Facing Emotional Pain

Although I’ve had physical pain and difficult challenges in the past few months, probably the worst I’ve ever had to deal with, I’m reminded that emotional pain hurts and scars even more.

I lived in an abusive environment for the first eighteen years of my life. The day I moved out of our family house, I felt like my emancipation had arrived. I felt a giddiness that life might be kinder to me since I had escaped from the tyranny of the home I lived in.

My sister, still in high school, escaped with me and we rented an apartment in a well-lit apartment complex featuring a whooshing water wheel, palm trees, and one loud neighbor. It promised a new beginning for us, and my sister continued to attend school while holding a job at night.

read more

Shout ‘Who the Blank Are You?’ While Feasting on Shredded Wheat

What to do with yourself when recovering from hip replacement surgery

  1. Watch a marathon of “Iyanla Fix My Life” on the Oprah channel. The title says it all. Iyanla tries very hard to fix the lives of people who are broken from abuse, molestation, drugs, neglect, heartache. She says things that most people wouldn’t say, but she says it in a commanding way. She’ll stare at a mother seated with her six grown daughters and she’ll shout to the mother while waving her arm with authority, “YOUR DAUGHTERS DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE…TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS RIGHT NOW WHO THE ‘HELL’ YOU ARE!” It’s kind of riveting to watch as Iyanla gets to the heart of the matter. The mother looks like she wants to crawl out the door. She doesn’t want to say who the (blank) she is. As I watched this family drama unfold, Jerry interrupted my Iyanla marathon. He asked what he might get for me at the store. I said to him in in the same commanding force Iyanla would say it, “I CAN’T TALK NOW. I’M WRAPPED UP IN THIS SHOW. I’LL TELL YOU WHEN IT’S OVER.” I realize Jerry already knows who the (blank) I am. Or does he? At any rate, he quickly leaves me in my solitude. After all, our Arizona cable doesn’t have I Love Lucy reruns, so instead of laughing—I shout with Iyanla.

Iyanla talks to a lady in a white dress on the beach. Iyanla is getting ready to ask her who the blank she is.

  • 2. Order books on Amazon for my Kindle. I like the 99-cent Kindle books the best but they are not usually the gripping kind of books I would like to read. You have to spend $9.99 to get a really good book for the Kindle and I just can’t spend that when you can get a nice paperback for that price. Since I can’t get to the library right now, I read cheap books on my Kindle. I did splurge and buy a $6.99 book for my Kindle and did not get the full $6.99 worth of reading pleasure. Then Jerry offered to go to the library for me. I now have books to read that don’t make me feel angry I paid $6.99 for a book that talks in every chapter about foie gras and how it melted over the author’s tongue in sheer delight. This is duck liver she’s writing about. Oh, I’m so thankful for the library.
  • 3. Turn on Roy Orbison music very loud and do my physical therapy exercises. I love it when Roy sings “Pretty Woman.” Yes, of course, he is singing to me.  “Pretty woman, hobblin’ down the street
    Pretty woman, with a new metal hip that can’t be beat,
    Pretty woman
    I don’t believe you, you’re not the truth
    No one could look as good as you! Merrrr-cy.” ….Whoo! (high kick with good leg)
  • 4. Feast on bowls of shredded wheat like there’s no tomorrow. I had no desire for shredded wheat before my surgery. But afterward all I could think of is shredded wheat in milk, maybe with blueberries and bananas. Every other food tastes like sawdust to me. Salads, which I loved in my pre-surgery days, are now nauseating. It’s like being pregnant without the excitement of a baby in your future. I wondered what caused my craving and I looked this up online and discovered that people often lose their appetite after surgery. Some have cravings. While searching this subject I came across a post where a lady stated she craved bowls of Rice Chex after her hip replacement surgery. What is there about cereal and hip replacement surgery? I can only surmise the trauma of surgery sticks in your psyche and all you want is to comfort yourself with cold cereal that isn’t too sugary.
  • 5. Tell jokes to yourself. Laughter is the best medicine so why not make yourself laugh.

Here’s a joke for me. A man telephoned the airlines and asked, “how long does it take to fly from Seattle to Boston?” The clerk replied, “Just a minute…” The man said, “Thank you,” and hung up.

6. Take a two or three-hour nap. I’m thinking I might need one right now. 7. Remember not to say to Jerry, “I owe you big for all the things you’ve done for me.” Well I did say this to him because he brings me tea and makes blueberry pancakes for me and takes care of the cats, plants, laundry, meals and grocery shopping. When Jerry realized I felt indebted to him, he helped me out with my repayment by ordering lots of things he wants on eBay. 8. Nurture the fern that suffered an accidental lack of water while I was in the hospital. It dried to a brown crisp and suffered a near-death experience. One green frond hung on and now struggles to survive. I spend much time caring for it. The fern and I, together, will survive.

The fern experienced an unintentional oversight while I was in the hospital. But it will survive.

  • 9. Text friends. My friend Nancy sends me raps to cheer me up. She sends them via text or email with lots of emojis. She has made it her job to keep me cheered through this entire recovery process. It has worked too. Here’s one Nancy recently sent.
  • read more

    Riding Naked in an Ambulance

    Things I planned for:

    1. Go to Oxaca, Mexico.
    2. Buy new luggage (preferably in deep burgundy).
    3. Plant a garden.

    Things that happened that I didn’t plan for:

    1. Lying on the cold tile bathroom floor for 3 hours, unable to move, enduring pain, waiting for Jerry to come home.
    2. Riding naked in an ambulance and pleading for more pain medication. The kind face of an EMT hovered over me, saying as compassionately as he could, “I’ve given you all I can.” I did have a blanket covering me, but when you break your already fractured hip while getting out of the shower, clothes are not a priority.
    3. Jerry saying to me in the hospital as I hollered in reaction to the shooting agonizing pain while being moved from the gurney to the hospital bed, “I wish I could take the pain for you. I’m sorry you have to go through this.”
    4. Nurses calling to me from a long dark tunnel. I opened my eyes and a young nurse with brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, shot a giddy smile with her face two inches from mine. She said,  “Everything went well. The surgery is over.” I recall asking in a fogged haze, “It’s over?” She replied with eyes glinting I’m-so-happy-for-you, “Yes, it over.” I wondered, when did it begin?
    5. 15 days in the hospital and rehab after undergoing surgery for a full hip replacement.
    6. Learning to walk again with a walker. Being excited over taking my first steps without it. “Yay, you’re walking!” Jerry said.
    7. Feeling helpless, but very grateful for Jerry who has been, and is, the most wonderful caregiver.

    read more

    Tea for Ten (and tasty shoe leather too)

    Kathy, Julie, me, reflective pond

    “Anyone celebrating a special occasion?” our tour guide, John, asked.

    Kathy, Julie, and I~ along with seven others (people we didn’t know) ~huddled together at the entry to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix.

    After a long silence, one of the ladies in our tour group of ten said, “It’s a good day to be alive.”

    “That’s a good reason to celebrate,” Kathy said.

    “Every day I wake up and I’m alive, I celebrate,” said the lady, who we later learned goes by the name of Georgia and is 80 years old.

    read more

    My Sadness, My Joy: How My Life Is Affected In Ways I Never Imagined

    Tears came to her eyes. I had just asked Alejandra* in my limited Spanish, “Dónde está bebé?” The question seemed to crush her spirit like a giant vice squeezing every ounce of joy she had mustered. Pain and sorrow and heartache flowed from her facial expression. She spoke quietly in Spanish to my interpreter. Oh I wish I could remember the interpreter’s name. But his name escapes me right now. I do remember his words stated very bluntly to me and in plain English. “The baby died.”

    read more