Living in the fast lane

Sunday morning, Christmas week. It’s early, quiet, no sounds but those of thundering cat’s paws up and down the carpeted stairs as they play a rousing game of tag-you’re-it. Mom’s sitting up in bed with her coffee, reading the newspaper. I’m sitting propped against the headboard too, but I’m tapping on the computer, and I’m waiting the prescribed half hour for my weekly osteoporosis pill to dissolve in my stomach before I get a first, heavenly cup of coffee for myself.

I love that first cup of the day. When I read the directions for taking that first Fosamx pill I was appalled.  “Take with at least 8 oz. of water. Do not eat or drink anything else for 30 minutes. Remain upright; do not lay down during that 30 minute period.”  What? I couldn’t even have coffee?

Not even coffee. Eight weekly doses later I know that 30 minutes passes quickly if I absorb myself in a book or reading the headlines on my laptop. It’s not so bad.

My Mom is doing great. What a difference from last Christmas, when she was totally knocked flat by sciatica, weakness and nausea, far too ill for holiday company. Today she’s busy and bouncy and so jazzed by the idea of Christmas that the whole house is decorated with Santas and reindeer and poinsettias and ornaments and twinkling lights. Yesterday she came skipping downstairs with a stack of kitchen towels in her arms. “Look what I found!” she said, smiling. “Christmas dishtowels!” Sure enough, they were all covered with snowmen, Christmas trees and elves. “I had them put away in that trunk upstairs,” she said, pleased as punch. “I’m so glad I found them!”

She’s eighty.

And I’m doing all right. Hip bursitis continues to have me firing on three cylinders most of the time, but after consultation with an actual orthopedic surgeon, I’ll soon be starting a new round of PT, focusing on ultrasound therapy. If that doesn’t work, I’ll either learn to accept this constant, variable pain and its corresponding limp as a forever thing, or be bold and go with The Knife (surgical trochanteric bursectomy of both hips). I’m not sure which I’ll choose in the end, but I’m not really convinced that more PT will make any difference. Fingers are crossed.

And my ol’ rheuma-dragon? He remains sleepy, only occasionally chewing on the odd joint like a drowsy baby gumming a pacifier. Of course, unlike a baby my dragon has sharp teeth, so the gnawing isn’t particularly pleasant. It’s generally confined to my hands, though, and it’s bearable. It only slows me down a smidge. I remain deeply grateful to my rheumatologist for the cocktail of DMARDs he’s having me swallow each morning and night. Without them I’m sure I wouldn’t be enjoying this current freedom from agony. I’m distinctly aware, too, that it can change at any moment.

So why haven’t I been posting here at RheumaBlog? Until this moment, I’ve still been fighting an ugly bout of writer’s block. You know how it is. You start writing with enthusiasm, stop to read what you’ve written, and notice that your words are about as airy, warm and spirited as thick, cold mud. So you go back and change a word here, another word there. Nope, doesn’t help. The graf still plods like a half-dead mule. You rearrange a sentence. Another. Oh, cripes–now it’s worse than it was when you started! You delete the whole thing in disgust and start over again. A few minutes in, you hear those famous, ominous Borg-ish words in your mind: “Resistance is futile.”  Great. Fine. I’ll just play some Solitaire, get my mind off writing. I’ll tackle it again in a while, when I’m fresher.

Four or five days later you try again, only to find your mind and your words still hopelessly mired in muck.

So there’s that. And, with Mom feeling so good, I’ve been, well, kinda busy. There’s just not much time to spend in prosy contemplation when she’s on her feet with her key wound up tight. There’s always something she needs to do—and that she needs my help with. When she finally rests, she immediately turns the TV on. Since Mom’s hard of hearing (and like most elderly folk, unwilling to go to the trouble and expense of hearing aids), she turns the volume on the thing way up.  This is not conducive to writing anything more complicated than a grocery list. It’s funny. I used to write news stories with phones ringing constantly, reporters asking me questions, editing other stories, deflecting locals with complaints… and all of that while the police scanner on my desk blatted assault and mayhem. On deadline. Now I need silence and time to write? Sheesh. I’m pathetic.

Finally, I’ve been spending two days and a night each week at my aunt and uncle’s house, where I’m too busy to sit down and write. Last week, I also took another elderly family friend to and from his appointment for laser cataract surgery and then, the next day, the follow-up appointment. Oh, and did I mention? My Mom’s brother from Washington, DC was here a couple of weeks ago for a five-day, whirlwind visit.

And now Christmas is nearly here, full of last-minute-shopping, gift-wrapping, and the day itself filled with family and feasting (which I need to plan, grocery shop for and cook while trying to keep Mom from overdoing it).

Hmmm. Now that I’ve written all that down, I’m not as embarrassed about not posting to RheumaBlog. How ’bout that?

I promise I’ll write about Sir Peter in Cologne and Cessna-landing before too much more time passes. After the holidays, okay? In the meantime, please know that I’m thinking about all of you, reading and commenting at your blogs when I get a few minutes free, and wishing every one of you warmth, peace, comfort and joy, not just during the holiday season but for always. I’ll be back soon.

8 thoughts on “Living in the fast lane

  1. Fröhliche Weihnachten, meine liebe Zaunkönigen! I’ll be thinking about you when I’m brewing and hoping that your holiday is filled with healthy excitement and peace and joy! Jingle ♪ Jingle ♫ Jingle


  2. Sounds like both of you have gotten into a good routine of sorts. Got my hopes up that things stay status quo (good when dealing with ra of course). You have a wonderful week ahead and an even more wonderful Christmas weekend 🙂


  3. Sounds like a wonderful time is being had by all (especially your Mom). Have a marvelous holiday and keep us posted on the continuing hip problem.


  4. Hi Wren,

    Writer’s block? Even your updates are prose-worthy. 😉

    Have a very Merry Christmas, full of wonder and blissful contentment with your family.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon!


  5. So glad to hear your mum’s doing so well … and good luck with the bursitis appointment. I have my six-monthly appointment today – expect a grumpy post from me later! 😉 Have a fantastic Christmas!


  6. I agree with all of these ladies. It sounds like you have been ultra-busy but in a good way. I am so glad that your Mom is doing so very well and that your Rheuma is under control.

    I understand writer’s block. When I get busy – forget it. But you know, I would much rather you be having a productive and good time and not writing than feeling horrible and having a lot to write about. Many, many well wishes for the holidays my friend!


  7. My grandmother and I both lived in my parents’ house the year before I left for law school. Oh did her TV watching habits ever give my a headache! She would have it on all night and so loud that in my bedroom on the other side of the house, I could make out what was being said quite reliably. It destroyed my sleep badly enough that I had to nap during the afternoons after I got off work or before I went in, depending on if I was working the breakfast shift or the dinner shift. I miss her terribly, but I sure as heck don’t miss that!


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