Number 12

  • It is hard for me to believe that December is here, 12/2013. Wow, from my perspective this year flew by. I am not sure I even blogged 12 times this year, but I did traction at least 12 times and then some, I thought of things to write about 12 times and didn’t write another 12 times. I had pain bad enough to offer it up for a worthy cause at least 12 times and I felt sorry for myself 12 times 12 too.
    I am still here though, and I’ve probably said or written that 12 times, but on days like today that is an accomplishment. I’ve not let self-pity win, I’ve found joy and remembered it often. I’ve read at least 12 articles on how to cope with chronic pain, strategies to help, but few ever do and none make it go away but 12 times 12 I’ve moved on and said, what the hell these are my cards. I was not born into poverty, or lost my family in a natural disaster or famine or war. Hopefully, I’ve said thank you at least 12 times. I’ve found reasons to be happy and reasons to be mad. but sad isn’t where I like to live.
    At the end of another 12 where I do live is pretty darn good, I overheard my great-niece tell my sister that she loves me, this from a two and a half-year old person, that felt great, worth a hundred reasons to move forward.
    I thank you for reading this and hanging with me, 12 times over and over, I owe you.

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  • The perfect gift for cervical spondylosis

    Three years later with this little blog and four years later with sticking to traction altogether and my neck is still attached to my head and my hands and arms still move! Truly time to celebrate……what do you get for a fourth anniversary for traction…..it seems like there’s a good joke there that is currently escaping me!

    It’s just a brief stopping point to remember where I’ve been and where I’m going with this thing around my neck and my ten pounds of water. Who knew such a simple, silly contraption could save me from not being able to use my hands….I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. I’d wake up every morning with my arms completely numb, so heavy and hurting like crazy, gratefully I rarely wake up now with some tingling in the hands and immediately know it’s a sign to put in some more time in traction. I was told my neck was that of an 80-year-old person, only thing was, I wasn’t 80! I’ve listened to music, read, prayed and complained here but the time has passed and I’m still hanging. Happy Anniversary, here’s a toast to traction……100 year old neck here I come!

    Tram courage, Traction courage

    Traction has given me courage…….who knew…….Recently I was in a tram going up the side of a snow-covered mountain in the “last frontier” state of Alaska as I chatted with an older gentleman attempting to distract me when I realized I wasn’t afraid. I had a peace about me, it wasn’t new, I’ve felt it before, just not in the air…I’m not a big fan of heights. He seemed to sense this in me and chatted all the way, looking at me with his kind eyes and weathered face, almost saying, just keep looking at me and you won’t notice what is going on around you. Before I knew it we were tethering to the dock at our destination. The ride was fast and worth it. Beautiful snow-covered vistas, one after the other. A few years ago I would have never made the attempt, I probably would have never considered it.

    Today when I was sitting in traction I realized it was one of my better days…the traction was easy, without much thought I had hooked myself up and was looking out at my pretty view….since I’ve moved I sit next to a window and I’m looking out near the treetops…it’s a sunny day and maybe the sun reminded me of Alaska…..although, Alaska isn’t known for its sun shine the views were filled with blue cloudless skies over the snowy mountain tops matching my color blue sky view today.

    Traction has been a journey, to still be at it……and to still have the condition that leads to doing it…….for that not to change, for that to be my unforeseeable situation….it gives you courage over time…..you deal, you have pain, you feel ‘not good’ a lot of the time…..you struggle to find a place to be content and happy and when you find it you have survived. You have strength you didn’t have because you had to find it….you had to change, you had to make it better in a way that you could.

    Traction, again,……I owe you.

    Did you ever leave early and regret it?

    Did you ever notice the people who leave the baseball game in the top of the ninth or the basketball game with two minutes to go or leave church before the last prayer? Where do you think they are going? I know I’ve been tempted to leave things early because sometimes in a crowd folks don’t have a lot a patience for the chick walking with a limp. If I’m using a cane it’s amazing how many times it has been kicked out from under me or the back of my shoe has been stepped into causing it to come off, literally folks at my heels.

    As I “celebrate” the second year of this blog, third year of traction, I think back about all the times I did want to quit. All the times I left traction early or cut out on some exercises, but just as many or more did I stick with it, I’m still here. Although I clearly understand my reasons for wanting to leave traction early, even leave it in the dust, I also know I’d be missing out on something. It’s so tempting to not finish something that is so not fun, so not entertaining, so not pretty, so not anything I’d ever wish on you or anyone. But it’s not a sporting event or chosen event and as a result, I won’t beat the traffic, I won’t get home in time for my favorite TV show, or make my dinner reservation. Life isn’t always a simple, neat little package you can plan and organize.

    Sitting in traction and writing this blog is for me, I benefit most, I suffer most when I don’t do it, when I leave early, when I stop caring. Many of the subjects of these blogs have been about mind over matter. In these few years I’ve not found a trick or a secret or a magic wand, I’ve just hung in there, some days more gracefully than others, some days more painfully than others, some days wanting to scream or cry or laugh my self silly at this gizmo and the tediousness of it all.

    Is that why people leave the game early, are they bored, are they in a hurry, or are they a control freak like me that wants to be in charge of everything? You will not find the answer here but you will have time to think about it. I’m taking what this experience is offering, sometimes that doesn’t feel like much but it is SOMETHING and when I forget that, I’m in trouble. So for now, I’m watching the last pitch, listening to the sound of the buzzer and saying Amen with the few stragglers left in the pew because I don’t want to miss a minute of this thing called my life.

    (ps, I should run thru this entry again to make sure it makes sense but again, that’s not what this is about, I need this blog to be here for me just as it is, to ramble, to whine, to laugh, to be. To help me get thru and today I don’t feel like making sure it all makes sense, does that make sense 😉

    Durante and Adele make it better

    It’s not such a bad day sitting in traction when you get to start out listening to Jimmy Durante’s, Make Someone Happy and end up with Adele’s, Someone Like You, with a bit of everything else in between.
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    I’ve mentioned before how I have a string of songs on my playlist that are timed just perfectly to coincide how long I have to sit here. Some days life is as easy as pressing a button, closing my eyes and listening, other days not so much. Don’t ever underestimate the power of music and what it can do for you. Here’s hoping you can just hit play today and make it all go a lot easier.

    Summer skiing

    As I was sitting in traction this morning pulling my neck with a ten pound bag of water I was watching a video on YouTube. If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I’ve done a lot of things to distract myself while I’m sitting there passing the time. My neck hurts today, my fingers are numb and when I finished traction my back wanted to punish me. As far as life goes I had a good weekend, as far as my spine is concerned just seeing a snow less ski slope invokes a feeling of cruel and unusual treatment. Although I enjoyed time with family and watching my niece graduate surrounded by the Green Mountains of Vermont I also knew what was ahead for the week, recuperation from the travel, i.e., many hours lying flat on my back.

    For me the ordinary things require a lot of me, I’m not feeling sorry for myself, it’s just the way it is. From walking across the room to pulling laundry out of the washer, any activity that requires standing, holding a pen or even the telephone these days for more than a few minutes leads to my arm feeling numb and painful. Things aren’t going in the right direction for me in terms of my cervical and spinal conditions, but I’m trying, I’m not giving up. I’ve written before about the importance of that, how in moments that seems like victory enough. I’m ready for things to get better for me physically but unless I experience a miracle they probably won’t. I’m losing ground and sometimes that feels frightening, sad and frustrating but after watching a video of others experiencing their own challenges, surviving to tell their stories, I feel better. We aren’t alone in this fight, that gives us courage, it gives us the freedom to tell the truth. I’ve said this before and it’s worth stating again, life stinks, more than stinks and pushing forward a second at a time is a freaking victory.

    Let’s do this thing people.