I’m Alive, But Not On Fire 2


So, I haven’t posted in a very, very long time, and I’m sorry for that. After Xander died, things got really hectic and messed up. Well, before he died, they had already been messed up, but I’d been trying to kind of ignore that. After his death, I was forced to deal with some of the crap that had been going on.

Where do I begin?

On the seventeenth of April, there was a knock at the door. It was an Animal Control Officer from Huntsville Animal Services. There had been a request that someone do a welfare check on Alice, Gretchen, Willow, and Molly. The officer was very nice. She thought that the dogs, aside from having a pretty bad flea issue (which is the norm for this area this year) she said she thought that all we’d get was a warning about those and about the messiness of the house. Of course, she had to have her supervisor come by while they did photographs of the house, so that we couldn’t accuse them of stealing or something. We were okay with that. When the supervisor, who was also very nice, came and took some pictures of everything in the house. And by everything, I mean everything. All the closets were opened and photographed. All the cabinets were, too. I’m pretty sure that they took multiple photographs of every square inch in our house. At some point, they went from thinking that everything would be happy and normal to calling Community Development, aka the people from the city who take us to court every year over the yard, along with a police officer.

Our house got condemned and my dad was written up for animal cruelty because of the home’s condition. No one got arrested, but we were told we could not be in the house until it was in better condition. We were still going to be able to keep the dogs, at that point. The only condition on that was that we had to find a place where they could stay. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon at that point, so even if we’d had the money, it would have been difficult to find a boarding facility that would take them on an emergency basis. Since we didn’t have the money, I thought that maybe Nana would take us and the dogs in. The HAS people would have been okay with that, as well as the police and CD officers.  The only person who wasn’t was Nana.

Nana had no problem taking us in for an indeterminate amount of time, but she did not want any of the dogs in her house. So, the City was going to board them. We were assured that we could still have them back, once the house was back in order. We were also told that, since we were a special case, we could visit the dogs every day that the shelter was open. (We did that.)

Well, around the 10th or so of May, my parents got a subpoena to go to court. When they showed up, the case was before a different judge than it should have been. (The original HAS officer had my dad’s case moved to Mental Health Court, which does therapy for misdemeanors instead of fines and jail-time.) They were told that they either could pay a $1000 fine that was being imposed because we’d made the city take care of the dogs, or they could sign the dogs over and adopt each one back at $100+ a piece. If they did the $1000 fine, then they had to pay it that day. If they did the signing over and re-adoption, they would sign them over that day and we would have 2 weeks to come up with the money and the place for them to go. My dad signed them over, believing that we would be able to adopt them back. (My mom said that since the dogs were actually hers that my dad didn’t really have the right to do that.)

The next Monday, my dad got a call from the original officer from HAS. She said that the head of the shelter wanted that Monday to be the last time that we saw the dogs. My dad called my mom, since he and I were already in Huntsville at a doctor’s appointment for me, and asked if she wanted us to come back to Guntersville to get her so that she could say goodbye to them with us. She said that would be too hard on us and on her, so she would stay at Nana’s house. We went and spent an hour saying goodbye, still being told that we would have a few days to find places for the dogs before a bombshell was dropped on us.

Apparently, the head of the shelter had already placed 2 of them. If we couldn’t get someone to come adopt them within about 2 days, she was going ahead with the placements. Of course we couldn’t get them placed that quickly. We had someone who might have done it, but she happened to be out of town with her sick daughter. So, we officially lost them.

I’ve been crying everyday since the day that our house got condemned. Actually, I guess that I’ve cried everyday since right before Xander died.

And when I was basically told that my family was being taken away, I really thought about killing myself. Sometimes I still do. I know that may sound ridiculous to some people, but imagine that you just lost 5 members of your family in an unexpected way. Imagine feeling all of that loss and at the same time being booted from your home. Couple that with a few other things and suicide seems almost logical.

While we’ve been at Nana’s house, mom’s kidneys failed. Actually, I guess that they had been failing for a while before we went to Nana’s, since she got checked into the hospital two days after the house was condemned. They’ve failed before, but never this bad. She was apparently days from death when she got checked in. Her kidneys are, very slowly, getting better, but she is still extremely sick. She gets nauseated just moving around and has dizzy spells that are about as severe as mine have been. The hospital also told her she had both a regular-type of anemia (I’m guessing from either iron-deficiency or chronic illness) and aplastic anemia. She’s been taken off almost every single medicine she was taking before she was hospitalized. Now she’s being put on ones that are more kidney-safe. Her mind is a lot more “normal” than it was prior to her hospitalization. She actually can carry conversations and remember things, and she’s back to being a much nicer and considerate person. (She actually intervenes on my behalf whenever Nana makes a remark about how I should be doing more.)

My dad has been cleaning up and fixing the house on his own, for the most part, almost every single day since we were kicked out. Three members from my ward came to help out for thirty minutes one day. Other than that (and the couple of days that my mom and I have gone over to work with him), he’s been working six or seven hours a day, six days a week plus driving the 90 minutes (round trip) from Nana’s to our house and back by himself. He’s had different people promise to help. They didn’t. Not surprising. Organizations that normally help the elderly or the disabled won’t do it, either because we live in the wrong county (by 1.5 miles) or because we’re not old enough or, according to them, sick enough.

Of course, Nana thinks that any day that he doesn’t work that he’s being lazy. She also seems to think that of my mom and me. She realized mom was sick before she spent two weeks in the hospital, but now she thinks mom must be completely healthy even though mom is far from it.

I am a lot sicker than even I realized. I’ve been to the ER twice in the last two-and-a-half months. I’ve had blood drawn multiple times. I’ve had other lab tests that are a bit more gross than blood work done, as well. I have a bad unexplained iron deficiency. (My hemoglobin levels are between 7.9-9.0, when they are supposed to be about 12.) My doctor wanted to write it off as a heavy period thing, but my periods disappeared again about a month before I started getting really sick and really weak, which was a few days before the first emergency room trip.

Since it isn’t that, she kind of wants to blame it on my gastric bypass surgery, which doesn’t make sense to me. I know that the surgery can cause you to not absorb vitamins and minerals, but the hemoglobin level shouldn’t keep dropping unless I am either losing blood somewhere or not making it properly. She told me that sometimes people just have stomach cramps, which is true, but most people don’t get cold sweats, low blood pressure, and nearly faint when they have a simple stomach cramp. She did send me to a GI doctor, but he didn’t think I was sick because I was “so young” unless I had Celiac, which according to him was “possible” since I “looked Irish”–he even said that last part with some disdain. (I won’t get into how much I had to control the urge to slap the fool out of him for saying that that way. He could have phrased it so much better or realized that red hair, pale skin, and light eyes is not something just found in Ireland. Also, by writing me off as being just Irish, he didn’t take into account that my family wasn’t just from Northern and Western Europe.) He didn’t want to do an upper endoscopy, even with my family’s and my own personal history of acid reflux disease. I guess that young Irish folks don’t get that.

I’ve got some other weird stuff going on. According to multiple urine tests, I have ketones being released, as well as both red and white blood cells. I also have large amounts of bacteria, hyaline casts, some protein, and calcium oxalate sediment, but no one seems to be taking any of that very seriously. My creatinine has also been lower than “normal” a few times, and my white blood cell counts have been sort of high in my blood. That stuff has been ignored, too. About the only thing, besides the low iron, that has been noted is a little  bit of a sign of fatty liver, low Vitamin D, and borderline-low Vitamin B12. Other than that, they can’t figure out what the hell is going on.

I’m now back on “The Pill” and Metformin, despite my trying to explain to my doctor that I had had actual reactions to both. I try to ignore any problems that they might be causing. When I feel too sick after I take them, I just skip a day, which doesn’t really do anything except maybe make them less than effective. I’ve also been prescribed a buttload of other stuff that I tend to forget to take.

I have trouble sitting up a lot of the time because the pain and the weakness is that bad, but I’m still expected to do as much for my grandmother as possible because she refuses to admit that I am even sick. She’s even seen me have multiple seizures while we’ve been at her house and refuses to admit there might be something serious going on. She actually gets around better than me, but I’m 28 and she’s 79, so she is considered to be the one who needs more help. Kinda sucks.

My aunt and several family members who never would call my house to talk to my mom, even before I wrote shit about them on the internet, call Nana everyday. I get to hear her side of the conversation, which is often a bit unpleasant about us. It makes me wonder if anyone I’m related to, other than my parents, actually likes me. I’m pretty damn sure that very few love me now, and several of them probably never did. I’m not saying that for attention or pity, just as fact. It’s amazing how you can feel so alone in the world and then sometimes discover that you’re even more alone than you realize.

So, basically, life sucks, but I guess that I should get used to it.

Nana doesn’t have internet access at her house and neighbors all live too far away, so I’m using my enV Touch phone to tweet and that’s about my only connection with the outside world.

Oh, I’m working on trying to get Alice back. The rescue that she’s at has her in a foster placement with someone. I have to come up with the money for her adoption fee ($200), provide them with medical records for all of our animals (including ones we had years ago), let them do a home visit, and find a way to fence the backyard. So, I need to come up with a way to make some money really quick. Any ideas would be appreciated.


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.


2 thoughts on “I’m Alive, But Not On Fire

  • Kate

    A few tears escaped while reading this entry. I honestly don’t know what to say, because I know ultimately there is nothing I can say to change anything or make it better, which makes me feel even worse. I am so sorry. You honestly didn’t and do not deserve any of this.

    People who talk shit about you and your family can, I will not excuse my french or apologize, go fuck themselves. As if you all haven’t been through enough and need to be kicked while you’re down. Family is simply a word until people who come along and give it meaning, and to be honest, my friends both offline and online have proven to be more worthy of the title than my blood relatives ever have.

    So please know your own little ‘family’, as in the your friends, the people who read your blog, those who support you and root for you; love you and are always here for you, including me. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true.

    If I had the money, I would give it to you in a heart beat. I honestly wish I did. Being absolutely skint and in a UK recession sucks. Could you sell some things on eBay or such? (I’ve done so myself when I’ve needed to make a quick few bucks!) Or maybe http://www.gofundme.com/? I’d most definitely donate what I could and help you spread the word.

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