Looking for answers to life's questions

Archive for November, 2011

In Search of Gratitude

How hard is it to be grateful when you are quite unwell and homeless? I’ve discovered it’s a matter of perspective. It’s on what a person chooses to focus that makes the difference. I made the choice to give up a perfectly good home to drift from one family member to the next. That choice has increased my ability to heal my own body. I’m ill but not terminally ill. I’m grateful that I have family willing to let me drift among them and that I still have the potential to heal and recover my health. I have been searching out alternative therapies and I’m grateful that they are available to me since doctors as a whole don’t seem to know what to do with me. I found an energy healer less than 2 miles from my sister’s house. I can walk there. I’m grateful that I have enough money coming in from Social Security to eat regularly. I could whine, and I have extensively but there is so much more to be grateful for than whine about. I’m single again and grateful. I get to discover my full potential for the first time in my life. There may be no potential but I get to look for it without suppressing it for someone else’s definition of who I should be. So I will cook a little turkey with the trimmings for myself and my sister and have a glass of wine, not whine, to celebrate all my blessings. I have a warm place to sleep and plenty to eat. I have family to share my joys and sorrows and hope for a bright tomorrow. What more can a person want? Plenty, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as what we already have is appreciated. I appreciate my life big time. It’s been full and quite interesting. I wish the same for you. Happy, Happy Thanksgiving.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene

IN SEARCH OF DIGNITY

My first flight in several years was an entirely different experience than any I’ve ever had. This was my first since becoming ill with Bells Palsy. I arrived at the airport hours early after being dropped off by my son on his way to work. It was a holiday; Veterans Day and the traffic was so very light in the morning. My son said that was the fastest he had ever made the 45 mile drive. We were able to use the carpool lane since I was with him. When I walked into the small terminal, there was no one in line to check in. So I handed over my bag and pre-printed boarding pass. I asked if my cane was going to be a problem. The jovial retort was “not unless you have a knife in there”. It would have to pass through the scanner but I would be able to keep it with me. I was asked if I needed a wheel chair. Explaining that I could walk just fine and the cane was for balance due to the balance issue they insisted that I would definitely need a chair on arrival in Seattle. I would be changing planes and the terminals were quite far apart. They were so insistent that I relented. We had a short conversation about my condition as I answered questions about what caused this. I explained that there were several theories but the general consensus was it was caused by the same dormant virus from Chicken Pox. It was also responsible for Shingles which I was lucky enough not to get. I was told that very often extreme stress or cold could be a factor by alternative health practitioners. I had both at the time in spades so who really knows. I do know that no one was aware that I’d ever had Chicken Pox as a child. I thought I was immune. So I toddled on down to my gate using my son’s backpack to hold my laptop, kindle, camera and i-pod along with my wallet and lunch. I was trying to travel light and not use my rolling laptop case. It was awkward putting the larger case in the overhead bins. But it was certainly easier to manage than all that weight on my back.
I waited for my flight enjoying some quiet reading time. As the plane was readying to board, I heard my name called to come to the check in podium. I was promptly boarded with all the others with small children and needing assistance. Well, I didn’t think I needed assistance but when I got on the plane I thought how nice it was not to have to face the crush of people while trying to negotiate with the cane and heavy backpack. I didn’t even get a chance to think about being put ahead of others it happened so fast.
When I got off the plane in Seattle, they asked at the front of the plane if I was expecting a wheel chair and asked for my name. The chair was right outside at the bottom of the steps. Now I was really embarrassed. I can walk just fine though not very straight. Crushes of people can visually throw me off balance but I have never felt comfortable taking help from my family, much less strangers. Once inside, the nice young lady said we had a long way to go and a train to ride. She wasn’t kidding. By the time she stopped at my gate I was exhausted just from the ride. I would have missed my flight trying to make it on my own. But sitting in that chair left me feeling crumpled and old. Looking sideways to a reflection on a post, I saw my own mother as the wheelchair attendant had navigated her through O’Hare airport on her last trip to Germany. I remember how she struggled with knowing she needed the help and wanting to be strong and independent. When did I get that old and crumpled? I saw myself hunched over in the chair holding tight to my backpack and cane feeling rather insignificant and a nuisance all at the same time. Once again I was boarded before the rest of the passengers and dealing with the mixture of gratitude and shame. I have all my life been the caregiver. This was new and I was not comfortable with it. I would be the first to assure you that it was perfectly ok to accept the help but I was struggling with it deeply. Now I really know how my mother felt and I didn’t like it. There are so many of us who for one reason or the other wind up needing help for a bit of time. Some need help for a lifetime and you can see them struggling with the same emotions; gratitude that others are so willing to offer help and the embarrassment of needing it. Of course I know enough to tip well. Pushing me up the hill of a concourse is no small feat. The last wheel chair driver looked about ready for retirement himself.
My trip back to my son’s home has been arranged a bit differently. I am staying with my sister a bit longer than I originally planned so I can get a straight through flight with no plane changes. It will be worth the wait. In the meantime I’m taking care of my sister who is having as much trouble as I do accepting after surgery help. It’s slightly easier since she’s had to give me so much help and I owe her big time. I know that accepting help graciously is a gift for the other person but it does take some adjustment of my internal thoughts. This is the time in life where you find all the kindest of people who want to help and let you keep your dignity intact.
From my heart to yours,
Marlene

In Search of Direction

Today I’m in search of Direction. I wake at the crack of dawn; whatever that time may be. Head for the bathroom then turn on the coffee maker that is plugged in in my bedroom. It makes too much noise on the stairs for me to go down and get it if I’m awake before everyone else. I do what I can and try each day to figure out some way to be useful in the world. No, I can’t volunteer. Not yet anyway. No driving leaves me at the mercy of family, the bus schedule and weather. We have major wind today and it’s painful to the Bells Palsy damaged ear. I will not even be able to play in the dirt today. My son has a very large yard in need of major work and it’s my favorite thing to do. Pulling weeds is meditative for me. It’s where I say my prayers of gratitude and ask questions. Being a person who never sat still without something practical to do, illness has a way of bringing things I didn’t want to look at to my attention. It’s being slapped upside the head and told to sit down and listen. The body is telling me something. I need to interpret what that is. I have 3 copies of Louise Hays’ book “You Can Heal Your Life”. I finally had to put one on my kindle so I could access it on my phone app. She is always exactly on target. My face is paralyzed. So is my life. For the next few months I live with my son while I wait for all the final details of my FINAL divorce to be worked out. It is the end of 25 years of an unsustainable relationship that should have ended before it started. But it didn’t and I sat with it every day knowing better. Fear and guilt ruled my life. Look where those two emotions got me. So getting sick in some way gave me permission to not feel so guilty. I still wrestle with the fear of financial insecurity. Thank goodness for my first husband’s Social Security. He didn’t get to live long enough to use it and my children were happy that at least I got something out of all his years of hard work. It’s a bit of a cushion against destitution. I’m heading back to my sister’s place for a week or two to help her after a surgery. I’ve had to accept her hospitality and care as well during this last 2 years. Now I can fetch and carry for her a bit. I lived with my daughter for a while as well but now we are both here with my son.

I try to live in the moment because I don’t know where I’m going in the future. I don’t even know which state I’ll be in for Thanksgiving. Being a planner is making this very difficult. I always want to know what’s next. Where am I going to live? Can I take care of myself financially? Will I ever be able to have my own home or will I have to rent? Will I ever get well enough to drive again or work? I’m grateful I can read again. That wasn’t easy in the beginning of this illness. I have so many things I want to do and learn that I find myself always scattered. Not excelling at anything limits my choices. So at what do I want to excel? I’m searching for that as well. Writing is something I can do sitting down. No driving involved. I can make the print as big as I need to see. I’m an adequate cook but nothing to write home about and I’m always on a diet because when I smell good food it stays with me forever. Sewing and quilting are almost fun but the process beats me up. I sew a little and rip more. It’s like a giant puzzle I have yet to fully understand. Am I the only one who wants to find their direction and then this late in life? How does one go about finding their north star? Was your life plotted out for you or are you blessed with an innate and marketable skill? Were you lucky enough to get a college education or like me, self-educate? My mother once said no one could take care of me as well as I could take care of myself. Somehow, I never got around to testing the theory. Big mistake on my part. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum from people. Some rally in the face of adversity, others wallow in it. I truly want to eradicate all visible traces of adversity. I’m searching for direction. Where is the compass?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene

In search of health

In Search of
Health

I’m looking for feedback from anyone who has had Bells Palsy more than a year or two. I’ve been the gamut with Neurologists, ENT’s, GP’s, Chiropractors, audiologists, and Acupuncturists. I googled the internet looking for anyone that had written a blog about their experience with it. All I found was young people who had it for a few weeks and were overwhelmed by it. I’ve had it for 21 months and Doctors seem to have nothing left to offer me. I’ve done the vitamin and herb routine. I’ve called a medical intuitive and psychics and received more help than from the doctors. That’s scary to say the least and another very long story. I’ve always been a person searching for a better way to be in the world but this illness has pushed me into high gear. That I have no time left to waste is what I have most learned from this very debilitating illness. For me it’s been more than just my face being paralyzed. It’s affected my vision and balance in a profound way. I have always been the strongest woman my son has ever known and now I have to hold onto him when we walk anywhere together or walk with my cane for balance. I walk like I’ve had way too much to drink even when I just get out of bed. So, to make a very, very long story shorter, let me know if you’ve experienced Bells Palsy in a similar fashion. I’ll take all the help I can get. With health comes everything else.

From my heart to yours

Marlene

In search of connection

In Search of

Connection

I’m new at this blogging thing. The last one I tried to post on Halloween went into the ethers. So please bear with me while I muddle through. What is it that I’m in search of exactly? When I say I’m in search of it all, I’m really not kidding. I’ve been searching my whole life and have been trying to figure out how to find some help along the way. Then I want to share what I’ve found with other Searchers. Let me start by telling you a bit about who I think I am. Honestly, I’m not really sure about that answer either but it’s a place to start. Technically I’m a senior citizen at only 63. I’m already on Social Security since I am recently divorced and unable to work or drive. To fill you in on how this came about and why I am in search of it all I will start at the most relevant part.

It’s been 21 months since I woke one morning with what eventually was diagnosed as Bells Palsy. Now I thought Bells Palsy was that your face fell on one side for a few weeks and then everything went back to normal. That’s not my story.Iit’s still an ever present part of my life. My illness was so fully involved that I was dizzy 24 hours a day needing a cane for balance when walking and a shower chair when bathing. I lost 25 percent of my hearing in my left ear and my eye had to be taped shut to shower and sleep. I couldn’t and still cannot drive a car because turning my head to look both ways throws me so off balance that it’s nauseating. Each week that went by I was grateful it wasn’t a stroke because it appeared to others that I’d had one and after the second week the pain subsided somewhat. But each week I wanted to wake up and have it be gone.Now, telling you about the extensiveness of the illness would take many pages and probably bore most of you to tears. All I knew was my independence was completely gone. So began my search for Health.

That led to my search for understanding. I wanted to know why this happened and I was certain it was no accident. I was pretty sure once I took time to look at things there was something there I really needed to look at. I want to share all I have learned and surmised from this because I see so many friends and family members struggling with the same things in their lives. I knew in the core of my being that things in my life were very out of balance and I felt powerless to right them. But each day I search for some joy and even with this very debilitating illness, I find bits of joy.

I’m searching for connection, purpose, direction, wisdom, enlightenment, independence, honor and so much more. I’m an avid reader and student of human nature. I require dirt to nourish my soul. I’d play in it for hours. I’d be sewing and crafting again when the needle of the machine doesn’t make me dizzy or I finally have a home to unpack my toys for crafting. My interests are varied with my extensive library of books covering all the subjects that fascinate me and then some. I’m on a journey without transportation. Please feel free to join me.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene