Thursday, September 24, 2015

Taking it Slow

Three days ago, I had my gallbladder removed. It was done pretty quickly and efficiently. While the doctor was okay, I felt like I was just a number to him. . . you know, gallbladder #3,845 for the month. Anyway, I'm home now and trying to adjust to this pain. It's more than I had anticipated, honestly, and I have had a few moments of wanting to just sit down and cry for a little bit, but I haven't given in to it. I have two kids with colds, plus a husband who I am sure is tired of playing the role of caregiver this year. He has had to do it far more than his contract stipulates. :) So I try to smile and slurp down another pain pill.  I sit on the couch, even when it gets really, really old to do so. And I read books and write letters and rest. And I try hard to ignore how much this one hurts.

I am sure I've met my pain quota for the year, right?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Comings and Goings

SO glad I got that hall calendar because this house is never quiet for long.

Caspian is "on call" at the nursing home now, which means his hours are erratic and unexpected. Yesterday he was to work 2 pm to 10 pm and then they asked him to stay for another shift, so he worked 2 pm to 6 am this morning. Needless to say, I am just letting him sleep as much as he needs to now.

Nicole did get that great job in administration. She loves it . . . for the most part. However, the training is very slow and just a few minutes here and there, so she still, three weeks later, hasn't been taught all she needs to know. In between projects she twiddles those thumbs, trying to find ways to look busy and pass the time. It may sound great to get paid to sit and do nothing, but actually, it's boring and makes the days seem pretty long. She also aged us all considerably by being in a car accident . . . she wasn't driving, but the car was hit very hard, and air bags deployed. Although she was all right, she was severely bruised by the seat belt and is still in pain weeks later. That was a phone call I'll always remember.

Coryn got a job at a local glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course and . . . he is pretty bored. His boss is stressed and goes from neutral to pissy in seconds. Thus Coryn is back to reading job ads and hoping for something that might challenge him a bit more than taking money from parents for golf and arcade games. In between working, he is out with friends old and new.

Joseph and I are great. We got away from the city for three days and two nights and went camping. It was an amazing trip in so many ways. We went in the Ghia--a first. It handled the trip wonderfully. We camped 200 feet from the ocean and I was serenaded by the surf the entire time. We ate at exotic restaurants and hit four Goodwills (making packing to come home REALLY tricky. The Ghia is a LITTLE car.) and laughed and talked and napped and read and relaxed. Truly wonderful. I want to do it again SOON. It is good for my emotional, physical, and mental well-being!

Work is good, but slow. I admit, I like that. More time to write letters and read books, but when it comes to paying the bills, things get stressful, so I am hoping assignments pick up a bit. Feast or famine or, as Susan told me, one week it's chicken and the next it's feathers.

Whichever it is, I will make sure to get it on that calendar. (Our camp site and the little Ghia below.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

From Full to Stuffed (wonderfully so)

We are all back again, and the house is loud, busy, crazy, chaotic, and lovely. Not everything has been great, of course.

Caspian took an important test that we prepared for over and over. He was ready! And yet, when he got to the test, he struggled and didn't pass. It was a blow for him. He is also struggling like crazy with his job. It is proving more challenging than we had thought. Life just doesn't seem easy for this one of my kids.

Why is that? Why do you have kids that just seem to float through life, usually happy, and others struggle? It's a heartbreaker for parents, for sure. When these kids outgrow the ability for us to fix things with a bandaid, a hug, and maybe a new action figure . . . .

Nicole has been on 7 job interviews. The one she had yesterday looks most promising. She is trying to get out of the food and bev industry and into admin/office, where I am SURE she will shine. Hard to switch though, because the resume doesn't support the new direction. Let's keep our fingers crossed she gets this one. Hours, job, location--all excellent.

Coryn applied for a job he thought he would definitely get, so when he didn't, it was disappointing.  He keeps busy though, out with friends pretty constantly, and reading and hanging with us, and trying to decide where to apply next.

Once again, we have a huge calendar hanging in the hallway, where each person is responsible for putting in their activities so I can attempt to keep track of where everyone is and who will or will not be home for dinner.

And yes, I love it. I don't love the disappointments. I don't love the frustration and having to help do damage control over life's challenges. But I love having them back home. Stuffed is nice.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Full House . . .Almost

Four of the five of us are back in the house! Caspian and Nicole have returned from their travels and meals are loud and noisy and funny and chaotic again. We are all counting the days (21!) until Coryn is back too and the family is back to "normal". (Never gonna happen.)
Both kids have spent their first few days unpacking, showing us stuff, telling us stories, and settling back in.  Caspian has already applied for a job and is waiting to hear back, plus he has registered with the community college and will be taking the placement test soon.
Nicole is looking at different job options, trying to find something beyond being a barista.  She would be great in management or administrative work. I am sure something will come along as it always has.
I honestly have lost track of how many times I have looked up to see the kids in the living room with me and just smiled. While I admit I have flashes of missing those quiet mornings that were just Joseph and I, when no one needed a pick up, drop off, meal, etc., I am cherishing these days. I know that the next time they leave, since they ARE 24 and 22, they probably won't be coming back again to stay. So I am going to enjoy these days of having an almost full house.
Okay Coryn! Your turn. Enjoy Bali and then get your butt back home.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Reverse! Adjust Again!

After all of March, April, and most of May, Joseph and I have become accustomed to--dare I even say--appreciative of--our time home alone. When we are hungry, we eat. When we want to go somewhere, we go. When we are ready for bed, we go. No one else's schedules, needs or preferences are involved because our house has been child free.

Now that is all changing.

In five days, Caspian will be home.
In 13 days, Nicole will be home.
In a month, Coryn will be home.

Am I glad? OH YES. How I have missed those hugs, the laughter, the nonstop conversation, the long talks, the crazy dinners, and the sound of their voices down the hall, but I admit to some sadness at the one on one time lost with Joseph. We grew to really love it. I suspect when the kids return, they will be flying in every direction searching for jobs, meeting with friends, and being social, so will not be home all the time by any means. But . . it's an adjustment. One we are happy to make--delighted to make--but not without a couple of twinges.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Glad NOT to be Psychic

Ever wanted to be able to tell what is going to happen in the future? I think we all have, but this time around, I am so glad I couldn't. I'm not sure I could have coped knowing what was ahead.

The pain I was feeling when I last posted was bad. I had no idea how bad it could get. Until this morning (Thursday), I was completely unable to walk. UNABLE.  Gout spread throughout my foot and ankle and into my shin. It was like wearing a sock that broke your bones and set them on fire. Air blowing past hurt. I could not touch the foot. No covers could touch it. I had to keep it elevated at all times.

Trying to do ANYTHING on one foot--considering I was recovering from back surgery--was so hard, it was nigh impossible. Joseph had to wheel me to the bathroom and then I had to HOP and fall down on the toilet to pee. I was constantly on verge of throwing up from the pain levels. It was the worst pain of my lifetime. I had to use my arms and one leg (the BAD one, of course) to move at all. I started carrying a fever of 100 to 101 degrees. Honestly, at one point, I just cried and wanted to give up.I swore a lot. I held onto Joseph a lot. I took my meds and I took pain pills, which made me nauseous but I didn't want to eat. It was bad, people, really bad. It made the surgery recovery feel like a hangnail, honestly.

Today I am walking again, although slowly with two canes. The ankle feels like it is severely sprained, but at least the bones aren't grinding together. I'm so damn tired though. My muscles hurt because of how hard I used them. (TRY getting up and down with ONE foot. I'm astonished at how much we need TWO.) I've slept on the couch for two nights because the stairs were impossible. One night I crawled up them on my hands and knees--did you know that hurts your knees? I gave up after that.

Nowhere to go but up now, right? I've put in my pain dues for the next few years. Right? I guess if I was psychic, I would know the answer to that. eh? :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What in the World did I DO to Karma?

Its almost 3 a.m. and I am sitting here in tears because now I have (sigh) gout. I haven't had it since Christmas and I've been VERY good about taking the meds and not eating trigger foods like fish. It began yesterday and I denied it and denied it and tonight I am in so much pain, there is no denying it any longer. This time around, it has spread through the joints of my foot and ankle. Throw in the fact that the last two mornings I've woken with episodes of severe vertigo and . . . really? REALLY? The back surgery wasn't enough? I am so damn tired of waking up in pain, I can't tell you. I told J today that I have forgotten what it is like to just get out of the car and walk in somewhere. To just need something upstairs and get up, run up the stairs, get it and come back. To just MOVE without having to plan it first. Cane? Walker? Wheelchair? Crawl?

I figure this is just wish fulfillment, right? I said I would give almost anything for the pain in my back to just completely stop. So I got gout. It didn't stop the back pain but it's hard to focus on it when your foot is mashed, broken, bleeding, and crushed. (No, but that is what gout feels like.) Just feeling sour and lonely right now. Kids are far away and J is sleeping. I have the dog--who is snoring. Yay.

It will get better. It.will.get.better.IT.WILL.GET.BETTER.
If you hear a muttering, that's just me reminding myself that it will get better. But if you know how to get karma (which I don't believe in) to back off, let me know.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Much Better Place

Wow, what a few weeks. So . . highlights since I last posted.

My surgery on April 21 was cancelled. I was devastated. They could have told me SO differently. All it would have taken was, "we can't do the surgery at the surgery center because of your elevated blood sugar, BUT we can do it at the hospital in the next day or so." Instead, they just said we can't do the surgery today and will get you rescheduled. I walked out to the car and just cried. I cried all day. That night, got a phone call--can you come in tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. for the surgery? Yes, I was confused but not about to argue.

So . . . I had the surgery. Lots of details there, but bottom line, it went fine. Nurses were wonderful. Throwing up wasn't. They ended up keeping me overnight because of the blood sugar levels. My handsome hubby spent the night next to me, and we were both reminded--at 12:30, 2:30, 4:30 and 6:30, why no one actually rests in the hospital. I got to come home the next day.

Since then, I'm healing up. I took two full weeks off and I am using them to nap, read, write letters, watch movies, check blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and repeat. Today is my follow up appointment.

Do my back and legs feel better than before surgery? No doubt about it. Not a single leg/foot/toe/ankle cramp since I had it done. Muscles still twitching but I am guessing that is a separate issue. Nice super glued scar on my back. I will know more of how much original pain is GONE when this pain is gone. Right now I can't get through the day without pain pills yet.

I have a week of recovery time left and one of those days (Sunday) is my birthday. My hope is that I feel well enough to go out and do something fun. So far, my biggest foray out of the house has been to get a cup of coffee or go to the bank. Goodwill might send out a rescue party soon since I am sure they think I have been kidnapped by now.

Thanks for checking in, for sending cards and saying prayers and holding me close in your hearts. I know every bit of that has helped the recovery process. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Bad Place

Sorry folks. No humor here. No witty remarks or snickers. Honestly--I'm in a pretty bad place right now. I reported for surgery this morning and was told I was once again diabetic, so they couldn't do it. I've been on Atkins for six weeks, eating low carb and very healthy. I don't have a single sign of diabetes. I see my doctor tomorrow morning and am hopefully rescheduled for Friday for surgery. It will probably all work out, but honestly, right now I'm exhausted and defeated and sad and angry. I am not seeing the silver lining. I am not looking on the bright side. I am not ready to "buck up". Right now I am miserable and so damn tired. This battle has about done me in, and I'm tired of fighting. I wanna just put down my weapons and find the nearest blanket fort to hide in. Stay tuned. I promise the amusing me will be back.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

An Unwelcome Gust of Wind

I am scolding myself for putting up yet another complaint post. I mean, it can't be fun to keep coming back to check on me and see one more bitching post . . . and i am sorry. But then again, I reassure myself, this is MY blog and it is here for me to do just what I am doing . . . venting.

I compared myself today to a person walking on a tightrope. Thanks to skill, experience, and concentration, making it from one side to the other is highly possible. However, if an unexpected gust of wind comes along. . . known as any other kind of unexpected stressor, from work requirements to grouchy editors to troubled children to life complications . . . I can feel myself teetering and losing balance.

I have had a very sore left elbow for several days. Last night, it woke me up three times. Today, it is swollen and so very very sore. I am guessing either bursitis or gout, but suspect bursitis from the way it slowly crept up. Either way, the result is the same--it hurts. It hurts a LOT. It hurts to the touch. It hurts to bend my arm. It hurts to lift anything.It isn't an unbearable pain . . . sure, it often feels like someone is holding a lighter to my elbow, but compared to kidney stones, t'ain't nuthin.

But, when you add it to the daily leg, hip, back, ankle, foot pain . . . it just becomes too much. It is that slight gust of wind that makes my balance harder to maintain. It makes me cry. It makes me want to avoid work. It makes me angry. It turns me into a frustrated toddler, stamping her feet on the ground and yelling, BUT IT ISN'T FAIR.

The wind is not welcome right now. I have my emotional and psychological hands full with just coping and waiting for the doctor's call. Please . . . give the tightrope walker a break. Still those breezes and let it stay calm until I get all the way across to the other side. Then blow all the hell you want, because I will be out of the way and safe.

Friday, April 3, 2015


I am a happy woman. I am lucky, loved, happy woman. But I am tired of having to remind myself of that because of pain.
The back, the hips, the legs. It's enough. But in the past two weeks, my left elbow hurts so much I can't extend my arm to pick up a glass of water and my right shoulder hurts too much to sleep on it, and I always sleep on my right side. Why do they hurt? What is wrong? Can't they go away long enough for me to deal with the back issues?
Tonight I sit here loving my husband, loving my kids, my life and hating the fact that I have to spend most of my energy coping. I'm tired of pain pills, I'm tired of heat packs, I'm tired of arm braces.
I'm tired.
Sorry, not even humor to lighten this one up. Bear with me. I promise I will get back to happy soon. Right now  . . I just hurt.
And I've had enough.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Twitching in Portland

My alarm clock this morning was a charlie horse--again. I am pretty sure if there was a contest for the most charlie horses in a given amount of time, I would win. You'd think I would get used to them, but no. Each time, it is like someone poured acid down my leg.

And who knew you could have the same kind of spasm in your ankle? It's true! I get that one in the other leg 3-4 times a night. It raises the outside of your leg up so that when you put your foot on the floor, one side isn't touching. You have to push down (accompanied by a great deal of swearing, of course) to get it to release.  Same thing when it hits the big toes.

After this morning's wake up call, I laid back down in bed for a moment and it felt like someone had a pair of drumsticks and they were lightly playing a rousing march on the back of my legs. It was the muscles twitching, twitching. I counted 40 before it stopped. Strangest experience!

I am 4 1/2 hours from seeing the doctor for the final report and then, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, we will get the ball rolling on insurance so I can have this surgery soon. I make jokes about the legs, the cramps, the back pain, the spasms, and do my best to stay in a decent mood, but I'm running out of coping skills. (I can tell because if something else happens, like one of the kids is in trouble, or work doesn't go right, I FALL APART. Living on the edge, baby.)

So cross your fingers, say a prayer, use your intuition, whatever you do that sends out a difference in the world and hope that today is the last day of waiting for answers. After today, let me move on to solutions. Cuz I'm tired of twitching.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


You know those scary movies that show the main person (usually a girl in almost no clothes holding nothing more than a candle) running down a hallway, chased by any version of craziness, and then the hall just seems to get longer and longer?

I am currently running down that hallway. (Hey, in this version, I can run!) For three months, I have chased that elusive medical miracle that is going to make me feel better. Make the days easier. Make the nights MUCH easier. And it feels like the more I run, the longer the hallway gets. In three months, we have . . .

1. Gone to my doctor. She ordered xrays. I waited.
2. Got xrays that showed bursitis in both hips. Hip pain explained.
3. Dissatisfied . . . asked for MRI.
4. Went for MRI which was to be covered by new insurance. Told insurance wasn't going to work.
5. Sat in the car and cried. Heroic hubby took me back in and said we would pay out of pocket. ($600!) (In between all of this, had to call insurance company four times to get plan changed. Hours on hold.)
6. Got MRI. I waited.
7. Doctor explained MRI and referred me to both PT and a neurosurgeon. I made appointments with referred doctor. I waited.
8. Saw the first doc. Nice guy. Older, rambling, said I needed surgery. BUT he is retired, so see his partner. . . oh, first appointment is three weeks.
9. Get in earlier. Doctor is an ass. Gives me no help, no guidance, and I leave in tears. And I wait.
10. Go back and get a referral for a second opinion. Call. First appointment in almost three weeks, so I wait.
11. See the new doc. GREAT guy. Listens, asks questions, kind and patient. Says you need surgery BUT we need another set of xrays.
12. Get the xrays. Wait.
13. Doctor's office calls and says your xray results are in and we need to discuss them with you before we make surgical decisions. See you in five days.
Waiting for Friday to see what the xrays showed and what it means for what happens next.
As Joseph pointed out, this all started YEARS ago. I have had hip pain and low back pain for 6 plus years. This just got to the point I couldn't stand it anymore. So here I am . . . .

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Angry Woman in Portland

It isn't fair. I know life isn't fair and we are taught that when we are about five years old, but I still am trying to come to grips with it.
I had a great day today. I was exhausted, but it was a great day. I went out of town with my sweetie and we had the best best time. We laughed and joked and got lost and used GPS for the first time and just had so much fun.
I crawled into bed at 1:45 a.m. It's now 6 a.m. and I may have slept an hour. I took the biggest pain pill I have and it might as well have been a vitamin C. I laid in bed in so much pain I thought it had to be radiating from me. I had four, FOUR cramps, once in both feet at the same time. I laid in bed feeling my muscles twitching over and over and over. Finally, I got up and came downstairs.
The doctor's office called today as they said they would. Instead of being given a brief xray report, however, they ask that I get back in the office to see the doctor and "discuss" the results. What?!?! Why? This does not bode well as he told me he would only call me back in if my back was unstable and would need a more invasive surgery. Now I have to wait until Friday afternoon to talk to him. It's gonna be a long week.
I don't understand why I am so much worse in bed at night. It's mean (picture Tami stamping her foot in indignation) because I love our bed. It is a safe haven from the world. It is a sanctuary where I go with Joseph when the world is too much. I cuddled my little ones in that bed as they grew and moved into their own rooms. I read great books there. I make love there. It's MY PLACE. And to have it associated now with pain makes me angry.
I guess it boils down to that. .  I am so angry. I have a wonderful, wonderful life. I adore my husband, and my children and my job and where I live and my hobbies and my friends. . . and this WHATEVER I have is zapping all of the energy I need to be able to enjoy it. And I'm mad. And it just IS. NOT. FAIR.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Life is Good . . .but Still . . . .a Whinge

Life really is good. I mean . . . Nicole is safe now and out of the INSANE WOMAN's house. I found a WONDERFUL doctor who listened to me and gave me a plan to put into motion. Money is good. Joseph is wonderful. We are eating the healthiest we have in ages and it is making both of us feel better for it.

See? Life.Is.Good. I am so grateful . . . I really am. I can breathe now that I know Nicole's emergency situation is somewhat over. That she is safe and happy and protected. I can breathe because I have a plan in motion (albeit slowly) to get better.

So why the whinge? (In case you don't know, that is an Australian word for whine.). I hurt. Yeah, yeah, I know. What is new, right?  But every day seems harder. Every day I have to fight through pain and weakness like I've never known before.  It isn't the most intense pain I've ever had (that award goes to kidney stones and gout), but it is exhausting. Every day, I have to sit down in the middle of walking through the room or going up the stairs or going to get the mail or going outside to check the weather. And it makes me mad because it zaps my energy. I have work to do and no energy to do it. I have due dates to hit and no endurance to trample them. Mostly, I want to stay on the couch and nap, read, write letters, and watch movies. I don't want to go to Goodwill. I don't want to go for coffee. I just want to stay motionless and hope nothing hurts.

So I will virtually stamp my feet (hurts too much to do in reality) and rant and keep crying at least once a day and know that eventually this will get better.

Because, honestly, life IS good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

12 Hours

In a little under 12 hours I will be sitting in a new doctor's office. My heart will be racing and I will be focusing on staying calm and logical. I will present my case, answer questions, most likely get examined and then, if there is any sense of justice in the world, I will be told what I should do next. I will walk (okay roll) out smiling, not crying. I will have a plan, not emptiness. I will have hope--I need hope. I will feel that relief and help is in the works.

Please. Let it happen that way. Let him have as much compassion as he does experience. Let him be as much a good human being as he is a good doctor.

Send hugs, prayers, good wishes, and thoughts. Read the rune stones, check the tarot cards, whatever is meaningful to you that these things happen.

I will report to let you know.

In just 12 very long hours.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Helpless in Oregon

Well . . .this sucks.
Did you know Australia is a long, long, long way from here? A REALLY long way?
Most of the time that is okay. Today, not so much. Today my daughter is being treated horribly by her landlord. Honestly, we are taking Norman Bates style landlord. She has gone absolutely nuts and my daughter is in the line of fire.
The woman went from a bit OCD to nuts to psychotic. She has been mean and now she has LOCKED Nicole out of the apartment. Nicole is exhausted and can't lie down and rest. She can't change clothes. She can't get to her laptop.
And guess what? I cannot do a single thing from here. Nothing. I have sent a message to her friends. I am here to help her think of what to do from here and calls to make. But I can't solve anything. I can't help. And I'm the mom, and it's my job.
Feeling helpless. And sad. And worried. And stressed. Yeah, it sucks.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


My husband has a short attention span . . . . we refer to it as 'squirreling'. Remember in the movie "Up" where the dog is talking until a squirrel runs by and then he is so distracted he can't go back to what he was doing? That is Joseph. It is most obvious when we are driving somewhere. The man is "squirreled" by all of the following:

  • cute little kids
  • jogging women
  • free stuff on the sidewalk
  • estate sale signs
  • ANY VW, but especially buses and Things
  • people wearing unusual clothing
  • women with long gray hair (loves it)
  • unusual bikes, especially the reclining ones
  • motorcycles (he sighs)
  • any car older than 1979
And I am sure there are more on the list. When Joseph sees any of these things, anything I was saying is lost. I could have been in the middle of "I am obsessed with ferrets and want to fill the house with as many as we can find" and if he sees anything on the list, I've lost him. He's looking and thinking and commenting. I usually mutter "squirrel" and then wait to see if he will return to our conversation.  Nine times out of ten, he won't. I will either have to pick back up where I left off or let it go. (It largely depends on the importance, and my mood!)

Do I find this annoying? Hell yes, I do. I roll my eyes, I sigh. I mutter. But you know what? You know what else this man does every day? 

  • Helps me get dressed because it hurts me.
  • Ties my shoes. 
  • Holds open every door. 
  • Takes out the wheelchair and puts it back in. 
  • Walks v e r y slowly since that is all I can do. 
  • Brushes and dries my hair. 
  • Kisses me and hugs me and tells me I am beautiful when I couldn't feel less so. 
  • Washes, dries and HANGS up all of my clothes so I can focus on work. 
  • Stands over with me a massager and uses it on my back for as long as I want just to get some pain relief. 
  • Tells me how wonderful I am multiple times a day. 
  • Responds to my "Thank you for loving me" with "Thank you for making it so easy."
  • Doesn't have a massive temper tantrum over the piles and piles and piles of paper in the living room. 
  • Puts out my mail and gets it for me every day because just walking to the mailbox is sometimes more than I can do. 
  • Makes me laugh when I am down and needing someone to lift me up. 
  • Makes amazing meals three times a day.
So. . . . I am thinking that, all in all, I can put up with a BUNCH of squirrels in exchange for everything else I get. Now, I just need to see how he feels about a house full of ferrets. 

And Here I Am . . Again

Why in the world can I not be as sleepy at midnight as I am in the middle of the afternoon? I battle sleepiness all afternoon, and then, when I crawl into bed, I am wide awake. I suspect that is mostly because I am more aware of pain then. It is so hard to get comfortable and I toss and turn and finally, I say screw it and up I get. So it's one a.m. and I am downstairs hoping to get sleepy.

Joseph and I are on day five of a "diet" and it's going better than ever in my life. I am actually LOVING the food I am eating and getting total satisfaction from it, which is just weird. Usually I struggle, remain hungry, and don't like most of the recipes. I don't know what is different this time around, but I sure am grateful. It makes sticking to it SO much easier. Now if the pain would just go AWAY.

Life is pretty good otherwise. Work is good, the kids are doing well in their faraway adventures, Joseph is happy. I am trying hard to be patient and wait for that doctor's appointment but wow, it isn't easy. The days just don't go quickly enough, plus I am scared that I will walk out without answers, since that is what happened with doctors 1 and 2. I feel like I will have to be a bitch to get them to LISTEN to me, and I am willing to do that if required. I just want him to take my hand, recommend what I can do to make this pain STOP, and then do it, or at least schedule to do it. The relief would be incredible.

So, back to bed in a few. A warm, welcoming husband is sleeping away there, barely aware I even left the bed. I hope curling up around him will make the rest of the world--and my body--just fade away.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Life in Limbo Land

As the days count down to my doctor's appointment, my ability to be patient (never my strong suit in the first place) is wearing thinner and thinner. Sure, I am ready to get a plan of action. Sure, I need to know how I am going to deal with this ongoing pain. But most of all . . . .I don't know what to do about work.

In my career, offers for new jobs come in on a weekly basis. I work for more than 40 companies so it is rare for a full week to go by that someone doesn't contact me and say, Hey we are starting a new project and would love for you to be part of it. It starts here and goes until there. Believe me, I've had weeks where I get three or more offers like this. It is what has made a freelancing career work for the past 15 years, and usually I love it. I love changing projects and editors and focuses and processes.

But . . right now I honestly don't know what to say. I don't want to say sure, I will do this for you, and then find out oops, I'm having surgery in the middle of it and can't follow through. I also don't want to just say no, because that drops my name on the invisible list editors have on who to call for work. Selfishly, I also don't want to commit to something right now that I can already tell is going to be very stressful for me. I have enough stress 24/7 coping with pain and keeping up with the deadlines I already have in place---I don't need more!

So I find myself stuck in limbo land. If the doctor does recommend surgery, I will be unable to work for a minimum of two weeks, and as many as a four. I am working really hard right now to get every project I have done before that could possibly happen. But I just don't know what to do with these new offers.

Grrrr. I have never been a good waiter . . . and Wednesday seems like a world away right now. I just hope I walk out with SOME answer and not more of the bullshit I got from the last guy. At least if I could have a date, I could know at which point to stop accepting new work and put people on hold.

I never was good at limbo.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Long Night

It was a good day today. I went out to eat with Joseph. I talked, via one method or another, with all three of my traveling children. I counted the days and realized Nicole will be home in less than 90. I got some work done and I cuddled on the couch with Joseph.

And yet, it is 2:30 in the morning and I am still up because I hurt too much in bed to fall asleep. I get on the edge and then move a leg and get a cramp or it just hurts enough to wake me up. And I start all over again. The bedroom is airy and fresh with open windows. My music plays softly on the pillow speakers. The blankets and pillow are familiar and comfortable. A man I absolutely adore spoons me from behind and his presence relaxes, comforts, and soothes me.

Yet, it is still not enough to allow me to let go and sleep.

I am so, so, so tired of this pain. Of fearing rolling over because I will awake either with pain or a cramp. Of never, ever, ever going to sleep and sleeping through until morning. In a few minutes, I will take a bigger pain pill and give it some time to kick in before tiptoeing back upstairs to slide into bed and try again.

How ironic it feels to be this tired of something and yet sleep eludes me. Counting the hours til March 18 and I get some answers. Thanks for putting up with the complaining in the meantime.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Letting Go

I admit it. I wasn't prepared for this. I always knew my kids would pick up and fly, but I always was looking at them in this picture. Their excitement, their adventures, their growth and experience. I didn't take time to turn around and look at me.

And now I realize, with tomorrow afternoon bringing my son's departure, that when they leave . . . they leave. And I'm still here. And now  . . I"m alone. I have a wonderful husband who I have so much fun with and adore. I have friends I enjoy meeting for coffee or lunch. But for the past 30 years, I have poured my life into these kids. I changed diapers, nursed endlessly, slept with--and walked with when not sleeping, held, soothed, encouraged, fed, read to, dressed, and watched over these children. They were my life. And now . . . . they don't need me to do any of that. They are flying away, and while I couldn't be happier for them, I have to admit I am struggling. I miss them. I really, really, really miss them.

I want to hold on and ask them please not to leave, but really, how can any mom have the right to do that? Stay home with me instead of explore the world. Come on! I know better. But just because I would never do it doesn't mean I don't want to do it.

Life is about change and adaptation. Not all of it is easy. For me, this phase is not easy. I am not one of those moms who is eager for her kids to get out and move on. I enjoy their company endlessly and when they leave, it is not just my sons and daughters leaving, but some of the closest friends I've ever had.

I will adjust. I will accept. But I wish someone had told me to prepare myself for these days. I wish someone had reminded me that when these wonderful people spread their wings, I would still be back in the nest, noticing how empty it is.

Monday, March 2, 2015

An Adult in Gresham

If I thought THOSE were baby steps, I would have been appalled to know what came next.
I got in to see the other guy the next day. I was SO pleased. Until he walked in the door. He spent 40 minutes with us telling us NOTHING. Yes, you do have these problems. If you wait one to three years, they may clear up on their own. Yes, you could have surgery if you can't take the pain any longer. "You're a grown up, so you will have to make the decision."

I know that. But GUIDANCE would have been nice. As would compassion, a sense of humor, some warmth. None were present.

He did not give me a solid answer to anything, other than quote statistics at me about risk factors. I was so frustrated that by the end of the visit, in which I had spent in a wheelchair except for the exam, I said, "Doctor . . if you wanted to give me an exam but you couldn't stand in place long enough to do it because of pain . . . if you had to take pain pills in between patients just so you could keep doing your job--would YOU have the surgery?"

There are many answers he could have given me. What he said was, "It's your decision. I can't tell you what to do."

Nor could he recommend or advise. I said should I do physical therapy? No, it will make you worse, he said. Should I have steroid shots? No, they are temporary. SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?

Oh yeah, I'm an adult, so I guess I have to figure that out on my own.

I will admit, I spent the entire day crying. I haven't cried that much and that hard in . . . years. And then I got up and made some phone calls, and I arranged to get a second opinion. Good news? Unlike the first doc, this guy is raved about by his staff and has high marks online. His front desk employee told me that he is one of the kindest men she knows. Bad news? The first appointment I could get was April 6. More than a month away. That was a tough one. I am on the cancellation list and I spend each day hoping someone won't be able to make it, and they will call.

In the meantime, I hurt 24/7. I have three to 10 cramps in my legs a day. I am worn out. But that's okay, because I'm an adult, right? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Baby Steps

So . . . saw the neurosurgeon today and while he was a pretty nice old guy, he spent more time talking about himself than talking to me. He took my history, but quit listening when I was about three quarters done. He showed me the MRI films and they were . . somewhat helpful. He only talked about one spot though, and there were several others that have been shown to be a problem. I had a sheet of questions to ask him and waited for the right moment.

He said he wanted to do an exam and put me in the exam room. He came in. He raised each leg, flexed each foot and then had me resist when he tried to push my toes. Exam done. What?!

Then he said he was retired and had sold the business to another doctor. He said he would have to see me and talk about surgical options. (He made it clear that the condition was past PT or shots being helpful. That was, at least, one step.) He then left and J and I waited for the other doctor to come in. Nope. The other doctor wasn't in the building. I was supposed to make another appointment to come back in. Sigh.

So I went to the desk and they offered me 3/16. HELL NO. Three more weeks of living in limbo? I think not. I pushed and got an appointment at the other office in 10 days. I also had them put me on the cancellation list.

So . . . progress? Baby steps? I am a terrible terrible waiter, so this is hard. But I will hang on until 3/5. Than I will go in with my list and hope to get answers and make HUGE steps instead of these baby ones. I'm too old to settle for baby steps.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Remembering to be Thankful

I have a number of friends in crisis right now. Most of them are struggling with marriage/relationship issues and my heart hurts for them. If there is a core rock in my life, something I know I can count on without fail, it is my husband. He loves and supports me and manages to make me feel beautiful when that is the last thing I am feeling. I cannot imagine coping with the things my friends are all dealing with. Infidelity. Alcoholism. Violence. Betrayal. Depression. Anger. Lying. Arguments.

I just can NOT imagine it.

I miss my children . . . but I can cope with it. This is what they are meant to be doing with their lives.

I despise my back issues . . . but I can cope with them. I will eventually get help, I am sure of it.

I adore my husband, and am grateful every single day for him. I am wishing healing and hugs and hope to all of those struggling. I hope you find the answers you need.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Want My Life Back

After jumping through countless hoops and making a ridiculous amount of phone calls, we finally got our insurance plan changed, and I got my appointment with the neurosurgeon set up. I see him next Tuesday.

Me being who I am, I have studied and researched a great deal, and I am pretty sure of what is going to happen when I see him. He is going to say you can go to physical therapy and/or get steroid shots into the spine. Neither one will cure anything. They will provide temporary relief. I want a cure. I want this back pain to go away and never, ever, come back. I am tired of not being able to stand long enough to take a shower. I am tired of having to sit in a wheelchair if I go shopping. I am tired of taking pain pills all day long. In the end--I am tired.

So if/when the doctor says surgery, chances are I will say PLEASE. I've read all about the procedures. I know the recovery time is pretty long and not without a significant amount of pain. I know it 's going to mean I will not be able to work like I usually do. But if it means I can walk around, bend, stand in line, and MOVE, I don't care.

Nicole, whenever you read this, you will need to prepare yourself for the fact that you will not likely be here if/when I have the surgery. Yes, I know how horribly difficult that will be for you, but I cannot wait until summer time, and I will NOT have you coming home early. You have jobs to go to, friends to see, places to visit, and a younger brother to host and somehow tolerate. :) Your dad will take wonderful care of me and I know we will talk often. I know you love me and this will be very difficult for you, but we've coped with worse, right?

I may go into the doctor's office next week and he will tell me surgery is not necessary. And if he can show me other ways to make the pain better, to be able to get dressed on my own, and blow dry my hair without sitting down, and not have 15 muscles spasms in my legs each night when I go to bed, then fine. Bring it on. But if surgery is the only solution, then I'm ready. Slice and dice me, baby. I want my life back.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Just Sayin

Rough afternoon. In a lot of pain and the meds make me cry. Still have to work when I want to curl up and just doze until bedtime.

Missing so many people right now. So, to those people, I want to say . . . Mom, I wish I had listened more carefully to you because now I have so many questions I want to ask. I love you and miss you every single day. You made me feel invincible and loved. Dad, you were always my hero. I miss your hugs and the sound of your voice. Jasmine, I dream of you so often and waking is painful. We love you and miss you and hope life is treating you with kindness. I have precious memories of years gone by and I cherish them. My beautiful children, I am so thrilled with your adventures, but sometimes miss you so much, I cannot breathe. I fight the selfishness in me that wants you to come back home,  but sometimes that bitch is rude and noisy. My sweet husband, your endless patience with me is life saving. I would not make it through a day without you by my side.

End of diatribe. Back to sniffling. Thanks for listenin'.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

One Lucky Woman

My husband announced to me on Wednesday that for Valentine's Day, we were going out of town. I redid my work schedule and worked hard that day and Thursday, so I was free to go away.

It was exactly what I needed from beginning to end.
If I could wish anything for my children is that they enjoy their life partner as much as I enjoy mine, especially after 32 plus years.
We saw breathtaking scenery--mountains, pine trees, the ocean--always so immense and powerful--the river, some seals, barges, and sky.
We stayed in a hotel without children--quite an experience. Watched what we wanted on TV. Read. Giggled. Talked. Cuddled. More, but that's private. :)
We ate in great restaurants--and disappointing ones. We foolishly tried to get into a restaurant Valentine's Day evening and were turned away twice. Ended up at a Denny's and it was just lovely, even though we had to wait an hour to get our food.
We explored a coastal town, my patient, patient husband pushing me most places in a wheelchair, as I would have never made it on foot. The weather was incredible for this time of year--sunny and mid 50s!
I was grateful for pain pills since they let me relax enough to have such a wonderful time. I marveled at my hubby loading and unloading the wheelchair, pushing it through the tiny aisles of stores and never once complaining. Instead, he just said it gave him more opportunity to tower above me and look down my shirt.
We went to familiar places and brand new ones. We laughed and talked and kissed and basked in how lucky we are to still be this much in love after more than three DECADES together.
We sighed over babies and longed for grandchildren.
We went to wonderful thrift stores and boring ones. I found paper (shocking), and some penguins for Evan (as always), and gifts to send to penpals. I paid too much for special cards to send to Nicole.
We had a slightly harrowing ride home--the roads back from the coast are very windy, and dark, surrounded by towering pine trees and changing elevation every few minutes. Our new van, Ruby,performed perfectly, but vision was hampered by something on the windshield, as well as patches of fog. I stayed awake and made sure to help J with at least a second set of eyes and help when needed.
It was, without a doubt, the perfect, perfect, perfect getaway. The best Valentine's Day present . . . . probably ever. Although we were only gone 36 hours, they were precious hours and I return one happy, lucky woman.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I am. . . ..

My mind is busy with various and sundry details this morning.

I am worrying a great deal about Caspian. He is sick and I can not do a thing about it from here other than talk to him on the phone and give him some suggestions. I am eager to talk to him today and find out how he is. I sure hope better. Last night was a very long night for him. I slept with my phone, just in case.

I am happy and excited for Nicole. She was in a tough spot for a few weeks but life is smoothing out for her now and everything is working out for the best. She has extended her stay (@(#*)#%*()#)__!) but that just means she is happy enough to stay there, and that is a blessing.

I am highly amused by Coryn. He has six days of work left and then a few days before he heads off to New Zealand. He already got a new haircut and is trying to decide what color to dye it before leaving. He is getting more and more excited and packing as many activities in those remaining days as he can. Of course, I would mostly prefer he spent those days right here so I can hug him at will and look over and see my last remaining kid sitting on the couch. I know he will fill  this time with friends though--and that is just fine. Today he is taking the GED and I know he's worried.

I am madly in love with my husband. He has proven again and again and again how much he loves me and treats me unlimited tenderness. Time laughing and talking and cuddling and being with him is wonderful. Boy did I make a great choice 32 plus years ago. He is a tolerant man with depths of kindness and integrity that I've never seen in any one else.

I am frustrated as hell with my body. Ten minutes of walking around picking up some laundry, stacking papers, taping up a box to send out and I am in so much pain, I have to sit down and recover. It sure does not do much for a person's motivation (or self esteem). I know I need to move and use muscles, but when it hurts so much so quickly, it ain't easy. Having an answer and reasons why it hurts this much is amazing and I am so grateful for that. But living with it . . it's hard. Keeping up with work is harder. Keeping a smile on my face . . . sometimes simply impossible.

So that's me right now. I am . . . keepin' on keepin' on.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


My life is doing some major transitioning right now and while I am pleased for the causes behind it, the actual day to day life of it is hard. Of course, the fact that I'm in pain about 80 percent of my waking hours doesn't help. I have THE most supportive husband in the world. Every day he helps me get dressed, rents and returns a wheelchair depending on how I am feeling, and manages to even make pushing me around in the thing fun.

I guess I am realizing that I am moving into a new stage of life and I am not sure I am ready to give up the one I was in. So much of who I am is a mother. For the past 30 years, I have focused on raising kids with all of the love, wisdom, compassion, patience, and sense of humor I could. Suddenly, they are all . . . grown. They are spreading those wings Joseph and I tried to nurture and using them to explore their lives and their world. I could NOT be happier or prouder.  I also feel utterly superfluous.

On the other hand, I miss them so much that sometimes it is hard to breathe. I miss Caspian's astounding hugs and his ability to walk through the room, know that I was struggling and stop to talk to me. I miss his ability to ask wonderful questions and really care about my answers. Coryn will leave in a matter of weeks, and I will miss his wit and charm and lack of humility. I will miss his ability to make me laugh and the sight of his smile. And Nicole . . . my darlin girl . . . I couldn't list all the ways I miss her. How I can want so much for her and still the idea that she isn't coming back for months and months . . . it takes some adjusting. Okay, a lot of adjustment.

So much of who I am is MOM and suddenly that part is having to just take a quiet seat in the back. I'm still wife, thank goodness, and writer. (I gave up being daughter years ago, damn it.) And there is this sense of . . . . abandonment, as I was talking to Amimental about. This feeling of wait a minute . . . . where did everyone go? And why am I still sitting here? As Ami pointed out, since I work from home, it may also be harder. The house is so much quieter and I am spending more time alone right now than almost any time in my life.

I am utterly thrilled with the pathways my children are taking. I am proud and excited and happy. I am also, I know, in mourning at what stage of my life is ending. I am sure the next stage will be wonderful, but this in between stuff? It sucks.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Explanations at Last

I have my answers==or at least a part of them. It took pushing for an MRI and having to pay for it out of pocket. (Tears added in for free) But, in the end, going through the report, I felt vindicated. I didn't share these results with the world, i.e. Facebook, but am putting them here for those 22 who follow my blog.
According to the results, I have bulging discs at nine levels--which in and of itself, is not that surprising. Everyone over the age of 40 has a few bulging discs. However, these are bulging inward, not outward as most do, and compressing a bunch of nerves, as well as narrowing the spinal canal itself. One of the discs ruptured some time ago (see horrendous pain in September . . ). Add in some arthritis and indications of chronic hip bursitis (with a dollop of gout now and then to keep me from getting too complacent) and it is clear that yes, I am in a lot of pain and not everything is functioning as it should be. Oh and yes, standing is one of the worst things I can do, hence canes, walkers and the occasional wheelchair.
Now comes the next phase--getting into the neurosurgeon for him to look at the MRI results and say (1) live with it, (2) get physical therapy, (3) let's try some steroid injections, or (4) time for surgery. Just getting the appointment is proving a challenge--wrong insurance company and all of that, but I am getting that figured out slowly by surely, as my Dad would have said. Then I can have a plan of what to do next.
Right now I take my meds, and . . . honestly, cry a lot. The pain levels have been nuts and they drain me, they really do. I find myself losing endurance for work assignments and just wanting to stay home and stay quiet. Even haunting Goodwills, my favorite past time, wears me out. Using a walker helps, but it is tiring too--especially on the arms.
Okay, enough whining--or as they say in Australia, according to my girl, WHINGING.
My kids are great--Nicole is doing well in Oz, Caspian is thriving after his first month in Connecticut, and Coryn leaves in just under a month for New Zealand. Ha--go now kids--before your discs begin to bulge. Snicker.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


I went to bed late last night--about 1 a.m. I hurt too much to sleep, despite the pain meds I took, so I did a lot of tossing and turning and NOT sleeping for an hour. Then, my sweet husband woke enough to realize I wasn't resting and he worked with my back and hip long enough to really give me some relief. I went right to sleep . . only to wake at 4:30 when the alarm goes off to take Coryn to work. I fell back asleep, and woke an hour later when Joseph returned and crawled back into bed. Sigh. Then, at 6:45 I got a charlie horse. MEAN, just mean. So I got up and walked (limped) it off. (It was, of course, in the "good" leg so now they both hurt). GRRRRRR. Crawled back into bed and snuggled up, ready to at least sleep another two hours. At which point, my husband began to snore, even after I had him turn over. Tried putting on my headband speakers and couldn't get the CD player to work.

So it is now 7:30 and I am up with about 4 hours of sleep tops.
I promise the posts will get happier soon--I'm just so damn tired.