Posts Tagged With: living with cctga

Day 1316: Clarity

When life is confusing, I am often looking for clarity. And to be clear, I often find life confusing.

Is there clarity in the photos I took yesterday?

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When I’m asking if my photos have clarity, I’m not wondering about how focused they are.  Instead, I’m wondering if my photos communicate clearly what I was trying to capture around me.

For more clarity here and now, I shall clearly tell you that

  1. I am looking forward to reading about Alexander Hamilton, especially when I am recovering from heart surgery in September.
  2. My cat Oscar likes to bite my feet in the morning.
  3. I saw my son Aaron (who has red hair and a beard) perform in his last ever Arlington Children’s Theater production yesterday, which was the musical Anything Goes.
  4. Arlington Children’s Theater, at the end of their summer production, does a special honoring of all the seniors who are leaving.
  5. Aaron is a senior, leaving for the University of Edinburgh in September.
  6. When my boyfriend Michael saw one of the photos I took yesterday, he made a sarcastic comment about Aaron cleaning his room.
  7. I took one photo yesterday with the intent of sharing a particular song from Anything Goes.

For more clarity, here’s that one photo …

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… and here‘s the song:

Be like the bluebird, please, and leave something behind here.

For even more clarity, thanks to all who clearly helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for whatever clarity you can bring.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 1315: Unbored

Do you get bored?  If so, what unbores you?

Lots of things unbore me, including visits to local book stores, where I saw this yesterday:

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Do you see that book “Unbored” on the shelf of the Arlington bookstore The Book Rack?

I took many more photos yesterday, as I was unbored by:

  • Arlington, Massachusetts, USA,
  • my son appearing in the Arlington Children’s Theater’s  production of the musical Anything Goes, and
  • Louis C.K. and three other comics making me, my son, and thousands of other people laugh at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Are you particularly unbored by any of my other photos from yesterday (presented in unbored chronological order)?

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Here are more things I’ve been unbored by in the past 24 hours:

  • learning that my favorite restaurant in Arlington, Massachusetts — The Madrona Tree — has lost its lease because of rent increases,
  • finding my favorite Arlington boutique — The Artful Heart — in a different location because of rent increases by the same landlord,
  • torrential rain storms on our drive to Springfield Massachusetts, causing multiple accidents which turned the 100-minute drive into a 160-minute drive,
  • the saltiest popcorn I’ve ever tasted, when I’m on a low salt diet,
  • ants swarming all over a pizza,
  • my laptop, during an iTunes update, telling me my phone needed to be restored to factory settings (which would mean losing everything stored on my phone),
  • my homepage totally changing because of software I downloaded in an attempt to get my iPhone  unstuck from update mode without losing all my data,
  • recovering my home page, and
  • recovering my iPhone without losing any data.

Here’s another unboring moment from last week:  a representative of my health insurance company told me that my September 21 surgery to mend my heart at the Mayo Clinic would not be covered because of “lack of medical necessity.” This unboring statement turned out to be untrue.

Sometime, I wish I was less unbored.

I hope you are unbored by this song, inspired by one of my unbored photos above:

I hope you are also unbored by my sincere thanks to all those who helped me created this post and to you — of course! — for visiting today.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1313: Who am I?

Who am I to ask that question?

Who am I?

I am

  • a mother,
  • a daughter,
  • a sister,
  • a girlfriend,
  • a friend,
  • a psychotherapist,
  • a blogger,
  • a patient,
  • the owner of a very unusual heart,
  • an American,
  • a baby boomer,
  • a traveler,
  • a teacher,
  • a learner,
  • a computer user,
  • a chocolate lover,
  • a singer,
  • an observer of human nature,
  • a fan of felines,
  • an adult, and
  • many other things.

Who am I to withhold the inspiration for today’s blog post?

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Who am I? A photographer?

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Who am I to choose today’s music (hereherehere, and here)?

 

 

And who are you?

Who am I if I don’t thank my friend Jeanette (for the heart amulet), everybody else who helped me create today’s blog post, and you — of course! — no matter who you are.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1305: All you need

As I went back to work yesterday —  after being away for weeks because of pneumonia and heart failure — it was obvious what I needed.

Do my photos from yesterday reveal what I needed?

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All I need in the near future is love, work, and seeing my son Aaron in that Arlington Children’s Theater production of Anything Goes!

All this post needs  is some great music (here and here on Youtube):

What’s all you need, here and now?

Thanks to all who give me all I need to blog every day, including you!

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism, staying healthy | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1303: Long May You Run

Yesterday, I bid a fond farewell to my beloved Mazda3, which I am donating to  Make-a-Wish, a non-profit foundation granting wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.  Long may my Mazda and Make-a-Wish run.

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That’s Mark, one of the many trusted and trusty mechanics from P & M Service Center. Long may he and his business run!  Mark eased the pain of my goodbye yesterday by running by me several amusing and amazing stories of other people having trouble letting go and saying goodbye to their cars.  For example, he told me about a relative who had decided to donate a car to a charity and then at the last minute said to Mark, “I love this car!  I can’t let it go!  I want to keep this car and donate my new car — which I hate — instead!”  Mark said to her, “Sorry, that’s not going to happen.”

I told Mark yesterday how  I planned to run this Neil Young  song in today’s blog.

Long may Wikipedia run, which tells us that “Long May You Run” was

 an elegy for Neil Young’s first car (which he nicknamed “Mort”), a 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse that died in 1965 when its transmission blew in Blind River, Ontario.

Long may all those I love — mechanical, human, feline, etc. — run.

Long may my iPhone run, so I can take more photos like these:

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Long may inspiration run for me and anybody else who needs it, here and now.

Long may you — all my wonderful readers — run!

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1301: Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are, reading this blog today?  Who do I think I am, posing such a question?

Who do you think saw this yesterday?

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Who do you think took a picture of it?

Who do you think you are?  Are you somebody who’s heard that question from other people?   Who do they think they are, asking you “Who do you think you are?”

Who do I think I am? I think I’m somebody who

  • thinks,
  • feels,
  • deserves respect,
  • is mortal,
  • does her best,
  • respects others,
  • blogs every day,
  • is human,
  • makes mistakes,
  • learns,
  • gets discouraged sometimes,
  • is mostly hopeful,
  • is glad to be alive, and
  • took these other pictures yesterday:

 

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Who does that tea bag company think it is, telling us to sing from our hearts?

Who do you think you are, trying to figure out all those other photos?

Who do I think I am to include two different tunes today (here and here on YouTube)?

Who do I think I am, expecting you to have some reactions to this post? Who do you think you are to consider leaving a comment?

Who do you think I want to thank today?  Everybody  who helped me create this who-do-you-think-you-are post and you — of course! — for reading it.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1299: Looks

As I look around, I notice how much looks matter to people.  Personally, I look at a lot more than just looks when I look at somebody.

But look at me!  Yesterday, looks mattered so much to me that I requested that people look at this photo AND I asked them “HOW DO I LOOK?”

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Look, I’m like anybody else. I want to look good.  But I especially wanted to people to look at how I looked yesterday so they could see how I look a short week after  diagnoses of pneumonia and heart failure .

And even though I asked others “HOW DO I LOOK?”  I look at it this way:  What’s most important is how I thought I looked. If somebody else had looked at that photo critically and judgmentally, their looks would not have mattered to me, at all.

Are you ready to look at other images I looked at yesterday?

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Did any of those photos get a second look from you?

It’s time to look at some music!

I’ll take a look later to see if I get any comments for this post about looks.

Look!  It’s me thanking you for looking at my blog, here and now.

Categories: celebrating, personal growth, photojournalism, staying healthy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Day 1297: It’s all about you

Do you believe it’s all about you?

In this blog, it’s all about capturing images that are all about you, me, and the day’s topic.

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Actually, today’s blog post is all about me seeing my Primary Care Physician,  Dr. Laura Snydman, who

  • always makes her patients feel it’s all about them,
  • has been my doctor for many years,
  • is all about her adorable dog, and
  • told me yesterday I’m recovering VERY WELL from pneumonia and heart failure.

Now, it’s all about you and what you see in my other photos from yesterday:

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If it’s  all about you wanting to know what “The Pillow Men” is all about, I can’t help you there.

As I look all about me and my day ahead, it’s all about

It’s all about me taking care of myself as I continue to heal, so I’m not sure what tomorrow’s post will be about.

It’s all about music that’s all about you.

 

Finally, it’s all about you leaving comments for this all-about-you post!

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

Day 1295: What is heart failure (part 2)?

Four months ago, I wrote a blog post titled What is heart failure?  wherein I

  • defined heart failure,
  • explained that one of my cardiologists, Dr. Mark Estes,  believed I was in heart failure,
  • reported that I did not agree with that diagnosis,
  • tried to de-dramatize the extraordinarily scary term “heart failure,” and
  • suggested the alternative name of “heart struggle”instead.

My chief cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, has suggested, for years,  that I weigh myself every day, to make sure that I’m not going into heart failure.  Why? A major symptom of heart failure is the body’s retention of fluid — which shows up in weight gain as well as swelling around the ankles.

Last weekend, as I was dealing with many successive days of unsolved fevers that were apparently not endocarditis (everybody’s main fear for me), I stepped on the scale, at home, for the first time in several days.  And I noticed I had gained a lot of weight.  My heart dropped in fear and I immediately called the Infectious Disease Fellow on call at my hospital.  Here’s my memory of the conversation:

Me:  I’m still running fevers.

Infectious Disease Fellow: We’re still watching the many cultures that were taken, including those when you were in the hospital last week.  They are not growing anything. Don’t worry, you don’t have endocarditis.

Me:  Good.  I wanted to let you know something I just noticed. I’ve gained some weight inexplicably.

Infectious Disease Fellow: How much weight?

Me:  I’m not sure. But it really doesn’t make sense. I haven’t been eating much.

Infectious Disease Fellow: Okay. Well, keep watching things. If your fever goes up or you’re feeling much worse, come into the emergency room.

I called the Infectious Disease Fellow three times over the weekend.  The last time, Sunday evening, I was feeling very lousy — no energy at all and an even higher body weight.   I could tell that the Infectious Disease Fellow was not nervous.  Why?  Because he was focusing on his specialty, according to how he had been instructed  — “Above all, watch out for endocarditis with this patient.”   We both agreed that I should come into the emergency room if my fever went over 101 — something I knew was inevitable by Sunday evening because it was climbing.

On 7 PM last Sunday night, my fever went over 101 and I told my boyfriend Michael I was heading back to the Emergency Room. He insisted on accompanying me, thank goodness.

When we got there, they discovered I was having trouble breathing, because I had pneumonia AND — for the first time in my life — I was in heart failure.  My heart had been compromised enough by the fevers and the developing pneumonia  that it could NOT do its job, and fluid was gathering in my lungs.

In the Emergency Room Sunday night and then in my hospital room Monday morning, I felt worse than I have ever felt in my life. I kept panicking, because I was in “air hunger” — not getting the right amount of oxygen.  Also, there was a psychological component to my panic — I feared I would not be able to go to Edinburgh in August with my son and I feared I would not be able to have the reparative heart valve surgery we had scheduled at the Mayo Clinic in September.

But soon, because of the right medications, the pneumonia and the heart failure began to resolve.

This photo, from last week, shows my successful cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem, smiling at how much better I looked, felt and sounded last Monday evening:

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Right before I took that successful photo, Dr. Salem and I had successfully discussed the following:

  1. My insistence that somebody talk to the Infectious Disease Fellow on call ASAP about how that person had missed the very important clue that I was going into heart failure.
  2. My concerns about my trip to Edinburgh in August (plane and hotel reservations which Dr. Salem said I could cancel, if need be, with a note from him).
  3. My concerns about my heart surgery in September, which Dr. Salem totally reassured me about, stating I would definitely be recovered sufficiently by then.
  4. How I was right 99.9% of the time about medical issues, beating Dr. Salem by 20%  (these were Dr. Salem’s calculations, which I do not necessarily endorse).
  5. The fact that — after all these years of living with my extremely unusual heart — I had finally gone into heart failure (temporarily), and Dr. Salem’s belief that this was more proof positive that the heart valve surgery in September is perfectly timed.

Any failures in today’s post, so far?

Of course, my heart cannot fail to share my recent photos with you:

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Of all the dozens and dozens of songs with the word “Heart” in the title, how can I successfully choose the right one for today?

How about this one?

 

Heart-felt thanks to all those who never fail to warm my heart every day … including you!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 1294: Alone/Connected

When I was a little kid, I spent a lot of time in hospitals, because of my unusual heart.  Because hospitals didn’t have the heart they have now, they did not allow my parents to spend the night with me.  As a result, I  was frightened and alone, during a time I especially needed to feel connected and protected.

As I’ve grown, I’ve known, intellectually, that I am not alone. But the feelings from childhood persist.

As I’m typing this post now, alone, I’m realizing that I am probably less alone, here and now, than I’ve ever been in my life because of friends, family, doctors, and connections through WordPress.

And yet, it’s so easy for all those people to vanish from my consciousness, leaving  behind that old childhood “knowledge”  of being alone.

Whenever I experience a hospital stay — as I did last week — those feelings of aloneness get retriggered.  Like many other people,  when I feel vulnerable, sick, and in unfamiliar surroundings, I can be much more aware of my aloneness than of  my connectedness with others.  There is something about being alone in a hospital room, listening to the sounds of machines that measure your breathing and pulse, that can bring on a stark sense of isolation.

And yet, even in the hospital, there are always moments when I KNOW I am not alone. Those moments of connectedness include my time on WordPress, every day.

Thanks to my readers, for always reminding me that I am NOT alone.

Yesterday, I felt well enough to go for a walk alone.

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When I took every picture yesterday, I felt connected, even when I was alone.

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Is there one picture, alone, that stands out for you, as THE image for today’s post?

Originally, I thought I was going to include one musical number, alone:

 

But my own photos inspired  me to connect  to this number

 

and this one:

 

Thanks to all those who helped me connect and feel less alone today, including you!!!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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