Please God, Give Me A Break!

My life is usually hectic, but for the past few weeks, I feel I have been upside-down in a whirlwind and the force of the spinning prevents me from tethering myself to something for a rest. Often, I have said that a shorter sleeping time is perfectly normal and preferred by many. When someone is worried about my sleep deprivation (as they call it!) I ask that they respect my beliefs and to leave me alone. Yet, it is often at that time I know I have pushed too much because I feel physically ill and it is difficult for me to function. At those times I feel nauseous, have an immediate urge to nap, and will not be able to do anything.

You may ask if this has anything to do with my blog that explores and questions the human twilight. Unfortunately, when I do not sleep well, or when I cannot have uninterrupted sleep, eventually, my mind barely functions. Regardless, I keep trying only to find that my fingers do not hit the keys correctly and I need to depend on the spell check to see a list of possible words that I am trying to type. Alternately, my mind wanders and I have a vision-like experience when I saw a human foot and the calf of a leg. When I tried to touch the heel, it suddenly disappears. Sometimes as I type I look up and see a line or a multitude of lines made up of j,k and l’s.  When they seem to go on into infinity I know I should be a sleep, yet time, there isn’t enough time for me.

While I am in this stupor, days can pass without writing a post, whereas, I usually try to start my next post while I am writing the last. I do not want a long lapse between posts because the continuity is broken and I feel it is important to keep writing.

I usually get this way after there has been a significant change in my schedule, particularly when my stress level rises as it did last week. Prior to that I was a little tired, but then my Mother’s doctor strongly suggested we take her to the hospital. Whenever my Mother is in the hospital, I go with her. I mean I stay with her for most of each day and then am there thru the night. Each day the nurse will ask if I want a cot, There was a time, long ago, that I felt sleeping on a cot in the room was a good thing. The alternate is a reclining chair. Quickly, I decided the reclining chair was better. Within the first hour of being on the cot, I was squirming in discomfort and my view was the bottom foot of the room. Each time a nurse or technician came into the room for a procedure I only saw their shoes and the bottom of their slacks. If my assistance was needed (as it often was) rising from the cot was ridiculously, slow. If I tried to place my feet on the floor and then stand, I found the cot to be too low to push up. If I used the cot for support as I pushed my self up the cot folded and crashed to the floor.

To be able to get up easily is important. Usually I assist the staff about every two hours. This last stay in the hospital reminded me that hospitals are not the place to go to if you need to rest. Ironically, that is something nursing does not understand!! Very few nurses are able to evaluate the patient’s need for rest versus their care. This is especially problematic if an elderly person is incontinent. Some will attempt to change their patient every 2 hours, without asking themselves if it is necessary. By the end of the first week, I could see how tired my mother was and I knew, but would not admit that I was sorely in need of rest.

Another problem happens when I am tired and in the hospital, although I don’t want you to think I’m–well–unappreciative of their services, but I do hate being there. Each time there is a long hospitalization I gain weight. I am supposed to be on a diet. I pay a lot of money to be on one, except that I have a tendency to use any excuse to nibble on junk food. Once I start, I do not stop. I become a twenty-four hour “eater” which means it follows me home. Each morning I arrive home for a few hours to catch up on work, pack a food and beverage bag and then at the hospital I buy every type of junk food they have in the vending machine. When my Mother was discharged, I assessed my diet after we arrived home and I decided to switch plans. I need one that will allow me to lose weight at a faster pace and not provide such a wide array of sweets to tempt a binge!

When I have a week like the one I have described I feel it is bad enough for me to worry about my Mother, but I seem to add many more worries and aggravation for myself. I continue thinking about everything that happens to me, my Mother or M, reorganize a list of things I am very behind on at home and realize on top of all this I lose control and make life even more miserable for me. It is at this time that I want to yell, very loudly and very frustrated: “Please God, Give Me A Break”. If I  do this, I must first question where or what are my beliefs, but I know it hard for me to answer because I have quite a time dealing with God, or more correctly mainstream God. I was brought up a Catholic, yet my Mother’s Catholicism is unique in that she has never followed its canons, but rather has her own, very religious way of encountering Catholicism that doesn’t acknowledge Jesus much at all. She only prays and deals with God. No intermediaries for her! During that time I grew up I abided by what I was taught in catechism, but I always questioned how could an all knowing and caring God allow the world to be as destructive as it is.

Maybe that is why, for years I only believed there may be a generic higher power. For sharing and not sticking out like an agnostic or atheist, I explained to people that I felt my higher power was a part of myself–a strength deep inside and that I didn’t have canons to follow, but that it gave me strength and conscious. But as the years passed and particularly after my mother became seriously ill I realized I began praying for her survival and I was using the word God as an entity that I was asking for help in a prayer that was similar to a chant. I asked for favors, pleas or even demanded that my mother receive God’s dispense so she would recover. I then followed the introduction with a Catholic prayer that I repeated endlessly. I questioned what the hell I was doing. Had I actually discarded my facade of beliefs I had formed or had I begun to adopt partly how my mother prayed. Soon I knew that I had gone past that point, I had not copied my Mother, but a belief had begun in desperation and that belief was in God because he had answered those chanted prayers.

Even though, I questioned if  my mother and I were correct in only dealing with the big guy. Then yesterday I was listening to a well-known Christian Clergy who explained that one should only pray to God. If you involve Jesus in your prayers than you must ask him to tell God your needs. If you think you should pray to the Holy Ghost then you need to understand that the Holy Ghost prays for you. With either Christ or the Holy Ghost, you may tell them you have no idea how or what to pray for and they will then relay prayers to God to guide you. It was all very involved and it was too much to digest in a small period of time, but I feel maybe that my Mother and I were praying in the right direction after all!

And so, I sit here each day trying to explore my feeling about growing older, about entering my twilight years and suddenly I realize what is bothering me and how it links to what I write about! I am thankful that I have settled my beliefs in God, but the following is a beginning list of worries I have, that I will need to resolve before I am within my Crepusculum.

  • If I am hospitalized as I grow older who will supervise my care if M is not alive.
  • Even if we currently have wills and medical power of attorneys for each other how do I begin to state all the things you need to state for your degenerative years.
  • How do I find another Power of Attorney for the future if M can’t do it–especially one that will understand how I want my care managed and that I can have some assurance that my wishes are followed.  How do you trust someone that is not part of your immediate bloodline?
  • If I do not get my weight under control, I surely will have extenuating problems to deal with, making every other worry a little more difficult.
  • Learning how to accept the uncertainty of tomorrow.
  • Dealing with the fact that my ability to live independently may change and I will need to be ready for a transition towards total dependence for life care. At its worst, I will not be able to control the escalating fragility of my mind and body. Presently, this major unidirectional modification in life care prompts feelings of being vulnerable to my world and apprehensive of my tomorrow. This hallmark worry cannot go on without having much of it dealt with now.

I must not allow too many days to pass again without considering how to resolve some of my major worries and I do not believe God needs to give me a break if I become more organized. Yes, I need to add a few thoughts in a few more posts!

Que Sera, Sera

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Dwelling On Five Thoughts
18″x15″x6″ Dyed Nylon

 

When I was about seven or eight years old, strangely, I developed a kidney infection. Our family doctor told me that little boys usually do not have kidney infections. He continued telling me to be very good and not run around and make sure I did not argue about taking my pills. Shortly afterward, we left the doctor’s office. My father and I walked to the car and then we stopped at the drugstore to get my pills. I think this was the first time the doctor did not give me pills, but rather wrote a prescription for the medication.

My father parked the car and told me to remain in the car while he got my prescription. The time alone provided a small window for me to daydream. I felt miserable and I had a fever. My head pounded each time I moved or stood. I bent my head making me nearly huddled with my hands wrapped around my waist. I felt very frightened sitting all alone because I worried why I had a prescription. I felt like I was always sick and this was one of the worst times. All I wanted to do was to get home to my mother. She would make everything be better, particularly me!

I have never forgotten, even though my Mother never left my side after I got home. She figured out why I was so upset and took great patience and love to assure me everything was fine. The memory was still there when I was 16 and then again, at 27 when once again I had a kidney infection. I was sure the doctor meant I was going to die of kidney failure–worry #1 became fully developed.

Even after worry #1 was established, I received a magazine from a support group for people that had a colostomy or ileostomy or both in the early seventies. At first, I was confounded why should I receive the magazine and decided it was a mistake. Over the next few days, I glanced through the magazine and started reading all the articles. I had no idea what the necessary products were for and the book did not explain them. There was a story about a person who had both and was a gymnast. The story fascinated me and I decided I wanted to find out more, even though I was aware that since I was about twelve the superintendent’s wife of the community school I attended had a colostomy The more I read, the more I thought of Mrs. Boyle and the picture I kept seeing was of her emptying the device.

The picture of her began to haunt me, as well as, some of the articles I had been reading and in the end, there was a picture of Mrs. Boyle layered over a picture of a woman with an ilieostomy on a trapeze. Quickly that picture produced another tag of worry in my life. Worry #2 allowed me to have many sleepless nights preparing for the worst.

By the end of the next fifteen years, I felt my affectation had greatly dissipated. My two worries did not affect me nor did I think of them. Life presented itself as it should and I had not a worry in all those years. I never thought about how my health could deteriorate and cause me problems within my Crepusculum and easily define my journey to the entrance of my darkest hours. I had a busy life and it was difficult for me to be any thing other than happy.

Even though I was happy, the additional years allowed me to think and worry more. My parents were aging and after I entered my forties their problems became more poignant. While visiting with us, for a long a long weekend, my father experienced his first heart attack. Upon his discharge, he drove back home, mostly as a show of strength and no physical signs of a heart attack showed. Very early in the morning, on a Monday in February, I received a call from my mother that my father was having severe chest pains. By the time I arrived, he was prepped for quadruple by-pass surgery. At the close of the day, I had developed a single picture: My father in the Intensive Care Unit attached to drains, the incision area uncovered and still surrounded with sponges and endless monitors above his head.

At my mother’s home that night, sleep did not come until the wee hours of the morning. Worry #3 formed.

It formed and dominated my mind for a while. By now I had realized I shouldn’t focus on a particular worry. I needed to remember that when I walk out of the house and am hit by a car, is more realistic than if I fabricate an illogical worry.

A short time later, my Mother needed surgery for a colon resection. Following surgery, at a new gastroenteroogist, I was repeatedly told me I must have a colonoscopy as soon as possible because he was sure I would follow in Mother’s shoes He continued enforcing his point by telling me repeatedly that polyps predate cancer and that if my Mother had polyps then he was sure I would! By the time, we left Worry #4 was firmly entrenched and I vowed my Mother would never see that physician again!

For the next seven years, the thought of surgery on my colon plagued me. Finally, I forced myself into having it all checked out and, of course, everything was very GOOD.  I placed Worry #4 on a shelf for the next five years, or until I needed my next exam. I was ecstatic.

While I was being plagued by the worry of one day having colon surgery, my mother had a stroke. As I cared for her, in the months to follow, repeatedly I asked if this could happen to me. I realized that the outcome of a stroke depends upon the size of the clot or the dimensions of the bleed area, thus meaning that if I had a stroke the result could not be of the same as my mother’s. Regardless, I began carrying around a sullen mask, until one day I noticed a worry # 5 was perched on my shoulder next to worry #4.

One day as I was whistling “Que Sera, Que Sera” I suddenly stopped and began singing:

 

Que, Sera, Sera

Whatever will be, will be

The Future’s not ours to see,

Que, Sera, Sera

What will be, will be–

In one short verse, I realized how ridiculous it is to carry around my worries like an albatross around my neck. I have no way of telling, nor does a doctor, what will happen to me in the future. To worry only causes me to have less time to enjoy the life I have. I shelved my worries in a small corner of my mind. I keep them there as a reminder that when I look forward I will look without the influence of worry, but rather I will look openly and understand that even within  my Crepusculum  it isn’t necessary to know every thing!


The five worries were the inspiration for “Dwelling on
Five Thoughts”. Each form represents a specific worry and has a small sculpture inside depicting the worry. When the piece is exhibited the forms are illuminated from the bottom so the viewer might catch a glimpse of the sculpture.