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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  • A Cloudy Day at the Beach

    We’ve all experienced that day that we’ve looked forward to for months and it’s not quite what we imagined it would be. It may be the drizzle on the first day of our supposed sunny beach vacation or a stomach bug that keeps us from the party where we’d reconnect with old friends or some other disappointment that at the time seems so “unfair.” Then something rings our bell and we are reminded we live in an unfair world and if someone promised fairness, they lied. My pain has been bad lately and I’m a tired grump. I’m frustrated with thinking about a future without solutions to my spinal issues, where spinal transplants are still something out of the Jetsons and I’m left with a hand shake and “I wish you the best of luck” from yet another Neuro doc.

    How funny is it that some days when we remember that cloudy beach day and how unfair we thought it was, how unhappy it made us, how our concerns where nothing more than rooting for a good weather report, how weird is it in hindsight when those days feel so selfish, so silly, so not the point of anything. I get so stuck, so caught up in the one tiny moment that I forget to think about all the moments, in all the places, in all the world. If I had just really looked at that ocean on a rainy day I’d see what a little speck of water I am, and although I believe in the importance of my speck showing up, there are plenty of other specks out there with far worse going on than a disappointment that will all but be forgotten in a week or two. Sometimes I tend to focus so much on the rain I forget to take in the ocean. My pain is as real as the rain and on cloudy days I easily get caught up in the moment, but looking back or borrowing on tomorrow is a waste of time, today is it baby, rain or shine, today is all we have!

    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

    Traction or Dentist?

    Yep, fun day I get to do both today. My back has been driving me nuts more so than usual and then sitting in the lovely dentist chair as they clean my teeth this afternoon has me so excited. When you have to take narcotics to go to the dentist not because you’re having a root canal or they are firing up the drill when they see you coming but to be able to sit in the chair you know it’s going to be a long day. I would never say traction was fun or easy but I’d take it today over my back at the dentist.

    Wish me luck.

    UPDATE
    Dentist (who happens to be a guy I went to elementary school with so we immediately both act 12 when we see each other) suggested I go home and take half of a vicodin and drink two martinis…..see why he’s my dentist. About half way thru the appointment my drugs did kick in so I survived and best of all, no cavities!

    Pinched without pain

    I pinched my index finger today and didn’t know it, may have been pinched for five minutes or more. When I finally noticed I quickly freed it but once again I was reminded it’s not normal to not feel your finger being pinched. Eventually I had some feeling like you should expect to have if you’ve deprived your finger of some blood flow but overall it wasn’t what you should feel to warn yourself that something is up. Pain can be a good thing I was reminded today, a warning to help yourself, to stop further injury, a red flag, but for me I live with chronic pain and then the pain you need to help I can’t feel! So I thought I’d throw in an extra traction today and hopefully between the traction and the typing I’ll get a little more feeling back in the fingers. So weird.

    Hanging In

    I’ve suddenly come up with a nasty cough, sort of sounds like a two packs a day kind of cough, but I swear that’s not me. I’ve had more colds this winter than I’ve had in the last five winters, what’s up with that?

    Anyhoo, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, life marches on, March is on its way and I’m hanging in. That’s the absolute key to it all, don’t let it get you, you can moan and vent but perseverance is the answer. Courage, love and conviction will see you thru just about anything. Song of the day, Jimmy Durante’s ‘Make Someone Happy,’ not a bad way to live……on my third listen and haven’t found a reason to stop.

    Off kilter

    Yikes, things are not feeling good today, can’t seem to get in the groove, it just hurts, a lot. It’s weird how it has been going so well lately, so routine. Even at times I’m distracted enough that my mind goes anywhere and everywhere. I apologize to you for that, I know it does. Trying to follow my train of thoughts while I’m strapped in here is like trying to follow a run away train, only I’m much slower, but eventually building up to make a point and then very likely falling off the tracks. Yet today it just hurts too much to think, talk or type. I’ll catch you next time, I’m just going to concentrate on breathing and pushing thru this not good feeling. Not sure I needed this reality check, traction is tolerable, but not fun.