The Upward Slide

I own a new adjective: hypertensive.

It’s been over a week since I had the eye injection and the sight in my right eye is somewhat improved. It could be coincidence. It could be that time was going to take care of the problem. It could be the Avastin. It could be both.

The reason I can tell it’s better is because when I look at a straight line, the dip in the middle is now minimal. When I follow the line, it undulates as the dip moves along my line of vision. It’s a phenomenon that makes me want to say: Far out, Man.

Before, the line had a steep downward curve past the midline of my vision field. One reason I could not read with that eye, the words were distorted and blurred in the middle. Now I can make out the words, though they are still a little blurred and slightly curvy in the middle.

My new ophthalmologist was immediately concerned about my blood pressure. Though no vital signs were taken at his office, he wanted me to have it checked out. The ophthalmologist I’d been seeing for years never mentioned my blood pressure when he diagnosed me with a retinal hemorrhage. All he said was let me stick a needle in your eye. But this new doctor was persistent and I promised I would.

My BP ran around 110/60 for years and years. Even on the busiest, non-stop days at work, I hardly broke a sweat. “How do you stay so cool?” the other nurses would ask me. “Why raise your blood pressure?” I would respond.

And now, now that I am retired from all those adrenalin rushes and working at something I enjoy when I feel like it, NOW I get high blood pressure? I suppose a contributing factor could be the sedentary aspect of “ass in chair” that writers suffer. Perhaps a standing desk over a treadmill is in order. You’d think all the years on my feet would have immunized me against hypertension.

It took a few years for it to trend up. First 120’s, then 130s and now 140s/80s. I can’t say I didn’t notice it. All the while I was being seen by a doctor every two months for over TEN years. But no comment was made by either one of us. Vitals are taken as part of the ritual. Something to document. Something to prove you’re still around, heart beating. It’s amazing how tunnel vision develops and you end up focusing on one big thing.

RA.

That’s all we saw, every two months. RA and RA-related numbers. The irony is that RA is probably complicit in these numbers as well. All along, my up-and-coming hypertension was hiding in plain sight.

I’m now on Lisinopril 5 mg daily. “It’s a little dose,” my doctor said. He wants me in the 130s. And he wants to check it again in two weeks. He retook my blood pressure himself, with a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope, though the nurse had already taken it with the blood pressure machine. I liked that he did that. That’s how I started out taking blood pressures on my patients. The good old-fashioned way, where you can trust your own ears and not a mechanical object.

So, heads up: Learn your numbers and talk to your doctor about your blood pressure readings. Stay active and maintain a healthy weight. And if you love salt, cut it out! In all seriousness, I hope no one else has to worry about their BP.

 

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Eye Injection

I went to get a second opinion on the retinal hemorrhage in my right eye. This ophthalmologist said that if I didn’t have the injection within two weeks of the testing he’d have to repeat it. I don’t especially appreciate having dye injected into me, and since I doubt my insurance would pay for a third round of pictures just because I procrastinated, I did.

My son took the afternoon off and treated me to a pleasant lunch before heading to the hospital. The doctor’s office being in the medical arts building reassured me and relieved some of the anxiety.

It’s an office so large the elevator opens right into it and there’s a rope line where you wait to get to the front desk, sort of like at the movies just not as much fun. When I said I was in for a shot, they directed me to an area I’d never been to. That waiting room was full to bursting. My son pointed out the last empty seat to me.

After a moderate wait, I was called in and given information about the procedure plus a consent form to sign. The language reminded me of the long list of possible side effects recited after medication commercials and made me want to say, “I’m outa here.” The same words my son had used when we took him to see Ghostbusters when he was little. He stalked out of the theater without a backwards glance leaving us no choice but to follow him.

This time he would be following me, but I didn’t get out of the chair. Instead I took the pen and wrote my name. No turning back. Even though I still felt like bolting until the moment I was face to face with the doctor.

The assistant had instilled anesthetic drops, followed by a yellowish-tinged solution. “This might sting,” she said. It did and when asked what it was she said, “Betadine.”

“Betadine?” I responded. “In my eye!” Betadine is a brownish-yellow antiseptic solution that we used to prep for surgeries or other invasive procedures.

“Yes, to prep,” she said.

Of course, how stupid of me. I was there for an invasive procedure.

She then applied anesthetic gel all around my eye, in every nook and cranny. “Your eye might feel sticky,” she said. “I like to cover everywhere because he’s going to put a speculum in.”

I’d wondered how exactly he planned to keep my eye open, because there was no way I was going to be able to overcome the reflex to close it when there was a needle coming.

“Now you can go to the waiting room,” she said.

“The waiting room, really?” I thought I’d be left there till the anesthesia took effect.

“There’s two people ahead of you,” she said. “We need to give the anesthesia at least 20 minutes.”

“How long does it last?”

“Thirty minutes to one hour,” she said. “Keep your eye closed.”

I practically felt my way to the now half-empty waiting room. I wanted to check the time, but reaching for my phone seemed like a big bother. I decided to trust that they would get to me before the anesthesia wore off. I closed both eyes and rested my head on my hand. When you can’t beat it, give in.

I was called in again and the doctor was all business, but amiable, shaking my hand, answering my questions. He pushed a button and the chair rotated backwards till I was looking straight up at the ceiling. He put in the speculums, one under each eyelid, then bade me look left while he put in some drops. Then more drops. Then I saw, even though I was looking away from him.

I knew it was time. I felt the sting of the entry, but nothing more. It was a very slight sting, a nanosecond, but I was a trifle disappointed. I’d been told I’d feel nothing.

“You did great,” he said. He gave me instructions on when to call him. I went to check out and the burn began.

My son jumped up. “Your eye is all red,” he said, putting his arm around me. I looked in my compact mirror. Yep, tomato red.

The burn was fierce. I could not keep my eye open. When we got home, I used the artificial tears I’d been given, but they offered little relief. After a while the burn and the redness subsided and all I felt was the presence of a foreign body every time I blinked. It was probably inflammation at the entry site, but it felt like I had a two-by-four in my eye.

That was the worst part of the ordeal and it lasted for over eight hours. He said there would be a black spot at the bottom of my field of vision, and both after effects would be gone “within a day.”  And they were, but I have to say that black spot was freaky.

I’m to go back in four weeks for more pictures (no dye) and probably more medication, depending on how I respond. I’m not looking forward to it, but at least now I know what to expect. And I appreciate his wait-and-see attitude. The first ophthalmologist had told me flat out, “once a month for six months.” It didn’t exactly inspire trust in me as there is no cookie-cutter treatment that’s one-size-fits-all.

 

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Idle Hands

I did an unwitting experiment yesterday. My only intention was a day of rest. It had been a long while since I’d had a day to myself. Normally these are luxuriant days, doing only what I desire to do, but they come few and very far between.

My husband had taken up the challenge of doing the MS Ride once again. 75 miles to Key Largo. And back. On a bike.

Last year he’d said he wasn’t doing it again and I agreed. He’s not exactly 16 anymore; he rides frequently, just not 150 miles in two days’ time. But his company came up with the dough for donation and yesterday he took off at dawn.

I figured since he’d be away all weekend, I’d chill. My daughter and granddaughter, who are staying with us at present, left for the whole day too. I’d kept Alyssa on Friday and we’d worked most of the day on a quilt that she’d designed.

I’d shown her my collection of quilt sketches drawn and colored on graph paper and that made her want to draw her own so that I could make her a blanket she said. I took her scribbles and translated them into alternating squares and rectangles, which she then filled in with color pencils.

It took several days for her to select a fabric from my stash to match each square and rectangle. I then cut them out while she watched. Friday, we took advantage of her staying home from preschool to finish all the cutting and to lay out the pieces on a piece of fleece that I use as a “design wall.” (The cotton fabric sticks to the fleece and provides me with a road map to follow as I sew the pieces together.) It was a busy day that culminated with both us falling asleep early that night.

Yesterday, I slept late and then watched TV all day. Or rather, I glanced at the TV all day while I read. I did make the bed but didn’t get out of it, getting up only to grab breakfast, lunch and dinner. Simple, light meals that required no time at all.

I didn’t feel one smack of guilt for hibernating. Not even a smidgen. In fact, I didn’t feel much of anything until late in the evening when I was preparing to pour some green tea and the ice cubes fell through my fingers. I had a bunch in my hand transferring them from the ice container in the freezer to my glass and then, they were all over the floor.

My husband hates that I do that instead of using the ice dispenser on the door, but it’s so noisy I prefer to just open the freezer and grab a handful. Normally it goes smoothly, but this time I was left staring at shards of ice splayed around me on the floor.

Why had I dropped them? Why had the ice cubes slithered through my fingers so easily? The day before I’d been wielding a lethal rotary cutter slicing through 64 different fabrics with exacting precision.

I flexed my hands and noted that my fingers were stiff and swollen. They felt as if I’d just woken up. But it was the evening, when my fingers are supposed to be most nimble.

But my hands didn’t know it was evening. My hands didn’t know they were supposed to be loosened up by then. They only knew that they’d done next to nothing all day. That they’d been mostly at rest as if the night had extended on through the day. The most intricate thing they’d done was to hold a phone, a tablet or a TV controller.

There’d been no fine motor functions expected of them. No cooking, no housework, no driving, no typing, no writing, no sewing. In essence, there’d been no wake-up call for them at all.

Why did it take me till evening to notice? I have no idea. Maybe I was enjoying the idleness too much. But one thing was definitely reinforced by my inaction. Idle hands become frozen hands.

Quilting

Placing down the pieces, one by one.

Proudly done!

Proudly done!

My fabric stash, or rather part of it.

My fabric stash, or rather, part of it.

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Tall and Straight

Life throws you curveballs making you scramble to figure out how to handle them. Do you catch them or evade them?

In the middle of personal tumult, you reach for what or who is handy to give you comfort. It could be a person you are close to, your spouse, your child, your sister, brother, cousin.

Sometimes, when the hurt is too deep, or when it’s too difficult to relate to anyone or for anyone to relate to, we might find comfort and solace in an artistic rendering. In an artist whose beautiful artwork lets you melt into the scene they painted and allows you to leave the pain or the heartache behind. If only for that moment.

Sometimes it’s a book whose author has written in such a way that it swallows you whole, so completely that you forget the here and now. A book that you can touch and hold and smell its papery scent. A book whose spine sits tall and straight on a bookshelf waiting for you, as an example of how you should stand up to adversity, tall and straight.

Sometimes it’s a film, or a TV show that allows you that escape, that makes you laugh or even more movingly, makes you cry, and therefore forget your own pain. You reach for that helping of relief time and again. You buy the movie, or watch all the reruns that you can, taking a breather from what hurts.

And sometimes it’s an actor’s portrayal of a character that reaches out and escorts you into their world. That grabs your consciousness and never lets go. Years, decades pass and that character stays the same, always there, bringing you a dollop of delight, dependable in their sameness. The world around you might twist and tilt threatening to jettison you without warning, but this character, this story, affords you a reprieve. It may only be for a little while, but it doesn’t matter because you know you can visit with them again.

One such presence for me was Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek.  He was always so stoic. So rational. So logical. He was a bastion upon which Captain Kirk could hang his hat, a solid presence who would always be there for him no matter how much trouble he got himself into. He could violate the Prime Directive knowing that Spock would back him up or help him face the repercussions. He could flirt with all the women of the galaxies knowing that Spock was there to take command just in case he ended up tying knots that could not then be unraveled. Spock was his unfaltering second in all that he did.

I loved Captain Kirk, but I revered Mr. Spock. He stood like a book, tall and straight. He carried planets’ worth of strength and knowledge on his slim shoulders. He was resourceful and unerring, mostly. And when necessary, he knew how to bend so that he would never break. I wanted a friend like him, but most of all, I wanted to be like him.

I know there’s a new Spock now, but there will always be only one Spock for me.

Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy.

Live long and prosper, Mr. Spock.

 

***I had the ultimate pleasure of hearing Leonard Nimoy speak at my daughter’s college graduation. Today, I was sorry to hear that he had died.

 

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Gratified

Ever since I was diagnosed with a retinal hemorrhage in my right eye seven weeks ago, I’ve been wondering what my rheumatologist would have to say about it. I requested that a copy of my test results be sent to him from the ophthalmologist’s office. The main things I ascertained with the ophthalmologist at that time was that, yes, I could fly, as I had two trips pending. And yes, there was a 50/50 chance that it would clear up on its own.

Though I’ve been seen by this group for years, I was not comfortable following through on their suggested treatment, intraocular injections. Perhaps it’s unfair of me to say so, but they didn’t inspire confidence in me, not the kind where I would willingly subject myself, and my eye, to their prescribed treatment.

Since I did have the upcoming trips, I decided to lay low, go on about my business and wait to see what would happen. I knew I ran the risk of it worsening. As the ophthalmologist stated, “You might end up doing the shots just to get back to where you are now.”

The fact of the matter is that I see almost perfectly, when my left eye is compensating of course. When I close the left eye, it appears that I am seeing through a smudged glass door, not the whole door is smudged, just the top center portion. And with my new glasses for distance, it’s like I’m seeing 3D, as I told my son making him laugh. But as the optometrist told me, “I can’t fix what’s going on with the right eye.”

My readers (expensive compared to the 20-dollar-over-the-counter kind) don’t seem to afford me better vision than the 20-dollar-over-the-counter kind. I find that they are great when reading on my tablet or my phone, but not so great when reading on my laptop. I use an old cheap pair for that. In fact any old cheap pair as I have a pair in every room of the house. I’m not sure why the difference, perhaps it’s the distance from the screen. Who knows?

But that is what is most concerning to me, my ability to read. When I close my left eye, the words are blurred at the top and clear at the bottom. It’s possible to read, but difficult. I can’t imagine not being able to read at all. I’ve always read. As far as my memory goes, I’ve read. I don’t live one day without reading, ever.

My rheumatologist was concerned about this development and asked if the ophthalmologist had mentioned it having any relation to RA. I told him he’d said that we’d have to “work real hard to find a connection between the two.”

He agreed that I should get a second opinion and referred me to a retinal specialist he knows. Since I trust my rheumatologist implicitly, I feel I already trust this new specialist without ever having laid eyes on him. But that’s a good start. We shall see what he has to say and go from there.

Of note, my labs were all normal with two exceptions. My CRP was slightly elevated, but that usually is. It bounces up and down depending on what I don’t know. My left wrist is still bothering me, though it’s not persistent RA pain. I know what that’s like and that’s not what’s happening here.

But there is definite swelling on the left side of the inner wrist. While examining it, he turned it this way and that, twisting my fingers into a pretzel and bending my wrist in all directions without it causing a bit of pain. But then he pressed down on the swollen part and yes, that hurt!

I’ve been on very small weaning doses of Prednisone for over two months, and I would think that the wrist would have gotten worse, and the CRP higher, but there’s been no effect on it whatsoever. It’s not worse but it’s not better, so I’m to have it x-rayed. Perhaps it’s osteoarthritis because it’s not acting like RA at all.

The other abnormal lab was my white blood cell count; apparently it’s high and he wants me to repeat it in a week’s time. I explained that while I was with Carmen she caught a cold and gifted it to me. It’s been ten days now with cold symptoms, but it does take me a while to shrug these things off.

He wasn’t to be swayed from repeating the lab test even after I explained the probable cause for the WBCs being elevated. So here we go, another needle poke, but at least I’m gratified to learn my immune system does work. Somewhat.

 

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System Glitches

I went to spend a week with my precious little Carmen. I tried to keep up with my reading while I was gone, hard do to with a two-year-old commanding all your attention, and I went with no illusions of being able to post anything. By the time I got to my room at the end of the day I was pooped and ready to recoup for another twelve-hour day. I took only my tablet with me, which is serviceable for reading but not very user-friendly for writing; it’s gotten slower than molasses. I’ve now replaced it with a new one. This one is Speedy Gonzales compared to the old one.

My laptop is on its way out as well. I hope I didn’t jinx it by typing that. It’s my writing tool and I have no idea what to replace it with. I don’t want to be rushed into anything so I suppose I will have to shop around and make a decision. That way I will be ready when it never comes back from its update, which it’s threatened to do a couple of times but the Geek Squad coaxed it back.

I, on the other hand, managed to come back from my overnight updates every dawn without any coaxing. Come 7 a.m., I was ready to go. There was only one application on my personal hard drive that wasn’t (isn’t) up to par; the one that powers my left wrist. At least I can give thanks it isn’t my left foot.

I’ve learned to compensate for it, though, by instinctively using techniques that spare the full use of my wrist. After all, I’ve had since August to come up with a plan B to circumvent this little glitch in the system.

It did hurt more than usual, at times giving me sharp, continuous, stabbing pains that made me imagine I was reliving a variant of the Psycho shower scene, music and all. I would grit my teeth and groan while grabbing my wrist and pressing down on the swollen part through the brace I wore. Somehow that made it feel better after a bit, or it could have been my imagination still at work.

Poor Carmen would stare at me with her big, hazel eyes and say, “Your arm hurts, ‘huela?” “Yes, baby,” I’d squeak out, pushing on my wrist with all the strength my right hand could muster.

But I remained on weaning doses of Prednisone. Never once was I tempted to increase the dose to give myself a hit, or I should say, an extra hit. In fact, I only took an extra week’s worth with me just in case, which amounted to a mere 25 mg that I never took. But it truly wasn’t all that brave of me to leave the whole bottle behind. My doctor is a phone call away and CVS is ubiquitous.

The week flew by when I measure it by Carmen time. When I measure it by work pending, it moved along at a turtle’s pace. But all good things must and do come to an end. I’m back at my desk and running at full steam. If only my laptop deigns to keep up with me. One thing for sure, there’s no rise of the machines here.

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Strong Women

I am reading Isabella, Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer. The book itself is unputdownable. Which sounds funny because it’s an ebook. But this makes it easier for me not to part with it, to keep up with it, whether it be on my tablet, my phone or my laptop, where I’m supposed to be working.

Rarely does a story capture me in this way, but this one sates several of my appetites. It’s based on history. It’s based on French and English history, which fascinate me. It’s based on a woman, a strong woman, with whom I can easily identify with.

I don’t consider myself a student of women’s studies, but I often wonder how women did it. Since the time Eve supposedly went rogue. How did they handle life’s challenges? No matter the culture, no matter the society, women ended up relegated to second class status, if even that high.

How did they handle their personal and family needs in primitive times? How did they get up each morning to ferry the water from the river or the well and carry it home on their head or on their hip, how did they go out to cut the wood to build the fire to cook the food that perhaps they themselves had grown or gathered?

How did they deal with illness when there was no science to lead the way, or at least point the way? Many died in childbirth and there were other diseases that killed them outright. But RA doesn’t do that, not so genteelly, for it is vulgar and rude. It toys with you like a cat with a mouse.

I’m sure this scourge of a disease existed way before we ever put the wrong name to it and I wonder how all who suffered from it dealt with its invasions and assaults. What fortress did they have to shelter them from its slings and arrows? What did they do when it battered at their gates?

I wonder about all its sufferers from the past, but mostly I wonder about the women. For all that we are called the “fair sex” or the “weaker sex,” we have to be mighty in all that we do. Even while being accosted by an uninvited, malevolent presence we have to grit our teeth and bear it.

And so it cheers me when I read about strong female characters, real historical figures. Though obviously fictionalized to some extent, these women did exist. These women did persevere. These women did prevail, and even flourish, in spite of it all.

Women like Doña Antonia Avero, whom I “ran into” at the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.  avero2

I was both surprised and impressed to read
the words next to her portrait. I had not known this fact about Spanish Florida.

avero

 

I had never heard of her either, but I plan to find out if there is more to read about her life. Even at my age, I am always looking for role models, and for inspiration to help me face life with hope each day.

This might be another story I can share with my granddaughters. Already they have demonstrated a love for books and reading, which pleases me no end.

For you are never bound to one station or one place when you can read yourself away or beyond. When the portals to dreams and possibilities are opened for you by those who came before.

 

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The One Thing I didn’t Pack

st aug garageI was lucky to spend this past weekend in St. Augustine, Florida, this being the year of its 450th anniversary. Right when we got there, we were confronted with how beautiful it all was.

We’d already seen the remarkable ocean view from our room. The sound of the waves hitting the beach was soothing and addictive. We didn’t want to leave the cozy room, but we also wanted to see the city.

So we headed out and our first stop was the Castillo de San Marcos. Built in the late 1600s, it took the Spanish 23 years to build the fort, out of basically solid rock.

I can imagine their determination and their faith prow
in what they were doing so far from home in a place
they called Florida (flowery).

It didn’t take long for the sailor I married to note that the corners of the fort were shaped like the prow of a ship, with even a “figurehead” at the top.

prow2

 

 

 

 

The top of the fort was laid out with cannon after cannon. Some of them carved with intricate designs. I wondered what must have gone through the ancient artisan’s mind while he adorned a killing machine so beautifully. carved

It seemed a shame to have cannons pointed at such a pristine inlet. But I guess that was the point, to keep it serene and beautiful. To keep it theirs, though that did not happen to be the case after all.

inlet

 

 

 

 

Regardless, their attention to detail was amazing, from the curves of their rooms made of solid stone to the sharp, well-defined angles of the outer walls.

fortroom

 

 

And I suppose in testament to their faith, the doors to the chapel were centered within the courtyard, easily accessible to all in a moment of need.

insidect

 

 

 

 

We walked the grounds of this fort knowing that it was very possible one of our very own ancestors had walked here way back when. On impulse, I took a picture of my feet upon those grounds.

feet2

 

 

 

For this trip, I packed my sense of wonder, my imagination and my energy. The one thing I didn’t pack was my RA.

 

 

 

 

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And Did You See That Pass?

After my husband spent a wild day and a half in meetings, alternately being patted on the back for a job well done and being pressured into achieving new goals for the coming year and beyond, while I spent that same time snuggled up in a cozy hotel room with all the amenities, we drove to St. Augustine where we had a fantabulous time that ended all too quickly.

And I know this isn’t a sports blog, but we realized we would be lifting off homeward right at Super Bowl kick-off. But we were on JetBlue, with our own individual TVs in front of us. At one point during the second quarter, we had a slightly bumpy ride. I don’t think anyone noticed. There was absolute silence in the cabin, everyone seemingly focused on the screen in front of them, earbuds in place.

We landed right before halftime and left our seats 30 seconds too early, merely to wait in the aisle, and missed Seattle scoring a touchdown. At least that’s what we were told at the baggage carousel. We beat ourselves up over that, then raced to our car, hopped in and listened to the third quarter on the way home.

We got there in time to see the last quarter. And right at the end, after that totally awesome flippety-floppety fumbling catch, we were on the edge of our seats, drinks suspended halfway to our mouths, breath held and then, and then . . .  did you see that pass?????

Whoever called it, and they know who they are, can probably relate to the saying on this T-shirt I ran across on my travels.

tshirtmaya

 

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The Word “No”

photo (32)Reading Anne Lamott this morning, one of my favorite writers, I came across something that connected deeply with me: ‘“. . . the word “No” is a complete sentence.”’ (AARP Dec/Jan)

I was going to glance through the magazine and then file it away in the trash can, but as I flipped through its pages I kept tearing some out, to keep, to read later, which I sometimes end up never doing or doing it months later. But her words immediately drew me in.

The gist of what she was saying is that with age comes the power to say “No.” You learn to value yourself and more importantly, your time as well as your capabilities.

When I was younger and torn in different directions, I found myself unable to say no to the extra shift, to the extra committee, to the management position, to driving a gaggle of kids to the mall, to the theater, or to having my house become grand central. There was always some new kid hanging around.

I longed for the days of an empty nest, of retiring, of spending my time reading, writing, or doing nothing at all. Back then it seemed those longed-for days would never arrive, but now those days are here and thanks to RA, I have learned how to say no.

No to the request for a quilt for the Christmas Tai Chi raffle. If there’s anything I love more than quilting it’s giving them away. But I was recovering from an illness and dealing with the stress of the holidays. It had to be no.

No to the short-notice invite from my son to take me to brunch. It was Sunday morning; my husband was out on his road bike. I was cozy in bed reading and tired from a night out. As much as I love spending time with my children, I knew I needed to recoup. It had to be no.

No to housework duties when I feel a flare coming on. This one I especially feel no guilt for. What is that saying, a woman’s work is never done? It sure feels like it and I’ve done enough of it. Now I have to take care of me and enjoy life. So when that feeling hails, I answer by battening down the hatches. I stop. And say no.

Conversely, I have learned how to say yes. Yes to my family taking over some duties for a bit. Yes to my daughter making dinner not quite my way. Yes to my husband vacuuming not quite the way I’d like. Yes to the coffee and bagel that pops up at my bedside the mornings I don’t feel so hot.

And yes to the things I really want to do. Like agreeing to accompany my husband on a business trip and extending it so that we can visit St. Augustine, Florida. I’ve wanted to go there for years, to experience the history of it. He tells me he’s made it his goal to fulfill my bucket list regarding travel, and so we leave in a few hours. It should be crisp and cool and beautiful.

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