Thursday, September 27, 2007

Road Trip, Part One

I am definitely on my journey, staying in Atlantic City in the Resorts Hotel. Despite living half way between two of the biggest casinos in the Western Hemisphere, I had never stayed in a casino hotel before, and it is very grand. My room is as big as my living room and dining room combined!

I am trying to pick out one piece of joy for each day. Monday it was crossing the Tappen Zee bridge, which is sowide and amazing with the sun glinting off of it. I could picture Dutch settlers moving up river into the wilderness and grinned like a fool. Tuesday's joy was standing in the Atlantic Ocean, as the tide came in washing oven my feet and legs, then digging a hole around my feet with the backwash.  I kept moving sideways so as not to roll into the surf, shallow as it was.

Yesterday, Wednesday's joy was meeting Mort. For those of you who read his journal, he is just as he portrays himself: a nice guy, a gentleman, the kind of man who would use his two days off the show me around the city. We started talking the moment we met, and did not stop for hours! Last night we ate in the Rain Forest Cafe, looked at lots of sights, then he was kind enough to take me to show me the bar complex in which he works. The man had gotten off work at 9 AM that morning, slept a few hours, then took me back there 12 hour later, on his night off because I asked. A nice guy.

Today, eventually, we will get together, and he'll show me more! Tomorrow I head for the DC area to meet up with  Judi and Virginia. Am really looking forward to it.

I am finding the long distance driving difficult-I have to stop a lot, and listen to the guided imagery tape  on relieving pain that Robin gave me,  It slows me down a lot, but I'm going to be okay, which has been nice to learn. 

I must make this short-I am using the hotel computer, because my borrowed one wouldn't work here with their system. It is Adam's computer, and he set it up to be very protective of it, which is fine for him, but frustrating for me!

Blessings to all, Margo

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nearing Departure!

I am nearing departure! Today I woke up at 6:30 AM and was up and moving immediately, on a Sunday no less. I'm not too excited, am I? By 10:30 AM  I had done laundry, ironed clothes, gone out to breakfast with Peg, found my bathing suit, swept the kitchen floor, and scattered all the clothes that fit me across the living and dining room.
Then I was ready for a nap!
I persevered, however, by reading my e-mail, chatting briefly with a friend (Hi, Lisa!), checked out my GPS device (How did I ever travel without one? It not only shows me a map, offers hotels/motels, food and attraction info-although I am not sure if "Gold's Gym rates up there with state parks and monuments as an attraction-it talks to me in a low, firm, female voice!), found my suitcases, organized my CD's, and began folding my clothes.
By 12:30 I was struggling to stay focused, and still needed that nap.
Then I folded the rest of my clothes, glued a pair of shoes back together, organized my meds, chose what little jewelry I am taking, took my morning vitamins(running a bit late on that, I fear), organized my maps and triptik (I am a belt and suspenders type), called Meg, who was napping-lucky girl!- packed up some food and odds and ends, then -finally- allowed myself a pain pill and a nap.
Twenty minutes later Meg, Adam and Myla were at my door, to say goodbye. I staggered up and sat on the porch with them until Myla got fussy, and I had to let them go. I had a momentary pang.
What on earth am I doing, I asked myself, taking off on a trip Peggy and Meg think is crazy, and leaving Myla behind? I took adeep breath, and thought, t'hell with them them! I'm taking a Road Trip they'd never make, and I'm more than ready to do it.
The pang over and gone, I came back inside and to pack suitcases and bags, choosing clothes with no second thoughts, happily anticipating the Open Road tomorrow. Never mind that the open road is really Rte 95, overfilled with cars and big rigs and slowdowns and exhaust fumes, I'll still be free from home and family and physical therapy and doctors' appointments and my own small life, and I'll be off into the realm of possibilities!
I've rather stalled out at the moment, but will finish packing the car tonight, so I can be at Robin's by 8:30 tomorrow morning, so we can do a smudging ceremony for safety on the road, and joy in the journey.
I'm not going far tomorrow-maybe just a few hours, but I'll be in Atlantic City by Tuesday, and well on my way to adventure! I will have a computer with me, so when I can get the Internet I will report on my travels, so you can follow along, if you wish. Now I am going to sit on my suitcase to close it, and pack the car!
Blessings, Margo

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bad News? Good News? Confusion!

I leave on my trip one week from today. This week I'm going to be as busy as a one-armed paperhanger. (I can say this because I once helped my one-armed mother hang wallpaper, so I know the reality of the metaphor.) Naturally enough, I am procrastinating already! Today I am supposed to clean house, take the dog to have her nails clipped, go to the bank to fix finances for when I'm away, and take a nap, since I woke up at 3 AM with my daily lists running through my head and never really slept again. Excited? No, not much!
Friday, I had an appointment with my Orthopedist, and got some not so good,  but not as bad as possible news. My left shoulder now needs (minor) surgery because of overuse due to the pain in my  right arm. This was not the news I had been looking for, or expecting, needless to say.
On the other hand, in July Worker's Comp made me go for an IME (Independent Medical Exam) at their pet medical group an hour and a half away from here. I went, rather reluctantly, having made several phone calls to my doctor's, my lawyer's, and their doctor's offices to make sure they got that he was to examine my LEFT, not right arm.
I have been there three or four times for other IME's on my right arm in the past, and I've learned enough over the last four years to anticipate screw-ups. Got to the appointment, and was told he would look at my right arm, and once again had to throw a small, but polite hissyfit to set them straight on the which arm was in question now.
The doc was nice, though, and I left thinking it was all a huge waste of time. These doctors always (surprise!) side with Worker's Comp, so I expected a copy of his report saying the increasing pain in my left shoulder was absolutely not related to my fall, or any of its aftermath. I never got a copy, though, and now I suspect I know why. The Worker's Comp's doctor, obviously an honest man, said that he believes the problem with my left shoulder is, indeed, related to my problems on the right, andshould be considered a consequence ofthe original fall!
Both my surgeon and I were blown away-this sort of thing practically never happens, according to my doc. The new surgery will be laproscopic, much less in scope than my last shoulder surgery, and Worker's Comp will have to pay for it. I am well aware that we all pay for it in the long run, but feel strongly that my insurance company should not have to pay for a work related injury.
This all feels like good news, bad news, or perhaps bad news, good news, but I won't have the surgery till after Christmas, because I have to go to spend Christmas in Denver. My mother started to cry when she asked if I could come. If she wants me that badly, I'll do whatever is necessary to be there, of course.
A couple more comments on my trip. For my birthday, Meg, the EMT, made and gave me a first aid kit from which I could practically do surgery! It has everything except a scalpel, including little tootsie rolls, in case my blood sugar should fall.
Then she insisted that I go to our local fire/police supply store and buy a window punch/seatbelt slicer in case I go over some precipice in my car and end up in the water. I didn't have the heart to tell her I fully expect I'd be too panicked to use it, and dutifully went out and bought one.
I'm not sure what wilds she expects me to be facing on the mostly highway route I am taking from here to NJ to DC to VA to KY to PA and home, but I will certainly be prepared so she can worry less!
I finally got my itinerary together, for my parents and Meg. If anyone is remotely interested, let me know and I'll send you one. Right now, however, I have to take my dog to the groomer and start my day!
Blessings, Margo

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Questionable Trip?

A brief entry to respond to several questions I got from my last entry, and from friends here, about my Road Trip.
How far am I going? Well, almost 2000 miles
Won't I feel lonely driving so far alone? Yes, there will be lonely times, especially since Rene was the outgoing partner in all our travels. But I live alone, feel alone a lot, so the trip will be lonely, too, at times. I'll live through it, and maybe learn to connect with strangers a little more.
Is your car okay to drive that far? Well, I certainly hope so! Even though it's old (a '97) it is a Honda, and I'm having it checked over, bumper to bumper. If something goes wrong on the road, I'll cope.
Are the people you are visiting safe? This only comes from my mother. People whose journals I have been reading for years feel like family to me. I wish I could visit more of them!
Who are you going to see? Mort, Judi and Virginia, Kas and her family, who are supposedly already referring to me as "Aunt Margo," Martha, Meg's fiance's mother, Ian, my God(dess) son, and Becky(I hope).
Will you stay with all of them? I'll stay at motels some of the time, and with people others. It depends on their housing situations.
Are you going to spend any time on your own? Yes, I am going to Charlottesville, Virginia for three days. I was born there when my father was in law school at UVA, and I have always wanted to really see Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home). So I'm going to have my own private mini vacation inside the Road Trip!
What are you going to do about pain when driving and walking any distance? I am taking my walker and cane, and will use one or the other, depending on the terrain. I am able to walk a couple of miles, even if I do sway a bit along the way. (Okay, sometimes I fall down. I'll just get up and keep going like I do at home.)
As for pain, I'll drive as far as I can, and when it gets too bad I'll stop  for the night, then take a pain med. I won't drive after that. I've built in extra time driving because of this.
When are you leaving? The last week in September, and I'll be back when I get back. Friends and neighbors will take care of the house and watch Roxy.
Aren't you scared to go on such a long trip? No.
Not even a little anxious? Yes, a little from time to time, but it's all about organizing and getting off and onto the road. Not about the trip itself.
That seems to cover the questions that have come in lately. If anyone has any others, let me know and I'll answer them, too.
Tomorrow is my 58th birthday, and I am sincerely hoping that this year will be better than the last four. A psychic told me that I would be getting more energy come fall, and I am living in expectation of more energy, whenever it arrives!
Blessings, Margo 

Friday, September 7, 2007

Not Dead Yet- Aphrodite Rising

Usually when I disappear from the Internet for weeks or months it is because I have fallen into the pit of depression and am sitting in the mud at the bottom, looking up at a circle of sky so far above it seems the size of a Ping-Pong ball. This is, thank Goddess, not true this time. Aphrodite-the Goddess of Love-has moved into my life. After a bit of confusion (believe me thee is no sign of a love interest showing on the horizon) I recognized she was suggesting I work on loving myself. Duh. Sometimes I'm a little dense, especially since it seems I've been working on this forever!
So these past few weeks, I have been working hard at trying to enlarge my life, millimeter by millimeter, without tiring myself out beyond all enduring. And I am actually doing better at it than I thought I would, though I have been up and down a lot.
It is not that my life is full of exciting new events. It is the same round of physical therapy, "chair" yoga (that is, yoga made easier, not that we sit the whole time), a weekly hour with my trainer Glenn, assorted doctor's appointments, my two hours a week respite with the Gentle Tough/Guided Imagery Program at the hospital, and weekly walks and visits with Meg and Myla.
The Gentle Touch/Guided Imagery Program is a Complementary Medical program my friend Robin started at the local hospital three years ago. I was wildly excited, but unable to take part then. This winter I was able to take the training, finally! What we in the program do is go to various floors, to rooms of patients who have requested us, or who the nurses think need our service, or even walk in cold. Each of us have our own perspective, but similar ways of explaining.
I try to keep it simple, saying it is a free program that helps with relaxation, and includes a foot, hand or head rub. Then I plug in a CD player with quiet music playing, take off the footboard of the bed, wash my hands, then start reading a scripted guided imagery asking them to relax, to put themselves in a safe special place, and eventually spend 10 minutes or so giving a gentle foot or hand rub. I doesn't sound like much, but people zone out, and when I finish they talk about how much their pain has lessened, how much less depressed they feel, how much more relaxed. Some go to sleep and stay there, even as I put their socks back on, unplug my music, put the footboard back. It is quite amazing.
This has led me back to the same floor I had my two week nightmare experience four years ago, when I first fractured my arm. During that time nobody touched me except to hurt me-to draw blood, to move me, to take my BP. Now, finally, there is a hospital sanctioned program that helps makes that less likely. I love doing it, although I am limited to only two hours a week because of my pain level. The neat thing is that the patient is getting a Complimentary Medicine experience right under the oh-so-scientific doctors' noses. Of course some docs and nurses have welcomed the program, while some still think its hogwash, but more and more, I find nurses and aides grabbing me to ask if I will do so-and-so, who is in a lot of pain-a triumph in my book!
The other joy of my life is Myla, my granddaughter. Meg has been calling to meet for a walk once or twice a week, and Myla's little face lights up when she sees me! Myla toddles around on the grass in my yard handing me toys and favorite rocks and eating the ground up ice from my cup, while Meg tells me about her two play groups. One is quite preppy, uptight stay-at-home mothers with husbands who have good jobs, who think Meg is crazy to cloth diaper Myla, and the other "crunchy granola," the long term nursers-some are like Kas, nursing their 6 year olds. They wear "hippier" type clothes and struggle to make ends meet so they can stay home and raise their kids. Meg falls somewhere closer to the Crunchies, but enjoys both groups. She keeps me laughing with stories of both groups, while Myla tries to push her stroller across the yard. It is wonderful!
And I am getting ready for my Road Trip-1900 miles on my own as I drive down the East Coast to Virginia, then out to KY to visit Kas, then home via Pittsburgh. It is a crazy trip for me to make, with my are and shoulder still hurting a lot, and my inability to walk very far, which will curtail sightseeing somewhat-But I leave in a bit more than two weeks and am crazy excited about it. I just wish I could stop and visit every one of you! More on the trip next post.
Many Blessings, Margo