Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Berry good year

This year, I have berries galore! The strawberries have passed but there were so many, I tired of picking them. That was easy to do since bending over to search for strawberries was one of the hardest things on my tethered cord area and always instigated a lot of burn in that area.

Now, it's blackberries and raspberries, and my freezer is full of bags of them. And they are still producing. I learned long ago to Miracle Gro berries and to keep them picked in order to stretch out the harvest. They are like deadheading a flower, you must keep the berries picked clean for more berries to be produced.

I love berries on my cereal, it's such a treat. There is simply nothing tastier than picking fresh berries off the bushes and putting them right onto my cereal in the morning...or the afternoon...or at night.

I cannot pick berries without thinking of my Dad, either out bare-chested at the tall blueberry bush that grew near the big poplar in our back field, or walking through the back woodlots with me and scouting out a few berries to stop and enjoy, or driving to a favorite berrying spot under some powerlines and picking until our buckets were full and my mouth was blue and my teeth were blue and my father invariably said, "You ate more than you put into your pail!"

Today, I went to PT and again, tonight, I'm in a lot of extra pain. Just anything, anymore, causes more pain in the occipital part of my head. I am really thinking about the fusion, positively wondering if the stability it will give to me will give me a lot of happiness. Yes, happiness...

When I wear my CTO sometimes, I experience euphoria, a warm, fuzzy, dreamlike state that says all is well with the world. I also experienced this last week while at PT when the therapist set me up in the Pronex traction unit upon two pillows. I don't think it was the traction that caused the euphoria, but I think it was feeling secure and stabilized.

Later, all of my neuro symptoms riled up in full force and I have vowed not to do the Pronex again. Nor the inversion table. I'm just going to leave that area alone and see what transpires as far as a fusion goes.

An old, terribly bothersome symptom is back. Paresthetic itching. I had it for a couple of years and then it went away for a couple of years. I would feel itchy all over, and my arms would be the worst, they'd itch so badly and then that would morph into lancinating pains that went to the very core of my pain center. I mean, it had "all access!" I often would lay on a bed with my arms stuck out in front of me wishing I could cut them off.

So, now, it is creeping back. I am feeling more itchy all over now, and then I'm also getting those spots of itching on my arms. I don't know why it would return. Who knows those things?

After the tiny bit I did at PT today (lying on the soft table and picking up a leg and barely reaching forward with my arm and hand to touch my knees a few times), I got up and walked out and felt the minimum amount of strength I usually have sapped right out of me. The rest of the day today, I've felt weak and like I've had to get the weight of my head off of my spine. I laid in bed and rested for 90 minutes or so.

I have had on my to-do list for six months at least to write a short story about my husband and his spur business. Even when I've not looked at the list, that duty haunted me. I finally felt like I just couldn't do it and would tell the magazine editor that he should not expect it.

However, he ran a small blurb about the spurs and we got two orders right away. And several interested emails. So, I knew in my heart that I needed to buck up and do the right thing and hammer out this chore. I wrote the editor and told him to expect the piece by the end of the week.

Good, I have a deadline. I've made a commitment. I have to do it. So, I've been working at it all week, just little things like "carry pictures to the office" one day, anything toward completion of the project.

Listing all of the steps that are necessary for something like this, I can see why I'm having a hard time at doing a job I did for many years, was pretty good at and really loved to do. Let me list them here:

First, go to closet and go through old picture albums and pick out any that will work to go with the text.
Then scan those into the computer.
Then go over those pictures and photoshop edit as needed.
next, take photos of my husband in the shop
Get those developed (did I mention I've lost my digital camera?)
Pick out which will work.
Scan those into the computer and edit.
Write the piece.
Edit the piece on the computer.
Print out article and edit again.
Print out article and edit again.
Do final edit.
Email to editor the final manuscript plus the pictures with cutlines (the explanatory text under photos)
Pray editor does not want any changes.

Now, I've mentioned that I've learned something about cognitive dysfunction and how there is something called set-shifting. This is where you do something, then forget about that step as you go to the next step in the process. Whatever you may be doing, it has many, many steps. You might think you are only having to do one thing, but usually, there are many steps to completing it.

I wonder if it is the set shifting that gives me so much difficulty with thinking and with doing bigger projects (or smaller projects!). Even something listed like "scan photos into computer" is actually made up of many steps (lift lid of scanner, place pic, bring up scanner program on computer and go thru steps to start scan, lift lid, remove pic, pick out another pic and place it on scanner, close lid, etc etc).

Thankfully, I am going to be able to meet my self-imposed deadline. And I feel really good about completing a project I've avoided for so long. Even if something that should have taken perhaps 3 hours takes ME a week.

Something I so truly love is the sight of lace curtains on a window, and the breeze blowing inward, floating the fabric with a life of its own. Today, lying on the guest room bed, I enjoyed this pleasant experience while listening to far off dove call.

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