“And the good Lord willin’, things will work out.”

I can’t take credit for that line. It’s from one of my favorite movies, Bull Durham. It’s a bit of advice that catcher Crash Davis gives to newbie pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh for his interviews. It’s a line that comes back to me time and time again when I feel myself in a bind. I don’t think there is a single part of my life right now that isn’t causing me to grind my teeth. Even the job I love is on my last nerve this week because of the mishandling of some things by folks who should know better. I’m hoping it all works out, because I’m too damned tired to be thinking of moving on. I need to ride this pony into my personal sunset.

When the weather report came on this morning, they said that due to the orange air quality alert, folks with ill health and the elderly should limit outdoor activity today and tomorrow. I’ll admit it. I asked Siri what is considered elderly! Haha! (For the record, it’s 65 and older.) Yikes. I’m getting close to being considered “elderly,” and that doesn’t sit well with me. Many days I feel great. I might feel differently in 5 years, but for now, I think I’m doing okay.

And then I went out in that heat today and suddenly felt old. I had to take Adele to the groomer, where they fawned over her because they love her and it’s her last visit with them, and then I ran some errands. Had to pick up a new cat crate that has a little more room in it for Miss Lola (‘fraidy cat). I ended up with a 26″ dog travel crate, because I want Lola to feel stable and secure. After that, I went to the eye doctor to pick up the glasses they remade for me because they got them wrong the first time. Well, they got them wrong AGAIN! So we went through the details three or four times to ensure that it was right this time, and they’ll ship the glasses to me when they’re ready. Honestly, if I were staying up here, I’d be getting a different eye doctor. These folks just don’t know what they’re doing. After that, I got some fast food for lunch, because I was shaking from low blood sugar and being out in the heat.

Adele and I went home and had just finished lunch when Margaret called. She was on her way over to help me pack up the kitchen. We made short work of that and talked about the plans for the day of the move. We are also going to see Richard Thomas in To Kill a Mockingbird at the Kennedy Center on Sunday. My nice clothes are packed. Do I open up the wardrobe boxes and try to find something to wear or do I run over to the mall and pick up something simple? I’m still trying to decide.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be up with the roosters again, brewing some coffee, feeding the animals, and getting ready for another day of packing. As I said, the kitchen is about finished — just some last minute stuff to pack the morning of the move — and I have to take apart and clean the LitterRobot. I’ll bag that up and it will go on the moving truck. I still don’t know where I’ll put it in the new house, but I’ll find a place. The only errand I have tomorrow is a run to the vet’s office to get some gabapentin for Lola’s food the morning of the move. It should make her nice and sleepy for the trip, so maybe I won’t have to stop every couple of hours to clean out her crate! It’s an adventure around here right now, for sure.

I’ve chosen not to dive too deeply into the news right now, though I really want to unpack the happenings of the last week. I find that if I let myself drift too much into what the court has done, I’ll get depressed and despondent. Since cancer, I have chosen to limit my exposure to everything that’s happening in the world, because all I can do is to pray and to vote. I have suffered from clinical depression all my life, and I know now how to take care of myself. Nothing is worth losing my health (or my life) over. It isn’t that I put my head in the sand; it’s that I have to self-protect. Otherwise, I’m no good to myself or anyone else. Sure I’m disgusted by all of it, but I can’t dwell there. We wonder why people are losing their minds. I know what makes me lose mine. There is truly nothing like a life-threatening illness to make you take a good hard look at what you let into your one wild and precious life (nod to Mary Oliver there).

For my son and for myself, I need to be healthy, both mentally and physically, because I want to be around for awhile. I’m glad I lived through cancer. When I read the posts on the Facebook groups by the women who are just beginning their cancer battle, when I read about their fear and dread, their struggles, I send them love and light. I remember the night before I got the official diagnosis. I cried, hard. I was walking across the living room, talking to my son, and suddenly I yelled, “I know it’s cancer, and I don’t want this! I don’t think I can do chemo! I don’t want it!”

He got up and walked across the room to me, taking me into one of his giant hugs. He said, “You’re strong, Mom. You can do this. I know you can.”

I could, and I did. But I didn’t want to. There was a part of me that really wanted to just crawl into a hole, but I found the strength within me to face chemo and radiation and immunologics and surgery. I dealt with a medi-port and complications and burns. My skin will never be the same. I keep getting strange rashes and dry patches that I hope will go away some day. The skin over one eye (on the cancer side) is so dry that I often have to rub Aquaphor or Neosporin into the skin to give it some deep moisture and healing. Sometimes the arm on the cancer side gets a weird stripy rash that will just appear overnight and last for weeks. I have nerve pain in weird places, mostly on the non-cancer side, right where the beam of radiation would have exited. There’s nothing they can do for me. I have pain medication, but it only does so much. Mostly I have to find that same strength and gumption that got me through cancer and use that to endure the aftermath. I guess the good Lord was willin’, because things have worked out.

I hope the women who are enduring this after me continue to benefit from all the advances in medicine, so maybe they won’t have all the side effects and aftereffects. I want that for them.

One of the things getting me through the hubbub of the move is music. Lately it has been the B-52s. One of my favorite songs is Private Idaho. Underground like a wild potato. Great lyrics and fun riffs. I sing in the shower to Love Shack and Roam. No one can hear me but me, and that’s fine. It’s probably better that way! But you can listen to the better version here!

It’s off to bed with me. Tomorrow I’ll pack what’s left to pack in the closets and maybe visit with my neighbors a little. This has all been a challenge, but … I’m up for it. I’m doing okay. Hope you are, too.

Namaste, Jude

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About Me

A writer and solitary soul in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

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