Thursday, June 30, 2005

A conversation delayed and then interrupted.
Words spoken yet not understood.
Fear of revealing the truth.
Sadness over familiar promises that will never come true.
Confusion and frustration.
Feeling lost.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 12:01 I have to turn in my evaluation.

I have several drafts with several voices.

I have so very much to say. I have nothing to say.

I have accomplished a prodigious amount of work. I have not managed to find a way to work around the two members of senior management who support neither the position or the process of communication management. Nor much of their staff who have followed their example.

I am not looking forward to this conversation with my boss.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I made it through the event without fainting.

There were a few times during the speeches that things grew a bit dim. I had to work to stay upright and neglected to get all the photos I needed.

I was also so very completely miserable.

Every one was hot. The guests blew through the water supplies before the speeches started. The caterer ended up serving the speakers glasses of water quietly as the event went on. Every one was hot.

But not every one was in a situation that was dangerous to his/her health.

I keep asking myself why did I do it? Why didn't I just say that I could not manage the event given the temperature?

My face turned beat red. I was trembling. No one noticed. No one cared. Those who know heat is actually dangerous to me didn't even ask if I were okay or if I needed help.

It simply didn't matter.

I am thankful the event went well, that our company was represented well.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Tomorrow is another grand opening. That means lots of work...and last minute items that drive me crazy because they should not be last minute.

I am quite nervous about tomorrow because it is outside. I am fearful that I will faint since I have to be their early to set up and remain during the event to manage the press and take photos.

I can't say that I won't do it. It is my job.

But the heat...

Is there not a difference between trusting that God will meet your needs and setting your own self up for failure by putting yourself in a dangerous situation?

I am feeling trapped.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I used some of the last of my refinance money to fix a few electrical issues around the house...and to make a change that has already proved to be a remarkable difference to me.

I had a plug and a light that did not work. The original wiring on the house was just four circuits. The floors were all looped together and then the kitchen. So I added over a dozen circuits, leaving the original wiring in place per the recommendation of two electricians. I also changed out all the switches and all the plugs.

Somehow in all that work, the plug beneath the bird cage lost power as did the light in my closet. For three years, I have not been able to see my clothes much of the time, and the birds have been a bit chilly in the winter because I could not hook up their heat lamp.

So, I asked a handyman to come in a fix those problems. My solution for the light in the closet was to just bypass the original wiring and hook the light up to the bathroom. I had added a new circuit there and it could certainly handle an additional light. The attic floor is open around the edges and I knew that it would be easy to do so. And I was fairly certain that the problem with the plug lay somewhere within the three switches above it. They had all been worked and were one of the looped circuits.

I have done so very much of the work in the house that when the handyman came to bid the job, he wondered why I didn't just do the work myself.

I told him I was too tired.

Anyhow, I also asked him to install a light in the attic and a gable vent fan.

You see, it is so very warm on the top floor, even though I added air conditioning. So very warm. I have had to keep a window a/c unit just to stay cool enough to sleep. It was my hope that the fan would suck out some of the hot air.

In less than two days, the temperature in my room has dropped ten degrees! I still slept with the window unit on, but that made the room temperature drop even lower. I happily slept in the sixties!

The work was incredibly arduous due to the extreme temperatures in my attic. His metal tools became too hot to touch. The plastic ones softened. He had to keep taking breaks and drank two bottles of water and four of Gatorade. Still, he persevered and finished the task.

My best friend's husband helpfully pointed out that if you have a ridge vent, as do I, then you are not supposed to put in an attic fan. Though he is an engineer and I trust him implicitly...frankly...I don't care!

When I walk up the stairs, I am no longer hit by a wave of warm air.

I am quite thankful for the person who invented the thermostat controlled gable vent fan. He has my undying loyalty!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Last night was great!

I actually left work before 7:00 again. My best friend's husband was at work, so we were able to play game after game of scrabble. I didn't lose all of them! And...I asked another person a question and she answered me honestly, even though what she said hurt.

Honesty. Truth. Is there anything more valuable in this life?

Of course, the test will be if I am willing to accept the charge to lay aside my pride and make a difficult situation better even though I believe the other party ought to be the one doing so.

It is a difficult concept to lay aside your department or agenda for the betterment of the company. It is another matter altogether to lay aside your self for the same.

However, it is not I who lives, but Christ within me. Therefore, laying aside my self to take the "higher" road ought to be easy...right?

I am afraid my weak self will not find it so. A self that was quite relieved that the opportunity to take this step did not present itself today.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

When I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it was in large part due to having this strange headache from May until October.

It wasn't a sinus headache. It wasn't a tension headache. It wasn't a migraine. In fact, no one ever really understand how I described it (or would describe it now because I get the same headache from time to time). The pain feels as if it were on the top of my head, resting like a bowl. And the best adjective I have for it is that it is sweet. What does that mean, you ask? I cannot really answer.

I used to enjoy long soaks in the tub. I would take a book and read amidst the steam. But when I got out of the tub, I would find myself completely enervated, stumbling to the bed to collapse, often not even making it that far. After a couple of hours, I would recover. Silly me, I never realized that it was the heat that weakened me so.

I had a patch of numbness on the upper half of the back of my right leg. Sitting down was strange, feeling a chair beneath one leg and the not other.

I dropped things, quite easily. I would think that I had my toothbrush, and then it would fall into the sink...along with eye shadow, mascara, blush. I started fumbling when I played the guitar.

My vision would blur. Walking became difficult. And it was the beginning of my cognitive decline. was the headache that ultimately lead to my diagnosis.

I have never forgotten those five months of constant pain. Pain that is not easily ignored.

Three years ago, when I was diagnosed with arthritis, it was because my lower back would become so stiff that moving (sitting, standing, lying down) was excruciating. My wrist, ankle, and elbow joints would stiffen and hurt, but it was my back that became unbearable. That is why Celebrex is my most cherished possession. With that drug, I can function. I still hurt. Riding in a car for more than a couple of hours becomes unbearable. Lying in bed too long becomes painful, yet I oft need the extra sleep because I am so fatigued.

Unfortunately, sometimes on weekends I forget to take my medicine because my routine is different--mainly I am sleeping through the time I normally take it. After a few hours, I am acutely reminded how much of a difference Celebrex makes in my life. The sad part is that I usually don't figure out until the next day (or sometimes two) that the reason I feel so bad is that I forgot my MS, asthma, and arthritis medicine.

Why am I writing about this?

Well, last Thursday, when I was struggling to stay conscious in my boss's office, she asked me if I were in pain. And I actually was...more so than usual. These sharp pains had started running up and down my spine.

It has been a week. They have not stopped. I am remembering those five months...and wondering.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

6:40! Woo hoo!

After a wildly busy, incredibly productive, and yet frustrating day, I left close to my goal time. I also even managed to speed mow once I got home...and weed whack...and prune...and water.

I find myself thinking deeply about work. I am close to believing that I can never truly succeed there because of the last minute culture that pervades nearly every aspect of our organization. One thousand priorities makes for no real priorities. Being satisfied with throwing something together at the last minute, foregoing careful consideration and a clean presentation, is antithetical to my nature. I don't know how to do less than my best. And I've been half killing myself trying to bring those with whom I must work to complete many of my task into alignment with my world view...a futile endeavor.

Is it vain to say that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I could do ever so much more at work if my position were more supported? I believe that. Truly I do. So I suppose that is at the root of my frustration. I am not satisfied because there could be so much more accomplished...

The question is...if my boss is satisfied, should I not be the same?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Today was the first day of my new resolve to leave the office at 6:00 (which means 6:30) since I have been ever so fatigued lately. I mean, I slept more than 50 hours this weekend. If that is not a sign that I am working too much, I don't know what is.

So...I didn't leave until 8:00 PM and even then I was racked with guilt over leaving the CFO putting together his document.

Well, here I am, having thus far answered four phone calls from him to edit documents and send them to the printer near his office. I am home, but still working.

When will this day end?!?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I've spent the weekend reading four novels and sleeping....and sleeping...and sleeping.

Kashi and the birds have lounged about the house as well, snuggling with me during naps and hardly barking or chirping both days. Peace and quiet for sure.

The lawn is calling to me, fretting that it needs to be mowed, but I have turned a deaf ear. I'll sneak it in after work tomorrow...perhaps.

Of course, the beds in the yard have been scolding me over their lack of mulch yet, but the thought of picking up 20 bags or so and putting them on a cart, the schlepping them into the back of my car, only to have to lug them back out again and across the yard...well, needless to say, I have become quite adept at not thinking about the mulch.

To placate the call of the wild, I'll water this evening. After all, everything has to brace itself for the heat permeating each day. I just checked the weather for the week ahead...averaging 88-90 degrees. UGH!

How long until the fall?????

Friday, June 17, 2005

The cat was away. The mice played. Par for the course.

Why should I care if those responsible for the well-being of the company do not?

My associate was voicing her frustration with the distractions, the antics, that make her job more difficult. What could I say? If I agree with her, do I not end up undermining my boss? If I disagree with her, I would be lying.

I found it ironic how very thankful her frustrations made me for the sanctuary of my office, a place that was literally dangerous to my own well-being just the day before.

Things change, eh?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I came within a hair's breath of fainting in my boss's office today.

You see, when I arrived at work, I discovered that the air conditioner unit in my office was not working. I immediately emailed the operations manager and my boss, hoping it would be repaired right away, but knowing that was unlikely.

As the day wore on, my office grew warmer and I grew more worried. I suppose I should have gone hunting a new office, squatting where a staff member was out for the day. It is just that have so many cognitive aids at my desk and on my computer that I feel vulnerable sitting elsewhere. I was foolish.

In the mid afternoon, I found myself helping a colleague with his business plan. He wanted me to make it "pretty," my code for editing and formatting. I certainly welcome each opportunity to do so for it also affords me the opportunity to standardize our message, our format, our style. However, I was growing too warm, much too warm.

I sat there, beginning to tremble, hesitant to leave in the middle of the task because it wasn't that hot in the office. I would suppose about 75 degrees. What would it look like if I claimed the office was too warm for me? But then, just before I finished, I began to get the chills. The point of no return was upon me without really understanding how I got there.

I quickly finished my task just as my boss buzzed me to let me know that she was ready for my question from earlier in the day. So, I made my way to her office with some work to review. To my relief, she turned on her air conditioner not long after I sat down in her office. But as she began to review my work, it was all I could do to remain conscious.

I moved to the floor, because if I fainted, I did not want to fall out of the chair.

At one point, she told me to go home. I quipped that I couldn't just then, but I didn't really let her know how very close I was to fainting. I stayed, chatting nervously as my symptoms finally began to subside. Unfortunately, in doing so, I kept her from being able to do her work.

It probably would have been better, once I realized what was happening, if I had made my way to an empty office at that point. Sitting on her floor was distracting to her and to those who stopped by her office. But I couldn't have made it. Should I have called my boss and asked her to help me get there?

Unfortunately, heat exacerbates the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The grace is that once you cool off, the symptoms subside. However, until that happens, the whole experience is quite frightening. I begin to tremble. I grow extremely weak. I become disoriented and confused, as if caught in a mental fog. And I can faint.

I did not communicate with my boss what was happening. I quipped. I brushed aside her questions. I ignored my own condition. I tried to mask the enormity of what was happening to me. And I sat in abject fear of fainting at work.

I do not want to be seen as a liability. I do not want to be a problem that must be solved. I want to be efficient, effective, productive... I thought it was not out of pride, but out of fear for my job. In the days of limiting liability, do I not represent a potential problem when a warm office causes me to spiral down into such danger?

But, I type this, I realized that though I prayed after realizing the air conditioner was broken and again at lunch, I did not trust God to protect me and trust my boss enough to ask for help more than the email I sent in the morning.

The world says to never expose your never give them a reason to fire you...I do not live by the world, but by the Word of God. Yet, I did not do so today.

I lived by fear. I lived by my own conjecture and planning. And I didn't even trust someone who has been remarkably generous in her support of my work and of me.

Physically, I am fine. A few hours after the episode, I was able to drive home. But...mentally...I know that I made some very poor choices. And I find myself before God asking for forgiveness.

What have I learned?

For all that I have trusted Him day in and day out for more than half my life, I know little about trust. I pick and choose what I lay before Him. I pick and choose which parts of my life I walk in faith. Job security is not up to me. I believe that Christ has walked before me in providing my job and the opportunity to work with my boss. I believe. If, however, I believe, then I should know, without a doubt, that the days of my job are in His hands, not mine.

He knows I have MS. He knows what I have lost cognitively and how sensitive to heat I have become. He knows my needs. He knows.

Why do I not rest in that knowledge? Marvel in His grace and revel in His peace?

I have much to learn...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

TOPIC: Do you believe in chance?

Before you get there, think to yourself how you define chance.

  • What does chance mean to you?
  • What role does chance play in your life?
  • Do you have a lucky belt?
  • Do you have a lucky anything?
  • Do you consider yourself to be superstitious?

These are very important questions that affect our lives in very real ways.

Would you believe that the above is a bible study held by an evangelical church? No scripture, just ideas. Do we know the bible so well that we can abandon scripture for "hot" topics or best sellers?

I do not have a church home just now and have visited more churches than I care to admit. But something inside sinks quite low each time I learn the Sunday school class is studying a popular Christian self-help book or bible study series that more "life application" questions than biblical scholarship or theology. A friend recently told me that there is a church where the pastor's sermons consist of reading a chapter in The Purpose Driven Life.

I have studied the bible closely since I was fifteen. I have read it through from beginning to end ten times. Yet, I have only scratched the surface of this remarkable living text that God with which God has blessed us. I do not know it like I know the stories of Anne McCaffrey or Brock and Bode Thoene or Tom Clancy. I know the breadth and depth of them. I have delved beneath the surface to discover motifs and themes and marvel at their craftsmanship. I know these books.

But His word is too deep, a veritable mystery of love and life and wisdom. It sharpens me, chastises me, comforts me, sustains me, awes me. I read of His creation, His judgment, His salvation. I have read of the Fear of God, of obedience, of the narrow way. I have read of the rocky crag of the wild goat and a hundred men who could split a single hair with an arrow. I have read of friendship and betrayal, of love and war, of sacrifice and redemption. I have read of what was, what is, and what will be.

And still I know so little and understand less.

Can we really afford to abandon the scholarship of His holy word for popular Sunday bible studies?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Measured expectations.

Have we lost sight of excellence? Do we no longer recognize mediocrity?

I am tired of settling. Settling for next week. Settling for late notice. Settling for making do.

"At least you have..."

"At least they did..."

"What else can you expect..."

Measured expectations.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

It is nearly unbelievable
that my roses are thriving
in this sweltering heat.
The sun and warmth
that I find completely
they find invigorating!
They are filling
with bright blooms
while I am wilting.
Still, I cannot help
but smile when I peer
out my window at them.
Such beauty
Such resilience
Such life...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Today could not have been more strange, more holy, more confusing.

I've been trying to find someone to replace three squares of sidewalk since last August. But no one is interested in such a small job. Believe me...I've tried. The contractors instead wanted to do the entire walkway and the handymen did not want the labor for such a small area.

I tried again and ended up spending over an hour in fellowship with another Christian. Before he left, he put his hand on my shoulder and prayed. Tears came to both our eyes for the love God has for His children. Me with MS. His wife just diagnosed. My lessons, his encouragement.

Buoyed by the exchange, I ventured outside to try and pop twelve small flower plants in waiting pots. But the heat was overwhelming. Literally so.

In mere moments, I was shaking and growing weak. Then I fainted and fell off the lower deck into the bushes.

I made my way inside and called my boss, ostensively to talk about visiting tomorrow, but really to connect with another person in my lingering confusion. But our conversation was a disturbing as the heat.

I couldn't reach my best friend. I wanted to talk.

Foolhardy without a doubt, I ventured out again near dusk to mow. I had to mow. Who else will do so? Setting the sprinkler, I returned inside to collapse on the kitchen floor and press my flushed face against the cool tiles. Strength finally returning, I downed some gatorade and gave Kashi a bath.

Then I retreated to the green chair, resigned to channel surfing while trying to take in my roller coaster day. But... friend called to play Scrabble. I began and ended the day in fellowship.

I am not alone.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Funny that I would write of choice.

Today, lines were drawn. Gantlets thrown.

Will people choice to pick them back up and journey together? Or will they allow them to lie between us all, marking the coming storm?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Change is a choice. I believe that quite strongly.

Change, however, can be elusive...fleeting...remarkable...subtle.

Change, unfortunately, can also not be a choice. In that case, then, one has to choose the change as a means of acceptance.

I am not who I was. Each day, oft each moment, this fact is driven home again and again.

Tears come, emotions rage...oft belying how I actually feel.

What do I feel? Trapped in a body that has betrayed me. Yet how can that be? Once we are born, we are all heading toward the time we will die. Some dance. Some run. Others stroll. We savor the journey. We resent the journey. We long for another. We hold ours dear.

I am no longer who I was ten years ago. Little is left of that mind. Of those dreams. Of that life.

How do I choose my life just now? How do I choose the vagaries of emotion, the pain, the weakness?

I have learned patience through disease. Disease has taught me trust. Yet. Yet. Yet. How do I choose this?

God chose this life for me. That should be sufficient.

How do I walk in that truth?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Someone from the office who had stayed late to finish some work after everyone else had gone asked me for a ride home. Caught in traffic created by a construction crew, all I wanted was to be home. My head was aching, I grew weak and clammy, and my stomach started churning.

There I was growing more ill by the moment and trying to keep up the light chatter with my co-worker.

I was feeling quite wretched. Why? Because I wore a blasted barrette today and it had slipped to that spot on the back of my head. I didn't connect the two until I was nearly to the metro station where I dropped my co-worker.

I nearly cried from relief when I snatched the barrette out of my hair just blocks from my house. I felt stupid and weak and weary that I had to get back to work once I arrived home.

If I shave my head, then I won't keep trying to pull my hair back and end up making myself ill. What a sight that would be!

Will I ever learn?

I have finished my writing for work and am going to bed. Now, if I can only arrange the pillows away from the back of my head and still get comfortable enough to sleep.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I just discovered, much to my dismay, that I have poison oak on my face.

I am sure it was from rubbing the back of my hand there while working in the yard a bit last night. Now, I can only wait to see how much it spreads and hope I don't have to take steroids to stop it.

Once I realized that the sore on my face was poison oak, I washed it with this special soap and put some Benedryl gel on it.

Did you know...that Benedryl gel has a numbing agent? I didn't.

How do I know now? Well, the poison oak patch is quite close to the corner of my mouth...need I say more?

It is a good thing that I am not slated to give a speech just now!