Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Brain Overload, The Real Deal: a short memoir

Several weeks ago my beloved Lab mix (who is 13, we think) had three grand-mal seizures (no previous history) in 12 hours and ended up at the emergency vet clinic. I have never been so happy to live "in civilization" and not the "boonies" that I grew up in.  Usually, my frugality wins but when it comes to this dog I can only see with my heart.  She was there to greet me out of the hospital and long before that nursed me through some pretty awful migraines. When I would shake and shiver in pain she "selflessly" would crawl into bed next to me until the shaking passed. She is an odd little dog full of anxious quirks. We just get each other even if nobody else does! So to say I had a stressful week adjusting to new medications and need to go out more during the day is a gross understatement! I was quite stressed.

It all caught up with me last week. I knew better than to run to BJs before my hair appointment (my summer pixie cut was growing a tail, Seriously, if you don't believe me ask my hairstylist friend.) So, I was determined to make it to my appointment! With list in hand, I foolishly entered the huge, overstimulating box store. About half way through, I knew it was a mistake.  I ducked down a 'quiet' aisle and took a few deep breaths trying to pull myself together enough to get out of the store at least! I was able to get out the door with my purchases. As I got in my Jeep I was done. I knew I was in no condition to drive and thankfully I had about an hour before my appointment since I all but bolted out of the store (yes, I paid, it's amazing actually.) So, I jumped in my Jeep and threw the seat back, dug out my "emergency chill pill"and took it . Of course, I grabbed the pillow I keep in my Jeep (not the first panic attack I've had folks) and began my deep breathing exercise, as the blanket I also keep under my seat served to block the rest of the assaulting sunshine from my closed eyes. Once my medicine kicked in I sat up and grabbed for my phone to check the time and to set an alarm so I didn't have to think about it! When I looked out my passenger side window and  saw parked in the spaces right in front of me was a blue pickup truck. Someone was sitting inside it apparently waiting for someone in the store.  If you remember my story you know that a blue pick up was reported leaving the scene of my accident.  Immediately, I knew it was a monument, a reminder from God He is in control and with His help I can keep going.  I'm not sure if you've ever been this exhausted and your brain so flooded you were convinced you could not go on.  That is where I was at that moment. It hasn't been quite this bad for me in awhile. It made me very thankful for a number of friends I knew would drop anything to come rescue me. But, this time I just needed a dark quiet car and the reminder of that blue pickup truck.  I literally didn't think I had the strength to get home! That blue truck sitting there "watching over me" somehow calmed me and reassured me, "this too shall pass!" Just as the Lord cared for me that fateful day, He continues to care for me daily!
After a short nap and a "God wink," as my friend calls it, I actually made my hair appointment (with a friend who 'gets it') and my tail was taken care of!
     The ordeal reminded me of a conversation at a wedding this summer.  We were seated with people from our church we didn't know well. After hearing my story, the curious friend asked me, "Do you think you will ever go back [to finish your Master's and to teaching]." I replied that I no longer wondered if it was my calling I can't even handle the organized chaos of a store by myself. Why would I ever enter a classroom again and be responsible for all the precious lives in my care. I have an amazing peace that it is not the place the Lord desires for me. I don't regret my choice of careers.  It prepared me, not for teaching in a classroom, but to help in my own recovery.  I had a lot of different strategies already in my memory and I loved learning, which came in really handy since there were and still are many things to relearn or learn for the first time!  At one point, just before my aneurysm be began to  I regret choosing Elementary Education as a major. I think the Lord was stirring my heart for what he had prepared my journey to be. I certainly haven't figured it all out yet but I am much more content with exactly where I am than striving to fit in a place that wasn't meant for me.
On that same note, you'd think a girl who wakes up every morning truly thankful for life and breath. Thankful that all her arms and legs move when her brain asks them to would be much better at "living in the moment." Perhaps, my conservative upbringing made me cringe at first when I heard this, but I am not good at this concept.  When I talk about "living in the moment" I mean enjoying and being thankful for what the moment, you are in, provides. You see, while I am truly thankful I notice that the moment is often spoiled with fears and anxiety about what might be around the next corner. So, in a way I'm not enjoying moments but anxiously fretting the next obstacle, test, trial.  My beloved and ancient dog has been teaching me this. She is still here and walking around, eating, drinking and living. Now I have moments of weakness when the reality of the situation hits me and I am teary, sad and anxious but, we take short walks every day. It has always been her favorite thing and I often use my own fatigue as an excuse to tell her, "not today!" But, this fall we take walks every day and she seems happy to smell all the creatures who walked around before we got there.  She even prances down our driveway and wears as much of a smile as a dog can wear. So, I have had almost an "extra month" of walks and pictures and spoiling her rotten, which she is pretty sure should have been her treatment all along (don't let her fool you, she was always spoiled by this tenderhearted, dog loving girl who always felt some responsibility cater to her anxious ways. I mean,  if we left I always brought her to my parents house (usually a two hour trip in the opposite direction,) where it was familiar to her and I was sure she would be taken care of exactly as I wished!)   Here is to many more days of spoiling and many more moments truly enjoyed!!
Click here for a really great explanation of "Brain flooding"

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Just another day in the life of Lisa!

     It has been a rough week, I need comic relief so here you go. I'm sure you had to be there but I'll do my best. I was a the library last week helping with books that were being discarded (missing pages, or they haven't been checked out for years, space is limited so they must go.) I had a cart of them and headed out to the dumpster myself, because it was a nice day! The stick that was made to hold up the dumpster top has long since gone missing and in its place is a flat metal tool with a long handle, I imagine is really used for chipping or scraping ice or removing shingles on a roof.  I have no problem figuring out how to wedge it to hold the plastic top open, Yeah, I was pretty proud of myself since my spacial planning ability was all but lost with my rupture.  I began throwing books into the dumpster when, I just had to peek in to see what else had gone in there.  Way in the back I spot it..................the Anne of Green Gables complete set, and they looked to be in pretty decent shape. I LOVE ANNE OF GREEN GABLES! I really want the set. It was the first book I read after my aneurysm. Since I tested at a 5th grade reading level I thought it appropriate to start with something familiar that I knew I already loved and was written for youth. You see, I love the beloved stories so much, I actually convinced my hubby to go to Prince Edward Island (the setting of AGG) for our honeymoon. We got as far as Maine, and loved it so much we decided to just stay there as we were exhausted from all the wedding/college (I had just graduated) stress anyway. It ended up being a good decision as I got sick and we came home a week earlier than we planned! Ah, but I digress! So, there I am calculating how I am going to retrieve that set from the back of the dumpster! I devise a plan to use that "long handled ice scraper thingy" holding the top open to gently pull the books to the front of the dumpster where they might be easier to retrieve!  Thankfully, there is a Pickett fence around the dumpster preventing patrons and colleagues from watching my silliness! With my curled left stroke hand I am now attempting to hold up the dumpster top while using my "good hand" to reach the books with that "ice scraper thingy". Of course, this overloads my brain circuits and I drop my tool in my attempt to reach the books. Just at that very moment, our maintenance guy walks around the corner to make sure I had figured out how to keep the top open. I burst out laughing and am forced to confess that I have dropped the tool in the dumpster. He has no problem reaching over the top and getting the tool. But, THEN I had to confess that I wanted those books in the back of the dumpster and am not leaving without them!  I am about in tears laughing at myself, he is good-natured and acts like it is totally normal while graciously trying to help drag the books to the front of the dumpster with, said tool. In his attempt to help the set ended up rolling over and even further back.  Knowing that I'm not going back inside without them he offers to go get a ladder so he can crawl inside. By now, I'm ALMOST embarrassed and don't want him to bother with a ladder. I feared it might bring too much attention to the situation! Using my "haymow skills"(yes, if only they could be added to a resume......"is capable of navigating a  wall of  precariously stacked hay bales." I may still be in a bit of denial about my current balance & spacial planning issues!!) I saw a bracket on the side of the dumpster that I could use to crawl in. Of course, the poor innocent bystander discouraged me from my own silliness, but I insisted so he stayed to witness it and make sure I got back out (I didn't realize a pick up was scheduled for that day!) I assured him I had "mad skills" and climbed in, grabbed my books and even got out without a mishap! So, that is how I got the complete set and still have no idea why they were thrown out after being donated to the library for the book sale that weekend.  I'm guessing their slightly yellowed pages don't sell well at a book sale, but they were good enough, for this crazy girl, to go "dumpster diving" for(*please note: this dumpster is a 'fiber' one and paper is all that is put in it, so I merely crawled over discarded books and recycled paper)!!!!!!!!!
Aren't they beautiful...hehehe
I mean really, the original box and all!!