Friday, March 30, 2012

Making Lemonade

Life has been a bit on the bitter side of late. Last week a dear friend said farewell to her father. Almost two weeks ago my stepmother's sister had a stroke and Wednesday she passed away. Last week I went to the emergency room with severe knee pain and a fever and was diagnosed with gout. On Monday my mother went to the emergency room by ambulance with severe asthma. While there her heart went a little crazy and they worked very hard to pull her through. She was in intensive care for a couple of days. Last night I went to bed and realized that my foot was hurting. In the middle of the night I was up trying to figure out why I was in so much pain and wondering if the gout had spread to my foot despite being on meds. I was massaging my foot to ease the pain when I discovered a strange, hard lump on the top of my big toe. I had never seen such a thing. I continued to check out my toe and found a bit of metal sticking out the under side of it. I grabbed a pair of scissors and used them as pliers to pull the offending bit out. It turned out to be a broken bit of an old embroidery needle that had somehow managed to get rammed in there so hard that it had almost gone entirely through my toe. Another eighth of an inch or less and it would have made it. I cleaned the wound carefully, dealt with the allergy attack I was by then having. With little sleep I was up again and off to the hospital to see Mum. She is doing better, but her asthma was not just asthma, but severe bronchitis. At the age of 83 this is a major crisis. She is settled into a room in the telemetry unit so that they can keep an eye on her breathing and her heart, which is great. However, they are remodeling a room two doors down and our conversation was interrupted every couple of minutes by the sound of drilling. In other news my cousin's cancer has recurred after 22 years. It is a tough time all the way around.

My next door neighbor is an astrologer by trade and she told me this evening that this is happening because Mars is in retrograde. So those of you out there who are also experiencing accidents and mishaps, and I know from reading your Facebook posts that you have been having them too, this is apparently the reason. She checked my chart and said that I need to be especially careful from April 7th through the 20th for my own safety.

They say that clouds like these have silver linings, that there is no great loss without some small gain. So what silver lining do I see here? What is my gain? Ah, as a writer I see a wealth within what is currently exhausting me. These experiences will be tucked away into the treasure trove of my brain. I hoard them as greedily as a miser. I will take these life lemons and make lemonade.

Without going through these emotional trials I would be unable to write with much pathos. These experiences will help me create realistic and sympathetic characters with whom readers will be able to identify. I now know what it is like to be removed from my mother's bedside so that an emergency team can have the room they need to be able to save her life, then sitting and chatting nervously with a nurse about every inane subject I can come up with while they do so. I know how the heart-stopping feel of being asked if you needed the chaplain to come. I know what it is like to sit alone in the darkened intensive care unit watching my mother being helped to breathe by a machine at one o'clock in the morning, tired beyond belief, but so thankful that all these wonderful people here are giving her the help she needs. I know what it is like to selfishly beg God to spare her because I can't face losing her just yet.

There is a flip side to this as well. Much of what I write is humor and even in all of this there is funny to be found. I was helping Mum by looking though her bag of personal effects to help find the necklace she had been wearing. A moment later laughing with my mother when we discovered that the hospital staff had stored her bra in a bag marked "bio-hazard." That is a story that will undoubtedly make its way into one of my books.

In the midst of all of this there was also good news in the family. It is something that I am not yet at liberty to divulge. Whatever else is happening, life goes on. It goes with the best wishes and support of family and friends far and near. And someday I will make use of it all.


  1. Above all, please remember that you MUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

  2. When it rains it pours. I took care of my Dad with my brother and an aide for 3 years...for 24/7. What truly helped me was to pray... it has a calming effect. And with a calming effect, then the healing process works more speedily...for you...for those around you. My best wishes to you.

    I am in MasterKoda. I joined your blog and would love the return favor of your joining mine. Thanks. A pleasure

    Carole Di Tosti