Friday, October 29, 2004

Situation Normal... snafu.html   All f''ed up. SNAFU! But I did all right anyway, considering that...  

I drove an hour to get there, read my requirements and the invocation/chant Jazdia had written for me, walked in the door only 10 minutes early(yes, I am one of those always early people, and 10 minutes is pretty good for me-sometimes it's an hour if I'm really stressed!) and into a waiting room full of people. I think every orthopedic surgeon in the world overbooks. I gave them the paperwork that I down loaded and filled out last night, and hit...  

Problem #1: workers comp. had not faxed the paperwork. I decided to stay anyway, put it on my other insurance, pay it, and fight it out later.  

 Problem #2: I sat for  one and a half hours in an uncomfortable chair, while my back began to spasm. Could take no meds due to long drive home. Finally was shown into cubicle, waited 25 more minutes. Read the chant and my list of requirements several more times. Finally the doctor entered, and asked what he could do for me. I said, "I'm having problems with my shoulder."  

Problem #3: He said, "Well, I'm not really up on shoulders, I do more with hands." Hmmmm. I was with the wrong doctor. I briefly considered hysterics, but alas, that's just not my style. So I took a deep breath, mentally tossed most of my requirements out the window, and said, "Well, I have carpal tunnel, too." I'd come this far, I wasn't going to waste a doctors appointment.  

Problem #4: Not carpal tunnel, he said after examining me, but tendons in my wrist rubbing together(I made him write down the diagnosis, and will eventually google it). The solution-at least temporarily?  

 Problem #5:Cortisone shot.  Not something a diabetic loves to hear, plus they hurt.And give me a fever. And hurt more the second day. But I accepted it after another deep breath or three. He gave me the shot and then left the room, and I re-read the chant and cried a bit, but not too much, I did not want him to think I was crying over pain(which was not too bad, considering this time last year).   While I waited for him, I thought things over a bit. None of the fiasco was his fault, or his office's or mine, just more of the same perpetual struggle. Since I would not be returning to him, there was no need to discuss psycho-social issues, or the need to be heard and believed so I did what I could do;  asked for a script for  more physical therapy, and his opinion on my shoulder. He believes there is impingement there, too, and gave me  5 names of members of his group in Hartford who do shoulders. Then I tried to split. 

 Problem # 6: Because 2 staff members were sick, his staff was so overwhelmed that it took them 20 minutes to Xerox the info I'd brought with me, that he really wanted in case I needed to come back because of the cortisone shot. Again, no one to blame-I've worked in a crazy busy medical situation in the past and I could see how the day had unraveled for them long before I had arrived. They were doing the best they could.  

Overall, while it was disappointing, I did manage to hold my own in a reasonable, expectant manner. I got my referral for physical therapy, and took it immediately to a place that honors both body and psyche (workers comp. will probably hold it up for weeks, but it's a start). He was not the doc. I need, but I'm working on plans J,K,L,M and N already.(I passes ABCDE months ago) I did not get flustered or outwardly angry or impatient-I knew that wouldn't help me. I came home and sat on the couch with Rene and cried a bit, while both dogs tried to cheer me up by licking my face, then moved on, no more depressed than before.  

 I appreciate all the energy and good wishes, and suggestions, and the invocation/chant more than any of you will know. Your support helped a lot, and as I drove home, I realized I am once again amazed by the members of this community we call J-Land.  

 Bless You All, Margo      

Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Little Help, Please


I am going to a new doctor tomorrow- a new shoulder orthopedic guy, and I am asking for energy to present in a positive light and say the things I want to say well enough to get what I need. I need the following:

 1) For him to listen to what I say, and not jump to any conclusions(fat women don't know their bodies).

 2) For him to understand that I've been at this thing called rehabilitation a really long time now, and it's gotten really old. 

3) If surgery might help, not to make me wait forever, while he tries this and that and runs tons of more tests (though some tests are inevitable, I'm sure)

4) That I need a psycho-somatic approach; body and mind/spirit must both be recognized and honored. They are intrinsically combined.

5)He must believe my pain is real, and not just the right arm and shoulder, but knees, back, neck, etc

 6)A referral for more physical therapy, if surgery is not forthcoming, and not to a sports-type rehab place(I need more encouragement and less go get'em tiger attitude, which turns me off badly).

7)The empowerment to ask for this in a reasonable, expectant manner without crying too much, or whining at all.  

If you receive this after 11 AM, send energy anyway. I am almost positive that time is relative and flows in several directions. I promise not to tell the doctor this tomorrow. I don't want him to catch on that I'm a little crazy until after the first visit. Thank you.  

Blessings, Margo

Monday, October 25, 2004

Cloudy Weather

  As some of you may have surmised, I have not posted in a couple of weeks because I have been really depressed, unable, or unwilling, to summon up the energy to write anything new. I can keep on posting "poor me, I'm not doing well" until the cows come home, but it doesn't help me, or make interesting reading, and I'm tired of it all.  My life is so much better than so many people I know, online and off, that I am ashamed to be down in the pits so long.  

 However, since I know it will be a long time before anything of a bovine nature comes wandering down our dead end street, I better jump back into the J-Land pool now. I have been a lurker, dipping my toes in the water by posting an occasional comment, but mostly just passing through day after day, a weary wanderer, searching, searching for I know not what, etc,etc,etc... ;-) I seem to fall easily into exaggeration and cliches at the drop of a hat when I'm depressed. At least I can smile about it now and then!  

 I really appreciate those who left comments or e-mailed me, it helps to know that I am missed when I disappear for more than a few days. I am always glad for a small missive to remind me there is a world beyond my gloom.   And despite all this, I know that in the long run I will be okay. The clouds will lift enough for me to find a path-they always have in the past and they will this time, too. I am trying to take care of myself by not beating myself up too much, drinking plenty of water, getting outside every day (no matter how gray the skies), keeping my various appointments without fail, lighting my special candle and meditating(briefly) daily, and remembering others I care about who are also struggling.  

 I have a lot that I am thankful for- people who love me, money to live on, a place that I love to live, a computer to play on, and the sure certain knowledge that this is not forever.  

Blessings, Margo      

Monday, October 11, 2004

Betwixt and Between

 I have been meditating on liminality a lot lately.  

Liminal, from the Latin word Limin, threshold, as an adjective means 1 relating to a transitional or initial stage. 2 at a boundary or threshold (Compact Oxford English Dictionary). In Anthropology, liminality  refers to "the transitional period or phase of a rite of passage, during which the participant lacks social status or rank, remains anonymous, shows obedience and humility..."(Fact Monster).  

 I remember this vaguely from my Religious Studies major. In Primitive Cultures, the boy is taken from his mother's house, and marched into the bush, where he undergoes arduous, humiliating, and painful ritual, to emerge, reborn. He then returns to his village to take his place as an adult in the community.

 In more modern terms:  

Liminality: is the state of being neither- this-nor-that, betwixt and between, neither me nor not me, like the mythic Cynocephalus (dog-headed human).             

                                                                      -Victor Turner  

This is how I feel, neither me nor not me. It is as if I have stepped out of one life, a normal working woman's life(well, as normal as possible, considering I ran HIV positive women's support groups at a high level security women's prison)and into...what? A year of terrible pain and physical therapy, and now -terminal liminality?  

 I  don't plan to be terminally liminal, of course. I will work my way  into some other life, slowly, of course. My pain is not as terrible, just chronic, but this being neither-this-nor-that IS as bizarre as the mythic Cynocephalus(what ever that is). Still, I supposed it is not surprising that someone who has a working diagnosis of Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place, would be living in a state of Betwixt and Between.  

Blessings, Margo      

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I saw my Primary Care Physician this week-the one who I like. He is blunt, has occasionally minimized my complaints, worked hard to save my life when I was hospitalized after the fall, and has stabilized me on a multitude of meds over the last 10 years. We have discussed everything from the weather to his views on adequately medicating the terminally ill. I have put more trust in him than any other doctor, and have rarely been let down.

I described my current situation, ending with, "I just seem to need a diagnosis!"  He laughed ruefully, then said, "You want another one? Don't you have enough? Heart disease, diabetes, neuropathy, etc, etc, etc.All this seems more than enough for me." Then he looked down at my thick file and sighed.

"I hate to say this, but you are between a rock and a hard place." He want on say that he believed that a lot of the pain is diabetic neuropathy, perhaps exacerbated by the fall, and the medication- which I truly need, and he does not want to take me off - is causing the exhaustion and brain fog. We talked about it a long time, but by then I was on auto pilot, unable, and unwilling to take in any more.

He ended by saying, tentatively (I think for fear I'd  be offended or fall apart) that he wanted to say, without being patronizing, that he did not think he could handle my illness as well as I am.

Two days later, I let myself feel the pain, and the irony of the whole situation. For the moment, I have a working diagnosis: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  Trust me to end up with a Rolling Stones song as a diagnosis.

Nothing has changed. I am no worse or better than last week, it is just suddenly so painful to recognize that this is as good as it gets, and I really have to move on in some direction or another, dealing with what I have now. I have known this for a while now, but refused to look at it.

Funny how the mind works-I can see why the Goddess Hecate has moved into my life when I ended up with Judi's beautiful torch. She is the Goddess of the Crossroads (and a lot more) who, carrying a torch to light the way, guides women when they come to a changing point in their lives. That would be me.

I wish I could be funny or clever or even sarcastic about where I am in my life, but I'm not there yet. I am standing in the middle of a crossroad, crying a lot, waiting fora wise woman with a torch to come along and point the way. I know she lives inside me, and will appear, but right now I'm still humming the Rolling Stones.

Blessings, Margo

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Calling Change into My Life

I I have been suffering from a bout of writer's block, because I have been struggling a lot lately, with depression and anxiety and feeling stuck. I know I am not stuck. The river is flowing no matter what I do, and I am part of that river as surely as I breathe air. I just have hit another rocky run.

Nothing has changed. The pain, which has become a background to all I do, waxes and wanes according some arcane pattern or rhythm to which I have no access. Oh, I know weather affects me, and how active I am, and how depressed I feel, but there is something deeper that I cannot put my finger on. Yet.

I was overwhelmed with the number of people who responded to my 2nd 7.5 minutes of fame, with comments and e-mails and IM's, many of them with promises of prayers and suggestions I will discuss with my doctor. I was also overwhelmed at the number of people struggling with chronic illnesses, and the amount of pain, physical and emotional, they suffer.

I am a lucky one. My pain is fairly well medicated, and I am capable of going back to doctors over and over again, until I get a diagnosis and what ever treatment is available. I have done this before. At the moment, I have enough money to live on, and health insurance. I have a partner who loves me, a house I love, and a daughter who is funny and quirky and self-supporting. I know how blessed I am, and I am grateful to the Goddess in her many forms for all this. Truly. So why am I crying all the time?

One comment (and only one) accused me, among other things, of hating my body and having a pity party. I John Scalzi'ed it, (that is, erased it and blocked her) and told myself she had no power in my life, but it still rankled. I hate that one comment can make me feel guilty, go through a cycle of self-doubt. I am over it now, but it took a while, and I am more aware of the perils of public journaling.

But the crying is not self pity. For me crying is a good thing. It took me years in therapy to get beyond cramming all emotions down, deep inside, never to be looked at or acknowledged. It is a childhood survival mechanism that is no longer needed in my life. I now need to be able to cry the emotional pain out. And so I do, in safe places-like my car, my recliner, my bedroom, and at my computer.

And believe me, I am crying at the drop of a hat. Beautiful song? I cry. Weather changing? I cry. Loving journal entry or comment? I cry. Rene snaps at me? I cry. Therapy session? I sob. Leaves falling? I cry. Need to buy sweatshirts for winter? I cry. See a pattern here? I don't, not quite. Roxy loves it, though; she has taken on the job of washing my face of tears and (less endearingly) snot. She makes me laugh, and then I cry some more.

I can see that it has to do with lost hope. This time last year I was in terrible, terrible pain, my right hand lifeless, my right shoulder immobile, living 24/7 in my recliner, needing help to take a shower, but I expected to rehab and go back to work. That kept me going to physical therapy 3 times a week for 9 months. It kept me going to a personal trainer, on a diet, going to literally dozens of doctor's appointments, all with a smile plastered firmly on my face, and the cheery response of "I've been much worse in the past!" on my lips whenever I was asked how I was doing. Ugh. I HAVE been much worse. I AM much better, just not well enough to claim my old life, and not far enough along to see my new one.

I know that losing hope for one kind of life does not mean I am giving up. I am mourning, and will continue to mourn, even while new hope begins to grow inside me. I will have a new life. It is clear that change does not come easily to me, and that it frightens me, too. But I see a little more clearly now that when I started this journal, I was calling change into my life. What was I thinking? Truth is, I wasn't thinking. On some unconscious level I was setting up a framework in a community called J-Land to facilitate change, however slow and painful. This is not the only community in which I work on change, but I am so grateful to be here, and feel the support many of you offer.

I have put a picture of Roxy and me up, so that you will all know that I DO smile now and then!  :)

Blessings, Margo

Friday, October 1, 2004


If all has gone well, you see a picture of the new love of my life, Roxy. This is the first of my own pictures I’ve posted! Roxy is 3 pounds of pure love and wiggle, and her goddess is… me! It is a rather humbling experience, actually, even when she is barking at the wind in the middle of the night, waking me out of much needed sleep . Like many Chihuahuas, she sleeps under the covers, curled tightly against me, readily moving whenever I roll over. I don’t stay on my side long-the pain wakes me up-and when I roll back onto my back, she moves agilely and patiently back to her previous spot. She has no complaints.

When Rene told me we were about to acquire our first Chihuahua, Miya, I said, “Oh, no.  Two very large lesbians cannot own such a silly dog!”  Within two days, that dratted dog had wormed her way into our hearts and lives as if she was born to be there. Maybe she was. Miya is now 15, and I cannot imagine ever again living without a Chi! I think this is every Chi owners experience, while all our friends scratch their heads and wonder why we love a barky, possessive, addle brained rat-dog, whose temperament ranges from hyper to more hyper to complete stop.


They just don’t see the Chi in the same light as an owner. Our Chi’s bark a lot because they are vicious watchdogs who make strong men step back from the door. They make terrible guard dogs, however; they ignore any visitor’s entry if we are not home. Friends see a hyper dog that runs around while they are here. We see them sleep the rest of the day. Friends worry they are cold because they shiver all the time. We know they shiver when they are cold, hot, excited, interested, surprised, or just engaged in life. Friends laugh at their antics. We roar.


Not everyone who owns a Chihuahua owns up to owning one! We had an attorney friend once who said no self respecting gay man would own Chihuahua. He told people his long haired Chi was really a very rare Hawaiian terrier called a “Ch-Hua-Hua.” When people asked how they could get one, he told them you had to know a secret breeder in Hawaii. Some even asked if he had a phone number for one!


I think Chihuahuas were put on earth to make us smile. Tia, our elderly, handicapped, rescued Chihuahua oversaw the first half of my recovery. When I was pretty much confined to my recliner for several months, she wanted nothing more than to lie in my lap all day long, followed by lying there all night as well. At times, in the middle of a long night, she was a true lifesaver, just happy to be there in my lap, no matter what I was feeling. Putting her down was a terrible decision to have had to make, though the right one, and I still cry when I think about her.


Roxy, although very different, has come to take her place. She is so tiny she makes seven pound Miya look big. She has the energy of a gazelle. She is a great licker of fingers and faces, and she actually fetches stuffed animals twice her size, but only when she has a mind to. As I write in my Journal, or read others, she crawls under my shirt and curls up for a nap. She is there now, wishing I would not move my hands so much.


Yesterday, I took her out side and across the street to an empty lot where she can run free. And run she did, like the wild thing she is, back and forth, across and around, up and down almost lost in the taller grass, dashing after a late butterfly, exalting in the glory of an autumn day. As I sat and watched her, I realized that, while I am no longer able to run, I too can exalt in the same glory of the day, and eventually the two of us made our way home, tired but happy.


She is my Blessing, Margo