Category Archives: Faith Path

Infectious Bacteria Stalkers-My Summer Saga

Seven

After nearly two months of illness, on Sunday July 11th I felt well enough to attend a church service.  The pastor who spoke that day read Psalm 23 and challenged others to read and ponder over a weeks’ time what God might be saying individually.

I took up the challenge and my regular journal recorded… after my first reading, the 4th verse jumped out at me, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – fearing no evil…  my immediate reaction is fear. Perhaps because I’ve been ill for 2 months and that’s been terrible enough. I would struggle greatly with a “death sentence.”

I’m not finished here yet but often I wonder what I’m doing – what’s of value – what’s not.  Too often I believe I’m simply coasting, putting in time – wondering, waiting, – not living the life intended for me…I then recalled some areas of my life where I’d struggled by not fulfilling my own life’s dreams and the current journey to rectify that.

My journal ended with, Now what? What’s it all meant? How am I moving forward?

It was weeks before I made it back to my journal as my body let me know it had been through a battle and needed some more assistance.

With all the antibiotics and pain medications going into me my gut ran out of good bacteria and the nasty bacteria called Clostridium Difficile decided to take over. Was it already there? Had I picked it up somewhere else? Why me?  I’ll never know…

The bacteria were in control and with a bare minimum of details, I stayed home, I stayed close to the bathroom and I stayed in bed.  It was the amount of blood passing through me that sent me back to plunk myself down in the doc’s chair once again.

So, one might ask, how does C Difficile get treated?  The crazy answer is with yet another antibiotic.

In my Gratitude Journal July 22 – Grateful for “more” antibiotics to kill off the C Difficile bug in my body.  I will hopefully be on the mend. 

On that day, I continued my Psalm 23 reflections and in my regular journal, recorded some notes…Bang – right off the top – The LORD is my shepherd, not life, not hubby, not the things about me.  “I shall not be in want”

He will satisfy me – as I think about what to write, what to paint, where to spend time…if I go to my Shepherd and ask for his direction he will guide me, show me and lead me because “his rod and staff” they will comfort me. In him, amid his presence I am surrounded by his cloud of protection.  Whatever it is I do; it will be right.

The following day in a continued somber mood Psalm 23’s reflections met mine and my pen flowed with ink over several pages in my regular journal.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”

The water runs out of the spout in my garden fountain, into a bowl and trickles below only to cycle through the system again, and again.

This is how God is leading me beside quiet waters.

I’ve sat many hours this summer, listening to the water, waiting to be well while one strange infection after another attacks my body.

I live in a Modular Home Park – AKA (also known as) a mobile home park where a typical impression might be one of lower class, poor and unkempt – a TV view of what I’ve often heard called, ‘white trailer trash’.

I love it here, when I can put aside my own biased views of my home location. Out my back door is the deck designed by hubby who then enlisted the services of his talented brother to build.

Surrounding our little yard is the wood fence designed and built by hubby earlier this spring just as the garden was coming to life and I became ill. My daughter and I had assisted just enough one day to get bragging rights that ‘we’ built the fence together.

The fence keeps Thomas the Cat within, who graciously chooses not to jump and run and is the perfect backdrop for the multitude of seasonal pops of color that have entertained me.

I feel protected and contained within my boundaries – it reminds me of ‘walking with Jesus’ along the narrow path – completely free within.

So, I sit, I think, I pray…

I wish I were well, I fight with the frustration and anger that rises within me.  I have little choice but to relax, accept that I feel fatigued, have little energy and I cannot control this current situation. I can instead, enjoy watching my cat enjoy being outside with me looking at the birds and listen to their songs.  Like him, I can stretch out my legs and lift my face to the warmth of the sun and simply… be beside quiet waters.

This is my moment to be grateful for all I have and which is being provided for me.

On Monday, August 1st I wrote in my Grateful Journal, Grateful. Feel better/off medication.

On Monday, August 22nd I wrote in my Grateful Journal, Grateful.  Sunshine. Feel Healthy.  Have options. Have a future to enjoy.

 

Please look for my next and last entry on …my summer saga…after all, summer came and went, fall rains arrived and it is nearly time for Christmas trees and snowfalls.

 

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Infectious Bacteria Stalkers-My Summer Saga

Six

With my suspicions (drug induced?) that some bacteria, perhaps from my treks to the emergency ward and my overnight sleep in ICU had mysteriously found its way into my blood stream I spent my days at home.  Over the next weeks I managed to become well enough to gather blankets and pillows and sit in my glider chair and watch the goings on in my back yard.

Observing a garden come to life may not be exciting for some people but for me it is like having more and more friends popping over just to say hello.  I hung out on my deck so long  I watched the stalks grow taller and my ‘friends’ bloomed with vibrant colors of purple, white, yellow.   Just for added fun, my Hosta leaves unfurled, opening like fans over all to bring shade roofs for tender shoots.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous writing, I didn’t have much to do but look about, pray, think and write in my journal.

I also began a new project of creating a Gratitude Journal because it was the right time to dig as deeply inside of myself to see what I could be thankful for.

May 20/16 – thankful my cat hovers close by – he’s never seen me hanging over a toilet before making noises.  He sits and watches me.  Comforting.

May 23/16 – thankful for my oasis of a deck, a rippling water fountain, sounds of cars in the distance, bird’s vocal vibrations, planes overhead and tree branches gently bobbing up and down which soothe my questions, fears, concerns – quiets my mind.

One Sunday morning in early June as I was nestled in my blanket cocoon a bible verse appeared on my phone from the radio station Praise 106.5.

From the new testament in Romans 12:12 I was instructed: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer and I wrote, nice to try and keep in mind.

June 5/16 – Grateful.  Want to be…

Outside my fence, in the common area of my complex, Mom and Dad crow became my favorite entertainment day after day while they squawked and brought scraps of whatever it is that crows feed their babies.  The little family were in a condemned tree and I like to think I saved their lives.

After a big wind and a large branch blew down the tree was deemed unsafe.  On tree death day, the hackers came to cut it down. I purposely took a stroll and casually mentioned to a hacker that a bird’s nest was way at the top which I had observed from my back yard.  That halted the rest of the tree coming down until late summer and when the birds would be gone.

Thus, for the next few weeks it became a daily ritual to visit with my bird pals.

In the morning, I’d make a cup of herbal tea though I preferred coffee and Thomas the Cat and I would head outdoors to hang out until my medication wore off or we were bored.

Later in the month, after one full glorious week of feeling good and health was returning, my throat again became raw, my voice disappeared and the painful pressure returned to my face. The wretched cough increased along with my despair. Within the week, it was necessary to begin a new round of antibiotics.

My regular journal entry at the beginning of July states, I cried yesterday.  I cried today.  My goal is to get through this day.

I read in my bible, Proverbs 19:16-29:  Many are the plans in a ‘wo’/man’s heart but it is the Lords purpose that prevails.  The journal answers back…What is your purpose in my life – I sure don’t get it.

A couple more weeks passed and I became well enough to go beyond my deck, take short walks, drive my car and venture off to various public locations where I tried to avoid any potential germs from stalking me.

I was returning to my healthy normal…or so I thought.

 

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Infectious Bacteria Stalkers-My Summer Saga

Five

On Saturday my body yielded to illness and to the medication which opened my airways, in order to prevent any potential closing of my vocal cords.

I curled into a ball of misery in my bed.

Not only was I going to miss my next day art event, I recognized the upcoming trip to Whistler Mountain in a few days with hubby wasn’t going to happen either.  We cancelled.

On the Friday previous I’d gone for my Mammogram.  On Monday the clinic called and I was asked to come in again the next morning for more tests.  That information shoots up the blood pressure a tad and wild visions of the worst case scenario occupied my thoughts while I coughed, tried to control a fever and continued to drip from both my nose and eyes.

Monday morning arrived and I dragged myself off to the appointment for more x-ray exposure, being pulled and stretched and poked, then lying around waiting and sent home to wait some more for a doctors report.

So, what does hubby decide to do when he realizes a 4 day vacation is ruined because his co-vacationer is  sick.  He goes back to work.

No-one wants to know the variation of conversations between us that were produced by that one decision.  It made absolute sense to him and months later it still does not to me.

He did text me on occasion and even called a few times during his next several work-days to see how I was doing.  I never replied. I think he may have even popped in to see me.  He says he did.

Perhaps I was too delusional with medication and fever and too busy emptying tissues boxes to notice what went on around me.  I was consumed with the time waiting for more pain pills for the fire in my throat and the developing tear in my chest each time I coughed.  And, with each cough my cheek bones felt as though they may explode.

On Thursday morning I arrived in my doc’s office who thought I may have Pneumonia and off I went for x-rays. More x-rays.

As I sat in my little cubicle in my blue or yellow gown I had difficulty breathing while trying to have polite and quiet coughs. With whispers of a voice I explained my situation to the curious lab person who had asked why I was there.

Using the walls as support I managed to do as I was instructed, walk to the test room, stand, sit, raise my arm over my head to hang onto a rail support while a picture was taken, release my grip and with some measure of dignity allow my arm to drop back to my side without fainting and then get back to my little room.

No one touched me or offered to help.

The lab person came by my space and I peeked out.  She stayed long enough to inform me I didn’t have Pneumonia but Sinusitis and I could go home.

Hanging my head for acting so pathetic I managed to dress myself, fully aware that my door was a curtain and that I was barely able to control my groans with every movement.

Thankful for walls and railings both inside the building and out I made my way to my car, drove the million miles home and slunk into my bed.

A couple of hours later my doc called  to let me know I have a sinus infection and Bronchitis and I need more pills.

Hubby has clued in that something might be amiss – the kitty litter box hasn’t been emptied, there are pill containers laying in various places in the house and for days there haven’t been any signs of meal preparation.  Plus, I’m just not getting out of bed.

Care giving skills are learned as glasses of water appear bedside and food bits that are not eaten come and go from the room.  Hubby and Thomas the Cat seem baffled by my continuous  weeping and grunts every time I move and when I manage to open my eyes, there they are perched at the foot of the bed…watching me.

I wonder if they will hire someone to come in and take care of them.

There isn’t much to do in the midst of pain and fever except to pray and I remembered to do that.  I’d committed to pray every day for my son who was in Regina for six months training to become an RCMP.  I threw in a few desperate comments for myself too that an instant healing would be greatly appreciated.

I also wrote lengthy ramblings in my journal – with all the pills going into me it is the only way I remembered my summer saga. A week later and two doc visits down, I find out a follow-up Mammogram will need to be done in six months so I promptly sigh and file the information for another time.

Still no voice, but also no fever so I believed some good health may eventually return.  If only I didn’t have to hug myself so tight every time a cough tore itself through my body.

Another week passes with yet another doc trip and it’s been discovered that on my second trip to the emergency ward, that I’ve not even mentioned, my latest x-rays from there reveal a fractured rib.  On that particular visit the friendly emergency doc, referring to my lack of voice and nothing about my ribs, that I should consider the idea of Acid Reflux, sending me home with yet another prescription.

However, in my hand I also held a paper for magic pills that fogged my brain and dulled my pain.

Ah, I understood now, why all these special pills were being taken with such regularity – my simple Sinusitis, turned nearly full face Sinus Infection and Bronchitis, had been topped off with coughing myself into fracturing my own ribs.

By then I suspected the same on the other side too but didn’t even bother to ask for another set of x-rays.

And, the plugged ear which began the whole adventure weeks before was still the same.

Please return for the continuation and hopefully the last two or maybe three entries of ‘my summer saga’

 

 

 

 

 

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Infectious Bacteria Stalkers-My Summer Saga

Three

With a blocked off throat preventing me from drawing in air, it produced a sound like a flock of honking geese.  My eyes bulged and my arms flapped but only the tiniest bit of air came in.

Lasting several seconds but feeling like minutes, my throat relaxed and I sucked in a roomful of breath. I was stunned but other than my raw throat I felt fine, so I let the moment pass.

It was a warm afternoon, hubby came home from work, our daughter dropped by for a quick visit and I casually mentioned that if I happened to choke again I’d like to be taken to the Emergency Department of our local hospital.

Several hours later I coughed which tore at my raging sore throat and again, something closed off and would not let air in. I opened my mouth and tried to suck in but only produced the same honk.  Mysteriously as it began, it stopped and my breathing returned.

At the hospital, after the routine of discussion, waiting and telling the same story several times with a voice that only squeaked out sounds I was settled but sitting, into a bed.  I’d had my temperature taken but because I wasn’t ill, I had no fever. We waited.

While studying me, the attending nurse says, “Why are you talking like that,” as she stands nearby  and observes me with her notepad, writing who knows what.

“Pardon me,” I say as I look up at her. She repeats her question and I whisper-squeak while I push out the words, “Because I have no voice.”

Really.  Did she suspect that perhaps I’d pop into the emergency  ward with a wild story and fake laryngitis just to get some weird connection with nurses and doctors?  I’d told my story – I believed it was a reaction to a prescription nasal spray I’d been given two days previous.  Within the first two hours my throat became raw and as time passed, it dried out, pain increased, a dry cough appeared and things were not getting better.

Strange yes, as I looked perfectly fine.  I was scared and there for help, not disbelief.

It wasn’t long before I had the place hopping as the entertainment began with a cough, gasp, honk and then honk some more while I tried to breathe.  Staff stared at me, while calling for more staff to come and stare at me. Now I had their attention. This was real.

A doctor looked at me, a call went somewhere to find an ENT (ears/nose/throat) specialist, the staff chattered and  I heard a call go out to get Respiratory there and it seemed that curiosity levels rose all around.

When my throat relaxed and was again able to suck invisible life giving air into my lungs the curtained off area became quiet as the nurse stuck a needle in my left arm taping it off, “just in case,” they had to give something to open my airways.

On the next round of bug eyed, chest heaving attempts to breathe and many seconds later take large gasps in as the throat once again opened my nurse appears on the left. Medication is gently attached to the line leading to my taped up hand and freely flows into me.

From the right a mask is placed over my mouth, “a Nebulizer, to help you breathe” I was told and my blood pressure taken several times.

A respiratory person arrived and stood nearby on my left, chatting softly to me, yet I don’t recall what he said.

On the next round of cough, choke, no breath, the attending doctor hands my hubby his phone to video me so he can show the ENT exactly what I look like.  Hubby stands at the end of the bed helpless to do anything but do as he is told.

Nice.  Somewhere out there my face, gasping and gagging and flapping arms are likely going to be used as an emergency room teaching tool.

This time the lack of air is longer and little dancing tingles creep their way up my fingers to my shoulders and I feel my body begin to sag like a lumpy pillow.  My head begins to buzz  just as my throat releases the stranglehold and I flop back against the bed, while the darkness behind my eyes returns to light.

By now a couple of hours have passed, the staff have other patients to attend to and hubby’s job is to stand on guard at the door ready to alert them if I begin the routine again. Really, it is so loud I’m quite sure it would not be missed.

The ENT arrives, also stands in the doorway, looks at the phone video display of my performance, looks at me sitting there in my blue gown, with wires and mask and the machines hissing and popping.

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I immediately feel embarrassed as I listen to him chat with the staff about what this looks like and I hear the words – Laryngospasm and  vocal cord dysfunction which means the cords close.

Then he mentions it can be caused by stress or acid reflux.  These are all new terms to me while I process this information – really – I’m choking because I have some stress or acid. Maybe my imagination has made up the whole thing.

I’m sure more professional examination happened but this is my memory of what took place next.  The ENT sat down on the right side of the bed and asks me if I was stressed.

“Like what, husband- family-life?” I answer rather astonished at the question as  I then let him know this situation was certainly causing some anxiety.

It was mere moments before a nurse was at my left side ordering me to open my mouth and popped a tiny pill under my tongue to relax me or keep me calm or…zone me out.

ENT doc chatters at me as  he slips a slick little tube in my nose and slides it down into my throat. That did not feel especially good.  He tells me he is going to hit the vocal cords to make them close.  Honestly, if my brain had been functioning on full capacity instead of being oxygen deprived I’d have jumped and run.

He makes me talk while he bangs with his little weapon on the inner parts of my throat. Not only is he bashing at me he irritatingly sits too close to me, in my space one could say.

I wasn’t liking him  too much.

Then I feel the lid of breath shut off.  ENT doc sits calmly telling me to breathe and I just want him to go away.

Instead, he tells me to breathe through my nose, tells me I can do it.  I can’t and grunt this information to him.  I’m told if I can speak I can breathe.  Really!  I’d like him to try it.

A straw magically appears and he tells me to suck it – to find the airspace and draw it in.

I try.  Then toss the straw.  After that attempt fails we return to the nose conversation.

I notice people and activity to my left and I think a hole is about to be stabbed into my throat to help me.  I hear them talking but not what is said because my honking is so loud.

I can feel the tears of desperation, frustration and embarrassment run down my face.

My brain squeezes tight as  it tries to find a pathway to my nose to make it find air.

It is a battle of wills, the ENT doc’s determination for me to listen to his instruction and use my nose to breathe and my will to breathe any way I can.

My brain finally grasps the instruction and my nose does what my closed vocal cord could not do, air slid into my nostrils, seeped down the back of my throat and into my lungs.

My vocal cords opened and I learned a new life tool and it is one I’ll likely never forget.

I was so mad at him I was speechless.  I was so grateful to him I was speechless.

Time passed and that tiny pill settled its soft glow of relaxation and sleepiness over my body as I was wheeled off to ICU (intensive care unit) for a nights rest.

 

 

 

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Transitions: Painting and Life

2016-01-18 18.50.00

Do you ever look at life – your own life and wish one thing could stay exactly as it is while longing to change one or more areas, again either of self or others or even situations.  I do.

In the above painting I really liked the sky and how the light shimmered over the hills and sandy beach.

However the sand was too dark and the rock cliff in the foreground not defined enough for my liking so I began to mess with it.  I wanted to get rid of all the green that injected itself into the sea.  It wasn’t there before and I wondered how I missed it – though I’d put it there.

 

I have a lot of life to look back on from where I am today, facing life as a senior and in the last five years much self reflection has taken place.  It puts me right at today.

When my house is clean, the sun is shining and all is well in my relationships I believe life just couldn’t get any better.  I live by the ocean and can soak up the sound of bubbling ripples  whenever I want.  My adult children live close enough to visit regularly.  I’m not working to earn a living any more – hubby is the one who goes off each day and will continue that for a few more years.  Much of time is my own – an enviable state for many people.

Yet on a dark and dismal day as the drops run down the window my tears sometimes match the flow. When a relationship conversation turns in a direction I didn’t anticipate I am left with a crumpled pile of emotions sitting in my lap and I can feel paralyzed.

I try to balance the dark days and bask in the light days – but sometimes I am simply not in control.  Then, I must look in, look out, seek help – let go.  Move forward.

2016-02-09 16.10.42 HDR

 

I lost some of the lightness in the sky and the plan is to find it again but it will  take work.

My cliffs are taking shape, the green sea is not so stormy any longer and the sand is slowly shifting to a softer glow. It is a work in progress.  Like me.  And, perhaps you.

 

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