Physician, Heal Thyself

 

I’m back BABY!!!!  I am back amongst the living, trying to adjust to my new laptop.  I almost walked out of Staples on Saturday: I had one picked out-the cheapest one, and I was dead set on that model-when Mr. Staples, Jr. abruptly said:

“We don’t have that in stock, you’ll have to drive to Hershey.”

I mumbled a few choice words to my husband.

How convenient.  I’m not driving to Hershey!  Seems a bit fishy, they can’t keep the cheapest computer in stock…..let’s go, I’m done.”

The twelve year old salesperson stared at me, stunned I wouldn’t fall for the next to cheapest model, which was $100 more.  And then, by some twist of fate, I ended up walking out with that more expensive laptop.  And so it goes…

Oh what a delight to be back, writing, researching, and coming up with new ideas for my blogola.  I hope I didn’t forget how to write.  It’s not like riding a bike, folks.  I was thrilled with the idea of writing weekly, until I remembered the words of Christian Mahai-write, write, write.  The frequency of my blogs isn’t important, it’s the content.  So, let’s get right into it, shall we?

The above song is by Flyleaf, a Christian band I love.  I don’t believe they are together, and I know the lead vocalist took time away from singing to have a family-the point of this song?

Notice the voice in this video, by Joe M., The Storm is Upon Us.   This is the voice of John F. Kennedy, Jr.  The fact has been verified that John John is very much alive and well.  If you really want hour by hour coverage of The Plan, follow Joe M. on Twitter, you won’t be disappointed.

In other news:

Remember this:  the truth shall set you free.  God is with us and for us, no man can stand against us.

Be blessed.

 

Christmas By Myself This Year

I am ready to crawl into the fetal position and be done with this nightmare. What was the movie?The Nightmare Before Christmas? Never saw the flick, but who cares? Who gives a flying fazuck? It’s Christmas time, the halls are decked, the tree is done, my shopping almost complete. Wake me up when it’s time to take a long Winter’s nap; put a fork in my for crying out loud-I’m DONE.

47314348_10210121921203987_8779688819822690304_o

As a matter of fact, this Facebook post just about sums it up right now. All I want for Christmas is to have my husband and critters healthy and safe. That’s it, that’s my list. But the unseen forces of this world have a different idea-they want me a withered nub of nothing, so I have news for them.

STEP OFF!!!

Last Sunday, exhausted from a weekend of socializing, I drug my weary ass cheeks up the concrete stairs-I had a drink in one hand and a purse in the other. I was also carrying my dog’s collection of toys; left like little bodies, littering the yard. And so it was that I had no hands to break my fall when the inevitable happened. I tripped, my forehead breaking my fall.

48362570_10210180425746564_6915648794038108160_o

Not very pretty, but after an OK from the Emergency Room doctor, I went home-thinking, this won’t be so bad. I’ve suffered worse, believe me. But a week later? I still feel nauseous and the headaches are not so pleasant. But none of this matters, it truly doesn’t. Last night, God put everything in perspective for me. I was spent from crying all morning; I miss my parents at this time of year-Christmas was truly special at our home. I know what the reason for the season is-I just want a modicum of peace to fill my heart and soul.

I turned the music up (Charlie Brown Christmas, my favorite holiday tune) and Jess and I began to dance. Jubilant for over a minute, the smile was wiped from my face when I bent down to hug the dog-I found a small lump on his chest. The room began to spin, my heart was beating erratically, this can’t be happening, NO, no, no, no. My husband was in the shower; I yelled up to him, told him the grim news.

I thought a word of comfort, solace…maybe even hope. What I received instead? Name calling, of the you ruined my Christmas variety. It was if he thought I was purposefully looking for bad news: Lord have mercy! He had put up the Christmas lights, cut us a tree, dealt with my weeping just hours before.

He gave me the silent treatment. I gathered my things and headed for bed. 5:30 folks. I went to bed at 5:30 p.m. I awoke to the piercing pain in my heart. I remembered the lump. My husband slammed the door as he left the house, as I was none to eager to hear his apology. Actions speak louder than words, you know.

I phoned the vet, made an appointment first thing. My mood was as low as low could be; until I stopped in at Walmart for a few things. I asked a woman for help finding the cat nip, and the look on her face told me two things: I forgot to comb my hair, and I was now the freak at Wally World. I stopped to take a perusal of my appearance-sweet Jesus, the tattered clothing, combined with a shiner reminiscent of Muhammed Ali? Not good. I didn’t care, I was on a mission to be at the vet on time. I paid for my things and drove to the animal hospital.

To my surprise, Dwain stood at the door.

“What are you doing here?,” I mumbled.

Thirty minutes later, with a diagnoses of a fatty tumor, I took my dog for a hike. I thanked Abba with all I had in me. And when we returned? Tootsie went to comfort his friend.

46492961_10210077113843831_5491600211786596352_o

We must remember what is truly important at this time of year; and that is our family, friends and treasured children; whether animal or human. Be grateful for the small things, and let God take care of the rest.

The Pill Mill……….

When I was younger, I was appalled at how many pills my mother took.  She was extremely ill, emphysema, cancer, osteoporosis.  She died at 59, after the doctors mistook an ovarian cyst to be scar tissue.  I wish I had known then what I now know.  Mary Lou had every symptom of Ovarian cancer, the extreme bloating, constipation, pain and upset stomach.  When the doctor came in to the waiting room, I had to be held back by my siblings-the jerk never listened to her, I was there when he did an exam after her complaining: he felt her stomach and abdomen-she was fully clothed, why bother right? I was there when he told her she was “fine, absolutely fine.”

What shocked me, after her death, was the bottles and bottles of Ativan-she took 4 a day, and I thought that to be too much, too addicting, too sedating.  Now?  I take Ativan daily.  As a prn.  Ironically, the first time I ever took one was the day of her funeral.  Surrounded by friends, I fell asleep on the couch-and didn’t wake up until the following morning.  What addict is going to turn that away?  It was easier to let the melodic pull of oblivion take me away, to dreamless sleep and few cares, if any.

Today I take 200 mg. of Zoloft, 2 mg. Suboxyne for opiate addiction (down from 8 mg. and let me tell you, it was rough, really rough to taper) and one Trazadone for sleep.   My husband thinks this appalling, but I have fought hard to maintain an appearance of normality-in an increasingly abnormal world.

I can tell you that as a nurse, EMT and hospice worker, I could not get into the Suboxyne program soon enough.  I was in a dirty city, walking the streets of dilapidated houses, children in various stages of undress, and very scary men, who gathered on street corners to deal their goods, help a friend in “need.”  I asked a few of them, but as white on rice as I look?  They didn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.  Looking back, I think they thought me a cop.

I was working as a private duty nurse, and volunteering at a local hospice.  I was starting to face withdrawal from OxyContin, and I didn’t want to be the girl who steals patient’s pills.  My cousin by marriage (not a normal person in that family) ran a methadone clinic, and rehab.  I had attended that rehab until our fearless leader Tony called me out on missing a class, in front of the entire room.  When you quit drinking you are wired out of your mind, so many emotions coming from one heart-it’s maddening and exciting at the same time.  I told him off, asked why he allowed drinkers and cokeheads to use in our meetings (was this even remotely fair to the others who were serious about recovery?) and slammed out the door.  He wasn’t going to use me as an example when people were slumped in their chairs, or re-dusting the entire room, like the energizer bunny on crack.

Anyway, back to Scott.  I called him from my  locked car that very day.  I told him where I was, and I asked if I could come to the methadone clinic to talk to him.  He shut me down, but two minutes later?  I heard a commercial about Suboxyne: it has served me well, saved my career and, most likely, my life.  My advice to anyone starting the program?  Start at a really low milligram, that way you won’t have to detox every time you take a step down.  I ended up calling my girlfriend one morning, I literally couldn’t move, I was that weak.

“I can’t take it.  Would you please take me to the doctor?”

The good doctor had taken me off, cold turkey.  We had argued about my use of cannabis, and I stormed out-only to return a week later, begging for mercy.  And, thankfully, that is exactly what I was given.

What I would like to say is, don’t let anyone convince you to go off of any medication you may be taking for your mental health, especially if the plan is working.  Do I like having to take meds on a daily basis?  NO.  But one day, perhaps, the stigma will stop.  No  matter, because I have come to the point where I just don’t care what others think.

It’s not their body.  It’s not their mind.  It’s none of their business.

Hesed Love

There are peaks and valleys in everyone’s lives-moments when we throw our heads back in laughter and joy; and those where we have to dust ourselves off, check for permanent damage and regain a grip on reality.

We had a wonderful weekend. Our Christmas party for our church was held locally, so we finally made it this year. I imagined dimmed lights and a D.J. I was dressed in an original Bob Mackie jacket, fur boots and a gold trimmed dress that takes my breath away-sadly, whilst trying to zip me in the back, Dwain broke the zipper-so I went wearing said dress anyway, safety pinned in the back. Black velvet. Vintage clothing, and luckily I bought it for 50 cents. Imagine my shock when we walk into a room lit up like the sun itself. I am morbidly overdressed, and the track lights are making me anxious. I consider wearing sunglasses, but can’t embarrass my husband like that, and trust me-I’ve tried.

So long as we love we serve, so long as we are loved by others,
I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend. -Robert Louis Stevenson

We didn’t dance, there was no music. No disco ball.

The food was fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Corn. Warm pineapple compote.

No booze. No hard drugs.

Just us and our belove brothers and sisters in Christ. We laughed until it hurt, shed a few tears of compassion-and loved one another. I won a door prize, which shocked the shat out of me. There was no hangover the next day, no remorse, and no time to waste-we were having good friends over for dinner, I had promised spaghetti and meatballs-and we prayed before they arrived, as they are facing hardship and heartache, in their unique valley of doom. We love them so much, it hurts to see them hurt.

I broke into tears over the parmesan cheese. Somehow, the conversation had turned to the Great Awakening, politics, the hardest stuff…and after carrying the weight of the world upon my shoulders (or so it seemed) I cracked. I began blubbering about the Bush funeral. I sat with my dear friend while she watched videos, articles and memes-convinced that I would hear what I have heard from day one- Fake News!!!!

But here is the profound conclusion I came to last evening:

If another truly loves you, and respects your thought process and ability to think for yourself? Chances are that you will be heard. Heard and loved, despite your words, despite the news. She took it all in, calmed my heart, heard me out.

Psalm 136 speaks of God’s steadfast love, which endures forever. The Hebrew word for this is Hesed love. It is repeated over and over in the Old Testament, and written twenty six times in Psalm 136 alone! While no modern word can fully capture the meaning; we translate it as “loving kindness,” “mercy,” or “loyalty.”

Hesed is a loved based on covenant commitment; love that is loyal and faithful. Even when God’s people sinned, He was faithful in loving them. His love for you will remain steadfast-a reality that provides the foundation, therock on which we place our entire lives.

Oh what a foundation it is!

12657987_10204044013060082_4297828832754058829_o.jpg

Miss Maya and the Missing Link

One of my favorite felines, Maya Angelou, has come so incredibly far in her quest to find herself. I am a firm believer in the notion that animals have souls, and like Angelou she is a fearsome lioness, a freedom fighter-a survivor.

10454918_10201133838867546_1710984949571415948_n

Born 8 years ago, the last of my longhairs (I kept the entire litter, four cats in all)she was petrified of her own shadow. The runt of the litter, she was always last to get nursed, last to be bathed, pushed aside like so much dander. She immediately found a hidey hole, up in the rafters of our bedroom. Incredibly tiny, I often feared she would fade away. It was because of her frailty that I put off having her fixed- rather than take her to the Humane Society clinic for thirty five dollars, as I did with each and every other cat before-I had her spayed by our family vet, who charged me over four hundred. I know. I know. This made my husband cringe and carry on-one of the reasons Maya hides to begin with. Dwain has a strong and deep voice-he frightens all of our cats; yet Maya would run upstairs and jump to her happy place-not to be seen for days.

1597671_10200491268483688_1195465175_o

We have cared for a myriad of cats over the years. Living out in the country, desperate people have done desperate things, like drop their cats and kittens off at a stranger’s home: but I look at it this way-they were meant to be with me. I have my favorites (current cat population:17)and thirteen of them live outside. They have a really groovy pad under the giant pine out back, and a covered cat home beneath our deck. We feed them, nurse and vaccinate each and every cat, thanks to the generosity and passion of Nobody’s Cat Foundation. They neutered/spayed fifteen cats, giving them vaccinations as well, at no cost to myself. I will be sending them something at Christmas, for as long as they are up and running.

She doesn’t hide any longer. She lives in our bedroom, proud and precious, content in the world she has created. She likes her pillows just so and her catnip must be placed to the right of her toy mouse. I feed her can food once a day, and as long as her needs are met? She purrs at warp volume, she kills me with kitty kisses and blinks her undying affection.12311171_932332183509072_157103928902352993_n

Fresh out of the shower, and feeling a bit more positive, I played with Miss Thang in her sun spot. She has put on weight, and her coat is like mink. And then it all came together in this supernatural way. I could see it in her cat eyes, the strength, courage and love-emanating from a cat who was at one time so depressed she pulled her hair out, in clumps.

WE HAVE BOTH WON OUR BATTLE OVER VICTIMHOOD. WE ARE SURVIVORS. WE ARE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY BY A GOD WHO SENT HIS ONLY SON TO PAY FOR OUR SINS, SO THAT WE MAY SPEND ETERNITY WITH OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.

Me and Maya?

We got it licked.

He’s Just a Shout Away….

 

After a three day weekend of sitting on my hind end, I bust out of the gate in record time this morning!  I stopped drinking the joe, you know-my anxiety, and I have three words people, three words.  

My effing head.

Holy headache Batman!  Momma never told me there’d be days like this; but then again, she drank a pot a day…I remember well the mornings she would rise before the crack of dawn; to make our lunches and breakfast from scratch.  As an anorexic, I was beyond privileged to have homemade salads and gourmet cheese for lunch.  And French dressing, please.  The girls at my lunch table (the crew team from Upper Merion, my Alma Mater) envied me so much they started to bring salads themselves.  My arch nemesis, Kathy Quarto (sweet Jesus she was so competitive with me, until I finally got good and angry…and beat her ass at our annual one mile run) copied each and everything I did, because she saw how thin I was and I suppose she wanted to slim down.  I is who I is, and didn’t like her constant nearness, watching every move I made.

I remember the day well.  Beautiful, sunny Fall day.  I was on the Varsity Crew team for various reasons:  my brother was and I followed him everywhere.  Hmm.  Perhaps that was Karma for treating Kathy so impatiently, ’cause I know for a fact he hated the shadowing.  Craig was a member of the UM Varsity Four, which took first place (I was their coxswain) so often we were invited to Belgium for Finals.  I didn’t go, as I was embroiled in a bad case of anorexia/bulimia.  But back to the race…

Kathy had beat me at, well, everything.  But this day would be different, and I’m pretty sure I shocked the shit right out of the girl when I beat her by 18 seconds.  Of course I peed my pants in doing so, the team was cheering me on as I ran straight past the finish line and into the locker room.  I believe my brother carried me to the car that day…I won, but I broke myself.  🙂

What made the difference on this day of days?

I prayed.

Father God, this chic is a pain in my apple!!!  I can’t shake her, so please let me, just once, beat her ass into oblivion.

She didn’t speak to me for months.

Got trouble?

He’s just a shout away…

The Pill Mill……….

When I was younger, I was appalled at how many pills my mother took.  She was extremely ill, emphysema, cancer, osteoporosis.  She died at 59, after the doctors mistook an ovarian cyst to be scar tissue.  I wish I had known then what I now know.  Mary Lou had every symptom of Ovarian cancer, the extreme bloating, constipation, pain and upset stomach.  When the doctor came in to the waiting room, I had to be held back by my siblings-the jerk never listened to her, I was there when he did an exam after her complaining: he felt her stomach and abdomen-she was fully clothed, why bother right? I was there when he told her she was “fine, absolutely fine.”

What shocked me, after her death, was the bottles and bottles of Ativan-she took 4 a day, and I thought that to be too much, too addicting, too sedating.  Now?  I take Ativan daily.  As a prn.  Ironically, the first time I ever took one was the day of her funeral.  Surrounded by friends, I fell asleep on the couch-and didn’t wake up until the following morning.  What addict is going to turn that away?  It was easier to let the melodic pull of oblivion take me away, to dreamless sleep and few cares, if any.

Today I take 200 mg. of Zoloft, 2 mg. Suboxyne for opiate addiction (down from 8 mg. and let me tell you, it was rough, really rough to taper) and one Trazadone for sleep.   My husband thinks this appalling, but I have fought hard to maintain an appearance of normality-in an increasingly abnormal world.

I can tell you that as a nurse, EMT and hospice worker, I could not get into the Suboxyne program soon enough.  I was in a dirty city, walking the streets of dilapidated houses, children in various stages of undress, and very scary men, who gathered on street corners to deal their goods, help a friend in “need.”  I asked a few of them, but as white on rice as I look?  They didn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.  Looking back, I think they thought me a cop.

I was working as a private duty nurse, and volunteering at a local hospice.  I was starting to face withdrawal from OxyContin, and I didn’t want to be the girl who steals patient’s pills.  My cousin by marriage (not a normal person in that family) ran a methadone clinic, and rehab.  I had attended that rehab until our fearless leader Tony called me out on missing a class, in front of the entire room.  When you quit drinking you are wired out of your mind, so many emotions coming from one heart-it’s maddening and exciting at the same time.  I told him off, asked why he allowed drinkers and cokeheads to use in our meetings (was this even remotely fair to the others who were serious about recovery?) and slammed out the door.  He wasn’t going to use me as an example when people were slumped in their chairs, or re-dusting the entire room, like the energizer bunny on crack.

Anyway, back to Scott.  I called him from my  locked car that very day.  I told him where I was, and I asked if I could come to the methadone clinic to talk to him.  He shut me down, but two minutes later?  I heard a commercial about Suboxyne: it has served me well, saved my career and, most likely, my life.  My advice to anyone starting the program?  Start at a really low milligram, that way you won’t have to detox every time you take a step down.  I ended up calling my girlfriend one morning, I literally couldn’t move, I was that weak.

“I can’t take it.  Would you please take me to the doctor?”

The good doctor had taken me off, cold turkey.  We had argued about my use of cannabis, and I stormed out-only to return a week later, begging for mercy.  And, thankfully, that is exactly what I was given.

What I would like to say is, don’t let anyone convince you to go off of any medication you may be taking for your mental health, especially if the plan is working.  Do I like having to take meds on a daily basis?  NO.  But one day, perhaps, the stigma will stop.  No  matter, because I have come to the point where I just don’t care what others think.

It’s not their body.  It’s not their mind.  It’s none of their business.