Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanks Thanksgiving.........

Thanksgiving Day was a couple of days ago. Superwoman worked her magic and we had fifteen family members over for a scrumptious feast. As most all southern American families do, everyone brought a dish or two to share. We had too much to eat and all slumped into chairs after the banquet and talked of things trivial and important.

Every year I stand in awe of the genius that marketed jello as a salad.

There were two highlights to the day for me.

1. I can no longer manage the task of carving the turkey and this year decided to teach my 21 year old son how to do the honors. He was intimidated as I was the first time I was confronted with a twenty-one pound turkey armed only with a carving knife and a Betty Crocker cookbook.
He had the advantage of my tutelage. It was probably harder on me than him as I pointed out the places to begin the cuts and joints that needed to be popped. I would give an instruction and then pretend to be busy elsewhere so he didn't have the old master looking over his shoulder. I could not have been prouder when we finished. The gauntlet has been passed....Long Live the (new) King.

2. The second highlight lasted 37 minutes 53 seconds. I had booted up my home PC with the hope that maybe, just maybe, I could reach my son, Tim, in Iraq. Sure enough, just minutes after all the guest had arrived, we got a text from his wife that his (very iffy but expensive) internet was working. I rushed to the office and seconds later from the middle of the Iraqi desert came the voice and smiling face of our soldier.

Everyone had a chance to speak with him and ask him if the Army fed them turkey and whether it was hot in the desert and other nervous talk. One by one they left our office until it was just the two of us. Me growing frail and unsure and, the little boy I had raised, looking healthy and confident. We had a couple of minutes of "man to man" and I told him I loved him and to be safe and we ended the call.

It truly was a Happy Thanksgiving in so many ways.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ceaseless Surf.........

There was a time when I wondered what chronic pain felt like. I imagined that it was something you could simply tough out and get accustomed to. My years of long distance running and cycling taught me that as I trained through the pain of workouts I became better able to endure the pain.

This is different. My physical pain is ceaseless. It is worse at times and there are moments where it seems to slowly recede only to wash over me moments later.

If you've ever stood in the surf at the edge of the waterline of any ocean you'll know what I mean. The water runs away from your feet then gathers itself for another assault at the sand beneath your toes. Each unremitting surge weakening your stance as you sink into the sand.

My pain is the water. It is bearable yet indefatigable. As the sand washes away so does my resolve.

I believe I can endure the pain but I fear my determination is being swept away by the inexhaustible, ceaseless efforts of the gentle waves.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mirrors on My Mind....

It has been over three weeks since my last post in which I visited the impact that my Mother's stroke had on my perspectives. Truly, my life has been altered.

She, after a ten day hospital stay and much physical therapy, has returned home. While she continues to improve she will never be the same.

The first night after her stroke I slept at the hospital on a small couch that was in her private room. We talked and though she had a slight slur it was apparent that her cognitive skills remained intact. We laughed as a nurse marveled at how much I resembled her. We cried as we discussed the future.

It is ironic that the symptoms she had has a result of the stroke are similar to what I will experience. Where she was struck down in minutes, mine will take years. But we are going in opposite directions.

It is her left side and my right side. It is already like looking in a mirror when I look into her eyes, now our body failures mirror each other. We see the humor in that. Cruel joke though.