Posts Tagged With: reparative experiences

Day 2486: Shocking confession. I’ve made mistakes.

Shocking confession.  I often steal the titles for these posts.

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I’m wondering if this shocks my old friend Lawry, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property and who used to read this blog every day.  Shocking confession: Lawry and I are both attending our 45th college reunion this weekend.

Shocking confession: I keep rewriting the first paragraph of the five-minute “Ted Talk” I’m giving at the reunion, which includes shocking confessions.

Everyone in our class, I’m sure, remembers where you were on November 22, 1963.  I’m different from you.  I have no memories of that day, because I was having heart surgery to get my first cardiac pacemaker. While the world was being traumatized by the assassination of President Kennedy, my family and I were being traumatized by that unexpected surgery, by hospital rules preventing parents from staying with their children, and by medical staff not knowing how to answer the questions of a frightened 10-year-old girl, like “What’s that coffin on the TV screen?” and “What’s this giant thing sticking out of my body?”

It’s shocking how many mistakes people made back then.  Unless I’m mistaken, giving this speech in front of my classmates will be a reparative experience, even if I make mistakes in my presentation.

Shocking confession. I’ve made mistakes every day of my life.  Let’s see if I’ve made mistakes in my other photos from yesterday.

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Shocking confession.  I like to make up stories based on what I see around me.  What story might you make up using the photos in this post?  Don’t worry about making mistakes.

Shocking confession. One of the people pictured in today’s blog played the role of Ursula in a local production of “The Little Mermaid.”  Can you guess who that was?  Here is a song Ursula sings about mistakes being made:

Shocking confession. We’re all poor unfortunate souls who make mistakes.  Ariel makes the mistake of giving up her voice in the Disney version of “The Little Mermaid,”  but she recovers it in the end.

Shocking confession.  I’d love to see your comments about this post and I’m grateful to all who helped me create it.

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

Day 889: This is Real

This is real. I saw this real sign yesterday at Simmons College in Boston, during a group therapy conference titled “Getting Real: Vulnerability and Effective Group Leadership.”

During the real group therapy conference, these were real:

  • My first real workshop for fellow real group therapists — about the real groups I really do four times a week —  went real, real well.
  • I really confronted somebody about a really critical comment made to me years ago that really made my self confidence reel — and that encounter went real, real well.
  • Real people, all during the group therapy conference, were real — really showing and acknowledging all the real human feelings, including sadness, anger, shame, fear, and joy.

These were also real, yesterday:

    

                  

This is real: I don’t care what that Sweet Scoops  carton really says. Winter is NOT really the real season now, in Boston.

This is real: As I’m really writing this real post, I’m wearing a kind-of-blue, real hair extension.


Is this real hair extension real blue, kind of blue, or real teal? And what is the real reason I’ve felt like wearing really brightly colored real hair extensions, really recently? And will I  feel real and/or nervous tomorrow night at an audition when I ask the real musical question “Green finch and linnet bird, nightingale, blackbird, why is it you sing?”

I really learned this at the Getting Real group therapy conference:  it’s really helpful to ask real questions and give real answers about real feelings, even if those feelings are uncomfortable or kind of blue.

This is a real musical segue: Kind of Blue by the real Miles Davis (and featuring the real  John Coltrane, the real Bill Evans, and other real jazz giants) has really been my favorite album for over 45 real years.

This is a real 50th anniversary tribute to that real masterpiece, with real feelings:

Do you have any real feelings or real questions about anything in this post? This is real: I welcome all of them.

Real thanks to Simmons College, to all attending the Northeastern Society of Group Psychotherapy annual conference, to people open to repairing past experiences, to those who sing on steps or elsewhere, to Harriet Beecher Ashworth  (for her sewing), to super markets and super hair extensions, to Stephen Sondheim (for asking the real musical question about caged birds singing), to Miles Davis, to John Coltrane, to Bill Evans, to Paul Chambers, to Cannonball Adderley,  to Jimmy Cobb, and to you — of course! — for making this real, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 754: Réparation

For the first time in these Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, the title of the post is in French!

And, for the second time in these Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, the title of a post appears on a shampoo bottle. Here’s the first time, from a recent trip to New York City, co-starring my friend Deb:

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Here’s the second time, co-starring Penny the Pen:

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The topic of this post is reparative experiences, which I THINK is what réparation means. If réparation does not mean what I think it means, my excuse is: “I don’t speak French!”

Yesterday, I had a reparative experience.  I returned to a hospital where I had my first Transesophageal Echo (TEE) several years ago, when I was recovering from a mild bout of endocarditis. (I say “mild bout of endocarditis” because I guessed I had endocarditis very early on and we were able to treat it with antibiotics before my heart suffered any damage needing réparation.)

That first TEE experience, years ago, was awful for me.  When I’ve described it to nurses and other people in the know, they have offered this suggestion for réparation:

Maybe you weren’t sedated enough, that time.  Maybe they did the TEE without enough drugs.

That didn’t make sense to me, since I have such trust in my doctors and the hospital where I receive my medical care.

So, I had a lot of fear about yesterday’s TEE.

How did I seek réparation for that fear, yesterday morning?

  • I made sure to ask for help, from my trusted friend Carol, who generously agreed to drive me to the TEE procedure, to spend as much time as she could with me during the TEE, and to drive me back home afterwards.
  • I wrote this here post, while I was waiting for Carol to arrive.
  • I took some photos, to distract myself, after I finished yesterday’s post:

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One reparative thought, while I was taking those photos:

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

However, I couldn’t eat that apple, because I had stopped all water and food intake the midnight before, as necessary (p)réparation for the procedure.  And sure enough, doctors were NOT kept away.

On the drive to the TEE, Carol and I saw this:

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We saw that license plate with the initials JW, just as we were discussing our mutual friend Jeanette W (who has appeared in this other reparative post about an NYC visit).

I didn’t take any other réparation photos on the way to the TEE, because I was too nervous. Why?

  • I was on my way to having my second TransEsophageal Echocardiogram, people!
  • We were running a little late, and
  • As I was calling the echo lab to let them know we would be a little late, Carol got on the Massachusetts Turnpike IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

Because being with Carol is a reparative experience no matter what is happening, we both survived that, quite nicely.

Here are some non-reparative experiences that happened on my way to my TEE, that I also survived:

  1. Because I was already 20 minutes late, I had Carol drop me off at an entrance I thought would provide a reparative short-cut to the location of my test.
  2. That entrance to the hospital, which used to provide the réparation of open access, was now reparatively or non-reparatively closed to the general public.
  3. I got somebody to reparatively buzz me into that entrance.
  4. That entrance, in réparation to something I could not understand, no longer provided direct access to the building where the TEE was taking place.
  5. People there, in réparation, gave me directions to the location of the test, which happened to be in the most confusing spot in the hospital.
  6. For whatever reason, I got temporarily lost in a hospital where I have had many réparations over the course of many years.
  7. The repáration “short-cut” involved more time, multiple stairs, and several elevators.

When I finally arrived at the echo lab, I suggested to the nice staff person there — as possible réparation — that perhaps I was TOO LATE TO HAVE THE TEST?!?!

No such luck.  Temporarily losing track of my hospital registration card also did NOT provide my fantasy réparation of cancelling the test, either.

I then called Carol, in (p)réparation of the distinct possibility that she might get lost trying to find me. I reached her, right after she parked her car, and gave her reparative directions.

Let’s see if I took any more réparation photos, before the beginning of the TEE …

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That’s Gina, who was my nurse for the procedure.  However, this post needs some réparation, here and now. I took that photo AFTER the TEE, not before it.

In any case, here’s what I want to tell you about Gina, who provided much réparation for yesterday’s TEE experience:

  1. Gina suggested a theory for why my first TEE was so awful: I have naturally low blood pressure, which probably required less sedation than usual. Sedation lowers blood pressure further, so standard sedation, that first time, might have required serious réparation.
  2. Gina took my blood pressure yesterday before the procedure started and it was unusually high, probably because of all the non-reparative experiences I had on the way to the TEE.
  3. Gina — as you can see in that photo  — is a New York Yankees fan working in a Boston hospital, which may or may not need réparation, depending on your perspective.

In case my post is confusing you in any way at this point, allow me to provide some réparation:

I got the standard amount of sedation yesterday for my TransEsophageal Echocardiogram, and it was MUCH EASIER.

Here are some more réparation photos I took yesterday, after I had recovered sufficiently from the TEE:

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That’s Gina’s hand, holding my tee shirt. Get the pun,* people?

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That’s Carol, with her beautiful smile. Get the pun,* people?

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That last photo shows these réparations:

  1. I’m home.
  2. I’ve removed all those friggin’ little leftovers of cardiac tests.

Here’s some repáration music I’ve been listening to lately, thanks to reparative blogging experiences provided here by Maria F., Mark Bialczak, coffeegrounded, and Maureen:

What do you think about all these réparations?

Thanks and réparations to Carol, Gina, Penny, the doctor and the cardiology fellow who also conducted my TEE (not pictured), Deb, Jeanette, Maria F., Mark Bialczak, coffeegrounded, Maureen, and everybody everywhere who has ever provided reparative experiences for anybody else, including you, of course!


* If my boyfriend Michael or anybody else who dislikes puns reads this post, I cannot offer any réparation.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 164: Unfreezing

When I was a kid, I had lots of scary experiences in the hospital, all by myself, because my parents weren’t allowed to be with me.

I remember listening to the beeping sounds of heart monitors, in the darkest part of the night, feeling frozen.

I’m writing this blog post from a cot in a hospital room, next to my amazing 15-year-old son, who is recovering quite nicely from a procedure, this afternoon, to correct a “spontaneous pneumothorax.”

Earlier, this was the view from his hospital room as day turned to night:

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It’s the darkest part of the night, right now. The only sounds I hear in this room are reassuring ones, including those of my son’s undisturbed sleep.

Each moment I’m with him now, I’m unfreezing.

Thanks, so much, for witnessing this.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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