Lightning Strikes

Sometimes when you least expect it, a bolt of lightning strikes.  When it does you react quickly with a smile and a word, “hi” if you are meeting someone.   Once the greeting is over you know you need to smile and begin to understand why you felt an unwanted, shocking strike.  It is a time for you to cope regardless of what the moment brought to you.

Yesterday, we arranged to have lunch with our neighbor from where we previously lived.  We were neighbors for six years and the last time we saw them was a year ago in front of our house.   That day they each came over to bid us a pleasant good-bye.  We often chatted with them in our yard or their’s and rarely did we go into each other’s homes to have a  formal time with each other.  Even though we chatted under the mango trees or during a time when we helped each other we did get to know a fair amount about each other.

As I climbed out of the car my eye quickly stopped at the wife and then on to the husband followed by the strike of lightning.   During the next moment, I found it difficult to say “hi” and pull me together to act normal.  The husband‘s Parkinson’s worsened leaving his left-hand shake unmercifully.  His wife looked haggard and worn.  She appeared as though she was ten years older than she is.

Without too much delay she began to talk about herself and why her shabby appearance was due to her muddled mind.   We accompanied them as they walked into the house.    The husband still is of sound mind although his physical appearance showed that he had lost weight;  the weight that had been lost by an erratic diet.    later he mentioned that there wasn’t food in the house and that we needed to go out.  I felt bad and wanted to shop and make food for them. Yet he would never allow anyone to give them anything.  This is something I learned during our six years we were neighbors.

Over the next two hours, we listened as they each told us about her problems.  She was crestfallen and tired and conscious of what she felt.  She explained at lunch that the man across the table was not her husband, he was a replacement, one that she was not as comfortable as with her real husband.  He asked her for the keys she carried but she would not release them and we knew that she wouldn’t give them to him because she felt this new person might take the car or lock her out of the house.  She kept thinking her purse was missing and then back at the house she stopped us to look at the man in the tree.  Her purse was in her bedroom as it always is.  Back at their house after lunch, she said that there was a man in the tree.  There was no man.

As we drove away, we worried about both of them.  We tried to ask them for any information about  their son but didn’t get any.   The next day we located him and explained to him what we saw and understood.  We felt it was very important for him to go to them and see the sad state each of his parents was in.  At night, the wife gets very upset, goes to the front yard and screams for help for someone to call the police to protect her.  On the other hand, she has been a threat to her husband’s peace and he feels the same as her in calling the police.

Their son will be with them tonight and try to decide what must be done.  Unfortunately, both his parents need professional evaluations during a stay in a hospital.  There are many tales within the bolt of lightning and they must be sorted out by a professional.  I hope there peace comes to them and strength given to the son to make it happen for them. 


The Number 69

Sixty-nine arrived on the fifteenth of this month.
It will remain for another three hundred and sixty-four days.
It gave me an unwanted bolt of reality…one not to ignore.

As an adult, a birthday and another year passing was a usual happening.  I even enjoyed birthday presents!  Then, after the one major event which struck out at me seemed to change my world.  I began to feel I was on some precipice scratching for a twig that would steady a slippery slide.  The twig’s hold worked for many months.  Then to my exasperation,  a collection of deleterious ills happened to me.  I thought I had let go of the twig and landed in a huge cup and saucer.  The cup and saucer sat  on a spinning circle that slowed only for a second.  As it slowed, another little lifetime ill had occurred .

I often think–

At fifteen you pine for freedom so that you can do as you wish.
At 20 life cannot hurt you when you meet it head on fearlessly.
At 40 your career blossoms and you smile and count your money!
When 50 rolls around they say you are over-the-hill!  Stupid–
And the next decade begins a slow spiral own to the number 69.
The future is something akin to a crap shoot….Some Win and Some Lose.

Maybe now it is the time for bit more thought:

  • Norman Cousins–
    The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live.
  • Robert Frost–
    The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
  • Me–
    Sometimes to soak myself in my tears and fears, I find that even misery can bring strength back to the mind.
  • John Scalzi—
    The problem with aging is not that it’s one damn thing after another—it’s every damn thing, all at once, all the time.
  • Linda Robinson—
    I have to start loving what comes next and stop hating I won’t be a part of it.
  • My Mother—
    To look backwards  does no good, look forward to Tomorrow and what it may bring.

To Ask The Impossible

It has been about a year and a half since I learned I had lung cancer. The days, weeks and months since then have been less enjoyable than the previous years I have lived. Yes, without question I am better, yet better is relative to what? Am I like I used to be? Do I feel as strong as I was? Can I think as intuitively as before or is my ability to uniquely understand the how and why as strong as it was?

I am not like I was.
My endurance and strength are less.
I simply cannot plan or logically decide as I did.

Today I am traveling to Illinois to see my sister. Previously, all details were ready days before. My clothes were in the suitcase the day before. The last two days I have quibbled over what clothes I should take, what computer I should lug and even what I should wear on the plane! Finally, I had everything packed and chose the shirt to wear! Quibbling breeds wrong choices. I am always hot…….today the plane is a freezer and this shirt I have on couldn’t keep a flea warm.

Where is this all going? The big “C” is one unwelcome pain in one’s ass.

Just recently a lovely, smart and strong person I know was diagnosed with an undefined type of cancer in the lung. I am more than a little upset! I want to scream out that enough is enough and that to inflict this unwanted beast in her is wrong! When will this purge stop that brings such turmoil and worry to mankind!

I will answer my own question:

Answering the impossible is as ridiculous as asking it!

Mornings Now, Tomorrow’s Mornings?

Each morning after I awaken and stretch once or twice, I am ready to touch my feet to the floor and see what the first moment of the new day brings me.  Lately, I hobble to the bathroom, then return to the bed and get back in, or being stupid, I pack up my computer and decide to go downstairs.  The stairwell is always dark and  I need to make sure I feel for the edge of the first step and the handrail.   Once downstairs, I think I should not have come down so I head to my office to take a rest, usually I sit on the sofa and  fall asleep.

When I wake this second time, the ability to feel better should available.  Not always is the case and when it is a sluggish day it will stay that way all day.

Not long ago, I arose early and while having coffee planned my day.  Most days I chose to work in my garden and I started around 6:00 a.m.  It’s a great time to do what you like to do, pulling the weeds, raking and trimming and bring a particular part back into its original beauty.   While I worked I talked to the plants making sure they were happy or telling them that they had a choice to survive or go!  

Now those times are a thing of the past, hopefully, one day they will return.  The loss of doing as I wish isn’t pleasant.  For now I am subject to how I respond to Chemo and after having my second round of treatment yesterday I wonder how I will react this time or will it be an easier time than the first round of Chemo.   Today, I trudged downstairs to get a few things done that were not difficult to do, yet by the time I finished I wanted to return upstairs.  I was daunted by the stairway as I stood at the bottom looking up.  Suddenly the top was farther away than it is.  I took a deep breath, grabbed the railing and headed up the great expanse of steps!

Well, I am the one that caused my plight and I should not complain, but this state of life is one that I do not care for, so I must wait and see what happens.  TIS not the best quality of life.  I wonder, will that all change one day in one tomorrow?

Stones, Boulders and Sink Holes

Lately, strolling down my path, I find stones, boulders and even an occasional sink hole.  When I trip on one, my first reaction is to question what is in store for me.  The bumpy, unknowns are happenings that I prefer not to experience, yet I am powerless in controlling them.  Often, medical help  brings the path back to a level state.   Rarely, any guarantee of success is unavailable!.

Now, the days and nights are much different than two months ago.  After I found out I have cancer, I didn’t question that a lobectomy was necessary.   Immediately following surgery, I may have been apprehensive about tomorrow.  Hope, humor and support from friends and family reinforced my own strong will to keep on trekkin and carry a belief that all would soon end.

A couple of weeks ago, a boulder stood up and blocked my path.  It brought with it many new problems that keep me from moving forward.  Very soon I was at the emergency room and admitted.  The next few days were a blur, yet I knew the reason for me to be so ill  had not coalaced in the heads of Doctors.  It felt as though I was a pawn, one without much say about my health and certainly one who could not help solve the problem!

When my medication changed I started feeling much better.  My fever receded, my appetite returned.  I was on my way home and the band began playing a lively beat.

One day after being home, the fever returned and the cough is monumental.

I think I fell into a sink hole.

Will this ever pass?

Can the Ball Ever Change Courts for Me


Many, many years have passed in my life.  Much of my behavior, my ways of dealing with life have stayed the same and I never believe a person can change his existing  behavior.  It is because of my belief, at sixty-five I question if the ball in the game  I play can ever change to a  better court?  Unfortunately, we form at an early age without an opportunity to decide our own basic building blocks  nor are we able to question or control our progress.

Each night I vow that tomorrow offers another chance.   I list all my uncontrollable actions and face them truthfully.   I certainly am not stupid.  I know that every glob of food I eat, that is not part of pure sustenance,  allows me to gain another pound.  Each year since 1995 I have lost the struggle for thinness .  Each year the scale goes up and then it goes down, yet over that period of years I still go up and up.  Pre-1995 was a period of awakening to everything.  It seemed easier to hold my weight within a very small window of change.

My bingeing, once controlled to some degree, now stalks me every hour of the day and many hours in the night.  I feel me.  I know what is going on inside and outside of me.  I understand  good, the bad and now the ugly that has rolled in!!  My vows at night do little good.  By the time I get up a few hours later I forget there ever was a vow to control me.  It is just after this time that I am aware of what little control I have over myself.  I realize the wanting, vowing, and failing  periods cycle continually and “eat” up whatever psychological energy I may have left.

To let me take my journey without thought will only lead me to a disaster from which I can not return.

I understand fully what “disaster” may mean.  I understand, yet continue on as I am.

It is to clear that the ball will never ever change courts for me.

I  am my enemy!

75 DAYS Left til 65!

Nope, not a saga of not wanting to reach my birthday, but rather a hope that the days pass swiftly and brings a new year filled with everything normal and nothing like the experiences I have had in my 64th year!!  Each day I look in the mirror and tell myself that my 65th year will be like all my other years and not copy or continue the escapades of my 64th year.

This past year, the one with 75 days left in it, has been one filled with sickness, pain, stupidity, shot hopes, drudgery to continue and certainly a plea that all stops such impediments stop on June 14.   First experienced were fevers that continue to this day.  Possibly they are caused by my bad sinus and their reaction to the Florida climate.  When a fever strikes I become lethargic and little work or creativity or enjoyment of life is possible.  Then, two surgeries (not major) needed time for healing.  The second one a hernia repair kept me inactive for over a month and a half.  Finally, I began feeling better for all my ails and thought I should start working in my garden.  I had gotten rid of the man who worked for me and was without one.  I decided I wanted to bring it in shape and then find a helper for the summer.  

What a good idea, work outside, make the garden look how I like it, use the work for exercise and reap a benefit by losing a pound or two!!  Every thing was going well.  I had swept from one side of the property to the other side.  There is about three quarter’s of an acre of garden and I have been known to weed, rake, clean, trim, mulch, etc. within 10-12 days.  I was nearing the finish line and I knew I could spread mulch the following day if on this day I could get the last area trimmed and cleaned, which included many trees.  I started working early in the morning.  By late morning I had gotten a lot done and had trimmed major branches from the trees.  All I needed to do was clear the area of the branches, rack it well and I would be ready the following day to mulch. 

Yes, that also was a good thought to work toward.   I began clearing the large branches away, carrying more than one at a time.  I didn’t notice one had fallen out of my arms and landed in my foot path.  I took one more step and my foot caught in the “y” of the branch.  The tug surprised me and caused me to topple forward at a very fast clip.  The ride down to the earth isn’t clear.  I only remember looking up to see the sidewalk and the brick edge to the garden about 6 inches from my head.  Wow, what luck!!  Then I rolled over and saw that my chest had landed on a brick.  Silly to have left it laying there.

At the moment I was pain-free.  I pushed the branches aside, got  up, dusted myself off, grabbed the branches and continued on to the lawn rubbish pile.  As I tossed the branches forward I knew I wasn’t the same.  Something was moving in my chest.  Stubborn as I am I didn’t want to think about it and decided I must clean up everything first and then about what might be going on.

Finally done and still not admitting much I decided to take a shower.  While in the shower the pain began.  It was in my chest and in my left hip.  Within a very short time the pain got worse.  I knew I had to call M. to come home.  I called and simply said, “I think I broke a rib!”

I broke two ribs and twisted my hip severely.  The pain was gruesome and remained that way for many, many days.  This became the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Little by little I realized how much this pain and injury was bothering me and I felt that to climb back to what I was before would not be easy.  It has been more than difficult.  In fact it is down right depressing.  I am now struggling to climb back up that hill and find if I push too hard it makes me slide back down the hill.

If I find  that after the 75 days pass and I am continue experiencing new pitfalls I will be unhappy!

I have decided that what ever ills needs to happen to me must happen within the next 75 days.