Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Elderly Entertainment

     A few years ago, I accompanied my mother on a visit to her doctor. Her foot was swollen at the time and causing her great discomfort. From the doctor’s office, we proceeded to the hospital where we checked her in as a patient.

     After she was assigned to a room and transferred there, my mother and I began the arduous wait for the doctor. After what seemed like perpetuity, he eventually made his appearance and began finishing the paperwork on my mother’s chart. The doctor asked her if she had her medications with her and my mother replied that she did. Then, to my utter amazement, she began to empty the backpack she had been assiduously clutching throughout the entire morning. She pulled one bottle out and set it on the hospital tray, then a second, a third, and to my bewilderment, a fourth, and a fifth, and about this time, I found myself completely and absolutely dumbstruck. I remember making the comment that now I knew what she did for entertainment every day; and, with that very statement, I felt my own aging process ruthlessly altered.

     As the doctor gained his composure (he was almost snorting from laughing,) he continued with his line of questioning. He asked her about stress, about her daily routine, her sleeping habits, and other similar questions. I remember contradicting her about not getting enough rest because she always has a house full of people. I remarked to the doctor that there was a streetlight at the end of the driveway and my siblings seem to think that she leaves the light on for them, sort of like the Motel 6 commercial; the light is always on and the door is always open.

     Sometimes, our sense of humor emerges at the strangest of times and there seems to be no connection between the brain and the mouth. One can only assume that is what happened to me that day; my strange sense of humor kicked in and acted as a diversion, keeping the atmosphere lighthearted. The doctor was thoroughly enamored by my banter (I was really on a roll that day, totally Lucille Ball) and tried to repeat my routine the following day as he made rounds with his interns.

     After my mother decided to take a nose-dive down the steps using her head as landing gear not so many months later, she was admitted to the emergency room at the local hospital. As we were waiting for the doctor to stitch the resulting wound on her forehead, I overheard bits and pieces of my parent’s conversation. My father was sitting next to her bed and I realized that they were comparing battle scars; as my father had major surgery (I consider any surgery at their age to be major) on his arm and was sporting his own set of stitches.

     There I was, once again looking through the portico of life, wondering if there was a pattern to this madness we call aging. Was comparing our wounds and battle scars to be our entertainment as we enter the twilight years? Is setting out our numerous bottles of medications going to become our daily ritual? I guess only time will tell as we all come of age and our own patterns are set in motion. One thing I can say with almost absolute certainty is the future should be interesting.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

     So many of us utter those words as though we were actors on a stage spouting the lines of a Shakespearean play, but do they really comfort those we mean to console or are they merely words of condescension?
     Do we stop to think of the pain of the person with whom we are using those words to comfort? Do we really understand those words? Can we truly comprehend the pain of a person who has loved someone with all their heart and soul and then lost it if we’ve never experienced it? Do we dare?
     Each one of us has our own threshold of pain and our own level of love and to attempt to project those levels into another’s heart is like deciding we feel the same about chocolate. That rich dark substance gliding so smoothly across one person’s tongue bringing with it unimaginable delight may just be the substance that causes another to retch. We do not, cannot know, what sensation another is feeling.
     I have felt such deep, soul-wrenching pain at the emotional and physical separation from my children for so many years now that it has caused me to re-think that poignant phrase, “than never to have loved at all.” The pain is so great at times that I wish I had never loved at all. I have learned to separate my heart and emotions from myself. I live on the surface where emotions have ceased to exist. I have become detached from my sensors.
     Does it make the pain any less bearable? It truly does not, but it does sometimes change it to a dull, tolerable pain. I have learned not to look forward, to stay in the present, to not hope, nor to have expectations. This has been a complete change of pace, but a necessary one. I am a person who always looked forward, was always a step into the future, always planning. This unique circumstance has grabbed me by the coat tails, brought me to a standstill; and at times, flung me backward.
     Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved? My head is telling me yes, but my aching heart keeps beating no, don’t know, no, don’t know.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lucy learns a lesson

     I walked into the garage – my husband’s “man-cave” – and my delicate senses were overwhelmed by an unidentifiable odor (happens often.) I grabbed the bottle of the greatest miracle solution to ever hit the market – Fabreeze – and began spraying (dousing) everything in sight, the air, the curtains, (the dog,) the sofa!
     I then left the garage and went about my morning activities. Later, I returned to the garage to re-spray, thinking the previous odors would certainly need a second round of dousing.
     Imagine the surprise (horror) when I opened the door and encountered an even more offending odor – AMONIA! I am still wondering if I was choking because I was laughing so hard or because the ammonia had astounded me.
     It looked as though the book, ‘The Night before Christmas’ had come alive in the garage for a moment, – ‘There arose such a clatter… (me scurrying to the window, jumping over baskets of laundry and bags of dog food.) Away to the window I flew like a flash (literally as I took flight over yard shoes and hunting gear,) I tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!’ (all the while gasping for breath!)
     Does it even need saying that a valuable lesson imparted itself upon me that day – always, ALWAYS label in LARGE print and smell before spraying!

Monday, August 9, 2010

What are we really doing on the dance floor?

     I have written a few times about exercising but as I was exercising today, I suddenly burst out laughing, completely pomaded! (That’s French for rolling on the floor laughing; not being able to breathe laughing - as Fancy Nancy would say.) I was exercising and out of the blue I had this vision of me doing my exercise routine out on the dance floor instead of dancing!
     Well, that got me to thinking about exactly what are we out there doing, except exercising? We are stepping side to side and our arms are flailing all over the place (if we’re really having a good time) and we’re shaking our core muscles; we have it all going on. We’re kicking our feet and gyrating up and back and then spinning around for good measure and by the end of the song, we’ve worked a good sweat. Isn’t that exercise?
     Now, let me give you a peek at my exercise routine. I’m stepping in place, gyrating to the beat; then I’m walking up and back, I’m shaking my arms and raising them up and down. Once I’m warmed up, I start stepping side to side and waving my arms. I’m putting in a little hip action, a little core action and by the time I’ve finished, I’m sweating. Isn’t that dancing?
     And, just what exactly is line-dancing all about? I beg to differ here but it looks a lot like what I just got through doing; my exercise routine.
     I just cannot help myself; I am messing with your head here. By the time that you finish reading this story, I want to be so imbedded in your mind that the next time you are out on the dance floor having the time of your life, I don’t want you to realize for a second or two (at least until the stares get obvious) that you forgot you were supposed to be dancing and you realize you are half way into your exercise routine. I want to be the fly on the wall laughing with you; because what is dancing? That’s right; its exercise put to music! And, it will be our little secret; because you’ll be laughing so hard, you will never be able to explain yourself!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What was the real reason behind God creating Wednesdays?

     I was on Face Book this morning and noticed a lot of buzz about “Wednesday” and what this particular day of the week meant to different people.
     For me, Wednesday is a day for regrouping. It is a chance to contemplate on what I have accomplished at the beginning of the week; and to hopefully change the course of the second half of the week. It is a day to re-charge, my time to detox. It is a day I shave my legs and soak in a hot bubble bath (probably too much information.) I see Wednesday as a chance to catch my breath, to do something unexpected.
     I do not begin new projects on Wednesday; those can wait until Thursday. It is a day to celebrate the accomplishments of Monday and Tuesday – and this particular week was filled with them - and to re-prioritize my “still to be done” list for Thursday and Friday.
     I noticed that a few people referred to Wednesday as “hump” day, as though it were a hurtle to be crossed. Some saw it as a make it or break it day. Several people described Wednesday as the “down-hill” side of the week; mostly it seems by those who cannot wait for the weekend to come around again and are just biding their time at their jobs, whether happily or unhappily.
     All seem to agree on one thing and that is… Wednesday is a complex day, a definite turning point in the week. If the beginning of the week has gone shoddily, there is always optimism on Wednesday that the week will turn itself around and Thursday and Friday will be the grand ending of the week. On the other hand, if the week is going well, Wednesday can cause tremendous trepidation. No one wants Wednesday to be the day everything went to hell.
     At any rate, I noticed that most of the contemplation about Wednesday seems to share one common denominator; the deliberation takes place over a cup of coffee or a can of coke. The question could be should we actually be deciding if Wednesday is good day or a bad day, hump day or mump day with so much caffeine in our systems?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lucy goes shopping

     Anyone who knows me can tell you I AM NOT A SHOPPER! I love internet shopping where the nice USP man brings purchases to your door (my fence gate as Sentry will not allow anyone in the yard.) I have to prepare myself mentally to leave the house with shopping in mind. That process alone has been known to take up to weeks to accomplish. Therefore, when I tell you that I turned Houma on its ear today, you had better believe me.
     I actually made a trip to the mall this morning all by myself; my second of the year, which is one more than I have taken in the last two years. I was desperate for shampoo and conditioner and I was out of the cooling mist that I absolutely love from Bath and Body.
     My day was running on schedule even though I woke up from a tiring night’s sleep; or should I say sporadic night’s sleep. I slept on the sofa last night. It was either that or put a pillow over my snoring husband’s face. He thanked me this morning for choosing the sofa.
     I piddled for just a few minutes watering my flowers in pots outside so they would last through the day’s heat and then since I was already soaking wet, I did my exercise tape, showered, dressed, and was out the door only five minutes past my allotted time.
     Then, I ran into detours due to road construction, and being on a tight schedule this morning did not allow for such delays. I swerved around this and bounced over that, snuck around another obstacle and finally made it into the mall parking lot none the worse for wear (don’t know if the Burb will ever be the same. She truly sighed as I pulled into the parking slot.)
     I hopped out of the Burb and headed into the mall. I smiled at everyone I met (I am beautiful on the inside so I have to portray that to the outside.) I must say that people act quite strangely when you tell them hello with a big smile; especially if they do not know who you are. I think they were looking around for orderlies I surely must have escaped from.
     I did make it around the corner and down the corridor to Bath and Body without mishap. The salesgirl was very friendly (beautiful on the inside/outside) but by the time I checked out, I was confused (and looking for the orderlies to pick me up.) The store was out of my body mist and some things were on sale for Buy 3, Get 2 free, Buy 2 and get 1 free or Buy 5 for $10 or 10 for $22. I ended up checking out twice and buying extra to get the extra. I am still wondering if I came out ahead. No wonder it takes me weeks to garner the courage to go shopping!
     I finished up with my shopping at the mall and headed out to the Burb. I think I saw her cower as I approached. I had to soothe her (talk in extremely soft tones) in order to put the key in the lock. I started up the engine, put the windows down to blow out some of the heat, cranked up the a/c and took off (floored it.) Sometimes I feel as though the locks will lock of their own accord and she will take over the driving. For some reason, she thinks stop signs mean STOP!
     Onward to Hobby Lobby and Office Depot where I am positive the stores must have a special bell they ring as I approach. People who have had the privilege to shop with me know that when I shop, I am on a mission. I have mentally mapped out the store in my head and I know where each item is located.  At Office Depot I hit the door running with my buggy. I head down Isle 3 for pencils, Isle 10 for paper and over to the counter where I startle the poor clerk in to asking me if she can help me (where she looks as though she truly thinks I do need help – the frenzied look on my otherwise beautiful face scared her.) I am tossing out used computer printer cartridges by the dozens and she is grabbing replacements. We are in a race. I grab the cartridges and head to the checkout register. People are moving out of the way; they are forming a shoot to the finish line (Supermarket Sweep ain’t got nothing on me) and are cheering me on (I think they want me gone.) I complete my purchase, smile and gracefully wave (just like Grace Kelley) as I head out of the door, my mission complete.
     I would love to say that after I turned Houma on its ear, I headed for home. I did not. I headed to New Orleans and more traffic jams and construction. I’ll save that story for another day. It is time to recuperate!