Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hermitage

What length of self imposed home confinement qualifies one to be a hermit? Is bathing factored in to the answer?

Between one thing and another, I am not getting out much these days. Relentless pain has a funny way of slowing one down.

It also has a funny way of making one particularly un-funny. It also has a funny way of making one refer to oneself in an oddly detached third person manner.

Which one am I again?


Prince Charming, Willing and Forbearing has not responded to my proposition as of yet. However, I received multiple offers of adoption from marvelous prospective parents. Thank you all for that! LOL Cats proved to be a deal breaker for an otherwise ideal (and only) gentleman. Although, to be realistic, he also has a Mrs. Ideal. Thanks anyway Crotchety Old Man.


Will I never hear the clattering of hoofs on my front steps?

And now that I put it that way, do I want to? Because with my luck it would be the Jersey Devil. Or those rabid wolverines that are supposed to be so rare in New Jersey. Hah!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Love For Sale OR Is There a Spouse in the House?

Once Upon a Time

When I bought my adorable house, a 1930 Craftsman style bungalow, I was as healthy as a horse.

Buying my own home was beyond a dream come true! It was more than I ever had imagined I could possibly accomplish on my own. But I did. I was a single, widowed mother of four. I had driven past this house hundreds of times in the twenty years I had lived at the Shore. It was a real coup to get it. Everyone adores it. BUT, it needs constant maintenance. And I do mean CONSTANT.

I bought the house nine years ago and I was the Constant Maintainer. It was such fun. I really was elated when people seemed amazed that one little person could keep everything up by herself. But I did. Then, as if in slow motion, those balls I was keeping in the air started dropping as I lost my strength. One. By one. By two. By three…

The roof ball dropped first. Then the ceiling ball. The plumbing ball went. The gardening ball. The painting ball fell. The floor mopping ball. Each one hit the floor with a God awful, reverberating crack. Each crack reminded me of a new loss. CRACK! Dependence. CRACK! Neediness. CRACK! Desperation. CRACK! Weakness. CRACK! Deterioration. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!

Subsequently, my self pity and loneliness have known no bounds.

Things that Make You Say “Hmmmmm…”

Yesterday, I read about a man who was widowed 17 years ago, when his only child was two. He was overwhelmed by grief and didn’t know how he would survive. Then he realized that the one thing keeping him going was fatherhood. So, against all odds and sense, he adopted first one, then another child. In the ensuing time, Larry Shine has adopted six more children, including some with special needs. He took himself from a bereaved, overwhelmed widower to a happy, fulfilled single father of nine. You can read about them here.

I found his story amazing and thought provoking. Even Larry’s name speaks of hope and love: “Shine”.

Hmmmm. (This is the thought provoking part.)

Larry Shine likes to help people. I’m a people. And I need help.

Maybe, I thought, just maybe...could there be a Larry Shine out there for me?!?!

So I have decided to put myself on sale.

There has to be someone out there who would find me attractive wouldn’t find me too revolting. Someone? Anyone?

The Pitch

My strong points:

• I am an excellent cook.
• I love to laugh.
• I love to clean.
• I am a total know-it-all wise ass very smart.
• I think I am very funny.
• I can knit you lots of lovely things. Even underwear if you work, say, in the North Pole. Or its closest southern neighbor, Wisconsin. I don’t think it would be too scratchy?
• I am a complete nightmare a delight to live with.
• I hardly ever never act neurotic or worry about the worst case scenario, like a home invasion by rabid wolverines (the probability in New Jersey is low; I checked). However, you know, it is never a bad idea to be prepared.
• I love movies and know A LOT about them. You will never again need Google for an obscure fact. I know them all. Obnoxious on someone less modest, but charming on me. :)
• I hate people am a total people person, even when it comes to your old college roommates who wear Tasmanian Devil t-shirts and have hair implants and do war whoops like nine year olds as they drunkenly cannon ball into the pool.
• I am over well educated. I can impress all your buddies at the bar with my skill at Jeopardy when they are trying to watch the play-offs. Would that be interrupting? That wouldn’t be a problem, would it be?

The Follow Up Pitch

• I have been in therapy for most of my adult life, but I should be self actualized any second now. Then, once I get over being madly in love with my therapist, I should be radically well.
• I am mature and self sufficient. Well, mature except for thinking LOL Cats is hilarious. And I am relatively self sufficient except for occasionally having to be reminded about that whole electricity/water thing.
• I do not cling or believe my significant other is the be all and end all. Unless you really want me to. Then I think I could do clingy. Hmmmm. Thinking…thinking…clingy…well, ok...but it would be a stretch! HA HA I love puns. That is the kind of sense of humor I have. LOL Cats and corny puns. What can I say, you could do worse. You could get someone who thinks Nancy Grace is an intellectual powerhouse of an investigative journalist.
• I never cry. Pretty good in a woman, eh!?! I simply hold it all in until I explode in a short lived but embarrassing, inappropriate rage have a calm and rational discussion until we clear the air.
• I do not love long walks on the beach and flea markets and sunsets. I hate shopping. And children. ha ha Just kidding. I love sunsets.
• I never know when to keep my mouth shut am very quiet and discreet. Because of this, I frequently say inadvertently offensive things to people I have just met, I am well liked from the minute I am met.
• I have rowdy wild possessed enchanting curly hair and green eyes.
• I am short and fat chubby pleasingly plump round.
• I do not smoke.
• I LOVE to drink like to drink would have a central line to deliver vodka straight to my liver if I could drink moderately.
• I was was almost wanted to be at Woodstock.
• I am hopelessly dorky a total nerd geeky beyond belief boring to anyone who has an actual life incredibly cool.
• I love my dog, but you don’t have to. Just don’t drop kick her or anything. But showing too much interest in her might be interpreted as a tad creepy.

Now I will just sit back and wait for the proposals to roll in. It better be fast. Because a rainstorm definitely is rolling in and that pesky roof still is leaking.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Bruce on Wheels

(Cover your eyes, Crotchety Old Man) Christine and I went to see Bruce, et. al. this evening. They are the best. He is such an entertainer and puts on a great show. So much energy! Everyone in the band looked awesome. And the play list was really eclectic, a great mix of old and new. He closed with Rosalita as an encore. Such fun. The soundtrack of my college summers. A local boy. A good guy. He’s not perfect, but heck, who is? He does a lot of good around here that people never know about.

I watched the concert from the handicapped area, sitting in a wheelchair. It was my wheelchair debut. I have given up so many of the things I love because I can’t walk very far anymore, I am deciding it is time to buckle (ha ha, no pun intended) and take advantage of wheels.

It definitely felt strange, awkward and uncomfortable. I was very self-conscious. And separated from everyone else, because my eyes are now at crotch level. Not the ideal anatomical area to start a conversation with. Or smile at. (My dear friend Marc hilariously points this out in his films at .) But parking was a snap. I would hold up my handicapped placard and we were instantly directed to close, plentiful parking. At one point I breathed to Christine “It’s like…magic!” And we both cracked up.

Everyone on the staff was very nice and helpful. It was fun when Christine raced me through the empty hall after the concert started and we went to the ladies, taking a turn practically on two wheels, the two of us giggling like mad. And how lucky am I to have a friend who is just so matter-of-fact about the whole thing?

But I have a lot to think about as I adjust to a new stage in my life.

A wheelchair. Who’d a thunk it?


Monday, May 18, 2009

What's Going On

First I have to say, I am so envious and in awe of bloggers who write wonderful posts every single day! I lead a much more boring existence…I am not nearly as prolific or witty. For that, I apologize to my loyal readers who keep coming back to the site!! Thank you all for being part of my life. I am trying to write more often, but this day-to-day stuff just keeps getting in the way!


There’s Something Happening Here…

It has been rough going since the operation. I just haven’t felt right. If I had stopped to consider it, I would have realized I hadn’t felt right for quite some time. But this is how I deal with not feeling right: I ignore it.

I dragged myself to my den and got some work done each day, but kept falling asleep sitting there at my computer. I went to Physical Therapy, but sensed I made little progress because of the pain. I did my home exercises and started to feel depressingly certain that I would never regain total function.

As I am an obsessive glutton for punishment, I watched YouTube videos of shoulder surgery over and over, cringing at some of what I saw. Oh, not the cutting or the blood or anything like that. That I expected. I cringed at the stuff you tend to put out of your mind. Like how much of me was going to be exposed. Like how my body was going to be pushed and pulled, an unconscious dead weight. That there would be writing on my boob. No, not “Dr. W. was here”, which actually I think I would have found funny. No, these were lines indicating anatomical landmarks. So if the lines were used as anatomical landmarks, guess what had to be showing for the bulk of the surgery?

I cringed at the idea of the breathing tube down my throat, my eyes taped shut, my head strapped to a head stabilizer, my entire body, including my head and face, covered with surgical drapes. Everything covered except for the bits I would have preferred to be covered, however. The more I watched, the more upset I got. But I didn’t let that stop me!!

I also continued to feel crappy, very MS-y, twitching and wobbly. Then, just like last time, my legs blew up like two gigantic marshmallows. And it started to get a little hard to breathe sometimes.

You don’t have to be a nurse to put these pieces together and come up with this brilliant diagnosis: something is wrong here. But I just kept on my jolly way. Well, not so jolly. Just kept on my way.

…What it is ain’t exactly clear…

When I went for PT on Tuesday, my Physical Therapist Chris took one look at my legs and insisted I call my regular doctor before she even touched me. I called Dr. B., who I adore for his gentle and compassionate demeanor. But dealing with his front office person is a nightmare. Even though I told this loathsome creature I had just had surgery, my legs were swollen and I had shortness of breath, she intercepted any discussion with the doctor and gave me an appointment for two days hence.

I was just too exhausted to fight with her. Chris was pretty shocked, but she kind of shrugged. We did our PT session and I lived.

The next day I had an important meeting. I work from home, so I almost always wear sweats. But for this meeting I pulled a suit out of the closet and pressed a nice top to go with it. Went to put the slacks on and found there was a FOUR INCH GAP between the button and the button hole. It would not button. It would not even touch. Not believing my eyes, I dropped them, pulled them up again and, lo and behold, a four inch gap. I just wore this suit on Easter. Comfortably.

Little alarms began to jingle in the back of my head. This was not an ordinary weight gain. There was something wrong here. (Hmmmm…I detect a pattern…)

But in the meantime, I still had to get to this meeting, dressed in a professional manner. I yanked every suit and dress out of my closet. Nothing fit. I stood in the middle of my room, surrounded by clothing and howled:


Because everyone knows that makes clothes fit better.

I finally dug up a knit pants set that was presentable at least. And stretchy. But my heart was pounding with fear. This was a pretty alarming sign. When I got home that evening, my daughter and I eyed my legs, which were now about three times their normal size. I was having trouble catching my breath. She looked me straight in the eye and said, you are going to the emergency room. I didn’t argue.

…There’s a man with a gun over there telling me I got to beware…

Here is a scary realization...I am starting to love the ER. They were super nice to me and did every test known to man. Tests that would have taken days, if not weeks as an outpatient, and yet I was home within 3 hours. Findings: no Pulmonary Embolism, no Deep Vein Thrombosis, no cardiac problems, no pulmonary problems. They chalked it up to positional, because I was sitting up for the surgery, and to a reaction to the anesthesia. I wasn’t so sure about that, but I was so relieved to have the other things ruled out I didn’t care.

Went to my regular doctor appointment the next morning. Told him my sad saga. Illustrated with my horrific legs. As he was asking me about what tests they had done, he was flipping through my chart. And there he finds a five month old lab report documenting a major issue with my thyroid being out of whack! A major issue that needed to be addressed then, no delay.

…Paranoia strikes deep…

I am really upset this was missed. For months I have felt like crap, for months I have blamed the MS. Now it seems as though I have a problem with a relatively simple fix that should have been/could have been initiated before the beginning of the year. It is going to take weeks to find the right balance of medications and in the meantime I feel like death on toast.

Although on the other hand, I get to say, in all documented truthfulness, “It’s not fat, it’s glandular”!

I soldier on.

…Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

-- For What It's Worth
Buffalo Springfield


Friday, May 15, 2009


A problem with Photobucket has made a God-awful mess of my blogs.

I apologize and ask you to bear with me while I try to straighten things out!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Whole Shebang

As I predicted the other day, I indeed awoke from the anesthesia to discover myself full of holes.

Dr. W. did do the manipulation under anesthesia. But then felt a little look-see was necessary. Thus an arthroscopy. Apparently there was so much junk in there he had to do an open procedure too. He went back in through my previous scar, so at least I don’t have a new one.

I have a wicked sore throat, as I was also treated to a tube down my throat to keep my airway patent. Patency can be a problem for people who are upright and unconscious (the surgery is done with the patient in what they call the beach chair position, semi sitting). There might have been some reference also that this tube was utilized if people were so deeply asleep they were snoring. But I know that would not have applied to me because I am a lady and ladies do not snore. As if. Harrumpfff.

I cannot write too much more as it is really hard to type with one hand. In addition to all the above, I have a scalene block, which is a catheter in my neck that is constantly delivering anesthesia to my arm from a pump strapped around my waist. Between that and pain meds, I am pretty comfortable pain wise. An ice water machine is a great help as well. It pumps water through a wrap I put around my arm and the cold gives even more pain relief to the surgical area.

But the rest of me hurts! I am achy all over. I have bruises in places I didn’t know I had places. And I look like the wrath of God. After Dr. W. met with me following the surgery I went into the ladies room. This is what I saw in the mirror:

So now we know he is not nice to me because of my stunning good looks. Further evidence he is a really good person, as my looks were stunning alright, but not exactly good. Anyone else would have a) run screaming for the hills or b) rolled on the floor laughing.

As usual, the marvelous people in my life were enormously helpful. Deacon Gail from church, my friends Dru and Christine, my son James and my daughter Elizabeth have gone above and beyond. That also goes for the professionals providing me care, who have rearranged schedules and made last minute appointments to accommodate me. Thank you all.

Did I say I cannot write too much more? ha ha ha Silly me. Silly you to believe me! lol

One final treat. This is me, catheter, dressing and frownie face. RUN!!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Shoulder Returns

So about the shoulder thing…

Many of you know that I fell last spring and broke the head of my arm bone into four pieces (see The Accident under Favorite Posts). Dr. Wonderful did an amazing piece of surgery and bolted me all back together. And he managed to look wonderful whilst doing so. Me, I looked like a short, fat fifty three year old who had been run over by about ten trucks. Still do for that matter. Except now I am fifty four. Sigh.

I went through a billion hours of really hard physical therapy, worked just as hard at home, but in the fall simply started getting worse and worse until I was in constant pain and could barely use my arm.

Because I still owed him a quadrillion dollars, I was too ashamed to go back to Dr. W. Then in the mail one day I got a letter from the pratice. I expected the letter to say where is our money you loser deadbeat thief and was cringing as I opened it. But what it said was, we are concerned about you, please come in for a follow up. In the corner was a hand written note from Dr. W. saying please come in and let me make sure you are healing well.

The letter made me cry. I swear, I had a totally crap year, but God put so many wonderful people in my path.

So in I went, but still mortified and remorseful about my financial mess, the result of being out of work for ten months. I apologized to him. Most doctors would do a dance of discomfort and avoid the whole thing. He looked me straight in the eye and said firmly “Try not to worry about it. These things have a way of working themselves out.” His kindness choked me up all over again.

That was in December. More PT, x-rays and tests later and it is determined I have adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) related to the trauma of the fall and surgery.

So tomorrow I go back to the surgery center where a few things may or may not happen. They will put me to sleep (just to sleep, not actually put me to death; hmmm…at least I hope not). Then Dr. W. will manipulate my arm to rip the muscles apart loosen up the adhesions. That could be it. Yay! But if not…

…he would move to an arthroscopic procedure and poke around in my shoulder to try to free up where things are tight. And that could be it. Yay. But if not…

…Dr. W. would re-open my scar and open the shoulder to try and fix things that way. Oh yay. Sigh.

Last year I never for a second thought I would have to have a surgical procedure to fix my broken arm. This year there is not a doubt in my mind that when I wake up tomorrow, I will have been cut somewhere. As distressing as this is, it will most likely help, give me my arm function back and gradually diminish the pain.

Fingers crossed.

And I get to see Dr. Wonderful heaps more times. Woo hoo.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

I AM a Writer

It has been a relatively uneventful few weeks, if you don’t count the sewage outflow pipe bursting open not once but twice, my car languishing, pretending it was sick, HAH, until I ransomed it from the mechanic for $855 and my shoulder hurting so much that by three o’clock every afternoon I just put my head on my desk and weep. Oh and there was a three inch flood in the basement too, that put out the pilot to the water heater. And I can't get down on the floor to relight it because of eff'ing MS. But my friend Peter came to do it for me. Thank you Peter.

I did have dinner one night with Christine and Peter, my wonderful friends, along with Christine’s sister and brother-in-law and approximately one million six adorable children. It is a good, good thing for me to go there because Christine loves me, waits on me hand and foot (and let me tell you NO ONE in my life has EVER waited on me hand and foot) and even better we laugh so much together my face hurts when I leave. Everyone should be lucky enough to have friends like Christine and Peter.

I have done a ton of writing, including writing that I AM BEING PAID FOR.


I whisper it to myself now, barely daring to say it out loud: “I am a writer”. Imagining someone asking me “What do you do?” and I can reply, “I am a writer.”

I am a writer.