Wednesday, June 30, 2010

time to change

When I started this blog it was to keep track of my ankle recovery while also giving me something to do--something that felt productive while I was immobile. My mobility has increased. I am hopeful that soon I will be giving the boot to the boot.

Along the way, sometimes my postings turned inward, sometimes outward. For those outward postings that might deem worthy, I am going to try to develop them into 2-3 essays that might be publishable. The inward postings have sometimes brought me insight, actually, they have always brought me insight, but I also encountered unintended consequencies of the risk of honest and non-private reflection.

So, I think it is time for me switch gears, to learn from my successes and failures and to change from this blog to other ventures.

If, as a reader, you want to stay engaged with what comes next, send an email to I will stay in touch with you as my writing progresses.
To those who have encouraged me, thank you. To those who have criticized me, thank you, also.

how blogs can be bad

Blogs are enticing because they are easy to do. Like my daily journal, I can open it up and just start writing. Unlike my daily journal, a blog posting can be read by others, even if I don't invite them to that particulary reading.

I fell into a black hole of my own in today's blog and hurt someone I do love. I didn't mean to hurt this person. I was trying to figure out what was wrong in our relationship. I do often imagine that my mother's dementia is congenital and that signs of it are already appearing in my life. But it could be stress or hormonal imbalance or any number of other things. I can't claim dementia in today's entry, but I was in this weird, unbalanced place after my dream about my mother which was really a nightmare.

One of the appointments I have had to keep putting off because of my injury is an appointment with a counselor that I wanted to see back in April. Back then, my issue was aging. Now, my issues are deeper and more personal. I will be able to drive soon and so that's the next step up to the bat of recovery for me.

In the meantime, I am mostly apologizing my boundarylessness on the blog. It's time for me to reassess how I use this writing and I take full responsibility for my unintentional, but still harmful, mistakes, blunders and incompetencies.

bad dreams

I had a bad dream last night, or, more accurately, early this morning. My mother, rather a woman who was acting as if she was my mother, but I knew she wasn't, was walking in the middle of rush hour traffic. I was angry with her because I was just leaving for a trip and had to set it aside (literally, I put the car by the side of the road) and take her back to her apartment with Dad, full knowing that she wasn't my mother but some actress badly playing my mother. She didn't know me, didn't have any interest in me. And my dad was also playing his part by pretending she was Mom, too. Well, I think that is a way I am still playing out my last two years or so of life with Mother as she slipped into childlike dementia that we could no longer deny. There's a part (no pun intended, but there it is) of me that worries I will go out the same way.

Mom didn't much care about us in her last years. I think part of dimentia was a self-centeredness that is uncontrollable. And her girlishness which charmed Dad in their marriage became the dominant part of her personality. I am grateful she didn't turn mean, although when she was in the hospital, she could turn mean and I heard foul language come out of her mouth that I didn't think she even knew how to verbalize.

All this rumination from a bad dream. I need to let it go and focus on the day--my morning swim, lunch with Mark and Aron, driving (solo) to get my badly needed haircut and packing for our trip.

Last night, the first of the post-monsoon sunsets appeared all pink, blue, grey with a fingerlike arc of rainbow over Sabino Canyon. The heat is necessary to bring us the rains and so I welcome those clouds with the promise of what (we all hope) is a good chubasco season. Maybe my bad dream came from this "stirred up" place where the negative ions fissure the psyche and repressed feelings bubble up like lava. I will accept the shift of the psyche and assimilate it into my awareness while, at the same time, letting it fade into the consciousness of today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

after PT

A quick posting after PT (I need some sugar to keep me going so that comes next):

Lots of new/old muscle groups starting to work again. The therapist started with a massage of ankle tissue, moving the fluid up toward the heart and it's something I can do at home. We did motion stretches and an interesting exercise with the foot on a ball, she held onto a resistance band and I rolled my leg toward my head. I could feel the upper calf and thigh muscles saying "hello", we are here! She introduced me to a pelvic/back muscle band strengthening exercise which is in preparation for the lower back to begin to do more weight bearing movements. Then we did a weight shifting exercise, rt leg shifts to left leg, vice versa and a "step up" exercise which is a kind of deconstructed marching movement with a bend in the foot front and back. Of course, the right ankle can't bend very well in the forward movement but it's pretty good toward the back. The last two I can do also in the pool.

I know that a portion of this recovery is "mental". For example, I took my first solo car drives today--just to the UA and back home but doing it alone was a big step. I have to focus more and not just "kick back" into driving habits where I took ankle/leg movements for granted. It's all about learning.

This morning, I reconnected with my meeting/recording skills and, afterwards, I felt twinges in my right back muscles--moving in old/new patterns as I scribed meeting ideas. It felt good to be doing that work again!

so, now, I will reward myself with a sugar buzz. I look forward to my evening swim tonight and soothing some of the areas that I worked hard today.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday morning

We had a very good weekend and so easing into Monday morning wasn't jolting to either of us. Plus, we have a short week before we go to see friends over the 4th of July. I did a short drive on both days but don't feel quite up to a solo venture yet. I helped with housework and rearranged a few things in my office--throwing out some stuff I don't need and labeling files that I do. I replaced some dead flowers with new blooms and that always seems to set my spirit on a good path.

This morning I will "walk" to the neighborhood pool for my swim and skip the Y until tonight when we go there and I bicycle and do weights. When I awoke this morning, I could see a bit more definition in my ankle. As the day goes on, my ankle swells, so I use the morning to compare my progress from the days before.

I found myself slipping back into some other layers of health worry yesterday, triggered by an article I read in the paper and today's article on how we and the medical system try to avoid death-talk, even in the face of it, brought back my mother-in-law's colon cancer battle (war and sports metaphors are frequently used in our deny-death and dying culture) and my mom's confusion over her slipping away due to heart failure. Both Mark and I say we want to age differently from our parents, although I have to say that the way my dad is dealing with his 91st year is close to what I would want. He exercises in and out of the pool, enjoys his weekly poker game, has made new friends in his retirement community, watches his diet (after his second ulcer hospitalization), reads his daily Bible literature, takes a monthly trip to the Casino and goes out to shop with his community members or his daughters when our schedules mesh. So I do have a "role model" for healthy aging and he and his two remaining sisters seem to have found a path that I could refer to as I move into my sixties and beyond ( I hope ).

Flashing back, in Sunday's NY Times Style section, there's an article, with photos, of the resurgance of Skee-ball. I used to play it with Dad and my sister at the VFW and I would love to play it again. I kind of think of it as bowling for people with bad backs (and now, bad ankles). Who know how much retro-stuff will have a second or third life with the younger generation, and, we aging boomers, can grab repeat rounds at games we used to play.

Hmmmm. A bit nostalgic this morning and I didn't feel that way when I started to write. But that's how it goes with writing the morning blog: it takes me where I need to go.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

a poet who lost her words

I read a story in today's Sunday NY Times about an 89 year old poet who suffered a stroke and couldn't put her words together. She tried to recite the Lord's Prayer, but could only get so far as "Our Father..." in English; however, she could recall the entire prayer in the Latin she learned as a child. She had raised seven children and always found at least 10 mins. a day to write, so she started with just 10 mins. a day in speaking her words out loud. She had a cadre of friends who came to her house to help her rediscover her words. She has healed, althought she mixes pronouns and phrases still can be confused.

There were many other stories in the paper--about the oil spill, the war in Afghanistan, the struggling economy--but I only skimmed those stories; her story I read. As I reclaim my daily life post-ankle injury I am being more selective about what I do, what I read, where I put my energies. I dropped out of a Coffee Party group because it had become too ideological for me. I stopped going to a local "meta-dialogue" because I grew tired of references to the "black swan" and all the gloom and doom of the 21st century world. I think I am not only willing to be willing to change; I am ready to change. And I want to choose my path with clarity and deliberate slowness. I am not needing to go fast, just to move.

It's like summer life in Tucson. This is our "winter of discontent." Because of over 100 degree heat, we are obliged to slow down, take siestas, maybe squeeze in what we have to do in the morning and take a deep outside breath after sunset, when the sidewalk no longer burns our feet. My plants need to be watered more often and so do I. I seek nourishment and a sense of care from other places. I don't feel like wandering but plot out the necessary outside travels with priority. I hunker down, waiting for rain.

So far, the clouds are not gathering in the East. Blue skies stretch all across the Catalina and RinCon Mountains. Butterflies are beginning to appear and my dog sheds fur by the handfuls. She needs to lighten her load, too.

If I had lost my words, what recitation would come to mind as a step toward restoration? I seem to chant a refrain from Methodist communion: "Lord, be gracious unto us and help us to accept thy blessings." Old hymns come to mind as do nursery rhymes. Deeper parts of the brain, I am reading (current Newsweek) are protected as we age, so, it's logical that as a stroke affects the frontal areas, the deeper areas might rebound more quickly. I think that might be happening with my ankle injury as well--surface scars remain but complex tissue beneath are reconfiguring and bringing me a renewed sense of strength. So I will just take this time to reshuffle my life's cards and, if I mix my pronouns, it doesn't really matter.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Not sure why, but when I awoke today I felt an internal shift taking place. Although it is true we have shifted away from the longest day of the year (6/21), toward shorter days, mere seconds less of our intense summer sun is not, yet, making a difference. But yesterday, at a meeting, I spoke out (not a new behavior), and, as I did, I looked around the room and saw that all of the others at the table were younger than I was and all but one was younger by 20-30 years. I didn't process it then, but I have since, that I am in the "legacy stage" of my public dialogue career. And while I could get depressed about that, I am not because I sense this younger generation is more than capable of taking of the next stage. I am not quite out the door yet; they still look to me for guidance, but they aren't waiting for my wisdom. I feel really good about that and it's freeing me to then look around me and see what I want to do next with my life.

This new opportunity with the Arizona Humanities Council really excites me. I have always loved reading to children; I read to Aron until he was 12! And so this PRIME TIME project seems like a perfect fit. It connects the reading to children and their families and it allows me to help them stretch what we read into the realm of big ideas, philosophy, the humanities. I know when I first discovered that realm, reading poetry at my Grandparents Dice's farm house, I knew a magical door had appeared before me. Public dialogue first drew me in with Kettering's work and it, somehow, too, presented the "big ideas" of political theory, philosophy and history as the bigger framework for community work. I haven't really been able to mesh that approach here in Tucson with the exception of the two projects that got funded by the Az. Humanities Council: Good Neighbors and the Good Life and Fields to Tables. Although neither could help "pay the bills" in the way that the Grant Road and City of Tucson work has been able to do (and I am very grateful for that work), these projects had long legs that extended into the deeper roots of community life. I sense this new project will, also.

In addition to that reality is the juxtaposition of this effort called Imagine Greater Tucson. Although I remain cautiously optimisitic about its grand plan, the group of people I am working with (mostly my age but a few younger, a few older), are smart and committed to community work. It's a bit like having the energy of the early years of the National Issues Forum, and I find that, surprisingly, I am enjoying it. I am setting some boundaries so that I don't get sucked into the vortex of egos (including my own), and need to be aware of the pull that still has for me. But, if I can keep my wits about me, I think it will be a good transition from Grant Road (which is either frozen or winding down) into the next two years of part-time community work.

So, what remains is the opportunity to write more--whether that is fiction or non-fiction. And other creative ventures may present themselves. As my ankle is slowly healing, I am slowly shifting directions. It's a good time--summer when the "livin' is easy", and, if not easy in the desert, it's definitely slower--to consider these internal shifts and be open to the way the monsoon winds blow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

it takes many people

I am so aware that my recovery is not something I can do alone. After my surgery, I blogged about an estimate of how many people it took to take care of me for 24 hours: 30. Add to that my chauffeurs, the Y lifeguards, friends who provided food, hubbie's 24/7, and now several PT staff at PROActive. It takes many people.

Yesterday was my first PT session and Kevin, who assessed me said that I had one of the best ankles he's assessed in a first week of PT. I came home with six exercises and will be going back twice a week (except for next week when we go out of town). I feel very good about getting this help in not only strengthening the ankle, but learning how to get up/down from the floor, how to assess my readiness to drive (ability to slam on the break, as Dr. B said on Monday). My back seems okay for now, though I noticed a tightness this morning and my masseuse did work on it last night. She noted that the shoulder area where I fell and where Dr. B did a manipulation is knotty, so I am tending that, too.

Today, a milestone was that I walked (boot on right, Sketchers on left, three wheeler carrying towell and flip flops) down to the neighborhood pool. I really felt good about doing this and having the neighborhood pool as an option for my swimming since the Y pool is getting really crowded during the week with little ones learning how to swim. Although the June heat is tough to take when getting around, it's perfect for the pool.

I am beginning to reemerge, like a butterfly from a cocoon, and testing my wings--how strong they are, where I can fly, and how much I can fly alone, how much I will fly with others. This feels like a good place to be.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Midsummer Day

In Tucson, many celebrate this day, also St. John the Baptist Day, as Dia de San Juan. They brave the heat and, as today, emerging humidity, in order to "bring downt the rain." To all those we commit their energies to this fiesta, I salute you! As for me, I will take shelter in an air-conditioned house today.

This morning I go for a PT assessment. My back has greatly improved. I had two doses of 400 mg of Advil yesterday (down from 600 mg) and didn't take a muscle relaxant. So far, so good. Mostly, they will focus on my ankle. I worked it a bit more yesterday when, for the first time in 12 weeks, I made a simple dinner for Mark and me. Later, at the Y, I did my now-usual 20 mins. on the bike, weights and then 5 mins. cool down on the bike. As I do the last 5 mins., I work my ankle back and forth on the pedal, stretching out the tendons. My ankle ached as I got myself ready for bed, but, after resting, it's okay (relative term) for the morning. I have a massage tonight and hope to do a neighborhood swim. Biking is, and always has been, "work" for me while swimming is mostly joy.

I wrote a new poem yesterday, a sestina--a form prompted by Writer's Digest. I pick six words and then there is a strict 7 stanza format for each stanza to end with a different configuration of the six words. Interesting exercise. I may tweak it later, but, as a Midsummer Day gift, here it is:

Sestina exercise from Writer’s Digest, May/June, 2010 p. 15
Yellow Birds Soar Swiftly Toward Sky by a.fonte 6/23/2010

In the morning, yellow
flowers open. Birds
flutter their wings and soar
upward, into the clouds, swiftly
moving white strands toward
the sun in the sky.

Transformed by clouds, the sky
stretches beyond our view where yellow
flowers open leaves toward
the light. Songs of birds
aflight soften swiftly
as they soar.

Our spirits also soar
gathered up by colors of the sky,
as morning swiftly
changes into noon. Yellow
petals begin to droop, birds
scatter forward and toward.

We walk toward
the garden, where green tendrils soar
up the brown walls. Birds
hover above in the sky.
Squash blossoms are yellow
as we pick them swiftly.

Moving swiftly,
we skip toward
the kitchen, where yellow
lemons and peppers are boiling. Water vapors soar
into the air. The sky
outside is a mélange of clouds and birds.

Cooling them swiftly
we push vegetables toward
the sharp knife and slices of yellow
pepper, lemons and squash soar
into the kitchen air. Outside, the noontime sky
is bright with light, shining on the wings of birds.

Busy birds
gather together swiftly,
sheltered from the hot, desert sky.
They bustle toward
cool shady branches that soar
thickly together in a forest shining yellow.

Yellow birds
soar swiftly
toward sky.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

midsummer night

Tonight is Midsummer Night or Herb Night. I have some herbs in my garden and since I can walk out there, carefully, now I can pick some of my own and keep an ancient tradition alive (fresh rosemary will go well with grilled pork chops).

I slept better last nite with the combo of Advil and small half of muscle relaxant. I will go to the Y to swim this morning (Mark and I bicycled there last night) and I will see if my left side is as taut as it was Monday. I have a physical therapy assessment tomorrow and we'll see what I need to do and how to do it.

I found this quote in a magazine, which I like and will post on my profile:

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."--Mahatma Ghandi

We definitely live in a time of speeded up time. When I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of the things I like is that the tv show is slower than most of the b.s. on television today. Of course, if I want slllloooowwww, I turn on to AMC and watch a 1930-1940s movie. If I do that after lunch, it's like taking a nap pill. I relax, turn off the sound (actors/actresses such as Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant show a lot in their faces and I don't always need the dialogue), watch the faces and fake Hollywood scenery and nod off for 30 mins.

After my nap today, I will review my new Writer's Digest Mag and do at least one writing prompt. I need to make myself schedule in writing or I won't do it. I think when Rita and I start to work together on my essays (taken from this blog site), I will be more disciplined.

So, I am looking forward to living my slow life today, gathering herbs on Midsummer Night, without back pain and with a slowly improving ankle.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

short write

Well, I misunderstood my Dr B. and took the muscle relaxant last night but not the Advil. I thought it was an either/or deal not a both. Thus my spasms, tho milder, continued enough so I could only sleep on my right side which I can only do for a few hours at time. I woke early, had breakfast, felt "hung over", so took my Advil and went back to bed. I am still tired now, so, tonight I will take less of the medication (I didn't take a whole one last night, only 2/3, but I am very drug sensitive).

I figured out that, to go to a meeting this morning, I would wear the black mule shoe, take the other so that I could change out of the boot, into the shoe during the meeting. This allowed me to walk around a bit and keep the swelling down AND, most importantly right now, not trigger a muscle spasm. That seemed to work. Swimming last night helped but I noticed the tightening on my left side, particularly when I did the side stroke.

Since I am so tired, I think this is all I can do for today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

from Dr. A to Dr. B. to Dr. C.

Well, maybe I sensed something was happening to my back when I wrote, on Friday, about setbacks in recovery. In any case, whether I did or didn't, after a morning massage and yesterday's lunch on Father's Day, my spasms got worse. They were so bad but the afternoon, I was crying. Nothing seemed to be working, neither ice nor heat. I was in email exchange with Dr. C. but, on the edge of going to the ER, I called my primary doctor's office and got a nurse on call. She recommended I increase my dose of Advil to 800 mg (up from 200) and I settled, so far, on 600 mg every seven hours. She made some comments that suggested this could be a bulging disc problem which I had 20 years ago and, though the pain was different this time, that scared me. She suggested I get to Dr. B's office in the morning.

Sleep was scattered at best: I could only sleep on my right side but even with pillows, the pressure woke me up every two hours. I could not sleep on my back or left side. We did get to Dr. B who is also an osteopath and he said my left side was "locked up." He had an ankle injury 13 years ago and shared some of his recovery story. He did manipulations to my pelvis, back, shoulders and neck. My left shoulder, he said, had a tendon out of place (my masseuse had been noticing my lack of range of motion in that shoulder and arm) so "pop!", another manipulation which hurt before it brought relief. He ordered me a muscle relaxant and physical therapy assessment. I brought in the 3 pairs of shoes I had bought at Target on Saturday and the white flipflop had the right height. The shoe I wore yesterday was too high. He suggested I buy Sketchers because they have a similar height and rolling sole like the boot. So we went to the store and (100 bucks!) bought a pair in sandal style.

I will stick to Advil during the day and hope I can get a nap but, so far, I can't lay down and rest very well in any position. I can sit and type but I won't do that all day!

When I got home, I had a phone and email message from Dr. C okaying a PT assessment and muscle relaxant, so now I (Dr. A) just have to make sure that notes from Dr. B go to Dr. C. I certainly want to be doing what both want/need me to do in physical therapy and make sure Dr. C. knows what Dr. B recommended (and change the directions, if needed).

It's been an exhausting Friday-Monday period. Not a very Happy Father's Day, but I hope the week will get better.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

father's day

So a hundred years ago, a woman was sitting in a Methodist Church and, listening to a sermon, came up with idea for this day. I am sure Hallmark, restaurants, makers of grills and Stanley tools are grateful to her, or should be.

As for me, of course, I am grateful to my dad, but it wasn't an easy path to get to this place of gratitude. From childhood pics, I think I was loved, but I remember the pre-adolescent and teen years when we butted heads. I got the raw end of his hands or a paint paddle when I "talked back", but it didn't stop me from talking. I diverted my father needs to Mr. Eisner in junior high and high school and his advice to me, given as he drove me home from babysitting his three girls, helped me avoid common teenage mistakes. It was also Mr. Eisner who got me a teacher's scholarship, but first I had to "serve time" at the community college for a year to prove to my dad that I was worthy. He also made me take out a school loan which, he told me years later, he had always planned to pay off if I finished college, which I did. But our tumult was yet to continue: when I moved in with Mark, Dad wrote me a scathing letter and "disowned me." A year later, he didn't come to our desert wedding but he did pay for a post-wedding dinner when Mark and I went back to Illinois after the wedding. A year later, he "came 'round" with Mark when we were both in graduate school in DeKalb and Dad got to see that a) his son-in-law was a hard worker and b) life was going to change no matter how Dad tried to stop it.

Fast forward six years and Mark became a dad. I was pushing parenthood a couple of years before that but it wasn't just "happening", so the path toward adoption was added to our options and it was the path that opened up for us. Mark took paternity leave from the UA and tended to Aron with me in those first three weeks. Always a workaholic, devoted motorcylists and, until a fall, avid bicyclist, it wasn't natural for him to be a Dad. I don't think he had a very strong role model for the responsibilities outside of income-earning, but, partly because Aron was such a happy kid, being with his son became a joy-relief for Mark. They had Saturdays at Micky D's, archery practice, golfing (for a brief while), and we three always enjoyed movies, Star Trek and X-Files tv shows.

As with me and my dad, the teenage years were troubled, but, as Aron moves toward thirty, I see traits learned from his dad have emerged: commitment to work, loyalty to family and friends, passion for sports (different than Mark's avid interest in motorcyling, but still "a guy thing).

I tremble to think how I could have been a mother without Mark as a father. If my dad had checked out early in my life, my mom would have had to be a different person, too. I am grateful to them both--to my Grandfather Dice, also, who tended gardens with stoic conviction, although my Grandpa Fonte is a detached memory of the smell of beer on his mustache and anger that swirled around his living room chair.

Men are different from women. The role of father is different, still, from that of a mother. Memories of both, if one is lucky, form a stability for a child, even when she/he herself has entered post-middle age.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

P.S. to eleven weeks

I didn't anticipate a second entry today but here it is:

Last night I did experience a back spasm on my left side which I attributed to a "reach" to turn off the bedside light. It calmed down this morning and I only felt a couple of twinges in the pool. However, when, with the boot on, we went out to eat and I put my leg up as I have been doing for weeks, the spasms started and would not stop! I could barely breath.

Fortunately, we went to my massage place and I caught one of the staff just as she was leaving. Afterr a thirty minute treatment with BioFreeze and cold stones, I am much better. She diagnosed what I sort of felt was happening: my pelvis is out of alignment with the boot, now that I am "walking" with it, higher than the left leg.

She suggested I wear a higher heeled shoe on the left, like a mule shoe, which I have but it's a winter shoe so I will have to look for something else. She showed me how to put towels under the right hip at night or towels under the left side curve if I sleep on my left, which I usually do. I will alternate ice and heat today and make sure I don't put my right leg higher than the left.

The pain from the back spasms was worse than anything I experienced from the ankle. I walked out of the massage in two same shoes but with the walker so I wouldn't immediately aggravate the back. I think I now have questions about using the boot for the next three weeks without throwing the back out of whack. More questions for my doctor!

eleven weeks

Eleven weeks ago today, the ladder fell on me, breaking and dislocating my ankle. This morning, I toddled (my new word to signify that I walk as if I were a toddler) from the bedroom to the breakfast table, albeit only about 25 feet. My ankle has a band of stiffness around it, mostly in the front and various twinges and sensations from time to time. It still swells up, but not as much, still is a different color than the left ankle/foot but not as deep ruddy as a week ago. I walked, in boot, from the car to and through Walgreen's yesterday. Each milestone is a "stretch", but having done it, I look for the next (modest) challenge. This is what ankle surgery recovery looks like for me. So far, knock loudly on wood, I haven't "slipped" backward, but since life doesn't flow in a straight line, if I have a day or time when I seem to be stuck, or even lose strength a bit, I hope I remember not to despair but to be aware, accept and act in a healthy way to regain my path.

Non physical recovery is similar, although instead of the not so subtle reminders of injury/weakness, I don't become aware until I get a strong message of vearing off the right path. It's easier to live in denial because the signs of slipping are subtle. This morning I was affected by a back spasm I had during the night. I was looking forward to two zucchini muffins we brought home from a restaurant. But they were hard as rocks. So, then, I acquiesced to toast and a fried egg. Mark, after thirty four years of marriage, still refuses to sprinkle a bit of salt on my egg and he does not know (or willing to try to know) how to test an egg for doneness (by poking the egg with a fork). I like my eggs hard; he likes his eggs soft. So I got a runny egg with my second choice toast. And I flipped out. Underneath the frustration is a lingering sense that he doesn't know or pay attention to me--that I feel emotionally abandoned. I have the same issue with Aron sometimes (and work colleagues). Obviously, this is a core issue. Next week I start sessions (originally planned for April) with a psychiatrist and although I thought I was going to see her about fear-of-aging issues, I think this abandonment pattern is another core element I need to explore.

One of the oddities of where I am, in public, with the ankle is that, in the past two weeks, I have been approached several times (at the Y, at lunch) by middle-aged/sixty year old men who a) want to know what happened to by leg and b) seem to want to linger to talk to me. There must be some kind of vulnerability in the boot that they sense and what else I don't know. But I don't dislike the attention, I admit. It's a kind of reverse vanity experience. I have done "full disclosure" with Mark about this, but it's an unexpected twist (no pun intended) to my ankle recovery.

Later today, I will try to drive. Now THAT will be interesting. It may take me another week or so to "get there", so I am keeping my expectations modest. But today will be another attempt to become whole again. That's an illusion, I know: the experience has altered my perceptions and time will tell if that alteration is superficial or deep.

Friday, June 18, 2010

first steps

I took my first wobbly steps without the walker yesterday! Here's how I made the physical and psychological transition from post surgery to first steps:

1. Starting the week after the accident 4/10, I did massages twice a week, sitting in a chair with my casted leg on a stool. I have shifted to once a week as I added swimming and, after Dr's okay, got on the massage table with treatment still focused on my back, arms, hands and neck. This week, she added a solid leg massage to my left/good leg and a softer treatment to the knee and thigh on my left, very gentle tough and Reiki to the calf and left ankle and foot.

2. Pool therapy: Since the stitches were removed, I did pool therapy 4-6 times a week. I started with walking in the water almost under my neck, began with the side stroke. In the second week, I added a very lopsided breaststroke and back crawl with the frog kick. I then added bicycling in the water, holding onto the rail in the pool. After the doctor gave me the okay, I added the freestyle and flutter kick (first, just the flutterkick holding onto the rail and then, later, the full stroke). I began to walk in water only up to my waist. It was, again, wobbly at first, but then it became more balanced. During this time (about a month), the lifeguards assisted me in and out of the pool. Last week, I began to get out of the pool, leading with my left/good leg and this week added getting into the pool (four step), again, leading with my left leg.

3. Bicycle therapy and body weights: For the past week, I have added bicycling on a recumbant bike at the Y. At first, the RPM was about 20 but now I am up to 60. I started with 10 mins, and then 5 mins after I also did some upper body weights and yesterday up to 20 mins (1 mile) and 5 mins after weights. Even while I was in my cast, I did free arm weights at home so I was only down 20 lbs when I restarted at the Y. So, starting at 30 lbs on most weight stations, I am up to 40, a couple of 50 lbs, at the different weight stations and I added one weight station which exercises the back of the thigh muscles. When I bicycle, I do not wear my boot and have, this week, started to flex my ankle more on the pedals as I push.

4. Gradual body weight gain: Througout the past two weeks, I followed Dr's order about adding 25 lbs every three days. The first 50 lbs were the hardest to do. The last 25 was the easiest. I pretty much stayed on schedule, weighing myself when I had the boot on (I always wear it when I go out but use a soft shoe for going from the couch or bed to the bathroom). Balance on it has been tricky but easier as I added weight. My body weight is (hard to tell exactly) but around 122-125 lbs.

5. Treadmill: Although the Dr. didn't say I could (and I forgot to ask), I started on the treadmill yesterday with the boot. I only did it for five minutes but I did it, after the first minute, without holding on to the rails, so I begin to remember what it feels like to balance while I walk. That was a key memory for me to experience.

6. Walking: So, when I got home, with the boot on, I walked around the house several times. It felt great! I am still using the walker for going up and down our small step but I suspect I will gain more confidence about balance and, as I practice steps in the pool, be able to let go of the walker around the single step. Then, it's just one step at a time. I think leading with my left makes sense for now.

At night, maybe because of the additional efforts, at night, I awake and my calf muscle aches. I took a tylenol last night and that helped. Trying to sleep on my side with a flat pillow between my legs has mixed success. My masseuse suggested a body pillow, so maybe I will look into that.

I hope to try my foot on the gas pedal and brake this weekend. If it goes well, I will drive with my shoe and put the boot on when I get out. If not, I will try again next weekend. But from walking to wheels is a good goal.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Since I have been adding weight to my ankle/right leg (now almost up to 120 lbs, so closing in on full body weight), I suppose not surprisingly, my muscle aches have increased at night and I haven't been sleeping very well. Maybe it's time to suck it up and take a Tylenol before bed. I am dragging today, so will take a morning nap or wait until after I bicycle at the Y later. I am glad I have a massage schedule and maybe I will ask her to pay attention to my leg a bit.

My mind seems to have energy in the morning but, like the birds I watch outside, my thoughts don't want to settle anywhere. I skim the newspaper, read my daily literature and then find my thoughts wandering into melancholy land. Yesterday I watched a 1947 film starring Spencer Tracy and Katherin Hepburn, "Keeper of the Flame", but it wasn't one of their jolly films. Instead, it was a bit film noir--back lighting and shadows, woods and raging rivers--about the rise of an "American hero" who was really planting the seeds of Nazism in the U.S. It seemed uncomfortably close to the temper of our times where racism and hatreds against "others" is becoming more mainstream. This is where my thoughts go---into a sense of doom about where our country is headed, one red tar ball at a time.

I want to rediscover hope and put myself into a place of creativity and imagination. That's one reason why the newly awarded NEH grant, Prime Time, that I will be part of is something I am looking forward to (along with a trip to hot and humid New Orleans next month). The local stuff I am doing is less hopeful, so mired down in the muck of low to midlevel local politics. I also think I need to take a break from watching "The Tudors": the last three episodes charted the decline of Anne Boelyn and graphically showed beheadings of her supposed lovers (all orchestrated by Cromwell, in part, because Anne didn't want the recently claimed Catholic riches to be turned over to the King, but, instead, wanted houses of literacy for women and children).

So, instead of political gloom and doom, maybe this afternoon, I will try to soothe my butterfly brain by reading the NEH materials that came in the mail, including a new version of "The Three Little Pigs" with great illustrations. I need to let my imagination breath in the light a bit and, with some rest, rediscover the joys (and meaningful order) of stories.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

goin' home

In the New Yorker a few weeks ago, the music of Dvorak was analyzed and I read it mainly because his "New World Symphony" was one of my favorites to play in high school. There's a clarinet solo in it as the prelude to the section "goin' home" that is soulful and, I thought, based on a Negro spiritual. But, the article, contends that this may not be the case; that a Slovakian folk song may be the basis for the melancholy melody. It doesn't matter because I love it anyway and the memory of it recalls the joy I felt in orchestra and band sessions--the music, the learning, and the unique social encounters I experienced with my fellow and sister musicians. It was the rare place in high school where the grades mixed, and how you were placed depended solely on your ability at the time. I witnessed batons being thrown at dozing percussion players, cajoling and smiles used as soft butter to get a nervous soloist (often, me) to relax and let the music flow out of the reed.

Another tidbit in the article: I didn't know that a recent rapper, Ludicris, has used the symphony as background for one of his riffs, but it just goes to show that another generation of musicians can recognize and adapt beauty for contemporary appreciation.

So what is the message of today's blog? About music and memory, I guess. But the phrase of the title evokes death and maybe that's on my mind, too. I had a vivid dream about my mom the night before last and, yesterday, I saw a scene on a soap opera of an elderly woman in the hospital and the actress accurately captured the way the body sags when life's juices have left before the heart stops. I remember how my mom's purple patched arms would just hang at her sides. Until the last two weeks of her life, she still cared about how her hair was combed, and then, at the end, she just didn't anymore. Surprisingly, in her death path she took on the visage of my grandfather--shock of white hair standing on end, jaw angular and sharp. Her hands were not his hands which were large and knobby. His were perfect farmer hands. Her hands were petite and thin-nailed and perfect for the cash register at Ben Franklin's and for sorting out bobbins and threads in the fabric department.

The first year anniversary of her death is coming up in August and I don't know what, if anything, I want to do to mark it. I am the only person in the family that has, with Mark, been at her graveside. It's an ugly piece of rock set amidst a desert crematorium, the land all around covered by desert rocks (it cuts down on water use, I give you that). I did put a ceramic bird on it and a rock from their Green Valley house that I painted with my, Mark's and Aron's name, but someone removed it last time I was there and that pissed me off, so I haven't been back.

As I relearn how to walk, I begin to imagine where I will go, how I will get there, what I will do differently, what I will do the same. I still have a 91 year old dad to pay attention to and I know what's ahead, just not how and when. That's true for all of us and as life's impermanence taps at my office window, I see one of my summer plants has died and needs to be replaced. Not as easily done with people--especially a parent. One dies and another remains but falters. As I wait for Mark's travel return, I recall how it has felt to be alone. One of us will precede the other and I don't want to dwell on that reality--just ponder it so that I will appreciate today: my morning swim, time with a friend, cool afternoon siesta, sweet swallows of the pulp from red cherries. And music playing softly, in the background.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Slow start

I went to bed a bit early (couldn't make it through "Star Trek"; the story was about Diana Troii and I don't like her character) and woke up before 5 with an aching leg (calf area--getting the muscle back, I think) and tossed and turned, so I might nap before going to the Y to bicycle this morning.

Already several growth challenges in the morning--front page news about emerging considerations for cancer treatments, evidence that BP screwed up because they were trying to save money, and a bank overdraft notice that Aron's not balancing (again) his budget. The latter, of course, is the biggest hook I have to avoid because it's an old pattern that he cannot seem to break--even though his recent house move was supposed to lower his housing costs. Obviously, he is overspending on something else. I would so like to think he is "on his way" and I guess he is, but just not the path I prefer.

As to my path--I met with a younger UA colleague yesterday and was more open to a repeat of a suggestion he made to me earlier, that I should be writing about my community experiences so that the "next generation" can benefit from my knowledge. It's another indicator that I should write and I did break into my new writing book yesterday and got through several of the exercises, including drawing a mandala--pretty right brain stuff for me.

In yesterday's mail I just opened today, one of two ordered books came "Predictably Irrational" and I look forward to reading it. Also, got a large packet of materials for the NEH grant that starts in July. I am meeting with my friend/colleague later today and we'll go over those materials together. I also got a new writing magazine, so I can definitely "hear" the message from my Higher Power about what path I need to be walking--even if it is at a slow, awkward pace.

That is how I am beginning to walk around the house. I am leaning on the left side of the walker and trying to let go of the right, putting my weight on the leg, not my arm on the walker. It's a slog but I can carry something in my hand now. I don't like the ruddy color my foot/ankle still takes on when it is not raised but I guess circulation is still not normal. I can feel, along with sluggishness this morning, a bit of frustration with progress coming on, so I do need to get to the Y and do what I can to heal.

short today. and slow.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Today is Flag Day and I don't have an American flag to hang, or wave or even stick in a pot. My dad used to put a flag in a metal post on the front "stoop" (we had three cement stairs which constituted our porch) on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July. Since we went to visit the Fonte family cemetary plot every Sunday so that Dad could trip the two evergreens on each side of the granite gravestone, we often saw the VFW putting out flags on Sundays before a holiday. I have been to Arlington, San Diego and even our own local cemetary and seen the tiny graveside flags blowing in the wind.

Once, when a friend and academic colleague and I went to a conference in Athens, Georgia, on our winding way from Atlanta to Athens, we say Confederacy Flags hanging on porches and the occasional pole with the Confederacy flag hanging above the Stars and Stripes.

There's the iconic sight of a flag being hoisted on Iwo Jima, later set in a sculpture to freeze a moment in time that, it seems from later research, might never have occurred. Right now, I can see flags of the world unfurled in the stands and streets of the World Cup in South Africa.

Flags are waved to start a car race, flags are thrown down to mark a penalty in football (whether it is U.S. football or European "football" which is soccer). White flags are supposed to signal a truce and, of course, there is the Scull and Bones flag for pirate ships.

I don't know when the first flag was invented--not the 1777 U.S. flag, but the first flag for a group of cave people in France or nomads in Africa. It's a way, I suppose, of saying "this is who we are" and maybe you can be part of us, or not. It's a way of identifying a boundary.

I feel as if I need a tiny flag of my own these days--to send a signal of "do not disturb me, I am writing" or "please help me, I am feeling blue." It would be a good idea to learn how to signal, not only boundaries, but our changing directions of life. A flag could suggest to us which way the wind is blowing and we could adjust our speed accordingly.

Just for today, I will hoist my flag and test our the wind--I will color it yellow and lavendar like the petals on one of my porch flowers. The flag will be my guide for today's adventures.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday morning

I have the tunes of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Sunday morning" from The Flower Drum Song (on TMC last night) in my head as I transition from the NY Times to the computer and back to NY times sections this morning. In between, I enjoyed Vivaldi and birdsong while sipping a mild cafe au lait, orange juice and Cheerios (multigrain) with blueberries for breakfast. One of the writing details I have noticed in the stories I am ready is the density of details. I went to a workshop at PCC in the fall and that, also, was the theme of the session. I guess I tend to gloss over the details as I write and, probably with that admission, I gloss over the details of living, too.

Sunday morning is a bit slower than the other six days of the week and so I can take more time to pay attention to details: a small dead bird by the patio door, probably the victim of a youngster's not knowing the "rules of the road" and unable to distinguish a clear path from the patio reflections; rose petals bending to a breeze outside my office window; the patches of fur shedding from Lia's dark coat as she adjusts to the warmer summer temperatures; the slight angling of my foot forward on my right ankle as I more easily slip my foot into a padded shoe that I wear (cheating a bit on the dr's instructions for wearing my boot) around the house. So, see, I can pay attention if I choose to do so.

I asked a friend to help me adjust some of my blog selections into essay form, not really knowing what that means. I miss the essay writer we used to have with the local newspaper, but, of course, a few remain, such as Garrison Keillor and Barbara Kingsolver. I will probably pay more attention to them now since I have given myself permission to move into the nonfiction/essay format which does seem to be working for me right now, via the blog. As to my ventures into fiction, I have asked another friend to help me research the period of 1870s in Cleveland for background on the piece I started to develop and then put aside for awhile. Small steps but not stuck completely.

I am looking forward to watching the Tony's tonight. While I haven't been a big fan of Broadway drama, I love the musicals and choreography. There were several dance numbers in the 1961 Flower Drum Song that I enjoyed and I had forgotten the (self-named?) Hermes Pan who choreographed that show. Creativity exists and in times of the Gulf oil spill's failure, we need it now very much.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sharing my space

I am adjusting to having a guest-helper share my homespace with me, help with light chores, walk the dog, etc. It is an adjustment for me because I like my privacy, I guess, more than I think I do. If it's not challenged, I guess I don't experience how I feel about my boundaries and, particularly with homespace. I think as long as I have a mild sense of control, I will be all right.

Yesterday eve, with the wind blowing from the South, I took my walker and, with boot, hobbled down to the neighborhood corner. It was a haul, and I did see a neighbor on the way which was nice. I am, again, humbled by how little I can do and how slowly I need to do it. I began to fret a bit about how I am going to manage the Denver airport and I think Mark and I need to see if the airlines can accomodate a) my boot and b) a scooter-cart to get me where I need to go. Then, when we get to Deb and Mike's, I will need to be modest in my expectations of what I can do. Twinges, mild ones, prevented my dropping of to sleep right away but I had a pretty good night. My arms ache a bit from the upper body weights I am reintroducing my body to but today I will swim and then, tomorrow, do biking and weights again. Maybe alternating routines for the coming week is a good idea.

I asked for a bit of "help from my friend" yesterday with my writing. I think, since I am enjoying (more or less) my blog, I will focus on non-fiction for right now and just "write". I will be open to the creative urge as it arises but I won't get stuck in frustration if it doesn't. Other work is kind of on the edge right now and maybe there is something "around the corner" that will arise if I just keep moving between doorways (you know: one door closes, another opens--that kind of thing).

With someone else/new in the housespace with me now I kind of feel mentally constrained a bit so this will be short today. Short is okay, even a sentence, one of my readings suggests, counts as writing-everyday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Gene Kelly's joy of dancing

Another stage of recovery--learning, by necessity, to do more on my own. Something has shifted in the ankle healing--it's definitely less stiff and my weight on it is edging past 60 lbs. I went to the Y twice yesterday and I got myself out of the swimming pool. I can't go in yet without assistance but the water buoyancy helped lift me out as I walked up the steps. Then, after a soothing massage, we went back to the Y in the p.m. and I did the bicycle with a few added minutes (not pushing the speed or strength yet), and did my upper body weights. It sure "tuckers" me out! Today, Y pool is closed for repairs so I will just to the bicycle (I hope it's not too busy) and weights. I may try to take a short "walk" (with boot and walker) this evening, just to see how that feels.

Yesterday I caught a TMC 1950s musical I hadn't seen in its entirety: Summer Stock, starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Judy had a hairstyle that I recall my mother (probably like other 1950s moms) emmulated and I caught a glimpse of a shiny ankle bracelet on the secondary female character and recalled Mom wearing one of those, too. The kitchen stove in one of the scenes reminded me of my grandmother's kitchen. So, emotionally, I was connecting to the story. But the highlight was a scene with Gene Kelly, dancing "solo" with the assistance of a) a squeaking floor board and b) a sheet of newspaper. I watched him as he "discovered" how he could dance with these two props and, as significantly, I watched his facial expressions alter from surprise to joy/elation. It was a highlight of my day! As his feet pranced through steps and sound, as he deftly, with his feet, "cut" the paper into half, into quarters, into smaller pieces, I marveled at his body form and, of course, the strength of his ankles and feet.

When I turned fifty, I put my tap shoes back on and took a class here, even performed on stage for the spring recital. It was great fun-and once I did it, I didn't feel that I had to "keep it up." But I will always love dancing, appreciating the best, such as Gene Kelly (way cuter than Fred Astaire, and more athletic in his approach to dancing). And I am grateful I can recall how I was once able to dance, how, as I think about it now, my mom also loved to dance--even how she and Dad met at a YMCA dance club in the 1940s. Soft shoe or jazz, ballet or breakdance, moving the feet is an expression of joy and other emotions. So catch a Gene Kelly movie or watch "So You Think You Can Dance"--movement is great, even when it's just relearning how to walk up a stairstep.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

on wheels

Another emotional roller coaster day for me yesterday but, at the end of the day, a minor/major breakthrough: Mark and I went to the Y and I rode the recumbant bicycle! Of course, my speed and pressure was so low the digital reading said "pedal it!" but I was, best as I could. I actually put on a shoe what we had to cut a bit to fit my still mildy swollen foot and it was weird to have a shoe on my foot. My left leg did most of the pressure, but as I gained confidence, I pushed a bit with my right and moved the ankle up and back (range of motion) and it felt okay. I did 10 mins., then did a few weights (which I adjusted from my former weight pressure so that I didn't rely on my legs for lifting), and back to the bike for another five minutes. My right thigh, I think, felt the effort although I didn't suffer at all during the night and didn't need to take a tylenol last night or this morning. After the cycling, the color on my foot looked almost normal.

So another example of restored normalcy is at hand. Timing is good because I will be on my own a bit more for a few days and I needed to feel more confident about my strength. I made the bed again this morning and it wasn't as hard to do as when I tried over the weekend.

I have a conference call soon and I expect we will hear more news about whether my billable work continues or not. I am expecting "not" and so will be surprised if we do still have work this summer. I am not going to get stuck on this. I can't. I do have this new little humanities project (and July trip to New Orleans) to look forward to and my other community/pro bono project is picking up some steam. I am also going to volunteer to be on a housing commission board and try to reengage with my passion for housing that way.

As I slowly open up my mind to writing possibilities, the concept of home and housing resurfaces. I wrote about the meaning of home while in grad school and I can revisit that essay and add layers to it, I think. Since I am spending so much time at home, it makes sense to write about my environment in more detail. Our water bill this month shows that we are spending more money on watering the flowers and tho it's a luxury, as I sit here and look out my window, the sight of flowers make the scene softer. I am not sure that I will be on wheels enough any time soon to "walk" around my block, but eventually I will and eventually I will walk without a walker, wheeled or not, and eventually, I will be able to ride the Y bike and register more strength as I "pedal it"!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's not easy

This business or task that I need to do each day, putting weight on the ankle is not an easy one. Yesterday I shed tears of fatigue and frustration and I didn't have a good night's sleep. My ankle ached (not where the bones or plate or screws are, but around the tissue and tendons where stiffnes sets in) and my left leg ached, too, still does this morning. I think I need to take tylenol again as I "up" the effort. Maybe that will help.

I need a change of scenery and attitude also, but the former won't be happening for three weeks when we fly to Colorado for the 4th of July. An attitude shift is something I can do, have done repeatedly throughout these two months, and it takes energy I don't feel I have today. Swimming later this morning will kick in the endorphins and that should help. Over email, I received notice yesterday that a small grant I am part of got funding and so I will have a quick trip to New Orleans the end of July. Since one of my good friends (and chauffeur) will also be part of this grant, I hope we can extend our visit by a day or two and, even more essential, I hope I can walk in New Orleans. Walking just seems like a distant reality to me. As I wrote yesterday, I don't want to write about my current life and I just don't feel much like writing, other than the blog, at all again "just for today." I am physically, mentally, and spiritually stuck.

No easy answers are rippling up in my consciousness, no new small tasks I can take on to demonstrate that progress is being made. Just more laps in the water, more steps at the shallow end--that will have to suffice for acts of moving forward for today.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

just for today

I had a morning meeting to go to so just now getting to the blog. Actually, I might have forgotten about it except I was reading about writing and the reading reminded me to write every day and I thought, "thank goodness I set up the daily blog." And then I remembered I hadn't written yet, so here I am.

Afternoons are not my best writing time, if any time is--I want to veg out and just read, especially in the summer when siestas are so appealing. I took one after a lunch snack when I got home, just could not keep my eyes open so off I drifted, coming back to watch city council study session on t.v. They are supposed to be talking about the suspended roadway projects, or so I thought, but not yet discussed on the agenda.

As I was reading about writing the exercise was asking what part of my life do I want to write about. My eyes teared up because I really do NOT want to write up my life as part of a story, although several prompts keep telling me I should. I want to write about a story that is outside of the life and times that I am living. Except for my blog, I do not want to live in today. I want to write about women in paintings that I like. I want to explore the rooms they live in, the food they eat, the gardens they grow. I do not want to be in the NOW.

Now means I am trying to figure out how to walk again. I am "up to" 40 lbs. on my ankle with body weight but cannot figure out how to get to 50. I am leaning from my hips a bit, putting weight on the ankle from the thigh, but it's such an absurdly deliberate movement. Surely, walking isn't this hard? Maybe it is, though. Maybe I am like the long-armed ape, hanging from a tree, trying to figure out what the heck am I supposed to do when I stand up from four legs to two? I am trying to figure out how to walk from one leg plus a walker to just two legs, so I guess geometry, physics and some other elements of the psyche are necessary to take these steps again.

See why the NOW isn't that fun? Who wants to figure out how to walk along a cement floor when waltzing in a ballroom is so appealing? And yet, I don't write about that either. I have my daily haiku and the blog which kind of sounds dreary today, even to me. Oh, well, it's just for today, I hope.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Next stage today is to add 25 lbs to my weight-on-ankle. It's interesting to experience this gradual buildup to what it takes to walk again. Of course, when I was a baby, the first skills came with tumbles and falls, I assume, but nothing too far from the ground. And, looking at my baby pictures, I was pretty well padded in all areas, so if I took a fall it had plenty of cushion. Although I would venture a guess that I have added padding to my butt, after sitting on it a lot for over two months, the idea of a fall scares me a lot. I am very cautious about where I walk now, although I almost stumbled with the walker at a cafe whose floor mat got caught up in the walker poles.

So, the prospect of going without the walker, even though I want to get there and do it, poses some mental stress. I guess the concept of gradually building up the physical strength of the ankle is parallel to building up mental strength, also. As my confidence in the mended bones increases, I will be ready, in two weeks or so, to really walk (with the boot). One step at a time.

Mark and I enjoyed our lunch with friends yesterday. It was so good to get out to a) another restaurant and b) reconnect with our peers. All of our meals out so far have been with each other and/or Dad and Aron. Family times are good, but it is also important that Mark and I can connect with people closer to our own age and life experience. He and I also are enjoying our evening swim times and I am trying not to get pulled into an early-depression about his upcoming trip. Even if I can walk down to the neighborhood pool, I don't know if trying to get in and out without help is worth the risk for a couple of days. But if I don't get out, I will have a rough time getting through the days. Oh, well, we'll see what happens this week and go from there.

I know I have to refocus on work, billable or not, and put energy into external life, not just the internal healing of my ankle (and psyche). Yesterday, I dealt with accumulating papers in my home office which was a start. Today, I need to apply more of my mind to accumulating tasks.
So, I will, like adding more physical weight to the ankle, apply more mental weight to what I need to do.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

changing schedule

I realized yesterday, after falling off the edge into a rage with Mark when he came home later than I expected, that Saturdays are really hard for me. Saturdays, under normal conditions, are when we get chores and errands done, mostly together. Now, I continue to be stuck at home a lot and, since I am feeling better, and, yesterday actually had energy after a decent night's sleep, I wanted to be going, too, and I wasn't. When we finally did get out together (sort of, Mark went shopping without me while I had an iced tea), I almost began to cry, so I knew I was hitting an emotional bottom.

I convinced him to NOT get up to walk Lia this morning and I think, for the summer, we should adapt to the "slow life" on Sundays. She won't miss one day and we both sleep in, which we did today until 7:15. He was more calm and so the day began a bit differently. Also, with Aron bringing back the SUV so that Mark can walk the dog, I, immediately in the morning, have to deal with whatever mood Aron is in. He's never been a morning person, so sometimes he can be in a really dark place and I don't need that seven days a week. A Sunday schedule change seems best for the three of us right now and Lia will just have to adjust.

Another change is that Mark and I are heading to the neighborhood pool around 5:45-6:15p.m. or so and that helps with our physical therapy and we also seem to have a different kind of conversation as we relax in the cool water after a hot day. I hope that I can get myself in and out of the pool by myself before he leaves on his trip, but we'll see how that goes after I add on another 25 lbs Mon-Wed, and another 25 lbs (up to 75 lbs), Thursday-Saturday. By the time he returns, I hope to be up to my body weight (around 125) and letting go of the walker. That will be scary, I know, but I will get there.

As I shift into Monday, another schedule shift needs to evolve: shifting more of a focus on work in the afternoon hours so that I actually feel as if I am working. The occasional meeting has been an okay transition, but I need to move more into mental activity. Maybe, as I do that, my other brain cells for creative work will also kick in. I am thinking about a fall community college class on short stories but time will tell if that is a viable option or not.

Well, Mark's late again from his morning out-about and, today, we have a luncheon with friends to get to, so I will pretend I am okay with this morning's delay, act "as if" and pick up a duster to do my very light house chores. ta, ta.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How the garden grows

It's been nine weeks since I could look at my garden. I have let it go kind of wild this spring--a decision I made before the accident which turned out to be a wise path. Mark looks at it but wouldn't pull a weed if his life depended on it. Well, yes, maybe under those circumstances he would, but he's not, never has been, never will be a garden or yard person. His (now, with the desert heat) daily watering of my flowers has been a pain for him, but now he sees the hibiscus blooms and has a sense of joy in being part of their flowering.

But today, I cautiously walked out back to see the garden. It is almost lush. The two berry plants that survived the winter are branching upward against the side of the house like vines. The dill is flowering and chocolate mint has become full ground cover. I can't quite see my dwarf pomengranite bush and I may have to ask Aron to cut back some of the mint, so the bush has room to grow. Several euchalyptus plants are now also growing and that's where I think the garden is headed, eventually--tall euchalyptus with some small bushes beneath. Of course the rosemary is huge again and I will eventually be using the herbs in cooking once I am back on both legs.

Good news on that element of my life: I can start bearing weight on my ankle so now I have to get out of the hopping habit and trust the bones that, apparently, are mended enough so that my doctor encouraged these next steps. For the first time in 9 friggin' weeks, I had a good night's sleep WITHOUT the boot. I thought, maybe I would "miss" the weight of it, but not so, thank goodness. During the day, as I walk more, I will be using the boot and, if all goes well, boot but no walker in two weeks. I will be using the boot until we get back from Colorado, but I can live with that.

Last night, Mark and I went to our neighborhood pool to see if that will be a pool therapy option for me. It's the first time in 11 years he has even been IN our pool. He enjoyed it and it was kinda fun--as I wrote yesterday, "fun" has been missing from my daily grind. But both of us believe healing is happening. His elbow is slowly getting better and, as I have described, so is my ankle. I have other "internal" healing to do: reassess and reframe my worklife since current work seems suspended; consider how I do some creative writing, not as a task but as something I want to do; add more physical activity to my trips to the Y and to my life at home.

I guess, like my garden, it's time to trust my roots and grow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lucy and Amy

Well, today I see Dr. C and find out what's what for the next few weeks. I am going to put together a list of questions for her and see what she says.

I slept okay and dreamed about learning (again) how to walk. I don't expect to do it quickly, but I hope I can do more than hobble in a week or two. The stiffness in the tissue or tendons on the foot and behind the ankle seems to be what remains, and the coloring, of course, which is narrowing in length and color.

I don't really have too much to say this morning. I am still on the edge of depression about work being stalled and, with it, my earned income. I did find two writing resources on line, free classes, that I could work with, given my "new" flexibility of time. I know I just need to apply the discipline to do the writing---and let go of what I cannot control at this time.

Most of my outings I do are not "fun" right now and I need to find a way to reincorporate fun into my daily "grind". No brilliant ideas are emerging but at least I have identified an element that is lacking and awareness is a first step. I need to bring Amy Poehler ("Parks and Rec" may have been cancelled and, in any case, NBC isn't doing reruns of it right now) into my life. She so reminds me of Lucille Ball and that's the kind of humor I am looking for.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

slow life extended

What began as a blog to keep me writing during my ankle recovery may be extended through the summer, not because of my ankle (I hope), but because my consulting work has been suspended due to funding constraints.

Oh, well, what else can I do but accept the situation? That seems to be the theme of the past two months and I guess I will keep getting that message until I get it. I think HP wants me to write my stories even though I keep resisting and want to get pulled back into other types of busyness.

I feel as if I have had the wind pushed out of my lungs a bit and I am grateful I will get to the pool this morning and refuel my psyche with endorphins. But my thoughts are scattered like the red eucalyptus blossoms that blow across the patio. I am not settled at all this morning and I know this mood of mine: in the past, I would take on some new task or project. Now, I need to slow down even more and consider each moment with more awareness. If one door closes, another will open and I need to be ready for that.

So I will work on my reflective work and find something to laugh at today. I laughed last night at "Seinfeld" and need to make myself move those smile muscles when I want to feel sorry for myself.

Short entry today but at least I showed up.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

lost a bit

Yesterday I had to hussle in the morning to get to a meeting and when I got home, I was wiped out for the rest of the afternoon. Hence, I forgot to write. And I think not doing the blog contributed to a grey cloud of funk that settled on me during the evening and into the night. So today, even though I am going to the pool shortly, I am making sure I do this.

Part of what set me down the dark path was the compilation of costs to insurance that came in the mail yesterday. It's not so much the costs that were billed, compared to those that were actually paid by insurance to my doctors or UMC, it was reliving the memories of April and all that has transpired since then. Even today, as I did my stretches to prepare to get out of bed, I felt new twinges in my heel. I am pretty convinced twinges are a good sign of healing, but each day continues to bring new sensations.

I am trying to "walk lightly" on my right foot while still resting some weight on the walker. I don't see how I am going to go full weight but I guess I will, eventually. I want to be able to walk to my neighborhood pool in the next two weeks or so. Is that doable? When can I drive again?
I hope some of these questions will be answered on Friday when I see Dr. C.

As for the rest of my mind--I connected okay, I think, to others during the meeting yesterday but trying to listen attentively and then contribute, like other muscle groups that have atrophied, took effort way beyond what is "normal" for me. I did nothing with my creative writing which I need to take up today. But I also have to do some (minimal) May work billing today, so items on my "to do" list are beginning to accumulate.

Someone suggested yesterday (this person, of late, just says the "wrong" things to me, it seems) that my healing is taking long because of my age. I dismissed that idea, but the idea did nag at me as I lost my way out of the Light. Aging was an issue for me before the accident and then I became more focused on just the ankle healing, but aging is real. Still, I don't have to let it define my days. I can regain some balance and not fall off the edge.