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Archive for August, 2022

I’m standing on both feet now and trying to walk normally. After nearly a month of favoring one side over the other, the pain has shifted to my better half. Why does this happen? It’s called compensation.

It’s as if every other part of your body has been on hold for a month, and now, just now that you’re throwing away the crutches, the rest of your body gets to complain:

“You think swinging one leg around all scrunched up with your weight on your hands and your back all twisted felt fine? Now we’ll show you!”

It’s like the letdown headache. We suffer through whatever stressful thing we have going on, and afterwards the ball drops. At least it feels like a heavy ball dropped on your head. Even the common cold can somehow be set on the back burner until we finish our exams at school. This sort of thing happened a lot with me, which is why the whole “body/mind” connection always made sense. The dancer in me never lost touch with my own proprioception. Until now.

That is – our ability to sense where we are in space. Unlike other senses, proprioception is difficult to measure. We know when we need reading glasses, or if our hearing is diminished, but nobody actually thinks about how we move from A to B. The Cambridge Dictionary defines proprioception as :”the process in which nerve endings in the muscles and joints are stimulated (= made to operate) when the body moves, so that a person is aware of their body’s position.”

This sense becomes abundantly clear if God forbid you’ve had a stroke. Like Bob’s cerebellar incident during his spine surgery years ago. Today he’s better climbing ladders than I am. But unless you’ve tried rappelling down from the ceiling in an adventure movie while lasers are flashing all around at odd angles, you’re probably blissfully unaware of proprioception.

In fact, I’m reading an excellent book on perception in animals – “An Immense World, How Animal Senses Reveal the World Around Us,” by Ed Yong. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in science. If you need to rotate some nonfiction into your bedside stack of books, I highly recommend this brilliant read.

“Thinking expansively would help us realize that nature’s true wonders aren’t limited to a remote wilderness or other sublime landscape — what Yong calls “otherworldly magnificence.” There is as much grandeur in the soil of a backyard garden as there is in the canyons of Zion. Recognizing the breadth of this immense world should spur in us a sense of humility. We just need to get over ourselves first.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/22/books/review-immense-world-animal-senses-ed-yong.html

His book begins with an elephant in a room… an actual elephant… along with some other animals and bugs.

The truth is, we all walk around, or limp or roll around, in our very own sensory bubble. We may not be attuned to the earth’s magnetic fields like some turtles, and we may insist on lighting up the planet at night, despite sending the wrong visual cues to nocturnal animals. But after my little bunk bed mishap, my other senses have been over-compensating. In slowing down, in sitting with my emotions and my broken pelvis my bubble has expanded; from the luxurious feel of cashmere yarn through my fingers while knitting, to the sound of a cardinal right outside my snug’s window.

I’ve become humbled by the kindness of strangers. People have been willing to hold doors, or reach for something when they see me struggle. After meeting with my wonderful Physical Therapist Jen yesterday, I realized I’d forgotten how to walk properly. And so I’m working on my own proprioception, trying not to think about walking so much… because when I think about tightening my core, and shoulders down, and heel down, and head up I tend to walk like a robot.

Now I just need to get out of my own way!

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It’s opening night for my granddaughter’s middle school musical!

Y’all know I’m an old song and dance girl. Before I danced in my high school’s version of “Oklahoma,” I played the lead in “Camelot” at Camp St Joseph for Girls. I had to sing “If Ever I Would Leave You” in tights and a pillowcase and I must say I killed it.

My star kept rising with “The Music Man” and ascended to new heights when I played Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls.” Even if Bob (who played Nathan Detroit) and I were fighting one day, you know like if he may have not wanted to go to the Junior Prom or some such nonsense, we were professional enough to carry on with the show! The very first show tune I taught the two year old Love Bug was “A Bushel and a Peck.” We even had a dance number – if only we had had TikTok.

The Bug’s Mother is another story. The Flapper hung a tiny pair of ballet slippers over her crib when she was born in the hospital. Sounds like a fairy tale right? My Mother didn’t let a car accident stop her from dancing and by God, her new granddaughter would trip the boards like Terpsichore. And of course, dancing in the Berkshire Ballet’s “Nutcracker” would become our mother-daughter Christmas-Hunakkah tradition. Until…

One day the Bride announced in a letter that she no longer had the time to take ballet lessons. She was about the Bug’s age then, and too busy with school and horseback riding. I had to respect her wishes but I’m sure she knew my heart was a little broken. Little did we know that the Rocker would become the performer; maybe I should have taken him to tap classes instead of hockey practice!

Tonight my Bug will be playing an Oompa Loompa and I will be sitting front row center proud as a peacock! Will she catch Broadway fever from her first bit part in Willy Wonka? When she looks out at the audience tonight and hears the applause will something click? Is today the day she finds her passion in life? You never know but this is the age for making momentous decisions.

“I am preparing other surprises that are even more marvellous and even more fantastic for you and for all my beloved Golden Ticket holders – mystic and marvellous surprises that will entice, delight, intrigue, astonish and perplex you beyond measure. In your wildest dreams you could not imagine such things could happen to you! Just wait and see!” 

https://roalddahl.fandom.com/wiki/Golden_Ticket#:~:text=A%20Golden%20Ticket%20is%20the,find%20was%20a%20press%20sensation.

This is about the age I left my foster parents and decided to live with the Flapper forever, coming out of my sheltered chrysalis. Beware of the preteen, she is a powerful totem with her golden ticket.

In a world of pure imagination

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Our family’s birthday season begins midsummer with the big boys and ends with the little Pumpkin’s falling leaves. We celebrated a milestone in Malibu. Although every birthday gives us a chance to rejoice or deny our humble beginnings; I’m in the denial phase at the moment.

The Groom’s family has a tradition where each person at the dinner table tells the story of the actual birth day. We all have different points of view so it’s like writing a book. Every chapter is the same time period only told from a different perspective.

The Flapper told me that my brother Michael was her easiest birth. She was outside hanging laundry on the line when she felt him coming and told my sister Kay to run through the backyards to fetch the doctor. I imagine her running barefoot through clouds of sheets. Michael was born fast, destined for a life in the sports world.

I was her only hospital-born baby. She told the doctor after five children she needed a rest.

As my Father lay dying, the doctor told the Flapper she didn’t have to boil my baby bottles. He said washing them was fine which was a tremendous help. I picture him looking like Santa Claus, in a plain gray suit. Cultural norms have changed since the 40s. Today more than 80% of newborns are breastfed.

While I was lying on the floor after my Malibu fall, Bob examined me. No broken hip, check. And my mind immediately cast blame on myself of course. Why do I act like I’m still 16? I don’t want to ruin this vacation so let’s just soldier on and walk up and down hundreds of steps to a beach. Until I couldn’t walk at all.

This week, the MRI tech who escorted me into the room told me I could take off my glasses and my mask. He pointed to a table and went on about how I’d be all alone in the room, and then he added,

“Dr Fauci is going to prison!”

At first I wasn’t sure if he said that, but to cement the thought he repeated it. I replied,

“I know he got Covid, but that’s not a crime.”

Then he gave me two ear plugs, tied my feet together and crossed my hands over my chest on the table. I was a prisoner in a metal tube with a redneck at the wheel. I tried going to my happy place but that wasn’t working so I just concentrated on my breathing while a jackhammer of sound waves attacked my pelvis.

Turns out I fractured the upper part of my sacrum. Which really isn’t a bad spot – too far to the right and I’d be paralyzed, too far to the left and my hip could have shattered. Lucky me.

I’m trying to resist absolutist thinking – like now I’ll never play pickleball. Instead I tell myself I could write more and read more and watch more Netflix while resting on the couch. Why do we need to give birth or nearly die to allow ourselves a rest? This American work ethic thing is real. I feel like a sloth or maybe an escargot!

Poor Bob. His birthday is coming up next and he’s on nursing duty. Washing clothes, cooking and watering gardens while walking dogs and tending to me. Not all at the same time of course. Turns out his talents exceed my expectations. I told the Pumpkin that TOGETHER PopBob and I would get through this just fine. “Don’t you agree Bob,” I said.

After an affirmative mumble from my harried husband, the Pumpkin looked at me and said, “Sounds like he’s not convinced!”

Wish us luck dear readers. I’m on the lookout for a rabbit’s foot charm, or an Irish shamrock to add to my feather pendants.

A reflection of me, before the fall

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