Feeling Out of Touch?

Are you feeling out of touch these days? Here in Oregon, our pandemic guidelines label sheltering as “stay at home” since March 23, 2020, “until further notice.” But there are states where residents are no longer sheltering in place, or in what some call lockdown. 
 
But there are some in our communities who live alone 365 days each year. Others live in retirement or assisted living communities and yet live alone. Still, others are, because of disease or illness, isolated from the rest of us.
 
So, let’s think about feeling out of touch. Even though my husband and I live in the same house, there are times we each feel out of touch because of the pandemic. We can hug each other. Or touch the other’s hand. Toss a smile across the room.
 
But we can’t gather with our church family on Sundays or at other times during the week. Yes, we can see them during Zoom meetings and on Facebook Live. But it’s not the same as being able to see them “real time,” or share a hug, or shake hands in greeting. Bob is also missing out on his musical groups and friends. None of his groups — two community bands and our church choir — are meeting.
 
For me, it’s not so difficult as I’ve had a feeling of being out of touch for a while. During my struggle to overcome chronic pain and then surgery, I often felt out of touch. That cut a great hole in my people time.
 
I had friends with whom I met for coffee or tea, and now our only contact is through phone calls or text messages. Oh, how I miss them and our in-person visits. 
 
Our governor held a press conference this morning laying out Phase I of reopening Oregon. Believe me, if what I heard is correct, it’s going to be quite a bit longer than any of us believed or hoped in the beginning. But it isn’t the end of the world as I see it.
 
What I see is in the bigger picture. It’s not about ourselves, but about those with whom we make contact. There is that one person without symptoms who is a carrier of the coronavirus. He/she can infect more than one person in a day. That could mean an uptick in the number of people who contract the virus. 
 
The lesson in the bigger picture is this. As Americans, most of us have achieved much. We are able to live a good life in a safe home located near good schools with a beautiful family. Others of us planned well and live in retirement comfortably. We have no problem buying what we want when we want it. And therein lies the problem. We’ve grown too secure, perhaps even complacent.
 
COVID-19 has settled among us to teach us that we must face a personal slow down. And the slow down isn’t related to contracting the virus. The slow down is and has been imposed on us by our federal, state, and local governments. Is it a punishment? No, it’s a safety measure to save lives. Maybe we can’t eat out, go to movies, plan vacations right now.
 
We need to be patient and life will return to a semblance of the normalcy we once knew. Patience is a hard lesson, and most of us don’t like to practice it.
 
Yet, if we want personal contact with others, patience is the prescription we need right now. As Mary Poppins sings:
 
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Richard Sherman / Robert Sherman
A Spoonful of Sugar lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company
 
Think of that “spoonful of sugar” as your dose of patience daily. If you can take a few minutes, call someone you know who lives alone and brighten his/her day. Write a note or send a card to someone who is always shut-in due to illness. Think about the goodness you have to share with others. Think of others and not so much about yourself. 
 
Above all, hold out hope for the day you hear you can find your semblance of normalcy by getting in touch with others.
 
Quote, Leo Buscaglia, power of touch, smile
 

Featured image attribution: Pezibear from Pixabay 

Looking Back on 2019

Yes, I’m a bit late in looking back on 2019. But I found it difficult to put into words my feelings about the last year and the three previous ones.

 
Before talking about 2019, I want to thank my followers and readers for their patience. My on again off again presence during the last four years can’t have been easy to follow. You have been faithful in spite of my erratic posting and communication and for that I am grateful.
 
As I typed this post title, I shuddered a bit as I thought about the year 2019 and what preceded it. It’s difficult to believe I’ve been in and out of blogging for almost four years. Additionally, I set my memoir manuscript aside in September 2018. I’ve not touched it since.
 
Progress in my mobility has encouraged me. My walking has improved thanks to the use of trekking poles rather than a cane or walker. Pain levels are down, thanks to a new pain management doctor. To my delight, a loss of nine pounds, despite my inability to engage in aerobic exercise, has lifted me up. All positives at the end of 2019.
 
These changes near the beginning of a new decade have infused me with a desire to begin writing again. I’ve been reading several books on nonfiction essay writing. I find I love this area of nonfiction storytelling. Current plans don’t include revisiting my current memoir manuscript any time soon. I have a couple of projects in mind which I’d like to try first.
 
As for the blog, posts will appear weekly on Wednesday. At the moment, I am uncertain when I will begin sending out my newsletter again. When its circulation is on the horizon, I will post about it here. 

Featured Image Attribution: Schwoaze from Pixabay

Aegris, Cave!

Introduction

Aegris, cave!
 
I’m hoping a few of you are familiar with the Latin language. Most of us are familiar with the phrases, “carpe diem” or “caveat emptor.” The first of these phrases, “carpe diem,” means “seize the day.” The second phrase translates to “buyer beware.”
 
My Latin title translates to the words, “Patients, beware!”
 

My Story

Today’s post is somewhat dissimilar to what I usually write. Considering many of you are friends or family, I want to share with you an experience from my surgery. It is a side effect of the anesthesia used in my surgery back in March of this year.
 
Before my surgery, Oregon Health and Sciences University Hospital contacted me about a research study. The focus of the study was the mental impact of anesthesia on patients 65 and over. This was especially focusing on anesthesia over a period of several hours. I accepted their invitation to take part. It required two to three sessions for memory testing before and after surgery.
 
My surgery was slotted for approximately four hours. Due to minor complications related to hardware, the surgery took over eight hours. 
 
After I had been home for a short while, I began to notice a difference in my ability to recall words, names, and dates. I also felt caught up in a foggy mentality, i.e. staring into space, inability to focus, etc.
 
I hesitated to mention it to anyone. Perhaps the preoperative testing left me believing this was happening when it wasn’t.
 
As time passed though, I asked my husband if he noticed differences in me since the surgery. He smiled, and I realized what he was about to say might be hard to swallow. But love shone through his eyes. Behaviors he had picked up on left him feeling like “he’d brought a different woman home from the hospital.”
 
At my sixth-month postop checkup, we mentioned these mental signals to my surgeon. He suggested that he would have expected this to have passed by this point. But he also mentioned it was possible there was a relationship with depression. Yet, the depression was being treated with medication all along before the surgery. I don’t remember any such symptoms presenting during that time.
 
Today I asked my husband how he believed I had progressed since that appointment. I asked after forgetting an appointment despite reviewing our calendar several times. Upon realizing my mistake, I went to our bedroom and fell across the bed in tears because that is so unlike me. It leaves me with a feeling of losing my mind. And yet there isn’t anything I can do about it.
 

Caution, Friends

Headed into a surgical procedure? Be sure to determine how long your surgery might last. Understand this time can change dependent on special circumstances arising during surgery.
 
Also, ask what side effects you should be aware of before undergoing the surgery. If you’re over 65, ask about the mental side effects.
 
Make sure you make family and/or friends aware of what you learn after asking these questions. It is wise to have others aware so they can let you know what they notice in your behavior.
 
I hope you find this information helpful. This is not only for yourself but also in the event you care for aging parents or other family members. I am confident I’ll return to the “real me” in due course. Thanks for reading and if you find suitable, please share with family and friends.

Featured image attribution: Spencer Wing from Pixabay 

Summer Reading

I have made a spur of the moment, joyous, and lovely decision!

Beginning tomorrow, I am taking at least next week to do nothing other than reading some books that are piling higher and higher by the day. In fact, I may get brave and take the next week to do the same.

Here’s what’s waiting for me:

If our weather stays as nice as it is, you may find me on the back porch swing with a glass of iced tea and a couple of kitties.

See you in a page-turning while!