Monday, January 23, 2017

My Upside Down Universe


Miami Beach Florida

Jackie and I flew out on Thursday, January 19th. Woke up at 2:30am for the drive to the airport.  3 flights: Bozeman-Minneapolis-Atlanta-Ft. Lauderdale. An hour car ride to the beautiful
beachside condo on the 14th floor with spectacular views.  Greeted by Henri and Rhoda Sue at the entrance.

Overtired and anxiety-ridden, eventually I fell asleep.

Woke up in sunny Florida and settled into vacation mode. Have not really looked  at the computer since that first morning, which also happened to be inauguration day-stuck our heads in the sand as much as we could.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves. We are on vacation and attempting normalcy in an upside down universe. Trying out my rented power chair and visiting with family and friends…

I must say one thing though, I am super proud of all my friends and family who marched on Saturday all over the world!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lucky Me


lucky me
had an extra session with Sara
to help loosen me up for tomorrow’s big travel to Miami

Jackie is in with Sara right now
Tracy just stopped by with airplane snacks
Micah is sacked out in the sofa bed watching t.v.
I’m at my spot at the kitchen
now Howie just got home from school
I just got a text that my chauffeur was on location in Ft. Lauderdale
so I called them, they had the wrong day, now rebooked for tomorrow
now my friend Marc is calling from Durango

at the start of my session with Sara
she noticed my left hand scars
burned badly when I was 2 years old
she burned her hand with hot grease the other day
and had a bandage over it
she focused on my middle finger, dry and peeled
with a split fingernail

she was focused on the trauma, the first trauma of my life
and the confused feelings that must have gone with it
not just the crazy physical pain, but the emotional –
how you must have been so conflicted, and your mother
I am feeling a lot of pain coming from that finger, Sara told me

I told her the story, the invented memory of a 2 year old
in the basement watching my mother iron sheets
the phone rings, my brothers yell downstairs, it’s Dad
my mother turns off the iron goes upstairs
my brothers come downstairs
I walk over to the mangler iron
like a giant rolling pin
with a hot bar over it
turn it on and stick my left hand in
it grabs my hand and I scream, somehow I am able to pull it out
before it got my thumb
adrenalin or a miracle or both
my hand was white as a sheet
my mother’s face was white as a sheet
she rushed me around the corner to the doctor
his face turned white
he bandaged it up and I screamed and howled and screamed
my poor mother
two surgeries when I was two, skin graft from my butt
two surgeries when I was fifteen, mostly cosmetic
but I was lucky, didn’t lose any use of my hand
until now

years later I was watching a t.v. movie
about the one armed outfielder Pete Gray
in the movie a young teenage boy was playing at home
he turned on a mangler iron and stuck his hand in it
he lost his arm
lucky me

I told Sara that it has occurred to me
that the trauma of burning my left hand
is maybe where this all began
but who knows, it’s not worth even going there
Thich Nhat Hanh says we need to forgive ourselves
for whatever it is that has caused us despair
embrace that troubled boy

in the middle of writing this I took a nap
Ashley stopped by with more food and her daughter, Piper
who gives the best hugs, she was hugging me in the bed
and Buddy jumped up on top of her
the guys staying with Howie and Micah show up and walk Buddy
and will then get all the house instructions
college friend Chris from Boston started texting me
I’ll be seeing him in Florida on Saturday!
Acra and Chris visited me for half an hour
they were grabbing Howie’s ski stuff for this weekend’s Snowbird comps
I told them what’s been going on
Acra is praying for me and that in itself makes me hopeful
there are so many people praying for me
I am blessed

it is 8 pm and we are still packing
haven’t had dinner yet
somehow we will get packed and be ready
and get some sleep
for a 3am home departure

for the 5:45am flight

Saturday, January 14, 2017

We Make Plans and God Laughs

We Make Plans and God Laughs

spent my appointment with Josh
talking about my travel anxiety
my need to observe the world spin around me
not partake, not get involved
stay in the moment, be mindful

“I have arrived, I am home
in the here and in the now
I am solid, I am free
in the ultimate, I dwell”

mantra/poem by Thich Nhat Hanh
in his book You Are Here

that has been my mantra of late
I have memorized it
I keep talking about it
I breathe it
I think it as I try to sleep
as I try to stay calm

Josh worked on my alignment, my circulation
supporting my need to be mindful of the world
but to stay detached from the craziness
the hustle and bustle that surrounds me

as always I left my session
much calmer and centered
feeling much better about my plane rides to Florida
with Micah on Saturday

Barbara was waiting for me at the counter
and immediately said – you had a good session
I can tell

Alisun, my naturopath was at the counter as well,
I’ve been on the phone with Jackie all morning
it looks like we can get you enrolled
in a clinical trial for NP001

I started crying, gently, it was so hopeful
I am so touched by Alisun’s effort into my care

Barbara helped me pay, and carry my vitamins to the car
she helped me navigate my way to the car
and into the car
we were running out of time between appointments
I drank some water, ate an apple
as she drove me to Andy, my therapist

Barbara tried to park the car parallel to the curb
it was super snowy out and navigating my way to the sidewalk
from the car was not easy, a young angel woman walking by
helped Barbara get me out of the car and into the office
it was not easy

Andy and dog Walter were awaiting my arrival
after getting me seated and elevated on the couch
we started the session with a meditation
Andy helped me with my seated posture
I talked about my feet being swollen
the speech therapist who operated on fear
how she scared us and hurt my spirit
how western medicine operates this way
how I have chosen for an eastern approach

Andy was so so supportive,
Josh, Sarah, Lauren, Alisun and I
can all help you keep your voice and your breath

we talked about Micah and our trip to Florida
about mindfulness and living in the moment
and Thich Nhat Hanh

he noticed my neck was sore
he asked me to think of someone nurturing,
my mother… oh mom…

Andy put my shoes back on and my coat
helped me get up off the couch
steadied me on my walker
opened the door
and Barbara was standing right there
Do you have another appointment right now?
Barbara looked a bit distraught
Well, Micah is O.K., he was in a ski accident
but he’s O.K. , he broke his patella and lacerated his knee
Jackie is driving him to the hospital
which should make you happy, no ambulance bill
I was walking with my walker, gently crying
Barbara said, you’re handling this much better than I thought
well, you told me really well
so we don’t know what we are doing now do we?

after I got into the car I bawled for a minute
releasing my stress with tears

we went to the co-op parking lot
Barbara got us some soup
we ate in the car
then we met Jackie and Micah
at the entrance to the emergency room
my car pulled up next to Jackie’s
window to window

Micah looked fine. he cried out of disappointment
I told him, it was o.k., shit happens
I love you Micah, you’re going to be fine
we will spend time together in our house
since the knee was cut open
they had to do the surgery right away
Barbara helped Jackie get Micah out of the car

we drove home

Barbara and I arrived at home
slowly we navigated me out of the car
to my walker and into the house
there was one precarious moment
when I almost lost hold of the bannister
while Barb brought my walker up the steps

that moment of trepidation
resonated with me
the need to be mindful
don’t make things worse

then one step at a time into the house
and straight to my bed
minutes later friends arrived
and they helped get my shoes off
my coat off, my pants off
then to the bathroom
then back to bed

John and Barbara went up the mountain to get Micah’s car
Laura and Gabby made dinner
Nettie, Ellie and Ben arrived
while I rested
they were all planning on coming to dinner
before Micah’s ski accident
for a college send off for Ben & Gabby
so this dinner was still happening with a twist

when John got back to the house
with his help, I got undressed
took a shower, shaved
got dressed
joined the party
me and 6 friends
all holding us up with their loving hearts

We have amazing friends

Micah’s surgery was a success
I went to bed early at 10:30
Jackie got home around 11:30

I woke up came out to see her
said goodnight to the Michels 

and went back to bed

post surgery sushi from Gail

two new screws put his knee back together

the next day

Jackie took Buddy for a walk on a bluebird day
so today instead of flying to Florida
Micah and I watched football together

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Our Friends Don't See


What Our Friends Don’t See

I just got out of bed
I’m stretching my calves
then doing other stretches
precariously holding on to the top of the tall dresser

there is a crash from the kitchen
Howie opened a cupboard
and my coffee mug
fell out and onto
a favorite ceramic bowl
breaking them both

Jackie starts crying and screams,
this is what sets me off
we have other people in our house helping us
they put things in the wrong places
they fall out and break
then there’s glass on the floor
I’ll cut my foot
I’m trying to make Howie breakfast
he’s late for school again
now the sink disposal is going to break

Barbara stops by to drop off my computer
I listen to them talk, laugh and cry

I’m on the floor of our bedroom on my yoga mat
doing my morning floor exercises
thinking to myself,
usually I tell them where everything goes
but yesterday I went to the bathroom
while Gail did dishes

I do a mountain pose on my back
arms stretched overhead, feet straight
head tilted back
it feels good and safe
Barbara leaves taking Buddy
we have appointments in Bozeman all day

I do my floor routine
end with shavassana
then roll over and try to get up
I struggle to get on all fours
the yoga mat is too sticky
I forgot to push it out of the way
I can’t get up on all fours
I roll over onto my back
Jackie wants to help me
I’m out of breath
I say to her,
this is what our friends don’t see

she rolls up my yoga mat
and says, but they read about it

I roll onto my stomach
get up on my elbows
and with all my strength
manage my way onto all fours
I lean on the seat of my walker
propped up against Jackie’s desk
slowly, one bent foot, one bent leg,
one bent arm, at a time
I lift myself up
grab the handles of the walker

and stand up

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Explosion

The Explosion

we are all in the t.v. room
watching the Lions – Seahawks playoff game
dinner, a bowl of  chicken curry, on our laps
suddenly we hear a loud commotion
like the annoying buzz of Howie’s new drone
combined with the sound of the blender
making my morning coconut oil smoothie
things crashing everywhere

we all look at each other
we are all there in the room, even the dog
what the heck
suddenly a jar of pills flies by the open doorway
a jar from a closed cupboard ten yards away

everyone gets up, but me – I can’t
our cat has opened the cupboard
behind my spot at the kitchen table somehow
he has hooked my paper bag of performance enhancing drugs
around his neck and thrown my pill jars
eleven in all, plastic and glass, all over the great room

Howie pursues the cat
as he scurries down the stairs
dives to tackle, but misses
then finds the cat
under his bed
the torn bag still hooked around his neck

later as I walk around the house I find
some random tiny vitamin D pills on the floor

the only jar that the cat got open
trying to help me as only a cat can