First Draft

We had another of our great conversations last night. We have them almost every night. I’m only telling you this because you weren’t there. Not really. Some might say I was talking to myself. But that doesn’t capture the essence of what transpired. I could see you slouched on the couch, beer in hand, smiling that smile that makes me smile just thinking about it. And I admit that I did most of the talking which is so unlike our actual conversations where you carry the conversational load, but I could hear your voice when you asked a question or commented on my commentary. And we laughed. Quite a lot.

Not healthy. That’s what most would say. Not healthy to have imaginary conversations with someone you will never see again. ‘Not never’ is what you said. Never is what I felt when you told me you were leaving. But that last day we spent together, you really wanted to know if I thought we would see each other again. You kept asking me that question.

“Seems unlikely,”  was my answer which works in more situations that you might think possible. And still you pushed me for a more definitive answer.

“Depends.” This works in almost every situation because almost everything is relative. Of course, you didn’t like that answer. You sometimes view the world in black and white when I tend to see it in shades of so many different colors. And it’s not possible to know what the future may bring while we are still in the present. But still, you pushed. You had to know.

Sometimes when you replay the past over and over again, the details start to blur. You know the gist of it, the mood of the moment, the guts of what was exposed, but the little nuanced details that took you from the start to the end, those start to blur, just a bit. The exact words get jumbled up and then you think you know what happened, but maybe you don’t. Not really.

And sometimes, you see the exact moment when the mood shifts, the momentum changes, the players realize you can see right through them. You know the world has shifted on its axis and you know your life will never again be the same. Those moments stand out.

 

I know I’m a day late and probably many dollars short, but this is in response to the daily post writing challenge of a twenty minute stream of consciousness writing exercise.

 

A Patient Point Of View

So it has been awhile since I last wrote anything. I meant to start back sooner, but the more time that went by, the harder it became. A bad case of writer’s block. Also, I thought after a wait so long, that the first post back should be something either very funny, odd or profound, though, oddly, I don’t think people think of me as very funny or profound. My mental jury is still out on the odd part. But then I had the sort of fluke experience that offers  insight and a new appreciation and empathy for what people often go through.

It began with a trip to the emergency room Sunday night at 3 a.m. with a hugely distorted swollen face and neck, difficulty swallowing and a fear of eventually not being able to breathe. I was fortunate that our sleepy hamlet’s hospital’s ER was empty, but everyone who worked in the ER came in to see me because, as one nurse put it, “We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

The nurses discussed my white blood count in tones that made me a little afraid. (My count was 19 and 10.5 is considered the high end of normal.) After the results of a CT scan came back, the ER doctor (a short man with thick, longish silver hair) came bounding into the room with what seemed to be giddy excitement and said, “This is beyond our capabilities. We don’t have an ENT that can handle this, but we’ve called Shands and talked to the ENT in the ER and we will be transferring you there.”

Shands is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Florida located in Gainesville. Gainesville is about an hour and a half drive from where we were. The ER doctor told me I had to go by ambulance because he was afraid I might begin to have difficulty breathing and need to intubated. The EMT would be monitoring my vitals throughout the ride.

I arrived at Shands’ ER at 8 a.m. and within three hours, a procedure was done with local anesthesia. I was admitted to the hospital and put in an isolation room because I was septic with an elevated heart rate and they needed to determine the exact type of bacteria that had caused the infection. I can’t say enough about the level of care I got at Shands or what I learned about bacterial infections except “outstanding” on the former and “enlightening” on the latter.  I may go into more detail in another post.

I have a new appreciation for what people with physical deformities must go through as I could see the looks on people’s faces as I was wheeled through the emergency room and taken to what I started calling my little cell. I also have a new appreciation for what people with chronic pain experience. I was in pain before I got to the first ER and it just seemed to get more intense as time went on. When pain is significant, it is hard to focus on other things. They started me on morphine shortly after I arrived at Shands and I was told I could have more every two hours, as needed.

I am a person who rarely gets sick and can’t remember the last time I sought out a doctor because of an illness. I have visited friends and relatives in the hospital over the years, but you really can’t appreciate what they’re going through. It looks much different from a hospital bed. And it is a scary feeling especially when it takes a couple of days to determine exactly what is wrong. The last time I was a patient in a hospital was almost 50 years ago when my tonsils were removed. Come to think of it, it was a scary experience then, too.

Since I was a three hour roundtrip from where I lived, I knew visitors would be few and far between. But what I think made a tremendous difference is the friends that responded with texts and calls and even a visit when I reached out to them. It helped keep my spirits up and even though it was difficult to talk (and eat) and we tended to talk about what had happened to me, it eased my fears and made me realized how loved I am.

While I have tried to thank everyone personally, I really must tell the world how great you are. Thanks to Kevin and Jean for coming to visit that first afternoon and Jean for calling each day to check on me. A huge thank you to Gwen who came with Kevin and Jean and drove my sleep deprived, surely frightened 82 year old mom home, and then brought her to visit me on Wednesday and for all of the texts and calls. (As a side note it took my mother almost five hours to drive to Shands because she got lost several times in Gainesville and was a bit overwhelmed by the “big city” traffic.)  Also, many thanks to Ronnie, James, Susan, Kim, DJ, Scott and Tom for your texts and calls. You guys rock!

It is good to be back home. And that shower shortly after I arrived home (the first since Sunday morning and the first opportunity to wash my hair) never felt better. The swelling is almost gone and the pain is barely noticeable. I’m still bandaged and on the antibiotic for eight more days.

I will never again hesitate to visit a friend in the hospital. I know firsthand the emotional benefit. Life can be random and sometimes difficult but knowing you are loved and cared for can make the difference.

I’ll close with a picture of the sign the girls in my tap class made when they learned why I wasn’t there on Tuesday night. When I finally got home Thursday afternoon and checked my email, their picture brought a smile to my face. It was also the only time I ever regretted not having a smartphone as I wasn’t able to see it sooner.

Thanks again to all the special people in my life. And thank you for reading.

My dancing peeps, Emily, Katie and Liz. (Rachel was absent that night)

My dancing peeps, Emily, Katie and Liz. (Rachel was absent that night)

 

 

F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES IS HERE!

sandylikeabeach:

I’m now a twice published author thanks to H.E. Ellis! If you like your fairy tales slightly or completely f*cked up then you’ll enjoy this book. All proceeds go to charity!

Originally posted on H.E. ELLIS:

  • Has the stress of facing the holiday season alone got you down?
  • Are you dreading another Thanksgiving Day dinner defending your recreational life choices to your staunch Republican (insert Military Branch Rank of your choice here) Father?
  • Tired of being seated between your fighter pilot/Sunday school teacher/Abercombie & Finch model big brother and your half-dead Grandmother who smells like cheese?

WELL HAVE I GOT A SOLUTION FOR YOU!

From the warped and creative minds of the Blogosphere’s most talented writers comes a retelling of classic fables and fairy tales, each one more twisted than the last. F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES is the first of a two eBook novella series created by THE BLOGGER COLLECTIVE, a talented group of participating authors from around the Blogosphere. It’s childhood as you never remembered it. 

BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!

F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES  is guaranteed to make your brother come out of the closet while…

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A Chicken Tender Comes Home To Poop

So I can now add chicken tender to my resume. I just returned (though the actual returning occurred last night, but ‘just returned’ gives it the sort of out-of-breathlessness that it really doesn’t need, but I digress and it’s only the second sentence) from the land of sketchy internet service and no cell reception. Yes, I was goat herding again, along with horse feeding and cat whispering.

But this time, there were chickens. Three of them. In case you were wondering, all chickens do is eat, poop and lay eggs though I’m not sure of the exact order. These are not free range chickens though they used to be free range but if they ranged free here, they would be coyote food, so they are in a little chicken coop. Of course, by ‘here’ I mean ‘there’ because I didn’t bring the chickens home with me.

The chickens laid their eggs during the day in a straw-filled covered kitty litter box in the coop. In the evening, after herding goats into the barn and feeding horses, I would collect the eggs, scrape chicken poop  and turn the kitty litter box around so the chickens couldn’t get in there during the night because if they did they would poop in it. Apparently, chickens are like cats and people and prefer privacy when pooping.  I can’t say that I blame them.

My hair stylist (though I’m not sure my hair has a style as I just let it do what it does best which is hang) is also a chicken tender. She says she spreads the chicken poop in her garden. I didn’t do that. I just scraped it off the tray that lined the bottom of the coop into the pasture next to the coop. There’s also horse poop and goat poop in the pasture because horses and goats aren’t that picky about where they poop.

Do you know what other animal isn’t picky about where they poop? Frogs! After being gone for a couple of weeks, my front porch had quite a bit of frog poop on it. Yes, those cute little tree frogs are pooping machines and they like to poop on my porch. There’s not frog poop on my porch now because I swept it off before I started writing this.

I don’t know about you, but after dealing with all that poop, I’m a bit pooped but I did want to give you the straight poop on chicken poop.

 

A Thought Becomes Me

I’m lost in thought. Or is thought lost inside of me? So many thoughts chase each other around. Are they trying to build on each other or are they simply trying to become something other than what they are? And what exactly are they? Half truths or distantly remembered platitudes or a snippet of dialogue or the terrifying task of putting feelings into words. I don’t know and I can’t figure it out which is probably why the previous sentence isn’t even a sentence in the truest sense of the word. Or the only sense of the word, since I believe a definition of sentence would be something along the lines of a word or group of words conveying some type of thought or action and containing both subject and predicate.

An example may be in order. But not an example of a sentence because examples of sentences are everywhere here if you know where to look. And by the simple act of reading, you know where to look. (I had to go back and add the comma in the previous sentence because I wasn’t sure that you would pause where I paused as I was thinking the thought that became that sentence and if you didn’t pause where I paused then you might not experience my thought the way I experienced it. Of course, that might not be such a terrible thing.)

So far, every word is an example. Darkness falls. That’s another example. But where does darkness fall from? Are we applying a metaphor? Are we equating darkness with a curtain that comes down over a window or a stage? But not all curtains fall. Some are pulled together in some way. And the way the light leaves a space when a curtain falls or is closed is not the way we experience the change from day to night unless you’re on the equator. If you’re on the equator the change from day to night or night to day is quite abrupt.  I know because I was there once with there being the equator or thereabouts. It’s not like there’s a sign. But I was told I was about twenty miles from the equator. South, if you crave details or are a stickler for directions.

I didn’t check the coordinates with a GPS because GPS wasn’t a thing back then. Nobody even talked about it. Though some people must have been thinking about it because enough satellites were launched to get us to where we are. But it’s not dark where we are or where I am but it will be eventually.

And that’s the problem with ‘darkness falls.’ It’s the gradual eventuality of it on most parts of the planet.  Something to do with being tilted on an axis, I think.  Darkness doesn’t so much fall as it becomes. It is an ever changing state. It slowly becomes more dark until it becomes more light. Light and dark are just different versions of the same thing. One cannot be without the other.  Light and dark define each other.

We are all light and dark. Not necessarily equal parts of each and probably not even a constant state. (Not every group of words masquerading as a sentence is really a sentence. I have no excuse. My high school English teachers would be appalled.) And of course, we’re probably all a little tilted on an axis, too. I’m less appalled by my fondness for sentence fragments but that probably has something to do with the tilt of my axis.

Perhaps the axis is ever changing the degree of its tiltiness. Tiltiness isn’t a word or it wasn’t until I just used it in a sentence. I’m pretty sure that’s all that matters. Mainly, because most things don’t matter. It might even be that nothing matters. But if nothing matters why do I care if darkness falls, or wraps around us or slowly becomes? Though darkness doesn’t become everyone and not everyone becomes dark.

I suppose I care because darkness gets a bad rap. Many are afraid of it. Most don’t want to embrace it. But there is a depth to it. Much the same way there can be a brilliance to light. And while most tend to want to step into the light, darkness offers a respite or perhaps just invisibility. It becomes a place to be lost in thought. Or a place where thoughts come to play and lose themselves in the inky depths.

Lifted from Gocomics.com

Lifted from Gocomics.com

A Free Safety Meditates On The Redundant Way

So, about a month or so ago, I last posted and in that post that last I posted I said that I was back. Apparently, that turned out to be less than true. This, of course, is assuming that true is not an absolute. I like to think that it is an absolute though there are times when it seems a bit ambiguous and I am always surprised when I like ambiguous truth.

In my defense and it bothers me a bit to think that I feel a need to offer a defense, so maybe there should be a better phrase than ‘in my defense,’ but since I can’t think of one as I’m typing this, I’ll stick with the ever so popular defensive position, but not the safety position I played on a college powder puff team, but the one that goes something like ‘at the time I wrote it, I really had every intention of writing more…..’

I’m sure most people have figured out I’m not great with intentions, though again, the free safety in me feels the need to add my intentions are typically good or well intended which isn’t the same as well attended. If I had been attending to my intentions, my intentions would have become actions because I would have been attending to all those things one must do to turn an intention into action. Of course, one must know what all of those things are and I don’t, so that’s a problem. I think I may have Intention Deficit Disorder. I’m going to start telling people I have IDD.

It’s possible that the problem is I’ve been so very busy with all of the things I do when I’m not writing that I haven’t had time to write. It’s also possible we won’t be bombing Syria but I’m not holding my breath on that one. Let’s just say I’m having difficulty accounting for all of my time.

I took a class on meditation because I wanted to see what it was about. It was about meditation. We did a bit of it. My left foot fell asleep. I did leave the class with the intention of meditating each and every day because that’s the redundant way. And I did meditate for about fifteen minutes the very next day. Of course, that was about six months before my last post so that was one well intended but not well attended intention. Like I said or wrote, I’ve got IDD and I’ve got it bad.

Or maybe not so bad, because I did acquire a DVD course on mindfulness and meditation though not because I want to be mindful about how I’m not meditating but because I want to be more mindful and thus meditate more or maybe I want to meditate more and thus become more mindful. (I should probably figure out what I want.) I’ve watched 6 lectures so far and those of you who might recall I don’t always do things in order will be pleased to know that I am watching them in order because I will do things in order when it makes sense to be orderly and in this sense it did. Of course, lecture 6 was the one that told us to actually begin daily meditation. It suggested that one not proceed with the lectures until a daily habit has been established. I watched lecture 6 three weeks ago. I haven’t watched lecture 7 yet.

Again, the free safety in me wants to add that the lecturer in lecture 6 who is the same guy in all of the lectures but you couldn’t know that for sure which is why I told you said that establishing a daily practice might take some time. Clearly, he has known some IDD sufferers. This IDD sufferer meditated three days in row after watching lecture 6. SInce then it has been a day here and a day there, but not everyday and the last day was at least a week ago though I can’t remember the exact day. I really have no excuse or explanation though some might argue this post is some sort of an explanation. And they might be right about that.

So clearly, I have not been meditating. So what have I been doing? I fed a hot dog to a great blue heron. Twice. Though it really only took a few minutes each time so I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it except that it was cool or frio  if you speak Spanish and I don’t though I know ‘frio’ means cold or maybe cool. Do Spanish speaking people saying ‘Es frio’ the way we say ‘It’s cool?’ I don’t know. But I’ve spent time wondering about it.

I’ve also been shooting the next door neighbor’s cat. With insulin. The cat’s diabetic. But again, it only takes  a few minutes every twelve hours. I only have to do it one more time. Until the next time my neighbor goes out of town. And I’ve only done it a couple of days so, again, not a huge amount of my time.

And while I haven’t been holding my breath on the Syria bombing thing, I have been calling my congressmen (and yes, all three of them are men) and sending them and the White House emails asking them not to involve us in someone else’s civil war as nothing good will come from it. Yes, I think the use of chemical weapons is deplorable though I think the use of ALL weapons is deplorable hence my reluctance to lob bombs. At some point we need to stop the perpetual war machine that we have created. And now seems as good a time as any to begin that process.

I seemed to have gotten off topic and don’t really know how to end this post so I’ll just say thanks for reading though I didn’t say it so much as wrote it.

Happy trails to you……….and thanks for reading.