Saturday, July 31, 2004

Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #17: Through some unexplained miracle, your pet or pets gain the mental capacity for speech for exactly the length of a single sentence. What do you think that sentence would be and why? For those of you without pets, please use a former pet or the pet of someone you know. If you've never ever had a pet, well, first, you're kind of odd, but second, then just imagine what a generic dog or cat might say. Caveat: Don't say that they'd say "I love you." I mean, really. Of course they love you. You know. They know you know. You know they know you know. And so on.

Extra Credit: You get one question to ask your pet that (presumably) it would answer. What's the question?

Miya, our 11 year old chihuahua would say, "Why on earth did you bring that darned new ankle biter into the house: I liked being Only Dog!

Roxy, our tiny, brand new, 11 month old chihuahua, would say, Tough s**t, Miya, I am here to stay, get used to it!"

Extra credit: I would ask Miya " For goddeses sake, what we can do to make you stop whining from 8pm 'til midnight?"

I would ask Roxy, "What kind of life did you have before we rescued you?"

Friday, July 30, 2004

After the Fall II

On August 7th, 2003, my life took a major tumble for the worse.  (See 1st journal entry). Of course, as I lay on the floor in the lobby of the medical center at the state womens' prison, I hadn't a clue how badly I was injured.  At first I was just glad  few people were around. Then I was glad that the inmate workers had just washed the floor. Then I began to take stock. I had fallen like a redwood, landing really hard,  flat on my belly, and the foor was cold. My head and neck seemed to be ok, and my legs. My left arm moved, too, but my right arm did not. In fact when I tried to lift it, only my sholder seemed to move a scant inch off the floor. The rest of the arm just lay there.

Ok, I thought, I have broken my arm. I'll be out 6 weeks, surely back by Halloween, when Cindy(the other HIV Counselor and Educator) goes on vacation. Little did I know...

By then a crowd had formed. The head nurse, not known for her bedisde monner, crouched beside me, patting my back awkwardly, urging me to get up. Instinct told me, not a good idea, no way could I lift my extreemly large bulk off the floor with only one arm. When I said so, her patting became more insistant. My dear friend Cindi came in, took in the situation, and sat on the floor in front of me, just sending out waves of warmth and strength. I was so grateful.

Our APRN who does gyn work came over to offer Reiki- yes, I said, please, please, for by this time I was beginning to hurt. Her energy was womderful, but the head nurse was now pounding my back and urging me to get up. No way. By now I knew I needed an ambulance crew to pry me off the floor, and that I  was really and truly injured.

When I opened my eyes, I could see the impatiently tapping cowboy boots of the unit director, and I began to wonder if the ambulance woukld ever arrive (Rumor has it that the new warden had canclled the ambulance, stating that injured staff were to go out by car, Both the head nurse and unit director were angry at her ursurption of their ambulance calling rights, and there I was in the middle of their territorial battle. Lucky me, the madder the head nurse got, the harder she "patted" my back!)

Finally one of the doctorscame with a shot of pain reliever of some sort, the ambulance arrived and four strong people hauled me up off of the floor(I  did not scream), sat me on the stretcher, and carried me out of the medical unit. My last view of the place was of every member of the medical staff watching as I was trundled off. I raised my left arm and gave the best replica of the Royal Wave that I was capable of, and that was my last view of my beloved place of work.

picture section/25/370.htm

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Flying the flags

Happy to fly the flag of Connecticut for the Anniversary Party!

Also adding the Pennsylvania flag for a childhood spent there.

Blessings, Margo

Happy Anniversary J-Land

  Picture from Hometown   Happy Anniversary to J-Land and its many creative, interesting, and caring members! Long may the torch burn!   Blessings, Margo   Thanks to Judith HeartSong for this wonderful torch.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

New Chihuahua!

Well, Kevin is home, exhausted. Sleep in a hospital is well nigh impossible, as anyone who has ever spent even one night in one knows. Kevin also is exhausted from the cardiac cath, the drugs, and, although he may not realize it yet, the major upheaval heart disease throws into one's life. Apparently, he has also had low level diabetes for some time now, so that will add new dietary restrictions, too. Betsy will keep him on track, no doubt. Rene keeps asking friends, which sibling wouild you think would be in the hospital-the large,sedentary woman who eats buttre and cheese, or the younger, athletic man who drinks 1% milk and plays racketball regularly?  She will go see him tomorrow, and we'll have more news.

Now The Big News:

We have a new Chihuahua! Her name is Roxy, she is 11 months old, small, light brown and white, and covered with fleas. We count her as a rescue, even though we did pay something for her, because there were a whole bunch of Chi's which needed to go because someone was moving. All had fleas, none had had shots, or been neutered or spayed. I wanted to bring at least 4 or 5 home, but friends intervened, thank goddess.

Roxy is our forth Chi. Miya is our first, given to us because she didn't conform to the standard, even though she has papers. Didn't conform to standards?!? I guess not! Her legs and body are both too long, her head is a funny shape, and she hads a Bob Hope ski run jump nose! I said, oh no, two large women cannot have a dog this small, no way. Within 24 hours that dog had wormed her way into our hearts and lives as if she had always been there. We were hooked. Ten years later she is still with us, excitable and shivering and demanding and protective of us-and she definitely owns us, not the other way around!

Our next Chi was Tia. We had Miya and Missy, a Pomeranian that Rene had had for years, and were happily living with two dogs. Two laps, two dogs, what more could we want? Then our friend Cindi called. She had seen a dog at  a vet's office that we had to take. Oh no, we said, but, like water dripping on rock, she convinced us. . The next day after work I drove 40 miles to meet this dog, She was the saddest, ugliest specimen of an elderly dog I had ever seen, ematiated, complete with warts on her head!. Found wounded and starving in Pachaug forrest by the vet's daughter, she had broken pelvis, walked like a drunk, and had been nicknamed Tia for Tiajuana Streetwalker  She staggered across the room and into my heart. I had to leave her there so they could check our references-no problem because Rene treats her dogd better than some mothers treat their kids. The next day after work I drove back up to get her

Neither Missy or Miya were glad to see her, but she settled into my lap like she had been there for years, and made it quite clear that while Rene was okay,  I was her person.. Within 24 hours she needed $300 worth of dentalmwork, and in rapid succession she needed to be fixed, more dental work, many vet visits, and lots of TLC. It didn't matter, she was MY dog and I was HER person. We had her for almost 4 years, until she got so old and sick that even I knew it was time to let her go. Shr died in my arms, and we burried her in the back yard next to Missy. I still miss her daily.

Eventually it became time to get another dog, so I applied to Yankee Chihuahua Rescue. They directed us to another elderly Chi. This time I drove 2 hours to get her. Her name was Sheila, she was dark brown and greying, bowlegged, and her long time owner had died. I took her home, she and Miya agreed to ignore each other, and she settled in, still obviously mourning her owner. We talked to her, held her  when she would let us, and figured she would eventually settle in. Six days later, while I was out, she had a stroke. Rene rushed her down to the vet, where they did an emergency intervention, but by the time I arrived she was dead. I was devastated. I felt like I had not only lost Sheila, but Tia all over again.

We put Chihuahuas on the back burner. figuring we'd eventually call Yankee Rescue again. Imagine my surprise when my friend Peg called to tell me her neighbor Beth had seen chi's  for sale in a workplace newsletter- and I hardly knew Beth! Nevertheless, Peggy, Beth and I jumped in my car and roared down to scarf up the last female available. Roxy. And I suspect that Beth is on her way back to get one of her own! Eventually, we'll get my daughter Meg to take pictures of both Miya and Roxy so I can put them here to be admired by all!


picture from favorites.html

Monday, July 26, 2004

Kevin's ok

Just a short note today: Rene's brother Kevin came through his cardiac cath fine, and now has a stent in one artery of his heart, He is astoundingly lucky. He had a one mostly blocked artery complete with blood clot, and , had he continued to ignore his chest pain, we would not be one happy family tonight, After hanging out at the hospital all day, I'm not sure if it is worse to be the patient or the patient's family! Lately I have had much more experience as patient, and at least then you don't have to make polite, light-hearted coversation for hours on end. Also, we basically ate out way through the day, and I feel fat and out of sorts. And exhausted!

Tomorrow, I have jury duty, My idea of a nightmare is to be closed into a courtroom all day, listening to lawyers because my father was an attorney -at -law, a Philadelphia lawyer no less, and every night at dinner he either put us through a cross-examination on our behavior and/or learning at school, or bored us to death with long winded explainations of SEC registration law. I usually wanted to run screaming from the room by the time the veggies were served.

On the other hand, I belirve very strongly in our right to a fair and speedy trial (not that that happens much), and if everone tries to escape as much as I want to, there could be no trials at all. If called, I will of course serve, but oh dear, I will be hard pressed to sit still in my seat. Not to mentoin the fact I'm still on heavy meds.

Such a clash of ideals and reality in an ex-hippie is shocking, of course, but we are complex and confusing beings, aren't we?


Red heart from:

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Deja Vu

rose quartz heartDeja Vu, all over again, but with a different perspective.

Yesterday we planned a quiet day. Rene was to sleep late.(Even though she is now out on permanent disability, she still keeps second shift hours.) I went out with my friend Peggy for beeakfast, then shopping for backing for the quilt she is making me. I got back home around 1:15 to find her quite upset; her brother Kevin, age mid-fifties and athletic, was in the hospital in Providence, undergoing a stress test because of suspected heart problems. Seems he want to a ball game the night before, had chest pains and shortness of breath on the way in, went in anyway, left early when the pain continued, then DROVE HIMSELF to the hospital, because he didn't want to bother anyone!( Talk about a no-no. Please, if you ever have chest pains, BOTHER someone, call 911, ask a friend, don't risk a heart attack in a moving car!)

Kevin is Rene's number one brother, a wonderfuil man with whom she has a very special bond. He has a great wife, Betsy, a neat daughter, Jennifer, and a bright, demanding 5 year old granddaughter, Marlee, who loves her Poppie more than anything in this world. Over the last decade they have welcomed me into the family with open arms, something that does not always happen to gay or lesbian partners, and I have come to love them, too.

We called the hospital, and Betsy said,don't come, he's still in testing, he might be sent home. The next call she said we didn't have to come, but he had some heart abnormatities, and they were keeping him overnight. Don't come? Of course we were coming! It's Rene's brother the Kev in that bed! We got our act together in under a half an hour-the warp of speed for us-and set off for Providence post-haste.

When we got there, Kevin was looking out of place wearing a hospital gown sitting awkwardly in a hospital bed. Betsy looked tired, and Jen looked exhausted- she was the one who went to the hospital after working til 2AM, and was still there at 5PM.  The cardiologist had been in to say there were definite blockages, and he was scheduledfor a cardiac cath, and probable angioplasty on Monday.The angioplasty will only happen if he has three blockages or less, otherwise he faces open heart surgery.

"You'll do anything to get out of work," was his beloved sister's greeting to him! ( He is out on a stress related disability now.) "Yeah," he responded deadpan, "do you think the doctor will write me a note?" What a pair! Betsy and Jen are worried sick, but trying to stay calm for him, and he and Rene are joking back and forth. Of course, humor is the only way to cope witrh such stressful medical issues-and Rene and I have had more than our share. Bets and Jen left, and we stayed for an hour olr so, then met friends of his coming in as we were leaving.

In the car on the way home, Rene was calm- she doesn't let emotions get the best of her- but I was overcome with memories and feelings. Just 10 years ago June, I was in Yale-New Haven Hospital with the same diagnosis, only I was 44, diabetic for 20 years, morbidly obese, scared to death, and alone. Rene was scheduled for a knee replacement surgery and in a lot of pain, so driving an hour was hard. I had arrived by ambulance because I was diagnosed in our local hospital, which didn't do angioplasty. Kevin is lucky. It took me from March to June to get a proper diagnosis (starting with bronchitis and winding up with it's all in your head, you need to see a psychiatrist. I knew something was wrong, and kept going back and going back and going back, until they did an "unnecessary" cardiac cath and discovered heart disease!)

My angioplasty went well, but closed up 2 months later, and I had open heart surgery in Sept. of '94. Women, I am told, present differently, and have less luck with angioplasty than men. On the way home from Providence I realized that this was the very beginning of the changes I am still struggling with all this time later-and thank goddess I had the courage, and support from Rene, to demand an answer back then. It was a learning experience that I have needed often in the last decade!

We didn't go up today, but have spoken to Betsy, Jen, and Kev, He is doing well, except for a massive headache due to the nitro they are giving him. I can relate- I would rather have chest pain the a nitro headache! We will go up to9morrow, more to be with Betsy than to see Kevin.

Please, anyone who stumbles across this entry, keep Kevin in your thoughts or prayers, or whatever it is you do to connect with the godhead. Thank you.


Heart from

Friday, July 23, 2004

Dog Tired

When I was working at the Womens' Prison, Friday evenings were for keeling over,  coming home and spacing out in front of HGTV until bedtime. Nowadays, every day is a day off (of sorts) and yet I still manage to end the week exhausted. Go figure.

Today was a fairly restful day, though-no doctors appointments, no gym, no scheduled activities at all. One of the things people who don't live with chronic illnesses can't understand is how exhausting pain, and the accompaning anxiety, really are. One kind meaning (but rude) acquaintance suggested this exhaustion-and at least some of the pain- was mostly in my head, not my body. "WRONg," I said,not too calmly, and burst into tears. She was horrified, and beat a hasty retreat, murmmering to Rene that she didn't mean to upset me as she rushed out the door. That was months ago, and she hasn't been back.

With 20/20 hindsight, I recognize I was not so much rersponding to her as to all the doctors over the years who have pooh poohed my very real symptoms. Like the dizziness and fainting which was diagnosed as anxiety attacks and turned out to be diabetes, and the chest pain which was supposedly stress related turned out to be heart disease! These days at least I know when a symptom is real and am capable of persisting until someone figures out what's wrong-many years of therapy well spent!

Today was notable for all our unexpected company. Our friend Pam come over to put together my computer chair and new bookcase. Rene is handicapped and cannot get down on her knees, and I am still dealing with arm and hand problems, so Pam is a goddess-sent handy person who is blessed with good spatial relationship skills. She had those thing put together in two hours flat, and that included moving my bedroom furniture all around. As she finished up, Kate called. She was in the vacinity, could she stop by? The four of us had lunch together, then the three of them went off to Ocean State Job Lot to buy Stuff, while I napped. This evening Peggy dropped by to eat her on the run take out food supper, and now I am close to bedtime.

I often say how blessed we are with our friends, and, over the last year, have discovered how valuable they really are!

Sleep well, and wake up rested,


P.S. This is not our chihuahua, but eventually I'll get a picture of our Miya up.



Thursday, July 22, 2004

Long Day

"So," my partner Rene said after she read my first entry, "what are you going to talk about, day after day?"

"This, that, and who shot the cat," I replied breezily. What? Where on earth did that statement come from? Somewhere deep inside my psyche, I guess, as I seem to remember my Grandmother using it. Don't worry, I've never shot a cat, and neither did she. My life is full of strange sayings that emerge at odd moments.

I plan to write about whatever comes up in my life, and today was one long slog. One of the lasting legacies of the Big Fall has been chronic pain. I will return to that story eventually, but the short version is that I shattered my right upper arm and cracked my elbow, had surgery, ended up with nerve damage, and still struggle daily with pain-in my arm and sholder- now with a bone spur and tendonitis, in my wrist-now with moderate to severe carpal tunnel-and in my back- disc problems exaserbated by the fall, according to one orthopedic doc; unrelated to the fall, according to his junior partner, who happens (alas) to be my doctor of record for the injury.

Today I saw my naturapathic doctor- a 40 minute drive-then my therapist- an hour+ ride from the doctor, then came home-a 40 minute drive- in time to go to the gym for an hellish hour with Glenn, my personal trainer. My body woke up protesting and has gotten worse all day!

Chronic pain has been one of the changes in my life that I am working to accept and even embrace, somehow or another. I am loaded down with different modalities with which to accomplish this task- I take heavy meds, go to the gym, work with a wholistic minded  Somatic Integrationalist, meditate, cry, walk, scream,  nap, whine, have massages, go to physical therapy, see a therapist for depression, depend on my partner and friends for support, and still bottom out now and then.

Maybe I'm just trying too hard!

On a brighter note, last weekend I ordered a bookcase and computer chair from Office Max and just now- 8:50 pm, they arrived! Good thing ,too, because I have a friend lined up to put them together tomorrow morning, I will now take my aching bod up to bed, so I can be up early to pass her coffee and screwdrivers and wrenches and whatever else she needs to put my stuff together.I am truly blessed by my friends.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Happy Birthday J-Land and to my own Journal beginning! I have been nosing around this community for a while now, and have finally decided to take the plunge. I would like to start with a bang, of course, so I'll tell the story of the beginning of my changes.

It was 7:45am on August 7th, 2003, and I was happily pottering  around my office in the Medical Unit at Connecticut's womens' prison, organizing myself for the day. I had my office door open, an unusual occurrnce, but the inmates were in count (i.e. locked down) so it was quiet as members of the staff dribbled in for the day.Because days at the Med Unit are crazily busy, I decided to rush to the bathroom before count cleared.

I got up fom my chair, turned quickly towards the door, took a couple of rapid steps, and discovered to my horror that my feet were wrapped up in the phone cord. I had barely recognized this before I was hurtling towards the floor, which seemed a long way down. Unfortunately, it was not far away at all.  I am a very large woman and fell like a redwood: I am sure the whole building shook as I landed.

I will save the rest of the story for another time, but the fall sent me off onto a medical oddessy, a journey I am still slogging on with today, 11+ months later! I have never been one of those cup half full people who moves optomistically into change. Oh no. I am a cup half empty person, who has to be dragged forward, kicking and screaming, throwing out excuses and reasons, procrastinating and whining. I am capable, however, of change, and have been working on doing so, in fits and starts, willingly and unwillingly, with hope and dread, enthusiasm and fear, successes and failures, for the last year. And I will continue to do so, with encouragement from family, friends, and perhaps from J-Land as well!