End of An Ordeal, and a View of The Real Heroes

i’m back. What an ordeal.

I had the epidural on Wednesday a few weeks ago. I was feeling a little better each day for about 10 days. Then, in the ealy morning hours of Sunday night, I woke in excruciating pain. I had taken a Tramadol before I went to bed on Sunday. When I woke up at 3 AM I took another, since it was the only heavy duty pain killers I had in my possession. When I woke again at 8 AM, in just as much pain,I took another. I proceeded to get nauseous and pretty soon was sick to my stomach. Over and over. Meanwhile I could barely make it from my bed to the bathroom, maybe 10 steps. Trying to get back was another thing all together. My thigh just went out from under me, and I collapsed on the bathroom floor, right on the parts of me that hurt so badly. Thank God, Dan was there. He got me up, I walked with his help to the bed, where I couldn’t get back on it. He lifted me onto the bed since my left leg had become useless. At some point, I fell again. Got up with his help.

Finally, I realized I needed to be in the hospital. I couldn’t do anything for myself. Nothing. I called an ambulance. Dan would have taken me, but I couldn’t walk into the hospital. Walking was by now out of the question. The pain was excruciating. Since I was sick to my stomach, I couldn’t take any more pain killers. I thought I was dying. It was undoubtedly the worst I’d ever felt in my life. Dan helped me get some decent pajamas on, that I could wear to the hospital, he packed a small bag with my med, my kindle, a comb. The EMT’s came, got all the info, and helped me get on the transport to go in the ambulance. 10 or 15 minutes later I was at the hospital being admitted in Emergency. Still throwing up. And almost delirious from the pain I was in.

They were wonderful. The first thing they did was give me an IV and hit me with some Dilauded, and some anti-nausea medication. I could have kissed them. Instantly, after I got the Dilauded, the pain was gone. I was conscious, but so groggy. They got me into a room. Then got me in the queue for an MRI. It was 5 PM when the ambulance picked me up, it was about 1 AM when I finally got the MRI. They were busy.

I want to say, I waited about going to the hospital. Most people know we have a terrible COVID problem here. I was afraid to go, for one thing, and feeling guilty about taking a bed up for another. I mentioned this to the nurse who was escorting me to the MRI. He said, “Look, you are a definite hospital patient. You are not a home patient. You have to be here. And don’t worry, we have plenty of beds.” As it turned out the COVID patients are kept entirely separate from the rest of the population. They came in every day and sanitized my room completely. I never felt unsafe there. They also gave me a COVID test when I got there, which was negative.

The next day, Tuesday, I met the hospital neurosurgeon. He was nothing short of fabulous. He asked what “they” told me was wrong with me. I told him, “spinal stenosis.” He kind of rolled his eyes and said, “You have a LOT of stuff going on in there. But the thing causing all your pain is a couple pieces of broken bone, or vertebrae which have lodged behind L3 and L4 and are rubbing against the nerves in your spinal column.” He then told me he could make a small incision along my spine, pull back the ligaments and nerves, and fish the broken pieces out. Not for a second did he make me feel unsure that he could do it. He knew he could fix me and conveyed that to me. That within days of the surgery I would be feeling way better. I asked when he could do it, expecting him to say, next week…two weeks… He though about it for a moment, and said, “How about Thursday.”

If I could have jumped for joy I would have. Two days, and he’d have me fixed. OMG. There was hope at the end of this 6 months of struggle. I can’t believe the euphoria I felt just having a real answer, and a real solution.

So Thursday morning they wheeled me to the OR. The surgery was scheduled for 10:30, and started right on time. He had guestimated it would tak an hour and a half, and another half hour before and after for the anesthetic So that’s 2 ½ hours, I expected to wake about 1PM. When I woke it was 2:30. When I saw the dr I asked if he got both pieces out. He said, “You had a LOT more than 2 pieces in there. I must have pulled out 6 or 7 pieces of bone. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spine with so many bone framents in it.”

So that’s why it took 4 hours. And why I was in so much pain.

But even by that night I felt better, with pain levels way down. Not to mention they were giving me hydrocodone, something called Torodol, and another nerve pain drug, every 4 hours. However, I had never felt this much relief before the surgery.

I loved the fact that at the hospital, when you are in pain, they just give you something for it. I was so sick of hassling over getting pain meds, especially when I found out how much damage there was to my spine. And still when I went home, they only gave me 3 days worth of pain med, which I am rationing out because I’m afraid I am going to run out. However, not so worried about it now that I’ve been home a couple days, and feel better each day. Today, I got up from the recliner for the first time by myself. Which is HUGE. It means I can go to the bathroom without assistance. I can go to get dressed. I can get into the kitchen. And most f all, I don’t have much pain.

6 months I have been in agony. And in 5 days at the hospital, I was fixed. Finally, I’m on the right road, got the right people helping me, and I am getting my life back

Couldn’t be more grateful. Or happy. Euphoric, really. And blessed. So many many people checked on me from Iowa to Connecticut to Florida. My sisters, my friends, all checking in on me, making me laugh. Keeping me from feeling alone. , remember, we are in the time of Corona. No one can come see you once you go through those emergency doors you are alone, except for the competence of the wonderful hospital staff caring for you. I tried to tell them all how much I appreciated what they were doing, like firemen running into the burning building, they are going into the fire of COVID every day, with a smile on their face, working 12-13 hour shifts, never making you feel like you’re a burden. They ARE heroes. For Sure.

And then there’s Daniel, without whom I’d have been lost. Who has cared for me wonderfully, been there for me every step of the way. Still I lean on him, still he stands by me, straight and strong. I love him so much.

So I’m back, at least for now. Thanks for reading this, and sticking with me. Love and light to all.

The Epidural and Other Updates

A week ago, I got the epidural, the injection of yet more cortisone into my spine. We had to be there at 8, so I asked Dan to spend the night so it would be easier to get there in the morning. Which he did, without complaint.

We got there on time, but he was not allowed into the waiting room, due to the virus. It would have been less nerve-wracking if he’d been allowed to sit with me. But I get it. No more people than necessary in the surgical center. They took me in promptly at 9 AM. A nurse began setting up an IV in the back of my right hand. Since I was only there for an epidural, I asked what the IV was for.

“To sedate you.” “Really? I replied because I didn’t feel nervous at all. But apparently I was not reading my body well because my blood pressure, usually in the low range was up over 170, and I don’t know what the diastolic number was, because the 170 freaked me out a little. I told her I guessed it was high from the pain since I’d taken no pain meds that morning. No acetaminophen, or anything. She thought I was nervous. Anyway, the nurse couldn’t find the vein in the back of my right hand, so she taped it off and went to find someone else to try my left hand. The next nurse got it in. I asked what they were giving me to sedate me, and the nurse said she didn’t really know but probably some drug I’d never heard of and maybe some fentanyl. I was like really? Fentanyl? For an epidural? I didn’t question it aloud, but still it seemed overkill to me.

At any rate, they wheeled me into the room where the procedure would be done. I saw my dr on the way there and barely recognized him because he was in, obviously, full PPE. I’d had to strip down and put on one of those horrible hospital gowns, “Open in the back…” Then I had to roll onto another bed, which caused the “gown” to slide off my ass. Lovely. Just what I wanted to do was have my backside exposed in front of the 3 or 4 young men in this room, 20 or 30 somethings, who were there to help me get onto the other bed, and on my stomach, and hurt a lot. Rolling over is a problem for me, or was, at the moment.

They then begin scrubbing my back down with some betadine solution, I think. Or iodine. They asked if I had an allergy to iodine. No…. They wiped it clean, I guess, since I couldn’t see I can’t be sure. I’m guessing they put a topical solution on me then, and began inserting the needle, which I could not tell you if it was huge or not. Gratefully, I never saw it. He put it in a few times, and I could feel it, so I wasn’t that sedated. It hurt. But of course it did, and I was still hopeful for a good result. In a matter of minutes, they were getting me back onto the first bed, covering me with nice warm sheets or maybe a flannel blanket. Again, my BP was really high so I laid in the post-op room for a long bit, til they could see the BP coming down. The male nurse got me a small can of ginger ale, and asked me how I felt. Was I nauseous? In pain? I said, actually, I just want to go to sleep, since I hadn’t slept much the night before. By 10 AM he was having me sign a bunch of release documents, and then I got dressed. He had taken the IV out, and bandaged it. I looked down and the bandage had slipped down my arm, and a huge bruise of purple and red and blue was forming on the back of my hand. All swollen up. I got his attention and said, “I think you need to put this on again.” When he saw it I watched alarm flicker across his professional face. He said he was going to go get an ice pack, but re-wrapped it first.

Can anyone tell me why they needed to do the IV in my hand? I know I bumped it a few times trying to get rolled over, feeling like a beached whale in my inability to turn over, which is probably why when he took it out it bled under the skin. But now, eve a week later, it looks like I punched someone. It’s not like they tried for my arm and couldn’t. I was not in a place in my head where I was going to question what they did, so I still just wonder.

Dan was out in the parking lot, and when he saw me at the front door (I was trying to call him) he came over and got me, why the nurse stayed with me til I was safely in the car. He’d had nothing to eat all morning, thinking I might want to go with him. And I’d have loved to. But just couldn’t.

I was now in some pain on the way home, but nothing compared to how I felt all afternoon, until about 4 PM. Just wanted to lay on the couch and sleep, not move and pray that I would eventually feel better. Dan made sure I was comfortable, had everything I needed, then went home. Because, what was he going to do, sit there and watch me sleep? But at 3 or 4 I got up to go to the bathroom and walk into the kitchen (which has been a chore for months) and realized I actually was feeling better. Pain levels were down considerably.

YAYAY.

I got a bite to eat shortly after that. Marveling at how much better I felt. While still in pain, the edge was off. I was not as bent over as I had been in the morning. I went to bed that night still with the hydrocodone, and my trusty Indica vape by my bed. I spoke to Dan at some point that evening, and he was happy to hear that I felt a little better.

Thursday and Friday, I felt a lot better. It was so awesome. I felt SOOO good that I decided to vacuum my living room on Friday. I mean, hey….it’s just pushing the vac around a not very big room. Big mistake….OMG. I had fired up my SI joint (one of many things this spinal stenosis caused pain in) and was once again in deep pain. The rest of Friday, and Saturday. I walked around, and sat around with an icepack on my back, and one on my SI muscle in the front. And mostly I just sat in the recliner with the icepacks

Later in the day Saturday, Dan called and wanted to know what I’d want to eat, if I could order food from anywhere. “Pia’s” I said, without hesitation. It’s our favorite restaurant in town here, with really good Italian fare, like lasagna made with their super thick rich bolognese sauce. Anyway, that was all he needed to hear. He came over that afternoon, and at dinnertime, with a take out bag from Pia’s So so good. We even had a glass of wine with it, because by dinner the SI joint pain was easing somewhat.

Sunday my writer’s group, Hypatia, had our monthly zoom meeting. A couple people couldn’t make it, and only 3 had written anything, so it was a short meeting, and I was grateful for that. I felt a little better, but it’s such slow going.

Monday, I ordered groceries from Instacart. And I canceled for the 3rd time my appointment to get a back brace fitted, because of the logistics of parking the car and getting into the building. Gotta wait until I can actually walk more than 30 steps. Tuesday 3 of my girlfriends came over for coffee in the morning for a couple hours. The visit was shortened by a pop-up thunderboomer, but it was lovely to see them. Dan came in the afternoon, and we talked, had dinner, played cards.

Now, today, 10 days later, I have decided I am slowly improving. The improvement is made in small increments. The biggest difference, to me, is that at night when the pain was always the worst, I can lie on the couch with NO pain. That’s a HUGE improvement. I’m still on an ice pack, but taking less Tylenol. And last night….I skipped taking the opiate, they have only given me 7 more, and that’s the end of it, so I wanted to see if I could sleep without it. I felt I could because I really had no pain, once I got into bed.

Of course, I didn’t go to sleep, lol. Not even with my trusty vape. So around 1 AM I took an Ambien, and some ibuprofen, and guess that I slept fitfully for a couple hours. At 4 AM I got up and got an icepack, laid it on my hip and fell asleep until 7:30. So, not too bad for my first night without a real pain killer.

I’m happy with my progress so far. I mean, yeah, there’s a long way to go, but first I needed to get the pain under control. Next, I need to be able to walk, say, through the grocery store. Maybe down to my friend’s house 3 door down. Anything to not feel so confined to this tiny 900 sq. ft. house, with its tiny yard. Don’t get me wrong, I love my house. But not 24/7/365. For months it’s all I have seen except for the inside of a doctor’s office, or occasionally Dan’s house, though that’s been about 6 or 8 weeks. And of course, I’m home all the time not just because I have this ailment. It’s also the damn virus, which while it’s better here, has a long way to go. Yeah, we were down to 5,800 new cases. Ridiculously high, but way better than 10,000, 12,000, or even 15,000. I think we still lead the nation in daily new cases though. So, even if my health were perfect, I wouldn’t be going out, except maybe to the beach. Missing the beach. I haven’t been in ages. I actually enjoy it in the summer when the beach is basically empty. And the water is so warm. Maybe soon, maybe soon.

So, all in all, I’m hopeful. The pain is not gone, I still can’t walk far, but I can walk farther, at least today. I made it out to my mailbox this morning, a distance of 30′ to 40’. I have a dr appointment on Wednesday afternoon, so he can evaluate the success of the epidural. Personally, I think I’ll need another, or something anyway because my hip joint and SI joint still hurt. And I still cannot walk far without pain. I am using the pain meds sparingly because he has told me I won’t get more. He said I didn’t need more, because I’m better. Which is ridiculous as far as I’m concerned, since I’m still in significant pain. Not as bad as I was, but still….If my pain level was a 9 out of 10, and now it’s at a 6 or 7. it’s still significant. And I still need help with it.

Daniel has started to be grouchy, and irritable in the last few days, for no real cause except he is not sleeping well, but he never sleeps well. I get that he feels slightly put upon because he is helping his mother, brother and me. But it’s a choice he made, and he doesn’t have to do anything for me, except drive me to the dr, and even that I can do for myself is week. So….I haven’t seen him in about 3 days, except to talk to him on Facetime. But the conversation always ends up with politics, which we differ on a lot and which I hate discussing because seriously I have so little interest in it. I don’t want to see him as long as he’s in this mood. He’s been good to me, I get he’s sick of it, but I have no choice regarding my ability to do anything, and no one is sicker than me of it.

The only thing I am really upset about with politics is that I am so pissed off at 45 about the USPS antics. I never in my life expected to have a president who is absolutely determined to disenfranchise as many voters as he can. And to not give a damn if they have to stand in line in a pandemic. I’m getting a mail-in ballot but will take it to the polling station near my house and put it in the dropbox they have there.

Well, there you have it, the complete update, lol. I hope everyone is healthy, safe, and happy.

A Little Self-Pity, A Lot of Gratitude, and a Hurricane in Case You Are Bored and Live Down here.

Here I sit, on my deck, with an ice pack on my back, still.  It’s  Saturday, so there is not much sound except for the birds, and the low hum of air conditioners from around the neighborhood.

Every day I awaken around 4 AM, which I guess is about the time the pain killer I took the night before stops being effective.  Sometimes I go into the kitchen then and get an icepack to help me get back to sleep for another hour or two.  Sometimes, I just need to move a little, and can then avoid the trek to the kitchen in the dark.  Once I finally get up, between 5:30 and 6:30, I hobble to the kitchen and sit down in a chair because that 20 ft is about as much as I can take.  I pull a chair over to the freezer, which gratefully is on the bottom of my fridge, and get a nice cold icepack, put it against the back of a kitchen chair, and lean against it, until I am able to stand up for a short time without too much pain.

It’s a real process, for me to get to a point where I can make coffee, or get a bowl of fruit.  Then I sit and read Apple News, and Facebook and try not to move off the icepack for a good hour or so.  I move out onto the deck when I am able, which was about 8 am today.

This Wednesday I am scheduled for an epidural and I am praying that it helps.  Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 of these shots.  But I’m hopeful that I may be able to walk more, and better, after this shot.  I have to go to a surgical center to get it.  The appointment is for 9, which I’m guessing will mean I need to be there before 8 am.  If it allows me to begin to get back to my normal life I will be so happy.  When I first started with this problem, it was March. Now its 5 months later. I never expected to still be dealing with it now.

I’ve found myself getting a little depressed lately. I have to say it’s not a state I’m familiar with, really. Nor do I want to become too familiar with it. But the inability to just do simple things gets to me at times. Sometimes I press on, because I just get sick of telling myself things like “no, don’t change your sheets, it will hurt.” Because I did that the other day, a little at a time. Pull off a sheet, rest my back. Pull off another rest my back. Put another on and (this is the killer) tuck it in at the bottom, which you all know means lifting the mattress a few inches. I did this. I thought I was ok. I thought I’d rested enough during that process to not screw myself.

I was wrong. By late in the day I was dying. Walking bent over like I was 100 years old. “Fuck” I said to myself. “You shouldn’t have done the sheets.” Imagine, I cannot change my sheets without someone to help me. So, between my inability to do much for myself, combined with searing pain, I fell into a sad and tearful state until I went to bed and took another hydrocodone. Since I only got 7 of them I only take one at night. It allows me to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep, and then I can usually get one or two more hours if I’m lucky. I am also grateful that I have a medical marijuana card, because marijuana really helps me to deal with the pain. It doesn’t stop it, but it removes it from front and center of my brain so I can rest, and sleep.

I miss going to the beach. Usually, in summer the beaches are not crowded at all down here because it’s just too hot. I don’t go, because I can’t walk from the parking lot to the beach, maybe 500’ or so. I miss seeing my friends at the open mics around town. And lots more stuff. We all do.

I’m so sick of it all. Of the pain, of needing pain meds, of the side effects of the drugs, and of COVID-19. I allow myself a bit of self-pity on those days.

But not for long. I just can’t. I feel sorry for myself, and then remember that this week my girlfriends came over and social distanced with me on my deck. My sister came up for a visit and brought me the best lunch of grilled salmon and a salad. One of my friends offered to take my garbage to the street and bring it back on garbage day (she lives a few houses down from me). And then there’s Daniel, who texted me one night last week to tell me he’d ordered a pizza for me, to be delivered about 6:30. He knew I was wanting pizza and in this small town, there is only one place that delivers, and their pizza sucks. But he ordered it from a restaurant a few miles away, and it was pretty good, even though they messed up the order. And there is my son with whom I talk usually multiple times a day so that even if I can’t see him, I feel like I am part of his life.

I have a lot of blessings for which I’m so grateful.

The morning this morning is beautiful.  Not a cloud in the sky. It’s hot, but not too hot yet to sit outside There’s a gentle breeze out of the east. A half dozen butterflies are flitting around. The geckos are racing around the deck and the yard. It’s lovely.

However, this peacefulness is, by all forecasts, going to be interrupted this weekend by a hurricane. It will mostly stay on the east coast of Florida, and the Bahamas, but you never know where a hurricane is really going to go. And it could mean power outages and flooding here, despite the assurances we are presently getting that we won’t get a lot of rain. Just seems like we have enough crap going on, did we really need a hurricane too? Well of course, no one NEEDS a hurricane, but geez 2020, haven’t you given us enough obstacles this year? I hope everyone stays safe.

I guess that’s what we are all wishing for isn’t it? Safe from COVID, safe from hurricanes, safe from leaders who don’t lead, but spread fear, and hate. Maybe that’s 2020’s lesson, to teach us all to care for and about each other in broader terms than we’ve ever done before.

Here’s hoping that love and light find you, every day.

Some Random Musings

What to do today? Hmmm. I’m home alone, as usual, and feeling a little bored with all my regular diversions, which are reading, writing, coloring, and watching tv. Yesterday I made some brownies. I meant to have Dan take some home with him when he came over to have dinner with me last night. And I forgot to tell him to take some. He came with shrimp and homemade baked beans. He bought a new tool to devein the shrimp with, which works really well, and then we put it on the grill and just added garlic butter. Yum! And a brownie sundae for dessert. He might take a run over here to get some brownies, lol. But he is coming tomorrow to take me to the dr so I’m guessing he won’t be back today.

One of my friends got her medical marijuana card this week, so he and I took her to the dispensary Monday. I hadn’t been out of the house in days, and it was nice to take a ride up there just to get out. Although I did need a new cartridge for my vape, which I use at night only. It really helps me sleep. I don’t usually indulge during the day, but at night often my pain levels with this hip/back/leg thing are high, and it honest-to-God helps me deal with the pain.

The pot doesn’t make the pain disappear, it’s still there, but it settles me down enough that I can comfortably lie on the couch, watch TV, and that allows the pain to subside. I told Dan that it feels like all the pain is pouring down my thigh, and hitting a wall in my knee, where it piles up and throbs like crazy. The knee pain takes the longest to get rid of, so it is nice that there is something I can do to at least take it down a notch. Tomorrow I go back to the dr for an evaluation on how much the shots helped me that I got 2 weeks ago. They helped, I am taking way less pain medication, but I still am unable to walk much before the pain takes over. Like maybe 25-35 steps. I can get to my mailbox and back but that’s as far as I go. I’ve been dealing with this too long, he needs to find something that will help me.

One of the girls in my writer’s group had surgery for the 2nd time on her wrist which she broke a year ago. We commiserate on our pain levels, lol. Last time I said, hey if it had to happen, now is a good time because we don’t want to go anywhere anyway. She said, “Yeah, there is no FOMO.” I said, “what’s that?” “Fear of missing out.” Nope, none of that.

I forgot about filing my taxes. Never done that before. I contacted my accountant who is going to file an extension for me. My printer’s scan feature doesn’t work, and I only have a cell phone and don’t think I can fax from it, though I haven’t tried but really have no idea how to do that anyway. So I just have to stick my stuff in an envelope. It irritates me to pay for doing my taxes, but I always feel better if he does them. They’re pretty simple, but he knows better how to deal with some parts of it, and I am afraid I might mess them up. So…I just need to find an envelope to stick my stuff in and get it off to him.

As for my original question, what am I going to do today, I may make some Glorious Morning muffins. I think I have most of the stuff I need. And I can do a lot of the prep sitting down…always a good thing for me right now. At least it’s something!

We are into monsoon season here. Every day there’s a chance of a shower, and usually the sun out in between. Every day the high is forecast just under 90°, but it seems to always go over 90°. I think they just say that to make us hopeful that maybe the day won’t be so hot. But it’s Florida in July…This will go on for a couple more months, and it will start cooling off. Right now, 10 AM, the temp is 88°, feels like 100° with the humidity at 70%. I guess, looking at Florida’s coronavirus stats, we can confirm that heat and sunlight don’t kill the virus.

I think I’ll go try to sit outside for a bit until it gets too hot. The muffins may have to wait, I’m not sure I want to heat up my kitchen. Hope everyone has a good day. Stay safe, and well.

First Light

 

IMG_1604

Dawn’s first light
Quietly overcomes the dark night landscape
Trees become black silhouettes
Against a gray backdrop
As secrets are illuminated.

The banyan tree outside my window
Gradually shows itself in the growing light
The branches come into focus
Then the leaves.
The basket of succulent plants which hang from a branch
And the peace lily that sits on the ground at its base.

In these quiet moments
Before the world is awakened
My soul is filled with hope
With contentment.

It is timeless, this dawn
Every morning it comes.
And renews my spirit,
My prayer for this world.

Troubles cease to exist for those few moments
Between the darkness and the daylight
My breath is slow and deep
My eyes watch the transformation
Love and gratitude fill my heart

Again.

 

By Deborah E. Dayen

PIcture taken by myself.

 

It’s Depressing

My heart is not subject to depression usually. I cannot get down, without knowing I can also get up. But these are times that try us, as never before.

It is my habit, in the morning, to sit with my coffee and read the news on my phone. Lately, this practice is difficult for me because the news is so terrible. I fail to understand how the leadership of this country got put in the hands of a man so incapable of leading, that he constantly chooses the road with the most pain for the most people.

Now I know how he got there…..a minority of people elected him. But even that, a minority. He found the flaw in our system and exploited it, as he does every single thing that crosses his life.

This morning…..

COVID-19 is rampant in 14 states. My state is one of them, and although we have fallen to 5th place nationally, we had the dishonor of being number 1 for awhile, with record numbers of new cases every day, and still in 5th place, we had 7300 new cases Monday. Our president, and our governor, stated that we are doing a “good job”.

COVID-19 cases reached a record high of over 60,000 nationwide yesterday. So, what do they mean by “good job”? Is a “good job” measured in the deaths that will come from those 60,000? Is it measured in the pain it causes the victims and their families? Is it measured by the pain, the suffering of those who do not die, but live with this disease that causes far more damage than just the original illness it causes initially? Do we measure by the full ICU units, the full hospitals, the inability of those sick from other illnesses who can’t, or are afraid to, go to the hospital?

They push for the schools to open next month. Florida’s governor, one of the hottest spots for the virus, says yes….the schools will open in August. That puts fear into my heart. Fear for the children, fear for their families, fear for their teachers, the janitors, the cafeteria workers. All for political expediency. Not even a child is safe from these people, who are willing to sacrifice them on the altar of money, power and control.

My God, they are willing to sacrifice our children. OUR CHILDREN. What kind of a depraved human being does that?

What shocks me at least as much, if not more, is how many people nod their heads at this plan agreeing with it. There is no sense of decency here, of caring, of compassion, of doing the right thing. We are left on our own to struggle with this pandemic. We stay in our homes, we don’t go out except to doctor’s appointments, and the grocery store, and maybe the pharmacy. It’s hard to stay socially distant from everyone. We wear masks everywhere. But so many people drink the kool-aid, so many people disregard their own safety and ours, that the virus continues to overwhelm all the efforts we make to contain it, to bring it down. We miss our lives, but we ARE at last alive. For now.

It’s depressing.

This morning….

Some Republican senators aren’t attending the RN C in Jacksonville, due to the virus. They are smart, they want to live.

But they are so stupid. They had the chance to get rid of the toddler in the White House and refused to do it. So now, they choose not to back their fearless leader and go to the convention for their own safety. I wish so much that they would have considered the safety of the American people when they cast their votes against removing him from office, Did they not care about the people they represent?

So selfish, so self-centered, so careless, so heartless, so egoic, so entitled. So incapable of seeing where the refusal to remove him, and instead to back him up, would lead.

So depressing.

This morning…

160 people were shot over the holiday weekend in this nation, some of them children. I suppose that’s another “good job”.

Depressing, again.

I don’t need to go on. But reading the news this morning brought tears to my eyes. So so many people will suffer and many will die because of all these “good jobs.” Every day there are more, every day we are more isolated by our fear, and by the ineptness of those who are supposed to lead us, but clearly are not.

Now, I’ll go out onto my deck, looking for something to be joyful about. The butterflies that flit about my yard, and the geckos that race around the deck, and up and down the banyan tree. I’ll practice my meditation, and try to stay in the present moment because I am safe, for the time being, in that moment.

I hope all of you are too.

Odd Luxury (A Poem)

The air is still.
Not a leaf is moving in the canopy above me.
The heat wraps around me
Like a cozy blanket.

The geckos run to and fro
across the deck
Through the yard
Up and down the trees
With their roots splayed across the ground

Mockingbirds angrily scream
As one chases the other
Into a different tree.
Then, quiet returns
When the nest is safe.

Orange and black
Blue iridescence.
Fully morphed and freed
From their cocoons.

Summer morning in Florida.
Soon, the heat will be oppressive
And I’ll retreat indoors.
But for now
Even the heat seems luxurious.

 

By Deborah E. Dayen

 

The Heat, and Other Bits of Life

Ahhh, Florida. 9:30 AM and it’s already 90°. I’m sitting outside, on my deck, just for the chance to be outside. I won’t be able to do this for long.

So……

Florida is leading the nation in new cases of the virus. I think. I mean, a couple of days with over 9500 new cases. Yesterday was only just over 8500. Yeah, the reopening was a great idea. Now the county is reclosing some things. They are also mandating masks inside of public places. I say the county because our governor has abdicated the responsibility by passing it onto the counties, instead of having a statewide policy on anything virus related. Kind of like his orange mentor.

The sky is a bit bluer today, so maybe the Saharan dust has moved on some? For two days it has been positively hazy here from the dust. Like we needed something else.

I had another rat last week. In the attic. It died up there from the poison and stunk. I went to Dan’s for a few days but came back yesterday. It’s good to be home. He and I seem to get on each other’s nerves a lot lately. Maybe it’s being stuck at home. IDK. Just know I’m happy to be home alone right now. I don’t want to get into a discussion about it.

I’m feeling better, the pain is less. I still can’t walk much without pain, but it certainly helped to sleep 9 hours last night. It’s usually still dark when I wake up, but this morning I didn’t wake until 7:15. I was up only once at about 3:30, got a small ice pack for my hip, and 3 acetaminophen, went back to sleep pretty fast. Since the night before, I slept only a couple hours at Dan’s, supplemented by an hour’s nap in the afternoon, I needed a good night’s sleep. It paid off, because I am feeling pretty good this AM.

When I got home yesterday, I placed a grocery order on Instacart, the delivery service from the Publix grocery store here. So grateful for them. Even though it costs me about 10% to 15% more. If not for it I’d have to ride one of those electric cars around, and I just don’t want to do that. Then I managed to clean off my kitchen table and vacuum the floor. And then my back acted up so that was the end of my housework for yesterday. Today I’ll try to get the floor mopped, and the living room vacuumed. It’s the first time in ages I’ve been even able to contemplate it.

This afternoon I plan to read, and color in my adult coloring book. Maybe write. My writer’s group is suggesting we write about our struggles. And Lord, I have them to write about. But I don’t really think I want to write about that. I just feel like I have worn that subject out in the past few years. Maybe I could write about my triumph over some of the struggles. Oh wait, I have. Even my current struggle, nasty as it’s been, and as long as it’s been, seems to be improving almost daily. With my shot on Thursday I might be back to some semblance of normalcy soon.

My sister who lives down on Long Boat Key keeps offering to come up here. I didn’t want to tell her about the rat, so I just said I’d call her when I got home from Dan’s. That gives me a chance to pick up before she gets here, even though she has offered to help me out with pick-up and vacuuming, I was too embarrassed to have her here. I am not OCD about my house but definitely can’t stand it when it’s a mess. So off I go to finish the picking up and give can get her to help me change my sheets.

Love and light everyone. Stay safe, stay well, and wear your mask!

Slowly But Surely, Step By Step

The last 8 weeks have been tough ones, as I try to get back on my feet. Or legs, more literally. Most of my cognizant effort has been trying to figure out how to stay on my feet the least amount of time, how to get from one room to another without aggravating the pain. It seems though, that I am actually making some headway.

I went to my pain management dr on Tuesday. After he twisted my hip and knee into positions that were torturous, he told me that he’s not recommending an epidural for me right now. He believes most of the pain is coming from my damaged SI joint/muscle. He made an appointment for me to come back next week and get a different kind of shot there in my SI joint. He said it’s less invasive than an epidural but more invasive than the cortisone shots he gave me a couple weeks ago.

Anyway, I was at the point that I don’t really care what they have to do, but they need to relieve this pain somehow so I can have a normal life. He did say as I left that I’m really doing much better, that I’m walking straighter (compared to walking like a 100 yr old woman with a cane.) And even though I still have pain, he’s right, I am taking less pain med (Tylenol) and have had more days I call “good” than “bad”. Slow but sure, I am improving.

I have gotten depressed in the last few weeks, which is not something I’m prone to. It’s just the constant pain, and my inability to do anything. Like washing a plate, fork and a glass is difficult. My house needs vacuuming, but I haven’t figured out how to get that one done. Maybe today. At least one room.  I decided as I went to sleep last night to make a list of productive things I HAVE done, because it’s not really that bad.

Here’s my list from yesterday. I read. I’m reading two books, one a rather heavy history, and one a lighthearted romance. When I get sick of one, I can go to the other.

I also colored, with my adult coloring book and colored pencils. It’s a wonderful way to stop thinking about my health problems. iT Helps me to focus on something else, and create something. Even if I don’t draw, I can create some form of art, which satisfies me.

I dropped off my prescription for 7 more hydrocodone at the pharmacy.

I got gas in my car.

I made potato salad. I can do that sitting down mostly.

I had a long conversation with my older sister, which I enjoyed.

I made myself a lunch, and a dinner. And cleaned it up. Without firing my nerve endings up. That tells me I am much better.

And I’ve lost 5 lbs. A silver lining of sorts.

I managed to stay off my feet for a good part of yesterday, which really helps to heal. I couldn’t sit outside too long though, as the heat index was over 100°, and even my shaded back deck was stifling. There was basically no breeze, but I did get out and enjoy the outdoors. Lots of geckos and butterflies.

It seems I had a pretty good day. The second day in a row. Today seems to be the 3rd. The improvement comes in very small increments, but if I put them all together, I am better. I’m hopeful about the shot I’m getting next week. I know it will hurt like hell when he does it, but I am pretty sure I will feel better later that day, or the next.

The virus is raging here. So, I don’t feel bad I can’t go out, because in this small town, about half the restaurants have had cases of COVID-19 among their staff. For the most part, that doesn’t even make them close down. They put the infected staff member in quarantine, but not the rest of the staff. They take temperatures of their staff when they report to work, but they are staying OPEN. So….I’m not going anywhere. There are a couple of restaurants I’d be tempted to visit where I know they go above and beyond, but even that is scary to me.

I can’t wrap my head around people who refuse to wear masks. My son had a family of 3 try to come into his store in CO yesterday, He informed them at the door that they needed masks to shop in his store. The man argued with him, saying it was not the law. He said, “It is, in this store.” So the guy put on his mask, which had been in his pocket, and covered his CHIN. Um….really? My son said, “no, you need to put it over your chin and your nose.” The man continued to argue, as his family (wife and a child about 3) watched. Great example, right? Anyway, after being repeatedly told (very politely) h couldn’t come in he continued to argue and refused to leave the store. So my son said, “Ok, then. I’ll call the police substation that’s 600’ down the hall, and they will escort you out.”

Which they did.

I feel bad for my kid, because he was the only staff member on the floor. He has to monitor the door, the dressing rooms which are closed, and assist customers. Since no one can try clothes on in the store, he is faced with a pile of returns every day, And here he is having to argue with some self-centered idiot that can’t see that it’s not different requiring a mask than to require shoes. Come on folks. Could this family man not just pretend that he cared about his fellow human beings? Son deals with this crap every day, numerous times, though this is the first one he’s had to call for help on.

I’m grateful that he lives in CO right now, because their governor seems to have a much better handle on reducing the infection rate than our tRumpian governor, who, like his mentor, keeps passing the responsibility off to the county in much the same way as tRump does to the state, refusing to make a policy that works for the greater good and gives everyone guidance. A couple days ago FL had over 5500 new cases, has been setting and breaking records daily. And still no coherent policy.

I’m grateful that tRump seems to be falling in the polls daily. That also gives me hope.

So…it seems that I am grateful and hopeful, in a number of ways. And figuring out how to be even slightly productive, which is good.

I hope everyone is safe and well, and doing what they need to do to stay that way. Love and light to all.

Just a Little Stream of Consciousness

Ok, first of all, I am so pleased that trump’s rally was a HUGE fail. I’m so proud of the young people who pranked him into thinking a million people wanted to come. How funny is that? He couldn’t even fil the venue, let alone have “overflow” crowds outside.  Tulsa FD reported he had 6200.  It was a joy to read that they had to take down the overflow stage before the rally even started. And this morning I read that a poll, Reuters I think but am not positive, put him down 14 pts behind Biden. I know it’s early but the trend has been for that gap to widen, not get smaller. There is hope, however cautiously optimistic we have to be.

I slept well last night, and feel pretty good today, relatively speaking. I wanted to make BBQ chicken sliders in the slow cooker for Dan for Father’s Day, but they won’t get done until tomorrow. I needed to brine the chicken breasts for 18 to 24 hours, and I just couldn’t do it last night, I was in a lot of pain. But this morning, not so much, and I got the brine made, and put the chicken in it, in the fridge. So, tomorrow it will be ready to put in the slow cooker.

My BFF went to Walgreens yesterday for me and picked up my script so I didn’t have to go out. When she got here, we ended up sitting on my deck for the afternoon, having a glass of wine, and talking. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. It’s been pretty nice weather here, mostly around 90 but the humidity is not terribly high and there’s a breeze almost always. If not I take a fan out there, just to blow the air around, which reminds me that I need to water my plants.

So off I go to take care of them, and I hope everyone has a lovely Father’s Day! Love and light to all.