Friday, February 17, 2012

Sometimes Life Needs to Slow Down

We talk about smelling the roses.

We think about mindfulness.

But, all too often, we get swept along by the unyielding rhythm of modern life, even in retirement, and it takes a major change of routine or a shock to the system to make us stop on our tracks.

I've had both in the past few weeks.

During a visit to Los Angeles to see my dear friend Mary and her husband John, whose disability due to his traumatic brain injury is stealing him away little by little every day, I saw how they savored his increasingly rare moments of lucidity to express their love and devotion. Those brief times each day were a rare treasure not to be missed as both felt their time together, the life they have shared for 26 years, slipping away.

A few days later, during a visit with my brother and his family, I realized just how much time seems to go in slow motion when it comes to building and refreshing relationships. This visit, I had some long and lovely conversations with Mike. I got to know my sister-in-law Amp better, appreciating not only the sweet, peaceful Thai Buddhist soul I've come to know, but also the feisty, fiercely loyal and courageous woman I'm in the process of discovering as I spend more time with her. And Maggie, my niece, is only two years old. There is so much I want to share with her. But it's a relationship that can't be rushed. The bond with this smart, passionate, edgy little girl needs time and gentle nurturing. We made progress this time around. The first night, she approached me, threw a book in my direction and vanished. The second night, she handed me a book and hung around to hear the story. The day after, she stood on my feet and stared into my face intently as I read to her. The last night, she wiggled onto my lap to show me stories on her iPad. Trust and comfort and love take time.

So does healing, as I've learned this week. I returned from L.A. with a cold/flu and fever. These symptoms evolved into a ferverish tooth and jaw ache over last weekend. By Sunday, I desperately made the first dental appointment I could for Monday. Monday morning, I got up, took my blood pressure medication and got into a hot shower -- unwittingly unleashing the perfect storm on my system as my blood pressure dropped precipitously and I passed out, with no warning, in the shower.

I came to with the water running over me and total dental havoc: My mouth had slammed into a wrap-around marble seat/ledge in the shower as I fell, knocking out one of my front teeth and seriously damaging the other three teeth front and center in my mouth. My lower jaw still throbbed with the raging infection.

I spent more than three hours in the dental chair Monday. What was left of the knocked out tooth was extracted, the three others filed down and a four-tooth bridge installed. For the infection, the dentist referred me out to an experienced oral surgeon an hour away -- who couldn't see me until Tuesday. So Tuesday I spent another two hours in oral surgery -- with the difficult removal of the lower molar, the scraping of my jawbone and a bone graft inserted. Now I'm lying low and taking big doses of antibiotics and taking my time to heal.

There are so many posts I want to write -- and many more blogs I love I want to catch up on.

But, for now, it's time for healing.

And, in my healing, I've come to appreciate anew the blessing of a true partner: my husband Bob who can take charge when I can't, pick me up and hold me tight, let me know that -- however miserable and in pain and exceedingly non-stoic I'm being -- I am dearly loved.

Healing and partnerships and losses and knowing oneself and others well and love itself -- all take time.


                             First story with Maggie and last picture of my old smile


                                    Maggie snuggling -- at last -- February 5, 2012 

51 comments:

  1. Oh, poor Kathy. What a disastrous day for you. I do hope you are starting to feel better. Take your time healing - we'll be here when you get back.

    PS Lovely photos.

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    1. Thanks so much, Perpetua. I am beginning to feel a bit better.

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  2. Oh my Kathy, I am so sorry for the He*l you have been through. Mercy. I do hope you are healing now. Those jaw bone infections can be brutal.
    So glad you had good visits before all the misery set in. Your niece is adorable and that she is comfortable with an Ipad at two is amazing. How neat she graduated to lap child.
    Please take care and be totally well soon. You were missed.

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    1. Thanks, Patti! It's so good to be missed and I have also missed reading everyone's posts. It has been a long time since I've felt so bad -- and, yes, I'm grateful I had such a good visit with Mike and his family, my dear friend Mary and also my beloved Sister Rita -- all of whom I'll be writing about soon!

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  3. Good Lord! First, what a charming and beautiful child! Rather irresistible I would say...

    How alarming that you should pass out with such disastrous results, but how relieved you must be that you were able to receive such prompt attention and how wonderful it is to have such a warm and nurturing husband looking after you. I had missed your posts of late and can only wish you lots of peaceful rest and speedy healing.

    I too take blood pressure medication and I had no idea that a hot shower could take you out like that -- I shall keep it in mind.

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    1. Thanks so much, Broad, for your kind comments! A word about the meds and my accident: I love hot showers and have been taking the medications for some years and have had no problems. The critical factor was the tooth infection which -- my doctor says -- lowered my blood pressure. So then when I took my meds and my customary morning shower, it was just too much all of a sudden.

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  4. I´m so sorry Kathy! That sound very painful. I wish you well and hope you are healing quickly. Please take care of yourself.

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    1. Thanks so much, Betty! One positive: I've lost a lot of weight!

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  5. I was hoping your silence was of another type, a fabulous vacation in a far away land from which stories and pictures would follow. I'm so sorry for all the pain and discomfort you went through. Yes, you need to heal and give yourself time.

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    1. Thanks, Rosaria! Actually, I did have a lovely week in L.A. with some friends and family and that was truly grand. In some ways, it was better than a tropical vacation to take time to have heart-to-heart talks with my brother Mike and his wife Amp, my friend Mary, who is going through such a rough time now, and my precious Sister Rita who may be 81 and have two kinds of cancer but whose spirit is as joyous as ever. I think time with loved ones is the most wonderful of all.

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  6. Wow! What a week you have had. The Universe sent you a message in a big way. I hope you are recovering and beginning to feel well again. I hope you get more time to nurture the relationship with your niece. I know that my time with my small grandchildren helps remind me of what is really important. It's the people and the relationships that are important.

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    1. Big time message about taking time and taking care of myself and my relationships, #1 Nana! You're absolutely right! I'm hoping to get more reading time in soon with Maggie. It's really fun to get to know her. Since I don't have children, she's the closest I'll ever have to a grandchild, though we're aiming for me just to be the best auntie I can be to her.

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  7. oh, I hurt for you, my face was pounding by the time I finished reading this. I feel for you and so sorry for all the teeth troubles too, man o man, you DO need to rest!

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    1. Definitely! Thanks so much for your empathy, Lisalulu! I hope your face feels O.K. now! I don't want to spread the pain around -- though I think we all have this reflex when it comes to dental woes!

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  8. Hi Kathy, By the time you read this I hope you are feeling much, much better and your days are easier. Hang in there. jj

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  9. Hi Kathy, I hope by the time you read you are feeling much, much better. Hang in there, jj

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    1. Hi, Joanna. Thanks so much! I am feeling a bit better, though still pretty shaken and weak. Thanks for your encouragement!

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  10. Oh Kathy, I am so upset to read this. I had actually been wondering where you were. I had not seen any posts and had thought of writing you to see if you were ok. This is just awful news. I hate to see that you have suffered so much.

    Thankfully, you have that dear husband to pull you through. Thankfully, you were not alone in the house (I am assuming) when you passed out. Thankfully, you got into the dentist right away. Thankfully, you had a good oral surgeon in the area. Thankfully, you seem to be healing. Take time to heal. Don't rush. Sending love and hugs to you.

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  11. Oh honey I was devastated when I read this on my site and then came over to see if you had written about it. I can not believe you have been through so much and now this.
    First thought was that you were in a car accident. To have passed out in your shower is shocking and thank God you are going to be okay but I can't imagine the pain and horror of what your going through with your mouth. Bless your heart.
    I am praying for you sweet friend and I am so happy your hubby is a loving soul and is taking care of you.
    Please take it easy. I know you have so many stories to write us but think of only you right now and get well.
    Thank goodness you have doctors that knew how to take care of you too
    Thinking of you and sending up prayers for complete healing.
    We need you so be good to yourself and rest
    Love
    Maggie

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  12. Thanks so much for your sympathy and good wishes, Sally! I know you can relate given your own painful mishaps lately.

    Actually, I was alone when I passed out in the shower. Bob was at the gym working out before coming back to take me to my dental appointment. So
    I pulled myself together, scraped up tooth remnants to take with me to the dentist and crawled back into bed until he got home. Since then, I don't shower unless he is here and then with tepid water and briefly. I have been off high blood pressure meds since Tuesday and my blood pressure is normal -- actually better than when I was on meds. When I was in L.A., my brother (an M.D.) told me he was surprised anyone had put me on meds at all several years ago and wondered how I would do off medication. So far, it's great! I'm hoping never to need them again! I'm committing anew to daily meditation. Thanks so much for your love and hugs! I needed those!

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  13. Thanks so much, sweet Maggie! I love hearing from you -- and will do everything that you suggest!!

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  14. Bless your heart... Hope you feel better soon. This 'getting old stuff' is for the birds, don't you think???? I have more aches and pains these days --and they just drive me crazy!!!! There's just so much more I want to see and do. Yet--the old body says: SLOW DOWN...

    Please take care of you...

    Prayers and Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Thanks, Betsy! Yes, isn't it true? So much one wants to do, yet you have to get used to listening to the old body and paying attention!

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  15. I am so sorry to hear about your accident. How horrible to have that happen to you. Hoping you recover real soon and don't rush anything too soon.

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  16. Thanks, Delena. I appreciate your good wishes!

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  17. I certainly hope you're feeling better today. How horrible to pass out, and in a shower no less, AND damage your teeth etc. You poor dear soul. I have missed you and wondered about your well being and whereabouts. Take care, Dr. Kathy!

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    1. Thanks, Carol! It's so nice to be missed! I really appreciate your good wishes!

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  18. Scary situation, Kathy - it's sobering when suddenly everything goes haywire with bad results. That's a lot of dental work in a short time. So glad to hear you are on the mend. And yes, you were missed! But take the time you need; we will be here when you feel like writing again.

    Update on my problems commenting (about which I emailed you a few weeks ago). I said I had resolved the problem by changing browsers. It turns out my usual browser needed to have updates run on it, so once that was done it worked fine as well. I thought you might find this useful if you are still having problems yourself.

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    1. Thanks so much for the update, Jenny. I was concerned about that and so glad you're no longer having problems commenting and I appreciate you letting me know about both the problem and solution! Yes, I've had quite enough dental work for a while, I think! Thanks so much for your good wishes!

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  19. Oh, man. What an event! Modern dentistry can be a godsend.

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  20. Isn't that the truth? Thanks for visiting, Linda!

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  21. Oh, Kathy, I'm so sorry you have to contend with the facial/dental pain, the frustration of having the bridge and dental work (nobody's fun thing), the angst of the flu and travel leftovers on top of the emotion of sharing valuable times with a wonderful friend. I'm glad you had time with your niece, though, to begin building a bond I suspect will last a lifetime. She's adorable and I love your smile. I know it will be back soon, if somewhat different in the pieces that make it bright!

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    1. I'm fortunate to have people to smile about, Jeanie! Thanks so much for your visit!

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  22. Dear Kathy,
    Even though this is bad news, I'm glad it's not worse. I'd missed your postings and was wondering if something had happened. I thought of car accidents and heart attacks. Then I thought,"Well, maybe she has a book deadline." That's what I hoped it was.
    As bad as this was, you do have, as Sally said, so much to be thankful for. I'm so glad you crawled into bed and I'm surprised that you had your wits about you and collected the teeth shards.
    For 18 months when Meniere's was so intractable and progressive, I could neither shower nor get in the bath tub for fear of having an episode and something happening as it did with you. I am so happy, glad, please, relieved to hear that all is well. Please let your husband help you as you recuperate. You need cherishing right now.

    Peace.

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    1. It's so great to hear from you, Dee, and I agree -- it could have been much, much worse! And I do feel cherished not only by my dear husband, but also by you and all my blogging friends. Thanks so much!!

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  23. So sorry about your accident. Then already have a problem this was not what you wanted for sure. Feel better soon. I'll say some prayers for you.

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  24. Bless your dear heart! I hate hearing about your fall and the dental work that you had to endure from it! I'm glad you got to spend some time with your family before that. Hope you are feeling better!

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    1. Thanks so much for your prayers and good wishes, Debby and Angela!

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  25. ah, sweet time!


    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

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  26. Oh my goodness, Kathy! Sorry to hear about the incident. I'm glad you have Bob in your life, he certainly is a loving husband.

    I hope you're doing better by now.

    On the bright side, I love, love the picture of you and Maggie. She is such a cute little girl!

    Kathy, there's an award for you on my blog :-)

    Doris

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    1. Doris, thanks so very much for your good wishes and also for recommending my blog on your wonderful blog site! I truly appreciate it!!

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  27. Oh dear Kathy, I just popped over from Maggie's place to wish ya well. Girl, it sounds like ya went from bad to worse then downhill from there.

    You poor thing. I've been heard sayin' I'd rather have a baby than to go to the dentist. (neat trick at 59.5, heeehehe)

    I'm prayin' you are well on the mend by now and that you Hubs is spoilin' ya rotten!!!

    God bless and hope your back to your perky self soon and very soon sweetie!!! :o)

    Hugs..........

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    1. Thanks so much, Nezzy...and thanks to dear Maggie for letting people know about my plight! I so appreciate your thoughts!

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  28. Oh my Dr McCoy, I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. Your great attitude will go a long way in your healing. I wish you speedy recovery.
    I came over here from my friend Maggie , Grandma Yellow hair's blog who told us about you having an accident a terrible accident at home.

    You little granddaughter looks so sweet. I enjoyed reading to my grandkids too but now they are getting older and read on their own except for my little grandson who is a year old and lives 12 hours away. I've joined your followers and look forward to reading your blog. I hope that you feel better soon. JB

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    1. Thanks so much for joining my Followers, Julia. That's a terrific Rx for my spirits!
      Thanks so much for your good wishes!

      While Maggie is probably the closest person I'll have to a granddaughter, she is actually my niece! My brother didn't get around to having kids until he was 60 (and my husband and I never had any at all). So she is thoroughly adored!

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  29. You're absolutely right. It's important to take a pause and smell the roses. It's very important in all troubled times. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such encouraging comments when I needed them the most.

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    1. Glad my comments have been helpful -- and thank you so much for your encouragement, too, Olga! I should be up and around soon now!

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  30. I am glad that you are the way to healing. Your niece is adorable and they are so much fun. I enjoy my grandsons and when I have had a stressful day I like to go and spend time with my boys. Your hubby is a jewel. We take care of one and another. Have a great day, My thoughts and prayers are with you for a speedy recovery. A Missouri Friend.

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    1. Thanks so much for your good wishes, Shirley! And for the sweet comments about dear Maggie. Mostly because I've had little exposure to them, I tend to be quite unenthusiastic about babies and toddlers. I love teenagers -- have, indeed, devoted a lot of my life to writing for and about them. But Maggie is making me a convert: I love being with her. And, yes, I'm blessed with a very dear husband, too. I think he's just about over letting me be an invalid and is pushing me to get back to daily gym workouts!

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  31. Oh my gosh Kathy! I'm very behind on my blog reading and just read this post. I'm so sorry to hear about your fall and all the dental work you had to have done. I hope your recovery is going well. Please know that you're in my thoughts and I'm sending you wishes for a speedy recovery.

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    1. Thanks so much, Keicha! Between me and your mother and our infamous falls, you have your hands full with good thoughts and good wishes! I so appreciate your visit and empathy!

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