I thought I might have gained weight, no, I am still hovering just above 100 pounds. I have been sleeping a lot. I have talked to some friends, but mostly I am just learning to live with this new body. Lymph nodes swelled up under my left arm which made it virtually unusable and extremely uncomfortable. Fevers that do not register on the thermometer, night sweats so bad that I wake several times each night dripping with sweat. The sheets damp through. My hair plastered to my neck and my pillow hot and sponging wet. For someone who has never been someone who sweat this is gross, disgusting. To wake up at 2:00 am and literally dripping with sweat. The nurses and I have no idea where this is coming from, so we can not adjust meds to help this. I am also in need of sleep. I sleep for hours during the day, and then sleep for 12 hours at night. It is that same tired I get all the time. The feeling that my body has been dipped in lead until lifting a foot or raising an arm takes a tremendous amount of energy. I have little lumps on my chest, along my backbone and under my arm. I am breathy. I keep loosing my breath and have to stop and turn on my little cha chug machine, my little R2D2, and sleep or lay down maybe reading. I just finished reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I really enjoyed it, and as I told Carolyn, whom I had borrowed the book, I didn't know how it would end until I read it. I love that. There are so many books I read that I know what is going to happen after the first chapter. This was a fun book and I really enjoyed her writing style. I might try another one of her books.
But the breathing. It is a little frightening. I think I would be more frightened by not being able to catch my breath if I had not seen my mother all of her life go though this. Because of her, I have learned some tricks about breathing so that I can catch my breath. It can happen anywhere, and it happens more than once each day. I am becoming aware that this is my new world. Of course I can still get out of the house and go places. I have the little scooter and a portable oxygen machine. But as silly as this sounds, I don't want to go out in public like that. I would rather sit at home on my oxygen machine than go out into public as one of those people. I have a gorgeous home. A space that invites you to come out and sit. It whispers relax, sigh, smile and put your feet up. You can watch the chickens and the ducks. You can listen to the bubbling water. Who would want to strap themselves up with hoses and tiny cylindrical tanks and drag them behind you, cha chooing along. Yes, that is ridiculous, but remember my body feels like it is weighed down with layers of lead. Not fun.
Dealing with the world with the little c, I always looked normal, except when I lost my hair. This new phase of my life is the most obvious in your face I am sick and you should feel sorry for me. I don't like that. We went to the Jefferson middle school Veterans Day celebration yesterday. It was delightful seeing the kids read poems they had written, sing America the Beautiful, play taps and the JROTC kids marched and danced as they demonstrated their ability to work as a unit. Their were about 20 veterans of foreign wars, including my own honey. They had fought for our country, some of them at a time when they couldn't eat in a white restaurant. How could I sit there cha chooing while the kids performed their hearts out for these men. There were a couple of elderly widows of husbands who had been in the Army. They proudly stood up when their husbands branch of the military was called out. And I say AMEN to that. These women raised families during segregation all on their own. To me that is as brave and did as much as protecting our country as their husbands. I was honored to be in the room with these people. I may have been a hippie, but I was raised respecting my elders, selling poppies, performing when I was small at the VFW on Nov. 11. So even though my life has been lived trying to enjoy peace, love and happiness, I understand that not everyone holds my same values.
This past month has been filled with gifts. It actually started with a birthday present from Marty and Shelia during Bug's birthday. A beautiful basket over flowing with gifts. Then Bug seemed to be able to find something every few days. I really don't like to let the Fates know that I am still alive and doing well. But this has been the most wonderful birthday I have ever had. Mid October I received a gift from my friends from the south part of the state I had worked with. These were the most extraordinary people. They legally entered the US. They had Masters and PhDs, they wanted to give their family a better world. A place where they could be whatever they wanted if they worked hard, were respectful of this opportunity and all the people who helped to give them the opportunities. The basket was huge, gianormous. Janak brought it from the office and Bug and I went to visit his dear family to pick it up. It was had everything you would need to be a gracious host for a busy weekend of friends staying over. Olives, salmon, a dozen different kind of crackers, all kinds of cookies and sweets. I can't tell you exactly how many there were of those because we started eating out of the basket on the way home. I am sure there were lots of other things. It was like Marty and Shelia's basket in that it overflowed with so many things that make me smile. For my birthday Bug's Mom and Dad sent me a beautiful basket from our local florist. It had an orchid that has replaced the orchid Ms Moon had given me when it quit flowering. Surrounding the orchid and only held in with the cellophane was fruit. Kiwi, grapes, apples and pears and grapefruit. Pure heaven. Between the gifts from my Miami group and the fruit from Mom and Dad I was completely set for family and friends coming for the house warming party we had on the 25th.
Cards and gifts continued to come in the mail and on my email. Family and friends had made donations to Heifer International in my name. Flocks of chickens, ducks and geese were given to families in my name. I love the beautiful baskets filled with joy to share with friends and family. I appreciate all the cards with notes and kisses in them. I appreciate all the sweet thoughtful presents, and Heifer International is my favorite charity. I love our Opera House, and books for children's libraries helps our future citizens of this country. But the joy of knowing children holding soft peeps against their cheeks. To watch those chickens, ducks and geese to grow up and give you eggs and fertilizer for the garden and maybe one day even a meal after it no longer produces eggs. These gifts could feed generations.
We had a house warming party on the 25th. This appeared to be one of the busiest weekends in this area for the year. Which worked out fine because we had lots of friends and family. I know who was there, but I don't know what all they brought. But the table groaned with food. I sat in a chair by the pond. I did not walk around because I would have then left and laid on the bed getting oxygen. But being my friends they were just happy to see our home and see me sitting up the entire party. Dear precious friends who brought food, champagne, gifts and cards. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I was filled with gratitude for these beloved faces laughing and talking here with us at our home. sigh
Ms Moon brought a pineapple upside down cake (my new favorite). She also had the most glorious tea olive in her arms to plant near my front door. I will think of her and her precious family every time I go in and out of my door when the sweet fragrant blooms hidden behind the foliage release their siren's scent. Then to my delight, Marty and Shelia who had already given me my birthday present sent me the DVD of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and the WABAC machine. My favorite cartoons were always the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. And I loved Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman. If you haven't seen it, call me and come over to watch it. My friend from Kim brought me acorns, pine cones, leaves and other things she knew I would love from her yard. From her mountain. I received a foil kite, black fuzzy slippers and a material hanging of Ganesh. Then one of my favorite neighbors gave me a fairy house she had made. It went over in the pond area where Carolyn's bunnies with the succulents. They each add a bit of whimsy to the pond. I received beautiful cards and as I walk through my bedroom I will see more things that I forgot to mention. But the last box. Oh my, the last box. I can't tell you how taken back I have been all month by the out pouring of love and dear thoughts from my precious friends. It is not the gift. Well, in a way it is the gift, because I will enjoy them, and how perfect and thoughtful they were for me. I managed to just keep going all month. I just worked almost like a healthy person. Planting, cleaning, sewing, going more then I have in so long. All this love and kindness and energy flooded me and I loved the feeling of being able to do things.
Oh, but the last box. I did not think that anything could out do what had already been done. And that is right. But this was like taking all of the best, sweetest and loveliest parts and putting it into one box. There were actually two boxes and when I cut the tape and pulled the tops back nestled inside were presents wrapped in coordinating papers and ribbons. There was fragrant soap, sachets, a lovely embroidered bag, a brooch. I carefully lifted each present out of the baskets and separated them into groups based on wrapping. I slowly took my time. There was so much. Chickens and green, local products and chicken wine, also local. None of the presents were huge. This whole month presents have come in all sizes, but it was the thought, not the size or the price, and each present given at just the right moment. Like when Melinda gave me the fairy house and then drove home and back to the party to give us a painting of chicken portraits. I can't even begin to write about this month. A month where my health has been affected by the change of season, but my heart has soared by all the love and sweetness that has been openly and generously given. Thank you all.
Thank you, each one, from the moment taken to think of me and write me a quick happy birthday on FB, to calling, cards and sharing. So much love and sharing.
I am so very grateful. Grateful to still be here and to be able to wrap my arms around people who are so wonderful and amazing.
See, that is how my life is so rich and happy. I was smart enough to look past my natural instinct to be shy and when I met someone amazing I was as nice to them as I could be. I loved and adored them. Each and everyone of them. And amazing people tend to know amazing people. And because I truly fell in love with each of these people for just who they were, I have a lifetime of the dearest most precious sweetest, funniest, intelligent and totally amazing friends. And amazing people, shy or brave, artistic or hunter, quiet or loud, are people who will be with you your whole life. And if you watch and love and admire them, some of that amazing might wear off.
That is the secret of my happy life. The most amazing friends who inspired me to be me and follow my heart. To enjoy life and appreciate everyone in your life. Whether animal, plant or mineral. I received several rocks as presents and they will also be placed in the pond.
There are still other friends I hope to see, but I am not ready to go out much into the real world yet. But I can be found at our beautiful home. If the weather is nice I will probably be out back on my porch. If the weather is cold, well, I will be there, maybe out in the Florida room.
We have been out on the bike whenever it is warm. We went out on the boat this week, and had been going almost every week. I don't know right now because breathing is quickly becoming difficult. Actually painful. But the pain isn't what is important. Being able to breathe is the most important thought in my mind. The inflammation, the unknown lumps are becoming more noticeable, my mind dealing with hallucinations. I actually had a moment at the old place where I saw a white rabbit jump behind the old fish pond. I tried to follow it, then stopped and laughed and coughed and choked until Bug came over. The rabbit could have been real, or not. But I knew I wasn't following down any rabbit hold. I did not think she had a very fun time down there. Then I would laugh again. Well shoot, if your body and mind are aging quickly and falling apart on you way too early, you might as well laugh at the white rabbits.