2014 Journal

Choices

As I went further with the exploration, I discovered that it was
impossible to figure out to what extent my choices were made from my limitations as opposed to being made from my wholeness. All I could uncover about them with any certainty was that they seemed to be the best choices I could make for my self at the times that I made them.
They addressed and were in harmony with my own needs and capacities-available-in-the-moment.

Actually, that's what made them right-for-me. As I began to accept
that this was so, I could compassionately and unconditionally embrace all of who I might be in any situation. I could see my choices simply as the most-right-for-me-in-this-moment.

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Life in the Slowest Lane

September into October 2014

 

After a very temperate summer, we’re just emerging from a weeklong siege of very hot and, oddly for Ojai, humid days. This level of heat leaves many of us feeling cranky and beleaguered as it fries the roses to a crisp within an hour of the buds opening. I try to get to, cut and relocate them to my altar vases soon after moving from my sleeping tent to the cottage. By 8:00 AM the tent becomes a sauna, so I’m usually en route to the cottage and cutting the roses by 7:30.

 

Despite the heat, lots continues to bloom and flourish in the container garden: lantana, lavender, basil and petunias in shades of purple; magenta and purple verbena; white and pink lisanthus; white star jasmine; hot pink fuchsias; orange and yellow marigolds, rudebeckia, milkweed and gaillardia; multi-hued roses, zinnias and the last few dahlias of the year.

 

Green edibles continue providing abundance for my daily feasts: romaine lettuce, collard greens, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, four varieties of kale, Persian cucumbers, spearmint, peppermint, rosemary, two varieties of oregano and a last few cherry tomatoes.

 

The trees we planted in my mini-orchard this spring are healthy and thriving though not, this year, producing more than a hint of fruit. The tastier producer of the two old apple trees continues to be full of fruit, much of it with evidence of bird or critter nibbles. These nibbled apples I gather for a woman at our stationery store who tends horses that love them as treats. Some I give to a client for her pot-bellied pig. Some I cut up for the chickens that live just the other side of my fence and from whom I get delicious eggs every week.

 

Hordes of hyperactive hummingbirds gather around my nine feeders from early morning until dark. Often I can count as many as 20 darting around at once, whirring, chittering and buzzing the kitties and me. Although they can be quite aggressive with each other at feeding ports, with 32 such stations on my patio, they usually don’t bounce each other off the perches. Actually, twice these past couple of weeks I’ve been tickled to watch pairs of them actually cooperating at a port on the feeder just outside the window at my desk. The feeder they were at has a full circle perch surrounding the four ports. Each time I caught it happening, two birds were stationed at one port alternating: while one sipped, the other raised its head to swallow, then the second one sipped as the first one swallowed. It was mesmerizing and so touching! One hummingbird that hangs out at that same feeder has what looks a feather cowlick at the base of its neck. Being able to recognize him/her tickles me each time he/she turns up.

 

The birds (mostly house finch) that dine at the seed feeders outside my front door usually fly away when I open that door. Yet, the other day, one of the birds (with a distinctive pumpkin-seed shaped growth under its beak) looked up at me for a moment then simply turned back and continued eating, even as I came outside and walked right past the feeder on which it was perched. Such a brave and feisty little bird, it made me laugh (but only after I’d moved past it).

 

One morning a week ago, after a night of heavy dew, I was awakened by the sounds of a half dozen small birds skittering overhead on the rainfly of my tent as they busied themselves drinking up the droplets of dew they found there. My first view of the morning: their little shadows dancing across the wetness, sigh! It was something that had never before happened in all the 27 years I’ve been sleeping in tents in my backyards. Such a gift.

 

On a less happy note was my experience with the milkweed plant I’d recently added to my garden. The nurserywoman told me that if I planted one, it would bring Monarch butterflies to my patio in no time. Indeed, within a week, I’d seen a couple. Then, on the 10th day, there were first three and later four chubby and exotic caterpillars of a sort I’d never before seen.  Checked on Google to be sure: they were indeed Monarch caterpillars! They couldn’t have grown there so quickly from eggs possibly laid by the adult butterflies I’d seen. But, then, how on earth had these beauties found their way to my patio? So magical. For the next two days, I came gleefully to visit them several times throughout the day. I was so excited and already eagerly anticipating the possibility of watching them spin cocoons. On the third morning: no caterpillars to be seen. I was devastated. The blue jays that have figured out how to circumvent the supposedly large-bird-proof seed feeders just near the new milkweed plant had undoubtedly had a feast. I bought some bird netting (the stuff that keeps birds away from fruit on trees) hoping that this might keep the next arriving caterpillars safe. Two more did come but, alas, the netting failed to protect them from predation. So sad. Yet, several more adult Monarchs have been stopping by to munch on the leaves.

 

More news on the garden wildlife front: the other night loud rustling sounds woke me from my nightly floating-in-the-hot-tub nap. (I nap on an 18-pocket pool lounger/float covered by two more un-inflated such loungers. I’ve been doing this for from one to three hours every non-rainy night since 1986 and have never slipped off in my sleep.) I reached for the flashlight in my robe hanging nearby on the coat tree and found the source of the rustling/scuffling. A half dozen young raccoons were feasting on fallen apples and persimmons just a few yards from the hot tub. Unperturbed by the light, all but one (that climbed up the tree) continued on with their munching as I went back to napping.

 

Hawks and crows play together overhead most days and, less frequently than other years, coyotes still occasionally have their nighttime joke-fests. Without rain, there’ve been no frog choruses this year. And, for whatever reason, fewer owls around the meadow.

 

Lots of clouds in our skies daily and, as I make my way from hot tub to tent (usually between 1:00 and 3:00 AM) each night, Orion now is visible in mid-heaven: sure signs that fall, my favorite season, is arriving.

 

Since last I wrote, there’ve (thankfully) been no new untoward niggling physical challenges/issues and much progress in the healing of the series of irritating and not-serious afflictions I wrote about in July (when last I wrote here). The last vestiges of discomfort are gone from the heel that had had plantar fasciitis. There’s, finally, no more swelling of the bursa in the elbow that had had a second round of bursitis after the first one had been drained. The wrist I’d sprained while my elbow had been casted is, alas, still not quite back to normal although it has been slowly improving. All of these “farschlepta krenks” (as such annoying minor maladies are called in Yiddish) have provided ongoing lessons in patience with and compassion for my no longer invincible body. Nevertheless, it’s a relief to be almost on the other side of all these challenges.

 

Absent any nudging from the Grandmothers to move me out of the deliciously fallow time I’ve been reveling in these past many months, I continue life in the slowest lane. I see clients a couple of days every other week and then meander through my 12-day long weekends tending my cottage, garden, the kitties, the seeding-feeding wild birds and the myriad hummingbirds; reading (or listening to) mysteries and novels in great numbers; walking, doing free weights, yoga, Pilates and Restorative Exercises intermittently and taking voluptuous naps in my hammock in the shade of an old oak tree.

 

Occasionally, I do wonder when (and whether) the Grandmothers’ next installment of what I call “orders from headquarters” will arrive. Yet, for the most part, I’m more than happy to have this still season for as long as it may last (even if it might last forever). Such a change from the me I’d been in earlier times of my life! In those years, relentless striving and accomplishing were the focus of my energy: the only way I knew to prove my self a worthy human being and try to silence my vicious inner critic. On the occasional days that I feel at a loss or a little out of sorts for not having anything calling on my energy, I simply hang out with the feelings for a bit. Usually, something in the garden will call me and then I’m immersed in the deadheading or watering or pruning. This always is enough to re-center me peacefully in the moment of this fallow season.

 

It’s been a time of witnessing three of my small circle of intimate friends moving through some of the intense challenges that come with aging and compromised parents or the complexities of a large, extended family including children and grandchildren or the complications of undertaking a major home remodel. As I watch and love and empathize, I am evermore filled with gratitude for the simplicity of my life with no still-living aging parents, no children or grandchildren and no major projects either on my plate or looming. It’s hard to imagine my self being able to maintain my sanity in any of their situations

 

Sometimes, I reflect on what my life was like in my mid-twenties: doing a part-time internship as a psychologist at a hospital an hour’s subway-ride-and-walk from my apartment; running subjects for my dissertation experiment a few hours a week at the lab at my graduate school; attending a weekly two-hour psychotherapy practicum there, as well as seeing two clients twice each every week in the school’s clinic; struggling in an on-again off-again relationship with the man I ultimately married – repeatedly carrying clothes, paperwork and cosmetics back and forth between his apartment and mine; working an 8 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. shift several times a week at an after-hours breakfast and ice cream restaurant and barely sleeping more than four hours a night. I’ve come such a long way from that terminal busyness that once was my life. Just remembering it feels overwhelming to the me I’ve become, a me that craves vast expanses of uncommitted and unstructured time in order to feel juicy, alive and whole.

 

When, out doing my errands, I see young women (that look like children themselves) with kids in tow trying to manage the little ones along with doing what they have to do in the store, I feel exhausted just imagining what their lives are like. When I spend an afternoon twice a month with my friend, her daughter, son-in-law, their six and eight year old sons and two and a half year old twins (a boy and a girl) immersed in the love-filled chaos of their daily life, I’m awed and flabbergasted by the whack-a-mole complexity of it all. After three hours there, I can’t begin to imagine how they all manage to do this 24/7/365. And, I feel incredibly grateful that I knew so long ago that having or raising children (much less having grandchildren) would definitely send me round the bend. So glad I listened to that knowing even as I was criticized for being “selfish” or remiss for not propagating my “white, Jewish genes(!).” (Before my paternal grandmother’s horrifying commentary, I’d had no clue of her racist ideas.)

 

When I skim the monthly AARP magazine and read about all the things retirees are doing or being advised to do with their time in order to feel vital and productive, I feel exhausted – bemused by the busyness that seems these days to be equated with healthy aging. When I (mostly by phone) visit with my few intimate friends, it usually feels like I have little to talk about: nothing much is happening these days, either in my outside or inside life. There’s also little beyond my garden/wildlife updates to write about in these used-to-be-almost-monthly journal (blog) columns.

 

Except for the few, much cared about clients with whom I work and my half dozen intimate friends, I’d rather read a book than be around people. Unless it’s for the brief random conversations I have with local women I run into while doing errands around Ojai. When they suggest getting together for a meal and more visiting, I always demur, saying I don’t do socializing except for these street-meetings. They seem to get it and accept that that’s what so for me. Dropping into the world of a book or a book on CD gives me people contact that, when I’ve had enough for the moment, I can stop immediately and without hurting anyone’s feelings.

 

As I become ever more of an outlier both in the larger culture and in the context of my dear friends’ lives, it occasionally feels quite strange to be how I am in the world as it is. Still, I love this lushly, drifty, perfect-for-me-now life I’ve been blessedly able (with the help of the Grandmothers) to craft for my self and so I’m willing to tolerate those sporadic flashes of feeling odd/off-the-continuum.

 

 There’s one tale I actually can share about a misadventure I had just a week ago while on “chicken duty.”  My neighbor/friend/landlord was away overnight and while she’s off the property, I often take on the early morning task of opening the door to the chickens’ extended (but not secured-for-nighttime) run.  To do this one has first to open the gate/door to the whole enclosure then, go further into it to open a second door that opens to the area without a secured wire roof.  Ordinarily, the latch to first door is cranky and needs a good slam to lock it.  And, usually there’s a cord from that latch that dangles on the inside of the enclosure so that we can pull it to open the latch and let ourselves out again.

 

In I went, saying good morning to our four “girls,” checking their food and water and opening their back door. Done, I went back to the first door to let my self out.  Oops! The latch had locked (odd enough) and, alas, the string to open it from inside the enclosure was missing. Hmmm…. No telling when Teresa would be back and while I tried calling for the woman who was staying at the big house, her doors were closed and likely the a/c and fans were on so no way was she going to hear me. There I was, in my nightshirt, without my teeth, with no cell phone, firmly locked in the chickens’ twenty-five foot run as the day was already heating up and promising to be a scorcher!

 

After testing its stability, I tried standing on the plywood frame around the six extra hatching boxes in the unsecured area that backed up to the fence between our yards. I was hoping that both it and the concrete bench on my side of that fence might be high enough for me to step over the fence from one to the other. Not to be; if I tried I’d be impaled on the fence.

 

Bemused and anticipating the possibility of a day in the heat with the chickens and no place for me to comfortably roost, I wandered around looking for inspiration. An aha! moment: the outer door/gate actually had an upper panel that was lattice even though its lower two thirds was solid wood. If I could break a bit out of the lattice, I could reach through and open the latch. Not realizing there were many rocks in the enclosure I could have used, I relied on my fist. A single slat gave way to repeated pounding (so did the skin on one of my knuckles, sigh). The space that opened wasn’t wide enough to get my hand through even though the latch release was tantalizingly close. Hmmm, again.

 

As I stood there pondering what next, I noticed a metal pancake turner on a shelf (near the door) where the containers of scratch were stored. Likely something Teresa uses to clean the poop off their nesting boxes and roosts, I saw that it actually had a bend at its other end so it could be hooked on a rack. Eureka! A tool for opening the latch. It turned out to be just the right length and with just enough of a hook to release the latch. I felt absolutely brilliant for recognizing its potential and for setting my self free. Exhilarated, I went off to my shed for some sturdy string to replace the missing pull for the latch so this wouldn’t happen again.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events

July 2014

 

My garden-in-pots is at the height of its lush, overflowing summer extravagance: roses and dahlias blooming in rainbow colors; lavenders, sages, lantana, lily of the Nile, platycodon, basil, verbena, freeway daises and petunias in all shades of purple; nasturtiums, marigolds, kangaroo paws and basket flowers in mixtures of yellow and orange; Shasta daises, jasmine and lisanthus in white; the abundant greenery of succulents, oreganos, rosemary, mints, kales, lettuces, Persian cucumbers, mustard greens and arugula; the reds of ripening cherry, grape and beefsteak tomatoes.

 

In the cool of the early morning, after doing Reiki and setting up my daily vitamins and tinctures, I meander among the pots – grooming and deadheading, picking salad and steaming greens for the day and sweeping up leaf and bird seed detritus from the patio before sitting down to my first cup of tea.  After several months of only a small community of hummingbirds visiting each day (the population uptick in April was short-lived), the hordes have, to my delight, once again descended. They buzz and chitter overhead, their magical presence my company as I sip.

 

Washing and refilling nine sugar-water feeders, one oriole feeder (with three gallons of the mixture) and a high-hanging birdbath every three to four days become part of my tending-the-temple rituals. In deference to my aging body’s vulnerability, I wear a cordless phone tucked/sealed into a passport pouch around my neck as I carefully climb the ladder to rehang the filled feeders, both of sugar water and those with seed mix (for the sparrows, house finch, tufted titmouse, hooded grosbeak, ground-feeding doves and wily blue jays that visit here daily).

 

Monitoring each of four irrigation stations, vacuuming leaf litter, walk-on bark and birdseed tracked into the house by my kitties, tending their litter boxes, cleaning up the latest deposits of cat hair left on their various in-house roosts and on the carpets – all make up the rest of my daily morning rituals (I like thinking of them this way, instead of as chores). I feel blessed that my life is simple and un-busy enough that these doings nourish me as, unhurried, I amble through them.

 

The meadow has a carpet of wild morning glory, a patch of purple artichoke-thistles and some random bachelor buttons. Both apple trees are heavy with baby apples. The Meyer lemon has very few new fruits: a casualty of revamping the irrigation plan while planting the new mini-orchard. I didn’t get enough water to it while its blossoms were setting fruit. I’ll miss a season of Meyer lemonade, sigh. Lots of tiny persimmons coming along, though, as well as a small crop of limes, tangelos and even some blueberries in the mini-orchard.

 

Around town the jacaranda trees are resplendent with their annual purple flounces while dinner-plate sized white flowers festoon all the neighborhood magnolia trees. In back and front yards, and along my twilight fire road trail, citrus, avocado and stone fruit trees are heavy with ripening fruit. This is Ojai’s season of plenty (as well as of really hot days).

 

Hawks cavort and serenade daily above the meadow (they have a nest in a tree two backyards down) and, after a long quiet spell, the coyotes at this end of town had a howling fest last night rather than their more typical yipping fest.

 

It’s been a strange time for me, these eleven or so weeks since last I wrote. It began with hiring an incredible landscape/tree person who, with his crew of two other fellows and a wonderful aesthetic, tended to all the trees in and around the meadow. Pruning out dead branches, shaping and opening up tree-hearts to create space for healthy new growth, these guys did an amazing job of reconfiguring the meadow and its trees, revealing all sorts of magical spaciousness and beauty that was previously obscured by dead overgrowth.  (It seemed metaphoric!)

 

Then, a delightful, newly discovered handyman came and replaced several of the nine-year old, decaying posts that support the privacy fence around the perimeter of the meadow. He also added another twelve feet of fencing to recreate some of the privacy lost when the trees (that had provided a green-fence) were reshaped and pruned back.

 

While all this was unfolding, and weaving the tasks leisurely between long hours of aimlessly lolling about (resting on my laurels) and reading in my hammock, I did spring cleaning in the cottage and fertilized and replenished the garden. All of it together felt like a clearing of the decks/making space, as it were, for whatever might want to come into this next season of my life. 

 

What came was (in the words of Lemony Snickett) a series of unfortunate events – a number of physical challenges of one sort or another – some interconnected, none really serious, incapacitating or life threatening, most not even painful. Periodically, I’ve felt overwhelmed or cranky or frustrated with it all. Yet, most of the time, I’ve just been dealing with each thing that’s come up. And, at this point, there’s something laughably absurd about the tale of the whole extraordinary sequence and the high level of maintenance involved in coping with it.

 

As things piled up, I did at first wonder what it was all about, what might be the message to be taken from these odd events involving the left side of my body. Given the pace of my life at this moment, it clearly wasn’t about needing to slow down. When no sense of its significance came spontaneously, I seemed not to need (as I often have in the past) to weave a story to create meaning for or a message from the series of issues. It’s been enough, so far, to simply be present to each of them and my self in the middle of them as just what’s on my plate right now. Perhaps more will be revealed as time goes by. But, then again, maybe not. I don’t seem to care either way although I’m certainly ready for the siege to be over!

 

The saga began in late March when I developed a random, unexplained aching discomfort along the inner edge of my left heel. This continued into late April when it erupted into a full-blown episode of plantar fasciitis with a good deal of deep and constant dull pain in my left sole (hmmm…sole/soul?). With Google for my guide (how did we live without this resource?) I found a boot to sleep with (to keep my foot flexed at a 90 degree angle throughout the night) and details of a series of calf stretches to do several times a day. Broke out my trusty TENS unit and electrodes to use for 30 – 50 minutes two and three times a day so that the micro current would help with pain reduction. Slathered Traumeel cream and sprayed arnica on frequently. Took homeopathic arnica several times a day. Rolled my foot over a frozen bottle of water for 15 minutes several times a day (a tip from Google) and put heel cushions designed to relieve plantar pain in all my shoes. In two weeks, the intensity dropped back to just the random edge of the heel aching. (It continues at this level, still.)

 

On the first day that it looked as if the worst of the plantar fasciitis was passing, I woke up with my left forearm and elbow quite swollen (though not painful) for no apparent reason. When the swelling continued and increased the next day, I went to the Ojai ER (nothing like any ER anywhere else: usually only one other person there, no blood or mayhem or chaos, ever!). The doc there (my regular alternative MD was out of town) diagnosed cellulitis and bursitis and, of course, prescribed heavy-duty antibiotics.  Since I prefer not to do pharmaceuticals unless absolutely necessary, I went back to Google to research cellulitis (a potentially quite serious inflammation/infection) and to find Chinese, herbal and homeopathic antibiotic/anti-inflammatory alternatives. My herbalist and masseuse provided some of these and my masseuse taught me lymphatic drainage techniques to help reduce the swelling/inflammation.

 

Now, during each of the times I had the TENS unit electrodes on my foot, I had my arm wrapped in an ice pack and propped on pillows so it would be above my heart (to allow for the lymph/edema drainage). It was quite a scene. I added a pillow to prop a book on my chest so I could read while all of this was going on. Life was getting curiouser and curiouser!

 

Educated about the potential dangers of cellulitis, I committed to seeing my own doctor on his return if the swelling wasn’t significantly reduced by these alternative approaches. And, as well, to being willing then to do whatever pharmaceuticals he might advise. The swelling, heat and skin flush in my arm had all but disappeared by the time, a week later, that I saw him. Unfortunately, there was still a mushy golf ball sized pocket extending out from my elbow (apparently classic olecranon bursitis though, oddly, without the typical associated pain or restriction in range of motion). At his recommendation, I began a 7-day course of generic Keflex that, at the end of the week, we extended to 10 days.

 

On a walk that Tuesday evening after seeing him and beginning the antibiotic, I had my first fall since the one that had, two years ago, caused a hairline fracture of the trochanter/hip knob of my right leg. It was startling since I never experienced the tripping: one minute I was upright and the next, sprawled as if on a two-handed slide into home base.  The good news: no broken skin or bones and the terrain was of the sort that’s always been trip-worthy for me – uneven pavement.  It was disconcerting, though not particularly distressing. Then, two days later on Thursday, I had the same sort of up-one-minute on-the-ground-the-next fall; again no warning, on uneven pavement, in closed walking shoes and with no consequent broken skin or bones – another swan dive/slide with arms outstretched and body trailing behind.

 

This time, I felt shaken: two falls in three days was distressing even though I hadn’t gotten hurt.  I found my self feeling very vincible, realizing I’d need now to focus more than usual on where I put my feet each moment.

 

When I fell yet again on Saturday, the third up-one-minute, on-the-ground-the next fall in five days, this time painfully jamming my hand in the dive/sprawl, I felt completely overwhelmed and fragile.  I sat on the broken up asphalt, less than a half block from home, cradling my rapidly swelling wrist and weeping.

 

The falls I’d had two and three years ago (broken elbow, then cracked trochanter) had put an end first to my hiking the front country trails alone and then to my walking alone on my evening trail after dark. The pile up of these three falls in less than a week left me wondering if I’d ever again feel safe/confident to walk anywhere – even in broad daylight on local streets.  It was a wretched moment.

 

Though I had good mobility despite the swelling in my wrist, I opted to drive the two miles, once again, to the Ojai Hospital ER to have an x-ray and make sure I hadn’t broken anything. I hadn’t. Still the swelling and pain from certain movements added something further to my new high-maintenance self-care regimen. At the same time, it made much of my yoga/free-weight and Pilates routine moot for a time.

 

It took a few days to calm down from the fear about walking. It helped enormously when I realized that the falls were likely the consequence of the plantar heel cushions impairing the proprioception from my feet. This feedback is what normally helps me anticipate and correct for tripping. Since the heel inserts actually extended under my arches, they created rigidity where there’s ordinarily flexibility and therefore, feedback. I pitched all three pairs of inserts as soon as I had that insight. Immediately I felt more grounded when I walked.

 

One of the things about living in an aging body is how much longer injuries take to heal. Still, day-by-day with icing and compression, I had more and more pain-free wrist and hand mobility.  Things were progressing well.

 

Then, because the antibiotic regimen and compression advised by my alternative MD brought no appreciable change in the swelling in the bursa, the next step was a visit to my friendly orthopedist to have him drain the fluid (15 cc) that wasn’t going anywhere by any other means.  The procedure was uneventful, essentially painless after the numbing shot that preceded the draining. The irritating news was that my elbow needed to be casted to immobilize it for two weeks to help discourage the bursa from filling up again. I thought we’d agreed to cast it at a 90 degree angle but wound up with him arranging it at about 98 degrees, – just enough off to make several chores no longer doable two-handed. This uncomfortable angle left the cast frequently banging into either my mid-upper arm or at its other end, just a couple of inches above my wrist. It was hard to find a position I could hold comfortably without the banging/bruising, sigh! I was NOT a happy camper.

 

Since the cast caused a good deal of swelling in my wrist and hand, a twice-daily propped-up ice-wrap continued as part of my TENS-and-icing routine.  Amazingly, I found comfortable ways to sleep with the cast on my left arm and the rigid boot on my left calf/ankle/foot. It was hard to imagine how, if I led a more typical, busy life, I’d have been able to find the patience, space and time for all these now necessary self-ministrations.

 

Needless to say, the swelling and wrist strains caused by the cast created a whole new layer of injury needing time to heal once the cast came off (almost two weeks ago). And, adding, as it were, insult to injury, once the cast came off, the bursa swelled up again, albeit not as much as originally. So, now as my forearm and wrist are recuperating, I’m working with my acupuncturist both on those injuries and on seeing if we can get the new swelling down in the bursa, sigh! At the moment, the acupuncture treatments appear to be working on both fronts. (And, some work with an osteopathic physical therapist is helping both my wrist and my foot in their healing processes.)

 

If the acupuncture doesn’t clear the swelling, the conventional medical option would be to surgically remove the swollen bursa (a healthy one should grow back within six months) and be casted again during the recovery from that surgery.  Since there is no danger in living with an uninfected swollen bursa that is causing no pain, I’d clearly choose to let it be rather than subject my self to general anesthesia, surgery and casting my arm again.

 

Are you exhausted reading the saga? Living it has been quite trying, especially since with the cast on for two weeks, I chose not to walk lest, with the cast, another fall might open me to breaking my arm or shoulder!  At the moment, my forearm, wrist and heel are gradually moving toward normal, my bursa swelling may be diminishing, I’m back to my usual exercise regimen (though with lighter free weights for my arms) and feeling grounded in my walking.

 

The most amazing part of this seemingly endless siege of physical issues is that I’ve mostly been able to go on with my usual life in fairly good spirits, sort of shaking my head at the absurdity of it all. (Though while casted, I did enlist my landlord’s house sitter to do the ladder climbing to hang the hummingbird feeders for me.) What few meltdowns I’ve had have passed through fairly quickly as I surrendered into each of them for as long as it lasted. No insight/story about or message to take from this accumulation of challenges has yet emerged. That’s not being a problem for the me I am these days. I do suspect, even while none of these challenges has felt particularly age-related, that dealing with them has been good practice for whatever trials might lie ahead living in an aging body.

 

No matter, the garden, the birds, the kitties, this magical cottage and meadow, the paradise of Ojai, endless hours of reading in the hammock and listening to books on CD in the house and the car – these continue daily to bring me much joy and peace in the middle of whatever’s going on.  It’s been an inward time with no inclination to be around people or, till now, to stop and write. Once I started writing, I needed to tell the whole saga. So there you have it – perhaps in more detail than you might care for, sigh.

 

I’m curious to see where from here.