if I was your cell phone

I’m pretty sure you’d be demanding a refund. After dropping your phone, you noticed some glitches and they’re making you spew expletives.  *&+##*!! How could a gentle doink produce so many problems? Didn’t you just dress it in the newest and sportiest camo Ballistic cover?!

After being diagnosed with a stress fracture in September, my foot was put in a boot and I was told to be non weight bearing. I used a sporty scooter to ambulate. Problem was…..the foot became more and more painful. It wasn’t healing. One day I noticed my entire right leg was bright red and my foot was swollen and icy cold. Water droplets from the shower were like needles piercing my skin. After being lectured by the podiatrist for 4 months I was being overactive and continuing to injure my foot, he finally diagnosed me with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy CRPS/RSD. A condition so nice they named it twice. “Whatever you do, don’t Google it. You need an appointment with a pain clinic”. I Googled it. My nervous system is shot. No cure. Your phones’ motherboard is no bueno.

You’ve dutifully changed the battery, but your phone either doesn’t work or it pursues a devious purpose all its’ own. When you call your love-interest, it insists on calling your minister. 50 times! That’s when you take the battery out and stomp it. When you get the new battery installed….and the phone is blessedly working….the first received call is from your pastor. “Are you OK?! I’ve been getting calls from you ALL DAY!”

CRPS causes a myriad of unusual symptoms. A pain in the hip, a twinge in the knee, a muscle sprain in the back. Your toenails/fingernails take on a ridge-y yellow, thick cast and even seem to quit growing. Your hair falls out. (I’ve taken to wearing a weave….that can be a stand-alone blog post)

 

hairweave
The fabulous Johnny Plant making it look like I have thick, glossy hair!

 

 

The worst symptom for me is the speeding freight train of full-body small fiber neuropathy. Imagine a pitcher of ice-cold water being slowly poured over your head. The frigid water begins meandering down your spine. It picks up speed as it grips your arms all the way to your blue fingertips. It completes the journey as it trickles down your legs and pools at your fragile feet. No cure….just gabapentin or lyrica to try to ease symptoms.

 

lyricainfo
reading the lyrica side-effects info

 

 

Oh….and of course….a good dose of antidepressant. Gotta get more serotonin in the brain! On bad days the frigid water over my nerves is incessant and makes me upset, confused and grumpy. On good days, I feel like my feet and hands are periodically held over a smoldering campfire. S’mores, anyone?

crpspain

Your dropped phone doesn’t play videos very well now, either. Oh….you can see them, but sometimes they blur and the sound is crackly. So much for your Netflix subscription and your THE CROWN addiction.

I’m grateful for my sight and I take special care of my eyes because of the problems from Sjogren’s Syndrome. But sometimes I wonder whose glasses I’m wearing. Details aren’t always crisp and clear. My hearing seems to be OK, but there’s been this constant high-pitched screeching in both my ears. Well that is, until last night. Told the Texan I woke up several times in the night thinking the ceiling fan motor was on the fritz as it had developed an annoying, rhythmic whirring and whooshing sound. Problem is, when I turned the fan off the annoying whirring, whooshing sound is now being produced in my right ear. Hey….I can hear it now! We don’t need a new ceiling fan, but you desperately need a new phone.

Sometimes your bestie complains that your calls are dropped. She states she can hear your voice through the microphone, but sometimes the sound is muddled.

I used to sing quite a bit. I suppose it’s natural to lose your voice as you age, but my voice is ‘like a box of chok-lits….you never know…….’ Yeah right. Blah, blah. I still try to offer my muddled and misunderstood voice to folks at the area nursing/veteran’s homes on Monday mornings with my senior choir from church. Nursing home residents mainly only care if you wear a smile and offer a warm hug and handshake. I can’t count on the quality of my voice, but I’m an enthusiastic hugger.

Finally, let’s explore the camera function of the dropped phone. Believe it or not, it takes pretty decent photos. You enjoy the editing choices, as well. A newer model phone might have a slightly bigger sensor but you’re pretty satisfied. Even though most of the functions of the phone are unreliable, the camera is still working pretty well. How about that?

I’ve enjoyed taking photos with my new camera (Sony
RX10m4….another whole blog post) every evening. I go out just before sundown to check on horses and look for photo opportunities.

 

birdcloseup
the common killdeer

 

 

The wiener dog waddles along and helps me with equipment. She’s really good at sniffing out possible subject matter, too.

 

hawk1
a recent hawk sighting

 

I’ve become the John Muir of the great West Texas mesquite forest or the Thoreau of the playa lakes. No detail is too mundane during the golden hour. I’m officially obsessed. I can hear the birds over the ringing and swooshing and I can still amble with my CRPS leg. Not too shabby. The scooter, wheelchair and walker are in the attic.

 

birdatsunset
An example of Muir-ing and Thoreau-ing on my golden hour photo tour

 

Thanks for hangin’ in with the phone analogy. I’ve been thinking of how to describe what is going on with me without being pessimistic or ‘poor me’. I’ve been having some great days and blogging and oversharing help me laugh at these dumb chronic diseases. The pain doc has been my godsend. She tries to keep me going. I’m probably not the person you want to engage in conversation about the opioid crisis or legalized marijuana. More blog post subject matter? Maybe so.

Know you are coping with your own issues. Keep laughing and don’t fall into a hole while looking at your cellphone.

Ernestine….’one ring-y dingy…two ring-y dingy’ love to all.

 

noticing

As I worked on the computer today, I glanced over to notice one of the succulents was sporting new blooms.

whiteflowersI thought the blooms merited a photo. That’s when I discovered the delicate white petals appeared as though they were crafted of the finest velour towel from the Four Season’s Hotel.

whiteflowerscloseup

Who knew I had Four Season’s fluffy white towels growing in my sunroom? I certainly didn’t until I took a closer look.

Since I’m on a roll with noticing, thought I’d share some things I spotted on my recent walk in the country. The large picture is still drought-y, crunchy and brown, but if one looks close enough…..well, you’ll see. Presenting a country walk in macro:

orangeflower1

cactus

stocktank

purpleflower

leafbuds

rustywheel

scat

birdbywindmill

ants

johndeere

rodneyeyes

devilsclaw

kathybybell
Oops….this isn’t a macro shot! It is proof of the brown, parched landscape. Mesquites don’t even think about budding until mid to late May!
doxycloseup
Satisfied?

Who knows what surprisingly beautiful thing you’ll notice in your environment?

Eyes-open love to all.

your majesty

 

I never was a passenger on the Downton Abbey train. That’s why my addiction to The Crown on Netflix puzzled me. I viewed two entire seasons in 3 or 4 days. I enjoyed the history and I was forever fact-checking details of the series:  Winston Churchill, WWII, the Great Smog of London, and the Suez Canal.

 

the crown
photo Netflix

 

 

I was also fascinated with the pomp, tradition, royal crimson carriages, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, horses, Dukes, Duchesses, crowns and corgi-dogs. Like most Americans, it’s not in my DNA to comprehend royalty. I only understand it dimly as a snotty kid with nose pressed to glass. I don’t ‘get it’. Oh….and the titles and rituals involved with meeting royalty:  ***curtsy***  ‘Her Royal Majesty, the Queen”, ***only offer your hand if she offers hers***back away slowly when conversation is over***. I devoured the coronation episode with the dress and the official portrait and Westminster Abbey and Prince Phillip and trumpets and the CROWN. Breathe out. Guess I don’t have to fully understand the monarchy to realize they are something pretty darn special.

Today, another type of royalty entered Jerusalem. He didn’t come in a gilded carriage, or on the back of a sleek, black war-horse. He wasn’t adorned with velvet robes and he did not sport a jeweled headdress. He entered Jerusalem on a……donkey? A lowly ass?

 

donkey1
photo courtesy Audrey Moore

 

Still, the people lined the thoroughfare with their precious garments. ‘Hooray, Hooray!! Salvation is here! Salvation belongs to the King! Let all the angels sing hooray, for Salvation is here!!’ Their joy so overflowed they cut palm branches and waved them gleefully in the air.

Would I have clapped my hands and joined the crowd in shouting ‘Hosanna!’ that morning? Would I sheepishly follow behind? Would I bring a friend to join the happy parade, or would I hide in the shadows? Would I recognize Jesus or would I knowingly size him up as another carnival-barker? Is my face lined with weariness of years waiting for a Savior? What is this ‘living water’ and why should I give a damn? I don’t have time for this! Who IS he?

palm sunday

Oh….I go to church and I sing in choir and I try to do good things. But, what does that stranger on the back of a humble donkey mean to me TODAY?  Do I act like a new creation because I claim to know Him?

 

donkey2
photo courtesy Audrey Moore

 

I don’t have any pat answers. I continue to wrestle. This seems like an excellent week to ponder the questions.

Hope your Holy Week is inspiring.

Royal-love to all.

 

chronic love

Chronic:  long lasting and difficult to eradicate. Persisting for a long time or constantly reoccurring.

I had four appointments with physicians/specialists last week. My old-lady-thinning-hair is even scarcer and grayer. My shoulders are affixed to my ears and I’m trying to unclench my fists. A couple of highlights:

Doctor #1 “How’s your mood?” She insisted I must take an anti-depressant because of my battle with chronic (there’s that word again!!) pain. I told her the last anti-depressant I tried caused my hands to shake uncontrollably. “Let’s try another one!” OK, I’m trying. My hands are shaking. **sigh** Maybe this will pass. The doctor was perfectly lovely and sympathetically communicated what a good job she thought I was doing with all my chronic (damn word!) diagnosis. Oh yeah, she’s sending me to a neurologist. Good times.

th2BI70C7M

Doc #2, a good friend, is helping my dry eyes improve. I’m having BIG blood draws and they are spinning the plasma into therapeutic drops for my eyes. That’s right…..blood eye drops! How cool is that?

plasma eye drops

The last blood draw was a bonafied vampire cocktail. 25 vials of blood. My right arm spigot coughed up dust after 18 vials. My over-achieving left arm rallied for the last 7. Phlebotomist: “Does it hurt?” After 10 vials, I requested a squeegee for my purple, sweating face.

Doc #3-the cardiologist. My least favorite, most blood-pressure-popping doctor’s office. No matter what time your appointment, you are greeted with the dreaded long check-in line.

line

Wait, wait, gaze at waiting room TV, wait, wait. Do I hear my name? Score!! Get called back and put in room. Blood pressure, temp and EKG. Wait, wait, look at phone. Med student comes in to take your history and ask about today’s problem. Wait, wait, thoughtlessly pick nose and boom, in strides the confident doctor. Asks a few questions, the most ironic is….“Is your fast heartbeat concerning to you?” Not really doc, I just adore visiting your office and navigating this maze to enter the Holy of Holies and gaze upon your godlike face ’cause I have nothing else to do! **sigh again**

Got hooked up to a heart monitor for a week. Opened the instructions upon returning home.

heart model

These photos of the ‘heart-monitor-model’ piqued my curiosity.

heart model1

Wonder how many offensive linemen wore these in the Super Bowl? Don’t NOBODY wanna see a picture of a typical heart monitor patient.

 

kathywmonitor
Proud to be keeping the hell in healthcare!

 

After having irregular heart rhythms for a year….every day!…not one peep out of my heart for the 5 days I’ve worn this device.

Doc #4-the pain doctor. Got up early for my long-anticipated and long-ago-booked appointment to have my sympathetic nerve block (for my bum leg) and a spinal injection for chronic (you guessed it!) back pain. Texan drove me to the clinic and was to be my chauffeur home. We arrived to a dark and locked clinic. Waited. Called. Waited. Called the answering service. Answering service said they should be there. Waited 30 minutes and then left. No back injections today.

I’m truly grateful for my docs and they seem genuinely sincere. Since there’s no easy answer or ‘cure’ for what ails me, doc visits are frustrating and tear-inducing. We’re all doing our best, I suppose. I may have to call a ‘time-out’ on doctor visits for a while. Spend more time brushing my horse.

Today I’m meditating on Jeremiah 31:3- Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. 

Sometimes I feel chronically frustrated. My life….my health….it’s a hot mess right now. Just when things seem on an even footing, there’s a mudslide. Makes me remember my Mom’s favorite saying, “That’s the way things are when you’re headin’ West”.

In the midst of my chaos, my uncertainty, and my brokenness….God loves me with an everlasting love. A chronic love. It ain’t goin’ nowhere.  That’s God’s healthcare plan. It’s already been purchased and there’s no copay.

Let’s keep givin’ them hell-thcare!

Chronic love to all.

broken hallelujah

k5

For 14 weeks I’ve employed this walking aid.

Or this one.

k3And sometimes this one.

k1

Is it possible to proclaim any hallelujahs for the Christmas season with my pitiful metatarsal? Can I fa-la-la-la-laaaaa in the whirlwind issues inflamed by entombing my lower leg in a black neoprene and plastic shell? What am I learning from my grand cavalcade of walking aids?

k6People are kind. (My tennis team went to Dallas without me, but they remembered me with these cool flowers!)

k2

It’s possible to drive a 4-wheeler with a boot and getting a horse kiss is good for the soul. Doxy begs to differ.

k4Discovered a friend who shares my ambition to marry Gus.

k8Never underestimate the soul-calming properties of a butterfly. Better than Xanax. The Amarillo Botanical Garden is a peaceful respite on a cloudy, autumn day. Knee-scooter friendly, too!

k7Some people wear jeans at least a size too small. No matter….grateful for her help. No way I could do yard work!

k10My grand is a fantastic artist. He draws ’em as he sees ’em.

k11A succulent makes a fine Christmas tree.
Sprout #2 is a gem. She cheerfully assisted in getting me into the grandsprouts’ Christmas activities. Never let on like I was a bit of trouble. She even allowed me to sing with the piano man at her party. Crikes!

k14

I’m upright now and ever-so-slowly rehabbing. Grateful for the boot, knee-scooter and wheelchair because they’ve unearthed a certain beauty in brokenness. I’m still learning the humble lesson of needing another and accepting help with gratitude. For each and every walking aid, praying-partner, yard-tidier, meal-maker, phone-encourager, yoga-stretcher, mri-taker, pill-dispenser, wheelchair-pusher, and Sprout-cheerleader I lift my palms and shout a broken hallelujah this Christmas.

Do you have some broken hallelujahs to raise to the Christ-child? Offering them would create a gift more priceless than frankincense, gold and myrrh, if you ask me.

k13

Banging my drum of gratitude for you and for this season. Wishing you a most blessed Christmas. Thanks so much for reading.

Proud-but-gimpy love to all.

 

good girl

‘Just be a good girl, won’t you?’  ‘C’mon….why aren’t you being a good girl?’  ‘It’ll all be over soon, if you’re a good girl.’

Try not to let things get too heavy here on the blog, but today I’m angry. I feel positively possessed to pen this social commentary. As always, you don’t have to agree and your comments and thoughts are welcome.

Watched a movie over the weekend….Wind River. The movie’s topic is incredibly timely, as every day we witness sordid revelations about sexual harassment/abuse/rape of women. As the movie demonstrates, misogyny is a sin easily tolerated.

Every women who has lived into her sixth decade has stories. Tales of the too-friendly uncle whose octopus-y hugs lasted uncomfortably long. The condescending professor who made inappropriate remarks concerning your looks. Your friend’s husband who propositioned you at a Christmas party while she was in the next room. A co-worker you actively avoided in the office break room. It’s was a fact of life and a good girl rolls with it.

I’ve definitely got my #MeToo stories. I remember being a freshman in college in 1974. It was my first week at school and I attended (solo) a welcome mixer on campus. The nightmare ends with me narrowly escaping this menacing horn-dog’s dorm room. I was lucky to not be his rape victim. I was 17. I don’t remember any talk on campus of reporting behavior like his. I was young, overwhelmed and I didn’t know a damn thing. My hair stands on end today as I wonder how many women this overzealous brut might have abused. Perhaps his next target didn’t escape. My ‘head-in-the-sand’ ostrich behavior was wrong. I didn’t rock the boat. I was a good girl.

The dramas swirling the headlines today have the same basic plot:  gross abuse of power. It’s the movie mogul who systematically and repeatedly harasses women who star or want to act in his movies. He’s not content to simply abuse females, but he has the cash to hire lawyers to smear them and destroy their careers if they out him. This continues for years….other people know this is happening….very well-connected people, and no one says a bleepin’ thing! We can even hear this beast’s voice on tape cajoling his victim, ‘Oh….come on. Be a good girl. Don’t embarrass me in this hotel!’ Pervert.

It’s a former President abusing power by indulging his fancy for a certain White House intern. Don’t talk to me about it being consensual sex. That doesn’t alter the fact of the unbelievable imbalance of power in this sick relationship. Conjuring images of this young women crouching under the oval office desk servicing the President while he is on the phone, doesn’t speak of his undying commitment and respect for women. Hindsight is teaching us about this President and his pattern of abusing women through his early days as governor right through his ascension to the White House. Other people knew and other people did nothing. The young lady did nothing until she was forced to speak three years later. The media attacked her like rabid, hungry wolves. God bless her and I hold no ill-will of her, but was she a good girl? I think so.

It’s the actors, members of Congress (both parties!) and elite businessmen who abuse their female staff. Men who think it’s OK and perfectly reasonable to ask a woman to attend a meeting while they are in their underwear, or getting out of the shower or seriously in need of a massage. These are the power-crazed good-time-boys who want what they want when they want it:  anytime with no questions asked. The good girls are sucked in by promises of promotions or well-connected friendships or their own ignorance. Our current President has issues with his, ‘Grab em by the p***y!’ remarks. Hugh Hefner died recently. I say ‘good riddance’. Could never understand how placing a puffy rabbit tail on the backside of a female elevated her.

I’m not a feminist. I have no kinship to the women who identify as feminists. I feel the feminist movement is more about promoting a political agenda than it is about protecting the rights of all women. Feminists today only seem interested in protecting women of a certain political persuasion. Don’t believe me? Ask Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann or Sharyl Attkisson.

The only hope for solving this problem? We must make it safe for women to speak out against the horn-dogs. Not a year later. Not 5 years later. Not 40 years later, when the accusations can be chalked up to changing political or social ambitions.

I wish I could kick that college horn-dog in the nuts right now. I wish I had mustered the courage to tell every overly hand-sy guy to back off. I wish I had confidently proclaimed, ‘Your behavior is inappropriate.‘ Seems simple enough.

I want to teach my grand daughters it’s ok to be the outspoken girl. The ‘problem’ girl. The young lady who speaks truth to power. The girl who refuses to be harassed or abused. The girl who won’t trade on her looks. The girl unafraid to be accused of being a word rhyming with ‘witch’. A girl who believes and supports her friend when she returns from a date with a bloody lip and a black eye.

DSC_3575

Change is coming. The good girl needs to go.

 

 

dry cry

The last weeks/months remind me of this previous blog post. The post discusses my recurrent fevers of unknown origin and joint pain with a flavorful dash of Roxy Doxy and the Texan thrown in for interesting spice.

https://onachickenwingandaprayer.com/2013/09/23/down-time/

Seems the symptoms DO have a name after all.  The autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome.  Only took me 4 years to come up with this explanation. There is no cure. In the meantime, I’m sampling a tasting menu of -ologists:  rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, podiatrists, urologists, optometrists and dermatologists. Can a nephrologist be far behind?

Don’t worry….it’s just dry eyes and dry mouth! Look at Venus Williams….she has it and she’s winning tennis tournaments. No problem!

Until it is. Seems this idiotic disease likes to attack mucosal membranes in the body. Sounds innocuous enough, until I realized every organ system in the body is comprised of moisture.

If you have an autoimmune disease or know someone who does, you might be aware of the myriad of natural treatments for these diseases. Try the AIP diet and cure your Hashimoto’s thyroiditis! Acupuncture and meditation can alleviate rheumatoid arthritis! Fish oil and vitamin D reverse multiple sclerosis! DHEA can relieve pain and build muscle! The power of meditation and yoga can renew your mind and vanquish disease! Eating more dump cakes can cure headaches and relieve vaginal itching! Ok, busted….yeah, I totally made that one up.

I’ve tried or am trying them all. I’ve had doctors tell me to ‘educate myself’ and then get huffy when I ask a question about treatment. I’ve been told countless times that I am either too sick, or too well to receive various treatments. Do I meditate regularly? Am I a nervous person? Am I depressed? Am I eating enough protein? Do I eat enough vegetables? Do I exercise? Am I avoiding coffee/caffeine and processed foods and solely munching cardboard and kale? Yes, yes and yes!

I’m grateful for my talented doctors and their genuinely great intentions. They want to help and heal. I’m so glad earnest friends care enough to let me know of new supplements and helpful websites. My lowest point came last week when I was  grasping at straws  looking for help on the foundation site for my newest ailment. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number was prominently displayed. ***sigh***  That’s when I experienced it…..the dry cry. Sjogren’s leaves me with no moisture for producing tears. Preserves my makeup, I guess.

Having some tests and procedures performed this week so maybe docs can get a better picture of what is troubling me. I’m grateful to be living in this miraculous day and age and I’m praying for some answers and assistance. I believe God will provide a way to live with Sjogren’s.

Here’s the marble-idea bouncing in the pinball of my mind and rubbing it raw. The only thing worse than living with autoimmune disease is living with my disease and being told that somehow my actions/inactions or my supremely rare form of craziness caused it. I’m calling bullshit on that. We ALL know I’m the good kind of crazy!

napoleon dynamite

It’s Sunday. Whatever weighs us down and causes our breath to shorten today and in the weeks ahead, whatever autoimmune disease, loss, cancer, grief, COPD, diabetes, or mental illness….whatever causes us to wet or dry cry, we can lay it down at the feet of Jesus right now and feel his strong arms embrace us. We will find our way through this crazy maze of life. Are your shoulders lifting? Mine, too.

 

christmas cactus
My Christmas cactus is blooming. It appropriately waited until after Halloween. Sign of good things to come.

 

 

I guaran-damn-tee He adores your unique martini of crazy. I like you, too.

Shaken, not stirred love to all.