun of a trip.

Intellectually I know that worrying about things isn’t going to do anything but make myself crazy. I’m not going to fit in the plane seat any better because I sat here and worried about it for months. Walking around isn’t going to be any easier because I stayed awake at night with anxiety. But knowing it and actually stopping the worrying are two completely different things. I’m a master of worry and I can’t seem to stop. It’s very aggravating.

I have taken steps to help ensure it’s smooth sailing (get it? I’m cruising through Germany on a boat). I’m taking a portable chair so I can sit if I need to, even if there aren’t any seats around. I’m taking a cane to help me walk and just in case I hurt my knee (AGAIN!). I’m getting cortisone shots in my knees before the trip to help with my knee pain. And I’m prepared to possibly be pushed around the airport in a wheelchair. But I still feel anxious because I’m going into such a huge unknown. Usually, at home, I avoid situations unless I know what it’s going to be like. So this is a HUGE step for me.

Every day, when I find myself worrying about things, I try to take a deep breath and tell myself it’s futile to worry about it. It helps. I’m finding the closer I get to the trip, the more excited I get and the easier it is to stop worrying about it. Writing this is helping me, too. Just the act of writing down that worrying doesn’t help anything has helped me believe it. So thanks for listening.

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