Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Escaped Hippopotamus Alert

 Maybe you've seen me running down the side of the road. I use the word 'running' loosely. It's more like slowly falling forward and catching myself with each footstep. And if you did witness such a spectacle, you might have thought to yourself, "Wow. There's an escaped hippopotamus lumbering down the street! I wonder if I should give the zoo a call."

Don't call. It's just me trying to shed a couple of tons of flopping blubber. It probably looks as if I sit home every day eating bon bons and watching soaps, which isn't true. Actually I run at least three times a week and do probably 15 or so hours per week of service--often free house cleaning help, among other things.

I also think about doing massive amounts of sit-ups and leg lifts and other exercises. Apparently thinking about it isn't quite enough. Which is wretched. I think when I do mental calisthenics and when I turn down chunk-inducing food I should get points which, when totaled, take off a pound or two. If that were the case, I'd be another 25 lbs. lighter.

I never thought of myself as being one of "those" people who had so much time on their hands that they could sit around counting calories and obsessing over their tonnage. I was always too busy doing things.

Besides running, I like to dance, swim, and occasionally hike, fight, and climb a little. I work for the Boy Scouts and Church and I'm the Attendance Clerk for my international writing club. I ride herd on a family of eight with three teens still at home. I sing in three choirs, play several instruments, and do art gigs. I also read and write. Lots. So that means the scales of injustice are tipping unforgivably towards a widening posterior and stomach.

The funny thing is, the 'me' inside my head looks nothing like this horrid mirror apparition. (Who let that hag in? She needs to go back to being the doorkeeper at Hogwarts.) Inside Me is twenty five, slender, gorgeous, gifted, and successful. For her, the running and dancing and swimming and climbing, and sword-fighting has paid off quite well. Outer Me is always flummoxed (it even sounds like a FAT word) at the viscous nature of fat. Man, that gunk sticks to everything! Maybe glue companies should research fat as a new kind of glue.

Someone said I should carry weights when I'm running. To them I say, I already am. I carry a tube of it around my middle and two fanny packs worth on my behind. Hasn't helped.

The other thing that annoys the heck out of me is the recalcitrance of that torture implement squirreled away under my bathroom sink called a scales. Whoever invented that contraption should be put to the rack. It taunts me when I go in to brush my teeth. This is the gist of the conversation:

Scales: If you climb on, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Me: Right.
Scales: No really. You look like you've lost a little around the chest area.
Me: Yeah thanks. No.
Scales: Don't you feel a little lighter? And you didn't have that extra helping at dinner. You probably dropped a whole pound.
Me: Not likely.
Scales: Oh come on. You have to know how much you weigh. They ask you in all kinds of places.
Me: It's none of their business, really.
Scales: But you should know the number so you can know if you're healthy or not.
Me: Your weight isn't the be-all and end-all of the health index.
Scales: That's an excuse.
Me: *sigh* All right. All right. Shut up. I know I should at least check it out. But it's night time and I still have clothes on. It'll throw things off if I'm still wearing my watch and clothes. And they all say you should weigh yourself at the same time of day.
Scales: I'll be lying in wait. Hah! Pun intended.
The next morning.
Scales: Okay, Chubby. Put up or shut up.
Me: Don't let me weigh more than ***. It's GOT to be under ***.
I step on, quivering. The dang thing bursts into horrid little snickers. I step off and back on several times, hoping it was asleep or lying or I can trick it into reading less. No dice. The tonnage glows at me maleficently. 
Scales: I'll be waiting. Again, pun intended.

Someday I'm going to loft that thing into a running creek. Or a landfill right before the dozer shoves dirt over it. Or the desert along with a half ton of other garbage. (Just kidding. I'm not a litterer. Just plump.)

No. Wait. I hear hippos can be pretty vicious. I'm going to bite that thing in half and then stomp on it until the stinkin' springs pop out. Yeah. We hippopotami can be sneaky.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Own Miracle

About twelve years ago I slipped on a hidden book and dislocated my shoulder. I also broke the part of the bone off where the ligament attaches to the shoulder. Instant excruciating pain! It lasted well over three hours while the hospital needlessly (and unknown to me) waited for my Hubs to sign paperwork. I hope never to repeat that kind of searing, burning, mind-robbing pain.

A few weeks ago I revisited some of that misery. For unknown reasons, my shoulder injured itself in my sleep or something. Apparently it swelled up inside and became inflamed and the muscle "froze" up. Which is a misnomer since nothing felt icy at all. There was PLENTY of heat. In fact, there was so much ache that I couldn't lift my arm more than two inches away from straight down.

The bad thing was that my babies were here from Texas. Most of the time they were here I spent in a pain-scarred haze. All I could do was sit on the couch and veg. If people jumped into my arms I went into orbit around Saturn. Not fun.

On Sunday I consulted a couple of my chiropractor friends at church. One of them did some tests that made me dance with agony. They told me my shoulder was frozen and that, beyond some exercises, they couldn't really do anything.

I decided I needed to have a blessing. I knew that my faith plus that Priesthood blessing would make me, if not completely whole immediately, at least able to function. In my mind, I knew it would happen in a day or so. So I got my Hubs and my daughter's boyfriend to bless me. That night, for the first night since The Pain began, I slept through the night. The next day the arm was noticeably better.

Then I looked up Frozen Shoulder on the Internet and several sites (Mayo Clinic etc) said this pain would last anywhere from a year to two years. I was floored. That long? No Way. Wasn't happening. I'd had a blessing.

That day I got a call from my friend Christine, who does therapeutic massage and kinesio taping. She's very good and always studying and perfecting. (I can put you in touch with her.) Immediately she asked me what was wrong. I've got to say this isn't really that normal for her to instantly ask what's wrong. We usually chat about a bunch of things and sometimes don't get around to my own problems. It's just that kind of give and take friendship. We deal with what's happening.

That day, right to the bacon.

I told her what I'd been experiencing and she scolded me for not immediately calling her. She nearly flew over here and taped up my shoulder. She could see I was still suffering terribly and she knows the kind of pain threshold I have. I sword-fight for fun. I get honking bruises on a regular basis and don't even blink at them. I had 5 of my 6 children without any kind of pain meds. With the first baby I only had a shot of local anesthetic. So when Christine saw me wince, she knew I was feeling as if a bull shark was tearing off my arm.

I'm here to say that by the end of that day, I could lift my arm to horizontal. Without pain.

I'm not kidding. And the healing went on from there. She saw me one other time to do some massage on it and was completely amazed. We took the tape off to see if the pain would still hold off and it did.

Don't get me wrong. There's still some kind of impingement in there. But I can raise my arm clear up to vertical. I can dress myself and lift loads. I can put my arm behind my back.

I know that the power of the Priesthood is real. It calmed the agony in such a graphic way that I could never ignore it. It sent my friend to call me and then to do the things she could do to help me. She told me herself that when she saw how much pain I was in, she didn't think she could do much for me. Alone she probably couldn't have. But together with the blessing, she did it. There's no good reason why it should have worked so completely, except that the Lord needed to use me to show what He can do.