Max and Alex thought what we needed was a trip out of town. Alex took a week of vacation, and we decided to visit his family in the Upper Peninsula. We drove through the heart of Michigan, stopping at the bridge to take in Lake Huron; we swam in Lake Michigan on the Upper Peninsula side, and had a pretty good time. At some point, I got a call to interview for a new job. The boys had me take it, even though it would leave us with only a couple of days in the UP.
We decided to travel back home through Wisconsin. We were tired. At some point, Alex started asking me some things about dating. The subject was definitely my love life. I immediately shut down. I don’t know if I just got self-conscious, started judging myself for what I have done or didn’t so, or if I just got overwhelmed by self-judgment but I didn’t really speak for the next 5 hours. I wanted to, I just couldn’t.
I don’t know if I ever really recovered from that trip. I came back and bombed the interview. I would have to start back at school. The boys, my sister, and I took several days to empty out my classroom and prepare it. I connected with the head teacher to get the curriculum. I was slated to teach 7th & 8th grade English. I had been teaching Spanish. As I looked through the materials, I felt a deep pit in my stomach. I didn’t want to teach English to middle schoolers. I went to the professional development days. My 1-year anniversary from my surgery occurred without any real pomp or circumstance. On the last day before Labor Day weekend, I went to my room to grab something during lunch and was greeted by a personal email from the new high school principal stating that the Spanish department basically bailed on him and if I had any interest in teaching Spanish, I needed to see him.
I sat there and stared at the screen. I had already put in all of this work to prepare my room. As I thought long term, I knew I would be miserable if I didn’t give it a shot. I took the high school Spanish position and had the boys help me move everything to the high school that night, without an elevator key. Somehow, I figured out a way to get the classroom ready and welcomed the students that next week.
Many of the students had been mine when I had taught last. They remembered me and were excited to see me. It felt good. I felt I built a good bond with them and laid the groundwork for a good year.
Still, the reality of everything still hit me like a brick wall. I hadn’t been as physically active in awhile. My feet and legs hurt so badly at the end of the day. My commute was still two hours. The curriculum was a mess, and there are never enough hours in the day to do all the stuff I feel needs to be done. I never saw the boys anymore because I didn’t have any spare time. I felt so alone. My whole life started to revolve around the job again. Had I not learned anything in this past year?
Although I care deeply for the students, I feel like I am killing myself a little more every day that I am there. I have thought about quitting, but what would I do? No health insurance. No money. No job. What am I fit for anymore? Plus, I had already sunk $500 of my own money into school supplies.
This past weekend, I had tried hard to make sure I didn’t have to go in to work. I got my house cleaned, bought my groceries. I was ready. On Sunday night, I could feel that tickle in the back of my throat. By 10 pm, I knew I had a problem. I had no login to order a sub. Did I want to burn a sick day this soon? By 3am, I realized that I had no choice. I threw on some clothes and drove 1 hour to work. I put together all the materials for a sub and a backup plan if I needed more than one day. I emailed, left voice messages, and tapped a big note on the office door to tell them to order me a sub. I drove back home and crawled into bed. By the afternoon, I knew I needed to seek help. I went to an immediate care clinic. The doctor told me that I already had bronchitis and an ear infection. He prescribed three different medications.
I came home and ordered a sub for the next day. I texted the news to Max and Alex, but I never heard back from them. I felt so alone. If I died, how long would it take someone to find my body? Who would care? I had forgotten about my weakened immune system. I was so grateful that I didn’t have to work the previous year. Of course, the kids’ bugs could kill me. This illness is different than being cancer tired. I have moments were I can’t breath. It is scary. I feel so alone. What have I really learned? Why am I here?
I eventually sent Max a text to see if he was alive. He said him and Alex slept most of the day. We talked a little. I am feeling more distance. I think they like that I am not around as much. I feel the opposite. There is always a little pain when you feel like you are not on the same page as someone you love so much.
Needless to say, I am feeling in a pickle. I am not satisfied. I feel miserable and alone. I don’t know how to help myself. I don’t know what my next move should be. Is anything really worth it? I hate that I am here. I don’t know where to go.