No dessert in the desert

Here we are as February is coming to a fast end, two months will soon be over in 2012. I’m going to sound old, heck, I feel old while I’m sitting here hanging in traction but time always marches on, ready or not. It seems I just decided what I was giving up last year for Lent and now I’m in the midst of another. Last year I tried this sort of funky thing where instead of giving up something I told myself I’d do more. I tried to study more, pray more, give more, do more, you get the idea, the things that were difficult I tried more, not less. It sort of fundamentally sounded like it went against the sacrificial aspect of Lent but it truly was supposed to be a penance to do “more of” the things I didn’t like or at least, felt like the things that didn’t like me.

That was too complicated in the end so I’m going traditional this year, I’m just trying to show up for Lent, I’m going to try to remember it’s Lent. When I want to go to the drive thru to pick up something quick and easy to eat I’m going to try to remember I do have food at home and I can eat that when I get there. When I want something I’m going to try to remember my little girl friend in the orphanage in Port-au-Prince that would literally find a crumb on the floor and instead of gobbling it down she would divide by however many others were in the room. A small child and she knew more about sharing and giving of herself than I’ll ever know. This might sound selfish and delusional but traction it seems to me is like Lent, it is about showing up, remembering, completing the task at hand, no room for BS, no forgetting, no I’m too tired, no I don’t feel like it, no, it’s not fair. In addition, Lent is doing what you said you’d do but not making a big deal about it, or as my Mom would say, “no broadcasting it.” There’s no need to go on about saying no thanks to dessert, passing on seconds or giving up the fancy morning coffee. Lent is being out there on your own, no fuss, no frills, no extras, no pity parties, real life stuff, just you and God. AND, the last time I checked there wasn’t any chocolate growing in the desert.

Yep, I’ve not found sacrifice a bowl full of fun but if you stick with it you do find something new. I owe Lent for any ability I have to sit here in traction, the more I grow to understand Lent the easier the traction gig is for me. When it comes down to it really, isn’t it just about taking away life’s distractions and excuses, learning more about your true self, therefore, knowing more about God.

Traction leftovers

By now most of us living in the US have probably eaten our turkey leftovers. The excitement has worn off, the potatoes have been reheated, the dressing is gone and the turkey, well, we will be ready for some more in about a month. That’s how I’m feeling today about traction, but I had to indulge in a little today and will have to do some more tomorrow…..how to make traction taste new again? I’ve certainly had my fill of traction and the thought of more is not pleasing but I will have to dive in again tomorrow because this neck of my won’t quit its’ ways. I’ve been at this roadblock before and I’ve overcome it so I’ll just have to rely on the things I’ve learned. Unlike the Thanksgiving leftovers, traction is in my house to stay. I’m dealing, that’s why I’m back to typing. Sometimes I can routinely sit here and sometimes I need a little motivation.

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!

Traction maintenance

So you know how there are times when a website temporarily shuts down to perform routine maintenance; well, I don’t think it’s the same here at the thoughtsintraction blog but I did have to add some water to the weight bag! Two pounds of water had evaporated, and we can’t have that now can we? Can’t have only eight pounds of water pulling at the neck instead of the recommended ten. I’m being a smarty pants about this but it is rather exciting that I’ve been at this so long that I have to do things like “maintenance.” It means more than pouring some water; in fact the only reason I can pour that water is because of traction, it also means that I’ve maintained my schedule, I’ve hung in there. I owe you, I owe every person who has ever read this crazy, random blog and according to my stats that’s pretty many of you. I’ve maintained the hanging when I certainly would have given up some days if I hadn’t had a sense accountability to the blog, to you.

Maintenance is a good thing, Martha Stewart would approve. We maintain our cars, our bodies, our homes, certainly should maintain a traction device if you have to use one. Maintenance isn’t something we usually throw a party for, we don’t make an announcement when we get an oil change for the car, although some do I guess now a days on Twitter or Facebook, but we typically keep the maintenance parts of life to ourselves and in reality if we don’t take care of maintenance it will come back to get us. If you don’t clean out the gutters they will eventually let you know about it in not fun ways, if you don’t maintain now you will pay later. It’s certainly been established in my life if I don’t do traction I lose and if I don’t add weight to the gizmo what’s the point, it might feel like I’m getting by with something in the short run but not enough tension in the traction does little to keep these fingers moving. So go maintenance, in a world that seems to celebrate everything, I think you need your own holiday, your importance should not go unnoticed!

Back in Business

My computer died on me so I’ve been out of commission for a few days but all is well now. I’m not sure I like to admit that I’m now that person that feels out of sorts without a working computer in their life. Not sure when that happened but it’s weird to think of how many times I reached for it only to remember, nope, not working.
And as for this traction gig, I missed my routine with the computer to get me thru the twenty minutes. I moaned how I had to keep my thoughts while in traction to myself! It’s kind of crazy how much I’ve grown to depend on the process, and then there’s the practical side, even something as simple as looking for a zip code you’d have thought the world had ended because I couldn’t search for it on-line.
I’ve tried to blame it on the doldrums of January and the constant color of the sky that resembles dirty snow but I think it’s more than that, I mean for pete sake for the walls to feel like they’re closing in because I can’t type on the computer, yikes, I’m addicted. Along with all my other health issues, now I have to recognize and admit that I’m addicted to my laptop. Where do you go for that meeting?
Ok, before I look that up on-line I’m going to just be happy for a second. I once again have the world at my fingertips while I’m sitting here in traction and that feels good. I like that connection, I embrace that connection. If that means I’m relying too much on the internet in my life I may just have to say, yes Dr. Phil, I’ve substituted my television addiction, that’s where I am right now, sorry, gotta go check email.

20 Minutes

It can be the worst 20 minutes or just 20 minutes. Every time I sit here I have a choice, I can make it more miserable than it sometimes feels or I can use my mind to psych myself up to push thru it. Today is hard, everything hurts more, my back, my neck, even my ear. I can’t seem to find a good rhythm to move the time. I usually have a routine, I initially sit here and just adjust to it, then I either pray or listen to music or read or just sit and think, hence……Thoughts in Traction……when I listen to music, I remember how long each song will last so I know how much time is left, some days the time passes faster, but today, right now 3:37 ticks away before my eyes and I want to scream but at the end I’ll hit replay and just hang on a bit longer.

Right now I’m reminded how much this sucks and how I wonder sometimes if I can keep doing traction. Then I realize I’m fooling myself to think I have a choice, yes, technically I have a choice but the results would be worse than the pain and discomfort of doing traction. I’m just feeling sorry for myself today, I just need to be able to hate this in this moment, it gives me a sense of control I really don’t have. I wish I never had to do this again but come two days from now, I’ll be back here again.

“Do I have to come in there?!”

Do you remember when you were a kid and an adult would say that to you? It could have been a teacher saying it to the entire class as they poked their head in the room from the hallway. It could have been your babysitter yelling to you and your sister as you were giggling instead of sleeping. It could have been your parent threatening a return to the room since the volume on the TV channel had not lowered since their request and your neighbors two doors down could easily hear what you were watching.

Did you ever wonder what would happen if they did come in? It always seemed like a pretty empty threat to me. Their last-ditch effort to let you know who’s in charge because they were distracted or otherwise occupied. Yet as hollow as the words may be, they work, if only momentarily, kids everywhere seem to straighten up at the question.

Today I thought I heard that phrase again, I thought I heard it coming from the room where I do traction. I could have sworn I heard it early this morning. Yep, I heard it one day last week too. When ever I feel like skipping traction I think I hear it, a call from the other room, yelling more like it. Honestly I’m not delusional, at least not yet, it’s just a voice threatening to come get me if I don’t just freaking sit and do traction!

At this point in my year-long relationship with cervical traction one of our biggest issues is compliance. I know it and it knows me, and well, sometimes we just don’t want to be together. But its in charge and it knows whose boss. If I don’t consistently do traction it will come calling. My pain increases, I start to drop things, my grasp weakens and I wake up with numb arms, just to name a few. It gets ugly fast. These are also the symptoms of many things but for better or worse I know why they are my symptoms. I know what it means and I know if I don’t behave it’s coming for me, so I best do it before I suffer the consequences.

There’s really no empty threat here, the only person I’m hurting is myself and so I have to find it within myself to consistently stick with the routine, be faithful or I’m the one to pay. It’s rather silly, given all of that I wonder why I still struggle to find the motivation to keep going….maybe because it just kind of stinks, even on the good days when it doesn’t hurt it’s uncomfortable, it’s never-ending, it’s tedious, it’s a lot of things that aren’t too fun. Ok, enough whining for today. I’d never choose this, I’d not wish it on anyone (well, maybe one or two) but it’s the neck I’ve got, barely holding up this heavy head of mine and today is one good example of why I am blogging. “Thoughts in Traction” holds me accountable, it helps me behave, it is something I’ve started to look forward to while I’m sitting here tied up, it makes my fingers want to work, it keeps me going. Before I know it maybe I won’t hear that not so friendly phrase coming from the other room.

Thanks for reading this, thanks for helping me.