Another night of restless, frequently interrupted sleep. At 4:30 a.m., I’d had enough. Awake again – wide awake, eyes wide open, brain all powered up and thinking along nicely, thank you – the very idea of trying to fall back to sleep was – get this – exhausting.
So I got up. I watched the day begin, that first, almost imperceptible fading of the stars; the shift from the subtle night palette of black, gray and blue tones and shades to the muted reds, greens, yellows of morning twilight. I listened for the moment the birds wake up and start conversing amongst themselves, even though it’s still mainly dark. I heard the freeway, a quarter-mile away and downhill, rousing and coming alive with the susurrus of tires on asphalt as the early-bird commuters hurtled down the mountain toward their jobs in the valley.
I made a cup of coffee as the sun rose. I stirred evaporated milk into it, then poured a few tablespoons into a little bowl for the cat. I opened the squeaky door to the woodstove and added a couple of almond wood logs to the glowing coals left over from the night. And here I sit in my chair near the stove, soaking up the warmth with my be-socked and be-slippered feet up on the ottoman. I’m still in my gray t-shirt and grey pajama bottoms with the bunnies on them; I haven’t worked up the gumption to get dressed yet. My flaring hands are cased in Thermoskin gloves. My right jaw and some unknown joint in my neck, on the left, are also flared, so that I cannot turn my head or open my mouth without wincing. And my left shoulder is twinging ominously.
But the sun is well up, now, and the day is underway. I can sit here and mope, or I can let the day’s current pick me up and carry me along with it. I think I’ll dip a toe in …
Thoughts on technology
Both Carla, who writes the blog Carla’s Corner, and Lene, who writes “The Seated View” have posts up about the new technology that’s available to us these days and how helpful and just plain nice it can be. Carla’s post is about the Kindle; Lene’s is about computers and the Internet. I don’t like to be a copycat, but hey – they’ve inspired me. I want to share.
Like most people of a certain age – those of us who were around before computers became a normal, mundane part of our daily lives – I still react to them with a mixture of affection and awe. It amazes me what they can do. It amazes me that I can send emails from my cell phone, and that I can send emails at all. I’m overawed that I can hook into the ‘net and browse websites with my iPod Touch. This morning I downloaded a couple of audio books into it.
All of it is just magical to me. I posted this comment on Lene’s blog:
Just a couple of days ago, as I was helping my Mom get her wireless printer and laptop computer talking together again, she commented on how glad she was that I could help her, since she doesn’t understand the first thing about computers.
In her very next breath she said, “I just don’t get how you can spend all that time every day on the computer!”
The criticism was unspoken but implicit. It hung on the air between us. I’m not sure why my computer use bothers her so, but it has ever since I got my first computer. She feels I’m wasting my time.
I just smiled and said (over the blare of the talking heads on the TV in the kitchen), “I don’t understand how you can watch TV 24 hours a day, either.”
Frankly, I can no longer imagine a world without computers and the Internet. I’ve met so many delightful people via blog comments and chats, and they’re all just as important to me as the friends I have in the “meat” world. When I first got RA, back in the mid-80s, I didn’t know anyone else who had it. There were very few resources in the local library regarding RA and I had no one I could talk to. I felt extremely isolated in this disease.
The Internet has allowed me to learn far more about RA than I ever dreamed I might. And it’s also allowed me to talk to and interact with others who understand the disease and how it affects our lives because they have it, too. I no longer feel so alone, so isolated.
Can something this liberating really be bad?
It’s also empowering. Remember that old saying, “knowledge is power”? So true. My computer allows me to read, to write, and to learn every single day, whenever I can give it some of my time. I still have other things to do each day – I work in the garden, I do laundry and cook meals, I keep my house reasonably neat and clean, I visit with friends and relatives. But with the computer, and the Internet, I can even look for a new job. That’s also a part of my daily life.
I’m a writer. The computer and the Internet are gifts I treasure. They’ve widened my world in ways I’d never have believed 20 years ago. Research material is available at the touch of a few keys; I just have to be mindful of information that may be less than accurate, since the Internet is such a truly democratic medium, open to anyone with a little knowledge, right or wrong, who can use a computer.
But it’s fabulous, isn’t it? I may not have the financial means to travel all over the world to exotic places or to attend expensive classes, but via my laptop, I can go virtually anywhere on this planet or learn anything I want to – all for the price of the computer itself and a monthly broadband connection.
If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.