Monthly Archives: May 2013

How Can I Not Be?

I sense the sun before I see it. I know it’s morning but I don’t want to acknowledge it, not yet. Awareness slowly seeps into me, seemingly one cell at a time. Automatically, I brace for that familiar sensation. That burn, that unbidden fire.

I realize I’m lying on my side, that side. The fire is quiet, muted, muffled. Perhaps compressed out of existence between my weight and the mattress. Oh, if only.

There is movement beside me. I don’t turn and I don’t open my eyes. I stay still. Enjoying the quiet of my body along with the quiet of the morning. Footsteps pad out of my room.

Water gushes in the kitchen; teapot hits the ceramic stove top. I wait for its piercing whistle.

Soon, a spoon clinks round and round inside a cup. From my bed and behind my closed eyes, I can see the circling swirls of cream and sugar turning that fragrant black liquid into a beige concoction.

Footsteps return to my room.

“Wake up, sleepyhead.”

I hear the clunk of the coffee mug set down on the table, near my head.  The aroma is eye-opening. I inhale its scent as I carefully pull myself to a sitting position, testing, testing.

Before I can determine where it hurts, or if it hurts, a toasted bagel joins the steaming mugful.

“You all right, baby?”

How can I not be?

Woman, Interrupted

I have been remiss. I’ve been consumed with the fire at my side. In my side. It’s amazing how encompassing it has been. Everything was pushed aside. Shoved aside. There were no neurons left over to expend on all of my daily activities.

My reading slacked off, especially my on-screen reading. The fact that the screen would do a periodic disappearing act didn’t help. I am now so far behind with my emails, hundreds that have piled up in the interim. I don’t believe I will ever catch up.

There were the faithful emails from Elise, my Spanish Word of the Day lady. Some of the words would amaze me. I didn’t realize I knew them so that when I punched her email open on my cell phone, I would think, Aha! I am more fluent in my native tongue than I give myself credit for. It felt like a small victory.

The emails from my quilting site only served to underscore what the hundreds of cuts of fabric, neatly stacked on a wall of shelving in my office were saying to me. What about me? What about us? When will you give us your time? My Tai Chi instructor emailed, Can we have some of your creations for our Mother’s Day Raffle? I’ve yet to respond. Mother’s Day was just another day with shingles pain this year.

The writing blog posts are also stacked up neatly in my inbox, awaiting my time and attention as well. I didn’t want to read them with blurry eyes and blurry mind; that would in effect cancel out their very purpose, which is to help me finesse my craft. I look forward to digesting them, in small bites, the better to savor them.

And, of course, my personal writing was suspended. It wasn’t for lack of material, but for lack of dexterity. My fingers lost their place, lost their connection to the home keys on the keyboard. The keys that are the base from which they launch themselves across the span of the key layout. My brain saw one word and my fingers typed up a close facsimile of it; the relay was broken. Or merely interrupted. Whatever it was, it was infuriating.

Regardless, I persevered and completed the projects I had pending; deadlines wait for no man, or woman.  But, it was slow going and quite a strange experience. They say you never appreciate something until you lose it; that might be true. All I know is that my fingers are once again.dancing nimbly over this keyboard. The circuits are reconnected, soldered together through sheer willpower. The embers of shingles pain still burn, and I am being careful not to fan them into bright, lacerating flames.

On the Mend

Four weeks and counting. I must say it’s been an interesting four weeks. Filled with fire and steel. It’s amazing how exhausting constant, never-ending pain can be. Even my RA pain, as excruciating as that can be, did not last this long or keep me this down.

The surface of my bedside table became a bouquet of pill bottles. In different shapes and colors.  The pills themselves are colorful. My Elavil is pukey green. It’s supposed to mess with my brain and short-circuit the pain signals. It’s meant to derail the train tracks and send the pain-filled railroad cars off into oblivion.

Well, it’s not quite doing its job. Or at least, not as efficiently as it could.  My doctor said he would increase the strength. But, I don’t know that its side effects are worth the increase in dosage. Though, I can’t help but wonder what color that will come in.

Sleep has been my refuge. When I sleep I have no pain. Miraculously. But I can’t spend my life asleep, nor can I spend it taking narcotics for said pain. They made me dizzy, drowsy and ditsy. I’d forget what day it was; I’d forget what time it was; I’d forget what pill was next. I actually made myself a med sheet, or cheat sheet, so that I would know what was due when.

The worst side effect was having my computer screen fade out. For a nanosecond, I would be gazing at a big black hole. It was only a flash, just long enough for me to detect that void, but it was quite disturbing. This has stopped and since I stopped taking several meds at basically the same time, I don’t know which one was responsible. Or a more disturbing thought: maybe none were.

But regardless of the pain, the dizziness or the big black void, I managed to keep working. I had windows of time when my thoughts were clear, my pain dampened, and my computer screen consistently brightly lit. I gave all those good moments to the projects I was working on, and I advised everyone within “hearing” distance to get the vaccine if they could.

Unfortunately, I had to let my blogs and my blog reading languish.  Now I have a lot of catching up to do. And though shingles still demands attention, its cries are more muted and I can block its diminished fires for longer periods. I can’t extinguish them completely, only time can do that. Hopefully. But by the looks of things, I have turned the corner and am on the mend.