“This is new.”
We utter this phrase frequently in our home, usually due to the change in a cat's behavior. Or a loved one. Or a sound the house makes.
Sometimes “This is new” is just a simple observation. Like when Amara chooses my lap over the lap of my hubs. It doesn’t last too long before she’s back drooling on him, but hey. It was new. For a moment.
Once in a while, “This is new” translates to “How cool!” Like when one of my titles starts selling to a handful of strangers across the world for no known reason. Or when I taste my first white chocolate Reese’s Cup – pure bliss!
Or “This is new,” with every vowel sound drawn out in cautious utterance, could mean “This is gonna cost us money.” Like when the refrigerator starts making popping noises or the clothes dryer sounds like it’s giving birth to a moose.
Lately, with our stress loads and wonky health issues, “This is new” means something is amiss in our very cells. We’re off-kilter, our bodies doing new things that are mostly unwelcome.
Hubs is recovering well from major surgery. So “This is new” happens multiple times a day. We don’t know where his “new new” will land. So it’s all new.
I came across some childhood photos the other day. My grandmother loved – and I mean loved – sticking me smack in the middle of the daffodils in her yard and snapping as many photos as she could way back when. Me smelling the daffodils. Me picking daffodils. On and on.
But, in adulthood, daffodil pollen can send me to bed for a week. I’m allergic. This is new.
I burnt myself in the kitchen a couple of years ago (imagine that – me misshaping in the kitchen—this is not new). I doctored the blister and covered it with a bandage. The reaction I had to the bandage was worse than the burn. This is new. An adhesive allergy.
Bifocals. This is new.
Peanut butter makes me gag. This is new. And incredibly unfortunate as I’ve just discovered white chocolate Reese’s Cups. (My heart is broken just a bit…)
Allergic reaction to the flu shot last year. This is new.
I’ve had so many “this is new” moments (like hot flashes and night terrors and things I won’t mention here) that I sought the counsel of a specialized doc. New Doc Guy, we’ll call him.
I have a Back Guy, who tells me I’m unhinged every time I see him.
I have an Eye Guy, who tells me I’m a few clicks off normal twice a year. (To be clear, this is what he says twice a year; I’m a few clicks off normal year-round.)
I have a Primary Care Woman, who I love, but her head tilt when I explain my issues tells me I’ve sprouted zebra stripes.
Now, it seems, even my un-right wires are doing new things.
So, at the insistence of a bestie, who recommended New Doc Guy, and who also looks at me as if I’ve sprung zebra stripes, I made an appointment.
I tell my story. All the new things.
The nurse nods and types and nods, and then… pauses. “What now?”
I start again. With all the new things.
“You’re a mess, aren’t you?”
“Yes. That’s why I’m here. So you folks can take all these new things and make them go away.” In other words, erase my zebra stripes, please.
New Doc Guy comes in. He reads the notes. Asks the same question as the nurse.
I start again. With all the new things.
“Wait now, what?”
He pulls out a hot pink legal pad and starts writing frantically. I become distracted by the legal pad, since I have a notebook fetish and all (this fetish is not a new thing, but a distracting condition at the very least).
I focus back on him, but I keep one envious eye on that hot pink legal pad. I wonder where he got that...
New Doc Guy is saying, “—problems. You’re a complicated mess.”
“Why, thank you. That’s the general consensus.”
He explains my labs. Tells me yes, my thyroid is liken to a wicked stepmother, but it’s probably not the only culprit. Turns out, instead of a solo operator, my thyroid gland is a member of a gang. Street thugs even, wreaking general havoc all over my system:
From “too much” of one hormone and “nonexistent” of another. This is news to me.
From general inflammation. This is new. (Or it’s not new, just new to my awareness.)
From dietary sensitivities — Dairy, eggs, and wheat don’t like me anymore. This is new. And incredibly unfortunate. (There goes Reese’s Cups for real — at least for now.)
But New Doc Guy thinks he can help. This is good news.
He hands me new meds to quell the drive-by chaos the gang of endocrine glands do on a nightly basis.
A dietary supplement list longer than my arm to calm my inflammation.
I’m still thinking about white Reese’s Cups and that hot pink legal pad when he says, “Oh, by the way. Let’s take your blood pressure again.”
What did he expect, after telling me all this? That my numbers would be normal?
I’m also the lucky winner of a blood pressure medication combo package, lest I pop a cork before the other issues settle down. This is new.
Before I left his office, New Doc Guy also handed me a packet five inches thick of what I should and should not eat. Guess where Reese’s Cups landed?
So, I’m off to do food prep.
Meaning cleaning and chopping veggies and fruits. And not unwrapping white chocolate Reese’s. Or regular chocolate Reese’s. Or even scrambling an egg.
This is new.
And with my wonky culinary skills, we may end up with a new kitchen before it’s all over with.
But, perhaps with time, a few of my zebra stripes will disappear or at least fade. And in the meantime, I’ll drown my sorrows by shopping for one of those hot-pink legal pads…
And maybe a new pen to match.