Remember, thou art mortal

In the heydey of the Roman Empire, a conquering hero who returned to Rome was often (depending on the temper of the Senate or Caesar) given a parade through the city called a “triumph”.  As parf of this, a slave followed the hero’s chariot throughout the procession — the slave’s only function was to murmur from time to time the phrase “Remember, thou art mortal”.  No one lives forever and one day, the hero’s deeds would only be memories.

Today, I heard that whisper myself.  I thought I was ready to get back to it — I had gotten out of the hospital, took my meds like a good little girl and even went and bought correctly fitted shoes.  I was sure I was on the high road.

Unfortunately, a couple of days later, things started back down and I was in a lot of pain, my foot was swelling up and I was having a heck of a time trying to get a doctor’s appointment at the hospital where I’d been admitted a couple of weeks ago.

Finally, a wonderful appointment person at the Clinic’s Willoughby Hills office heeded my pleas for help and called me back when a cancellation became available.  I wish I had her name — she almost certainly kept me from getting worse and I’d love to thank her publicly.

Anyway, to make a long story somewhat shorter, the doctor at the Clinic said in no uncertain terms that I belonged back in the hospital — an infection as bad as she felt this one was needed to be treated on an inpatient basis.  And to add to the fun, when I got to Lake West, the doctors ran a bunch of tests and told me there was every chance a blood clot was floating around and, in addition to being treated for the infection, I had to have a CT scan to ensure no blood clots were in my lungs.

It’s almost midnight now.  I just came back from the CT scan room, and I’m waiting.  I’m not sure if it’s just the test or if they’re clearing a room or what, but here I am anyway.  If was a little scared before, I’m incredibly scared now.  No, that’s not exactly right.  The idea that I’ve got a blood clot in my lung is not exactly comforting.  And I fear pain and potential disability.

I’ve always said that I wasn’t afraid of death, just of dying.  I believe there is more than this life — as a Christian, I believe that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  (I Cor. 2:9).  I do love Him and I believe I’ll be with Him when I die.

I admit, though, that I’m a little frightened by the thought of fighting for a breath that never comes, for the pain of organs fighting to work properly.  And I’m not READY to die — there’s a lot I’d still like to do.  Although most people probably feel that way; but hey! 51’s not that old. I haven’t made it to Montréal yet! 🙂

So I “compose my soul in patience” and wait, and think about the other people in the other rooms, who are going through their own journeys and pains, and their families who are waiting to hear.  I can pray for them while the doctors and nurses are doing whatever they’re doing.

And I remember that the journey never really ends.  It just goes on a different road.

Hello, this is reality with your wake-up call!

If you’ve ever read my blog over the last couple or three years, you know I’ve been fighting my weight issues.  I thought I was taking it seriously, but apparently I wasn’t as serious as I thought.

I just spent the last week, roughly, in the hospital, being treated for diabetic wound issues and cellulitis. You’ve heard of “Scared Straight”? The program where they take kids into prison and scare them into realizing what it’s really like “inside”? Well, I’ve just been “inside” and now have a clear understanding of what my life might be like if I don’t get my act together and get rid of the sugar.  And I’m scared.

This all just kind of came up out of the blue, so to speak.  I thought I was dealing with gout (which is bad enough) but after about a week of things not really improving, my husband talked me into an ER trip.  I, in turn, twisted his arm into stopping and getting some books to take with me — as you know, if you’ve ever had to deal with a trip to the ER, it can literally take hours.

To my immense surprise (and concern), I was in registration, triage, a room and admitted to the hospital in about a half-hour, with brief stops for an x-ray, a shot of morphine (which left me feeling like Curly Bill Brocius in “Tombstone” after his trip to the opium tent) and an IV full of antibiotics.

Making a long story short — it was brought home to me in a way I couldn’t ignore that I am not immune from the side-effects of bad decisions, and at 51, I’m not going to magically be younger and able to heal in moments the way I used to.  There’s still a chance that a bone in my foot is infected and that’s scary because the word “amputation” was bandied around — and I’m attached to my toe (and foot), thankyouverymuch.

So I appreciate the UHHS folks for giving me a headstart on the changes that are going to have to happen in my life.  I lost 6 pounds in the course of my hospital stay, hard though that is to believe (some of it is no doubt water weight) and I’m finding it a lot easier to turn my back on temptation.  It’s not a matter of aesthetics any more — it’s a matter of what’s more important: some kind of sweet that will give me very temporary pleasure, or the continued existence of my limbs as permanent parts of my body.

So, yeah.  I heard the bell, Mr. Donne, and it’s most certainly tolling for me.  And believe me, I got the message loud and clear.

“M” for Marche, Music and Montréal (another late entry)

Marche – That’s the French word for “walk”, as in “je marche” (I walk).  This weekend I participated in Walk MS.  I have, in past years, participated in several charitable walks — this year, this will be the only one and it’s the one that has the most meaning for me — pardon me if I’m reluctant to explain why. The person I primarily walk for doesn’t talk about having MS, so I’m not in a position to “out” them.  Wouldn’t want to anyway, of course.

Music – This is the first time I walked as far as I did without my trusty MP3 player.  I’m motivated by music — it’s my drug of choice and I have wide interests in the field, from classical to choral to rock to pop to Cajun to Edith Piaf to Astrud Gilberto to… well, I could go on and on for a very long time.  I’m much more willing to try new music than I am new writers, and I’m not altogether certain why, to tell you the truth.  Of course, most of my ancestry is Welsh and I secretly think that’s why music is so vital to me.

Montréal – I have a vivid fantasy life (ok, mind OUT of the gutter please). I very much would like to live in Montréal. (Of course, when I got there maybe I’d feel differently — but I’d like to at least TRY). I think I’d like to be near the Marché (this time it means “Market”) Jean-Talon, in Villeray.  One day… I’d love to live there and write all the ideas that are burbling around my head.

Love is Blindness…

‘”Love is drowning
In a deep well
All the secrets
And no one to tell…”

U2, “Love is Blindness”

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about and praying for a lot of friends. My contemporaries and I have started to hit the age where parents and even siblings are encountering serious, even life-ending, illness. While I’ve already had my adoptive mom and dad pass, and seen my sister through some health scares, I still (not being an island) am connected to what those around me are going through.  And I still have some involvement with my birth father. To make a long story a little shorter, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering mortality lately. But that’s not what this post is about.

I have one particular friend who means a lot to me.  No.  I’m tired of being a coward about my feelings — although part of me is glad that my friend doesn’t have time to read blog posts. 🙂  This person is special to me in a major way. And again I’m not being straight up about this.  I love him very much. And right now, he’s helping to see his dad through cancer treatment, as well as running his businesses and taking care of his family on a day to day basis.  Also, I think — though he’s never confirmed it and I won’t press him about it — that he is dealing with health issues of his own.  If you ask him, he’ll say he’s fine and then change the subject to ask you how you’re doing.  He’s that kind of guy.

I’ve never told him how I feel.  I never will. Not that he sees me that way — at most I’m just a nice person he talks to on the Internet — at worst, I’m probably a major pest. 🙂 And I have commitments, too, that preclude this being anything but a long-distance friendship; promises I intend to keep, although there are days when I could cheerfully walk away from them. Sometimes it all gets to be too much. But I keep on keeping on.  And for my friend, I express my love the only way I can — by not saying anything at all. Just to be there as much as is possible, to hold him in my heart and pray for him.

Some times love is muteness, too.

Weight Loss, Round II: Oh, and by the way…

By good rights, I should be posting this on Wednesday, but I anticipate a strange week this week, so I probably won’t get a chance then.

So… I’m pleased to say that my (very gradual) weight loss continues.  I haven’t had a particularly good week or so eating wise, and I’ve (not intentionally, but due to circumstances) not been working out as much, but I am definitely down. Right now, I’m just below where I was at my “low water” mark last summer, so now it’s “onward and downward”, so to speak. It’s my intention to work out at work this week, plus I hope to get a ‘second shift’ in at the Y on Tuesday and Thursday.  I’ve managed to get to a couple of water aerobics classes and liked them very much.  It was funny — the first time I went, I got out of the pool thinking, “Gee, that didn’t seem as hard as I expected,” a sentiment that lasted until I got up the next morning and realized how much work I had really put it.  The water carries some of the load, making it a rather deceptive process.

Saturday I came to work briefly and walked on the treadmill/did the elliptical.  I’m sorry, but no one is going to convince me that the elliptical is easier and less work than the treadmill.  I just don’t believe it.  I’m working longer and at a higher level on the elliptical than I did before, and the stupid thing’s trying to tell me that 20 minutes on it (I split my 40-minute workout between the two) is about a third of the calories of the treadmill workout.  Not a chance. I mean, with the elliptical, you’re moving your arms as well as your legs. I don’t see how it can be less work.

Oh, well.  In the meantime, I think my fantasy football team lost again — at least this week it was closer.  My fantasy hockey league drafts on October 3, and I’m looking forward to that, if only because it also means we’re just three days away at that point from the real thing starting. I<3 my Habs.  (I suppose I should post a warning on Twitter and FB for the non-fans… )

Still praying for my friend.  Really storming heaven on this one.  The thought that I might lose this person is absolutely devastating to me. Please help this special being, Lord.

And for all the rest of you, hope you are well, too.  Always have time to listen and care if you’re not. {{hugs}}

(since 9/7/2011: .97%; since 3/1/2011: 7.11%)

I’m So Tired …

I can’t get over how whipped I am right now. This is exhausted we’re talking here, not just tired. Granted, I didn’t sleep as much as I wanted over Calicon. But after I left the others (and they were in the process of leaving) I went back to the room and passed out for awhile before getting up to pack, eat and go back to bed some more.

We slept in yesterday morning and went to bed early and slept in this morning. I got up to come to the library and walking here (which I have been doing without conscious thought lately) was like walking a marathon. It’s not that hot, that I should have this much trouble.

Oh, well. Back to the job hunt; had a couple of interviews but nothing firm yet and so I’ll keep looking until someone says those three magic words: (no, not THOSE three words) “You are hired”. 🙂

Crimson and Clover …

Congratulations to Anamika Veeramani, the NE Ohio student who won the National Spelling Bee. She managed what the Browns, Cavs and Indians haven’t managed since I was 3 years old — she brought a National Championship to Cleveland. Let’s hope they don’t trade her to Denver for some kid who can’t read. (Thanks, Drew Carey) That is, after all, the “Cleveland way”, and much scarier than the “Chicago Way”.

I’m so sick about the BP thing I almost can’t bear to think about it any more. Where have all the intelligent, competent people gone who could fix this mess?

Starting another story. This time, it’s a squad story — I have another one, but it’s going to be so long at this point that I think I’ll write it in chapters and I can’t post any of it until I get it all blocked out. So I’m going to do this one for now. Can anyone help me find a quote (and the source thereof) that runs, roughly: “Nothing so raises the spirits of a soldier as getting a letter from home and nothing so depresses him as reading it”? I thought it was Thornton Wilder, but unless I’ve really screwed up my search, I tried Googling it and — nothing.

And now I’m heading back home to sleep. I did the Group Groove class today, along with a 10-minute treadmill warm-up, 100 crunches on the weighted bench and some wood-chops and I’m so tired …