How It Came To House Calls

A young man was demanding we remove the bugs from him. He said they were crawling all over his skin, working their way into his ears. No matter how hard we looked, we couldn’t see any bugs anywhere.

A nurse had stopped by twice, but she had done nothing other than to check on him. Beloved kept checking his watch as we waited well past the time I was supposed to have my appointment.

Now he’s a compassionate man, my Beloved; however, the waiting had gotten to him. He had his fill of the man demanding bug removal, as well as the other two young people almost drooling in a stupor.

Beloved asked the nurse when we were getting in, and she said she didn’t know due to triage. He pointed out we had a scheduled appointment; I have a compromised immune system and such. She said it didn’t matter. They had to deal with the drug overdoses first.

That was when he said we were leaving, and he was letting the specialist know that we had been denied care. Her attention shifted, she apologized and called the specialist. He came down to meet us and take us up to his office.

Beloved had a lengthy conversation about the experience downstairs. The specialist said that we were the fourth group of people he’d heard mention this. Not that he could blame the staff for triaging, there were simply too many drug overdoses happening over the last week. As we were leaving, he gave us a different number to contact him and said that from now on, he’d come to the house as he didn’t want me exposed to more germs if it could be avoided.

Not Cutting It

Apparently Beloved and I are just not cutting it.  Not when it comes to the four-footed one and playing.  Sure we play with her.  We play hide the eggs, we play chase, we play attack of the dinosaurs, and many more games.  But it has been brought to our attention, painfully clearly by the way, that our playing is lacking.  

The four-footed one now continues to play hide the egg on her own.  She pushes it under a blanket, rolls around a bit, and then finds the egg again.  And she taken to chasing her own tail, just to keep chase games up and running.  As for attack of the dinosaur, she throws them in the air, lets them land on her back before she shakes them off and pounces on them.  All of these games can be played for hours on her own.  As if to show us how woefully inadequate we are as playmates.

If it were just play time we could probably mange things.  But we do bedtime wrong as well.  So she tucks herself in now.  She just jumps up on our bed, wiggles down under the top blanket and settles in for a nice sleep.  Never mind she has not provided space for us to get into bed and rest comfortably.  In addition to needing to be tucked in, four-feet also demands the light get turned off when she is ready to go to sleep.

And obviously her feeding is lacking as well.  Why else would she need to eat the neighbors cat’s food?  Or clean up every crumb on the floor as well?  And drinking is readily fixed by drinking out of puddles and such.  

Obviously Beloved and I are dreadful pet parents.  At least if you listen to the four-footed one!  Or perhaps it is our interpretation of her behavior and she’s just being a dog, living in the moment with full joy and zeal.

Talking Trees

Someone gave me a bonsai tree a while ago.  It came with tiny clippers, tiny watering can, and a long list of instructions.  This tiny tree, ever so carefully shaped scared me like no other plant has.  

Now I know there are faux bonsai trees, you know plants that aren’t really a boss I tree, just minute versions of a plant that you can trim and shape.  They aren’t as old as proper bonsai trees.  They may not have even had the attention and care these tress get.  

There is something therapeutic I have been told, about working on and living with these trees.  Calming, is what my friend said, as he gave me the beautiful container with the stunning tree.  He also gave me the kit with the tiny clippers, watering can and instructions.  And ever since, when I look at this tree, I get a sense of fear.  What if I trim this tree wrong?  

I mean how do you know what shape e tree is supposed to be?  My friend said that I will just know if it needs more shaping or such.  The watering is scheduled so that should be okay.  But even that can be a bit tricky.  What if the water is too warm or too cold? There are so many things that could go wrong.

I shared this with my friend and he laughed at me.  He told me to trust the feelings I will get and the tree will tell me what it needs.  I know it is supposed to be reassuring.  However to me this is just more pressure.  I don’t speak tree in any form.

Beloved suggested I meditate and the answers will come.  Obviously he hasn’t listened to the issues I have with meditation.  Is there some some special class I can take to learn all I need so I can hear the tree and understand it? Or am I just a lost cause and this poor bonsai goes down with me? 

Sitting This One Out

I found Beloved in his favorite chair, a blank look on his face, his body shaking as if he was so cold that he would never get warm.  I knew he wouldn’t have gotten far, he never does.  It is just a matter of where he decides to go after the nightmares visit.  Although to be fair, it is totally possible that he doesn’t so much decide as he just ends up somewhere.

The nightmares are always the same, and he is always running from the violence that is decades past, but where he goes once he is awake may change.  The fact that he was shaking so violently, I had a pretty good idea how specific this nightmare had been.  He was awake, but not present, not really.  

I grabbed him a blanket, even if he didn’t want it, he might need it.  And then I sat.  I just sat.  History taught me that in time he would stop shaking, the blank look would vanish and he would be, well, himself again.  And it was enough, in those long, dark hours to just sit.

How many hours had he done the same, sat in a still room just letting me have whatever space or silence I needed while I sorted myself and whatever new thing lupus threw my way.  And when I was ready, he was there for me.  So I promised myself, once I discoverd these nightmares of his, that I would be there for him in whatever capacity he needed me.  

And true to form, when he was “better”, we sat and talked.  Not about the nightmares, or his history.  Instead we talked about books and art.  And when it was time, we made breakfast and carried on, not ignoring what happened, but also respectfully allowing him to deal with his PTSD as he sees best.

Glass Measures

In the movies, or television for that matter, if a person is holding a glass when s/he receives bad news, it almost always slips out of the person’s hand and shatters onto the floor. As if it represents how the news is shattering the person’s life.

In reality that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes glasses are broken in a tightened grip and sometimes, if you are like Beloved, you set it down carefully and gently. You take great care to not pass the horrors of the news onto other people or objects. I know because I’ve watched him receive bad news in a way where he set his glass of whisky down carefully before rubbing his face with both hands and heading to the door for some fresh air.

To look at him, unless you know him well, you’d never know that he received bad news. But the tightness, just there by his eyes, the slight crease between his brows and the set of his jaw told me all I needed to know. Just as the way he placed the glass told me he needed time to himself. He’d tell me everything when he was ready. Until then, I’d leave the glass where he placed it and just wait.

When he did come home, he didn’t pick up his glass. Instead he came over and took my hand to lead me gently to the large chairs facing the window. There he shared his news, never once taking his eyes off the scene outside the window. But when he was finished, then he looked at me with those soft eyes of his before he got up and took to his glass of whisky, silently drinking.

I would have thrown the glass if it were my news. But it wasn’t. It was his. And in his way, he is far more mature, far more composed than I am. And so, he set it down gently to pick up later on when he was ready.

Just A Wee Thing Indeed

My mama used to say nothing good would come from an early morning call.  Early morning as in before the sun comes up.  Of course my mama never dealt with relationships across the pond where there is almost a half day’s difference in time.

Mama wasn’t wrong though.  Because while it was Beloved on the phone, it wasn’t good news.  Not horrible news, but not good news either.  A “wee accident” as he put it.  Of course he also put it like this “nothing of consequence except for a wee injury requiring a cast”.  Because that’s the best way to tell someone you’ve shattered your bones and require a few plates put in to hold things all together.

Because metal plates and screws are just “wee” things of “no consequence” and therefore shouldn’t be considered as alarming or shocking.  Everyday occurrences basically.  Which for some people I guess isn’t that big of a deal.

I’m not sure if once the pain medications wear off that Beloved will feel exactly the same way about the injury.  And I can’t shake the feeling that there is far more to this story than he is sharing.  Which wouldn’t be unusual due to my lupus and all.

And speaking of lupus, it is definitely not going to let me rush to Beloved any time soon. Granted he isn’t going anywhere any time soon either so maybe lupus will settle down enough for me to make it to him, or he will be healed enough to get here before it settles down.  Because it’s just a wee thing indeed.

Pull Up A Chair, Grab A Fork And Enjoy or Ignore The Dishes

So I was having some people over for a meal, nothing formal although given the amount of preparation and planning on my part you’d think it was going to be more formal. I know that my friends weren’t coming over for a five-star meal (woe to any of them that suspected I could pull that off in the first place), but I still wanted to provide a variety of flavors and textures for people to enjoy.

I should point out that I’m not trained as a cook so this is all just crossing of my fingers, hoping and praying it turns out relatively decent.  So far this has worked for the most part, although there was the seafood stew disaster, but let’s not go there.

So I visited several different shops, pulled out a million pots and pans (okay not really that many) and cooked.  People came over and enjoyed themselves so ago od time was had by all.  And the mountain of dishes from all the cooking? They were behind a closed-door in the kitchen so they were easy to ignore while company was over.

After everyone left the dishes could be tackled, cleaned and put away until next time.  After I have recovered from this whirlwind of breaking bread with people who matter in my life.  Because what’s a few dishes between friends?

The Maze And What I Re-Discovered

Let’s face it, most hospitals are built a bit like a maze, or maybe it seems that way because you are unwell or hurt when you enter one. I always feel like I need to have some string or something laid out for me, as an escape route so to speak.

I don’t believe hospitals are built to be so confusing, but for me it always ends up being the case. No matter how many times I have been to the same hospital, or how many visits I make to the same area, I can still find myself all turned around in the place. For the record I have been known to walk around the entire hospital only to discover the first exit I had come to was in fact my exit. (Normally I am good with directions and having a sense of my own directions, not that you necessarily believe me after telling you I get lost in hospitals.)

I sometimes blame that weird ability lupus has which affects my cognitive skills, also known as brain fog for why I have gotten lost or confused when it comes to hospitals.. It tends to happen more so when I’m in a stressful or uncomfortable situation. Regardless of how it comes to be, when it hits I find myself struggling for words or stringing together thoughts into a logical sequence.

You would think I would know better than to try to attend my hospital appointments on my own, knowing that there is a good chance that I will end up doing a full tour of the floor prior to getting where I need to go. A smart person would certainly ensure that s/he has someone with her just in case. I, my friends, am not that smart of a person. I insist on managing my appointments all on my own, which is why I tend to arrive an hour before my scheduled time so I can do my usual getting lost and still make my appointment on time.

Today was no different than any other hospital visit, other than that today I ended up walking past my specialist’s door (which is clearly labeled for the record) not once, but three times before I realized that it was in fact his door. I was almost late because of this. The receptionist pointed out that I was not there ten minutes before the scheduled time, which is an expectation of this specialist, and therefore he had the right to refuse to see me. He is a kind man and understands things so he did no such thing. He also is fully aware that I walked past his office more than once because he could see it out of his window.

As I said, he is a kind man so when I got in to see him, he asked me if everything was okay. As usual I said everything was fine (I’m pretty sure my arm could be falling off and I’d still say everything is fine because that’s how my brain seems to work). He gently told me he had watched me walk past his office (a place I visit every two weeks for the record) and so something is clearly changed. And there it was, the time to admit that yes lupus does affect my ability to think clearly at times; a perfectly easy way to explain that there are more things than just my pain, lab work and joint issues going on with lupus.

A smart person would no doubt jump at this. As I said, I’m not all that smart because I told him everything was fine, I was just “preoccupied”. Thankfully he didn’t take that answer at face value, instead after discussing the latest test results, making adjustments to medications and such he turned the conversation back, ever so carefully back to my being preoccupied.

He didn’t’ say anything as I shakily told him about getting lost in the hospital, that the place is a huge maze for me. He listened carefully as I told him about reading his name on the door and not making the connection. And he suggested that perhaps we need to explore things a bit more as it is possible that this isn’t the normal lupus brain fog, but something else that is lupus related going on.

He made the appointments for me himself while writing down the arrangements on paper and sending me an email for later on. He reassured me and then, friends, he promised to be my string. True to his word, when the appointment was finished he walked me out to the door I needed to exit the hospital and promised to meet me for my neurologists appointment and scan next week.

And suddenly, although my heart is heavy and somewhere in my feet, I feel a bit of a weight is taken off me. I do not have to go through this alone, I am not expected to always be so strong. Loved ones have told me this before, but suddenly, coming from this doctor I realize that the only person who never gave me permission to put my fears into words is me. Now that I’ve put those fears into words I am a bit freer and I never have to worry about getting lost in the hospital again. All because someone knew me enough to know that while I couldn’t verbalize needing help, my actions said it all for me and that person let the actions be more than enough.

Natural Gifts

It was written in his eyes, the pure look of love and affection.  He leaned in against me, his solid body feeling reassuring and warm.  Without saying a word he let me know he was there for me.  Jack is as dependable as he is loyal.

If I needed any more confirmation that he cared about me, all I had to do was note how today he opted to stay near me while I was resting.  He chose to stay inside rather than sitting quietly rather than heading outside for a nice, long walk.  Normally Jack loves taking time for himself by going for a long walk, especially when the weather is just right.  Today the weather was just right for that kind of walk.  And Jack chose to stay inside with me instead.

And if I needed concrete proof about Jack, all I really had to do was look at how wagging tail or feel his warm, wet tongue as he runs it over my hand.  He didn’t even care that my four-footed, trusty side-kick wasn’t sure about his presence.  He seemed to know he was safe, needed and loved.  And he trusted his new owner, my friend, when she left him with me while she went to go do some shopping for me.

There is nothing like the way a dog, no matter how old or what sort of life it has had, can forgive and love humans.  And in time my own four-footed companion will become as sure about Jack as I am.  Unconditional love and acceptance are truly the most beautiful gifts in life.

Of Dogs, Medical Appointments And Gratitude

I grabbed my four-footed companion and took her with me for rounds to my various healthcare providers.  We had gifts and much thanks to offer these wonderful people who do their best to keep me healthy despite me not always following orders.

My companion was of course a huge hit and she revelled in the attention she received.  When one of the nurses opted to take my blood work to check if I’d be able to do my treatment tomorrow another one informed me that my companion required being snuggled.  By the nurse rather than myself so that my companion wouldn’t see the blood being drawn from my arm.

I understand the logic that you don’t want a squirming puppy getting in the midst of a blood draw, and I can see the need to not have the patient hold the dog during this procedure.  I don’t really understand the dog being upset seeing the blood being drawn from my arm.  To be honest I don’t think the dog cares one way or another.  Although she might be fascinated in watching the blood fill up the various tubes.

My companion was having none of this cuddling by a stranger.  She kicked and she pushed, she squirmed and she wriggled all in an effort to get away from the stranger.  She growled and whimpered until she was placed on my lap.  Where she sat while we waited for the results.

When the rheumatologist came out to discuss the results she carefully assessed him.  She seemed to understand when he told me I wouldn’t be able to have more treatment for this year.  That’s what I took her sudden growling as.  So did the rheumatologist.  He apologized and tried to make nice to her, but she was having none of it.

The doctor wrote out prescriptions to get me through as best it can be and told me to snuggle the dog and hang on tight when things seem bad.  Because the bad moments are not nay a speed bump, until you are the one dealing with them.  Not exactly the gift I was hoping for, but within each moment we are provided lessons to learn.  This one is to allow others to help, admit things aren’t all rainbows and the appreciation and gratitude I have for those in my life, especially the four-footed kind who don’t care about lupus or that I’m not able to do everything they want.