Ahhhh! What a Relief!


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For the past 1 1/2 weeks, I’ve been a vegetable. Lots of sack time, lots of sitting in front of the tube, or working on an embroidery project, or falling asleep over a book. Lots of pain. Finally got in to see my pain doctor  yesterday, and he scheduled me to get the shots that give me relief at 8:15 this morning.

I can’t begin to tell you what the pain is like.  It’s just an aching, grinding, sometimes very sharp presence in my lower back. It travels down my leg both front and back.  Turns me into an old, old lady  shuffling along with a cane, holding up anyone unfortunate enough to be following me.


When I woke up at 4:30 this morning because I had moved wrong in my sleep, all I  could think of was “four more hours.”  Four hours until the shots, four hours until the relief from pain that has worn me out over the last month.

Why did I wait so long to get help?  Well, haven’t you ever had a pain somewhere and thought, “I’ll just wait, maybe it will go away”?  That’s what I did. I won’t do it again. I foolishly worry that the doctor will think I’m just a cry baby, or that it’s something else, not the pain created by the herniation of a couple of lumbar discs. I should have known better, and next time I will.

I’m already feeling refreshed.  I’m supposed to be quiet today, rest as much as possible. Tomorrow I can resume normal life. I can already feel a reduction in pain, although it takes about a week to feel the full benefit of the steroid. At this point, any small relief is welcome.

Look out, world!  I’m coming back!





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Sue always had an opinion, and she wasn’t afraid to voice it.  She spoke in a carrying voice so that no one could be in any doubt.  Her soprano voice soared above the garbled voices of everyone else in the crowd.

She wanted to give victims a voice; she was willing to be their voice. She would never speak in passive voice, but always used the active voice.  For example, she would never say, in passive voice, “Mistakes were made.” Too vague. Too general. No acceptance of personal responsibility.  Instead, she would use active voice:  “I have made mistakes.”

In passive voice, the verb has no object.  In active voice, there is a direct object of the verb.

Sue never spoke sotto voce.  She found no reason to whisper.  Instead, she used full voice, and she was always heard.

Someone should probably counsel Sue to soften her voice a little.




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Ava sat on the sofa in her counselor’s office, waiting for her to finish the paperwork that had to be filled out for every client, every visit.  She tried to compose herself as she waited, but the tears were impossible to conceal. She didn’t understand how she could cry so much and still have any tears to shed.

“Okay, Ava, let’s talk.  How was your week?  Any better?”

“It was about the same. Tell me, please, that I’m not going to be crying like this for the rest of my life.”

Anne considered for a moment, not wanting to say the wrong thing.  It was always difficult when someone was grieving such a deep loss.  Anne did everything she could to avoid cliches like “Well, you just need to move on now, and put all this behind you.”

Not helpful.

“Ava, I’m not going to make you any promises.  You will continue to shed tears for a while, but I can tell you from experience with other clients that it DOES get better as time passes. You know I hate cliches, but the one that says time heals is true.  You’re in the early stages of your loss.”

“But I can’t THINK!  All I can do is cry, and my friends and family are starting to hint that I need to stop it now.  And that just makes me cry more.  I have to go hide in my room, or get in the car and drive somewhere I can be alone.  Is this normal?”

“Oh, my goodness YES!  It’s completely normal, and don’t let anyone tell you anything different.  Anyone who has lost a beloved spouse knows that the tears don’t stop for a very long time.  Again, in my counseling experience, the deep grieving can last as long as two or three  years.  And sometimes, the second year  can be even harder because everyone else has gone back to everyday life, and the grieving person’s life will never be the same.”

“I feel like a leper must have felt, being excluded from healthy society.  It’s as if I have a sign around my neck that warns people I’m a mess.  Some people I thought were my friends have drifted away from me.  They just don’t know what to say to me any more.”

“Ava, when people don’t know what to say, they are uncomfortable and often will try to avoid the situation.  Maybe you need to ask your friends, one at a time, for lunch or coffee and just be honest with them.  Tell them what you need.  Some will understand, others won’t.”

“But I don’t really know what I need!  Well, yes I do.  I need my husband to come back. I need him to hold me and reassure me that he won’t ever leave me alone.  I’m so MAD at him for leaving me like this!  And then I feel guilty for being mad.  And then, of course, I cry.”

“Yes, and that’s normal, too. Ava, everyone grieves differently.  There are no rules you have to follow. You will know when you are ready to face your day-to-day life again, and please don’t let anyone else impose their opinions on you about when that happens.”

“You know, lots of people told me how it would be when he died, but no one told me how it would be to wake up the next morning to an empty pillow beside me.  No one told me how to live once he was gone.  And people were great during the week after he died, the funeral and all that ordeal.  But here it is only a month later, and everyone else’s life is back to normal.  And I’m sitting alone in my house with too much quiet, no mess, no noise. Every day is another day of him being gone.”

And the tears flowed again while Anne sat quietly, letting Ava cry until she had not more tears to cry.

She even shed some tears of her own.


No Serious Purpose


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“Your comments are frivolous. We have a  problem here, and you are treating it with flippance. You are making it  trivial and insignificant.  You need to get serious and help us find a solution. You are wasting time.  Your facetious remarks are inappropriate!”

“Well, excuse me for living!  Why don’t you ever say what you really mean?”



Fear Factor


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Mia knew all the warnings about walking alone downtown after dark.  She had a great deal of common sense, and had never felt threatened.

Until now.

She’d had no choice but to finish up the project she was working on. Tomorrow would be the presentation, and every tiny detail would go under the microscope of corporate negativity.  She had gone over it again and again, looking for flaws, plugging any holes she could find. She tried to see it from Jeff’s perspective.  He would be the most critical, the one to see a flaw no one else would notice.

She felt confident as she walked the deserted hallway to the elevators. She was holding her keyring in her right hand, each key held between two fingers.  The building was creepy when no one else was there, and Mia had been afraid of the dark for as long as she could remember.

She wore a cross-body bag, tucked under her left arm.  She carried nothing else.  The elevator took her to  the parking garage, where she had left her car bumper to the wall, so she wouldn’t have to back out. As she walked quickly toward her car, her heels sounding like tapdance shoes, she pressed the automatic unlock and heard her car beep in response.

And then she heard something else, something that stopped her long enough for her to make a quick scan all around her. She saw nothing, and the noise stopped. She started to walk again, and sure enough, she heard footsteps behind her, keeping pace with her. She stopped again, turning to face whoever was there.  Again, nothing.  No one.

She increased her speed, wanting nothing but the safety of her car. As she reached her parking spot, she heard huffing pants of breath behind her. Terrified, she swung around to face  whoever was behind her.

“Mia!  Wait!  It’s only me!”  Jeff was about two parking spaces behind her, and he was breathing hard. “I tried to catch up with you in the building, but you were too far ahead.  I just wanted to offer to walk you to your car.  It’s not safe for you to be out here alone.”

Mia sagged against her car, almost sure she was going to faint. “Do you have ANY idea how much you scared me?  You should have called to me so I’d know it wasn’t some mugger or worse!  Good grief!  I nearly had a heart attack!”

“I was afraid  you wouldn’t recognize my voice until I was closer.  You can walk pretty fast, even in those anklebreakers you like to wear.  Hey, listen.  Why don’t we go get something to eat?  It’s late, and I’m hungry.”

“Well.  Um–“

“Worried about your project presentation tomorrow?  Don’t be.  I’ve seen your work in other firms, and I know you’re a great designer.  Come on.  Let’s go eat.”




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Hoo boy.  No fiction this morning. If we were playing a word association game, and you said nerve, my immediate response?  PAIN.  

I have a couple of herniated lumbar discs.  I had pain treatment not quite a year ago that  relieved the pain almost completely.  A little achiness now and then, but nothing an over-the-counter medication couldn’t deal with.

Three weeks ago, is started kicking up again.

I also have stenosis and degenerative disc disease.  That’s quite a cocktail of misery.

Stenosis comes from a Greek word meaning to choke.  There are little holes in the bones for the nerves to pass through.  When the bone around those holes begins to crumble, the nerves are pinched.  And they react.  They don’t like being pinched, so they pinch right back.

Yesterday I was going to go to work, but as I was getting into the car, my hip/leg/lower back all said, “No, you’re not!”  So appropriate calls were made to cancel my clients, get an appointment with the pain doctor, get a script for the medications to get me through until I can get the shots that will relieve the pain long-term.

Getting old does have its downside.

So when I saw this morning’s prompt, Nerve, this post pretty much wrote itself.  I’m well aware of my nerves right now!




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Spelling was one of Jade’s favorite subjects.  She was a voracious reader, and once she had seen a word, she could usually remember how it was spelled. She almost always got 100% on the spelling pretest, and didn’t have to take the final test every Friday. Her friends kidded her about being teacher’s pet because she got such good grades, but that didn’t bother Jade at all.  Not everything came easy for her.  She worked hard for her math and science courses, but at least she could spell all the words!

There were some exceptions in her spelling acumen. Friend,  for example.  It just seemed to her that it should be freind, and she had to stop and think about it before she wrote it down It didn’t fall into any of the spelling rules that she had learned.  “I before e, except after c” was pretty easy to remember, but the rest of it confused her. “Or when sounding like a, as in neighbor and  weigh.”

To Jade, friend had neither a long a sound, nor did it have a c.  It seemed to be in a category all it’s own.

And then one day she came across this :  Neither friend seized weird leisure. All the words in that silly sentence are spelled ei except for friend. For some reason, that stuck and cleared it up forever.



Happy Puppy


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The chubby, stumbling puppy frolicked through the fall leaves, patted through the little puddles of muck, rolled in the wet grass, and bounced back to make sure his people were still close by.

His silky ears flopped adorably as he wiggled and wriggled at the feet of his little girl, who laughed and bent down to pick him up.  He didn’t want to be carried, though.  He loved being outdoor in the woods, and he wanted to investigate  all that was so new and exciting to him. He squirmed out of  Callie’s arms, jumping back into the leaves before she had time to stand up.

There was a come-hither smell that he simply HAD to follow.  Nose to the ground, he paid no attention to anything but that tantalizing aroma. He pattered off the path, following the scent that zigged and zagged toward a nearby tree. As it grew stronger, his little body quivered with excitement. His tail stood up straight. He began to yip, knowing he was close to the source of the scent.

“Charlie!  Come back here!”  Charlie heard Callie calling to him, but he couldn’t have obeyed if he’d wanted to.  Now giving sharp, high barks of excitement and fear, he looked up the length of the tree.  How he longed to run up that tree, just as the grey fuzzy little animal had done!  He tried, but his paws just weren’t made for climbing.

Suddenly, a brown-grey streak  caught Charlie’s attention and he forgot all about the squirrel. Off he pranced, chasing this exciting new thing. He quickly lost sight of it, though, and landed SPLAT! in a mud puddle.  Oh, wonderful!  Rolling and yapping, he coated himself from stem to stern with sticky, smelly muck.

“Ooooh, no!  Charlie!  You silly little puppy!  You’re all dirty, and you’re going to need another bath!  Mommy won’t even let me take you inside until we get all that dirt off of you!”

Callie clipped the leash back onto Charlie’s collar, sighing as the mud he wore spattered on her arms and legs.

Looked as if she was going to need a bath, too.  Again.  Having a new puppy could be a dirty business.