Out on a Limb

At the low end of the learning curve.

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Location: Asburypark, New Jersey, United States

I am an unwilling nomadic soul looking for a place to put down permanent roots. I have lived in all but 9 states (soon to be 10) as well as 4 Canadian provinces. I have learned more than I ever wanted to know by these means. All things considered, this should be an interesting space, put together by a person known for staying quiet while others take center stage. I think my turn has come to toss out gems that have been residing within for more years than I care to admit to. So who am I? I've been asking this same question for most of my life, so having a ready answer for you does not seem likely. Maybe in this journal, we can discover this together. About my habitation on the planet; for now I will say I am a female, a mother, a wife, a nomad, an artisan, an idealist, a keeper of secrets, a caring soul of the state of all things natural & most of my life, supportive & non-judgemental. And a very loyal friend to all. I feel very strongly about people in my life knowing that if they ask my advice or my opinion, they will get it. I believe that if a person wants to hear answers that suit them every time, then they should record those answers for themselves and play them back.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Learning The Ropes

Learning the ropes

I'm dipping a tentative toe into the blog world with these first few words. I have not always tagged behind people, so this is really rather different for me. However, it's only one part not having the know-how & equal parts wondering if I have anything to say that might be of interest to anyone else. But then, I guess that really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things because primarily I'm doing this for one person only, & that's myself. If I can help anyone along the way, that's a bonus. As I peek in & read other blogs I see it all comes down to that end anyway, so here goes! It's cheaper than going into therapy & we really want to stay away from those drugs now, right? Or hey! Worse..."supplements". They aren't even regulated.
Ephedrine...or Ephedra is a supplement & not considered a drug.

As I ponder & contemplate the things that have occurred to me the last five years, I realized I needed a place that I could lay it all out to examine & analyze it's nuances. So many times when something medically immense has taken place in a person's life, we don't know how to deal with it. Because it's brand new & because it's not usually something we get the chance to practice on, we so often flounder & get it wrong. We are also 'directed' on how to deal with it by others who have no clue how to deal with it themselves, yet feel that they are because they have a degree & are armed with text books & journals. Or because they love you, they're expert advisors for you. Right up front I have to say, until you've worn the moccasins, (as the saying goes) stick to suggesting, but don't try to tell me how I feel. Or should feel. I already know that. And it's not even close to the way you imagine.

Five years ago I had an aneurism. It ruptured. And it was heavyduty! Pre to that, I had been an extremely active person; I ran daily, biked & hiked weekends, climbed mountains twice a year...or as often as I could get to them. I ate healthy & stayed fit in my own complete home gym. I didn't smoke & rarely drank but for special occasions such as weddings or the holidays. There never seemed to be enough time in my day for the things I wanted but I crammed as much as possible into every 24 hours & loved it that way!
My life was generally full & not complicated with health issues of any kind.

Then race day arrived. I found I wasn't as energetic as I wanted to be in prepping for a Memorial Day marathon. I needed something to keep me going without lagging. I knew because of the hilly terrain I'd be running, I needed that energy boost. So I bought some Metabolife to balance my metabolism. Yessirree! I was going to make a good showing in that marathon. Much the same way Steve Bechler felt that day in 2003 as he was getting ready to pitch his game for the Baltimore Orioles. But like Steve, that wasn't in my future. I say "like" Steve, because Steve died. Metabolife contained the Big E. For those who still haven't heard about this wonder herb, that's Ephedrine. The herb that people are trying to get put back on store shelves because they want to 'look good'. Gambling with their own lives for vanity. Russian Roulette for the buff body. All of which could be viewed very prettily laid out in a casket.

I took my first little pill in the morning of that first day, another in the afternoon & pill three before bed. I was feeling pretty good about all this; I was doing something healthy for myself & it was going to pay off by raising money & awareness for systemic lupus kids. So! In the morning, I took my fourth pill & went outside to pick the newspaper up from the lawn. That was the last thing I remember until I 'woke up' in hospital seven weeks later totally paralyzed on the left side. My good fortune & what probably saved my life was that I had a doctor living right next door to me & he was tending his garden when I hit the ground. He made an immediate evaluation & had me medi-vaced to the hospital downtown in eight minutes.

That was to be the first day of my second life. The one where you find out you're incredibly more resilient than you ever thought possible; the one where you find out through sheer determination that you can amaze yourself & as well as the medical world. The one where, if you look at things as a challenge instead of a disability, they are surmountable. And the one where you find out who your friends are & sadder, just how weak your family structure is. Those people who 'loved you' were all of a sudden too busy to call or lend a hand. The ones who will 'try to get around' or if they find the time will pick up that item you're needing but can't get yourself. Have they always been that self-involved or have you just been too self-involved yourself to notice? New life; new questions.
Counter that however, with those you never noticed in your life before. They come forward & quietly sustain you as you plod along in your new life. Supportive, helpful, not just given to lip service as surprisingly, family members only seem to manage. These quiet friends are there to bring you out of the hospital for the day & take you for long drives & to a wheelchair-friendly restaurant for lunch. They run the little errands for you that your loved ones are (sic) too busy to run & they sit & listen as you try to figure out what happened in your life literally overnight.

I am learning so many valuable lessons in my second life. Some I wish I hadn't needed to ever learn; others I am eternally grateful for learning. As Maya Angelou so eloquently stated:
"Courage allows the successful woman to fail & learn powerful lessons from the failure...so that in the end, she really hasn't failed at all!"

At any rate...bear with me here...I'm still learning. Now there's this blog thing! ~*wink*~


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