26 April 2012

Clatterbang and other Perils of Wisdom

Today's challenge: function on 2 hours of sleep. I guess I could have qualified things when I prayed not to be sleepy. Something short of insomnia would have been fine. Funny, I used to function fine without sleep before I got old. Wait, maybe I got old so quickly because I didn't get enough sleep?

Aging. Bah! Stuff creaks and other things rattle. My body is proof that gravity works. I move like one of those carts with the funky wheel. You know, the one you hope you won't get and when you do you try to pretend that your above noticing or being bothered by it as you force/guide it around the store? Yeah, out of a hundred good solid carts in any given store I normally get the one with the funky wheel. Thunkity thunkity, clatterbang! I guess it stands to reason that I would end up a little off my trolley in more than one way.

Speaking of shopping. Years ago in a land far from here I was shopping at a Home Depot. I was in the garden center where two cashiers worked diligently to check folks out. What is it that makes herds of people have the sudden urge to purchase their perennials and garden supplies all at the same moment? It's like we're Eloi answering a siren call. Anyway, after observing the lines for a minute it was clear which checker was the quicker and more efficient. I chose his line. That's when the other checker closed down and the person in front of me had a problem with his purchase. There I stood, next in line, waiting patiently. Ten or more minutes later patience gave way to irritation. My mother was right when she said I was a "Murphy's Child." No point in being angry I decided to amuse myself. I turned to the woman waiting in line behind me and pointed to myself. "Ma'am, you see this face? Study it carefully and if you ever see me standing in a checkout line somewhere, get in the other line." She and the others in line laughed. "I am trying to save you all. It's OK."

Later in the same day I was standing in the checkout line at Walmart when someone gently grabbed my shoulder. I turned and there she was. Without saying a word she smiled and moved to a different line. We both giggled and yes she was done before I was. If you have to be in the line that doesn't move and drive the cart with the funky wheel, it's best if you can laugh about it. Aging has mellowed me that way and made me see the foolishness in most of my angry moments.

Wisdom is a good part about getting old, probably the best part and I guess it's not a bad trade off really. Think of all the stupid things you've done and bad choices you've made for lack of it? How many times have you heard someone say, "If I only knew then what I know now!" Then riddle me this, why do those same people chase appearing young? Their actions betray their professions of valuing wisdom.

People baffle me and why God wants a single thing to do with us is really beyond me. That's a topic that requires more moving parts and firing synapses in my brain than I currently possess. Forgive me while I ramble out to the recliner for a nap. Thunkity, thunkity, clatterbang!



25 April 2012

Rocks and Hard Places

My rheumatologist is a genuinely funny man. Hes decided to scrap the drug therapies we were trying to go in an entirely different route. He knows I don't like taking drugs so when I asked him, "And what are the potential side effects to this drug vs. the potential benefits?" He was ready. After a long pause and with a pensive look on his face he said; "Side effects? You mean besides the third leg you'll sprout and the way your skin turns green? Nothing that wouldn't seem normal to you. You *are* from California, right? Yeah anything that happens shouldn't alarm you."

His theory is that my pain isn't caused as much by my arthritis as it is by nerve damage that decades of untreated pernicious anemia has caused. He wants to try a drug that works by disrupting my neurons abilities to deliver pain messages. I am becoming so sedentary I am willing to try anything that will get me back into life. Less pain? I am in. Let the disruption begin!

The downsides to the medication are being drowsy. Chin on chest snoring drowsy. Stop moving, fall asleep drowsy. I'm talking take two shots of Revv coffee, several B-complex supplements and a B12 shot and still fall asleep if you stop moving kind of drowsy. He told me it would take a couple weeks to get acclimated. I take one pill at night before bed. When I can do that and remain conscious, I'll add a second pill during the day. I am still on the one pill regimen. Last night I was in bed by 10pm and didn't rouse until 8am. Getting sleep is a blessing and that alone is enough to help me feel better. I haven't slept like that in years.

I am finding that the drug works. I have been able to get out and accomplish some things. The pain is letting up and that is wonderful. I have a dilemma though. Unfortunately drowsiness is not the only potential side effect. As the pain decreases I am noticing depression is on the rise. I am fighting it with all my being but it's there. It's here. It's everywhere. It's trying to smother me. Not all the time, it comes in waves. One moment I am right as rain and the next I am in that place where I question my faith, the meaning of life, whether God exists. If He does, do I want anything to do with Him? I am certain that hope is a four letter word. Right now they are fleeting moments of depression. If the moments increase to hours... then I am in trouble. I am still in the trial period of seeing if I can tolerate the drug...but it hasn't escaped my notice that I may have to make a really difficult choice.

Live with pain or choose to be pain free and depressed....

Counseling yourself isn't as easy as counseling others. What would I tell someone else in these circumstances? Probably to wait a bit and see if things even out and if they don't to keep looking for ways to manage the pain. If pain is the price you pay to keep faith and hope alive, so be it. Easy words to say....when the pain isn't yours.

I read Psalm 71 today. I may read it over several times before this day is through.



17 April 2012

Eye Take Know Response Ability

Last night I went to bed with the bedroom window open. It was one of those incredible sleeping moments. I was treated to a cool breeze flavored with lilacs and a touch of mock orange blossoms. The night birds were trying out all of their new songs. I was genuinely spent physically and content emotionally when I lay my head on my pillow. My last thought was about it being gorgeous end to a wonderful day. Then I took an ethereal ride to a bizarre dream that would normally give me nightmares. I dreamed about doing statistical analyses of a variety of events that ranged from normal and stopped at downright embarrassing. The best part? Pearl Jam was playing a live concert for me and my cohorts as we diligently made our computations and pronouncements of validity. Why would this normally give me nightmares? I don't do math or Pearl Jam. A friend of mine tried to get me to listen to a Pearl Jam song once. The lyrics were so raunchy they could stop the heart of a truck driving longshoreman.

It wasn't one of those songs they were playing in my dream. They were playing songs that my mother used to sing to us when we were very young. My mom was a character. She had a genius level IQ, a tenth grade education formally and a PhD from the school of life. She was nearly 6' tall, had big green eyes, a great voice and a wicked sense of humor. She was well read, knew her world history and made just about every mistake a young woman could make on her road to maturity. She died at 50 and I knew that was young but as I am going to be 55 this year, I understand more and more just how young she was.

In my dream it was perfectly natural that a band I loath as I loath Pearl Jam should be singing songs from mom's repertoire. She used to sing to us about Horace the horse on the merry-go-round. He went up and down, round and round but he's been sad since the day he found he was the very last horse on the merry-go-round. Horace tried and tried but he just never could win. Horace cried and cried 'cause all the other horses were ahead of him. Then one day on the merry-go-round, Horace looked and turned around and he said "Gosh! Oh, Gee! I am the very first horse on the merry-go-round 'cause the others are a followin' me!" I think I was 16 when I figured out what that song meant.

Then there was the song about the woman washing her baby down the fluddle. Fluddle? What's that? Well it seems a woman was washing her baby one night, poor little mate, so slim and so slight. She turned 'round to get the soap on the rack, twas only a moment...but when she turned back. "Oh where, oh where is my baby!" she cried. "Oh where, oh where can he be? Oh where oh where is my baby?!" she cried and the angels they replied:

"Your baby has gone down the drainpipe! Your baby has gone down the float. Poor little mate, so slim and so slight, he should have been washed in a jug! Your baby is perfectly happy, though the chlorine is bad for his eyes. He's 'avin' a swim and it's 'ealthy for 'im! He needed the exercise. Don't worry yourself just be 'appy, and remember 'e suffered no pain. Your baby has gone down the fluddle. Let's 'ope 'e don't stop up the drain!"

I'm not certain I got those lyrics in the right order but there really is a song like this. Mom sang it often when I was young. She sang lots of songs from the 50s and 60s. Streets of Laredo was a favorite of hers when she was working. Ghost Riders in the Sky has never been sung so hauntingly as it was by mom. She should have recorded it. That and the song Last Kiss were my mom's best.

So, why this trip down memory lane? I woke up thinking about two things: blogging with the title of the blog article was as you see it and some verses in Daniel 2:20-23. I agree, that's pretty strange and I don't think for a minute I can call this an edifying post, here it is nonetheless. Here's the strangest bit of all. While writing this I looked online for the lyrics to Last Kiss and guess what I found?

I can't explain it. I never knew they did it and no, I don't think God is trying to speak to me in my dreams. I'm filing this under random things I cannot explain but make life interesting for moment. That said, I take no responsibility......