Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fancy is asleep, tucked just beneath my chin. Kashi is curled up in a ball at my feet. I am barely keeping my eyes open on the couch.

I am done with the contract in that I announced I was done without completing the original targeted number of pages. Well, actually, I cautiously negotiated the research I had to do in order to make their deadline since no further source material was forthcoming to stand in lieu of the 27 targeted paged yet undone. A project lead agreed. I went to sleep.

Fourteen hours later, I awoke.

I still am tired.

Since my last post, I averaged just about five hours sleep on the nights I actually did sleep. Two of them I worked all night. A stupid thing to do in my condition.

Today, I spent the majority of the day as a part of a team teaching elementary school children about homelessness, much of my time spent reading Eve Bunting's Fly Away Home nine times. I practically have the book memorized...but we all know that the story will slip from my mind quickly.

After four weeks of effort, I finally got my eye exam records from the specialist sent over to the neurological ophthalmologist so that I could make an appointment with him. December 10th was the next nearest day. For reasons that are not obvious to me, I have to have a complete work up before I see him, but I am waiting until it is closer to my appointment.

Today would have been a perfect day to have my consultation. What I could not see is actually more than what I could.

Yesterday was so horrible that I could hardly breathe.

So, trembling from being on my feet all day, disturbed from the stress at work, and eyes bleary, I decided it was a good time to tend to my bonsais. With the decidedly winter chill spreading across this region, it is definitely time to bring them indoors. Yet, both were still nowhere near the shape they should be. They still are not. But this session, coupled with the last, has moved them more in the right direction.

And I? Well, I had an hour of peace where nothing filled my heart or mind save the wonder of God's creation.

I needed that.

And now? Well, I am off to bed. Perhaps I will be caught up on my sleep by 2009...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, am I tired.

Thankfully so, the contract work came to a halt on Tuesday, so I could throw myself into the event that is next week.

I drafted a press release, media release, project overview, property "story," and property fact sheet. I also designed the program, the badges, and the frame for the property "story." And I drafted the talking points, program script, and program agenda and collected all the bios from the speakers and the logos from our project sponsors. Frankly, I impressed myself! Next Tuesday, I have a long date with the color printer.

I am, however, very, very tired.

Tonight has been a mighty battle with arthritis pain. I want nothing more than curl up in the fetal position and die...if only to meet my savior! Alas, however, neither will happen, for I have hours and hours of work ahead of me since the Contract Job started up again with that near impossible deadline still targeted despite losing 4 days of work.

Sitting here, gritting my teeth against the pain, I am trying to focus on the positive:

Two nights ago, I was privileged to see a glorious piece of God's handiwork. I posted the rather grainy photo that does not a whit of justice to the harvest moon above, but I thought it would at least give you a glimmer of what I witnessed.

As I detailed above, I was able to accomplish a rather prodigious amount of work this week.

Right now, some ten feet below me, D's two oldest children are sleeping. I am not sure how I will be able to get done what I need to get done, but I sure do enjoy having them around. We colored and played Sorry and watched a movie this evening. D arrived with her children, groceries, homemade Pumpkin muffins, and homemade rice krispy treats. Now, I had to bank my disappointment over the lack of deviled eggs, but one bite of the muffins made that task quite easy.

So, I have much to be thankful for, eh?

NOTE: B has a great entry on her blog about memories. Reading her words, I found myself smiling through tears. I enjoyed getting to know her a wee bit more, but the reminder that I have no such memories saddens me. I know that we live a fleeting life. However, I feel as if mine is but a vapor...no sights or sounds or scenes are available to me of that which I long to remember.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"I am not calling to you right now. I am only calling you to let you know that I am not not calling you."

Poor D, she is struggling with a sore throat, yet wanted me to know that her silence was not because I did something wrong, but because her "talker" was on the fritz.

I love you, too, D!

Friday, October 10, 2008

T is here! I get to celebrate her birthday with her for the first time in our friendship. The best part of this day, this week, was being greeted with a great bit hug and a wide, loving smile. The worst? Well, that came with laughing with her while watching The Bonnie Hunt Show.

Bonnie Hunt has a new day-time talk show that I enormously enjoy. She is funny and honest and down-to-earth. Learning that she used to be an oncology nurse explains a lot. While some parts are corny and some are awkward, all are genuine. There is no pretense. Plus, much of her crew are long time friends, so watching is just like hanging out in her living room. In short, the show makes me feel a bit less lonely.

For the past two weeks, I have taped it and watched it first thing after leaving the battle that is work.

I wanted to share it with T and was delighted to see that she found the show both humorous and engaging as well. Sharing that experience was so fulfilling until...until crossing reached the tipping point of my laughter and slid down into the terror that is an asthma attack. I could be wrong, but I am fairly sure that is T's first experience with my attacks.

The one constant in my life, since I have met her, is knowing that there is one person who compassion for me is so great that she would willingly exchange places were that possible.

Of course, her first response, after she got over watching me struggling, jamming a huge needle in my leg, and breathing in vapors (that VMT nebulizer is soooooo wonderful), was to suggest that perhaps I should not watch a show that makes me laugh.

Is she right? Should I eschew all thing humorous? Is that really the life I have? Laughter kills?

She is off to bed, with the sweet dreams of sleeping in for the first time in six years. Once my heart stops pounding in my chest and my limbs stop trembling, I shall join her in slumber. Once the powerful drugs that ease my breathing stop wreaking havoc on the rest of my body I shall do so.

Still, my heart is heavy. With everything else that I battle, why is it that laughter must be my enemy?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I am beyond exhaustion and feeling rather foolish. This contract job is a monster. Yes, I am writing. No, the check still has not arrived.

Today, I finally forced myself to have the mammogram that has been owing for months. I thought I had been more careful about bringing my cane when it might be needed, but I forgot how long the comprehensive exam can take. When my legs collapsed, a very significant portion of my anatomy was still connected to the machine. Another lesson learned.

I was out at the property where we are having a grand opening celebration, in part to plan the beautification details before the event and in part to take photos. Not a single one of the exterior shots was worth even opening up on my computer. I am not sure why I did such a poor job of it.

However, just before I left, I saw these two birds enjoying the mid-morning sun. I stopped my harried hobble to the car and just enjoyed the moment. After starting on my way again, I turned back, lifted up my camera, and snapped this photo.

The building ones were a mess, but all four of the birds were beautiful.


NOTE: My boss believes that MS is not my problem; I am apparently suffering from early menopause. Now, when you have hot flashes, don't you just sweat? I mean, I haven't heard of hot flashes causing weakness, dizziness, confusion, and fainting. Have you? Also, apparently, I am ill because I do not wear natural fibers, nor do I consume fish oil. Dr. Pepper is also, apparently, very dangerous. So, I ditch my wardrobe and clean out my refrigerator and I will be healed. Of course, it would come about quicker with the proper crystals in my home.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

The check is in the mail. Do you believe that?

I don't. Not after 3 days. However, I did start writing this weekend. I promised myself that I would not send any more work. I had to start, though, because there are only 3 weeks left before the target due date. Frankly, at this point, the contract project is practically impossible.

Still, ask me about sustainability...I have drafted 17 websites pages on the subject. Only 88 to go...

Other than two social commitments (one being T's birthday visit this weekend), I shall be doing little else besides going to work, writing, and sleeping. I shall even have to write while T's here, but I know that she will fall asleep before I so I should be able to manage somehow.

D is helping me. Boy, do we make a sweet writing team! She humbles me with her diction--each word in her edits fits so very well and enhances the overall piece...sometimes more than I thought possible. If the client does not like this work, I shall be truly surprised.

Professor C sent me his latest batch of sermons (remember that he preaches when his pastor is out of town). I squeezed in two of them as rewards for keeping true to my blistering writing schedule. I had send him the piece I had done with Pastor D's series on the Seven Words of Christ and his latest homily on prayer. Professor C was very impressed with his writing (Pastor D regularly brushes off my professional praise of his work) and his even greater admiration for how much Pastor D goes out of his way to minister to those who cross his path. What I love about Professor C is that he finished off his email by telling me about St. Athanasius (the saint whose name is in the name of Pastor D's church).

Professor C noted: "He stood for the deity of Christ "against the world" in the fourth century. If you've ever said the Nicene Creed, you've professed the faith of Athanasius." Much of our conversation the other evening was about standing against today's world...


Pastor D's homily:

Today I am starting a series of meditations on praying for others. These are based upon and inspired by a book I am reading called Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today by Rev. Dr. John Kleinig, a theologian from Australia.

The Privilege of Prayer

"O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch."
(Psalm 5:3)

Prayer is the breath of a Christian. We breathe in God's Word and we breathe out in prayer based upon that Word. Christians have the privilege of prayer because we have access to God the Father through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Because the Son of God came down from heaven in solidarity with us, we now stand in solidarity with those around us and pray for them. When we do so, we use our position before God in a Christ-like way, for the benefit of others.

An example of this from the Old Testament is Moses (in his prayer after the incident with the golden calf). Here I will quote from Kleinig: "Moses used his standing with God to mediate between God and the people. On the one hand, since Moses has favor with God, he seeks to include his people in that favor. On the other hand, he refuses to separate from his people and join God in His condemnation of them. Thus Moses stands both in solidarity with God in His grace and with his people in their sin."

This, too, is what we are privileged to do in prayer. Since we are united to Christ by faith and have favor with God, we are bold to pray for others that they too may be included in God's favor. We stand not apart but in solidarity with our family, friends, and neighbors, to be a blessing to them. And of all the things we can do for others, prayer is the very best thing we could do for them. For with our prayers we are giving them not mere human help, but divine help. We place them in God's gracious hands, and watch - trusting that God will care for them. We may not ever see that care, but prayer is not based upon what we see, but upon the Word and promises of God. What He promises, He will do!

And so we pray - not just because we have to, but because we can; and because others need our prayers.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Kashi was examined by his vet, another consult, and the surgeon today. They agreed that the repair to the joint is holding. However, they also agree that the muscles in his leg have atrophied and there appears to be nerve damage--the reason why he is not using it and why it twitches and trembles at times, even when he is lying down.

The bottom line is that it is very possible Kashi will never regain full use of his leg. Without proper physical therapy (which he tends to object to in a very violent manner), there is no hope at all.

Long walks, forcing him to go slowly is primarily what he needs besides those exercises. However, I have been using my cane much of the past few days and long walks are not very easy for me.

The walking he did at B's house, especially on the areas with carpet, were helpful to him, but here at home he prefers to simply not use it. Short of carpeting my house, I am not sure what I can do.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Remember the problem with sitting on the floor? Well, apparantly, I can no longer bend over either.

Kashi needed a bath. He needed a bath before his surgery. He needed one before I went to visit B in July. He definitely needed one now. As a rule, I never really smell him--something I have recently learned is because he has a double coat. However, I can definitely smell him now. And, since he has another appointment with the vet tomorrow (his progress is dismal), I thought I would bit the bullet and give him a bath.

When I was wildly packing for the trip to B's for the Sugarland concert, I bemoaned the fact that I had not yet given Kashi his bath. B offered for me to give him one using her basement laundry sink. I should have taken her up on that offer.

Well, the bath was a disaster. There I was, bent over trying to simultaneously scrubbing his coat and keeping him out of the tub. This was all the more difficult because Kashi could not keep his footing with his bad leg and kept falling into the rising water, which then made him try to escape even harder. I hated seeing him fall again and again and again. I didn't have to for long.

The pain in my back started just moments after I put him in the tub and started wetting his coat. It grew with such intensity that I bloodied my lip while biting again the pain. Then, I was the one falling into the water. All thoughts on whether or not I could have drowned will not be visited, for fortunately after hitting the water face first, the way my body hit the edge of the tub made me land on the bathroom floor instead of remaining in the water.

Let me tell you, a wet dog running around after escaping from a tub makes quite a mess...a REAL mess!

I am still shaking, nearly three hours later.

Do you think the insurance company would understand why I need the Celebrex if I told them I can no longer bathe my dog?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I have been running a fever, complete with aches and chills. And, of course, I have been tired. Really and truly tired. How tired you might ask?

Well, at the risk of revealing too much information, I shall admit that I went to work wearing my pajama tank beneath my blouse instead of a bra. Somehow, I rolled out of bed and started flinging on clothing and forgot to remove one item and put on that all important one.

One day in early summer, I was so tired that I wore one brown shoe and one black shoe to work.

This was worse.

Apart from the fatigue, I also found myself missing Uncle D most heartily this day. Such a kind man was he. Every time I sent him a photo, he would shoot back some silly, sweet comment on what a beautiful woman I was or a cute girl. Always positive. Always loving.

I eshew photos most assuredly. I do so because for years photos of me have been picked apart by my family--something my mother had down to a fine art. See how fat you look? That's why I think you should lose weight. You'll look better without that double chin peaking out there. If you would just do something with your hair you might look better. It got to the point that I refused to be in photos and cried over the ones that were taken. So ugly. Such an embarassment.

Well, I have been trying to set aside the mirror my family holds up and become more willing to take photos with my friends and those who are dear to me. I even most bravely posted those two of my photos here. Something quite unheard of heretofore. So, I shared a photo with a friend of my new bangs. Her response hurt more than I can write. The photo has been deleted and all resolve to turn that leaf has disappeared.

All this day I thought about the response I would have gotten from Uncle D, alterately smiling and holding back tears. I wondered if I sent it to Cousin D if he would have picked up the mantle of encouragment from his father, but I did not want to take the risk...nor did I wish to remind him of his loss.

I miss him...