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!

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!

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.

Happy Anniversary

Wow, it’s been a year this month that I started “thoughtsintraction” and two years ago that I started traction. I’m headed on vacation for a couple of weeks and although I probably won’t post while I’m away trust that traction will travel with me. Thanks for helping me stay on this journey. It’s definitely had its moments of uncertainty, laziness, pain, stupidity, silliness and self-pity. Thanks for hanging in there with me……don’t worry about sending a card, Hallmark has yet to market the corner on “Happy Hanging, you look so much taller than you did last year!” or better yet, “Numb fingers used to be a problem, but thanks to traction you can open this card sent just to you!” or maybe something along the line of “Tick Tock Traction Time is here to stay and we couldn’t miss the chance to say “Hang in There!”
OK, I’m being quite the smarty pants and there’s no card for that either, so I’ll just say, I’ll be back in a few to start year two of typing and three of hanging, can’t wait.

What I’ve overheard lately

My hearing isn’t what it used to be, but lately I’ve randomly overheard bits and pieces of some crazy stuff. Each time I catch the middle of something in line at a store or a snippet of something as the elevator door closes I think, you know, somebody needs to write a book about what they’ve overheard. It’s wild.

The other day I heard this man say that “if it’s murder, they will find out.” Okay, well I certainly hope so! You also often hear the mundane, “I don’t know, why are you asking me?” sorts of stuff. Yet the kind that catch your ears like, “don’t you think you should tell her who her father is” just make it hard to concentrate on the task at hand. Oh, yeah, what floor am I going to and what button do I push to get there.

Couple days ago just as the elevator doors were about to close a man got on and pushed the button for his floor and then went to the rear of the elevator and began to read aloud from a poster on the wall to his left. The poster was advertising a car wash fund-raiser on behalf of the Susan G Komen Foundation which had to be postponed because of rain. He read the entire poster aloud, even the part about why early detection is so important. As another person exited the elevator and I was left alone with the reader I was left to think, well at least when I sit and do traction I’m alone with my own thoughts and although they are often random, silly and boring, they are mine.

Rapture Traction

So I’ve done all kinds of traction, midnight traction, holiday traction, I hate this but I still have to do it traction, but today is a new one, doomsday traction. I waited to do traction all day thinking just maybe, maybe, if the world ended on this date I didn’t want to be sitting in traction…..but so far it looks like the world is still spinning and the traction is still pulling my neck for another day.

Just a side note, I’ve been keeping my traction schedule yet lately I’ve felt uninspired to type and it took the possibility of the world calling it quits today to motivate me. If this place does blow I hope where ever I end up all the spinal columns are just peachy.

Closing the evening out listening to a little Andrea Bocelli, “Time to say goodbye.”

Hallelujah, Alleluia……really?

Listening to O filii et filiae sung by the choir of Notre Dame de Paris. Not a bad way to start this Holy Saturday, yeah, forget the traction part and just go with this music. Hope your weekend is everything you’d want it to be, the strife is over and even if it’s not, pretend.

As for my own Lenten challenge, I did ok, not great. I did read a heck of a lot and explored new topics that I previously knew nothing about, not sure how long I’ll remember any of it but I tried. I did dabble here and there in some of my other thoughts “to do more” but consistency is always an issue. Actually, the only thing I’m consistent at now is TRACTION! Anyhoo, even if the strife is far from over in your life celebrate what you can because if all you know is pain you’ll never know the opposite even if it hits you in the face.

Hang in there, that’s what I do and it works out ok. In the wise words of my friend Carl, “don’t ever, ever, ever give up.”