Thursday, November 18, 2010

An incredible day outside. We've had a lot of rain, some snow, mucho clouds and occasional wind. But today.... ah!! Cool, but very sunny and azure skies.

I know it's cool because when I've opened the door to let the dogs out, the unexpected chill has hit my face. I look at the outside thermometer and it reads 40 degrees at the warmest part of the day. But...the blue skies and golden sun is definitely alluring.

However, I couldn't go out today. Too weak. And too much pain in spite of the oxycodone I keep popping.

I guess I raised too much heck yesterday and today, have to pay the price. I dared to ride my little Wrangler scooter over 100 ft. of bumpy yard to reach the smooth, paved driveway of my next door neighbor, Esther. And I dared to sit there for 3.5 hours with my neck brace off, talking wildly and with great abandon (insert a bit of sarcasm here) with my 87 year old, dear friend.

I normally would not stay so long, I know an hour is my limit, but I agreed to do a story on Esther. I recently succumbed to a request that has been repeated often over the last five years, and finally, I agreed to do it. Not because I was made to feel guilty or bound by some duty to do it. But because writing it would be a wonderful way to bless the requester (the editor of the magazine) AND the subject of the tale.

I haven't written a story for publication for several years, probably those same five years that I mentioned before.

What a time we had, Esther and I! Our visit and my purpose allowed me to gracefully ask nosy questions in order to fill in all the gaps of this dear lady's life. At least, the gaps in MY knowledge of her life. Esther is simply incredible, a survivor and Western pioneer who deserves an entire book devoted to her story.

I know that talking for very long is going to cause my skull base to hurt. But sometimes, it's hard not to talk when the reward is a beguiling tale of livestock, long winters, trailing herds and even going out with the "wagon." (ie the chuckwagon used in trail drives way back when)

I know that riding the Wrangler over even the most gentle of dirt trail is going to also aggravate the skull base area, particularly behind my left ear. And not only is the pain amped up, but the aggravation of spinal cord and nerves makes me incredibly weak. I went back to bed after getting up for an hour this morning and slept til 11:30 am. Then I crawled out of bed and have not gone back to bed for the rest of the day. At least, not yet.

I know when I can't go out and enjoy the fallen leaves, the crisp, Fall air, the birds on wing, the sounds of neighbors' dogs barking, the whisper of a breeze in the Ponderosa treetops. My body restricts me as strongly and firmly as a barred door.

It must sound like the proverbial broken record when I write that I need to pursue surgery. The loyal reader must think: "What is stopping you? Why haven't you done that yet?"

But, setting up an appointment is just more cognitive work that comes so hard for me. I've finished the letter to the surgeon. It is basically a cut-and-dried listing of the injury and doctors I've seen and diagnoses I've been given. A cold timeline. So much "flesh and blood" is missing from the sterile words. However, this surgeon seems to be a caring sort. He writes of his devotion to his patients and his commitment to help them and to spend all the time necessary with them. A rare breed to me! I had one neurosurgeon like that...once. But he gave up on me and that is a whole, "in the past" story. A whole 'nother story.

I need to copy the CDs I have of the imaging I had done in 2009. And just that process looms large for my brain. You all know how that is, how you put things off that seem too big to complete sometimes. And after copying the CDs, I need to check them to be sure they copied correctly. I've finished the cover letter to the surgeon, so for that, I am grateful. I want to write a list of my symptoms, and a list of things I've been told I have. Like arachnoiditis and osteopenia and tethered cord and such.

Now that I've written here, perhaps I'll make a stab at copying a CD. Or at least, FINDING them and then laying them out on the desk above the computer. Or...maybe not.

Did I finish the interview with Esther yesterday? No, I did not. This is to be a small article and definitely does not warrant a full-day interview, but when dealing with a precious friend who is 87, I find it a pleasant experience to watch her reach back into the recesses of her memory and drag out recollections long unaccessed. I smiled as she lifted wrinkled, bony, hard-working fingers to count back years as I asked her questions. I marveled silently about her ability to bring forth hazy images of relatives, fleshing them out with phrases she'd possessed for 80 years.

Things like that deserve respect and take time. It takes the time it takes, like working with a wild colt or grafting an orphan calf onto a new mama cow. You don't rush in a situation like that.

You listen.

So, I'll go back on Saturday and most likely spend another 3 or 4 hours in remembered reverie.

Even if it does cause me to stay abed a day or two.

Some things are worth the price.

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