Category Archives: Faith Path

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

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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.

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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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Lead so I can Follow

The two paintings below are the same one but they could be two separate ones.  On the left is like daytime and the other could be evening.  It is just what happened as I began laying down paint. They are also about one week apart.

Still on my Arizona holiday in the sunshine and enjoying the bright skies my mood may have been reflected in my work. (because of several wind storms and plenty of rain)

One picture is light, airy, pretty.  The other is dark, brooding, deep with a bit of light peeking through the clouds.

Perhaps I painted on one of those dreary days.

Perhaps it reflected my mood but I can’t really say – it simply became what it was.

Then, I didn’t paint for two months.

The Arizona holiday ended late November, the painting packed away and while not forgotten about, was put aside.

 

Then came January and the painting created something entirely different.  I had to go where it led.

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I’ve become curious about how much my environment, sunshine, rain, location and seasons of the year dictate my performance, energy, creativity and even the direction of my life.

It used to be that when I wrote, I wrote.  I didn’t paint.  When I painted, I painted. I didn’t write.  Now I have learned to do a little of both.  I’m discovering how to blend the two.

 

Though I loved my babies and enjoyed their development years I had times I believed nursing them was going to be my new normal – forever, or that they’d be toddlers for all time.  I wondered if the teen years would ever end.  They did.  Now, I have adult children with lives of their own – like the average person I wonder where the time has gone.

As I ponder now – what was the rush and where was I in such a hurry to get to anyway.

I wondered how to stop the days from moving so quickly, how  to slow down the wrinkles and grey hair and how to anticipate the senior years.

Well, they are here…at my local recreation centre where I obsessively play Pickleball, the age of 55 is considered the senior years.

I’m no longer in such a hurry.

There are so  many people who are lonely, angry, hurt, lost, who race through days, who’ve been ill, have cancer, have died…

I struggled my own way through a vast desert of years of doubt and life choices, what I’d done with my adult life and with some regrets until I worked it through to a point of reconciliation with myself, God and others.

I’m allowing the present and future lead me to new places and though I’m not in a hurry, I have some things to do.

At my core is the belief I am being led by God – if I’m listening and following.  Far from perfect I’m taking faith steps forward, hesitatingly at times but at least I’m moving.

Where once I was too afraid to try, here I am writing and painting, taking the time and learning how, growing, being stretched, falling down and getting up again.  It’s the same in my friendships, in my marriage, in my fun and play and where I can be of service to others.

Even in the whispers of perfectionism and doubt.

Join me in my quest to follow the painting to completion.

 

 

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One Step at a Time

Laying down the basics and keeping things simple. That is an easy model for me to begin my painting and then allow what transpires to take me where it wants to go.  I follow.

This process is helpful because when things go awry and get complicated my creativity is blocked and I believe I am stuck and unable to move forward.

I find it’s rather like life, mine anyway.   I like to lead a  simple life but at times it can get complicated or I  can run ahead of myself. It’s then I need to get back to the process of step by step even if I have to create it.

One of the items I brought along in my paint pack on my Arizona holiday were several strips of colored rice paper.

An idea I’ve used before and decided to try again thanks to an artist who taught me is to apply various products to the painting like string, sand, leaves, buttons, lace, etc – anything to give a lift, depth, dimension and excitement.

In a couple of my past favorite paintings I did use sand and bits of bark for logs for a particular beach scene – I loved those finished pieces and so did others because they bought them.

It’s rather an honor knowing someone liked the process I went through, learning, being challenged, growing, changing then ending up with a satisfactory and pleasing finish.

It’s like this in friendships, love, work and play, giving and serving others.  If I remain open to be taught, to grow, change and flex  perhaps in the end of days I’d like to think it will be a satisfactory and pleasing finish.

In this part of the picture below I began sticking wet rice paper onto the canvas and scrunching it to shape the hills and mountains in the background and rocks in the foreground.  In letting the shapes direct me I followed the shoreline with my fingers.

In some spots I had to pick off paper and in others add more to make the dips, shapes and jagged rocks appear or disappear.

Reflection keeps popping up as I compare the shaping of my life to the shaping of a painting.

How it will be in the end is yet to be discovered.

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