Adrenal Insufficiency Symptoms Develop During Emotional Grief
A wave of deja vu surrounded my exhausted body as I walked into the grocery store with my daughter. My daughter watched my face break into a sweat, my body become shaky and my brain fog expand. She asked me if I had increased my steroids? Yes, I said. She quickly reminded me to increase my salt. I nodded, yes.
My family has endured my Sheehan’s Syndrome roller coaster ride for over a decade. The symptoms of my body going into Adrenal Failure should scream because;
- My abdominal pain starts
- I no longer have an appetite
- When I eat my GI is hyper-mobile
- Upon standing my head spins with dizziness
- My body breaks out in sweats
- Brain fog clouds my mind
I had tripled my steroids over the past week, but my symptoms shouted that I needed a blast of steroids to knock out my progressive symptoms.
My adrenal insufficiency symptoms were caused by grief. I grieved that I was never a daddy’s girl and I had lost a father. My father died the way he lived, alone. The cliche, truth is stranger than fiction resonated my childhood.
I realize it is not graceful or kind to speak ill of the dead, especially your father. However, there is usually one example that is the exception to the rule. For me the rule breaker was my father.
My limited world is not due to my father, but the chronic illnesses. I try to manage. My sister has poked me that I spend a majority of my day online, shopping and blogging. I will be the first to admit most of household goods are delivered by the Postman or UPS. I do spend a majority of my time sitting, laying or watching my iPad. For me the Internet as added value to each facet of my life. My limited energy level depletes quickly and most everyday task can wipe me out. So, I have taken to the Internet to fulfill most of my household shopping needs. A helpful hint: Walmart offer terrific prices online and free shipping if your order is over $45.00. As, my blogging goes, I try to extend my small world through a blog to help others, learn and express myself. It is through other blogs that I have saved myself. Many thanks for those of you who have blogged forward.
I have tried to conquer some of my father’s grief as my words exploded onto my iPad. The dozens of pages I have jotted down on my iPad have helped me grieve, heal and move forward. Here is snippet of my world:
Monday, September 28, 2015
Not Dad, Daddy, but your Father has passed. The word father usually makes a person think of a man who exercises paternal care, protector and provider. But, in my world, my father was a man whose impregnation of his wife resulted in my birth.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years I instinctively knew my father’s lack of acknowledgment, avoidance of any affection or praise caused me to feel worthless. My lack of worth caused me to protect myself with a fortress of emotional walls. My lack of worldly experiences did not offer me enough interpersonal skills to engage in healthy relationships, friendships and the behavior I learned from my father was often repeated.
It took me decades of independence to obtain the life skills to healthily move forward. I still shiver when I recall the foul smell of his permeated cigarette breath, the rancid body odor that poured from his skin and the ignorance of words that frequently poured out of his lips.
My father was an intelligent man if you were to measure IQ by academic tests. Sadly, my father who stood six feet one inch was blessed with Rock Hudson like handsome qualities felt the white race was the superior, homosexuals should not exist, women were created for men, children are to be spoken to, not heard and The Kings James Bible is the only Bible that contains Gods written words.
The hypocrisy of his ideology is that he married a Mexican woman, his children did not speak to him as he aged, he had hoards of phonographic magazines, he never attended a church, he definitely did not treat his body as a Temple, he was a physical and abusive person. I should note that my gorgeous mother resembles the beautiful late Jaclyn Kennedy. One time during a childhood dinner conversation I decided to ask my father if he disliked Mexicans so much why did he marry a Mexican woman? Without hesitation, he screamed at me he married the person not the race. I promptly responded, that does not make any sense? Just a glance at my father’s tightly pressed lips and I knew he was not happy with my common sense reply. It seemed like hours passed as I watched his tightly pressed lips explode, yes it does!
My father often seemed to defy logic with his lifestyle choices. I often felt my father’s love for my mother was based on the native way she placed her tall, handsome white man on an imaginary pedal-stool. Through time my father molded his Hispanic wife into the type of geisha he could enjoy. My father seriously believed women were on the earth to serve him. Oh, the comet irony that my father boor two girls.
The Detective stressed to us the condo contained lots of cash, collectables and he did not want anyone to rand sack through his condo before we arrived. With the Detective’s news came hesitation, I did not want to deal with the situation. However, my father was beyond cheap to me my entire life so if there were two nickels to be found, my sister and I would share them. My sister was eager to close the Daddy chapter of her life, she could not bare the thought of her dad in the morgue identified by a toe tag. She wanted her daddy to be laid to rest immediately.
I adviced my sister to wait until next week to go to Phoenix. However, she anxiously expressed how she did not want to wait for Dad to be buried. At the time I believed I was the executor of his Will so I agreed to go to Phoenix on Thursday. I quickly clicked on the Home Depot website and purchased hazmat gear, boxes, trash bags, gloves and bleach. Thanks to the Home Depot easy to pick up system I was able to order, pay and pick up my merchandise at the customer service window within an hour from my local Home Depot.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
My husband and I drove the from Orange County to the Phoenix Central Police Office to pick up my father’s personal effects. My husband and I were both taken back by the high level of security at the police station. We had both imagined the police station would be like a community library. We were wrong.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
My sister, husband and I arrived at the pinkish terra-cotta condominium complex to sort through my father’s personal items and bring home any cash or keepsakes. As soon as we entered the condominium lobby, we were greeted by an elderly lady who sat behind the large concierge desk. The gracious woman offered us her condolences and she informed us there was community carts available to transport items.
I found a couple carts to use in a community storage area, then filled the carts with boxes, hazmat suits, gloves and tape to bring up to my father’s second story condo. When we were within steps his door my husband, sister and I all stood together in disbelief of our journey to close the chapter on Father. As I handed out the hazmat suits to my husband and sister, I heard the deep belly roll of laughter from my husband. His laughter was so intense that he was doubled over, his eyes became bloodshot from laughter. Each time he tried to speak chopped words integrated with laughter fill the warm hallway.
Frustrated with my husband’s non stop laughter, I shouted, David Really? After a few minutes he replied yes, really. Your fancy Beverly Hills Public Relation sister has pulled her hazmat suit over her fancy sandals, trendy outfit and you can not see her face with the hazard glasses and respirator. So yes, really! Then he added, this is just all so insane.
I then laughed at the insanity of our upcoming actions. Nevertheless, we moved forward as my husband bravely inserted the key into the door and entered the large one bedroom condo. He was in the condo for a couple of minutes when he came out and told us it was safe to enter but we would definitely need to use our respirators.
My sister and husband savaged through my father’s belongings to find his cash. My father told me most his savings was a record album. I thought my father mentioned the money was inside a John Denver album so they immediately searched for the record albums. As I stood about three feet from my father’s front door, hesitant to enter the circus world my sister sprinted by me. From my sister speed I thought the Coroner did not remove the corpse from the bathroom but I was mistaken.
I asked her what happened as she spat into the air and collapsed onto the hallway floor. As streams of tears cascaded from her cheeks, she said her respirator was not aligned and she shallowed a gulp of air from father’s condo. She lamented that the gulp of air that seeped into her mouth created such nausea that it caused her to run out of the condo as if she was on fire.
To comfort my sister I immediately plopped down next to her on the hallway floor. As I sat next to my sister, I watched my husband exit the condo. He looked down at both of us scrawled out on the floor of the hallway and his hysterical laughter filled the warm air. I stared up at my husband as he shook his head back and forth in disbelief. He told us the entire scene in my father’s condo is surreal and he felt like he was a scuba diver that walked along the ocean floor in search of the rumored treasure. He nervously laughed as he said a picture can often convey more than words, but there was nothing in this world that could convey the rancid odor that permeated every knick knack and magnetized to exposed skin. Nobody would ever believe the reality of my father’s condo.
I decided it was my turn to take action so I placed the respirator over my face and entered my father’s condo. I had been to his condo several times, but my reality is I had compartmentalized how he lived deep within me; denial, anger and acknowledgement mixed together. I realized from my own illnesses my empathy, sympathy card for my father had disappeared. I approached the search for my father’s rumored cash like a detective places his mind inside a criminal.
From the kitchen counter I turned to a book nook that was crammed against a yellowish gray flowered wallpaper. Upon, inspection of the yellow floral wallpaper I am disgusted. As I stared at the small pinkish rose pedals that line the paper I quickly note the yellow wallpaper was once white. Sadly, I was not surprised when I rubbed my right blue latex glove against the formal wallpaper and the fingertips of my glove immediately turned deep black, shadowed by a dark brownish gold shadow. I had no doubt the wallpaper consist of my father’s toxic body odor, chain smoke and life style.
I realized I should keep away from the walls, but I had to move a couple of heavy wooden chairs out of the way to reach the nook. Before I picked up the dusty, grimy dining chairs I search underneath the chairs and dining table for cash. My father thought he clever, so he may he taped an envelope filled with money under a chair or table. Ugh, as I bent my knees into the grasshopper position I could see there was no envelope taped under any part dining area. I proceed to nook. As I reached the cluttered nook I questioned myself if my decision to stay longer was wise. The heavy dusty toxic odor of his unit had begun to leak through my respirator but I decided to hold my breath and proceeded. I sorted through the hardcover books on top of the nook in hopes of treasure. I recognized the books from my childhood, but they do not provide hints of happy memories; the books reminded me of a bitter man. I then noticed a Kinko’s cardboard box next to the bottom shelf. Again, I assumed the grasshopper position, but this time I grinned because I already thought I knew what is inside the cardboard box. My father’s condominium is lined with his interpretation of the Bible.
I opened the box and shuffled through the sheets of paper. Inside the sheets of his religious writings are a stack of papers stapled together that read Last Will And Testament. Shocked, I walked out of the condo and stood above my exhausted husband. I noticed he had found comfort against a hallway wall. He was in the mist of his treasure search as he checked hundreds of my father’s DVD’s for funds when I tangled the document in front of his face.
As he removed his mask and protective eye glassware his glazed eyes seem shocked with what they had read. My husband immediately recognized the Last Will And Testament as a legal document and proceeded to read through the documentation. After he shuffled through the document he looked up and said, good news; your father transferred his condominium legally to your sister upon his death and made her the executor.
He tried to lighten the blow that my father had once again given me nothing. My sister immediately noticed the tears of sadness that poured from my tired eyes, jumped up from her hallway position and rushed over to comfort me. She pleaded with me not to be sad because we would split everything. As she ended her words, we both laughed. How do you split nothing of nothing? I had a difficult journey only having a father but never a daddy. As decades of my life past it was apparent my father would never become a Daddy. Unfortunately, as the years past my sister’s relentlessly yarned our father someday might change into a Daddy. My sister’s kindness to my father was never reciprocated. As terrible as my father was to me he was the devil to my sister.
As my sister and I sat cuddled together in a corner unit love seat that resided in the community lobby we decided to talk about dad’s good memories. There was silence, silence and then laughter. I finally chirped that I did not have any good memories. My sister finally broke her silence as she told how dad would toot a red bike horn for her each time she scored a soccer goal. I sadly reminded her that was when I she was eight years old.
Then our stories turned to our true memories of our father:
My father loved convertibles so as children, we were forced to sit in the luggage seat of his small convertible. Our small bodies had to contort with our knees raised into our chins so our behinds could try to stick to the bottom of the black luggage rack. We recalled the cars and trucks that would pass us on the freeway and honk at my parents. Drivers were concerned, we were going to fall off the car. As an added bonus, we recalled our father’s cigarette red hot ashes would flick out his window that would land on us. We learned to brace on tight to the luggage rack, we closed our eyes in fear of flying ashes and we tried to believe that our world was normal.
We quickly realized our father/daddy issues with automobiles did not end with our father’s convertible. In our teen years his two sitter red Porsche that brought him joy brought us misery. We use to argue which one of us would be forced to mold their body into the small triangular luggage area behind the driver and passenger seat. We were thankful the car did not fit four people so the time we spent in the red Porsche was limited.
As our teenage years, moved forward so did our father’s abusive behavior. I had the unfortunate family assigned seat next to the chain smoker at the nightly family dinners. Each dinner started with my father’s lit cigarette being placed his dark black circular ashtray that resided on the part of the window still on his right hand side. The mealtime conversation was filled with his bizarre rhetoric and he took enormous offense if my sister or I asked him to chew with his mouth shut. If we looked his way we had to watch him devoured his wife’s nightly home cooked dinner as he chewed each morsel of food with his mouth wide open. I recalled the numerous times I pleaded with him to extinguish his chain flow of cigarette smoke so I would breathe. Needless to say, even an asthmatic young girl could not curb my father’s addiction to cigarettes.
Time does not heal when the recurrence of heinous events continues to drive your childhood into a dark rabbit hole. My father’s neglect resonated as I moved from teenage years to young adult. As I reflect on my frequently unemployed father’s ideology he reminded me of a man who purchased a box of the Cracker Jack and demands the store, give him a new box of Cracker Jack’s because he thinks his candy toy prize should be grander.
I snapped a selfie of my husband and me in the hotel lobby. The photo is a blatant example, that almost anything is possible. I decided this photo best reminds me that I have picked a different path.
Sunday, October 6, 2015
My day was spent in a fog like trance. As my night begun to peaceful settle my husband’s cell phone rang. It was my sister. My sister was confused about the estate and she thought my father had already buried. Patiently, my husband again explained that she needs to sign off on all legal documents because she is the Executor. The role of Executor was definitely a title my sister did not want and we would not accept on her behalf. I overheard my husband’s frustration as he joked with her that may not be able to bury father the way you ordered a Big Mac from Mc Donald’s.
Sadly, my sister was anxious because the vultures world had started to appear in death. It was all such a circus act that I would not desire to attend with free admission. It was clearly apparent my father was not a man of means, he thrived in unemployment. I found it completely obscure when my sister informed me our Aunt had stated father had changed his Will via email. The craziness of it all, what assets? A 1997 tin colored once tan Toyota Solara that was left parked crooked in the parking lot of his condominium. If the car smelt 1/100th like his condo the person who unknowingly opened the car door could lose consciousness from the permeated toxic smell of body odor, filth, cigarette smoke that was concentrated on every fiber within the car.
I remember how my father was so upset when my sister and I asked to drive his car four years ago. He emailed me he had a stroke and he needed help. I should not have been so gullible to fall for his abusive ways again but I did. Even with a serious chronic illness myself, two young children at home, I decided to go visit father and make sure he was alright. I made phone calls to relocate him closer to me, my sister agreed if he was closer she would see him once a week, we planned to take care of this miserable man.
Monday October 5, 2015
The non stop sound sharp pings of my doorbell every few seconds sound like fingernails on chalkboard. I am beyond irritated that someone has chosen to relentlessly push my door bell and my deep sleep had been broken. I hastily concluded it must be important so in a half dream like state with one eye still half eyed I slowly wobble to the front door. As I pulled the heavy wooden front door open, I noticed I had sleep in both eye corners, my I brushed hair was tasseled on top of my head and my floral pajamas had seen better days. Nevertheless, I smiled as I stared at the face that brightens my world.
Brad. He understands parts of me more than I understand myself. This remarkable, insightful man has helped me comprehend my journey and understand my reactions to toxic situations. The karma’s of world discretely aligned with me when my kinder spirit older brother, Brad entered my world five months ago.
If it is possible to explode from the inside out and then reverse the process that is what happened to be when I heard a message from my sister. We had agreed to bury father at the honorable Veteran Affairs but she decided to bury my father next to his mother and father. He had conveyed to us that he would like to be buried next to his parents. So, we informed him numerous times to make his desired arrangements. Typical of our father, he did not make any arrangements for his final wishes.
The $18,000 cost to bury father near his parents was no longer an option for me. When I thought I was the Executor I had planned to spend the funds. However, I thought he had more than enough for burial cost. His lack of funds, lifestyle, topped with the realization there is a new Will inside a Kinko’s box created a final goodbye that left me with no regrets.
As I tried to hold my emotions together at dinner, I asked my family if I should still host a Meet and Greet Book Club tomorrow night at our house. My girls and husband looked back at me strangely and chirped out different versions of why would you not? I stared at my husband’s eyes as he repeated I needed to move forward. He questioned how I would let should a terrible person destroy another happy moment of my life. I agreed, I will host Bookclub tomorrow night.
That night my youngest daughter climbed into my bed and informed me that she agreed with Bookclub but she does not think I should prepare any food. I showed her my Pinterest page on my iPad and flipped through my fun dish ideas. She promptly replied, I do not think you should make a meal right now. Unfortunately, my crystal ball does not show me how on point my daughter was with her statement.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Never before had the kitchen, double ovens locked by themselves. As I looked at digital error message that flashed above the double ovens I was in disbelief. The word, “HOT” in red capital letters flashed as smoke billowed. I sighed, it must have been a message from my father. My friends would be at my home within the next forty minutes and I was unable to bake my homemade vegetable, chicken pesto lasagna. The kicker of the non stop smoke was the horrible smell that rapidly expanded throughout my home. The inhaled smoky air brought back flashbacks of my father’s condo.
My head spun as I tried to place my father issue behind me and focus on the here and now. My husband immediately offered to go pick up take out from a local Italian restaurant. As my husband goes to pick up dinner I wrestled with the fact that I have chosen not to tell my Bookclub friends about my father’s death. I am unable to decide if it is sad or pathetic that my Bookclub friends do not know my father has passed. I definitely do not want to cast a dark shadow so I remained silent. My childhood years have taught me to know silence well.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
My sister sent an email that the auction did not go well. Certainly, that was no surprise. Any amount of wishful thoughts could not create funds from my father’s collection of plastic goods, knives and taxonomy. The auctioneer had told us that the sun would destroy most of the toxic odor that lingered from each item to be auctioned. I did not believe the Phoenix sun would be able to make years of neglect disappear.
I received another email from my sister that she might bury dad at the Riverside V.A. I read the short email several more times before I realized my father had not yet been buried. The wounds of my father opened and I clicked away an email to my sister. My email to my sister was short, on point and summed up my feelings. I let her know that it is her choice where to bury dad, I am already done and my father’s burial is a closed issue.
I am always cautious with my outside appearance. I still struggle with the fact that any healthy person would not intentional purchase a broken present. So, I hide in a dented Tiffany’s blue box adorned with a small cute white bow. I pretend I am not dishonest about who I am because you can see damage on the outside of the expensive gift box. I have convinced myself the person who chooses the box is not a perfectionist, will not critical judge me because they realize the gift inside the box is an heirloom.
I often feel out of place in my dented blue box because I assigned the blue box to myself. I desperately wanted to represent value. My father’s lack of gifts or bizarre gifts have been a reminder of my lack of worth. The cliche, it is the thought that counts, rings true with my father’s gifts. If he sent me a gift for my birthday or Christmas holiday it was never wrapped and always bizarre. What daughter does not crave a dead bear rug as a holiday gift, a used plastic globe for their birthday present or for her daughter to be treated with similar gestures. The only gift my father had given to his granddaughter was a used astray with a monkey that protruded from the center of the ashtray, accompanied with a bag of M and M’s. Even at the age of six my daughter realized grandpa had gifted her with a used smelly ashtray.
Thursday October 8, 2015
Sadly, I comprehend the effects of PTSD as I flashback to my dark childhood shadows. My body continuously has battled for additional cortisol. I have been dizzy, nauseous and my body has shaken with cortisol demands.
I have popped several more milligrams of Prednisone into my mouth to halt my adrenal insufficiency.
Unfortunately, the disposal of father’s possessions was easier than my recent raw emotions.
Rest in peace, father. I will always long that you were not my daddy.