Happy Traction

Haven’t fallen off the planet, well, not yet. I’m still here and on this last day of 2012 continue to need cervical traction. We will be back here in 2013 and life moves forward. We adjust, we cope, we hope and we hang in there. All in all what more could you ask for, 2013 here we come!

Mona Lisa smiled at me

When one is in Paris you pinch yourself, when one is in the Louvre you shake your head at your luck, when one is in line to see the Mona Lisa you think the day can’t get any better.

Only thing that might if you let it get in the way of full happiness is that I was in a wheel chair. It helps me get around as easily as possible and see as much as possible, but I don’t like how I feel in a chair with wheels and sometimes I don’t like how folks treat me in one, but on occasion it is a necessary part of my life and I must deal with it. On to more important things, the Mona Lisa! So just at the moment when you think the best view you will have of this lovely lady is the backside of the rows of people in front of you a very tall man dressed as a museum guard points at you. He begins to speak to you in a language you pretend to understand much better than you actually do and somehow you do understand and before you know it he’s opening a gate for you and you are in a cordoned off area two feet from Mona Lisa. The crowd of hundreds is many feet behind you as you feel their jealousy and you stop and connect with your new friend. She is protected behind glass but you realize you are as humanly close to her as anyone other than museum staff ever gets to her. You know that she on this special day in your life, has smiled at you. Because of this chair with wheels and the problems your body has that put you in it to make this day possible to even be here has all come to this moment when Mona Lisa smiled at little old me and made me not only first in line but as close as possible! Thank you, you made my day, made me feel very special and I will never forget meeting you! Paris, you are not always an easy place for me, as people talk and walk very fast and bump into you and never look back, but in that moment a most famous painting and I had our moment and all is good!

PS. I haven’t posted in a while, well, two months or more. I was busier than I wanted to be but still doing traction. I missed you guys, I missed connecting with the group of folks I’ve created in my mind that cheer me on, some of you are very real and some probably not, but anyhoo, I’ve missed you and it is nice to be back.

Olympic Traction

I had an entire post written about my thoughts to introduce Traction to the Olympic Committee and then I hit the wrong key and puff……it’s gone. Yet, I’m still here, sitting in traction, Olympics or not. The fingers are not full of energy today to attempt typing it again so I’ll just say, watch out four years…..only thing, is it a winter or summer event?

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 😉

You’re not crazy, you just drive like you are

The first time I knew I was doing it I was driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, Illinois. I knew I was being judged for my out-of-state plates and I was judging right back the rattling, rust machine that was plugging along in front of me. I wanted it to move over, get out of my way, I had somewhere to be, somewhere obviously far more important than them I selfishly assumed. Besides I thought if I didn’t pass them I justified for the folks driving behind me either drive in my trunk or leave me in the dust. There are just some highways in this world you must have your stuff together or get the heck out-of-the-way!

I realized today I was doing it again, a shiny newer car passed me and I thought, wow, I want to follow them, they know where they’re going, they can predict traffic patterns, they know which lane will keep moving in rush hour, they will get me to where I’m going on time if I follow them. It’s time for me to come clean. I car profile, I driver profile too. We often sum things up by appearance and as much as don’t want to admit it, I do it too, everyday. If I see temporary tags I think they must be too new to the vehicle to know how to properly operate it so I pass ’em. If I notice someone’s plates are geographically more than two states away from the state I’m currently driving in, get out of my way, slow poke alert, must be lost or on vacation, either way, going no where fast enough for me.

But if the car is nondescript and also in my way, then does anything I consider weird or dangerous that’s when I go beyond the car and look inside. If the person looks like they posed for their driver’s license photo yesterday I’m frankly a little afraid of them and if they’re all silver-haired, I’m afraid of them too. Just to be clear, it’s not ok what I’m saying, it’s not pretty, it’s not kind, it’s not what I want to say that I do but I do it probably everyday. I’m a profiler and I don’t work for the FBI. I see a woman driving a van full of children I’ll straighten up in my seat, tighten my hands to the wheels and consciously drive “safer.” Anybody spending their time smoking and driving, I think their not only filling their lungs with some bad stuff but I think they might make a wrong turn and suddenly hit the brakes in front of me but yet a cab driver in my rear view mirror is some secret challenge I have within that I don’t want passing me.

Oh yeah, and I don’t like seeing anybody wearing a hat when they drive, seems to me it blocks the vision, oh, unless it’s subzero outside and the hat wearing is because of the temperature, but then I begin to wonder shouldn’t the inside of the car be warm enough now. Ok, just to reiterate, winter hats are ok, everything else, nope, unacceptable in my book of what is right and wrong with cars and drivers. Also, don’t drive a convertible anywhere near me, you make me nervous and I think you are a distracted driver thinking about the weather and how you look driving your convertible. If you drive a motorcycle and don’t wear a helmet I want to pull you over and ask you what kind of health insurance coverage you have. If you drive with your windows down when it is raining I want to get away from you because I’m afraid your car is unsafe and about to combust in flames or something awful because that must be why you have to keep the windows open. Please, and don’t get me started if I see an animal in the car or a tractor-trailer full of livestock you are dead to me, I am convinced at any second the dog/cat/pig/etc. will grab the wheel and plunge a lane full of cars over an embankment.
I’m nuts, I admit it, I sit in traffic and judge. I actually think if the car appears newly washed it seems like someone less likely to cause an accident. If the car already has a dent in it I check to see what the speed limit is because I want to get away from it asap. My condition worsens the longer I sit in traffic. I have no excuse, I’m just the crazy person that sits in TRACTION so she can feel her fingers and retain her independence to drive at the same time the worlds’ worst driver and deadliest vehicle must be right next to me today in TRAFFIC. Yep, makes total 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.

May be

Oh my, the time is flying, in this month of May as I’ve completed my traction routine I haven’t felt much like typing. My fingers have been stiff and tired and let’s not talk about the neck. I just wanted to write some words for this month as I’ve not missed a month of writing since we started this experiment a couple of years back.
I look forward to June and nimble fingers, a girl can AND should dream……

Forcing Spring

I feel cool. I’ve watched many a gardening show and dreamt of having the skill and know how to take care of a little patch of beauty. I’ve tried here and there and have had moments of glory but Mother Nature and her elements have not always been my friend. All of my gardening mishaps have led me to appreciating the first signs of Spring in potted tulips and hyacinths growing in gardening centers. Rarely have these beauties made it to my table if they were growing in my yard. They’ve either been snacks for chipmunks or killed by late frost. I’ve just not had a lot of luck with growing bulbs. I know, every other yard displays them, looks easy to accomplish, but if I want to see blooming early spring bulb plants I need to buy them at the garden store or walk to the neighbor’s house.

But this year is a new year and I’m growing things indoors! Paperwhites adorn my desk and fill the room with a lovely fragrance that has me wondering where I am! I’m waiting any day now for the daffodils to pop. Who knew you could grow such beauty in the tiniest of spaces indoors? Here’s all I did: I placed the bulbs in a brown bag for a couple of days or maybe a week, at the first sign of root growth I set them in shallow wide container and surrounded them with a few pebbles or small decorative rocks. I then covered the rocks with water, I’ve consistently keep the water over the roots but have been careful not to ever completely cover the bulbs, add water as needed. Voila, then the most amazing third grade science project happens right in your tired winter home! Forcing bulbs indoors is easy and fun and if it works you look like a master gardener and if it doesn’t I’m not telling.

Spring is coming, hope grows right before my eyes. Old dreary traction is surrounded by a lovely scent and pushing toward a new day.

(Bonus, if you bought that bag of bulbs in the Fall and never got around to planting them here’s your answer, it will look like you planned it that way all along) Good Luck and a special thank you to Mary M. for her introduction of the idea into my life!