Monday, September 2, 2019

Hunkering Down in Florida

I get a kick out of language and the humorous side of difficult situations. Since we are currently watching and waiting to see what Hurricane Dorian is going to do, this is a perfect time to look at all the catch phrases that leap out of our mouths when a really bad storm is threatening our way of life. 
 
I don’t know how many times I’m encouraged to “batten down the hatches,” “hunker down,” and “ride out the storm.” Last I checked, hurricanes aren’t horses. I’m not sure I can hunker in a wheelchair. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any hatches to batten down, and I am not sure how to go about battening down anything, much less a hatch. Despite my asking people what this means, I have so far garnered only puzzled looks from the speakers of these phrases. They are as clueless as I am, so I decided to do some research in between the battening time and the hunkering time. 

Now I know the phrase “batten down the hatches” is a nautical one. According to the Oxford dictionary, it refers to securing a ship’s hatch-tarpaulins in preparation for a storm. So when a storm threatens, everyone in the US, including those in landlocked states, turn into a bunch of shipmates, using nautical terminology that otherwise stays locked away in Davy Jones’s locker (Google this if you don’t know what Davy Jones’s locker is. I don’t have time to explain jokes while I’m preparing to hunker down. Hint: It has nothing to do with a late British pop star of Monkees fame.). I’m rather surprised we don’t go buy macaws to sit on our shoulders and start sprinkling our conversations with outcries of “har!” and “ahoy!”

So once we’ve battened down our hatches, we have to await the arrival of bad weather so we can start hunkering down. One definition of hunkering is to squat or crouch down low.” I know I can’t do that so I will have to improvise in my wheelchair. Another definition is to “apply oneself seriously to a task.” College students, when someone tells you to hunker down, this is what they mean: “Study hard and don’t waste that money I’ve spent a lifetime saving!”

If you’re going through a bad storm, you need to crouch in a defensive position. Face it, you’ll be better prepared to bend over a little farther and kiss your arse goodbye, which is particularly appropriate if you’re in the path of a Category 5 hurricane. 

Now that we’ve battened down our hatches and are prepared to hunker down, we just have to “ride out the storm.” This idiom is explained by the Cambridge Dictionary thus:

ride (out) the storm. to manage not to be destroyed, harmed, or permanently affected by the difficult situation you experience: The government seems confident that it will ride out the storm.

What is particularly disconcerting about this definition is their example of usage about the government. I’m not so confident that our country will not be permanently affected by our current administration. Nor am I confident that we will all ride out Hurricane Dorian without being permanently affected. At least one family in the Bahamas will certainly be permanently affected by the storm. Their seven-year old boy has drowned.  

So while we bandy about these otherwise unused phrases, let us pray for those who are already being adversely impacted by the storm, figuratively and literally. Peace be to all and mercy.





Sunday, September 1, 2019

Healing at a Snail’s Pace

“Even a snail makes progress if it keeps moving.”—me

I suppose it seems a little vain to quote yourself, but I truly say some of the darnedest things sometimes. It’s like every once in a while, my Higher Self sneaks in and drops a shiny pebble along the path to get my attention. I stop and pick it up, rolling it over and over in my hand, marveling at its simplicity and beauty. I tuck that shiny pebble into my metaphorical medicine bag. Then when I need it most, the pebble tumbles out of my medicine bag and brings healing to some broken part of me or someone else.

Thus above words are for a heart that is weary of needing so much help. I had been making slow progress up until I got my new wheelchair. Then for several different reasons, transferring got tricky again. First I had to have the leg pads removed because they were making it difficult to impossible to step out over the footplate upon transferring. Then I quickly discovered that the footplate was far too long for me to pull it up out of the way without scraping it along my calves, causing blisters and scrapes.

The added difficulty of calculating the exact positioning of every molecule in my body, the dimensions of the new chair, and the precise trajectory needed to execute successfully eight different transfers, proved to be too much. After scratching and scraping my legs for a few days, I was able to get a couple of friends to put the footplate of the wheelchair I had been borrowing onto my new chair, making it much easier to transfer. While things went much better after the footplate switch, I was sporting several new open wounds as a direct result of the new chair. 

Eventually I fell again in the bathroom twisting my knee and slicing back several layers of skin on my right foot.  I bandaged my foot but later that same day, I tried to transfer and my knee gave out, being too weak of a link to support my iffy transfers. I had the EMTs take me to Celebration Hospital in Orlando. I spent four days there letting them bandage my wounds and allowing my knee to heal. I went home four days later weak from the down time but with a mostly healed knee. 

It took four days to regain my strength, even though I had not yet completely regained my stamina. That took several more days. Once I was back up to par for me, I noticed that I was having spells of feeling weak suddenly when I transferred in the bathroom. I wasn’t sure what was happening but I knew something wasn’t right and I suspected that it was related to my blood pressure. In talking to a nurse yesterday about it, she suggested that I might have orthostatic hypotension. Many times I have wondered if I needed to be on medication for hypertension when my blood pressure is nearly always low when I get it checked either at the hospital or at home. Only sometimes when I go to the doctor does my blood pressure register high. This sudden drop in blood pressure is, I suspect, the reason I fall sometimes. 

It’s exhausting to have to figure all this out on your own or to tell your doctor only to get a quick diagnosis of this or that, which someone else has already ruled out via tests and observation.

After another hospital stay of eight days, they finally approved some home physical therapy to help me in strengthening my body so I can successfully transfer consistently. I am showing signs of improvement on days I don’t have to push myself to keep going. If I push too hard, I feel the sudden fatigue and my transfers are iffy at best. I have had to call Fire Rescue three times since I have been home. That’s so discouraging but I do feel that PT is helping. They are supposed to evaluate me this week to see if I am benefiting from the PT. I see a distinct improvement when I am not experiencing one of those sudden weary spells. 

I sometimes wonder if there is something else I need to learn before I can finally turn the page and finish this particularly long and difficult chapter in my life. I am getting better and stronger but most of the time my improvements have come at a snail’s pace. I’m not happy about that. To use the tortoise and the hare analogy, I’m usually the hare. I don’t like being the tortoise. It is not my style. Or at least it didn’t used to be. Right now I guess it is until enough healing occurs so I can begin to walk then run finally. I look to Isaiah to remind myself that it’s not a bad thing to wait on someone else’s timing. 

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 41:31

I’m ready any time now to mount up with wings as eagles. I’m ready to run without weariness and walk without fainting. Any time now. Until then I guess I just have to wait and watch, since I have already been told that God is doing something new and I need to pay attention to it (see earlier blog entitled, “Behold, Something New” at my Mystic Angel Healing website). I’m still not sure what the new thing is, but I am still watching and waiting. Although  I do admit to some drumming of my fingers while I wait. I am human after all. 



(Http://mysticangelhealing.com)