Saturday, May 21, 2016

Medical Baseball and the Umbrella of Grace






Since the beginning of my blog in 2008 this is the longest I've gone without posting. There is also a change in content because I like my blog to be upbeat and creative, informative. But instead when I do post I've been writing about myself and not in my normal optimistic way.

Here's a nutshell: JB and I moved to an ocean dream house last August. Even prior to that JB was in a wrestling match with anxiety, not because because of life events but because of genetics. You may or may not know that the management of anxiety is an art, not a science. The medication part is a trial and error process and it can take months.

So we move in August and from there, I have a routine annual physical. The blood tests are suspicious. So I have some diagnostic medical work ups--scans and specialty exams-- and they are normal except as an aside, the workups discover other areas that merit more workups and scans and specialty exams. That's where I am now--knee deep in unknowns that do not appear to be life threatening or life limiting but I'm not feeling quite right. That's the backdrop to last Thursday and beyond. I am at a friend's wake and I pass out, twice. I'm out long enough that it was a dramatic event. Poor JB. It was scary. We went to the hospital by ambulance. With a siren. 

Now comes the grace part. 

Five weeks ago JB and I traveled from Massachusetts to Arizona to visit a friend I hadn't seen in 35 years. She's had ovarian cancer for 7 years and she asked me to come. On the way JB and I won $ 6300 playing the slot machines in Las Vegas.

When we arrived in Arizona, my friend had just been given a prognosis of 4-6 months but it looked more serious than that, my friend's adult son had just moved in to help her, her ex-husband Max was there too, and her current husband was in the quickly advancing stage of dementia and decline, which no one had talked about until we got there. 

I've been able to help with this: getting hospice involved, arranging cognitive medical care, assuring that wishes were honored and financial matters corrected, reconnecting with my friend as if no time had passed, building on a bond with my friend's son Eric that had ended when he was about 8 years old, and realizing that my long long friendship with Max has morphed into family status. My friend died peacefully a week ago and her family will have no regrets and great memories. I know I had a part in that. It was a privilege.

Thursday night at the Emergency Room, with JB and my daughter Jess (mother of four small children: what a gift that she could be there), I am in the middle of test upon test as Max and Eric walk in. They have left the funeral service to come to the hospital. Jess hasn't seen Eric since they played together when she was 6 and she has never met Max. 

Here's what happened: the five of us sat in the ER cubby for 90 minutes, talked, shared, remembered, laughed. Then when I was discharged we went out to dinner (I moved slowly.) It was such a relief from sadness for Eric and Max and such a distraction for JB and me. And another thing: so often, by necessity, most of the time I step into my daughter's life. This time she stepped into mine. It was precious in a way I will never forget. I wonder if others (you) understand this, how precious the memory of a bad situation can turn out to be?)

I am now home again. I will see my local doctor on Monday. I am concerned about all these symptoms that don't seem related to each other and the truth is I don't feel great and haven't for a couple of months. But I'm not so concerned that I'm convinced I'm on a path of crisis. I'm bothered that I'm missing too much of Springtime by the sea; that my little yard doesn't have my gardener's touch; that I haven't made new friends here. But I know to wait to worry. So far I have no actual bad medical news.

Meanwhile, I keep thinking about the last few days. The ambulance ride was a low point. Poor JB was so scared. And then, in the process of burying a wonderful woman who fought to live and died in peace, five connected people came together in an Emergency Room cubicle and shared something deeply healing and deeply important; something that will be long remembered. 

I'm convinced this is how grace works. 

love
kj






24 comments:

  1. Lovelovelove to you, My Friend. Praying for a good outcome, and also for peace, whatever the outcome.

    **kisskiss**
    Deb

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  2. Thank you, Deb. This is exactly what I pray for for you too! Let us believe it so πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•
    Love
    kj

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  3. Strange thing .... I was praying for you and Janet the other day with no clue why you should pop into my head. I will pray with direction now. And send you much love and hugs with hope for good news xx Jos

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  4. Aww jos, what a thrill that here you are! I know you are okay and I think I will be too. I'm increasingly confident JB and I will be gallivanting in and around England one of these months or years, and you can be damn sure I will want to buy you breakfast, lunch, or dinner 😜
    Love
    kj

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  5. I hope that all is well. It is funny how the universe arranges things. Take care woman.

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    1. Dat true, Deb. The arrangements amaze me.
      Love
      kj

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  6. so sorry you are unwell Karen. Yes, scary to have these things happen. But love the story of the surprise visit from Max and Eric. How kind and loving of them to come! Take care, Suki

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    1. Unwell-- that's descriptive, suki. I guess I am that and I hope not for long. Been a crazy few months! I see starfish not seaweed ahead
      Love
      kj

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  7. I love the way you express yourself Karen. I imagine a wry smile on your face while you are writing this. I am praying for you to feel better. Getting to know you so much better than when we were in high school makes me happy.

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    1. Hi Donna, I love that you've found me here and I love seeing your comment. I totally agree with you: we know eachother's roots and we get to share our interesting and mundane lives !

      Yes, a bit of a wry smile...
      Love
      kj

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  8. WTF KJ!! I have my ideas. Will send privately. Love you!

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  9. Bring em on, Mim!
    Love
    kj

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  10. First, my condolences on the loss of your friend. How good that you were there to help at the end.
    I hope you get answers soon as to why you haven't felt right for a while now. I pray it is something manageable and Unserious.
    $6300 on the slots? Man, that is too cool!
    Thank God for family/extended family, and the healing they bring forth.
    Life sure is a trip, ain't it?

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    1. Hi Barbara, speaking of extended family, I'm surely glad for the support you have. I pray your pain lessens and your ready joy increases.

      I think I will be okay. Too many loose strings for me to even follow. This reminds me not to fish for answers when there's no need for questions ! Not to say that passing out is a little thing. I just feel that I'm more okay than not.

      Yes $6300! It was thrilling!!!

      Love
      kj

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  11. What a period of ups and downs.....I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and am happy you were able to be there for her and her family.

    I am thinking of you KJ and praying for a complete bill of health xoxoxo

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    1. Hi Amanda xo,
      Thank you. How are your travels? Where to next?
      Love
      kj

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  12. You are right kj.. this really is grace. I hope you are feeling better real soon and you and JB can go back to a regular, boring existence.

    I think one of the blessings of this episode is to have, next to us, people who truly, deeply love us and will be there for us. You are blessed, and in my prayers. Take Care!

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    1. Hello hdwk, that is my lesson from this. The concern on my friend max' face said so much. It's always about love and connection, isn't it?

      I loved your current post about your upbringing. I love your heart

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  13. Kiddo--my first thought is for your friend's family and that they may find comfort with her safely in the house of her ancestors.

    When i was feeling generally run down and shit--vitamin deficiency. Ok so now I just feel run down but not generally.

    Yes ma'am one day one of my kids is going to step into my life unannounced. Probably to speed me on my way in the hope I have been hoarding money or some other treasure. *meh* I never worry about any of it.

    That worrying and internal fussing--now that will kill you fo sho!

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    1. thanks, mark xo,
      i'm a fan of vitamin d.
      i'm really not worrying. it's just a lot at once. last week we learned my beloved jess has lymphoma. out of the blue. what??! that has changed everything. i've found an apt nearby to help her and the kids. for whatever reason, i'm swept into transition. i think it will be okay. but i'd like my days again when i had nothing much on my mind except the sun and dinner.
      love
      kj

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  14. “I like my blog to be upbeat and creative, informative.”

    Upbeat posts bore me unless they contain information about your actual life. Otherwise, to me, they seem condescending because it’s impossible to say anything that people couldn’t have thought of on their own, yet the assumption seems to be that they couldn’t. It’s funny how different you and I are. You often sound a good bit like my sister, who is, like you, an upbeat person by nature, and, in her case, she is forever trying to help me be like she is. She’s eighty now, which is impossible for me to believe as I haven’t seen her in 25 years. Like you, she believes in grace, but believing in it and defining it are different matters. It’s funny how left-brain a right-brain person like myself can be, but when faced with certain kinds of statements, my antennae go straight through the ceiling, and I start probing for specifics. It is not a popular way to be.

    I trust that you’re not driving, and that you don’t even stay on your feet more than you must. Right now, I worry about accidents more than whatever your actual problem is. KJ, if I didn’t care about you, I wouldn’t be here because I have way too many blogs to keep up with, so I focus on the people who matter the most, and you’re one of them. I just don’t know but what our differences make you feel less close to me because I so often feel judged by you. Oddly, since I’m the one who supposed to be bigoted, I enjoy our differences while I don’t think you do. I think you just see me as wrong and needing to change. I heard someone who had written a book about the South say that, while there is the Klan down there, there are also good people in the South, and I thought, whoa, so if you’re in the Klan, you’re a bad person? Not just misguided or wounded, but bad in an existential way? The distinction that I often find by which good=liberal, and bad=not liberal always intrigues me. Do liberals honor diversity only when they approve of it? It nearly always seems that way to me, although I’m more liberal than not myself.

    Look, you said you were going to comment more on my last post, and I’m sorry you haven’t. As to what Rhymes wrote, you were right inasmuch as he made it personal. If he had stuck to the general, I would have agreed, but to make it personal was wrong of him. I thought he would come back and apologize, but he didn’t. If you need anything from me about that, let me know. I can take him to task for it if doing would make you feel better, but without such a request, I will probably just leave things as they are because I let the moment pass when I should have done so. Like I said, I thought he would apologize, and I’m frankly disappointed in him that he didn’t. What he wrote amounted to a hit-and-run attack, and it wasn’t right, and it didn’t portray you fairly, because I know that your goal is to be fair in what you say. I hope you can say the same about me because I despise gratuitous attacks, and as for what they look like to me, all one has to do is to picture Donald Trump.

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    1. Snow, I'm very sensitive to even hints of racism and homophobia. I do think you carry more of both than you think. But it's not my intent or effort to change you. I just feel it's honorable for me to defend certain positions. That said, you are correct about African Americans and animal compassion. To my surprise: I looked up the research and there is a white-black-Asian diconnect. Let me say it again: I was wrong and you were right

      I can take a punch. I hope you know that. It's perceived or imagined or real injustice that riles me. My reactions cause me trouble sometimes, but I like that part of me.
      Also, I much appreciate that you've hung in, snow. Looks like I'm following your example :-)
      Love
      kj

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    2. “I'm very sensitive to even hints of racism and homophobia.”

      Micro-aggressions as they’re called. Is there a difference between being “very sensitive” and seeing that which doesn’t exist based upon your assumption that it does? Rightly or wrongly, I very much feel that anything I say about race is only going to reinforce your opinion that I’m racist, and while I’ll admit that I am, this fact alone does invalidate what I say—even evil people being right occasionally. My assumption—and science has borne this out—is that everyone is racist if not homophobic, so it’s not the existence of such qualities but rather what one does with them. For instance, I’ll always regard transsexuality as downright weird (partly, perhaps, because my father was one), but I’ll still support equal rights for transexuals because it would be cruel not to. As for homophobia regarding gay people, I’m not aware that I suffer from that. If I have a problem with gay men, at least, it’s that I think the effeminate ones are damn cute in how they behave, and that homosexuals are more likely to be creative than heterosexuals. I can honestly say that I celebrate homosexuality, but it seems to me that liberalism would require that I simply view everyone as being the same. To me, it’s an unrealistic requirement that’s devoid of supporting evidence.

      “you are correct about African Americans and animal compassion. To my surprise: I looked up the research and there is a white-black-Asian disconnect.”

      Here’s where the definition of racism becomes fuzzy. For example, one out of every three young black men will be imprisoned, so is it then reasonable to feel less comfortable getting on an isolated elevator with several young black men than with several young white men? Even if you believe that racism is partly responsible who goes to jail, surely all those imprisonments can’t be blamed on racism. Here in western Oregon, most of the black people I see are on the evening news for committing a violent crime, yet if there’s one part of the country that’s proud of not being racist, it’s this one. I simply don’t believe that there’s a line with racists on one side and non-racists on the other, and I also believe that most black people are racist in the sense that they harbor a great deal of anger toward whites, although there have been whites who suffered and even died for the freedom of blacks.

      “I much appreciate that you've hung in, snow”

      KJ, if people are so attached to their beliefs that they can’t even be friends on the Internet with those who think differently, it’s a very sad statement about human beings. I’m often stimulated to evaluate my beliefs by those who disagree, but never by those who agree. It’s true that the evaluation often leads to a reinforcement of my beliefs, but it’s also true that it can take years for me to decide just WHAT it is that I believe, and during these years, I might go back and forth a few times. This was true for me regarding gay marriage, and one thing that helped me was having you as my friend. Another, strangely enough, was Raymond Burr. I love that man, and so how could I deny equal rights to someone I love?

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  15. Uncertainty is the worst, I find. I hope you know soon what's going on and what to do to start healing. In the meantime, let the ocean and your friends be a bal to your soul.

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