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Giving Up

Okay, so for nine months I’ve suffered with double vision, all the time trying to maintain my spunk and do the best that I can with what I’ve had to work with.  Finally, I got a chance to have surgery to fix my eye muscles so that, at long last, I could have normal vision just like regular people.  The time ramping up to that surgery was filled with delays and unimaginable stress, but I finally reached “zero hour” on Monday.  I was so excited.  I came through the surgery fine…only to find myself with WORSE double vision than before!  The surgeon had indicated that I might still have “periods” of double vision, but had implied that I would also have periods of normal vision, too.  So I was heartbroken.  It wasn’t until afterward that he claimed that “Oh yes, this is completely normal.”

I didn’t cope well with this.  Not well at all.  To find myself having more difficulty functioning than before has been almost more than I can bear.  The tears show up at regular intervals and there’s nothing I can do about it.  My eyes look like someone poured Drano into them and feel like they’re full of glass shards.  And as I look around, searching for hope, I realize my sense of humor and my persistence have fled.  And I have nothing to hold onto. Nothing.

For those of you who have expressed caring (all four or five of you,) I did go to the doctor yesterday and he proclaimed that my healing is progressing well.  He explained that the eye muscles that were cut now need time to re-attach.  Right now they are being held with sutures.  He says that now my eyes are “over corrected,” but that they should eventually work their way back to normal vision…IN WEEKS!  From where I’m sitting, I don’t believe him.  No one ever warned me that there would be this long waiting period after the surgery for results.  I had so much hope that everything would be fixed.  What I NEVER expected was that I’d be in a worse situation than when I started.  A person can only take so much.

This blog used to be a life saver for me.  It was a place where I could vent, air my opinions and find support from my readers.  That didn’t work this time.  I feel like I’m totally alone out here.  I’ve been drained of my joy, my spirit, my sass and my sense of humor.  The idea of going back to writing my funny posts, my cloud patrols, my movie and TV reviews and my cockeyed views on life doesn’t move me at all.  I’m empty inside.

So, I’ve decided to walk away from “Star, Simplified.”  I thought I was making a difference, but now I realize I was just fooling myself.  And, until I can once more find some shred of hope in my life… I have nothing to say.

Take care of yourselves.

Love,

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As I move closer to my surgery date, I’ve tried very hard to immerse myself in distractions.  Since I’ve always been the kind of person who can live in my imagination,  I just needed the inspiration.  So, first I purchased Season One of HBO’s “True Blood,” the southern Vampire series featuring waitress Sookie Stackhouse.  Once I got into it, I spent many happy weekends following the story.  The idea behind it is that it’s set in a time when a synthetic blood has been developed that can slake the vampire cravings.  Thus vampires are free to walk among humans.  There are a lot of funny tongue-in-cheek references to vampire rights in congress and vampire support groups.  But the primary story line involves Sookie, who falls in love with an ancient vampire, Bill, who’s trying very hard to mainstream, i.e., not drink human blood.  This whole thing was so involving that when I finished the last episode, I immediately ordered Season Two.

While I was waiting for Season Two to come, I decided to get Season One of “The Walking Dead,” which is AMC’s critically acclaimed series of humans trying to survive a zombie epidemic of apocalyptic proportions.  It begins with a police officer waking from a coma in a hospital which is trashed and deserted.  As he wanders out, he sees nothing but dead bodies everywhere.  It isn’t until he sees a zombie girl, (or half of a zombie girl, anyway,) pulling what’s left of her body across a park, that the nightmare starts to become real to him.  He finally meets up with a group of survivors and the main story is about what these people do to survive, without any means of communication and not even knowing if there are other survivors left in the world.  It is a good show, but definitely not as “fun” as “True Blood.

So, when I finished the last episode of it, I naturally found myself thinking about both stories and the situations they depict.  In my musings, I imagined someone asking me, “Which would you date, if you had to date one or the other – a zombie or a vampire?  At first the answer seemed obvious, but I decided to try to be as objective as possible. Here are my pros and cons.

VAMPIRESPros – (1) They actually have personalities, ranging from charming to terrifying. (2) Most are physically attractive.  (3) Their blood, “V” is like a super-drug for humans.  (4) They sleep all day, giving you time to do what you need to do.  Cons (1) When the fangs click into place, it’s not a good look (at least, not to me.)  (2) They never get sleepy at night so they could tend to wear you out after a while.  (3) They have the ability to mesmerize you, thus robbing you of free will.  You’d probably never win an argument with one.  (4) There’s the whole sleeping-in-a-coffin thing.  (5) They could suck you dry and leave you dead in a New York minute.  (Definitely something to think about!)

 

ZOMBIES:  Pros(1) They’d never bore you with needless chit-chat.  They do well to make grunting noises!  (2) They’re not obsessed with their appearance.  You’ll never have to wait while they fix their hair. (3) They are persistent.  Zombies aren’t quitters.  If they want you, they’ll just keep coming for you, no matter what.  (4) They’re not picky eaters.  They’re only interested in eating one thing.  Cons (1) The one thing they’re interested in eating is YOUR BRAIN! (I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a real downer in the dating world.) (2) They are totally boring. Any shred of personality they might have once had, is gone.  (3) Their body parts tend to come off.  I mean, it’s one thing to hold someone’s hand, but if that’s the only thing you’re holding, well!  Yuk. (4) The smell.  Putrefaction is seldom sexy, no matter how good a face you try to put on it.

So, there are the facts.  And no matter how fair I tried to be, zombies are a hard sell in the world of sexual attraction and companionship.  Consequently,  I have to declare vampires the winner of this “who-would-you-date” contest.  So now that I’ve solved yet another Huge Life Dilemma, I think I’ll go cuddle up in my recliner and begin Season Two of “True Blood.”  Woo hoo!  See ya later!

 

 

 

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Incident Report

Wow!  A very weird thing happened to me this weekend!  I had to run to the mall and ended up parking pretty far out from the entrance.  I couldn’t have been in the stores more than maybe an hour because the sciatica in my leg has left it a little weak and I haven’t been able to bring it back to normal yet, so it was aching a bit.

Anyway, I carried my packages out and put them in the back hatch and got in.  The minute I sat down, I sensed something was wrong.  And then I saw it – the radio was missing!  OMG!  And then as I looked around, I noticed that the steering wheel, the brake pedal and accelerator pedals were gone as well!  What kind of guys had done this?  A traveling hock shop?  I looked around to see if anyone was watching but saw nothing suspicious.

I don’t know how long I sat there in shock before I realized that I needed to call 911.  While I waited for the police, I began to realize what a hassle this was going to be.  I mean, I would have to have to car towed and then rent a car while it was repaired.  I would have to deal with the insurance company.  It was just the kind of stress I don’t need right now.

About twenty minutes later, a policeman tapped on my window.  I rolled it down, and before he could say anything, I blurted out my whole story, illustrating all the things I was missing.

When I finished, the officer, who seemed very unaffected by the whole thing, said, “Ma’am, I don’t know how to tell you this…”

“Tell me what?” I asked, wondering how things could get any worse.

“Well, you see,” he said, “you’re sitting in the back seat!”

 

(Okay, okay, stop groaning!  You know if I had run this on April 1st, you would have seen it coming a mile away.)



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In my last post I mentioned that the Pain Doctor had me discontinue a medication abruptly.  Even though I had recalled reading that you’re not supposed to stop this particular one like that, I knew that this doctor wouldn’t appreciate having a patient point something like that out to him, so I didn’t.  And, after all, he was the doctor and I assumed that he knew what he was doing.  It wasn’t until my friend Dee pointed out that my anxiety and inability to sleep and stay asleep were withdrawal effects that I realized that I should have geared myself down on my own.  But, by then I had gone a couple of days without taking the medication and I hated the thought of starting over.  Thus, I decided to just “tough it out.”

Toughing it out has meant waking up at about 2:10 a.m. every morning and being unable to get back to sleep.  The first time it happened I was upset and frustrated and tossed and turned, all while trying not to hurt or disturb my newly healed leg. It was a very negative experience which started the next day off all wrong.

So then I decided to embrace this new challenge.  When I’d wake up, I’d find ways to fill the time.  One morning (night?) I worked on remembering all of my elementary school teachers’ names and I got them right all the way through sixth grade.  Oddly enough, high school teachers were harder. Only the really good and really bad ones made an impression.

Another night I got out of bed and went downstairs in the dark and peered out my front window.  Right when I parted the blinds, a deer looked up from my stepping-stones where he had been feasting on a buffet of berries.  He stared at me intently and I stared right back, careful to avoid any sudden movements.  It was a special moment, like we were sharing a secret.  I wondered where the rest of his family was and if maybe he, like me, was unable to sleep.

Later, when I returned to bed, I was still not able to fall asleep, so I did one of my old tricks.  In my head I picked a book I’d read and enjoyed and began casting for a movie of it.  That may sound easy enough, but finding actors and actresses in this day and age to perfectly fit a character can take forever, and that’s even using people who are already dead.  I don’t think I’ve ever completely cast a whole movie…at least not yet.

Another night, another 2:15 a.m. awakening.  For a while I just listed things in my life I’d like to change, but realized that that’s not an ideal activity when you’re already on the precipice of depression.  So, once more I slipped out of bed.  I turned off the burglar alarm and then, wearing only my slinky Hollywood nightgown, slipped out onto the balcony and into the chilled night air.  I stood at the railing, gazing out into the night and listening to the nocturnal sounds of the wind and critters in the underbrush.  I noticed a light on in a townhouse across the way and wondered what the story was there.  Was a couple up fighting because  the husband had only just gotten home?  Was a mother walking the floor with a sick baby?  Was someone suffering with a toothache and counting the hours until the dentist’s office opened?  Or did someone just fall asleep in front of the television?  Whomever it was, I felt a camaraderie toward my fellow night stalker.

But although I’m trying to make lemonade out of lemons one more time, I hope my body reverts to normal soon.  I’m not a napper and this getting by on only four hours of sleep is starting to take its toll.  But still, there’s something to be said for those wee hours of the morning when I have the world almost all to myself.  I can be Queen Of All I Survey…and I like it.

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Okay, so here’s the deal.  I was going to write a post for my regular “Five Good Things” series and…I was coming up blank.  It’s not that I don’t have good things, but I’ve already written about all the obvious ones like birds singing and good friends and sunrises, etc.  And when you’re looking at the world with damned double vision and your leg hurts with every step you take, and you’re feeling a bit hopeless and unloved, it’s a bit harder to find the more subtle things.  So, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons. So here are my:

FIVE GOOD THINGS

(ABOUT GOING THROUGH HELL)

1) You learn patience. Once you’re sucked into the medical establishment, you’ll soon discover that everything is “hurry up and wait.”  You’re expected to get to your appointments early, but the doctor isn’t necessarily expected to see you right on the dot…or even near the dot, for that matter.  I’ve learned that you can go to almost any pharmacy in the country and be spouting blood through every orifice as you hand the pharmacist your prescription and most likely he/she will say, “it will be about 45 minutes.”  No matter what kind of pain you’re in, never forget, you’re just another number.

2) You REALLY learn who your friends are. Let’s face it, a friend who has a medical challenge that goes on and on is really no fun.  When someone asks me lately how I’m doing, I can lie and say that I’m fine, in which case a real friend can tell I’m lying to them.  Or I can tell them the truth which is that I feel like shit (in hell, remember?) and then what can they say?  That they’re sorry?  I know they are.  It’s much easier to just “forget” me for a while.  I get that.  But, believe it or not, some don’t.  Some check with me regularly and they’re not just being polite.  They really, truly, CARE how I am.  Certain ones, who will remain nameless, get bossy and tell me to get my ass on the sofa and REST for God’s sake!  Such kindness makes me want to cry…and also makes me love them.

3) You become grateful for the smallest kindnesses. After dealing with doctor’s offices and pain clinics and pharmacies, you become used to being just a piece of meat.  After all, they have so many people to see in a day that its unusual for them to become emotionally involved.  The hard part of this is that when you’re really suffering, you feel so vulnerable.  I’ve actually had two or three people go out of their way to be nice to me and let me tell you, it meant the world to me.  There was Brenda, who pushed and begged and wheedled to get me an appointment at a pain clinic that same day so that I wouldn’t have to go a sixth night without sleep.  I know it was her job, but still, she became a hero to me.  And there was Janet, the hospital scheduler who helped me cancel my eye surgery that I had been awaiting so desperately.  She took time to comfort me and assure me that we were only postponing it and that they couldn’t take a chance with my eyes.  She said she knew how hard it was and that her heart ached for me.  A medical person said that!  I was so touched that I ended up telling her that I loved her, not in Lesbian way, you understand, but loved her nonetheless.

4) You become stronger. I know darned well that if I ever make it through these present challenges, it will take a heck of a lot to shake me in the future.  When I’m through with this, I’ll probably be able to catch bullets in my teeth!  And maybe leap a tall building or two.  Just watch me!

5) Your faith kicks in, big time. I have a good friend who says this experience I’ve been going through, what with the eyes and the teeth and then the ruptured disc, reminds him of the story of Job in the Bible.  Job, if you’ll recall is the poor guy who had about every kind of tragedy visited upon him and yet would still not turn against God.  In the end God rewarded him with all that he had before and more. (I always wondered if that meant that his wife and daughters came back to life (which would be creepy) or if he got new ones, in which case the first ones got a bum deal.) Anyway, there have been times when I’ve questioned why all these things have happened to me, but I never thought of blaming God.  I do believe there’s a reason for everything, even though humans often can’t see the forest for the trees.  I’m going to hang in there, no matter how hard it is, because I believe that my particular miracle could be just around the corner. Yep, that’s my truth and I’m sticking with it.

 

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What better time than the weekend to catch up on various updates, thoughts and ideas?  Today’s post will contain nothing earthshaking, just me being me.  With that said, here goes:

1) I often wonder if anyone in the world is capable of using super glue without getting it on themselves.  This has been a curse for me because I love super glue!  It’s miraculous stuff.  But, no matter how careful I am, I always end up with just a little on my fingers and I hate that feeling of dried glue on your hands that you can’t peel off.  Sometimes fingernail polish remover can help, but in my case, not often. By the way, it won’t bite off, either!

I accidentally knocked over my indoor/outdoor thermometer and broke the little holder it fits in that makes it stand up.  After trying to glue a teensy piece of plastic back on, I gave up and decided to glue the whole holder onto it.  I doubted whether or not it would work, but after applying the glue, I stood there holding the pieces together for a long, long time in order to give it time to set up.  Finally, I sensed it was holding and decided to set it down to finish drying.  Oops!  Apparently this ingenious repair was destined to include my hand forever and ever because it was glued good and proper to the thing!  So typical.  I ended up doing the quick “rip fast and hard” method of extraction and freed myself.  And then I got to live with glue-y fingers the rest of the day.  (But the thermometer is standing again!)

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2) From now on, any time I hear someone complain that their “back is out,” I’m going to be SO MUCH MORE sympathetic than I have ever been before.  About a week or so ago, I woke up with a “catch” in my back and didn’t think much of it.  It seems that when I sleep on my side (which I prefer) it does something to my back every time.  (Although I can’t imagine why that is.)  Anyway, that “catch” apparently was a growing thing because each subsequent day it got worse and worse until I couldn’t bend over without excruciating pain.  I could still walk and stand and go up and down the stairs, but the slightest leaning or bending over would elicit this terribly unladylike grunt of agony.  Try putting on your shoes and shocks in that condition!  Or getting up from a chair.  Or washing your hair!  I’m trying everything from back exercises to heavy drugs to rubs, but I suspect I’ll just have to wait it out.  Like I needed something like this right now!

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3) In case you’re wondering what happened to my regular feature “On Cloud Patrol,” chalk up its absence to our schizophrenic weather.  It goes from 60 degrees one day to below zero the next.  And the only time I’ve seen any good clouds was when I was driving and since I’ve been doing that with one eye, I didn’t think it was prudent to try to take a picture at the same time.  God knows I’m lucky to stay on the road as is!  I’m praying spring will bring my beloved clouds back.

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4) Well Charlie Sheen’s insanity finally got him fired from “Two and A Half Men!”  Although he claims no one could replace him, there have already been several names circulating .  The ones I’ve heard are John Stamos Matt Dillon, Jennie McCarthy and Rob Lowe.  For me, this is a no-brainer.  I choose ……

I mean, hey!  What red-blooded woman doesn’t enjoy looking at this guy?  Seriously, if he got the job, I’d actually start watching the show!

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And finally, I wrote about my talking to the scheduler for my eye surgery, but never mentioned the date.  It’s scheduled for Monday, March 21st at 7:30 a.m. (I have to be there at 6:30 a.m., but if you’re kind enough to send a prayer or good thought, aim for 7:30.)  I’ll probably remind you again the day before.  Meanwhile, I’m not exactly dwelling on the idea of getting a scalpel in both eyes!

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Okay, those are my bits and my pieces for now.  You all take care!

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What Jobs?

When I took early retirement at the end of 2005, a lot of people came up to me and said, “you’re so lucky!”  And even though I knew how they meant it, I kind of resented it at the same time.  Luck had nothing to do with it!  I had worked almost 30 years at one job or another.  And when I began to see that my company was becoming a place where I didn’t want to be anymore, it took another five years to pay off my house and get into a situation where I could retire.  During that time, while many of my friends were buying expensive cars and taking numerous wonderful vacations, I was staying home, saving money and perfecting my master plan.  I guess I’m saying all this because, once I did retire, I didn’t have a single regret.  Even now, I thank God each morning that I’m finally free to do whatever I want with each day.  It is truly as interesting and exciting as I always imagined it would be.

But even though I’m not working anymore, my heart goes out to those who need to work and who can’t find employment.  When I was working, I knew many people, men and women, who were in their forties who hadn’t put any money aside for retirement.  That always gave me the shivers.  What do those people do when they are downsized? Do they just expect to work the rest of their lives?  I really feel for them.

When I was young and working on my college degree, I was often changing jobs.  I’d haul out the Sunday paper and there would be pages and pages of want ads.  And it seemed like there was every kind of job imaginable available.  When I looked at my paper this past Sunday, there were three pages of ads.  That’s it!  Three lousy pages.

I decided to study them to see what was being offered and let me tell you, the results were pretty grim.  Guess what position had the most openings?  “Drivers,”  with twenty-one ads.   Most of them were for for big rigs but a few promised “you’ll be home each night.” Well, that’s certainly not the kind of job you can fake!  It’s good for drivers, bad for the desperate.   The runner-up position won’t surprise you at all.  It was for “Sales,” with ten ads.  Other than that, the pickings were few.

There was one solitary ad for a “Secretary,”  which, for some reason, really surprised me.  There was one “Paralegal,” one “Video Journalist,” one “Assistant Editor,” one “Irrigation Technician,” and one “Mechanic/Welder.”  It really brought home to me why unemployment is such a dire problem in our country.  As I perused these ads, I wondered what I’d choose if I were young again and looking for work.

And then I found it! Here’s exactly how the ad ran:

“SPECIAL OPS – U.S. Navy.  Elite training.  Daring missions.  Generous pay/benefits.  H.S. Grads ages 17-34.  Do you have what it takes?  Call Mon.-Fri. 800-777-Navy.”

Oh yeah, Baby!  That would be the one for me!

They had me at “daring missions!”  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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