I don’t believe in emotional eating, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t do it.
This is a difficult time. My insurance appeal has been submitted and a response is due back within the next two and a half weeks. The response could be that they need an extension, but it could also be a yay or nay on the whole thing. My social security appeal is floating around out there somewhere, with no response deadline on it that I know of. And worst of all, a close relative is dying a slow, painful, excruciating death, and there is nothing we can do about it.
I think that I handle stress fairly well. I used to be rotten at dealing with stress, and when the doctor who diagnosed me with auto-immune illnesses told me to cut down my stress levels, I laughed. I thought he was kidding. Doesn’t everyone want to reduce their stress? Does he really think it’s so easy? But over the years I’ve learned that I absolutely must keep my stress down if I want to avoid flares and other problems, and I’ve done that pretty well. Unfortunately, there are some stresses in life that just can’t be avoided.
I’ve been watching this relative die slowly over the past year. A year ago it was bad. Now it’s beyond words. Even though it’s hard when she doesn’t recognize me, it’s worse when she’s lucid; it’s worse when she’s aware of how bad it is. In her lucid moments, she has made it clear that she’s done, she wants to die now. She’s past 90, with a terminal illness and no hope for recovery. Her life-prolonging meds have been stopped. Unfortunately, Massachusetts does not have a right-to-die law (and the ballot question for it narrowly failed last month) so there will be no peaceful end. Instead, she is growing weaker and weaker. Breathing is hard. She has 24/7 care, but now that is not enough. One person is no longer enough to get her to the bathroom, for example. Before, one person could help her stand up, and she could balance while holding on to something while they pulled her pants down. Now, she is not strong enough for that, and instead she must relieve herself in an adult diaper. What way is this to end the life of a woman who was strong, independent, vivacious, and wise?
As I read the email with the latest updates today, I desperately wanted something sweet. Normally I try to avoid emotional eating, but I let myself do it in extreme circumstances. This is definitely extreme. I haven’t bothered learning gluten-free baking yet, so there was nothing in my house. I’d heard there were gluten-free bakeries in a town near me, so I went online and looked around, then I made a few phone calls to confirm. I ended up at a bakery only 1/2 mile from another errand I was running. I wound up with 2 gluten-free, dairy-free mini whoopie pies. They are not the best I’ve ever had. I had a gluten-free, dairy-free whoopie pie a couple of months ago that was much better, but that was in another state. Still, the fat and sugar triggered those parts of my brain that made me feel a bit better. They don’t fix things, but they sure do help. I devoured 1/2 of the first whoopie pie while I sat in the car, then took my time eating more of it later. Since I don’t eat sweets anymore, a little bit goes a long way. Hopefully these will last a few days, because I don’t see my life getting any less stressful in the near future, especially as the family starts funeral preparations.
Sometimes life stucks. Sometimes life is stressful. Sometimes it all feels wrong. For those times, thank goodness for whoopie pie.