Oh Monday Monday Monday you were ruthless in dishing out a day that started out with just a wince and ended in what I can only describe as someone jamming a freshly sharpened No 2 straight in my ear. You also gave me permission to just give it all up and embrace it. What else am I supposed to do when nothing alleviates the pain. It has been over a year since the last episode. “I thought we had moved past this” I told my body. What did I do to bring this about. Enough sleep? Check. Enough water? Check. Coffee on board? Check. The reality is that no one really knows my triggers and I say triggers because I can only describe the ear pain as migraine-like with the worst of it referring to in and around my right ear. The first time I felt it was probably more than a decade ago. Out of the blue I’d feel a fast sharp pain in my ear, I’d stop, give my ear a tug and then just go about my day. The times in between these flare ups began to grow shorter and shorter and eventually the pain didn’t go away until I slept it off. Drugs were useless unless they were a steroid and that just made things worse as my skin crawled. I knew one thing for sure on Monday, the only thing for me to do was to embrace the pain and wait for sweet sleep to relieve me.
I thought about how I would photograph that pain.
If I could draw scratch that where’s my Sharpie? Here you go this is what my pain feels like.
A kind of hair tangle that only a pair of scissors could resolve.
I called my husband and through clenched teeth I warned him I was in no condition to deal with anyone else’s crisis but my own. I think I even hung up on him. I cried a little more, the feeling of self pity was a little more enveloping with each song that played. Aware of my tolerance for high temperatures and pain I made a pact with myself to get help. Hours pass and I can’t recall much of what was said or done. I drove to my little secret healing center (which won’t be a secret after this post), its a place my Pilates guru turned me onto years ago called Wetzler Integrated Therapy Center.
As I laid on the table I began focusing on my breath there was an underlying tremble. Thats my nervous system on overload, I shiver and my teeth chatter. Its very hard to turn that off too. My regular therapist is off so I see a new gal who, God bless her, has no idea about how challenging this problem is. I’m sort of an enigma. No physician, chiropractor, ENT or TMJ specialist with all of our modern day tools including MRI’s has ever been able to diagnosis this. I tell her in no uncertain terms is she allowed to touch my head or pull on my face or go NEAR MY RIGHT EAR. Hmmm. She thinks about this. How does one who specializes in the soft touch of visceral manipulation begin to heal without some contact. I allow her to attempt some craniosacral therapy. The sensation can only be described as someone stretching your skull. Imagine your arm being gently pulled away from the body, you feel the stretch in the larger muscle that wraps around and attaches by the shoulder, after a couple minutes of continued stretching you feel your arm kinda let go and lengthen another inch. That is what my skull felt like, I felt the stretch and the resistance I had particularly on the right side. Eventually it released. I noticed I wasn’t trembling anymore. The pain was now down to a manageable 7.
I make it home. Husband completely aware of my condition has dinner covered. I slip into my office and check my calendar, I realize I’m supposed to be on hangout with my Tofino also know as 10 on 10 crew. I jump on but eventually leave early because the one thing that makes me ear hurt is smiling or laughing so that’s out. Bye ladies.
Tuesday is hangover day. Those of you suffer or have had a migraine know exactly what I am talking about. There is a fallout as a result of enduring high levels of pain for a sustained period of time. When I sit at the edge of my bed I realize I have vertigo. $#@%! I am back on the same table within an hour with my lymphatic massage therapist. She always seems to just “know” what my body needs. Its the most relaxing hour of my entire week and I relish in it. This is my happy place, the sun shines on this treatment room, heating up the metal mini blinds to a perfect 78 degrees.
I stop in at Whole Foods on my way to the office because I am full blown addicted to The Epic Seed yogurt after discovering it during week 2 of this project. I have come to the realization that food is my medicine and I mean that in the best way. I now eat to live versus the other way around. I’m by no means perfect but I’m better about gluten and sugar, my two favorite foods groups.
Hal in the bread isle
As I stand and ponder the racks of bread before me I hear a voice from behind. “I know you already know what I am thinking.” I glance sideways. What? I turn around to find a gray haired main with glasses dressed in a pale blue oxford and beige slacks that come up short, his suspenders look like they need an adjustment. “I’m sorry, what was that?” You know, you KNOW what I am thinking already.” I do. Ok, what is that? He stands a little taller and I find myself correctly my posture. “Oh that I’m tall and um so are you and that is ….??” That is the best part he says. We get things that others don’t. He glances over at the woman who appears to be straining to see whats in the salad bar. “Oh, yes I agree I am very happy to be this tall, I know its a good thing.” No, you don’t understand we KNOW things because of who we are and we see things differently” Our entire world is a different perspective, its an advantage, you know that right? “Yes, no of course I think its great I can see the top shelf.” No that’s not what I mean, I guess it is that but its really more than that. “Ok, I give up what is it you are trying to say” We go back and forth for what seems like a half an hour.
He begins to tell me that he is a floater that he’s not one to be pinned down and that his existence is rather meaningless to which I refute, that can’t be possible we all have a reason to be here. He asks me what my reason is and I said I’m still figuring that part out. He asks me what I do and the first thing I declare is that I am a mom, that I have two kids 16 and 7. “Well that’s your purpose, you are building great people.” I am I say, but its so much more than that. I feel like through them I am still building or repairing depending on how you look at it, myself. Oh you seem like you are quite intelligent and believe in people, certainly more than I do. I don’t believe in that or humanity anymore. I tell my cat you better be careful there are people out there that will take a baseball bat to you. I tell him, oh that is harsh, you can’t believe that we are all bad just because there are a few bad seeds in the world. Have some faith or better yet I suggest he start putting some good out there and take a wait and see approach. I get the feeling he could chat in isle 2 all day so I politely tell him that I am already late for work.
As I turn away I hear one last question. “Sports!!!!” he calls out. What do your kids do, do they play any sports? I tell him my son is a Lacrosse player. Ohhhhh that’s good that’s a lot of running, good for him. And what about the girl? I pause. Ummmm. “Does she swim?” She should really learn how to swim, its so good for you. The body in motion under the water, we are made for that you know? Yes I reply she was deathly afraid and now she can swim. “Oh good she needs to feel the propulsion like the orcas do when they swim very fast” Do you know what I mean? Have you seen that? I have a photograph in my home of these whales swimming so fast they create their own wave. “Ohhhhhh uh yeah, I place my hand over my heart. I love orcas. They are my spirit animal. Mine too he says. And then I get it. This was not about being tall this was about that post that sits in the draft column waiting to be finished. I share with him that I spend a fair amount of time reading and watching YouTube videos about them. I ask him if he has seen Blackfish. He says he hasn’t and that he was already enraged before they even made that documentary. He reminded me that I too already knew what was going down with the entrapment of those animals and that I was also aware of the most recent dolphin slaughtering happening at Taiji Cove in Japan. I nodded my head, I did. I told him that I had a blog, a website, where I hash stuff out and that I was working on a post about them and I’m glad I met him because I would now go home and finally finish that piece. He shook my hand and said I’m Hal, keep up the good work. I told him it was a pleasure and to not give up on humanity we aren’t all bad.
I floated back to my office and marveled at the orchestration of the universe. The cues have been so obvious almost to a point where these things happen and I look up and laugh and just say “ohhh YOU UNIVERSE” Ok I get it! Ha ha. Noted.
A few days later I came across this passage from Chapter 36 in Autobiography of a Yogi, you know from the stack of books by my bed.
‘Child.’ the master said, though apparently I was nearly twice his own age, ‘for the faults of the many, judge not the whole. Everything on earth is of mixed character, like a mingling of sand and sugar. Be like the wise ant which seizes only the sugar, and leaves the sand untouched.
I wish I had those pearls of wisdom with me when I met Hal. He needs to hear those words. I sigh and try to let go of the need to feel like I have to fix everyone. Hey codependency I thought you and I broke up years ago.
Thursday rolls around and I’m catching up on Top Chef. Weebee has taken up to sleeping on the cable box. I wonder who will win tonight I’m definitely Team Nina, she reminds me of Carla with her love infused food.
Friday is the third and final pelvic ultraround. This is my last chance to avoid surgery for the cyst that has taken residence upon my right ovary. I’m grateful that my doctor has not rushed me into another surgery. If the ultrasound shows no improvement then we will talk about next steps. I am very chatty on the table and even with a medical device buried deep inside I manage to crack a joke about cobwebs, the technician is laughing. I mean what else CAN you do in this situation its not fun for anyone involved so why not try. We talk about kids and college and then she asks me the strangest question. “So are you going to let your son choose his own major?” I’m a little shell shocked to even consider the fact that some kids aren’t allowed to choose their own path in life. Yes, he will pick what he wants to major in… (OF COURSE …. I think to myself.)
The next day I get an email from my sister, it went something like this… just read the blog …. you really bared yourself wow.. also you have too much stress … can I have Super A for the night. My pilot light immediately re-ignites. What? A night off? I text my husband. No answer. He later advises to keep my texts to 2 or 3 maximum. Were my SEVEN too much? I was trying to make something happen in a very short amount of time. The day is over and we have no plan or reservation.
We get up the next morning. I make donuts and I throw the idea out one last time. Do we just want to drop everything and head to the desert? Its supposed to be really nice I add. Something about just forgetting everything for even a day sounded too good not to pass up. I googled a few places and booked a room. Strange after 8 years of owning a place out there we have to pay to stay. But in retrospect we both agree it would have been cheaper to always had booked a room rather than buy our own place. The joys of home ownership in a sinking housing market. Moving on.
I pack 2 bags. One filled with clothes the other cameras. I had one day to complete my 10 on 10 project. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was bringing along a bit of homework. It was no use trying to hide it and eventually became somewhat of a treasure hunt looking for things in pairs. After all the weekend was all about coupling. And coupling is what we did. You can find the photos from the 10 on 10 here.
I am here.
No words needed to describe my weekend. I will say however that I consider photobooths marital glue. Its seriously one of my greatest pleasures in life. Everyone needs to own a little strip of 5 or 4 mug shots in their hand. Unbeknown to me when you swipe the card you have seconds to get your act together. I think this first run is hysterical. That second shot is me trying to sit on his lap, then I’m laughing and then I appear to be grabbing a smiling husband by the throat?
As I held the drying strips in my hand I told him, this was the best birthday present ever. Here’s how the rest of the weekend played out.
We stayed at the La Quinta Resort & Club we are partial to the area and this resort is on 45 acres. I really liked the grounds, they have nice facilities and the resort is dog friendly.
We drive home the next day the sun is low and thankfully traffic is light. Washing down my InN’Out burger with my monthly allotment Regular (very important) Coke, I peak at my developing Polaroids. Almost everyone came out great. Yes there are a few that are not spot on (in my eyes) but boy have I come a long way from the days of pining about my ‘falls short’ photos. I look past all of that now and can see that collectively the grouping is stronger than the one blurry tangelos shot. My husband asks if the photos came out and I told him, well most of them. He replies, ” you can’t hit a home run every time ya know.” He’s right and I’m finally beginning to see that all of this? Its enough and I give myself a lot of credit for just trying.