I just showed up

We’ve all heard that saying, sometimes all you have to do is “just show up.” That’s just what I did with traction right now. I’m distracted, busy, tired, but I had to do it because my hands are numb. Even though I couldn’t bring anything else to it besides myself, literally placing my behind in the chair, I did show up and now my hands feel better. So in this case I can confirm, showing up counts for something.

Happy Thanksgiving and if all your peeps “show up” at your table this year I wish you some good fun and some serious leftovers, at least enough for a turkey sandwich in the middle of the night!

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What do I look like?

That was my first thought today when a young man, appearing to be about 15 years old, sitting in the front passenger seat of the car that pulled up next to me at the gas station asked me a question. Another boy, looking 16 or 17 hopped out and started pumping gas and as he did the younger boy yelled over to me, “hey, do you have a cigarette?” I was flabbergasted and said no as I was shaking my head in amazement at the question. No one has asked me that question in many years. Before I sit here in traction and analyze why he asked me, what do I look like, somebody that smokes, was it my sunglasses, my youthful appearance, nope, I have a shitty spinal column, but I’m not delusional. I’ve already recognized he simply found himself in a convenient situation to ask. Yet, I do find myself focused on how sad the random experience left me feeling.

After I got over the shock of the question I wanted to ask him some questions, I wanted to preach to him, I wanted to tell him what a gift his health was, how fragile it will seem someday. I wanted to tell him, heck no I don’t have a cigarette, that stuff will kill you and you are too young, yada, yada, yada….but I felt like all he’d hear was the parental voice from the Charlie Brown animations and just see it as some crazy person at the gas station “yelling” at him.

All the things any reasonable person would want to say to a teenager about the dangers of smoking crossed my mind, but also came with it the bigger question, WHY! Why on earth in 2011 is a kid still asking to bum a cigarette and in a gas station where we could blow up no less!

I need to get out more, or maybe less.

Somebody lost a bet

I saw a homemade sign in someone’s front yard, situated on a corner lot, it said,”Doris is the Domino Champ.” It seems there must have been a bet and somebody that plays Dominos with Doris lived up to what was promised and placed the sign for anyone that passes to see. It made me smile.

Within minutes of being outside these days you see the signs of Autumn and with that comes Halloween decorations. I’m amazed how each year it seems the spooky is celebrated more and more and how much adults seem to participate as much as children. We go to great lengths to entertain ourselves, tease one another, celebrate the big and small. Maybe for some it makes the mundane pass more quickly, but I’m not sure why we want that. Sitting here in traction is mundane, it’s very ordinary for me now and my mind looks to be distracted. I’ll typically review the day or think about something I just read or evaluate how I think something I’m working on is going. Sometimes I have an agenda when I sit down here, I want to work thru something on my mind and sometime I want to be entertained. I’ll listen to music or watch something on the computer or type. There are so many grand productions in this world, you can’t watch an award show without thinking about all the hoopla that went into the airing of such a shindig. I like small things, I like thinking about Doris kicking butt in Dominos and everybody celebrating with her. I like planning a Halloween party for children but I’ll sit out the ‘who looks better as Michele Bachmann’ contest this year.

I also like thinking about the older gentleman in front of me in the bakery today, he gave great time and consideration to selecting two Danish pastries. He took his job seriously, he reviewed all his options, he was thoroughly enjoying what he was doing. He was living in the moment and it left me thinking some of us could use more practice.

Color explosion times two

My favorite season is here, I love the Fall! This year I’ll get the special opportunity of experiencing two Autumns. I’m going to Vermont this week and I hope to see their color explosion show and then when I return home it will be time for the leaves to do their beautiful thing here. It’s sweater time, scarf and hat time, not too cold and snowy to change your plans time, but it’s not sweltering and sticky time.

Thank you for time marching on and for all that the Fall reminds me of, all that it brings back to me every year! Traction is going on the road and I’m packing this thing up as soon as I finish typing.
See you next month!

Today

When you’ve experienced your own broken heart you easily recognize one in another. Today watching families revisit the sites where they lost their loved ones on September 11, 2001, you aren’t surprised how much their pain is still so close to the surface. Some pain is too big to fade, the best you can hope for is learning to live with it, to go on, not let it defeat you, yet respect it.

Today for me is also a day where two precious souls in my life are being baptized. Reminding me of eternity, how life truly doesn’t end, perhaps not in the way we’d like but in a way we can never imagine on this earth. To fortitude, peace, love and courage, may we never forget what is lasting and let go of what gets in the way of our remembering that every single day.

Action Traction

I’m sitting here thinking that I’m 2 plus years into the cervical traction gig and I wonder how many times that actually translates into sitting here. When I started in July of ’09 I was told to do traction five times a week, more if needed. Then I was dropped down to three times a week and now I maintain a two-day a week schedule, but if my symptoms return I bump it up one or two times more a week. Frankly, I don’t know if I’ve done traction 300 times or 30 times, it’s a routine now and even though it has its moments where it’s uncomfortable and even painful you do what you have to do to maintain feeling in your arms and hands, right people! It’s such a simple thing without much work involved but the results produce much action. A day or two of tingling fingers, arms that feel like they are two pieces of string blowing in the wind, that motivates me, or probably would anyone, to get back to traction pronto.

So here I am on Labor day when we celebrate those that work and I’m trying to do my part to keep active, to keep moving, to keep working because that’s what us humans do best. We labor, we move, we produce, we manage, we provide, we are action. Even in the slightest ways of moving, an infant in a car seat doing their job by wiggling their toes and flailing their arms and smiling their toothless grins, a person left to a nursing home bed can move mountains with their courage and the compassion they bring out in others……I gotta remember even if I’m not skydiving I’m working, I’m living, I’m in action, I’m alive and well.

Have it your way…….really?

Today a young man waited on me at a fast food restaurant and as he handed me my change I immediately knew it wasn’t the correct amount. So quickly before he could leave I said, please recheck this, I handed you a 50 dollar bill, honestly I did, can you please check your register. So he looked down and said, “oh shoot, you did, I’m so sorry, I thought it was a 20.” I said no problem, easy mistake. He then handed me 33 dollars. I began to walk away and instead realized, nope, still not correct. So I said, Oh excuse me, see, I gave you a 50, I spent 7 dollars, so you owe me 43 dollars. He looked at me like I had just spoken to him in a foreign language and he then apologized again. By this time two co-workers appear and the person who originally took my order was so flustered he walked away mumbling, “I don’t know what’s wrong!” So I explain the situation and they both look at me like I’m nuts. Then one of them says, “just a minute, we will try to figure this out.” I tried to repeat the simple details of the transaction once again and as I do one of the workers reaches for a calculator. I then said, just think about it, I gave him a 50, I spent 7 dollars, you owe me 43 dollars. Yet, apparently that’s too distracting and silence is required to figure out this equation. What felt like several minutes later the employee with the calculator gives me a rather stunned look and says, “we still owe you 10 dollars!” Sadly only arriving at this answer after he minuses 7 from 50 on the calculator and double checks the 33 dollars in his hand.

I’m worried. Not just about these three employees at a fast food restaurant, I’m worried for all of us. I know there’s a joke here about how many people does it take to make change inside of a phone booth or something like that but more importantly, if we have a person give up in embarrassment or defeat and the two that are sent in to remedy the situation are just as baffled, I’m not sure where to begin. But if they want me to answer the question on the side of their bags, THIS, is definitely NOT my way!

You know what, I’m just not going to think too much about this one, besides, I have ten more minutes of traction to distract me, but who’s counting.

Home Remedies

I was walking down a long corridor last week and an older gentleman came up next to me and said, “Excuse me Miss, mind if I ask why you’re limping, you seem like you’re in such pain.” The man had my immediate attention because he called me “Miss,” there could have been a time in my life where I wouldn’t have liked that term, but now I consider it a solid victory if someone doesn’t refer to me as “Mam.” He then quickly went on to add that he too has a limp and he wondered if my issues were related to my spine, he starts to tell me about his situation and then waits for me to answer. I briefly describe my problem, in part because I’m still a little thrown off by a complete stranger stopping me and asking me basically what feels like, “what’s wrong with you?,” but yet that has happened before, I’m really more interested in NOT standing in the hallway since standing is pretty much my least favorite thing on the planet. After I answer him he sympathizes and goes onto to describe his spinal surgery. As we end the conversation and I turn to head down the hall he wishes me well and says he’s sorry for my trouble. It sometimes feels weird to know what to say. I guess I do have “troubles” yet everyone does, mine just might be more obvious sometimes, but he was just trying to be kind or “help” in some way or at least that’s how I prefer to take our exchange.

Recently I’ve been encouraged to try a couple different home remedies. One is to prepare a cup of water like you would for tea but rather than adding your favorite flavor, add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a spot of honey. Another one is to pour GIN over a cup of golden raisins and count out 11 every day to eat. The recipes come from folks that want to “help” and although I’m not sure I’ll be downing gin soaked raisins anytime soon I do feel some healing by the great compassion I’m shown.

I’d rather think of that while I’m sitting here in traction than all the crap going on in this world, don’t you just want a break from all of it, I’m so tired of hearing bad stuff. I’m overwhelmed by the news of horrific natural disasters, misery, suffering and economic world woes; everyday it seems there’s some awful thing worse than the day before.

So I’m asking, just please dear world, take a freaking time out and be nice!

ENOUGH already, come on, give the planet a break for a minute, let it rain where the ground is so cracked and parched it’s causing severe droughts and famine, sprinkle some tolerance and peace over massive parts of the world. Please help everyone to suck on a Pollyanna pill, calm down and be kind to one another for a day or two. “Help” each other, stop and talk to someone, just let us have a moment where we can still believe there is more right with this place than it being one giant mess, give us a splash of hope, please. Who knows, maybe a simple home remedy will make a difference.

In the meantime I am going to go sip some hot apple cider vinegar honey “tea” and try to think of something besides the negative, and then I’ll wait for the good to come, because I still have to believe it’s bigger than the bad. Cheers!

Yours truly, Pollyanna

4192

Nope, I’m no Charlie Hustle, aka, Pete Rose. 4192 has nothing to do with my stats for baseball, rather 4192 is the number of hits to my blog, not to a baseball. Who would have thought that when this silly idea started a couple of years ago that anybody would have read my thoughts…..but here we are at a record-breaking number for me! Just like in baseball numbers are a big deal in life. We measure every thing; motivation often comes from those numbers. This is my 75th post!

I confess I check to see what people have been interested in enough to read, what they seem to like verse not. Sometimes I think it’s in the title, that catches the attention, but you have to eventually say something funny or otherwise interesting to keep people coming back. I’m not going to start a radio talk show with these kind of numbers, I’m not Dr. Phil or Oz with a spin-off from Oprah but I do secretly hope that maybe I’ve motivated someone to stick with something that they just as soon could have given up on. I’m going to tell myself that there are folks just like me out there that needed a push and some encouragement to get the ball rolling. To do something so NOT fun for the sake of the good.
Anyhoo, enough of my rambles for today, the next person who reads this blog gets a lifetime supply of……………………….

Chateau Marmont here we come

As I was sitting in traction recently in a hotel room at the Waldorf Astoria I was thinking about how many other people in the history of the beautiful hotel may have ever checked off another day of their cervical traction routine “hanging” in one of the lovely rooms. The hotel boasts that Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Durante and many more legends have all walked the block long lobby with golden columns and crystal chandeliers. The legendary bar, Sazerac, serves the strongest drinks I’ve ever drank and quickly helps you forget any traction woes. From the beach at the Hard Rock Hotel to the Holiday Inn Express, traction came along and hung over the doorways of all. I’m back home now staring at my own door frame and thinking about what might be the next hotel I sit in traction. I realize it doesn’t matter where it is or what floor or how beautiful or famous or not, my traction will come along and make it feel just like home.