These Past Two Weeks Were a Horror Show — and I Was a Mess

One thing after another left me the closest I came to falling apart in years.

Posted Jul 29, 2020

I don’t mind that I spent my first vacation of the year recovering from surgery. The timing was coincidental as I’d originally taken a week off in July to attend the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) national convention, which has since pivoted and is going virtual. Things worked out as the surgery was scheduled for the Wednesday prior to my scheduled week off. I was planning on a staycation regardless, working on my entrepreneurial venture, BWellBStrongBPD, so now I had an additional couple of days.

© YJPTO | Shutterstock
Source: © YJPTO | Shutterstock

I didn’t count on laparoscopic surgery still being painful and taking over a week to recover from and be pain-free. The dirty little secret no one tells you about (well, thank goodness one friend did so I knew what to expect) is that, when they go inside, the doctors blow up the area with a gas to make more room to perform the surgery. 

When the nurses in the recovery room were trying to wake me from the anesthesia, I could hear them calling my name, but I couldn’t move at all, couldn’t even blink my eyes. Laying there paralyzed, I was freaky scared. I don’t know how long passed — five minutes, maybe seven — until I finally woke up. When I got home and changed my clothes, I caught a glimpse of my stomach and I looked about five months pregnant. I was told it takes between two and three weeks for the bloating to subside. I was definitely not thrilled.

The mess of a week had a prologue: My microwave died. No big deal as the appliances in my apartment are original to the building which is 30-plus years old. I had to replace the stove in 2018 – have you ever heard of the brand Magic Chef? I priced a microwave last year, but the installation cost more than the microwave because it’s an over-the-range model. I refused to pay. Now I had no choice.

I went to one of the biggest home chain stores and the prices were great because it was July 4th weekend and they had a lot of merchandise from being closed during the pandemic. I bought the microwave and while I was looking around, standing around waiting for the salesperson to do whatever they do, I started thinking I should buy a new refrigerator because mine was going to go kaput soon and I wouldn’t be able to get prices like these.

At home, I measured the space where a new refrigerator would go. I was back at the store early the next morning. The one that had caught my eye was too tall. I needed a big freezer to store Shelby’s dog food which comes once a month packed in dry ice. I also wanted an automated ice maker and I preferred the model with the freezer on the bottom. The salesperson found one on the computer that fit my requirements and dimensions. I pushed the delivery date back because of the surgery. That was Saturday.

Wednesday I had the surgery. A week later, they delivered the fridge. It didn’t fit. It was about half-an-inch too wide. I had asked the salesperson what if it doesn’t fit and she said don’t sign anything. Make them take it back out to the truck.

At this point, I was practically being held hostage. They had my old fridge on the truck already. The delivery person looked at the space and pointed to an overhang on the counter, maybe half-an-inch wide.  

“All you have to do is get someone to take that off.”

I signed. The refrigerator was sitting in my living room and my food was melting in the sink.

© Andrea Rosenhaft
Source: © Andrea Rosenhaft

The carpenter came the next morning.  

“I would have to tear down and reconfigure the whole cabinet. You don’t want the mess and the expense.”

He left me with the refrigerator sitting in my living room. I headed back to the store where I spent three hours trying to find a different refrigerator that fit my configurations that was in stock. Exasperated, I asked the salesperson to find the supervisor to see if I could purchase a store model. He came back with the assistant manager who found a model in the computer I liked, but for significantly more money. At this point, I was just happy to have found one.

He took my information and said he’d put the order in. That was Thursday. Monday was my first day back at work after my vacation and the surgery. I was finally pain-free. I’d still hadn’t heard anything from the store about the second refrigerator. The microwave still hadn’t been delivered either. I thought about going to the store after work, but it’s a 30-minute drive and I was exhausted. I tried calling first and it took me four tries (after being disconnected, hung up on, and put on an interminable hold) to finally get someone on the phone. She was empathetic and incredibly helpful. She couldn’t see the order the assistant manager said he would put in. I texted her a photo I’d taken of the fridge with the dimensions and she looked it up on the computer and she said there were none left.

I didn’t react or maybe even underreacted because the assistant manager is the person who failed to put the order in and this fiasco wasn’t her fault. And I was exhausted. I’d anticipated this because I hadn’t heard anything from the store and my card hadn’t been charged for the difference. The guy told me what I wanted to hear because he wanted to shut me up and get me out of the store. I should have insisted he put the order in when I was still in the store and I should have gotten a receipt. Live and learn. I thanked the woman on the phone for her efforts.

The microwave came the next day. Two guys installed it, one of them said he set the time and showed me the microwave worked. I signed and they left. At lunchtime, I went to use it and I couldn’t get it to work. I thought I just couldn’t figure out how the new keypad worked and left it until the end of the day. I ate a PB & J sandwich instead.

After work, I downloaded the user manual for the microwave, tried again several different ways and I still couldn’t get it to work. I concluded the failure was in the microwave and not me.  

Tuesday night after work, I had a dentist appointment. After that, I wanted to go refrigerator shopping. One after the other, all the stores had closed at 6 p.m. It never occurred to me to check.

I was feeling depleted and discouraged. How was I ever going to buy a refrigerator? I had already thrown out so much food.

Wednesday morning after I walked Shelby, still before I had to log on for work at 8 a.m., I ran down to the supermarket to pick up some things to tide me over that didn’t need to be refrigerated. When I got back, my key wouldn’t turn in the lock. I heard Shelby crying and scratching the door on the other side. I went down to the doorman to grab the spare key, but his didn’t work either. I called a 24/7 hour emergency locksmith and settled down to wait in the lobby. With my groceries. I texted my boss to let him know what was going on and that I’d be late. The locksmith took about an hour to arrive and replace the lock. Expensive. He said it shouldn’t have happened.

I got in, logged on to my computer for work, and got a text message that they were picking up the refrigerator today. Just as I was joining a staff meeting with my headset, they guys ring the bell and Shelby goes wild, barking. I go back to my desk and exchange some chatter with these guys. Turning back to my screens, my friend instant messaged me.

“You’re not on mute!”

OMG, everyone in the meeting can hear what’s going on in my living room. I press mute and go back to giving the guys instructions. In my headset, I hear my boss say, “Andrea, you’re not on mute.”

© Shutterstock | Olesya Kuznetsova
Source: © Shutterstock | Olesya Kuznetsova

I wanted to shrink into my chair. I typed to my friend, “Can I start this day over?”

Work has been out of control. I spent the first day-and-a-half after coming back from vacation working on one client’s case, so at the end of each day, I’m forwarding that day’s task on my calendar to be done the next day. Some I put off until next week, knowing if I don’t, I will never catch up by Friday.

Thursday morning, I’m scouring the web, looking for a refrigerator. There is a store near my house, part of a national chain, but it’s known for high-end appliances, so I haven’t gone there in person or gone on their site, but I’m desperate.

I see a floor model, the same one the assistant manager was supposed to order for me at the other store, but for a third less of the price. I’m trying not to get my hopes up that it’s still available. When they open, I call and after a couple of hours I get a salesman on the phone and yes, it’s available, but their delivery truck is full for Friday. I beg. I tell him I don’t have a refrigerator and I can’t wait for Monday. It works. Friday it is.

The big home store calls me back about the microwave. “Sounds like a manufacturer defect. Someone (I love these faceless ‘someone’s’) will call you to let you know if we have the microwave in stock or if we have to order it.” I’m so pissed, I slam the phone down.

Did I mention I woke up sick Thursday morning, with a blinding migraine and some kind of stomach virus? I was up most of the night running to the bathroom. I texted my boss I was sick and I wouldn’t be working. You’d think a person would say “Feel better,” but no. “We’ll talk tomorrow,” his text read.

When I read his text, my feelings of wanting to give up in that moment exploded. I felt as if I was being admonished for being sick and I felt as if he didn’t believe I was genuinely ill. His words stirred up memories of my father and never being good enough and never being able to please him, regardless of how hard I tried. My dad passed away in 2013 and 11 months after he died, the unconscious resentment and rage I’d felt for him and buried deep within myself imploded and exploded at the same time and I attempted suicide.

I wasn’t suicidal over the text, nor did I have an urge to cut myself. Those days are behind me (although I always say there are no guarantees – not with my DNA). I wanted to make an appointment for a booster session with my therapist, Dr. L., but she was on vacation. I was feeling overwhelmed by the events of the last two weeks, feeling out of control, and I needed her perspective.

This chain of events doesn’t end here, but this post has gone on long enough and I think you get the idea. How am I managing? Sometimes one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. I roughhouse and snuggle with Shelby. Now that I have a refrigerator and freezer, I indulge in a new treat I discovered – creamy Greek yogurt bars on a stick. My favorite flavor is toasted almond. I write. And I work on my entrepreneurial venture, BWellBStrongBPD, which regardless of the type of work, gives me great pleasure. I'm enjoying the sense of mastery I get from accomplishing new tasks.

Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk and I had a massive anxiety attack. I’m not sure where it came from, except that my body was shaking and I felt as though I had to keep moving. Last night, I felt sad and melancholic. Tears were not far behind.

I’ll make an appointment with my former therapist, Dr. L. We may not resolve what’s making me so anxious and sad in one session, but at least we’ll begin to sort out what I feel is like an octopus on my back with all its toxic tentacles making me feel overwhelmed.

Clouds move in.

Tears start to stream.