Posts Tagged With: living with cctga

Day 3165: Cats

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved cats.

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.

I wonder if I’ll find anything on YouTube if I search for “cats”?

Thanks to all the cool cats who have helped me get through the tough days, including YOU.

Categories: cats, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2383: Keep doing what you’re doing

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“Keep doing what you’re doing” is

  • something I’ve written on my white board and on prescription pads at work,
  • often a validating, supportive, and encouraging phrase,
  • a non-judgmental acceptance of habitual behavior, and
  • a new title for this blog.

Because WordPress and my laptop keep doing what they’re doing,

  • I can’t save a post while I’m writing it and
  • only some of my photos are loading today.

Keep doing what you’re doing, including smiling,

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scanning,

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welcoming,

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watching,

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noticing signs,

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celebrating,

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avoiding danger,

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and focusing on what’s important to you.

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I keep doing groups and I keep doing rhymes.  Yesterday, I wrote this rhyme in a group focusing on “the unexpected.”

The unexpected

Needs to  be respected

And not neglected

And definitely accepted.

People keep listening to this podcast interview about my heart keeping on:

https://tinyurl.com/y43gqqvf

I keep sharing what I’m sharing in this blog, including this song by Anita Wilson:

Keep doing what you’re doing and if that includes commenting on this blog, thank you!

I keep expressing gratitude every day for the help I receive from others, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1417: Tough

The tough title of this post is inspired by the first photo I was tough enough to take yesterday, while I was doing some tough exercises at cardiac rehab:

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Based on my understanding  of (1) the word “tough” and (2) the staff at cardiac rehab, I assume they meant  I am “strong and resilient” rather than “difficult.”

If you want me to provide citations for those two definitions of ‘tough,” one word:

Tough!

The last few months have been tough for me, as I’ve undergone several  tough cardiac-related surgeries and suffered other tough slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Apparently, I’m tough enough to take it,  because here I am, writing this tough post today.

Now, some of my tough readers probably want to know how tough my day was yesterday, since I mentioned in yesterday’s tough post that I’d be seeing lots of tough doctors and getting some tough tests at my tough hospital.

I hope it won’t be too tough for you to tough it out through several other tough photos from yesterday, first.

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For those of you tough enough to make it through all those tough images, here’s my news from my tough day:

The news is good.  My tough doctors told me that all the tests show that I am exactly where I should be, after all the tough things I’ve been through.  As a matter of fact, my tough doctor, Mark Estes (not pictured), said this to me:

We’re going to keep you going until your 90s.

While recent events have shown lots of tough people that it is VERY tough to make accurate predictions, that was not tough for me to hear.

It’s tough for me to decide which tough music to include for this tough post, so I will leave that to my tough readers.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The tough writer of this tough blog does need to get going, but not until I express thanks to all, with three more tough photos:

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 1405: Belongings

I’m so glad I belong to this belogging  community!

Yesterday, after I underwent additional surgery to stem the beleeding of my latest incision, I took this photo at a hospital where I belong:

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Later, when I got back to the home where I belong, I found one of my belongings soaking in the sink:

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Believe me, many of my belongings became beloodied from  bedeviling  beleeding after Wednesday’s surgery (which belonged in the category of “I Can’t Believe They Recalled the Medical Device Which Belonged in my Body.“)  My beloved boyfriend, Michael, with whom I belong, washed  all my beloodied belongings last night.

It won’t be long before I post the rest of my photos from yesterday, taken at places where I belong:

 

I be longing, now,  for you to let your manners speak for you.  That is, just ask or otherwise express any belonging thoughts or feelings in a comment, which belongs below.

What music belongs here?

 

 

Thanks to all who help me know I belong, including you!

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 1402: Yikes!

I knew that “Yikes!” would be today’s post title when I looked at my favorite watch yesterday.

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Here are just some of my reasons for saying “Yikes!” right now:

  • I have to go in to Boston for more surgery today, exactly six weeks after my open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
  • The reason I need today’s surgery is that my Implantable Cardiac Device, which I received in May 2015, caused two deaths because of early battery depletion.
  • I had to stop eating and drinking last night at midnight, and I am  not reporting for surgery until 11:30 AM.
  • The weather is going to be unseasonably warm and beautiful today, but I will be otherwise occupied.
  • The United States presidential election, less than a week away.
  • The Chicago Cubs might win the World Series tonight.
  • If I feel up to it, I hope to sing at an Open Mic Friday night.
  • Because of its latest update, my iPhone no longer recognizes my thumbprint but has lots of new features which I haven’t had time to learn.

Speaking of my “improved” iPhone, here are all the other photos I took yesterday.  Do any of them make you go “Yikes!”?

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Yikes!  The words “warming” and “naturally” in that last photo, above,  are reminding me of my first therapy session since my open heart surgery.  Yesterday, my therapist George and I came up with a soothing ritual to help me prepare for today’s surgery —  to place both my hands over my heart, to warm and naturally soothe my still painful chest cavity.

What is making you say “Yikes!” today, in your world?

Yikes!  If I actually am able to sing at an Open Mic night in two days, will I remember all these lyrics?

Yikes!  Joni Mitchell sounds great there.

Yikes!  Look at the time!  I have to get ready for my surgery.

Yikes!  I get so cranky when I can’t eat or drink when I want to!

Yikes!  I hope you leave a comment.

Yikes! I almost forgot to thank all those who helped me create this post and you — of course! — for visiting, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, self-care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 64 Comments

Day 1398: Out of Order

Yesterday, at cardiac rehab, I saw this sign on one of the exercise machines:

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Here are my out-of-order thoughts about “Out of Order”:

  • In the past, out-of-order machines have made me feel uneasy and unsafe, because I’ve been relying on cardiac pacemakers to keep me alive since I was 10 years old.
  • My current  pacemaker is being recalled by its manufacturer, which has placed my plans to return to work next week after my September 21 open heart surgery out of order.
  • My Boston cardiologists have ordered an operation next week to replace my current pacemaker, because other out-of-order pacemakers like it have already killed two people.
  • I am trying to get my thoughts and feelings in order about all this by writing in this blog, talking to friends, and consulting with experts.
  • I shall now show you all my other photos from yesterday, out of order:

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Would I be out of order if I chose this Duncan Sheik song out of all the tunes titled “Out of Order”?

I am not ordering you to leave a comment about this “Out of Order” post, but if you do, that would probably help me put my thoughts and feelings more in order.

Usually I end every blog post with gratitude for all who helped me in the creative process and for all  my readers — of course! — but, instead, here’s another out of order photo (thanks to Mary Ann, a friend from high school):

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Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1348: Receive with Joy

Yesterday, I received with joy the news that my son’s student visa should be received with joy at our home by 10:30 this morning.  The  University of Edinburgh in Scotland now gets to receive with joy my fabulous son, who is starting a five-year mathematics program there.

Please receive with joy today’s page from this joyful book:

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Please take notice that I notice more than one thing I am being given today and that I am receiving them all with joy:

  • Precious time with my only child before he leaves for school tomorrow.
  • A boyfriend who often says, “See Ann?  Everything is coming together!”
  • Work that I love.
  • Wonderful friends and family.
  • An extensive network of dedicated medical professionals.
  • A heart that has served me well for 63 years.
  • All my feelings.
  • The opportunity to share these other photos with you:

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What are you receiving with joy, right now?

I am receiving this music with joy:

 

Please receive with joy my heartfelt thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course!  — for receiving it.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 1344: Reckless Abandon

With reckless abandon, I here and now decide what the title of today’s post will be, based on this sign I saw yesterday:

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With reckless abandon, I shall now reveal that:

  1. I hope to embrace the stressful events of the next few weeks with reckless abandon.
  2. These stressful events include waiting for the delivery of a student visa (which I hope hasn’t been recklessly abandoned in some government building in NYC), my son starting a five-year program at the University of Edinburgh, and my having open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
  3. Yesterday I recklessly abandoned all attempts to prepare myself for the upcoming events and instead spent the day with my fabulous Philadelphia-based friend Jeanette (who abandoned Boston to move to Washington D.C. sixteen years ago, but I I still miss her every day).
  4. Jeanette, who courageously abandons any fear of speaking her mind, recklessly told my boyfriend Michael yesterday that he has to teach my son Aaron how to cook two easy meals this week.
  5. Michael recklessly promised Jeanette that he would.
  6. I am recklessly going to include photos of Jeanette and other people I’ve recklessly mentioned  in this post, so don’t abandon me yet!

Are you ready for the reckless abandon of my other photos from yesterday, as I recklessly abandon any intention of further explaining them?

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Which of those photos say “reckless abandon” to you?

With reckless abandon, this Frightsome Fleshlumpeater will now share the reckless abandon of Roald Dahl, Gene Wilder, and pure imagination:

 

I hope you show some reckless abandon by leaving a comment, below.

Before I recklessly abandon you all until tomorrow morning’s blog post, I’d like to express gratitude to those who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — with reckless abandon.

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Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1338: She who hesitates is ____

How would you fill in the blank in today’s title?

She who hesitates is:

  • lost?
  • wise?
  • scared?
  • uncertain?
  • thoughtful?
  • dumb?
  • human?

Do not hesitate to choose a different ending for the sentence “She who hesitates is ____,” based on your own experience with hesitation.

I chose that title today for three reasons. I shall not hesitate to share those reasons with you, here and now.

Reason #1. Last night, despite my hesitation to worry about anything (since worry doesn’t do any good), I was worrying that I might have hesitated too long to have my leaky heart valve replaced at the Mayo Clinic next month.  Cardiologists have not hesitated to tell me that if  I hesitate too long and my heart loses too much  function and resiliency, the heart valve replacement will not help. And I hesitate to admit that I believe that my heart has deteriorated in function over the last few months.

Whenever I have concerns about my heart, I do not hesitate to contact my long-time and trusted cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem.  Here’s the email I did not hesitate to write  him before I started writing this post:

Hi Deeb,

I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. I thought I would give you a preview of what I’ll be bringing in to the meeting.
My main topic is going to be my concern that I might have waited too long for the valve surgery. This concern is based on the fact that I just have not been feeling or looking as well lately and particularly that I need the Lasix every once in a while, so I’m obviously having more issues with heart failure.  I’m assuming my BNP will be higher if we test it tomorrow.  I’m also wondering whether I should inform Dr. Warnes about these developments.
I keep thinking about the moment during my consultation with Dr. Warnes in May, when she told me I needed to get a mechanical valve, NOW.  When I asked for an extension until September so I could spend time with my son in Edinburgh before he started college, she paused and thought and said that was okay.  I wonder now whether it was.  I guess I’ll find out, soon enough.
As usual, it helps me to get my thoughts down.  I am sure we’ll have an interesting discussion of this and other topics tomorrow.
All the best,
Ann

Reason #2. Today’s title gives me the opportunity to share a joke I made up several decades ago, which I did not hesitate to deliver to live audiences during my two open-mic stand-up comedy appearances in the 1980s:

I’m sure you’ve all heard of “Light” beer, which has less calories and alcohol than regular beer.  I’ve invented a new product —  “Fat Beer.”  It has four times the calories and alcohol content as regular beer.  I’ve even got a marketing slogan for it: “He who has a taste is sloshed.”

Reason #3. As usual, I shall not hesitate to use whatever  blog post title I’ve chosen as an excuse to share whatever photos I did not hesitate to take the day before.

Let’s not hesitate to look at those five photos, shall we?

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Because I never hesitate to share a tune by Stephen Sondheim, here‘s his brilliant exploration of hesitation in “Now, Later, Soon” from A Little Night Music:

 

Any hesitation about leaving a comment?

In closing,  I shall not hesitate to thank all who helped me create today’s post and you — of course! — for not hesitating to visit this blog, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1337: Guess What?

Guess what?  I love to guess!  Do you?

Guess what I saw yesterday and forgot to include in this post when I published it an hour ago?

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Guess what this cat is lying on?

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A dog bed!

Guess what new kind of fruit I saw for the first time yesterday?

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A mini apple!

Guess what would be a good next line?

  1. “How do you like them apples?”
  2. “Does a mini apple a day keep only  short doctors away?”
  3. “Do mini apples come from Minneapolis?”
  4. [your guessed line here]

Guess what bread you use to make an American cheese sandwich?

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Guess what is the inside to this greeting card?

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Guess what?  I will reveal the answer to that question when I get a guess about the inside of that greeting card from one of you!

Guess what I was doing yesterday evening?

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You might not have guessed it from those photos, but I was food shopping yesterday evening with my boyfriend Michael at a new-to-us supermarket.

Guess what supermarket it was?

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Guess what I was thinking as I took these few photos after food shopping?

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Guess what I’m doing today?

I’m going back to work after a two-week vacation in Edinburgh with my son and I’m probably making plane reservations to Minneapolis for my September 21 heart surgery.

Guess what I’m worried about, right now?

I’m letting go of all worries.  Guess what you could do with worries, too?

Guess what music I’m going to include here?

Guess what I’ll do if you leave a comment below?

Guess what I like to express at the end of all of  my  daily blog posts?

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Categories: personal growth, self-care | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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