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From Silence Came Wisdom

In Response To: Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound Of Silence

In life, I am a very sound-sensitive individual. Certain pitches and volumes that would normally just annoy most people physically hurt at times. Too many differing sounds make me want to cover my ears and scream (perfect example: heavy metal music or a loud television with unpredictable shifts in volume).

Several years ago, when I was actively involved in meeting with my spiritual guide on the astral plane through meditation, I was sitting in my apartment one night about to crawl out of my skin. I ran to the back of the building to escape the noises of the air conditioner, the TV and the cars outside…

I closed my eyes and immediately sought my Guide who was waiting for me and he tells me, “Let me be your peace.” He takes me into his arms piece by piece, frequency by frequency, we shut out all the noise. In silence, he has me spiritually enter a tall, strong oak tree in my neighbor’s back yard and I become one with it. He tells me to hear the heartbeat of the tree.

I say: I know this tree.

He says: “You know because you feel . You feel because you are. Now, what do you feel?”

I say: I feel the heartbeat, which pulses once in a year. Once in a season. The roots swell with the rains and with the force of life which will push up into new leaves and blooms. I feel its slow strength. I feel its serenity. I feel every memory. I feel the cold earth surrounding my feet. I feel my arms reaching high in its branches toward the sun. I feel the energies it draws in and those it puts out. I feel the force of life ever flowing. I feel the dark stillness inside the heartwood. I feel the rush of the wind. I feel the complexity of its internal patterns. I feel its age. I feel it holding strong to its will to survive. I feel its faith. I feel its health and its dis-ease. I feel its healed scars. I feel its perseverance. I feel its slow pulse and the reason for its longevity. I feel its patience.

My Guide tells me: “In the end, what you feel is the secret of life. You truly are awakened. You know. This is your wisdom – the way to peace, to knowledge, to those things that you cannot learn from man. You are one with nature, and it is one with you. This tree has allowed you inside its very core. It knows you are of good will, and it knows you possess the Gift. The others will all feel the mark of its energies within you, now that you have joined it as one. You are indeed a very special, precious child. I told you in the beginning you were gifted. Now you understand… this is what I meant. This is why you are here, because all your senses are in tune with the nature that surrounds you. In silence, you can communicate with nearly everything. Many of us cannot. Many of us only possess a special connection with certain entities but you, my dear, you have the ability to hear the trees, the spirits of nature, the spirits of men, the spirits of all that surrounds you.”

My Guide continues: “I know that you have lost faith in men (people), but do not lose faith in nature, for that is what you are here to protect. Mankind has destroyed itself and now settles into its death. Nature… it will survive, but it will need to be healed and to be able to heal it, we must be able to understand its needs above what we can already see with our eyes. We must also apply our minds to the energies it gives us and decode its secrets with an understanding that very few have managed to achieve.”

From silence came wisdom and with wisdom, the ability to understand the world around me with closed eyes and an open mind. Sometimes after all, we must close our eyes to truly see.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a beautiful morning! Even though I had the chance to sleep in today, my internal clock still roused me at exactly 6 a.m. on this frigid Thanksgiving morning. With my phone dead, I couldn’t immediately see what the temperature was outside but even though it was a snuggly 70 degrees in our bedroom, my bones still felt that cold air nipping at the windows and trying to seep through wherever it could. Getting myself into a couple layers (and mind you I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, layering is not something that comes natural to me), I crept outside so as not to wake anyone else for whom getting up before dawn on a holiday may seem… foreign.  WOW the air went right through me. Right over my bare feet (told you, I’m a Floridian) and up my too-big jeans (one who’s lost a lot of weight).  No problem seeing my breath! I slipped into my car to plug my phone in and when it came up, Weatherbug displayed 35F with a “Feels Like” temp of 31F!  

This arctic blast was unexpected even to the weather sources apparently as the last I checked, the low was only supposed to be in the low 50s. Nevertheless, I do love a nice brisk morning, and this morning is being met much like any other with a hot cup of tea on the porch watching the sun come up – regardless of my shivering as though shoes finally did make it onto my feet, I kinda forgot socks.

Oh – and if you need a place to watch the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade live online – click here!

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/livenow?id=8894246

So what am I thankful for?  These apply to every day, not only today.  In no particular order…

I’m thankful that my best friend was able to hold some of my belongings for a couple months until I could return to retrieve them – those belongings included my leather jacket – the ONLY warm thing I own – which I was able to get just in time for the cold weather.  I’m also thankful that he was able to help me in obtaining my asthma medications.  Having just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung, I ended up also picking up a common cold virus which has got my sinuses, throat and chest a whole new mess, causing even more breathing problems!  

I’m thankful that for the first time in a decade, I am finally able to spend Thanksgiving with family (even if it isn’t my family).  I’m thankful that Tim is back in my life and that I have been welcomed into his family and am a part of it.  I’m thankful for all the children – mine and my future steps – who make the holidays what they are, a time for togetherness and tradition with a little magic and mayhem stirred into the mix.  Even though my daughter can’t be with us today specifically, she will be with us the next few days and who says Thanksgiving only has to last one day?  It’s a 4-day weekend!  I would happily re-write the common calendar just for her 🙂

I’m thankful for my father who has been an immense support to me on every level through this year of financial and emotional isolation and hardship.  My dad is the one person I can go to with anything without fear of being judged or preached at. He simply cares and he is my rock. I love you dad ❤

I’m thankful worlds over for my love Tim who, despite our rough past, remained firm in his love for me and provided me with everything that was missing from my life. From the basic to the paramount, he has done whatever it took to make sure I was taken care of, even when it became a struggle for all involved while always drilling into my head that it WILL get better. Now, we are on our way to things getting much better and really coming together. He’s given me food and shelter, he’s given me faith, family and most of all love. ALL of these things had been missing this year, some for much longer. Sometimes I don’t know how to show him how much he means to me and the words themselves often escape me, but I try. I’d be content to spend the rest of my life showing him how much he means.

I’m thankful that I have a home to come home to; that a severe health issue was able to be treated; for good nurses at the hospital who made me comfortable and less panicked when for days on end I was struggling to breathe and not responding to medications; for having even a small income even though it still isn’t enough to live on, at least it’s work; for my daughter having a full understanding of my life’s situation and being patient through some very difficult transitions that needed to be made to get me back on my feet so that I could properly care for both myself AND her.

There are many more things that I’m thankful for, but these are the ones that stand out most for me today.  On that note, it is time for me to start preparing my cold dishes for this afternoon. Pie prep was negated this year after Tim was gung-ho over making lemon meringue pie from scratch, then got suddenly “lazy” (his term, not mine) upon giving in to the temptation of a ready to eat key lime pie (which of course required the purchase of a pumpkin pie to go with it). That’s alright, dressing up the turkey is all on him and I’m just thankful (!) that this year – also the first in MANY – I don’t have to get my Thanksgiving dinner from a church or charity. It’s a blessing to actually have food in the house and there have been far too many times over the years, especially this last year, that there simply has not been any. 

I hope all of you reading this have a very happy Thanksgiving with those you love. 

Challenges never cease

Yesterday, I was looking forward to making the trip 2 1/2 hours south to go pick up my daughter who I haven’t seen in far too long. We miss each other terribly but its been nearly impossible to get up the money to get there as far behind as everything had fallen. Well, the thrill of having my daughter back has been taken away from me yet again as I have been in the hospital since Wednesday with a very sudden onset of right lower lobe pneumonia. I have been unresponsive to most of the breathing treatments, antibiotics and steroids that they have been pumping me with. I was in such respiratory distress yesterday that the doctor strongly suggested intubating me for 48 hours and waking me up after 2 days of ICU treatment. Of course I fought it tooth and nail. He diagnosed me with COPD. My blood pressure upon arrival was stroke level 236/120. My blood sugar is running in the 200’s so I’m shooting insulin three times a day. I’m an unholy trifecta of health problems right now. I had been praying for healing but certainly did not have to go through all this to achieve it. I think I was hoping for more of a miracle than missed child, missed work, missed home. I just hope to God my daughter understands that my being away is not by choice, that I want us together but that I am still financially destitute and severely ill. I still, after all the treatment, cannot get out of bed without taking ten minutes to catch my breath. I don’t know how long I will be in hospital, but I need to start responding NOW to treatment.

Product Placement Fail (Back Pain Revisited)

Having scoliosis has been a boon for my activity level the majority of my life as even the slightest wrong move sends my sciatic nerve blazing in pain and surrounding lower back muscles seizing up as my body tries to immobilize the affected area.  A few years ago, I ended up pulling my back out by catching my daughter in my arms as she jumped precariously off the back of my car (always the adventurer, she).  As the pain got worse and my back got tighter, I dragged myself to Wal-Mart for some Doans because that was the only thing that has ever helped my back pain when simple heat application and stretching would not loosen it up.  Making it to the pharmacy, I stood there helpless and shaking my head to find the coveted back pain medicine on the bottom shelf where I had no hope of bending over to reach and retrieve it due to my lower back being locked up (though that didn’t stop me from trying in pain vain).  Finally, some kind person did wander by and, realizing my predicament, was nice enough to assist.  I mentioned this obvious oversight in product placement to the cashier who just kind of laughed.

For the past couple months, I have been working a job that requires heavy lifting – which incidentally was not mentioned in the interview – and frankly, it’s done my back in.  The past week, I have been experiencing pretty intense nerve pain throughout my lower back and legs and finally come Friday, my back became stiff enough that I got sharp pains trying to do even simple bending (such as getting up from a chair or lying down in bed).  Again, no heating pad or pain pill is working.  My neighbor C. gave me a Soma, which I took hoping it would relax the muscles enough to at least leave me pain-free for a couple hours but it did not help.  This time I headed to CVS for my Doans, thinking to myself, “History cannot repeat itself.”  Sure enough…

Thankfully, my daughter was with me this time and she automatically dove down to get the boxes of Doans (luckily marked buy-one-get-one-free) that were once again on the bottom shelf.  I actually complained to the cashier on this one too, saying Wal-Mart does this too but I expect such an oversight from them, not from CVS.  She agreed with me, she apologized and said she would bring it up to the manager.  Think about it… someone with back pain is going to have trouble bending over. If they’re going to a pharmacy to buy some back pain pills and those pills are on the very bottom shelf – isn’t that a little cruel?  It reflects poor planning at the least and I can’t believe that two separate stores would fail to see this logic when creating their stock layout.

PerBlog April 10, 2013

Trying to come up with some radical new idea (ok, maybe “radical” in this day and age was a bad term) – a BIG new idea for research for my next FME article.  With everything happening in the news, I should not be at a loss for a topic, however my fear is that I will just come across as repeating the same news we’ve been hearing every day.  What would YOU like to read about, or hear a fresh view on?  Tell me in the comments!

Just to drop an update on myself, ever since my boss passed away on December 28th and the company subsequently closed on January 2, I have been seeking work.  For 3 1/2 months, I have been living on my tax return and the grace of friends and charity however that is all running out quickly.  If I don’t find viable work *this month* I will be facing very dire circumstances.  

The stress of this has caused my blood pressure to shoot up as the worry is constantly there, 24/7, and I have rarely been able to sleep at night for the past couple months.  A week and a half ago, I ended up having to break down and go to the doctor with the joints in my right wrist severely inflamed – I was unable to move my wrist, hand or fingers at all.  The wrist was treated and cleared up in a matter of days with a brace and a prescription anti-inflammatory but we still don’t know the cause of it.  X-rays showed no fracture, blood tests showed no elevated uric acid and therefore no possibility of gout, and the doctor also ruled out arthritis.  It remains an excruciating mystery but at least I have leftover meds to treat it should it recur. 

While at that doctor visit, whereas the wrist was treated quickly enough, the focus of the visit quickly turned to my blood pressure when my vitals were taken.  Back to that – my BP was 210/140.  YIKES!  The doc immediately gave me a Clonidine and told me to go to the emergency room however if you’ve ever read my previous post about Lawnwood Regional, you’ll understand why I was loathe to even consider stopping in there.  In the end, I did not go to the ER, taking the prescription for Clonidine and hoping that would start to lower my numbers.

Like an idiot, I started right in on the full prescribed dose.  Had I remembered the problems I had when starting on another BP med several years ago (heart rate below 60, fainting, inability to walk more than a few feet without severe difficulty in breathing), I would have started small and worked my way up to the full dose.  The first 3 days of full-dosing this time, same thing.  I was fainting, could barely breathe due to very slow heart rate, and (thankfully this was over the weekend) was barely able to stay awake for more than a couple hours at a time.  My thinking and reaction times were very slow so driving anywhere was NOT an option.  By that Monday, I was vomiting and fainting and I stopped the med completely (another stupid thing, but I did consider how my BP would shoot up in doing so). I called my doctor and told him I *have* to do this my way.  By stepping the dose up slowly over the next few days, I was fine on the prescribed dose.  Hitting my system all at once though is something my body just couldn’t handle.  

In taking my BP every couple days over a week and a half, I saw the numbers were going down but not nearly enough.  I called the doc and reported the latest readings and he still *insisted* that I go to the ER.  It was either that or drop another $60 at his office to be seen for another reading and a dose adjustment.  I did not have $60, I’d just dropped my entire unemployment check at his office at the initial visit, so this time I had no choice – I had to go to Lawnwood. 

Checking into the ER, my initial reading put the staff on alert:  240/120 – Hypertensive Crisis.  The previous afternoon’s reading was around 203/116 – I am willing to bet that just the thought of having to go to this hospital spiked it.  Immediately, I was in a bed hooked up to a monitor, getting about a dozen vials of blood drawn, the works.  The odd thing is, I *felt* fine, but this is why they call hypertension “The Silent Killer.”  They ended up doing a chest X-ray on me and an EKG.  Bloodwork came up clear, X-ray came up clear, I don’t know what the EKG said.  After receiving additional medication, 3 hours later my BP had reduced to 174/91 – the lowest it’s been since this whole ordeal started.  That was enough for them to discharge me with two new medications in a combo pill to be added to my original one.  

Because of the urgency in getting those numbers down to stay, I have gone headfirst into the full dose of the new med(s).  Since I lack a way of checking my BP at home (can not afford a home device), I have to go to a pharmacy or a fire station to get it checked for free.  Driving right now is not an option, so it’ll have to wait until my head clears from the new med.  What a headache this has all been, especially thinking of all the medical bills when I’m trying to survive on a tiny unemployment check that pays my rent but nothing else 😦

 

Tis the Season… For Colds and Flu

MYTH: Going out in the cold weather will give you a cold.

FACT: While not exactly accurate, cold weather can make colds and related viruses more apt to set in. It isn’t the cold that gives us the sniffles however. When our body temperature drops, so does our ability to fight the viruses that we commonly come in contact with. Cold viruses are all around us however a drop in temperature slows down our immune response to these tiny invaders and makes us more likely to suffer the symptoms of them as we fail to fight them off at first contact. It is difficult to avoid contact with any of the 200 plus viruses that cause common cold symptoms, but there are things we can do to minimize the probability of catching a cold or at the least minimize the symptoms and shorten them.

WASH your hands regularly! Hot water and soap are your first line of defense after coming in contact with a person showing symptoms, after touching door knobs, phones, anything someone else may have touched. Cold viruses can live up to 48 hours outside the body on non-porous surfaces and flu viruses can stick around even longer.

DISINFECT commonly touched home and office surfaces regularly with disinfectant sprays or wipes.

BOOST your intake of Vitamin C and Zinc. Both stimulate and strengthen the immune system, reducing or preventing symptoms of the viral invasion.

Oh, HONEY! Unfiltered, unprocessed RAW honey contains both antiviral and antibiotic properties, as well as a wealth of vitamins and minerals and positive health effects including strengthening the immune system. Raw, locally harvested honey also has the added benefit of containing small amounts of local pollens which, when ingested, begin to help the person taking it to build immunity to the local trees and plants that cause seasonal allergies (which can be just as miserable as a cold). Factory processed honey is heated to a point that most of these health benefits are lost – the difference in benefits between raw and pasteurized honey is substantial.

Remember, prevention is the best medicine. If you do have any serious health concerns – ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist first for advice on treatment!

Stay healthy this season!

BP Update so-so

Went to the doctor for the third time in a week this morning to check up on how the second med is working on my blood pressure and I’m down to 154/109. They immediately wante to stack a third med on me but for this time, I refused, saying I wasn’t comfortable with how fast they were stacking meds on me and that they weren’t giving the two I was on a chance to properly establish. Even on the patient information with the mess, they advise true results will take 2 to 3 weeks to be seen. It’s only been seven days and I’m already down 66 points systolic and 21 points diastolic. They made me sign a death waiver and told me to come back Friday 😦

My crazy boyfriend does do his best to keep my stress down though 😉

Cellulitis — OMG THE PAIN

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Guys, this is what happens when you have a compromised immune system (for me, it is from the asthma meds) and get a little scrape on the skin that you would otherwise ignore.

Back on February 26th, I tripped into a log out back and really slammed hard into the edge of it, but it was more blunt impact that it was a bleeding injury. In fact, there was no blood at all, just a few layers of skin shredded. I whined for a bit, cleaned it out with peroxide and then warm soapy water, put some antibiotic ointment on it and forgot about it. The next night, a red area appeared and was hot and painful. By the next morning, it was too painful to stand and by that night I couldn’t walk. February 28, my fiance carted me to the emergency room in agony — I could not walk or stand, and the majority of my lower leg was red and swollen. To lower my leg (I’d had to keep it up) produced absolutely searing pain. I was immediately put on IV antibiotics and admitted to the hospital with Cellulitis. Over the next few days, the leg got worse. The photo above was taken March 2nd, when my leg and foot were nearly purple. I was given 7 different antibiotics via IV (up to 4 at a time) as well as Darvocet for the pain. It wasn’t until yesterday that I was able to start walking again, but that was only for 20 minutes and I was done – the pain started coming back.

Today, I was finally released from a horrible hospital stay (long, long story — bad hospital) and have been able to walk on my own for about 5 minute spurts before sharp pain sets into my ankle. The cellulitis did reach the joints in my ankle, but thankfully my doctors do not think it had time to reach the bone which would be a much more serious issue involving at least another 2 weeks in the hospital, or home for up to a month with a PICC line in my chest and IV antibiotics administered daily by a home health aide.

I was released with a 10-day prescription of Augmentin and told to follow up in a week. I was told this could take up to two months to heal as much as it can, and that it is very likely to recur.

It can happen to anyone though. If Strep or Staph gets into even the smallest wound, it can set in and breed fast. I cannot stress the importance of cleaning and covering EVERY wound that happens to you, and keeping it treated, consulting a medical professional at the first sign that something is getting worse. Mine started out as a scrape — and this is pain that I’m going to have to live with for quite some time to come.