Pain is Fear Leaving The Body

The therapist raised the table up so that she could slowly jerk my stiff ankle from side to side. It didn’t hurt, but the sensation was definitely uncomfortable. When she was done, she pushed her fingers into the outer ankle bone and lifted it up for a few seconds at a time. The pain I felt was on the inside ankle bone. It was excruciating and I cried out. Amelia asked if she should stop, but I told her no, that pain was needed to heal. She then palpated the inner ankle bone and I felt the tendons crack. When she was done, she shook my ankle from side to side again. It felt good, even though I knew it would ache a few hours later. Physical therapy is a special kind of torture that needs to be administered in order to heal. Now that the ache of it has finally settled in, I must remember that this pain is merely fear leaving my body……

Meggie called during her lunch break and asked me how I was doing. I explained that my ankle ached and I was bitchy because of the pain. Her comment was she didn’t feel sorry for me since all she’d been doing is throwing up for the last 3.5 months. Yes, my lovely daughter is going to make me a grandma in June. That gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed wild fire that I gave birth to 24 years ago is going to grace us with another living soul to walk this planet. So how can I complain about learning to walk again, while she’s growing a new life within her body?

We hung up while she let her dogs out and hoped they’d come in quickly so she’d get a chance to take a good nap with all three of her Huskies. I latched the leash on Eddie the Rat and took him outside, and he lifted his legs on the bushes just outside my apartment entrance. Because of the pain, I couldn’t walk very far, so we headed back inside. My text alert went off and I entered my password into my phone. Meggie informed me that she’d thrown up before she could get the dogs outside. I replied that I was so sorry and wished there was something I could do to help her. Unfortunately I couldn’t but she knows if I could, I would. After all, I am her mother. And what mother doesn’t want to take care of their child, no matter what age they are.

Meg’s final text to me told me that she was going to take a nap. I told her I was going to wrap Christmas presents. I hate shopping, and I’m not very fond of Christmas, but I figured while I still had my gym shoes and brace on, I better get as much wrapping done as I could. I knew the pain from my therapy session would settle in before too long, and the tears would flow.

My friend Lori has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her battle is much more in depth than mine, because her’s is for her life. While mine is for the chance to be able to not walk with a limp. I watch Lori’s battle closely and I cheer her on every single damn day. I know she has watched my battle closely and though she’s got her own fight, she cheers me on. I’ll fight for my chance to walk without pain. But I’ll fight for Lori too. And I’ll also fight for Megan’s struggle too. We are in our own kind of pain. We can’t discount the hurt. We can only fight through it.

The Coffee Date

It was a nippy 35 degrees when I finally woke up at the not so early hour of 9:15 am. I know I’m a lazy one, but in my defense I did wake up at 3:00 am to add another blanket to my bed. Believe me, it was all I could do to crawl out from under the semi warmth of my zebra print comforter to fish around in my closet for another blanket and then scurry back into bed. The effort was well worth it though. Of course then the night sweats started, but that’s another story all together. Such are the joys of being 46 and in pre-menopause. Good Lord, but do I digress!

As I stated in my first sentence I finally woke up at 9:15 am. Cinders, my cranky yellow eyed black cat sang me the song of her hunger as I hopped on one foot into my wheelchair. Clad in a purple tank shirt and yellow boy shorts I expertly turned my chair around and headed out of my bedroom to turn up the thermostat. With Cinders following close behind I headed to my sliding glass door and opened the blinds. The sunlight poured over and warmed me while I waited for the heat to kick on. Cinders got hit with it too and rolled over on her belly, her hungry talk silenced for a moment or two by sweet sunshine.

Seated in my wheelchair, I watched as a black Ford Focus pulled up and stopped behind the cars in the parking lot. A woman carrying a cup of Joe from Starbucks stepped from the car and closed the door. As she began to walk to her apartment door entrance, the gentleman she was with stepped from his door and asked her to stop. He walked to her as she turned around, and he gave her a warm hug. His face was lit with a smile so genuine it made my heart skip a little faster. I could hear her laughter as they hugged each other. He leaned his head in and he kissed her. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and held him tighter before they kissed again.

Their parting conversation wasn’t clear but you could tell it was jovial and warm, even as they stood outside in the cold morning. As he drove away, and she entered her apartment building, I knew that’s what I wanted someday, a coffee date, a kiss from a nice man, and a smile from him to light up my otherwise ordinary Sunday. I’m hopeful that in time it will happen.

 

Blessings from my Sister

Practical_Magic_024

Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there’s a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon. –Practical Magic

Sis and I were never close, but it wasn’t from my lack of trying. We were just too different, she and I. I was the Black Sheep, and she was the perfect one. Sure, I was smart, but she had the drive to get good grades. I was in school for the social aspect of it. Sis ran with the right crowd, but I ran with the wild crowd. I drank, smoked cigarettes and weed. Hell, she was even a cheerleader.

Our weddings were within three months of each other. They were over 25 years ago, so I don’t remember much. However, I do recall spilled champagne on my bridesmaids dress, dancing with my future husband and dirty dancing to the song, “Time of my Life”. I remember that Sis looked beautiful, like she always did. Where I was curvy, and what I perceived as ugly,  she was neither of those things. To me she was perfect; athletic, smart, popular, beautiful, driven, and the list goes on and on.

She and I raised our kids differently. I was the free spirited mom that gave my children room, but reigned them in when necessary. She was the stricter mom, that enforced rules and gave lectures. Our children turned out to be pretty damn great adults, so who’s to say which of our parenting skills was better.

Throughout the years, she divorced and remarried. She had a couple more kids while her older two were teenagers. Our oldest ones were all born within a few years of each other and it was fun to watch them all grow and change, and achieve. Sis and I were blood, but we never crossed over to being friends. Then I decided after 24 years of marriage to divorce Roger Darling, and she became my strongest supporter.

I finally let go of what I perceived were our differences, and let her in. Sis has been there for me when I’ve been at my lowest. She has gotten my groceries and run my errands while I was laid up from a major car accident last March. She has on more than one occasion yelled at me and told me to get my head on straight now that I’m walking again. We’ve learned we can lean on each other, no matter how different we are.

She’s my sister and now my friend. I don’t know if we’d ever be able to live together, but I’m proud to say she’s one of my loudest cheerleaders. Who knew those skills of hers would come in handy all these years later?

Can love really travel back in time and heal a broken heart? Was it our joined hands that finally lifted Maria’s curse? I’d like to think so. But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.-Practical Magic


Four Little Children

Tom my new friend and taxi driver, dropped me off this morning at Domino’s Farms for my Pre-Op appointment. Once there, I checked in, completed forms. Next, I was poked and prodded. I sat in the lobby and waited for the physician’s assistant to explain the surgical process to me. In two weeks, hardware that held my ravaged then rebuilt ankle will be removed. Tendons will be unwrapped from freshly healed bone in hopes that it will alleviate some of my chronic pain. I am tough, but I am scared. I am scared, but I am strong. I pick up my phone and the heat from my fingertips bring it to life. As I begin to play a game I mutter in frustration, “I’m so fucking tired of this injury sucking the marrow out of my very existence.”  

I’m an observational writer. Two and a half years ago I would have laughed if you’d said such a thing. Most of my young and adult life, with the help of ADHD, OCD, married life, parenting, and plain old rushing around, I couldn’t observe more than five things at once. Once I realized that my dream was to observe and write about it, I couldn’t stop. Life was a rush. I was constantly stimulated, and inspired. I say passionate, everyone else in my life said I was obsessed.

This morning, as the lives diminished in my game, I remembered who and what I was.  Placing my phone in my purse, I began watching four little children. One boy and three girls ran wild up and down the hill outside in front of Lobby C. The girls, ranged in age from 8-11, and wore short skirts with little shirts. Their feet were clad in sandals and their long blonde hair whipped around their faces as they ran. The little boy, about 7 was clad in shorts, t-shirt and black flip flops. He ran up and down that hill, faster than his sisters did. He didn’t seem to care that  he lost his shoes in the process.

The oldest girl walked away from her siblings to stand in the stone and ivy garden. The foliage and ceramic toadstools made her look a bit like Alice when she spoke to a hookah smoking caterpillar in Wonderland. Her young charges continued to run up that hill, around the tree at the top and back down.  I’m sure if there wasn’t concrete at the bottom of that hill, they would have rolled down it. Staining their knees and elbows green, as their little brother lost his shoes again.

I sat in a comfy armchair inside, but I wanted to run with them. I wanted to walk on stick thin legs made tan by the summer sun. I wanted to be the young girl standing in the ivy garden that looked like Alice. I wouldn’t have even minded being the little boy that lost his shoes as I jumped to touch the arbor at the entrance of Lobby C.

I don’t wish to go back to that age, but I do wish I could let the wind whip my hair as I run. And to feel confident that when I run, there wouldn’t be pain. I want to suck the marrow out of life again. Maybe after this next surgery, I will.

A Crack in the Pavement

Eddie Playing in Puddles

A dog is the only thing in the world that loves you more than he loves himself.-Josh Billings

Eddie, my five month old Rat Terrier played in the puddles as the storm clouds overhead broke open and poured down on him. He’s not one to enjoy the chaos of a late summer thunderstorm like I do, but that puddle had him entranced. There he stood, in at least two inches of water, and scooted a leaf across it with his nose. He then touched it gingerly with his right paw and watched with fascination as it dipped below the surface. Flecks of dirt floated across the yellow and waterlogged leaf as Eddie tried to get it to float back to the top. He snuffled water into his nostrils and sneezed. The velocity of that sneeze blew across the puddle, and caused a rippling effect. It drew my puppy’s attention away from the drowned leaf, and on to a stick that was caught in a weed growing out of a crack in the pavement.

I stood there, umbrella in hand, watching my little black and white monster, while I grinned like an idiot. I swear to you if the water had been deep enough, Eddie would have rolled over on his back and tried to shuck shells open like otters do. His fur was drenched, but he didn’t seem to mind. He dug around every square inch of that five foot wide puddle, searching for treasures only a dog could love. A leaf, stick, flecks of dirt, a piece of stone, or something else that he could chew on; or maybe he’d dance around his bounty. Why he feels the need to do a happy dance, I’ve no idea. But it sure is fun to watch!

The rain came down, as thunder rumbled above us. Eddie raised his head and his pointed ears soaked up the sound. For all of two seconds, he was on high alert for impending trouble. Then he bent over and stuck his nose into a small crater in the sidewalk. He lapped the water into his mouth, and I caught a glimpse of what it must have been like for him when he’d been abandoned. He probably had to survive on rain water, and whatever scraps of food he could find. A thimbleful of water from a drying puddle may have been all he’d been able to scrounge up while he sought shelter in an abandoned building.

How lucky I am he was rescued. How lucky we are to have each other! He keeps me motivated to keep walking, when the pain gets to be too much. Eddie nourishes me with unconditional love and is non-judgmental. I nourish him with food and water, far too many toys and a love that knows no bounds.

Next summer, I’m taking Eddie the Rat swimming. I really want to see if he’ll swim on his back and shuck shells like an otter. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see?!