Friday, June 25, 2010

My Veins Curve

I have been out of patient mode for awhile but it takes so little to charge back into the fray. Today was my six month check-up. Ostensibly, I was going to find out if the patch was working but my team double-booked my Echo and my consult and so I will not have those results for a few days. Still, the cardio doc said I was fine to fly, which is good because we are headed out for Texas tomorrow morning and it is a bit of a drive (thanks to all who offered to road trip with me, true cowgirl style:))) and so I am happy our original flying plan is still intact.

Due to numb toes...really, numb toes I get?...I am going to see a rheumatologist upon my return. Another specialist. For a healthy person, I have a lot of doctors.

I love to capture a little snippet of the medical day and so here is today's gem:

After laying on the table for about an hour while the echocardiogram specialist worked her magic, she called for the IV nurse to come in and insert a line to complete the bubble study. This involves injecting saline into a vein so the docs can see the little bubbles if they are shunting through the wall of the upper heart chambers...this will tell us all if the patch on my heart is doing it's job.

Hey, I'm a little dubious about this...does this hurt?

I can't talk through clenched teeth.

Has anyone ever told you that your veins curve? I'm not liking this but it's the best we've let's make it work. (referring to the IV line she had just put into my arm)

Truer words were never spoken. I'm not liking this whole damn thing, from start to finish but it is the best I have got and I am going to make it work.

I will be on vacation until July 6th and sure to pick up a Texas tale or two. Can't wait to share them with you all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

We Begin with a Big Ball in Water

Happy Solstice! I was talking to a friend about how our generation does not honor the seasons as much as those who came before us, perhaps because we are no longer bound to the land as an agrarian nation. That said, I think summer is a time for slow mornings, berry picking, a lot of reading and the ever popular put-your-kids-in-a-hamster-ball-and-drop-them-in water ritual.

My kids have a gift for spotting the essence of an activity. Luke saw this set-up at our local mall and began a full court press to be allowed to do it. I was dubious at both the cost and the whole idea, really.
Mom, when will we ever be able to do this again? He had a point, as this is not the usual gig outside of Claire's. So, in the spirit of the summer and slowing down, and doing crazy things in the water, I gave in to my son's pleas. With our good friends watching from the sidelines, the kids bobbed, weaved, tried to run, and "had the best 7 minutes of my life."

I'm a fan of rituals and now I think this might be our summer solstice ritual. How we will duplicate it if Euro-bobbles is not set up, I do not know, but I trust my engineering husband. Unwind, let go of the desire for things to make sense, and climb into an air-filled bubble and splash down. I'm in next year:)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Uncle Gale

Here is the thing about my Uncle Gale: he is Texas tough. For most of his career, he was a firefighter and also worked a second job at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal as their circulation director. He got me one of my first jobs at the AJ. working the complaint desk on Sunday mornings at 5:00am. This, in turn, prepared me for a career as a therapist as I had to help people keep their perspective about their papers being thrown closer to the curb than to the door and their suspicions that their paperboys were "high as a kite which is the only explanation of why that little twit throws the paper on the roof every Sunday". I remember that woman calling in every shift. She and I had a connection but I digress.

Uncle Gale also took me fishing, drove my grandparents up to see me in his motor home after I defected, and always, always calls me "Sugar." He has a one-eyed dog that got bitten by a rattlesnake and loves his ranch. Last time we were in West Texas, we went out and spent the day there. Mesquite country with some ornery cows but a stark beauty that calls you back.

One of those cows got his head caught in a gate and Uncle Gale got trapped between the cow and the fence. He got the worse end of the deal and is now fighting for his life in the ICU. He has ten broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and internal bleeding.

Here is the thing I know about Uncle Gale. He never backed down from a fight and must know in his heart how much we all love him and all the energy flooding his way. Mom says you can't get to his room because of all the firefighters standing guard.

So, Sugar and Yank are adding their voices to the chorus of folks pulling for you right now. We love you!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Ok, maybe it was a gift from England's goalie (poor kid) but what a game! We had a few friends over to watch one of the beginning matches of the World Cup...England v. USA. Originally, we were going to serve food from both countries, but let's face it, porridge and bangers does not a good party make. You have to have some international energy around when you are watching a world cup game. I recommend an Irishman with a stout who can sling some understated poetry at the screen when the time comes:

"Ahh, twinkle toes helped us out, didn't he now?

Twinkle Toes did, indeed, help us out but he came out after the game and took full responsibility for his complete boffing of the play. I have always believed sports provide many teachable moments for our kids. Teaching them how to lose with grace is perhaps one of the trickiest maneuvers. Twinkle Toes aka as Robert Green showed my son, an aspiring goalie, how to cowboy up...and for that, I'm now going to refer to him by his given name:)

So, the USA underdogs managed a tie and we all managed a bloody good time. Game on!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Notes from the Field

So after getting up at 4:30, working all day, cooking a pretty pitiful dinner, it was time to clean the house. After cleaning the bathroom, Luke runs in, covered in sand and undoes the cleaning that had just miraculously occured. I did not handle it well.

After yelling a bit, I went into the playroom and tried to explain:

Son, it's not you that I am mad it, it's my role in the family. Even though I am as smart as all of you, I spend the most time cleaning and cooking and picking up after everyone. Some days it just doesn't feel fair...can you understand that?

Mom, you sound a lot like Susan B Anthony (pause)...except she didn't play basketball.

I think if we want to continue the revolution, we better keep our sons involved:)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wounded Warriors

I don't know if it was hanging out with the Jade Buddha (see previous post) or realizing that my days of being able to outrun my children are quite numbered but I have spent this week thinking about my physical self and how much things have changed.

I have come to the conclusion that I am a wounded warrior. Then, I came to the conclusion that we are all wounded, or soon to be. We are all going to age and parts will break down...hopefully little bits but sometimes big parts and then, well, then you come face to face with the way things are going to be...age, sickness, and struggle. Still, the fear is the thing. After my heart surgery, my heart speeds up and sometimes skips a beat altogether. The neurological symptoms that were supposed to disappear are still hanging around and all in all, I thought I would be better, cured, fixed, etc. The thing is, I feel good but sometimes fear pushes in and I worry about the next stroke or leaving my children behind. That is my disability now, the fear.

For me, I have decided that yoga is no longer a luxury but something my body needs as I recover from a lifetime of going into the fray. To say that I am a remedial yogini after all these years is an understatement but it is time to establish a daily practice. Today, I did some yoga and then some meditation and I was able to let go of the fear....and then came the miracle of compassion toward myself. Yep, I can't touch the floor with my hands and I can forget about the pigeon and exalted warrior poses but I have a bunch of energy to go sew on my daughter's daisy patches.

Namaste and go easy on yourself

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jade Buddha

Sometimes, in the middle of the dust and grime of a big city, you can find something magical. Worcester, Massachusetts is sadly underrated by most folks who live outside the city. It is the second largest city in Massachusetts and can boast of several colleges, museums, and amazing restaurants. Still, it's nickname says it all "Wormtown." I did a little research on the nickname and found out that it originated in the underground music scene of the 1970/s and 80/s. It is a point of pride with many local musicians who are a bit pissed about the appropriation of the nickname by the Worcester Rugby Team whose logo features a rugby playing worm.

So that is the backdrop for last week. I was told by Reverend Judith that a very auspicious event was happening in a small temple in the heart of Worcester. A 4 ton traveling jade Buddha, representing Universal Peace was going to be displayed for several weeks. It was worth seeing.

We found our way to the temple, a beautiful place in and of itself, and joined the monks and lay people who were there for a variety of reasons. You could feel the energy of the place, of the Buddha, and of right intentions.

When my children ask me why there is still war and why grown-ups have forgotten that violence begets violence, and I am often filled with despair for their future. But then, I travel to Wormtown, see a miraculous Buddha statue and believe in the energy that surrounds it. Peace is the way and to see that manifested in 4 tons of jade, well, that can restore faith.