Saturday, November 25, 2006

Giving Thanks

Not surprisingly, I have been meditating on giving thanks these last few days. Mostly I have always given thanks for the good things in my life-Meg, Myla, family and friends, the beauty of where I live, my partner and job, the food on the table, the abundance in my life.
This year, I have come far enough to be thankful-at least to some degree-for the difficulties life has handed me in the last three and a half years. I have lost both job and partner, ice cream comfort eating and 200 pounds, friends and financial comfort, my sense of balance and independence, and more. But because of all this, I have had time, days and days of time.
I've spent a lot of those days in serious pain, physical and emotional. I have cried me a river, fallen into the dark pit of depression and been stuck there, and crawled out, almost literally. I have had surgery four times, rehabbed three times and am in the beginning stages of my fourth. My years as a diabetic caught up with me-I'm dizzy a lot, cannot feel my feet, and now fall a lot. And more.
But, as I meditate this weekend of thanks, I realize I am grateful, and blessed, to have adjusted enough to be happy sometimes. Despite it all, I like the life I have now, and the one I see just over the horizon. I have more surgery ahead of me, this time to remove the approximately 15 or more pounds of hanging skin left by my weight loss. But I now believe I will eventually get back to my HIV poz women in prison, and find other ways to volunteer in the community, hopefully with women.
And I am beginning to make new friends, slowly, and mostly online, but it is a start. Of course, I've had Peggy as a friend forever-53 years to be exact! What a gift to be thankful for. I really like living alone right now, too, even though at the moment I am relegated to the first floor only. I love my antiques and tatty old furniture and mismatched chairs. And I can keep it as clean-or cluttered-as I want to. [I am sure Rene feels the same!]
I find this all quite amazing. I really hadn't noticed that some happiness had crept into my life and lingered. I knew that sometimes l felt happy, but then some huge chunk of reality [like needing a walker, or no help when I got home from the hospital] would land on my head and knock me flat for a while, but these days when the crisis headache is over, life looks good again. Quite amazing, all things considered.
I am grateful that I can recognize that even when life throws me curve after curve, I can call on Warrior Woman to come to my aid, and can be strong and grounded and keep on getting up. Completely alone and on my own, if necessary. 
A good recognition for a Thanksgiving Weekend, and I am truly grateful.
Blessings, Margo
PS Rene has begun posting again occasionally in her journal Growing Old Younger,[the link is in my list of other journals] and often posts stuff I enjoy thinking over. M.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

An Interesting Week?

I would like to make an interesting entry about almost anything, but it's been a long, slow week. And practically nothing has happened. Again, this is not a complaint. Life is what it is. Sharon, my aide comes in for two hours three days a week. she helps me shower, does a bit of light housework, visit for a while, then is gone.
A nurse drops by once or twice a week to take my BP, listen to my lungs and heart, and change my bandage, for I have developed a "chair sore" on my coccyx. I would sit less, but my downstairs is basically four rooms, and that is my world at the moment. I'd go out for a walk, but it's difficult to use my walker left handed. And getting it down the porch steps, let alone back up, is problamatic.
Of course, I did have a couple of exciting moments last night.  I got up, stood still briefly, assessed myself as not dizzy, took two steps into the hall, and quickly realized I was not only dizzy, but would never make it to a chair. [ I have chairs placed strategically throughout the house.] Knowing that my surgeon has forbidden me to fall, lest I undo all his brilliant work, I had a true moment of panic. Then, in a second of brilliance, I threw myself against the wall, back first.
I slid down the wall rather too fast and landed hard on my no longer ample rear end, irritating my "chair sore" no end (pun intended). I sat there a while, wondering how on earth I was going to get up. Then I gathered myself together, scooted across the floor to the phone, and called 911 for lifting help, for I could not for the life of me figure out how to get up without using my right shoulder.
Neither could the two firefighters who soon arrived. They usually lift people by the shoulders, and were rather surprised at my vehemence when I declined that option. They brainstormed ineffectually until I turned over onto my knees. One grabbed my left shoulder, the other grabbed me around the waist and both hauled up. A lovely, graceful moment, one of so many in my recent life. I did thank them profusely, though I had come way too close to screaming in pain.
Then I had to report the fall to Meg, who somehow managed to elicit a promise from me to tell her whenever I have to call 911. Luckily, it was very late and she has to get up at 3:15 AM, so I could leave a reassuring message on her machine. Of course she did call me back at 4:45 AM, just before she left for work, to make sure I really was okay. Glad that is over, at least for now. Eventually she'll use all this as ammo for putting me in some old folks home by the time I'm 60! [NOT] :)
That's what has been happening in my life; remind me not to complain when life gets busy again. I get giddy thinking about the freedom of driving again! Soon I'll be able to run my own errands, do my on shopping, escape from these four small rooms! Only another week or two, to live through. Then I can complain about being tired all the time again. :)
Blessings, Margo

Sunday, November 12, 2006

House Bound

Well, I am still here and healing [way too slowly] in Southeastern Connecticut. I am being well taken care of by an aide who comes to help two hours three days a week, and a nurse who comes once a week. My staples came out Monday, and Wednesday and Friday I had real showers, thanks to Irene and Sharon, my aides. Alleluia!
My PA says the outside is healing nicely, and I've started occupational therapy too, to begin breaking up scar tissue...holy shit from a holy cow! I had forgotten-or blocked-this kind of pain from 3 years ago. There are not enough pain pills in the whole universe to mitigate the pain of breaking up shoulder scar tissue!
But mostly I'm bored. I have been "home bound" for three weeks now, except for two outings to the doctors, and one to vote. I can't drive, and probably won't for another few weeks-at least. As long as I'm stuck here, I can continue to receive services here. And even after I can drive, it will be for short distances only.
Now I sound as if I am whining. I am not. I am grateful to be on the other side of this surgery, knowing that eventually I will have a life to build, though it is not yet clear in what direction.
Meanwhile, after three full weeks of sitting (and sleeping) in my recliner, I have decided that I hate my living room. Well, not all of it. I love the paintings on the walls, one of which is Hope, one of Judi HeartSong's Light Series. She is blue and silver and her eyes follow me when I move around. Her name says it all; the wise, knowing eyes have given me hope enough to move on, time after time.
I also love my antiques, an old, handmade sled on legs, which I use as a way too small coffee table, and my Pennsylvania Dutch all wooden pie safe bureau, both of which my mother gave me, along with a huge old copper apple butter bucket. I have filled it with homemade dolls and bears and other stuffed animals.  And I love my fireplace, which now has a propane fire in it, complete with remote control(!).
And, although it is way too big, I'm okay with the TV console, which is tall and wooden. It holds a lot of stuff, though, and keeps the corner of the room anchored.
That leaves the sofa. It is a perfectly fine sofa, well made, fits the space, a Forrest green, now with a rose slipcover on it for a change of pace, and I've had it fewer than 10 years. I have come to focus all my hatred on this poor, innocent piece of furniture. It sits under the bay window, and every time I look out the window, I am stabbed with my irrational hatred.
The sofa came from neighbors when they upgraded to leather.  I know they spent a lot of time and money on finding it. I know it will probably last another ten years. I know it is reasonably stylish, though plain. I know I hate it. unreasonably.
So yesterday i asked Peggy to smuggle me out of the house (remember, I'm supposed to be house bound) to the store where i bough my recliner. i had seen a sofa there that i loved, but had worked hard to put out of my mind. it is too blue. it is too rough. it is way too big for my overarmed living room. it has red flowered pillows. it has an ottoman that covers one square mile. It was way, way too expensive.
I love it. I bought it all, including the ottoman. I must be crazy.
I am going to have to completely rearrange the living room, get rid of some pieces I love (or al least move them upstairs) rehang pictures all over the room, and all at a time when I cannot lift my right arm up to my shoulder without screaming. Although the sofa won't arrive for a month or so, I suspect poor Peg and Robin, who have been my support system throughout, will end up doing all the dirty work!
Still, I can't wait. I have only had one new sofa in my life, which I bought as a newlywed. I loved it, but it began to fall apart after about 15 years. I let it go sadly when we were given a secondhand couch by a neighbor. (There seems to be a pattern there.) Though not my taste at all, it lasted until I received the sturdy, innocuous one I have now.
Don't you think I deserve a new sofa every 36 years or so? I do. and thank goddess I have nobody to consult or ask permission! I'll let you all know how it all works out.
Blessings, Margo