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.

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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.