This is my view from the couch on the Monday after Easter. No sunshine. Cloudy with more rain expected.
If I sit very still, very quiet, not talking, I am fine. I was up at my usual time this morning, not coughing. I baked a pan of brownies, ate breakfast, and did my daily exercises. Wanting to feel normal after being a bum for the past two days, I put on makeup, dressed in big-people clothes, and thought I might even return to normal activities.
Too much movement, too much talking. So here I sit, on the couch, with my fingers moving along my phone’s keyboard. Quiet, still, silent.
I’ve written quite a bit here about our change of church this past year. That was a huge change in our life, but we have embraced it with faith and gusto and have found a lovely new church home and family at Westminster Presbyterian.
Another change I’ve been dealing with is friendship. Those of you who have been with me for so many years will remember that I had two long time friends, going back to the time of our daughter’s birth, 37 years ago. We had met at our workplace and forged this bond that seemed fail-proof. Here we are, back in the late 90s, at a birthday lunch.
At Thanksgiving, 2011, one of the three died, and it was up to the remaining two to clean out her home and get the estate ready for the attorney to settle. Then the other friend’s husband got a bad case of shingles and things really changed. All of this within a few months, and it has never regained its old stability. We hardly ever see each other. The other friend is not on social media, refuses to text and seldom reads her email. Due to her husband’s illness and need for constant attention, she can’t even talk on the phone. I have tried going by their home a few times, but felt thwarted in that they seem to want to remain secluded.
When we have talked, I get the feeling that she does not want much contact with others and finds it difficult to make plans or to try to go out. I’ve left the ball in her court only to find it lies there for months. I recently sent her an email and got a reply but no other word to my reply, saying “yes, let’s go to lunch. You call me and tell me a good time.”
I miss my friends. The one who has died is gone and is not coming back, but I’m beginning to feel the same about the one who is still living. It is a change that I’m having trouble grasping.
The events had been on my calendar for weeks. A choir concert on Sunday afternoon. A train trip with The Ladies Who Lunch on Monday. Lots of joy. Lots of friends. Lots of fun. Lots of anticipation.
I love handbell choirs, and the new church we joined has one. Along with a choir, an organ, and a grand piano. The music is wonderful, and I enjoy it each Sunday morning. A concert to wrap up the season was planned for Sunday afternoon, and I was looking forward to it.
Once a month The Ladies Who Lunch meet for lunch, sometimes going on an adventure to find our meal. Such was the plan for Monday. One of the members of the group has a four-year old grandson who loves trains but had never ridden on one. The plan was to catch the Amtrak San Joaquin in Fresno and ride about 35 miles south to the small town of Hanford, where there is a most marvelous ice cream parlor within walking distance of the railroad station. It is the perfect day trip. Especially for a four-year old.
Saturday night I became horribly, horribly ill. Severe stomach pains. Sweats. Nausea. Vomiting. Dizziness. The Sunday concert was definitely a no-go. I tried to get better all day Sunday but just couldn’t do it. I could hardly get out of bed. I couldn’t concentrate. Couldn’t hold my head up. Finally, Sunday evening, I gave in and texted my friends that I probably wouldn’t make it after all for the train trip and to not be surprised if I didn’t show up. Sure enough, Monday morning was not much better. I remained in bed.
Two days of being sick. That was bad enough, but missing two long-anticipated events was the worst. There can be no re-dos. No second chances. I am so disappointed. But, I am feeling better and was able to run my errands today and do laundry.
Whew, what a week. Sure there was all the usual activities going on. Then, on the back burner were plans for next week when the grandchildren will be here. I’ve been making menus, shopping for supplies and food, as well as planning for some fun things to do.
On Tuesday my next door neighbor came at dinner time to ask if I could take her to pick up her sister’s car. Her sister had gone to the doctor earlier in the day and been sent, by ambulance, to the hospital. Totally unexpected even though she had been sick off and on for two months.
The car was sitting in the doctor’s office parking lot, and my neighbor needed it to be able to get to the hospital to see her sister. The sisters have lived next door to us for over 10 years and we often help each other out as well as doing a few things together.
I’ve been cooking all day so as to take food next door. The sister who is still hospitalized with tachycardia and fluid in her lungs usually does all of the cooking for the two of them. I’ve been so busy with my school chaplain duties and planning for next week that I’ve not had time to provide anything until today. We had hoped the hospital would release her by now, but it may be awhile longer. Her daughter will arrive over the weekend from back east but I don’t think she can be away from her job for very long.
Another friend who I’ve been helping sent me a message that after having her second hip replaced within six months she now has a fracture in the newly replaced hip. No idea how she did it, but she is pretty much bed-ridden for six weeks.
One more shocker this week was the arrest of the deputy police chief after an FBI investigation that found he was running a drug dealing business, using his medical insurance to buy the drugs and his family members to distribute them. Fresno has so many problems, many tied to drug use and the surrounding crime, that this just blew us away.
Yesterday I accompanied a home liaison in taking a boy home. He was being suspended for the rest of the day and today for fighting. I didn’t think she should go by herself with this boy, a sixth grader. So much has been happening with school employees lately around here. None of it good. I didn’t want her putting herself in a compromising position. I’m sad that a sixth grader is being suspended. Sure wish I could figure out how to make that stop.
Okay, the next week is Spring Break here. I will not have Good News Club or school chaplaincy next week. I will be busy with the grandchildren. Hopefully it will be very non eventful. and no more co-pilots taking things into their own hands and crashing airliners into mountains. I really can’t handle another such tragedy.
Terry has left for a funeral of a 30+ year friend. We have known this man and his family all these many years through the church we no longer attend. Terry said goodbye to John on his last Sunday as cameraman as John also works on the church television ministry. The next Saturday, John was dead, at 71, of a heart attack. His family had been gathered at their home, planning John and Carol’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was quick and unexpected.
My plan had been to attend the funeral with Terry. John and Carol are dear people, with great faith, and I have long admired and liked them. However, I am concerned that I may be contagious with a virus I seem to have had attack me in the last few days. Instead of dressing and going with Terry, I am instead lying on the couch in the family room, looking out on the backyard, recuperating.
I was reading a blog post, before I came to write this, about heart attack symptoms in women, and realizing all of the symptoms, sans the heavy feeling in the chest, were mine with this current bout of whatever. I gather that fever, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, and pain are symptoms of many ailments. If I had been around anyone who has just returned from Africa, I would have been at the emergency room immediately, as I have read those are the symptoms for Ebola. Along with a heavy dose of sneezing. Had that, too. Viruses are nasty little creatures.
Many years ago, upon flying home from Portland, after depositing our daughter at college, I became very ill. The doctors could find nothing. This went on for two weeks. They even thought I might have a concussion due to the nausea and vomiting that were nonstop. Finally someone ordered a blood test that showed I had an elevated rate of a deadly bacteria. By that point, my body had fought it off well enough that they saw no point in giving me any meds. I was in recovery.
And so I think I am now. I am feeling much better this morning. I had a decent breakfast and will spend the day doing very little except resting as I have a very busy week coming up and cannot be sick. I just wish I could have attended John’s funeral.
Facebook can bring good news, silly news, and help keep us up to date on our friends. This Sunday evening, cooler than the previous days, brought sad news. A friend of mine whom I originally met on Compuserve long ago in the 1990s posted an update to her health and it is very bad news. She has been hospitalized for a month.
We had all hoped she would be stabilized and could carry out her plans to move from a third-floor walkup apartment to an assisted living facility. It did not happen. The dialysis that she required took one bad turn after another. Then came today’s news–stage 4 lung cancer. To top that, she has no where to go. Due to health constraints, she can no longer manage the stairs at her apartment. I’m sure there are complications to moving to assisted living places. She writes that she had wondered how her life would end and now she knows. It made me cry.
Potato chips have two of my favorite food groups–salt and fat. Last week I got a handful of potato chips with a hot dog at one of those Vacation Bible School lunches. It was my heavenly reward. Sitting there, at a picnic table, surrounded my screaming children, I was delighted to be munching on those salty, greasy chips. I wish there was a way I could live on potato chips; but alas, my body was not made to allow that. I could eat a whole bag of chips if it was in my house. And if I didn’t care how I felt the next day.
You see, my body cannot handle potato chips in a very large quantity. Same thing with donuts. Donuts have two of my favorite food groups–sugar and fat. Do you see a pattern here? A pattern of ruin and damnation? My life could be so lovely if only my metabolic engineering would cooperate. Just as one cannot pour sugar in your car’s gas tank and expect to go anywhere, neither can one pour sugar, fat, and salt into your stomach and expect to get very far down the road. Although it feels so good when eating that stuff, I feel so lousy later on. And I really like to feel good.
At the end of the week of bad eating, I had a sore throat. At least the beginning of a sore throat. I gargled with hot water and started sucking on the echinacea-laden throat lozenges my daughter had. There was no zinc in the house, though. I grumbled my way through the day with the scratchy throat, made the three hour drive home, and immediately started with my own zinc and echinacea treatment as soon as I hit the door of my house. By Sunday I was feeling fine and continue to do so today. I’m also eating better.
So, there you have it. Eat badly and you might enjoy the sensation for a moment, but the evils of salt, fat, and sugar will catch up with you. Eat healthy.