GI Distress


Don’t be stoopid. It’s not me—

definitely you.



Shush, now.

I know

break-ups are rough. Tough like



Ever watch a dog chew on processed cow skin?

That shit’s indigestible; causes intestinal

swelling and diarrhea, etcetera.



some relationships are (un)just

over-sized break-ups in-waiting,

glazed with meat flavoring for optimal taste.



I used to lounge with you

outside in the summer dark.

Under the stars,

we’d swig bottles of Miller Lite

and inhale Marlboro tobacco;

two Alphas trying

to cancel each other out.




That’s a goddamned lie.


never had int’rest

in your use-less


Now you howl by yourself,


who will clean up your vomit.


It’s not me—

definitely you.


© Kindra M. Austin

A Special Sammich, and Twelve Tubes of My Blood



I had taken some meds at 11:00 before running errands. It was a hot and humid afternoon, and this particular sort of weather exacerbates my Fibromyalgia, so I wasn’t feeling super-duper, folks. I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up some over-the-counter stuff, and I chatted with my daughter (she’s a CPhT) for a bit while she worked. The time was 12:00. By the time I left the pharmacy, I was feeling itchy and burny from the inside out.

At 12:30, I picked up a giant sammich to share with Jim–we live just a few blocks from his work, and he comes home every day at 1:00 for his thirty minute lunch break. I had taken a shower upon returning home from the sandwich shop because I had broken out in hives. It was the worst case of hives I’ve ever experienced. My eyelids, earlobes, and lips were swollen and red. Wheals were raised all over my body–my scalp, neck, face, chest, armpits and legs. It was painful, still I wasn’t worried. I’d just have to go back to the pharmacy for Benadryl after lunch. I really wanted to eat that gorgeous sammich. In fact, I’d been so looking forward to lunch, I’d skipped breakfast. I do kind of hate the love I have for a meaty and vegetably sammich on nice bread.

At 1:00, Jim arrived, and upon entering the house he said, “Hello, Beautiful!” as he always does; this time I didn’t run into the kitchen to greet him like Edith Bunker always did with Archie. “What’s the bad news?” he asked.

“I don’t feel good,” I answered, creeping into the kitchen. “I’ve broken into hives, and it’s bad. I can’t catch my breath, and my chest is so tight and twisty.”

“Do you need me to take you to the doctor?”

“I need to go to the hospital. I can’t breathe. It hurts so much.”

Jim doesn’t fuck around when it comes to me. He drove 75+ miles an hour to get me to the closest E.R. On the way, I was coughing and wheezing. My skin was on fire, and my nose was bleeding.

At the hospital, I explained that I had taken such and such medication, and an hour or so later, I broke into hives and couldn’t comfortably breath. My skin was so inflamed, the nurse had a difficult time finding a vein for an IV. She had to settle for one on the inside of my forearm near my elbow, which was fucking uncomfortable. The lab tech couldn’t find a vein to do a blood draw to save a goddamned life. He tapped me everywhere, trying to coax one into puffing up. He found a weak one, and tried to fill the required six tubes, the vein wouldn’t give. He passed the task to an R.N. who managed to fill the last two.

Meanwhile, another nurse was injecting three different meds into my poorly positioned IV. My breathing was labored, and I wanted to crawl out of skin. But I didn’t cry–I’ve been through worse, and never cried. Unless you count child-birth–thanks, Nicole (P.S. you were worth it.).

Fast forward:

After hour one had passed, a different lab tech showed up with her equipment, and apologized straight away. “I’m sorry, but we have to draw your blood all over again. The earlier samples were no good, and she proceeded to explain medical shit that I had no patience to try to understand. At this point, the itching and burning had long faded, and the wheals were beginning to disappear. My arms were bruising, and so fucking sore. All together, I’d been pricked at least twenty times to draw twelve tubes of blood.

Hour two–I’d had an X-ray of my lungs, which came out clean, and I was ready to go home. But my chest tightness remained. The doctor had come in to see me, and said that if the chest pain persisted, he was going to admit me. I was in the E.R. for five hours. Thank fuck my breathing returned to normal, and the chest tightness finally relaxed.

When Jim and I arrived home from the hospital, I killed that sammich. And it was fucking beautiful.




Catch a Chronic Illness

If you don’t have a chronic illness, I suggest you find one, grab hold of it, and hand over control. Life is much simpler when you have something legitimate to blame.

  1. If you feel like cutting out of work early, your illness is the best excuse to walk out in the middle of your shift, head held low in shame.
  2. If you wake up in the morning in so much pain that you cannot move, you can have your spouse call in for you; then you’ll have the whole day free to hurt in peace.
  3. When you decide your place of employment expects too much of you, you can apply for intermittent leave; if you’re approved, you’ll have as many days off a week as you want to cry, and question your value as a productive member of society.
  4. When you realize a life of leisure is better than punching a time clock, quit your job; questioning your value as a member of your family is only a small side-effect of giving up your job/career/income. Money…who needs it? Fulfillment…that’s what Netflix is for.
  5. Did you make plans with your friends, then decide you aren’t well enough to even shower and dress in grown up clothes? Chronic Illness will get you out of that dinner you’ve been looking forward to.
  6. Your daughter is playing her last band concert as a senior in high school? The chronic pain will excuse you from attending. You were never proud of her, anyway.
  7. Don’t feel like fucking your husband? Chronic pain.
  8. Don’t feel like grocery shopping? Or cooking a meal for your family? Chronic pain.
  9. Travelling to Grandma’s for Christmas is going to be a drag? Chronic pain.
  10. Too lazy to tie your own fucking shoes???

The benefits are limitless. Yes, you’ll have to explain yourself to your friends and family who are too goddamned ignorant or uncaring to understand. But fuck them. This is about you. Everything is about you, as it should be. Because you’re special–too goddamned good. This is your life, after all.

Total Hip Replacement: the aftermath

7360199I  have fully realized my dependence upon my PC. Nearly three weeks without writing at my desk has left me feeling incomplete. Today is my first day back; my chair is once again comfortable, and I feel more like myself than I have since February 3. I am bionic, at long last.

imag0190And now to do something about my hair. I was sent home with a wound-vac, which prevented me from showering. It was whore baths and dry shampoo for two and a half weeks. Around day seven post-op, I had an emotional breakdown because I was dirty. I took the pain like a fucking champ, but to stew in my own flora was maddening. I bawled for over an hour. I was unrecognizable to my husband, Jim; I didn’t so much as whimper before my surgery, so to watch me lose my shit because I could smell my own ass was simply stunning. To be fair, though, I was also sleep deprived. Jim said I wasn’t sleeping because I quit my narcotics cold-turkey. Duh.

inpatient-drug-treatment-pain-pills-oxycontin-dade-county-florida-flI was on oxycodone at the hospital, and I was sent home a script. Oxy ain’t no motherfucking joke, folks. Addicts must be chronically constipated and nauseated. I could never be addicted to narcotics. I felt like barfing all the live long day, and I questioned whether killing the pain was worth the nausea. Or the disorientation. After a few days home, my daughter had my surgeon switch me to hydrocodone, which was much better for me. Still, I put down the hydrocodone within five days. I’ve been successfully treating my pain with Tylenol alone. Because I’m bionic.

I had my staples removed this past Monday, and now my incision itches like beast. My mother took me to my appointment. Afterward, we went to the Olive Garden where we ate pasta, and drank margaritas with two extra shots of Amaretto. My mother observed that we were the only ones drinking alcohol with our meals. Because it was only 11:00 a.m. What. Ever. Before returning home, we stopped at the grocery store. There I was, crossing the parking lot with the aid of a walker, and one of the flighty fucking boys collecting carts asked if I wanted one. “Yeah,” I said. “Just make sure you put it squarely in front of my walker.”

My daughter works at one of the pharmacies in our town. Instead of buying a cane, I borrowed one. Today I am leaving the house with it, all swag ‘n’ shit. Muthafuckas look out!

Now that I’m sleeping comfortably, and moving about more easily, I can honestly say I am happy about my decision to replace my hip. I look forward to riding my bike again, using my elliptical, and washing my feet.

Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts.


I Know Why

Growing up, I raised an alcoholic mother. I did my best, but often failed to keep her safe–to keep her free of angry, intoxicated hands. And I listened to her, a dutiful counselor; too bad she seldom accepted my advice. It’s because of my relationship with my mother that I became interested in psychology as a teen. I knew I’d never be able to cure her; understanding her was for my own benefit–my sanity. As I grew older, I realized that I also needed to understand myself, and the part I played in the family dynamic. For years, I thought psych books were all I had to help me. No, let me correct myself; books were all I wanted. I was prideful, even then; and I was stubborn.

My mother says Tara is the stubborn one. My mother has no idea how important is to me to work my shit out on my own. If I reach out, it’s because I’ve exhausted all my efforts and I am absolutely desperate to be rid of the pain. I have a high tolerance for pain; I don’t show weakness willingly. Funny, I have no problem with telling the ones I love that showing their weaknesses is a strength. Am I too hard on myself? Or am I just fucking arrogant? Yes, and yes.

Aside from myself, only my dad, my sister, and my daughter (and probably those who absorb the fibers of my work) have the best idea of who I am, fundamentally. Strange how I want to be understood and appreciated, and left the fuck alone in equal measure.

But, I’ve digressed.

I am a protector. That’s another reason I didn’t like talking about my home life. I couldn’t take someone judging my mother–criticizing her. I’d throw down with anyone who said something ugly about her, save my dad. Anyway, he has never said anything about her that’s out of order, only the truth.

My dad is a realist, and I am, too.

My mother will die an alcoholic; I will hate her for it, and hate myself for hating her, and I won’t need a goddamned book, or a psychologist to tell me the reason why.










About Me: more adventures in adulting

I have severe bilateral hip osteoarthritis, and today I’ve learned it is time for right hip replacement. The left will follow most likely within the next two years. Steroidal injections are no longer beneficial–the pain I’m living with is fucking fantastic.

If I wait until spring, I will be 38 years old. My surgeon has informed me that lots of modern replacements are lasting as many as twenty years if treated well.

“No running and jumping,” he said.

“Listen, dude. I only run when I’m running for my life. So no sweat.”

He did not laugh. Hip replacement surgery is a big deal.





Generalized Anxiety Disorder has similar symptoms as panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder, but they are all different conditions. Symptoms of GAD vary from individual to individual, and may include:  persistent worrying or obsession about concerns out of proportion to the impact of the event; inability to let go of worry, or set worry aside; restlessness; difficulty concentrating, or experiencing the feeling of going blank; worrying about excessive worrying; distress, or fear of making the wrong decision; over analyzing, and carrying every option in a situation all the way out it to its possible negative outcome; difficulty handling indecisiveness, or uncertainty.

Physical symptoms may include:  headaches; nausea, and/or irritable bowel syndrome; sweating; trouble sleeping; muscle tension, and muscle aches; fatigue; irritability; being easily startled; feeling twitchy/trembling.

Some symptoms in children and teens may include:  redoing tasks because they are not perfect the first time; lack of confidence; overly anxious about fitting in; spending an excessive amount of time on homework; being a perfectionist; striving for approval; requiring constant reassurance of performance.

Risk factors for developing GAD include:  being female; genetics; personality–a person who is timid, or has a negative temperament may be more prone to GAD than others.

My daughter was born talking. She has always been sunny and open to the kids who didn’t fit in. She is creative in her artwork, and writing. God, her writing is phenomenal. She was reading in kindergarten (the first in her class). Her memorization skills are killer. And she is wise. As a mother of an exceptional child, there isn’t anything for me to complain about–save the GAD. My girl is an Empath. Couple that with GAD, and you have a brilliant, beautiful soul in so much mental/emotional pain it nearly literally breaks her heart, and mine.

My daughter is so amazing, I wish the whole world knew her. I wish the whole world could hear her laughter–its healing, harmonious, just fucking gorgeous.

I believe we are now on a path toward healing–relief. That’s all I want, for my girl to feel relief. I would trade every facet of my being for her pain if it meant she would be well, always.

To parents, and to my readers who are the loved ones to those who suffer, I feel you. Believe me, I feel you. Don’t stop loving, fighting, advocating.

I wish you all love and peace.