Tag Archives: suffering

Fireworks and distractions

Happy July 4th, I love America.

 

Now that I’ve displayed patriotism, I shall talk about other things. Or maybe this day of independence celebrated by exploding things connects to what I’m about to say – because a lot of people drink beer and then light explosives off that are inches from their fingertips on July 4th, and they lose fingers, and I just put some board games away while cleaning and suddenly my finger is in agony and I can’t bend it. I hurt my finger. That’s how it relates. I didn’t blow my finger off with a firework – but I did hurt it… putting away a game.

As I type this out with one hand and contemplate how frequently and easily I hurt myself, and the fact that my foot still throbs because it’s probably broken too, and I woke up this morning with legs cramping and a body saying – Catherine, I hate you, we hate the world, roll back over and go to sleep, I wonder at what point I’ll have to inform the people I love of my injuries. I don’t like informing people of my pain, their reactions are usually very pitying, and pestering, and involve things like telling me to go to the hospital…and asking me things like why I haven’t been to the hospital yet…

So, I made a doctor’s appointment online for a week and a day from now, and I’ll just ward off their comments until then by masking my pain as exhaustion and anti-social behavior… Except I recently wound up with a boyfriend and he really likes to hold my hand, and he might notice me wincing in pain…or take anti-social behavior personally.

I was wondering the first two weeks of this relationship whether dating him was a good idea, because he seemed to like me so much, and I seemed just about perfect and flawless in his eyes, while he’s a normal human being – but now I remember that I’m secretly bound to fall apart at any moment, and him being able to accept that would be a miracle in itself and that – followed with his continued attempts to actually love me and will my good, would pretty much mean I should marry him…

I’m getting ahead of myself though.

Right now all I know is I’m in pain and it sucks, and I don’t wanna let anyone know because then I get treated like an invalid, except by the doctors who are just like “Yep, you broke something, here’s another cast!”, and then send me out the office because all I am is another patient. So then it’s me, in a cast, facing the pitiful faces of those I love and attempting to make them think everything is fine so that they’ll let me continue to live a semblance of a normal life.

Well, it’s a normal life for me…breaking bones.

I’m probably fine, but I needed to vent.

Pray for me dear readers. Prayers work miracles. In fact, thanks for your prayers for my friend with cancer – all her tumors disappeared. Praise be to God!

He’s the reason for my hope, my joy, and also why I don’t like making a huge deal when I hurt myself, because it always gets better.

 

I do need to go to the doctor though.

Okay, bye!

-Catherine

 

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Life goes on…

I haven’t talked to the friend that I wrote about in my last post for a while…It’s only been a couple days but it feels like a while. Your mind can so easily switch from one mode to another and you can sometimes forget about something entirely depending on who you’re with.

I went to a movie with one of my local friends tonight, and the previews started running. After one for a comedy there was one with Drew Barrymore and a British lady (I’m sorry, I’ve seen more Drew Barrymore films and I don’t recall the other actress’s name), and the whole concept of the film was that they were best friends and then one of them got cancer. It was a slightly unreal moment for me. I was just sitting there thinking, how did they know that my friend has cancer? …Of course, it was only a preview for a film, and in the film the lady with cancer is in her forties, and has two children, and is getting chemotherapy and explaining it to her kids, and anyway, what they show in the two minute preview is your basic: I have cancer, I’m going to fight it, we will get through this, but if we don’t it’s okay, that’s life, movie. …Is that a basic type of movie? I mean, it was an upbeat film. According to the two minute preview I saw.

Basically, she was fighting for her life…and I just remembered my friend…and she…she is praying.

Praying can be fighting. Prayer warriors exist. God is there.

It’s just…

You need prayer and action. You can have faith to move mountains, but sometimes you have to use a shovel. God can make miracles happen in your life, but sometimes you got to meet him part way.

It seems like when you have options and a chance to do something, maybe you should do it…Maybe you can try…Please try?

I can’t read her mind. Perhaps the details are such that prayer really is her only option…Our only option…But, from what she’s said, she’s making it her only option. Again, maybe mentally she doesn’t think she could handle anything else…But in a society so focused on comfort and not being in pain, heck, even as myself – focusing so much on pleasure with that fear of pain and suffering, it’s like, we forget the good that can come with the difficult. The fact that fire can burn, but it makes metal stronger.

I think sometimes we have to be reminded that certain things are possible and that sometimes we should try, even if we don’t want to, because sometimes we think less is possible than it is. We have less faith in ourselves than we should have. We don’t do things because we are afraid and we let fear stop us from living…Sometimes, literally. Like maybe my friend’s afraid of pain to the point where the fear is going to end her life. I don’t want that to happen. …Life isn’t about pleasure…It’s about joy, contentment, love. Love means willing the best for the other…So my arguments for her going through surgery are that she might not die, dying without surgery will already be painful, and there might be beautiful years of life ahead of her if she would only try.

It may not even come to that though.

In two weeks the tumor may be completely gone.

Or maybe, oh that would be a miracle too, in two weeks it will have shrunk to an operable size.

Then we’d just need the other miracle of her agreeing to treatment, her agreeing that her life is worth that temporary pain. Her trusting that more beautiful things are possible after treatment, that her life is worth it, that she is loved and can love so much more if she goes through with the treatment.

Praying for miracles.

So that is where things are at currently. My friend is praying, I am praying, and I often slip into just not thinking about this for hours at a time…Because life happens. Because of school and other people in your life…Because she waited a year to tell me that she had a tumor and even now she is still working and almost too busy to talk. She’d rather work than talk…Because if she stops working to talk, she’ll break down and cry…that much I know, that much she told me.

Ultimately, I don’t know what to do but pray, and carry on life as usual until I get another chance to talk to her, and until the next appointment when they find out whether a miracle happened or not.

Thank you for your prayers and love.

-Cdukulele

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My close friend

My close friend, who is far away, wanted to speak to me yesterday.

My close friend, who is far away, talked with me and had something to say.

My close friend, who is far away, is in the hospital for a temporary stay.

My close friend, who is far away, told me and told me to not relay

the story of her sickness, the story that with quickness, in a short message no explanation, she gave a short telling with hesitation…

My close friend, who is so far away, has cancer.

 

I want to cry for my close friend, I want to cry for me.

I want to cry for my close friend, for the friend I hardly see.

I want to cry for my close friend, but the tears can’t do any good.

I want to cry for my close friend, but I don’t even know if I should.

 

What right have I to cry for her and for her pain…

Am I even crying for that, or for a friendship on the wane?

It is not fair for me to cry, she is the one who is suffering.

It is not fair for me to cry, crying can do nothing.

 

I am just the friend, I am not the one who is dying.

I am just the friend, and she cannot see me crying.

I am just the friend, and I must be strong for her

because if I am not strong, she cannot cry for her.

 

Please pray for my close friend.

 

 

 

 

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ODR: 15 Things I learned while recovering from Neurosurgery.

Hello, it’s officially been three years since I had my crazy neurosurgery operation, and in honor of the fact that I am still alive right now, I’m posting about it.

Handily I’ve written on this topic a couple times and in honor of my new spirit of, actually publishing old drafts, I’m taking this post from  January 24th, 2014, fixing it up, and presenting it for you today.  Here it is:

15 Things I learned while recovering from Neurosurgery.

1.Learn to live with surprises: Even if you really, really, really, think that it’s the end, and you’re completely prepared for it, you can wake up fourteen hours later incredibly thirsty, and with the odd sensation of being unable to move your upper body.

2. I don’t know how to phrase this but: Eleven pm in the ICU  seems to be the perfect time for the construction crew to jack hammer something. Either that, or morphine has some crazy effects. Point here, you’re not sleeping, but that’s okay, you’re just in the ICU.

3. Appreciate the little things: Recovering in the ICU after surgery 24 hours since your last sip of water gives you a new appreciation for the meaning of the word “thirst”. At this point, the tiny sponge lollipop they give you to dip in water and moisten your mouth with is like an oasis, and the nurse who brought it to you is a saint.

4. People have a great capacity to do good. All nurses are saints. They are amazing people who look upon you in your hour of need, and give you morphine. Or some other pain killer, or bring you a lavender scented hot towel to wipe the dried blood off your head with.

5. People may not always live up to your expectations. The nurses that are part of the night staff may also be saints, but of the tough love variety. They favor doing things like “calling your doctor” before giving you an extra dose of meds, which results in you waiting 45 minutes in agonizing pain to get those meds, and hope they kick in.

6. The stomach has its own clock. Hospital kitchens close, so be hungry when the kitchen is open, and not at 3am when you and your sister are looking at the menu picking out what you actually feel like you could possibly consume. This will result in bitter disappointment that is only satisfied by handfuls of crackers and jello.

7. You are capable of amazing things. Like being spoonfed and not choking to death or dying. While you are capable of doing this, I recommend you avoid being spoonfed at all costs. If the nurse decides that you need help eating because you haven’t eaten in three days, while she may be right, she may not be the best person to spoon feed you. Surviving being spoonfed by an impatient nurse is a great accomplishment, as it means you’ve miraculously found a way to swallow food and breathe at the same time.

8. Curry soup does not deserve to exist. I don’t know why it is even considered a food. It is a malicious attempt to make you suffer for three days while it brings back memories of the spood-feeding horror of the past with its lingering smell on your unwashable neck collar.

9. Pain is relative, EXCEPT NOT. Apparently the official hospital pain chart is on a 1 to 10 scale, and not 1 to 5. Know and memorize this fact. Getting the allotted portion of medicine for the “I’m just unhappy enough not to smile” face when you’re really at the “All pain I experienced up to this point in my life was nothing” face is not fun.

10. Know your limitations, other people won’t. Physical Therapists have both too much and too little faith in you.  You get to walk around the entire building with just a walker! But no, you can’t go the two feet from the bathroom door to the toilet alone.

11. Sometimes you just need to get away. FLYING PTERODACTYLS OF DEATH! Are preferable to another night in the hospital, agonizingly reclining in your bed, wondering if this moment in torturous space and time is ever going to go away.

12. Visitors help time go by faster. They are also far more accurate gauges of how poorly you may or may not be doing, as their faces contort into looks of pity upon seeing you, while doctors just take blood and give instructions.

13. Hold on for dear life. Having a “Wheel chair pusher in training” kind of feels like you might as well be wheeled to the MRI machine by your five year old niece. Also, why does she have a volunteer tag? WHY ARE VOLUNTEERS IN CHARGE OF TRANSPORTING THE GIRL WHOSE NECK IS HELD TOGETHER WITH STAPLES????

14. Be happy to be alive. As you were probably never closer to death than you were in those moments, going under, being operated on, and recovering in the ICU, and you survived that, this means you can probably survive anything. Survive it or not, the main point is that:

15. You are loved. People love you. Enough to drive nine hours in a car with their 9 month old son, a giant stuffed tiger, and a perfect get well card with a kitten on it. Enough to sleep in an uncomfortable hospital chair three nights in a row, keeping you company and massaging your legs when they hurt from not moving for so long. Enough to have their faces contort into looks of pain when they see you suffering. Enough to spoonfeed you until you’re about to choke. Enough to tell you that you should have this operation because otherwise life might end.  Love is limitless, and experiencing the love in this world is worth the pain.

God is good.

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Life starts at conception.

Just saying.

Of course, if that’s true, then planned parenthood is an evil industry that murders human beings.

Also, if they are really human beings then they can’t be killed because of someone’s “freedom of choice”.

But I guess I’m just the minority that believes what science says about how when the egg meets the sperm the two form a new organism that contains it’s own set of DNA that takes elements from both of their sets, and uses it to continue to grow and develop into the individual that we recognize by law as a human person.

Just the minority that believes that a person is a person no matter how small. No matter how silent. No matter how invisible. No matter how few cells they contain. No matter how much money you can make selling off their body parts.

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Faith

My oldest sister gave me a hug the other day.

I was standing in the kitchen, my voice wavering during my attempted explanation of my plans for my life and my future, trying to explain why I’m only working part time, and how I’m doing physical therapy, but it’s difficult, and really everything is more difficult when your body hurts, and she was asking questions and trying to be helpful and encourage me to do more. Then my eyes started to get watery, and my cheeks started to burn, and I couldn’t think of any more explanations for why I was failing so badly at my life, and I started crying, and she ran to the kitchen and wrapped her arms around me and I cried on her shoulder.
She held me and apologized, and said that I could just keep doing what I was doing, and that I was so strong, and she should have never started asking all those questions, but she was just concerned about me, but she was wrong.

She asked me to forgive her, and I think I did, but I spent most of the time thinking about the teardrops that I was getting on her shoulder and whether my part time job was really enough and whether I was too sensitive for crying about the fact that I don’t have much of an idea of what I’m doing with my life and am just holding on to a wisp of it while I hope it gets easier and that I get a lot stronger. I wondered how bad things were if I cry when people ask me about them.

I still don’t exactly know what I’m doing…but…I guess I’m doing as much as I can without having an emotional breakdown.

I guess.

I don’t know.

I’ll just…keep praying and keep trying.

The night before the hug, I killed a black widow spider and the experience kind of freaked me out so much that I started repeating what I remembered from the Divine shepherd Psalm in my head. It was just a spider, and I probably shouldn’t have been as terrified as I was, but then I started thinking about how I was so afraid of a spider biting me, when my neck could easily snap, or need to be fused to my skull, or any horrible thing could happen at any moment, and that’s when I decided I needed to say a prayer to calm down. I was thinking of part of it, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me and your rod and staff are the comfort I need to know”, when I picked up my Bible and opened it to a random spot just so I could start reading. It opened exactly to Psalm 23.

…In two days my Bible opened exactly to the passage that I was not only thinking of, but definitely needed to read and know at that moment and always, and my oldest sister hugged me and told me that I was strong, and it was okay that I didn’t have everything figured out.

I needed these things. I’m glad they happened. I hope things like this keep happening.

Because I am weak, and I need God, and I need prayers, and I need love, and strength, and hope, and ten second hugs where the person I’m hugging lets me cry all over their shoulder and doesn’t mind because they’re used to baby spit up, and moments in my life where I am praying and I look down at the Bible in my hands and it is exactly God’s words speaking to me, showing me that he is there and he knows my thoughts and fears but he loves me and is taking care of his daughter.

Except I don’t need the black widow spiders…(Especially the one that I really didn’t want to have to kill, but it was kind of a life or death situation, in my mind at least, and my existence felt severely threatened by its existence. I am quite sorry that it had to die, but it does not get to live in my house, near my light switch, waiting for me to sleep so that it can kill me…)

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to pray for me as my body keeps trying to deal with that neck surgery I had two years back, and my mind keeps trying to deal with the fact that I graduated college and don’t exactly know how I’m going to figure the rest of my life out, or pay for it, and my heart keeps trying to deal with the loneliness and crushes that I keep getting on men that I’m never going to date or marry.

I’ll try to do the same for you.

Thank you,

               Catherine

 

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The problem with near death experiences…

is that every time you tell someone else about them, you feel like you’re bragging.

And whenever you talk about how you managed to survive it all, you wonder if you’re really inspiring them, or making them want to hit you over the head with a hammer.

Because you’ve told this story before. And some of the people you tell it to have lived through it with you. And just because you were miserable, you don’t know if that’s enough to console someone else who’s miserable.

Because when you’re miserable, you don’t want to hear about how someone else survived getting a papercut. You want to hit them over the head with a hammer, and see if they survive that.

And sometimes the person you just told that heart wrenching story to you, was not aided at all, because instead of meeting them at their level and helping them with whatever their problem was, you just went on a five message rant about the stuff you went through. And pain is pain.

And whether or not you survived worse does not matter.

It’s about helping them survive the moment.

Helping them with their papercut.

Acknowledging the pain.

Because, even though it wasn’t life or death, it hurts.

-cdukulele

 

 

 

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