Monday, January 26, 2009

Good Sister's Journey into Light

Last week has worn me out. I haven't posted as often as I should but you'll forgive me when you know that I've been being the supportive shoulder for Good Sister. It's been a long week, and though she can't see how much better she is, I can. I've been on the phone with her mostly and these days there is more talking going on than crying. Mac and I spent Friday evening with her, Mac setting up her computer, me consoling and soothing. She allowed me to disparage the man who broke her heart without one interruption. "He's a dog, " I told her...then looking at her lovely pair of dogs, I apologized to them. "So sorry,, he's not a dog...a dog is too Godlike to hurt you this way...he's a heel. He's a lowdown sorry heel and remember this! TIME WOUNDS ALL HEELS!" I got a tiny smile out of her, and Butch licked my hand.

So now here she is, ready to admit that maybe he was less than he seemed, a good actor nothing more, nothing less. But she's still not sleeping well, her mind is still drawn to who she thought he was, not who he really is. I'm hoping that since she has made the leap from man to heel that the next step will be Prince to frog. When she can stop seeing him as her Prince Charming, the warts will show and I believe that will be the beginning of the end for her attachment to him. When she first started dating again after her divorce, she would supply me with name, description (sometimes phone photo) and tag number so that should anything happen, I'd have all I needed to help find her. You may think that is a bit extreme, but in today's world, it's not as much as I'd want for when my Granddaughter is old enough to date. Full background checks will be more my speed. With this one, all I had was the cell phone photo he wasn't aware she took. Well, that and his name and the hotel he was staying in while in town. All that information and still she wasn't safe. What's a friend to do?

You know, heartbreak hurts worse when you're a woman of a certain age. An empty home is lonelier than a cell. You work hard all day then go home to no one to talk to, no one to share your day with. It can get to be a cold existence. I was so happy for her that she had found Mr Right. How could he (and we) have been so wrong? But I'm an optimist. Knowing what a beautiful woman she is, inside and out, I have no doubt that if she wants him, the right man is out there, just waiting to find her. I can't wait till the day comes, that she can go out on her porch and yell at the top of her lungs, "NEXT!" Because the next man is out there...and you've got to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Portrait of Words Entry 5 A Poem...The Flowers

The Flowers

How I thank you for the tribute that you have laid upon my grave site
how I wonder what my life would have been if I had lived
the full measure of a man that God Himself had surely promised
had not war cut me down denying me that simple gift

How I thank you for the honor of your military bearing
of a coffin filled with promises that will never be attained
Soldier Brothers sharply turned out, buglers sounding smartly
family looking stunned their faces show the strain

How I thank you for remembering all the fallen, all the heroes
including me when looking back at the bitter past
just remember what was promised when we left this earth unwilling
let this generation of young soldiers be the last

Portrait of Words, as presented by Jeff, at A Word In Edgewise is in its fifth installment. I'd like to thank Dr. John for the use of the photographs for this months offering. We hope that you will all join us and entertain us with your work. If you'll go to his website, Jeff has all the rules laid out on his sidebar. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Do you heal a Broken Heart?

I've had a very unsettling few days. You've heard me talk (frequently) about Evil Sister and her comical yet enlightening ways. I've spoken less often of my other dear friend, Good Sister. She is fifteen years younger than I am, is a professional woman with some pretty heavy responsibilities. I don't know that I could do all that she does and keep a sane thought in my head. I have known her since we moved to this county in 1988. Twenty one years and she doesn't seem to have changed much, if at all. She managed to work full time, rear a child, remarry and put herself through college. See, she is amazing. But that is not why I love her so. I love her for her kind and generous heart. She would drop what she's doing to help anyone. Not just those she knows and loves, but anyone. If she hears of a person in distress or need, she takes it upon herself to find the answer to their problem.

We met through our work. My family and hers were well known to each other. She had formerly been married to kin of ours, and I laughingly called her my "cousin-in-law" before we called each other "sister". We have stood by each other through tragedy and triumph, through life and death situations, through laughter and tears. When Mac had his heart attack, she got up from a warm bed and joined us at the hospital. So, you can see how I can't possibly turn my back on her, can't you?

She went through a particularly bad divorce five years ago. The break down of the marriage had begun long before that, but she held on, hoping against hope that the man she had loved would somehow see that he had changed, that he was no longer the stalwart slayer of dragons that he had always seemed to be. He refused to see that his damsel was in distress until it was to late to save the remnants of a marriage gone wrong. So it was all gone, up in dragons breath, burned to ashes, bitter as gall.

Early in November she met a man. She has been out on a couple of dates, always protesting that she is to old to be "dating" these days. I have encouraged her to have more in her life than her work. She needed fun in her life so much, and she's not a person who is ashamed to say she needs the company of a man, but it has to be a special man. This man she met while at a high level meeting, seemed to be the man. Although they only saw each other several times a month, (his business taking him far away, as far as Asia, as close as Spain...before getting back into the Charlotte area) she fell in love so quickly, so passionately you would have thought she was in her teens. She smiled and laughed all the time, looked forward to his return to the States each time. They stayed in constant touch via e-mail and cell phone. He was to return to the Charlotte area (which isn't where he actually lives) today. We went out to dinner with her on Friday and she was so excited that there seemed to be a light shining beneath her skin.

I've been on the phone with her for three days. Saturday she was a bit upset because she hadn't heard from him, but I calmed her down, talked to her...then Sunday she received a phone call from him. She called me, and she was crying so hard that I could barely make out what she was saying. I was pulling on coat and shoes, telling Mac I had to get to her. He could hear the panic in my voice and asked who it was he needed to kill. I burst into tears at that, so thankful that my dragon slayer was alive and well. I was telling her I was on the way and she begged me to just stay on the phone with her, that she'd be okay. We stayed on the phone for two hours. She cried. I listened. Then of course, I had to go to her.

How do you heal a broken heart? I know that somewhere someone has the answer, I wish you'd tell me what to do. I can't stand seeing her like this, and I can't desert her. I need the words that will make everything, if not okay, then marginally better. I'll be calling her in awhile, checking on her, making sure she is eating, giving her an emotional hug since we're now snowed in and I can't get to her to give her a real one. At least not today. In the mean time, my heart aches for her. I feel powerless to help. All I can do is be here for her as she has so often been there for me. It seems like so little.

Monday, January 12, 2009

On kissing Cats

It never ceases to amaze me that Mindy is so beloved by the feline world. She's such a sweet dog, one who had been abused, discarded, just thrown away. She was such a sweet puppy, but hungry, mangy and starved for love. So, we fed her, treated her, and gave her affection in copious amounts. The other dogs, Shelties Ripley and Duffy took to her with no problem. We never had any serious doubts about them, but we worried that the cats, Pye and Ariel, would find her too rambunctious to put up with for long. They mainly ignored her for the first few weeks. Whichever room she would locate them in they would vacate immediately. Then she had her operation, the stroke which blinded her and it was like the cats suddenly had an overwhelming need to shower her with affection. Where ever Mindy went, they would follow, sometimes "herding" her where they thought she needed to be rather than where she wanted to be.
When we were living at the old house, she only had the back yard, which was fenced in. The outside cats never went into it, probably because Ripley, the little female Sheltie, would have no part of them. She tolerated the indoor cats because she had no choice. She drew the line at socializing with the outdoor group. When we moved here, there was much more room to roam in, there was no fence and there were lots of cats..a couple of ours,but most we had no clue as to ownership. They just adopted us and thanked us for providing food. Imagine our surprise when we first noticed that these cats would all gather around, following along with her, running ahead, playing with her. Herding her. We were amazed.
Well, we have two little guys, (Sonny and Cher) Russian Blues for whom we are looking for homes. They have been raised inside and are just wild about Mindy. Cher will sit in Mac's lap and as soon as Mindy approaches, she wraps her little paws around her face as if to say "good morning". Mac says their day doesn't start until they've annoyed the dog. I say the dog's day hasn't started until she's kissed a cat.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A VIsit with a Country Doctor

Wow, it's already the ninth of January. One week down and three to go and we'll be butting heads with what passes for real winter around here. Today Mac and I had our appointments with our family Doc, Dr. Moyd. I love him. He listens, and more importantly, he hears what you have to say. He saw Mac first and then came an told me everything. Seems Mac's in pretty good shape. This is good news to one who loves him, news that I was gratified to get. Dr. Moyd is going through my file and letting me ramble on about what I've been doing that's good for me and of course we had a short discussion about the evils of Rum Cake. Ahem. Then we got deep into discussion about how RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) is affecting both our lives. After telling him that the Rheumatologist made the horrendous suggestion that we do surgery on my ankle and go in for the chemo drip for the condition, he asked me in a whisper, "and what have you decided?"
"I decided to spit in his eye and run like hell, " I whispered back.

He smiled at first, then broke out into a raucous laugh. Holding out the arthritic hands that had been through surgery with no help at all from the pain of it, he said, "wish I had had your courage." I knew that he had had the surgery a couple of years back and had even then questioned the wisdom of it. But we continued this visit the way we always do.
Him..."Want the flu shot?"

Him. "Don't blame you, how about a colonoscopy, want me to set that up?"
Me. "Has hell frozen over yet? You'll be sure and keep me posted on that event, okay?"
Him. "Okay, that's no to the colonoscopy. Now, we have this new thing we'll be using very soon, a camera pill. You swallow, it takes pretty pictures, it goes byby. When we get that set up, how's about we give it a try?" He smiled at me with encouragement.
Me. "You go first. Then I'll see. I haven't recovered from the last one I had. Granted it was done in the dark ages...(the dark ages, hahahahaha) but that was enough for me. For now. When the MRI does the whole works, I'm in."

Him. "In for the MRI," he noted in my file. Then he sat back and asked me questions and glancing down saw that I had skipped my stress test last year. "You know Grainger is going to want a word with you, " he said, one eyebrow cocked.
"I know, I know...I can't remember what happened last April that I missed it, but it was them, they called to reschedule and I couldn't find my date book and I promised to call them back and you know how that always works out." I had the good grace to look sheepish.
"Well, still and all, lets not do that again, okay? Now, let me have a listen to those lungs." He leaned in and listened front and back and sat back and looked at me with a smile, saying "if you hadn't told me how many years you smoked, I would never believe you'd ever taken a puff. Those are some clear clean lung sounds. Heartbeat is nice and slow. All in all you haven't messed yourself up to much this year."

"I owe it all to you,'re my guiding inspiration." Then he began to write out my prescriptions. He wrote the first one, dissected the paper into fourths, wrote three more, took another sheet from the pad and wrote yet another one. "Okay, now I'm going to let you change to Byetta for the diabetes, we'll see how this works and back in six weeks. I'm changing your blood pressure meds, because while your heart sounds great I'm not happy with that pressure. We're gonna get it down. So, that's potassium and nexium...oh and I want you to stay on the altace. Now." He sat back, looking at me expectantly.

"If I'm in such great shape, Doc, can you please tell me why I need American Tourister to help me carry my medicine ?"
Dismissing me, my little Country Doc said, " them's the breaks. " Writing out a lot of gibberish on a Lab Request sheet, he gave me a stern look. " Now go give Vampira her blood payment." I haven't rolled my eyes lately. At his final remark, I think I may have sprained my eye muscles.
Now, this is an edit here! I want you all to know that while Dr. Moyd is so very special and listens so intently, he is also pretty darned good with that pen when he's writing out referrals to other doctors. It appears I have a date with a camera man on February 20th. How did I lose control of my free will?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Self Control and the lack there of

It's amazing how long it has taken me to overcome my own stupidity. It makes me wonder how many others out there have the same problems with their self control. You know, I smoked for years...I began in high school, ate many a pack of sinsin (remember that little red pack of what tasted like soap spiced with licorice?) to hide the smell of tobacco from my parents, and never openly smoked in front of my mother. Now, my mother smoked, too. I often wished she would switch from menthol to regular when I was pilfering them from her. That should have been my first clue to addiction...I smoked hers in a pinch, although I hated them. The commercials told me how sophisticated and sexy I appeared to be, that cigarette dangling between finger tips, head thrown back to expel the smoke from my lungs. I remember practicing that pose in the mirror after the first time I gagged on the effect. Lighter puffs, not as deep an inhale...and practice makes perfect. I'm not sure who I hoped to impress those first couple of years...smoking in the girl's room with my peers seems so stupid now.

It's easy to quit smoking. I did it a thousand times. I'd throw away a pack in the morning, then dig through the garbage to get it back. Maybe if I had kept a full length mirror behind the garbage can so I could see how ridiculous I looked sifting through trash to get to that elusive pack of smokes I could have quit much sooner. I did finally quit. I quit for good in December of 2002, after suffering a heart attack and having bypass surgery. What brought me to the hospital was that I could not breathe. I could not catch even a whiff of oxygen and my oxy level was 82...I'm told if it had been 80 I would have been intubated. One of my dearest friends in the world, an RN, told me that had I been in HER ER, I would have been. I'm thankful that I was saved that indignity. I am nothing if I can not speak. And I hear it is most difficult to speak with that hose down your throat. A few days after that I found myself on the surgeon's table. Seems I had a heart attack (my second in as many days) during my stress test. Then it was down to the Cath Lab. Then to Providence Hospital for the surgery. I've not smoked a cigarette, nor allowed one to be smoked inside my home since Christmas , 2002.

Dr. Moyd, my Primary Care Physician, who could pass for Dr. House's brother, though not nearly as cynical, commented on the fact that I had smoked for a number of years. He asked if I had found it easy to quit. I told him that the last time I quit it was remarkably easy. "How so?" he asked. I laughed at that..."all the nagging from family and friends over a long period of time, lets say 20 years, had nothing to do with it. I just want you to know that. But lying on a surgical table with your chest cracked open is a damned fine incentive."