Sunday, July 13, 2014

What a summer!

Summer is definitely here. It has been a  mixed bag for me since May 12. I had plans for this summer. This year I had writing classes scheduled every month in my studio, and I am scheduled to teach four classes at the local community college in August. I had worked hard to attract good writers, who were also good instructors, to our area. I wrote articles about them for the newspapers and posted them online. I accepted registration fees and planned for snacks for the students.

In May our literary group held a writing conference, and I was involved in the planning, and more, for that event. I had not realized the stress I had taken on myself until two days after the conference. I started up my stairs from my studio and a sharp pain shot through my thigh. My left leg collapsed under me and I fell on the stairs. I was alone in my house and for a brief moment I was terrified. I thought I might have broken my hip. Although I couldn't put weight on my left leg, I didn't think anything was broken. 

The following day an  x-ray of my back showed no serious damage. Still, my hip and left leg hurt me like a bad toothache. I began treatment with my wonderful orthopedic massage therapist and my chiropractor. I was told I had periformis syndrome, a painful condition involving the periformis muscle in my low back. I was also told by my chiropractor that I had a slipped disc in my low back. Each of them gave me relief, but the relief didn't last. I was told not to sit for more than an hour. I was told to rest and learned that it could take 8 - 12 weeks for the muscle syndrome to heal. 

Meanwhile, I had become almost an invalid, unable to stand in the kitchen and make meals or load the dishwasher. I had to hire help to take out my garbage, sweep the floor, and do most of the menial chores I did every day. I didn't dare go downstairs because I wasn't sure I could come back up.

I admit this situation took a toll on my psyche. For the first time since Barry died, I felt helpless to care for myself. What was I going to do? Should I leave my home? Should I move to an assisted living facility? The previous self-assured woman who juggled duties and took on projects had become a fragile person I didn't recognize.

To make matters worse, one week after the fall on the stairs, I was exposed to a room full of perfume which triggered my multiple chemical sensitivity and created a respiratory illness. For four weeks I fought a sinus infection and then an ear infection with two rounds of  antibiotics and over the counter meds. I went to see my sister and she took such good care of me, which helped me in my healing. I recently had an x-ray of the hip and an MRI of my spine. I will likely begin a physical therapy protocol soon. So, you see why this summer has been a bummer.  Because of all the health problems, I have cancelled classes at Writers Circle for the summer.
Students gathered around the table at Writers Circle
Forced retirement was not on my radar, but I am beginning to get used to waking up with no schedule of tasks awaiting me. I feel like someone who has been carrying a heavy stone for a long time and didn't realize how much it weighed me down until I dropped it.

I made up my mind that I will do nothing but what is good for me, what I want to do, until I get over these setbacks. I decided to look forward to what the future holds for me and not look back. I have learned that I can re-invent myself as I did five years ago.

The new me will not try to multitask, not feel driven to accomplish too many goals. I accept my limitations and look forward to new experiences and challenges. As soon as I can walk without pain, breathe without effort, and get my energy level up to par, I know I will be back to seeing my friends, my family, and enjoying these beautiful mountains where I am so fortunate to live. 


DJan said...

Experiencing a physical setback is traumatic to anybody. I think you've done a good job of taking into account what your current reality is, and dealing with it. I am glad you are still blogging! :-)

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about all your health problems. Feel better soon.

Glenda Beall said...

DJan, Thank you. I have to admit, it took some real soul-searching and self-talking to pick myself up and start all over again.
Thank you for being a loyal reader.Good friends both near and far have been such a help these past weeks.

Glenda Beall said...

Abbie, I feel ridiculous complaining about anything when I think of how much you have overcome and accomplished. We do what we have to do, don't we? Thank you for leaving a comment. Good luck with your new book. Hope it is selling like hot cakes!