The perfect gift for cervical spondylosis

Three years later with this little blog and four years later with sticking to traction altogether and my neck is still attached to my head and my hands and arms still move! Truly time to celebrate……what do you get for a fourth anniversary for traction…..it seems like there’s a good joke there that is currently escaping me!

It’s just a brief stopping point to remember where I’ve been and where I’m going with this thing around my neck and my ten pounds of water. Who knew such a simple, silly contraption could save me from not being able to use my hands….I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. I’d wake up every morning with my arms completely numb, so heavy and hurting like crazy, gratefully I rarely wake up now with some tingling in the hands and immediately know it’s a sign to put in some more time in traction. I was told my neck was that of an 80-year-old person, only thing was, I wasn’t 80! I’ve listened to music, read, prayed and complained here but the time has passed and I’m still hanging. Happy Anniversary, here’s a toast to traction……100 year old neck here I come!

You’re not crazy, you just drive like you are

The first time I knew I was doing it I was driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, Illinois. I knew I was being judged for my out-of-state plates and I was judging right back the rattling, rust machine that was plugging along in front of me. I wanted it to move over, get out of my way, I had somewhere to be, somewhere obviously far more important than them I selfishly assumed. Besides I thought if I didn’t pass them I justified for the folks driving behind me either drive in my trunk or leave me in the dust. There are just some highways in this world you must have your stuff together or get the heck out-of-the-way!

I realized today I was doing it again, a shiny newer car passed me and I thought, wow, I want to follow them, they know where they’re going, they can predict traffic patterns, they know which lane will keep moving in rush hour, they will get me to where I’m going on time if I follow them. It’s time for me to come clean. I car profile, I driver profile too. We often sum things up by appearance and as much as don’t want to admit it, I do it too, everyday. If I see temporary tags I think they must be too new to the vehicle to know how to properly operate it so I pass ’em. If I notice someone’s plates are geographically more than two states away from the state I’m currently driving in, get out of my way, slow poke alert, must be lost or on vacation, either way, going no where fast enough for me.

But if the car is nondescript and also in my way, then does anything I consider weird or dangerous that’s when I go beyond the car and look inside. If the person looks like they posed for their driver’s license photo yesterday I’m frankly a little afraid of them and if they’re all silver-haired, I’m afraid of them too. Just to be clear, it’s not ok what I’m saying, it’s not pretty, it’s not kind, it’s not what I want to say that I do but I do it probably everyday. I’m a profiler and I don’t work for the FBI. I see a woman driving a van full of children I’ll straighten up in my seat, tighten my hands to the wheels and consciously drive “safer.” Anybody spending their time smoking and driving, I think their not only filling their lungs with some bad stuff but I think they might make a wrong turn and suddenly hit the brakes in front of me but yet a cab driver in my rear view mirror is some secret challenge I have within that I don’t want passing me.

Oh yeah, and I don’t like seeing anybody wearing a hat when they drive, seems to me it blocks the vision, oh, unless it’s subzero outside and the hat wearing is because of the temperature, but then I begin to wonder shouldn’t the inside of the car be warm enough now. Ok, just to reiterate, winter hats are ok, everything else, nope, unacceptable in my book of what is right and wrong with cars and drivers. Also, don’t drive a convertible anywhere near me, you make me nervous and I think you are a distracted driver thinking about the weather and how you look driving your convertible. If you drive a motorcycle and don’t wear a helmet I want to pull you over and ask you what kind of health insurance coverage you have. If you drive with your windows down when it is raining I want to get away from you because I’m afraid your car is unsafe and about to combust in flames or something awful because that must be why you have to keep the windows open. Please, and don’t get me started if I see an animal in the car or a tractor-trailer full of livestock you are dead to me, I am convinced at any second the dog/cat/pig/etc. will grab the wheel and plunge a lane full of cars over an embankment.
I’m nuts, I admit it, I sit in traffic and judge. I actually think if the car appears newly washed it seems like someone less likely to cause an accident. If the car already has a dent in it I check to see what the speed limit is because I want to get away from it asap. My condition worsens the longer I sit in traffic. I have no excuse, I’m just the crazy person that sits in TRACTION so she can feel her fingers and retain her independence to drive at the same time the worlds’ worst driver and deadliest vehicle must be right next to me today in TRAFFIC. Yep, makes total sense.

There should be a Super Bowl for this!

As I sit in traction today listening to all the Super Bowl coverage I’m thinking about how many of the NFL players may have ever been in traction. It’s bad enough with all the scary talk about concussions, what their brains are like down the road, I don’t think they need damaged spinal columns too, no one does. But for a profession that shows their love for one by hitting each other in the head with their helmets it wouldn’t be surprising if they didn’t end up having traction troubles or plenty of other issues.

We as a population make such a big deal out of stuff, it leaves me wondering why all the fuss? Halloween is now practically a National Holiday, I think more adults now dress in costume to celebrate than children, when you drive down the street the morning of St. Patrick’s Day it doesn’t take long before you see folks showing up to the local O’Brien’s bar, no matter what day of the week it falls, no wonder in the middle of winter we go crazy for the Super Bowl. Are we really that bored to go overboard for everything?

How dare I diss such a big day in the sports world, a day where if you’ve never watched a game in your life you are invited to a television party. So I’ve been thinking, if I connect with other folks also doing traction we could have regional matches, who sits up the straightest, for the longest, looks the best in the gizmo, best attitude, that might be tough to judge, but give me some time. Once we get competition categories, we go regional, then the nationals are only a few years a way! Could you imagine what the trophy would look like for a cervical traction competition?! The height of it, we’d have to celebrate height since we are all shrinking! It would have to be light in weight or none of the recipients could carry it out of the ceremony. In fact I think it should be a sit down ceremony. Just wait, gives us another five years and we will be on the airwaves, singing the National Anthem, all strapped in, waiting for the opening whistle to start the annual Traction Games. Us traction folks work hard, we have the potential to become professionals at pain and fortitude. I dare any competition to challenge our dedication, our drive for success is intense, only thing, after a big play, you won’t see any of the competitors hit another in the head for fun.

Appliances with attitude!

Did you ever think about your appliances, large and small, having personalities of their own? I think my washing machine is lazy, the dryer is maniacal, toaster is short-tempered, the refrigerator is loud and never cleans up after itself and please, don’t even ask about the garbage disposal! As far as I know they have not come alive, I’m not Dwight K. Shrute, I don’t believe in robots and zombies taking over the world.

I’m just sitting here in cervical traction and thinking about how each of these household appliances takes an explanation for operating instructions, beyond the manufacturers’ recommendations. The washer seems to have a favorite cycle and if you ask for more than that you risk a Zumba dance recital in the laundry room. The dryer works over time, you have a heck of a time shutting it off, the toaster is feisty, cinnamon toast is beyond its job description, it seems everything has issues.

If I tried a house swap like in the movie, The Holiday between Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet characters I’d have to leave a dozen special directions. (I was always taken out of the moment with that movie because I couldn’t imagine being organized enough to turn my place over to a stranger in 24 hours!) I’ve often thought about renting out my place or letting a friend stay here while I stay with family; come to think about it I’m not sure how much of a headache I’d be leaving them. Maybe I’ve created these problems by not being more pro active with these silly machines. Calling in repair folks or just replacing them at the tenth sign of trouble. Yet somehow I’ve slowly accepted their faults, maybe I like knowing that in order for something to work you have to really “know it” or as my Mother would say, “sweet talk it.” There are people in our lives we have to “sweet talk” every so often and sometimes I have to “sweet talk” my own body to get it to do what I need it to do. In the morning I have to give myself a pep talk, to get these bones moving. I get tired of my body hurting and on a cold morning like this I am very tired of “managing pain” but maybe as a result I give more allowances when it comes to dealing with everything else in life. I realize nothing is perfect and I’ve not seen anything in a long time that even comes close, we all have weaknesses, we all could do a better job, some one is always there to point out another’s faults. Maybe not operating smoothly builds creativity, patience and cooperation in ways we’d never have guessed.

Trying to find the bright side today of waking up with swollen, stiff fingers, this after traction, traction, traction, oh, but I really like my stove!

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.

A spot of tea please

So there’s a lot of hoopla over the upcoming “royal wedding.” Seems there are two camps, those that could care less or those that care a lot! Hands down best part of any of their weddings are the hats. Most either look like you could land a 747 on them or nest a lovely family of robins. Perhaps I could introduce this traction strap currently around my head as a trendy wedding guest fashion statement. Glue gun some feathers and a broken bird wing, (seems appropriate) and voila, a versatile, yet perfectly charming chapeau leaving the Brits to wonder what we’re up to over on our side of the pond.

When in London a big concern for me is avoiding being hit by a car. The cross walks get a little tricky, you know those little cars coming and going in the “wrong direction” can take you out if you have to use your makeshift cane for its intended purpose and keep the raindrops from melting your hair as you limp along a busy intersection. Other than the fear of being splat on the pavement in an unsightly, undignified, mortifying sort of way the UK is a fine place for a nice cup of tea with or without a homemade traction hat; but hold all the hoopla please.

(You know, some days even as I’m typing I really know there’s much cause to prove this thing is cutting off the circulation to the gray matter)

Hip and not Hop

I’m worried I’m becoming that person that leaves their blinker on and doesn’t know it. You know that driver, they’re strolling along the interstate with their left blinker on completely without a clue. When I was younger I’d pass that person and think how can anyone be that out of it?!

Well, I’m not sure it’s about cluelessness anymore, since my hearing isn’t what it used to be maybe it’s partly that, maybe I’m afraid what it’s about. What is it that Gertrude Stein said, “one does not get better, but different and older and that is always a pleasure.” Well, we’ll see about that one Gert. But hey, I try to keep up, I’ve never been a person you’d describe as “hip” but hey I listen to indie music, I know that if someone describes themself as a “cutter” that doesn’t mean they’re out in the kitchen slicing tomatoes. I know the difference between the low down and the down low, ok, so I’m not dead, yet. So this blinker thing, it’s not really happened but I feel it’s around the corner. Along with crumbs on my shirt and farting at random. Life is just one slippery slope to losing it all, so we have to live people! We have to get out there, not be so afraid, jump out of airplanes or at least get on one and go some place you’ve never been. Stop comparing ourselves to everybody else and enough with the insecurity, before you know it you’re going to be dead so who cares! Live, live, live and turn your blinker off, you look like a dope.

Traction Blackout

Nah, I didn’t faint while I was sitting in traction, nor did the rope snap over my head sending ten pounds of water flying. I’ve been doing my traction thing, just haven’t posted in a while because there wasn’t much to say. Not that I’ve ever had anything fascinating to type in this world of traction but recently I just didn’t find much that felt worthy of your time. Then I remembered my initial promise that nothing fancy or exciting would be happening here; the purpose of thoughtsintraction is to keep a fire under me and hold me accountable to sit here three times a week. To pull my neck so that it frees up some cervical space to ultimately allow these fingers to maintain their abilities. One look at me and you’d know I’ve been doing my part as my neck now looks like I could be a model for an offensive lineman’s helmet catalog, hey, here’s the latest chic cervical ensemble from the NFL, who knew?

So as a result of this lovely look I’m expanding my scarf collection; even though Summer is tugging at our flip-flops I plan to be wearing scarfs all season, hopefully in a breathable fabric, while eating apple pie, slicing watermelon, driving my Chevy and saluting the flag on the fourth with a very snappy star-spangled scarf around my super size neck. AND, if my collection excels and expands I hope to not only conceal at first glance the O Lineman’s neck, but secretly support all the screwedupness within.

Blackout lifted, fingers working, silly thoughts commence.

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!