slow and determined

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to
go right in someone else’s.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

dscn3232
(box turtle / Julie Cook / 2016)

dscn3402
(brown rabbit / Watercolor Resort, Santa Rosa, FL / Julie Cook / 2016)

One thing I’ve never been accused of being is slow.

Determined,
stubborn,
even hell bent…

yes…

but slow….

never.

I’ve never been one to be still for very long.
If I’ve got to be somewhere, I prefer early.
If I’m driving someplace, I drive as if life depends on it…
none of this Sunday driver, leisure business for me.

And it’s not as if I made some conscious decision early on
to take the fast lane in life…
Rather it’s just that I’ve always been like that….like this…
Always seemingly in some sort of quickness or hurry.
Straight from point A to B…no distractions with C, D or E in between…

I have made a point of mostly making the most of my time.
Filling it with as much productiveness as I can….
Maybe that comes from being a teacher as teachers are conditioned
to do so much with so little…
squeezing everything possible into a short space of time…

So you should know that with this disc and nerve business…
slow and determined has oddly become the name of the game and my new normal…
Sigh…
It’s as if my world has suddenly been cast into a slow motion stop frame
of agonizingly slow movement and speed.

As I now have to think long and hard about each and every movement—
nothing herky jerky fast or quick,
lest some shooting, searing new pain emerges out of no where.

And speaking of—this nerve business…

Are you familiar with a cilice?
Something like a hairshirt but worse.

Did you ever see the Dan Brown movie…Angels and Demons?
You may remember the poor monk Silas who wore a metal spiked ban
around his thigh under his habit.
He would tighten the ban as a form of self mortification…
unto bleeding….

I’m all for piousness.
I am gratified and humbled by those Desert Fathers and Mothers
and various saintly ones who have sacrificed both comfort and self
for the union of soul to the Spirit….
but this nerve pain gives new meaning to mortification…

It’s kind of like shingles, without the shingle.
Angry nerves running from the left of the lower back to the top thigh to the groin.

Is it bad if I confess that I have cut the elastic out of my underwear?

And may I add that hasn’t helped?

And that the whole thought of just going naked is making perfect sense…

I had shingles once—long ago—and caught it relatively early enough…
Such that it was short lived.

This disc business however has not been short lived.
And being a modest individual, naked would not be my first choice,
but I am a firm believer in drastic measures for drastic times…

I received notice today in the mail that the insurance company has approved the doctor’s
request to perform a nerve block next week.

How kind of them—

Because I fear if they had not been in agreement,
I might just have found myself in their office holding a cattle prod
asking for the individual who decided I did not need the nerve block.
As perhaps being prodded with electrical pulses from a naked person
might just persuade them otherwise…

I have learned a lot from lying on the floor.
I call it the perspective of a cat.
Not so much that I now know all too clearly that the ceiling fans
need a ladder and dusting…
or that dust bunnies can show up just about anywhere out of nowhere….

but rather that things can look overwhelming when looking up…

Yet the cats are undeterred by their short stature…
It bothers them not that the majority of their world towers over their heads.
They confidently saunter about here and there,
even onto my stomach while I’m flat on my back…
which is not a positive when 17 pounds walks on your stomach
and you’re already in grave pain…

I have even found myself telling my husband that I fear I am no longer earning my keep…
seeing that I’m spending more time on the floor then off the floor.

Now before you feminists out there have a hissy fit,
you need to understand that my take
on marriage is that of a constant continuum of contribution.

Each spouse contributes to the relationship.
My part / his part sort of deal.

When one party feels as if he or she is contributing more and more
as the other gives less and less—-resentment builds.

Ours has always been pretty much unspoken as we each have worked hard at contributing.
Be it going to work to make money to pay the bills…
to actually paying those said bills.
From cooking to cleaning to laundry, to ferrying growing child, to ferrying sick pets,
to cutting the grass—

As there must be balance and an evenness to what is done in a marriage.

Yet there is that whole “in sickness and in health” business….
and sadly ours is a society not too keen on that “in sickness” part.
We can “do” colds but when it comes to catastrophes,
sadly we tend to want to run and hide.

My husband reassured me as he looked down at me on the heating pad on the floor,
that I was very much keepable….

Or I think he was looking at me and not the dust bunny I had found….

So whereas I am not so quick these days, I am gaining in wisdom and appreciation.

I appreciate that I am on the floor by choice and
not because I’ve had one too many drinks to deaden the pain…

I appreciate that I don’t think the ceilings needs repainting…
as that is what I stare at now most of the time…

I appreciate the fact that the cats are well fed and perhaps actually
over weight…
yet love their mommy enough to wonder why she’s on the floor…
obviously there for their enjoyment—
cats are self-centered that way…

I am wise enough now to know that slow and steady are ok and as is often such…
goes to the winner of any race.

I am wise enough to know that things could be worse…
as I think…Dad…

I am wise enough to know that I can cry, and have, but trying to find
something, anything funny, is better…

And I appreciate that I can drive to Dad’s today to met the Hospice Nurse..
thankful and appreciative for people who want to come into people’s lives when life is
looking pretty darn bad…

I think we call that running to the sound of battle rather than from it….

Here’s to not seeing me naked holding a cattle prod as I saunter down the street….

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?
So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.
They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly;
I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control,
lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

still

“I Was In Great Need of a Pilgrimage,
So I Sat Still for Three Days.
And the Creator Came To Me.”

Kabir of India

DSCN4153
( a zoomed up shot of a ruby throated hummingbird in need of a little rest / Julie Cook / 2016

About two or so weeks ago, I did something to my back.
I don’t remember exactly where or when or even what…
yet I do know it was about two weeks ago when it started bothering me.

At first I figured, it would go away.
Pop a few Motrin, rub some of that Australian Dream cream on it, a little Tiger balm…
I’d smell to high heaven, but I’d be good to go.

Well none of that helped.

Time for the heating pad….

I was uncomfortable sleeping, sitting, riding, driving, moving…
however standing helped a little.
That was then…standing is now in the negative column.

It’s only been in the lower left flank area.
So I ruled out muscular while considering things a bit more ominous.

As I’ve had issues with osteo-arthritis and issues with a bad disk in my neck.
I quickly chalked it up to that…
More motrin…

It’s ebbed and flowed.
It’d ease off and I’d think, “yay, today is the day it doesn’t hurt,”
then I’d get up, stand or move…
back to tiger balm and a heating pad….

I began to ponder kidney stones, although I’ve never suffered with such.
But it didn’t seem to be my back really, more left flank at the hip area.
Maybe it’s scar tissue from an almost 25 year old hysterectomy….
More motrin.

In the middle of the night last night, when I got up to head to the bathroom…
of which seems to plague both babies and us older people…
I discovered that my husband had left that proverbial lid up—
after 34 years of marriage, you’d think he’d have had that whole up and down business figured out….
while I was trying to lower the lid, making certain I did not go for an in the dark dunking, something torqued… and not in a good way.

After lying in pain for the next 4 hours,
I finally decided to call the doctor’s office when they opened at 9AM

“She’s had a cancelation, can you be here by 10:45?” the receptionist asks.

I was there at 10:30.

I got called back at noon.

This is why I don’t call the doctor for appointments.

While I was sitting in the exam room, grimacing and waiting…
I spied a calendar pinned to the wall.
It was a normal calendar, not some sterile medical job…
The picture was a colorful painting of some comical chickens with the quote:

“I Was In Great Need of a Pilgrimage,
So I Sat Still for Three Days.
And the Creator Came To Me.”

Kabir of India

Hummmm….

How novel…
that the idea of needing a pilgrimage would / could in turn necessitate the thought of merely sitting.

Who knew?!

I managed an automatic smile, even in my state of pain filled delirium, at the marvelous simplicity.

Who among us, in this western hurry up and go culture of ours, thinks that
a retreat, a pilgrimage or a spiritual journey is all about simply sitting??

We’d all be busy immediately looking into travel plans…
Looking, googling, researching and booking on trivago, travelocity, kayak…
we’d scour social media in search of that most magical and marvelous place…
only the best and most spiritual of places to go…
Cause isn’t that what a pilgrimage is all about, going someplace?
As in seeking out peace, enlightenment and /or nirvana….???

Yet there in plain site, in that little cold waiting room, was the answer
to our culture’s constant questing for all things greater than ourselves…

A marvelous revelation sitting on that comical little chicken calendar…

“Be still and know that I am God”

RSCN4120

RSCN4157