Archive for the ‘mental and emotional health’ Category

Interludes in reality

“What are you looking at?” I thought I heard someone ask.

I turned to see a middle-aged woman standing near us.  She was addressing my son, which is fine because he’s a grown man.

I knew this was going to eventually happen somewhere.  Staring isn’t acceptable in our society and personally, I too am generally uncomfortable with being stared at for any length of time that seems out of the ordinary.

The waiter had brought our menus and it was during this moment when I thanked him that the woman walked over to our table.

The hostess had given us a round table in the middle of the large open dining area.   I thought this was a mistake.  I asked my son if he would rather sit along the wall with a bit more privacy, but he said no.

People have always told me that I can’t hide my feelings because of my eyes.  I’ve heard it all my life.  I decided to harness this transparency trying to communicate with the woman standing by our table that my son had meant no harm.

I can’t be sure what was translated when I looked into her eyes.  Perhaps it was a plea for compassion.  It seemed as though we met briefly where words are unnecessary.

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to startle you,” she said.   “It’s just that he was looking over at us,” she paused, looking briefly at my son and then questioningly back at me, “but he was smiling.”

“He likes seeing happy people,” I told her.  “He gets very happy when people laugh.”

My son continued smiling while she and I chatted for a moment.   It was a gleaming smile, much like a child’s at Christmas.  The woman didn’t seem bothered.

She apologized again and invited us to join them.

“If you want to come sit with us you can,” she told my son.  “You too!” she added.

They were having a cookware party.  “We’re having lots of fun as he can obviously see,”  she remarked.

I think his smile rubbed off on her.  Her invitation felt sincere.  My son seemed genuinely interested in cookware.  I told my mom about it later and she said, “Well, he would have bought some, that’s for sure!”

We know him.  We know how enthusiastic he gets about things.  We know he laughs hard.  We know he laughs sometimes when it’s considered inappropriate.  We also know this is a way his brain is processing information.  Other people don’t know this, of course.

I thanked the woman, but declined the offer.

She walked away and for a moment my son looked sad.  I asked him what was wrong.  He said he was just trying to figure things out.

I felt bad for him.  Trying to figure things out and all.  I haven’t figured out too much myself.  He doesn’t understand certain rules that when I think about them, neither do I.  Things about our world and society that honestly don’t make sense or aren’t rational, but are nevertheless realities.

We enjoyed the rest of our meal.  Art literally covers the walls inside the restaurant.  In the corner of the room where we sat is a tall puppet-like man with a theatrical face whose head reaches the top of the high ceiling.  Most of their display includes Folk art created by the local artists.   It’s a very cozy place and the food is good.

My son and I were able to engage in a conversation, which is unusual when it’s just the two of us and we’re surrounded by strangers.  He usually seems quite distracted by his physical environment.  Times when his grandmother and aunts visit are the best.   He sits in the middle of us and has a wonderful time.  He must feel safe surrounded by strong loving women.

The occasional group laughs from our cookware neighbors made him smile, but the art captured most of his attention giving us something to talk about and honestly, something for him to stare at other than the group of laughing women.  The tuna also held his attention.  He likes good food as much as anything, but each time the women laughed, so did he.

On the way home I asked if he wanted to stop at the thrift shop with me.  Shopping is another activity he has a hard time with.  Most of the time he can’t stay in a retail store longer than about five minutes.

This time was different.  He enjoyed walking around and bought several items.

We had a good day.  I think the kind of day we had is a pretty normal day for most people.  It is for most people I know.

That night by the fire I realized I’d had several good days in a row lately.   The positive feelings from this experience are unfamiliar and I felt anxiety.

I’m used to stress.  I’m used to quarterly “mental health crises.”  I’m also used to being fatigued much of the time and feeling like life is passing me by as a result.  My point is that I don’t know what it’s like to have lengthy periods of time without serious stressful matters to deal with.

It’s like when the doctor asked me to take some pain medication and call him, “after twenty-four consecutive hours without pain.”  I laughed.  I thought he was joking!  He wasn’t.

I was altogether stunned the day I called him to report that I’d experienced a full day and night without pain.

Sometimes you get so used to something that you don’t realize what a large impact it’s having on you or your life, like the fear I felt when I imagined having more good days, or rather, not having them.

I felt scared to imagine life being easier.  Experience tells me that the next crisis is always lurking around the corner.   How can I dream or ponder on dreams when who knows what might come my way the next day?

If I start thinking about the things I could do if I didn’t have so many crises to deal with, then I get scared of being hit in the face with… I don’t know what.  Reality?

Reality it is!

Less than two days after my peaceful interlude, much has happened to bring me back.  Back to a reality that is pretty hard to deal with.

Maybe I expected too much.  Maybe I expected things to keep moving forward peacefully, without too many bumps in the road.

 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog,

Michelle.

“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”

—  Socrates

Walking out of depression

“You can predict the future by looking at the past,” my first real love used to say.

He used this as a mantra in financially difficult times.  He would declare with confidence and enthusiasm,  “I’ve had money before and I’ll have money again!”

His logic, if there was any, was never clear to me, but when I get too sad for too long I remember what he said.  I figure if I’ve been happy before then I’ll be happy again!

I know myself in pain, fatigue and sickness.  I know myself in sadness, grief, confusion and shock.  I know myself in crises, one after another.  I know myself in defense of my dignity and integrity.

Fortunately, I also know myself in joy, peace and happiness, but if the truth was told, I haven’t been really happy since my son became ill when he was nineteen years old.

Depression had literally disabled me before my son’s illness, but I was managing and getting along.  I had gone back to college hoping to finally finish about the same time my son began having medical problems.  I withdrew for the second time, both times were medical withdrawals due to depression.

I know myself well in depression.  Some days I think it’s no more than the way the sun shines that gets to me.  Some days anyone in my shoes would be depressed.  Then, there are times when I remember something that brings me down.

Recently, the memory of that awful relationship I was in not that long ago crept into my mind.  I didn’t want to feel the memory.  I didn’t want to feel the confusion that comes when I recall what I thought was love, only to remember that he said it was all a game.

The gloom that set in was soon interrupted after a brief phone conversation with a very good friend.  I had called to ask him for a favor.  He was able to help me, which relieved me of an hour-long trip.

It wasn’t his kindness alone that changed my mood, although I was certainly grateful for his help.

After telling me the favor I asked of him was no problem and something he could do quickly, he jokingly started pretending to be a ladies man.  “Hey baby,” he tried to say, but we both laughed at how funny it sounded coming from him.  He’s not the kind of man to call a woman Baby or Darling, or like one of my very southern friends, “Sugar,”  who reserves a special name for the sweetest women, a group he says I fall into and calls me, “Sugar Bugger.”

My good friend who can’t even say, “Hey Baby,” without laughing and is not from the south thinks this is a very funny way to address women.  On occasion, he enjoys playing this type of character.  He knows it makes me laugh, which is why he does it.

He tried again, “Oh, baby.  You’ll owe me.  You’ll pay up –he had to pause trying not to laugh — you’ll pay in kisses!  Chocolate kisses!  I will exploit you to no end making you pay in chocolate kisses.”

We both laughed.  I realized when we hung up the phone how much better I felt.  The dark cloud was gone.

Having my friend joke about such a thing or me merely hearing the word, “exploited,” might have made me very sad or even physically sick six months or a year ago.

The joking around didn’t cause the dark cloud to rain misery down on me and instead brought only laughter.  My friend’s silly imitation of this type of character made me see how lucky I am today not to be in a relationship where what he was joking about would be my reality.  A peaceful feeling set in with me for the rest of the evening.

I feel lucky to have made it back to myself.  What a long trip away it was.

This past summer brought healing to my heart in a new friendship with two sisters, both young and full of enthusiasm for the simple things in life.  I laughed more that summer than I have in ten summers put together.  My son laughed too and for the first time in years I started to see his smile when I snapped pictures of him.

One night we laughed so much and lost track of time.  After midnight I realized the girls should have already gone home.  They were grounded for a week.  Secretly, I felt like a child.  Not that I wanted them in trouble, but we all knew our time was innocent and laughter had gotten the better of us.  Not so much a crime in the summertime.

The girls’ family is of a particular religion that has many rules, a few of which I unknowingly broke, like when I gave them both a birthday celebration.  One of the parents was pretty upset and things changed after that.   Nevertheless, our times together, especially when we all laughed so hard for hours that we would completely wear ourselves out, remains in my mind as a time of healing.

The first day I met the girls I was walking the dogs.  I wasn’t long out of the bad relationship and I had two serious cuts on my fingers from an accident in the kitchen.  They asked me how I was doing and I broke down in tears right there on the side of our road.  I had to bend down and rest on my knee.  I was completely taken by sadness.  I cried while I told them all about my life, how hard it was and that’s when they asked if they could hold the dogs for me.

Most days after that they were here.  Most days they walked my dogs for me.  I cried a lot for the first month or so, but the laughter began healing my heart.  Then when I took pictures and saw the familiar smile on my son’s face that I hadn’t seen in years, I felt that if there is such a thing as angels, those girls surely must be ones.

Not having the best luck in the world, my summer ended with a new neighbor who turned out to be a nightmare.  The situation eventually thoroughly depressed me and the neighbor was soon after evicted for harassment.  The girls weren’t visiting as often anymore.

I felt like I had taken ten steps back.  I had to go through some of the same emotions I had felt that past winter.

The girls went back to school.  My son went back into the hospital.  I realized I was burned out.

Then, just to top things off, a stressful family event happened that caused me more turmoil.  I felt like too much had gone wrong.  I became seriously clinically depressed.

I feel like I’m walking out of depression, but it sure is hard.

In many ways over the past two years, life has called me to question who I am, what I want in my life and just as importantly, what I don’t want anymore, hence my love of the NO icon.

What I don’t want is pretty simple.  I don’t want to be treated poorly and I don’t want to endorse cruelty by standing in the line of fire.

What I want is pretty simple too.  I want to know myself outside of depression.

My mother recently gave me a few letters my uncle found that I wrote to my paternal grandmother in 1990.  I couldn’t believe how happy I sounded in the letters.  I was a little depressed back then but nothing, nothing like I’ve experienced since.

One of the letters reads very much like those happy Christmas letters people write.  Other people.  Not me.

I tried to remember how I felt writing the letters.  I couldn’t remember exactly how I felt, but I know I wrote them.

My son’s letter is the best.

a happy child's letter to his great grandmother

His childhood notes, creative school work and art definitely speaks to a happy kid.  I like that.  I take some credit for the good times he had growing up, which is a piece of happiness.

Returned also to me was a card I had sent my grandmother when I went to Texas to visit a friend.  I think this was the time my friend and I rode across the horse pastures, she on her Arabian and I on a Quarter horse under the light of a full moon and in Texas, that’s a really big moon!

card to grandma, boy I sounded happy

“Just having fun,” takes you a long way walking out of depression.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

dogkisses.

PS  If you haven’t laughed in a while, here’s a video that sure made me laugh.

“Laughing Girl”

Who deserves more credit?

a dog that deserves more credit than he gets

One of the topics in The Daily Post “PostAWeek”  challenge is, “Who deserves more credit than they get?”

I couldn’t decide between bloggers, dishwashers or dogs, because they all deserve more credit than they get.

Dogs deserve more credit than they get for giving people companionship and unconditional love.  Dogs are particularly important to people living with chronic illness or a disability that has caused isolation and often alienation from family, friends, community and society.

Many people I know who live with chronic illness have a dog.  They are our four-legged friends who are there for us no matter what.  A dog can make us smile when we are in pain.  They’ll get up with us in the wee hours of the mornings when everyone else is sleeping.  They give us a reason to take walks or get outside for fresh air.  Their fur is soft and petting them calms us.  Their spirits are overflowing with sweetness.  Dogs give.  That’s what they do.  They give and they keep on giving.

Sometimes, and this is one of the greatest gifts that I get from the love of a dog, they offer a reason to keep on living.

“They can’t be nurses, doctors or teachers!” a desk attendant working at a hospital said to me one time.  We had struck up a conversation while I was waiting on a relative.  She became upset when I told her about my dog who was receiving medical care for bone cancer.

“There are children starving!  I can’t believe people spend money on a dog’s health care, while there are children who do not have the things they need,” she said.

I wondered how many of the nurses or doctors had dogs.  I knew the woman wouldn’t understand about spending money on a sick dog no matter what I said so I changed the subject.

Personally, I think dogs can help people be better nurses, doctors or teachers.  Plus, mine are all that and more.   Dogs can also make these jobs easier by giving love and companionship to patients and students.

I’ve been pretty sick for the past six months.  Recently, there have been times when I thought I would have to call for emergency help.  My dogs have been vigilant caretakers.  The older dog hasn’t left my side in over two months.  If I get up at 3am, so does he.  He knows I’m not well.  He is simply amazing.  I’ll be thinking the worst thoughts and he gets as close to my body as he can.  He doesn’t usually give kisses but lately, out of the blue, he’ll give me a quick little kiss as if to remind me they are here.

My dogs love me and they need me.  In this way, they literally save my life, over and over.

We hear about enormous amounts of money some people spend on their pets.  It’s true that veterinarian bills are expensive, but that isn’t the same thing as extravagant amounts of money spent for things like diamond covered collars, fur coats and all sorts of weird things a dog certainly doesn’t need and likely doesn’t care about.

I’d rather pay for a dog to get medical care than pay for my hair to be colored, manicures, an expensive car or the expensive things plenty of people spend money on.  This is a personal choice and comparably, I must admit, I think a dog is a heck of a lot more fun than what non-dog owners spend money on.

I don’t think it makes sense to criticize pet owners for spending money on pets, while people are in debt because they wanted a big screen television in every room of their house.

I’ve been judged and criticized for spending money on a dog and I find this pretty absurd.

A landlord I called once about an apartment got so angry when I told her that I live on a fixed income and have a dog, that I thought she was going to have a heart attack.  No joke.  She was ready to rent me the sweetest little cottage in the mountains.  She was praising me for raising a son alone and going to college.  I was all this and that, until I told her about my dog.  She started screaming at me over the telephone about how she was paying for my dog’s food via her taxes.

“I can’t believe you have a dog!” the woman shouted.   “It ought to be against the law for people who get help to have a dog.  I can’t believe it!”

I told the woman how little the dog’s food cost, but that didn’t matter.  I hung up on her because she wouldn’t stop screaming at me.

Magically, the next day I met the greatest landlord a dog owner could hope for.  She kept asking if I was sure the place was good enough for my dog.  We ended up being nice friends.

Fortunately and just as magically, the landlords I rent from now are wonderful and love my dogs.  I was afraid they wouldn’t allow me to have the bigger dog but when they saw him one of them said, “You are lucky to have him.  He’ll protect you out here.”

My family used to make remarks about how I could have a better place to live if I didn’t have dogs or that I would be free to come visit them since they won’t allow dogs in their homes.  After years gone by, I believe they recognize more the value of my dogs, but they still don’t let my dogs come inside and as a result, I hardly ever get to visit them.

Dogs help people in so many ways.  Being there for a sick person when everyone else is waiting on her to feel better is a great deed.

Their companionship and love make people feel happy.  I read once where being lonely is the number one reason for suicide.  I believe the love of a dog can help prevent this.

As I write, my son is visiting for the holiday.  He hasn’t felt so great lately either.   He has some serious health challenges in life.  After dinner this evening he suddenly got the biggest smile on his face.  His dog was lying on his back with his short legs up in the air.  He rests like that (he’s part Basset Hound) and he looks very funny when he does it.

My son went over and lied down beside him to rub his belly.  I guess most dogs like to have their belly rubbed.  Our younger dog was in on the scene shortly after.  It was such a wonderful moment.  My son looked happy and this made me feel good.  Both dogs were smothering him with love.

I asked him how he felt around his dog.  I like to use words to express my feelings and experience.  I think it’s good to have a way to talk about things.

He could barely talk without laughing when he tried to respond.  “Loyal, he’s so loyal.”

My son continued on, “He’s my protector.  Awww.  He loves me.  Look at him,” and he laughed again while he rubbed his best friend’s soft belly.  “He wants me to hug him.  Awww.  He’s so sweet!”  My son let out a deep breath of air.  He looked content and lied back on the sofa to rest.  I’ve always said, and definitely believe, that dogs are good medicine.

Earlier today the dog jumped from the back seat to the front and was out of the car as soon as the door opened when I arrived at my son’s apartment.  The dog is getting old, but so far this hasn’t slowed him down when he sees his true master.

This dog is a very special dog.  He has saved my son’s life several times.  He definitely deserves more credit than he gets.

Some people used to remark that this dog is a burden to me.  He is stronger than I am, which makes walking him a creative and carefully planned task.  He has seizures that break my heart, but not so many that they lessen his quality of life.  He is no burden.  He is a gift, a blessing and like all dogs, a teacher.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

dogkisses.


 

Holding Hope

We find it, lose it, and yet keep finding it... that elusive source of survival

Hope is a wonderful feeling.  It’s also hard to hold.  I guess some people have it most of the time, which must be a very nice experience.

I wonder if the people who have hope most or even all of the time are consciously aware of it?   Maybe it’s an ongoing feeling that is so normal they don’t think about it.

I get bursts of hope –sometimes in large doses and other times small ones, but it comes and it goes.

It’s like being on a merry-go-round.   Sometimes I jump off where there isn’t any hope and instead a great void of darkness.  It is from this desperately sorrowful place that I search for hope, because that’s the only thing strong enough to pull me out.  The trick is me being able to see it, grab it and hold on to it long enough to stand on the ground again.

Round and round I go.  Lose it, find it, lose it and find it again.

My losing hope feels like a normal human response to chronic repeated difficult situations filled with fear and grief.   It comes from not knowing what to do or being too tired to do what I think might help me find some peace.

Hope instills peace and joy.  If I could hold hope long enough, I’d have a better chance at feeling joy.  I might even feel happy again, like I did a long time ago.

Hope must be something you have to nurture.  It must be akin to yeast if you want bread to rise.  It might be the same to the spirit and mind as water is to the physical body.   Maybe we can’t survive without it.

Hope is hard to hold.  I keep losing it, but then again, I keep finding it.


Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

Refusing defeat

Sometimes life is hard, but we must keep on going

IMAGE CREDIT: LESLIE SIGAL JAVOREK

Have you ever had a day where your body should have given out but it didn’t?  A day when you were amazed that you could stand up, much less walk a mile or more, but you did it?   A day when your tasks ahead weighed more than the world yet you couldn’t quit? A day when by night fall you finally looked at your phone contacts, your friends or maybe family, but you realized that you had to go at it alone?

I couldn’t remember what time I had gotten up that morning.  But then I wasn’t sure if I had gone to bed the night before.  I had slept, but when and where I wondered.  On my sofa?  In my guest room?  It didn’t matter.  I had a million things on my mind at once.

Finding a parking space at the hospital right away was a good thing, even though it irritated me that I had to endure the enthusiastic folks we share our hospital parking lot with for certain events.  I wasn’t in any mood for celebrating.  Plus, anything had potential in irritating me.  I was keeping up with any good things and not having to walk half a mile to the elevator was one good thing.

I had stopped at the ATM on my way but was too tired to get out of my car.  Somehow walking from the parking deck to the hospital seemed easier than taking the time to get some cash to pay for Valet parking.  I was not thinking clearly.

I forgot the number of my parking space but it was too late to turn back.  I knew what level of the deck I was on.  That was good enough.  On to the other million-minus-one thoughts taking over my mind.

“I love the way you walk,” someone I once knew used to say to me.  “You walk strong and tall with confidence.”

Oddly, I remembered this as I was passing people while crossing the walking bridge.  I slowed down and took shorter steps.

I began thinking about how severely fatigued I was.  It was more than fatigue.  I kept spacing out.  Earlier that day when I was feeding the dogs I had already measured their food and put it in their bowls, yet I stood there, staring off into space with their full bowls on the counter.  Both dogs stood by me waiting and watching, obviously wondering what was up with their human.  Finally, our older dog, who has a deep bark and only speaks one time when he has something to say gave one strong,  “Rrruuuff!”

The sound brought me back to the moment.  I put their bowls on the floor.  I thanked my dog.  He had done his job.  The perfect therapy dog and he hasn’t even been trained.

Walking slowly across the bridge, the past 48 hours of stress rolled around in my mind.   I was hungry and tired, but I was still going.  I had a bag of clothes for my son on one shoulder and a leather purse on the other.  They felt like they weighed a ton, but they didn’t.

I told myself I didn’t need to walk strong and tall.  I didn’t need to be confident.  I decided to walk the way I felt.

There was a peaceful feeling in accepting the physical weakness.  I felt confidence in not hiding.

The cafe was at the entrance I chose, but time wasn’t on my side.  I continued on.  The hospital’s walkway to the elevator seemed more daunting than ever before.

Acutely aware of pain and fatigue, I started to walk how I felt.  Another person I know used to say, “You gotta walk through it man.  Whatever it is, you gotta walk through it.”

A hospital is a fine place to collapse I thought.  I might walk through it, but I wasn’t sure that I would make it to my destination.

Reaching the elevator I noticed some wonderful photographs on the wall.  I was captured for a moment and then I saw the coffee shop sign.  Slowly I moved on, carrying my bags and my body.  The pastries caught my eye.

“Can I help with you anything Mam?”

I heard something in her voice.  Was she responding to what I was feeling I wondered or was it the striking red streaks in my eyes?  I wasn’t indulging in my feelings or I would have fallen down in a puddle of tears.  I desperately wanted a friend.  If ever I needed a shoulder to lean on, this was one of those times.

“I’m going to look at your pastries,” I said to the woman in the coffee shop, but she looked concerned, which she was.

She walked around to my side of the counter bringing me a glass of water.   My eyes were so tired I couldn’t read the labels on the drinks.  I chose a plastic juice for my son and a bottled soda for myself.  I looked at the pastries, but I didn’t want anything.

“Do you want some real food or a snack?” the woman asked me.  “We have these egg and sausage croissants and…”  I forgot what else she offered.  Nothing sounded good.  I was trying to keep myself composed.  “What about peanut butter and jelly?” she continued.

“These are the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve ever had,” she said.  “They have peanut butter on both sides and jelly in the middle.  I’m serious.  They’re the best.”

“Yes.  I like peanut butter.  I’ll take one of those,” I said.  My words were barely audible.  My voice shook.  My hands shook.  I slowly put my bags on the floor and paid the bill.  I was able to smile.

I began to feel a little better.  This stranger’s genuine concern warmed my spirit,  lifting some the weight of the world I feel on my soul.

I remembered the last time my son was in the hospital.  I had a shoulder to lean on that time.   He had driven to the hospital as soon as he could when I told him what was happening.  He waited with me in the emergency room lobby for several hours.  He bought me snacks.  He held my hand.  I felt strong having someone there for me, while I was there for my son.   Times like this was why I believed the man who came for me truly loved me.  I was wrong.

As I crossed a walking bridge on my way to the elevator, I saw my shadow.  Strangely, it gave me strength.  I remembered a part of who I am.  I remembered that I am strong.  I felt stronger alone with my shadow, than I had with a person who was only pretending to be my friend.

I decided to refuse to be defeated by the day and instead, embrace the desperate way I felt inside.

My visit with my son was not so great.  He didn’t feel like talking.  There were several people around.  Two women were sitting close by us.  One talked too much.  I wanted to talk to my son but he didn’t feel like it.  The other woman stared at me the entire time.  I felt like she was looking into my soul.  She told me her name.  I said hi and we shook hands.  She kept on staring at me.

“Is he your husband?” she finally asked me.

“No.  He’s my son,” I told her.

I used to feel complimented when people said I looked like my son’s sister, but now, I really only want to look like his mother.

“You look sad,” the young woman added.

“Yes,” I responded.  “I’m sad.”

 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.


 

Nothing else but time for fibromyalgia

nothing but time for fibromyalgia wellness requires strict lifestyleI’d been debilitated by a muscle spasm for five days before going to my doctor yesterday.  I would have gone to see him sooner but I didn’t have anyone to drive me and I simply couldn’t drive that far.  I’d taken my medication for breakthrough pain and was worried about not having it later in the month. I told him I’d been in so much pain that I couldn’t think without medication to relieve it.

“I don’t know if the spasm is breakthrough pain or a part of fibromyalgia or if it’s unrelated,” I told my doctor.

“Was it a real spasm?” he asked.  Sometimes he asks geeky questions.

“Yes,” I answered confidently.

“It isn’t ideal that you took your breakthrough medicine for a muscle spasm, but at that point, you really didn’t have a choice.”  He wrote something on his notepad.

Now I wished I’d called his office when the spasm started.   He wrote me a prescription for magnesium mixed with a chemical in aspirin.  He said people find relief for migraines with the medication and that it may help muscles spasms.  He said more about magnesium, but I can’t remember!  He also told me to apply wet heat, which I could have done and didn’t.  Again, I should have called his office five days earlier.  He didn’t mention replacing my breakthrough medication.  I don’t like having to ask for extra pain medicine so I didn’t mention it either.

I didn’t have much in me so to speak.  It took strength for me to talk loud enough to be heard, much less communicate any concerns or other issues I was having.  I didn’t tell him my bladder was still hurting but I was tired.  I’d been hurting for days and it wore me out mentally and physically.  Sometimes I feel like giving up.  I feel like there is no hope.  That no matter what, pain will be part of my daily life.

“You know what I told you about the central sensitivity…” he said.  I nodded yes. I can’t remember his exact words.  He spoke to the pain from the view that fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder, Central Sensitivity Syndrome (CSS), which I think suggest that the level of pain I’ve experienced from the muscle spasm is part of fibromyalgia, but not necessarily a symptom.

I had a college mentor who told me many times, “If you can’t explain something then you don’t understand it.”  I guess I don’t fully understand CSS.  I understand the general concept, which is enough to know that people with fibromyalgia experience more pain from stimuli, such as a muscle spasm, than do people who do not have fibromyalgia.

I remember my good doctor saying something to the effect of the spasm having caused a blast of pain from my brain that I felt all over my body.  He said that would explain why I was feeling so crappy.  I’d definitely had a blast of pain!

“Do you have any patients who have severe fibromyalgia, who you are absolutely sure they have it, without a doubt, who gets well?” I asked him.

His answer, which was basically yes, was somewhat surprising to me.   I may have also felt a glimmer of hope, but it would have taken a lot to get me out of the despondent state of mind I’ve been in for the past week or more.   Too bad because he’s a good doctor with a sense of humor.   If I’m quiet then so is he.  If I’m in a lighter mood then he’ll tell me a joke, usually a geeky one, but sometimes that’s what makes it funny.

“Yes,” and he turned around in his chair to face me.  “There are some people who do get better.  They are people who follow a strict routine of exercise.  They practice stretches throughout the day every day.   They follow a strict diet.  They have very strict schedules and that is all they do.  These are people who have nothing else going on and devote all their time to practicing these things.  The people who are more likely to get well from fibromyalgia are people who have nothing else,” and he waved his hands in the air for an added effect, “nothing else going on — at all — that gets in their way.  They are people with nothing else but time.”

Could I be that person I wondered the rest of the day.  I’ve got the time.  I’ve also got a lot going on. 

This morning I visited a blog with the most beautiful photos of places where people were fly fishing.  I’d like to do that, even if I didn’t catch a fish.  I wish I could go to paradise, where I would have nothing else but time.

Image of clock by Leslie, at IconDoIt, the blog.  Copyrights apply.



Just in time again

Several days ago I’d placed the bill in the center of my desk, clearly visible without any surrounding clutter.   August 6th.  I had the number planted in my brain.  No biggie.  All I have to do is make a quick call to my agent’s office and the bill is paid.

Apparently though, it is a biggie.   Everything is lately.  I can’t concentrate on one subject very long, particularly bills.  The act of paying them makes my gut get all twisted and gives me anxiety.  It also makes my brain feel like it’s being squeezed.  I get nauseated and dizzy.  I go lie down and think maybe in a few minutes I’ll feel better and can pay the bill.

The best of a week passed and I kept trying to pay it.  I did call once and for the first time the number was busy.  I called back and busy again.  I went back to bed for a little while.  I don’t like going to bed during the day.  At least not regularly when it’s because I’m sick.

I like lying in bed on a cold winter’s day reading a good book.  I like to take naps when it rains or an afternoon spent enjoying the sweet company of love, but I don’t like this business of having to lie down every little while because I’m too tired to do things and too tired to think.   I have things I both need and want to do.

I woke up with anxiety today.  I sat down at my desk immediately realizing it was the fifth.  I remembered I needed to pay the bill.   While having my coffee I paid two other bills.  Finally, I saw the auto bill.

If it's not too late then it's just in time

too tired but not too late

I’ve been a customer there for over a decade.  I remember when I first went to their office, which is in the mountains of western North Carolina.  One thing I loved about living there was that all the businesses had flower gardens outside their offices.  I also loved the old beautifully restored houses, some of which were commercial property.

Today the agent answered when I called.  I usually talk to his secretary.  He’s a nice man.  I told him I needed to pay my bill.  I made a remark about me possibly being the only customer who waits until the last minute.

He laughed.  “Oh no,” he said politely.  “Lots of people wait,” and I heard him keying in my name on his computer.   “Yes,” he said.  “You have until,” he paused and laughed again, but in a nice way, ” until today.”

“Yes, I know,” I answered and laughed too.  Why not laugh?  I mean partly out of relief because for one thing, it doesn’t say the sixth.  It’s the fifth and that is today!

just in time is alright with me“Well, you’re just in time,” he said.

I couldn’t believe he said it!  That’s my line.  “Exactly,” I said to him.  I was happy he saw it my way.