Today is National Ampersand Day & the second day of Rosh Hashana & the day I go back to see the Ear Nose & Throat people at the hospital about my nosebleed caused by my anticoagulant medications & our new & adorable cat Joan trying to wake me up by scratching my nose & so much more.
Yesterday I started working again after my 2-week vacation & people were very glad to reconnect in an online therapy group & had a lot to say.
Today, as always, I want to welcome all thoughts & feelings including happiness & sadness & fear & anger & despair & hope & so on.
Here are photos & screen captures for today’s post.
How are you going to celebrate & otherwise mark this precious & unique day?
Last night, when we were eating this delicious & nutritious vegetarian chili …
… my husband & cook Michael & my son Aaron & I were talking about the many ways you can get chili in Cincinnati, including with cheese & beans & spaghetti.
Since the day I was born in 1953 with a very rare heart condition, I have been a grateful patient. And today — as well as being the first day of Rosh Hashana — is National Grateful Patient Day.
This morning, I am a little less grateful and patient than usual to be a patient, because my nose bleed — caused by the unfortunate combination of our new kitty Joan scratching inside my nose and my being on anticoagulants because of my mechanical heart valve — has not completely resolved.
However, if I focus on being patient and grateful, I know that I have wonderful people on my medical team who will help solve this problem, just as they have solved so many issues with me before.
I am especially grateful and patient, every day, because it’s so unlikely that I would have survived — with such overall good health — as long as I have with my very unusual heart.
And really, what’s so terrible about a little nosebleed? I have been a grateful patient through so many surgeries, set-backs, scares, disappointments, surprises, dangers, close-calls, and physical and emotional traumas over the years, and look! I’m still here to blog about it today.
So let’s try our best, during these challenging times, to gratefully and patiently celebrate another precious day. Here are the other images this grateful patient has to share with you on September 7, 2021.
The Daily Bitch is right about this: with my heart condition and my tendency to catastrophize, the way I do things may not always be the easy way. However, the way I’ve done things has helped keep me alive and resilient, even if I’m not always the most patient of patients.
Here’s something I find when I search YouTube for “National Grateful Patient Day.”
If you’re patient enough, you’ll always find gratitude at the end of my blog posts!
My mother, who was very neat, did not want pets in the house, so she resisted my requests for a cat. Also, because she had a dog growing up, she couldn’t understand why I wanted a cat rather than a dog.
I couldn’t explain it to her. I just felt a connection when I looked into the eyes of a cat. I was fascinated by them, and encountering a cat anywhere always made me happy.
One day, when I was about seven years old, my father brought home a stray cat, a small tiger kitty, who had wandered into his store. I was beyond thrilled. My mother didn’t want the cat in the house so my new kitty was relegated to the garage. I remember spending hours watching that cat eat and play in the garage, so happy to finally have one.
Soon though, the cat escaped from the garage. I remember searching desperately through the neighborhood, crying as I called out for my lost kitty. When I got home, I found that my parents were frantic about my being gone so long.
My parents were particularly worried about me because I was born with a heart condition. My heart condition really needed a pacemaker, but pacemakers hadn’t been invented when I was born in 1953.
Soon after the cat in the garage ran away, I had to go into the hospital more and more as my condition got worse. The doctors tried different treatments, including yucky medication I had to take under my tongue, which speeded up my heart but made me feel really sick.
Then, when I was in the hospital for observation at age 10, I had a heart stoppage. The doctors decided to implant a pacemaker, which they had been avoiding because pacemakers were so new and really too big for a small kid like me.
When I woke up from the heart surgery that was required to implant pacemakers back then, I said to my mother, “What have I got to look forward to if I don’t have a cat?” Tears streaming down her face, she promised me a cat.
After I had recovered enough from my surgery (which by the way, was on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was killed), my dad took me to the local vet, who had several cats there for adoption. I chose the shyest one, who was a calico kitty I named Tuffy.
Tuffy was definitely my “personal medicine,” helping me heal and be tough enough to endure the many surgeries I needed to undergo as my pacemakers broke in every conceivable way.
Since then, I often choose shy cats who remind me of Tuffy. Our cat Harley is one of those cats. Harley, even though I feed him every morning, much prefers my husband Michael. Harley avoids me when he can, although he sometimes affords me the privilege of patting him for two seconds. Mostly, he run away from me, like I’m the enemy.
Our new cat, Joan, is not shy. I chose her because she gets along with cats, humans, AND dogs. My husband Michael loves dogs so I’m thinking there MIGHT be a dog in our future. And because Joan is not an alpha cat, she and Harley get along surprisingly well.
Joan is very rambunctiousness and always wants to play. Harley tolerates that, keeping her away with a hiss when he wants more personal space.
Last weekend, Joan invaded my personal space, clawing my nose when she wanted to wake me at 2 AM. Because I take anticoagulant medication (required because of the mechanical heart valve I got in 2016), Joan gave me a nose bleed that just wouldn’t quit.
So here I am, in the second week of my long-awaited vacation from work, stuck at home with a painful balloon up my nose and two cats.
And you know what? I still love cats and always will.
Do you see any cats in my images for today?
I was kind of hoping that today would be National Cat Day, but to us cat lovers, EVERY day is cat day.
“Say Yes to the Mess” is something I put on a t-shirt years ago.
I chose to wear that t-shirt yesterday, partly because we’re all imperfectly messy human beings, trying to deal with the mess we’ve made — climate change, racism, pandemics, wars, etc. etc.
Little did I know that I would be wearing that same t-shirt to the Emergency Room this morning because of the first nosebleed I’ve ever gotten in my life, which started last night at 2 AM and is showing no signs of abating as I’m writing this.
What a mess!
I’ve had no choice but to say yes to many messes in my life. Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I like the messes; saying “yes” means I accept the reality of them and do my best to deal with them while staying positive. It also means accepting the intrinsic messiness of being alive while figuring out the next achievable step to move forward.
Let’s say yes to the mess in today’s images as I wait for a doctor to show up to stop my current mess.
A doctor just came in and we’re figuring out a way to say yes to this mess and to get me home soon!
Ever since I’ve been on anticoagulant medication (for most of the time I’ve been writing this blog), I’ve been afraid of falling, so I take great care not to fall.
Yesterday, despite my efforts not to fall, I felt myself falling on my walk to work. I tried not to fall, but you can’t fight city hall and sometimes you can’t fight a fall.
As I was falling and I saw the cold, hard sidewalk rushing up to meet me, I thought,
I didn’t expect this.
I hope I won’t bruise too much.
I’m probably going to feel this for a while.
I bet this looks interesting to other people.
After falling, I stayed down, checking myself. I was glad I hadn’t hit my head or my Implantable Cardiac Device (ICD). I didn’t think I had broken anything. I couldn’t see any bruising. People in cars rolled down their windows and asked, “Are you all right?” I replied, “I THINK so.” A woman walking behind me asked if I was okay and she helped me get up off the sidewalk. She said, “Did you slip on the ice?” We looked around and didn’t see any ice. I said, “I think I just caught my toe on something.” Everybody else I told about falling yesterday asked, “Did you slip on the ice?” I could have easily fallen into a white lie and said, “Yes,” but lying is not one of my fallings.
An hour before the falling, I had called to make an appointment to see a doctor about the ongoing pain around my ICD, so I had the relief of knowing I would see a doctor later that day. And because I naturally fall into trying to look at the bright side, I thought, “Well, maybe the pain from this fall will distract me from the other pain.”
And it did. As the morning went on, my falling resulted in increasing pain in my shoulder. It hurt to draw this on the whiteboard in my Wednesday morning group:
Because many members of the group had many obligations and worries falling on them, I suggested that they draw a protective circle around themselves and write down the things that were bothering them outside the circle. I invited them to include the realities of the present moment inside the circle with them.
Inside my circle, I wrote “warmth,” “safety,” and “pain” among other things. Outside the circle, I wrote “falling,”” “hard sidewalks,” and “pain” among other things.
Since falling, I’ve seen a doctor and had an X-ray. There are no breaks or dislocations. I’m using ice and Extra Strength Tylenol to ease the pains from my falling.
I’m falling into a prediction that I’ll be feeling pain on my birthday tomorrow but I’ll also be feeling joy for having the strength to get up, again, after falling.
Yesterday, as I was waiting for my ever vigilant doctors to replace my recalled Implantable Cardiac Device (ICD), my ever vigilant sister Ellen showed me calendars of her awesome photographs, which included this:
Your ever vigilant blogger chose that for today’s topic, mostly because her new incision was bleeding SO MUCH last night and this morning that she was vigilant enough to return to the hospital so that her ever vigilant doctors could look at it.
That’s why your ever vigilant blogger is so late posting her latest vigilant post today. If my ever vigilant readers are worried, I want to vigilantly reassure them that I am going to be okay.
As ever, I will be vigilant about including other photos I took yesterday (in ever-vigilant chronological order):
That ever vigilant teabag is reminding us that love has no fear and no vengeance. With all the fearful things I’ve been dealing with lately, I LOVE that reminder.
I am ever vigilant to look for music that fits my daily blog posts. Since I’ve been “talking about my troubles” with blood, sweat, and tears lately, how about this?
I am ever vigilant to remember to thank those who help me create my posts (including my talented sister Ellen) and also you — of course! — for being vigilant enough to be here, now.
There’s a whole lot of change goin’ on here, dear readers.
I’m very aware of the difference between:
Changes I am choosing, and
Changes I’m not choosing.
That always seems to help: Recognizing the difference between those two types of changes.
Do I deal differently with those two types of changes?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Let’s look at two particular changes on the horizon — one which I’m choosing and one which I’m not.
A Change I’m Not Choosing:
A change in the seasons. Specifically, the cold is coming, here in New England.
I’m not fortune telling (nor using any other cognitive distortion) when I make that last statement. I think it’s safe to say that the chances of it NOT getting cold, soon, where I live, are approximately the same as:
an idiom that’s so inappropriate, I couldn’t resist using it.
Here’s another Google Image, for that idiom, that I can’t resist:
So, we can all agree, I hope — as distracted as we may be by those photos — that the cold will be arriving, soon, where I live.
How will I deal with that change?
Complain about it.
Especially complain about it with people who are empathic and who “get me” (that is, other people who don’t like the cold and who can’t escape it, for now).
Focus on activities I like doing, which I’m more likely to do when it’s cold outside (for example, watching movies).
Buy a fabulous piece of cold-weather gear, and wear it (for example, my one major purchase, when I was in Scotland in August):
It’s the hat (in case that photo was confusing, in any way).
Okay! I’m ready to move on to a change that would include choice.
A change I would be choosing:
Getting another cat.
We already have one cat, named Oscar:
That’s Oscar,above, sleeping on last year’s winter hat. Here’s a close-up:
Why am I considering this change? Lots of reasons, including:
Oscar seems to be hungering for more companionship, despite having humans around most of the time.
He likes to play, but not with toys.
He can be an ankle-biter (only with the person who has recently started taking anti-coagulant medication).
Our vet thinks it would be a good change, for everybody.
So we’re considering another shelter cat, including
And those are just the “B’s.”
Which illustrates something I’ve blogged about before: I can have trouble making decisions, especially those that have an impact on others.
So how will I deal with this change?
Talk (and write) about it.
Especially talk about it with people who “get” it, or who might have helpful information and advice.