New shoes….new parts

https://youtu.be/hmbUNF1Q4R8

The other day, I was going through paperwork as I listened to music. About halfway through the playlist, Paolo Nutini’s “New Shoes” came on. Suddenly, I was brought back to the first time I heard that song.

It was Spring of 2007. I’d finally consented to having the medtronic pump trial. It was a long week, attached to an IV of morphine, to see if it would be beneficial to me.

Each day, the team came in to assess how well I handled the medication. By all standards, their early efforts were a success. It was encouraging, radical (for me), and terrifying.

My roommate was a really angry woman. Every day, around the clock, she’d be arguing with someone over the phone. Occasionally, it would carry over with her visitors. She bickered with the nurses. Needless to say, I did my best not to engage. She’d lost her right arm in an accident and had a really high tech artificial limb in its place. She was in a lot of pain. That was about the only thing I could be certain of, based off of the dozens of shouting matches I witnessed.

One night, really late, I had my earbuds hooked up to the tv system, trying to drown out the arguing. I’m not certain what channel it was on, but they were playing new music videos. And onto my screen came Paolo Nutini. It had been an especially rough day. It was the first time my daughter, then 6, had seen me during this hospital stay. As much as we reassured her, she was not having it. Not only was I not home, I was also hooked up to what might as well have been 100 wires. A heavy IV pole with the large machine attached, and then attached via tubing to me. This was a nooooooo.

I remember her asking me if the lady next to me had a robot arm. To be honest, three days in, I hadn’t even met the woman, only her scowl as she stared at me when passing the foot of my bed. She had the window side and always had a robe on en route to the restroom. Somehow, my gal had seen her arm. Not only that, my roommate had smiled and waved, only to her. Prompting a friendly response. But there were questions.

It was during that night, after I listened to the song and finally cheered up, that I met my roommate. Marta was in her fifties, a single mom who had “stupid, adult kids.” She was at a frightening impasse. Trying to adjust to life with a new arm, potentially losing her job, trying to force her clan to grow up. I heard constant talk about the “mooching” and “draining” people in her life.

She appeared around the curtain, kind of suddenly, and said, “you’re lucky, you have a nice family.” I thanked her. “Was that your baby here today? She didn’t look too happy.” I told her about my gal, that she wasn’t happy. She’d asked me to come home. It broke my heart.

We talked for a while, about family and our medical situations. Each of us in our beds, with the curtains drawn. Right before she went to sleep, she said, “See? Here I thought you were like a goody two shoes, with a perfect life. But you wouldn’t be here if that was true.” Nope, I wouldn’t. (But thank you for that kind, personal analysis. LOL).

It would take me another three years before I’d consent to getting the pump implanted. Fear and uncertainty kept me from moving forward. I dipped my toes in the deep end and believed I couldn’t resurface. It wasn’t true, but it was my truth.

Sometimes I think about that decision, the foolishness of it. But when control over whether or not you have a major surgery is the only control you have? You HOLD it, for as long as you can – at least I did. In the end, the control wasn’t mine anyway. When they did the prescans, etc., they discovered a congenital defect in my spine. This further delayed the implant. Talk about major surgery! Breaking my back to fix my back. (Gag…. for real).

That decision was out of my shaky hands because my docs felt that one more disc slip and I could end up paralyzed. My back would lock – completely taking my legs out from under me. The pain and numbness were so intense, I had to rely on my cane to keep me upright more than once. So, enter the hardware.

But on that night – the night of Paolo and Marta and fear – I remember thinking how happy he looked in that video. How great it would be if life allowed us to simply change shoes for radical joy. Can you imagine? Instead, Marta got a new arm and I was wrapped up in a morphine cloud. Neither of us was particularly happy.

The song transported me out of the hospital room though. This was pre-iTunes. When the video came on, the print in the corner of the screen was so small that I couldn’t even see who the singer was. I’d have to track the album down, once I was discharged.

I did. And, lucky for me, Paolo was coming to NYC in July, to appear on the Today Show. Since it was summer, my gal came with me. She brought a book to read while we waited for him, sitting on the curb in Rockefeller Plaza. When he finished his set, he greeted all of the fans. But he beelined for us because of her! He shouted over the screaming, “My youngest fan!” He signed autographs, took pictures and chatted with everyone. I was so happy.

Thinking back, it was definitely a simpler time. Being in NY Presbyterian for a week, trying to move forward but too scared to really allow progress. Shutting it all down until 2010… I believed I was doing the right thing. Maybe it was.

Nothing is ever as uncomplicated as we’d like. At this point, so many years later, I believe my medical life has played out exactly as it had to. What else can I do? I’m not big on regret. It serves no purpose. So, I believe I’ve played this out as I was meant to.

If only the act of new shoes could flip the life switch in a positive direction. If only a new arm, a repaired spine, or medtronic pump could guarantee better things, for everyone. If only. The pump saved me. Even now, two years without it, I believe it. I hope Marta was saved.

Until an actual life-switch-in-the-right-direction becomes a reality, I’ll simply say that I wish you easy choices, no pain and calm.❤️

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

P.S. take a listen to his whole album, “These Streets.” It’s still a favorite.😉

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Revisiting an old friend after the technology fails you…..

This is a repost from this week in October 2016. A technical glitch took down my blog. And, of course, I cannot seem to recover it. 🤦🏻‍♀️

But it’s a valid and current issue. Wishing each of you a great, glitchless week. 😉

Beck❤️

Managing the “stuckness”…

Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

I was talking to a friend, describing my odd lack of enthusiasm for rejoining the human race,  with regards to school and work.  She listened quietly then said, “So you’re stuck.”

I sat looking at her for a minute, then said, “Yeah, I’m stuck.” It made total sense and yet it took a completely separate person to declare the obvious.  I am stuck.  It would be silly not to acknowledge that all of us get stuck from time to time, caught up in the difficulties and chaos of these lives we live. And I’ve been living mine with little to no sleep for a very long time.

I’ve never been much of a sleeper, at least not in my adult life.  If I think hard enough, I have vague memories of long sleeps. Those glorious, unwaking hours of childhood and teenaged years.  When did that change for me?  Not a clue.  I can honestly say that in the last five years, if I averaged two or three hours per night, I considered it a good night’s rest.  But it’s not!

All of this contributes big time to the stuckness.  Stress does too.  Since my surgery, I’ve contended with complications and new medical issues that I didn’t anticipate.  And thus, here I am, physically moving forward while emotionally putting blockades in front of the door marked “my future.”

In that same conversation, I mentioned returning to school tonight. So by the time this is posted, I’ll have been to my first class of the fall semester. When I finally registered, I chose dates that seemed far off.  And now it’s here!  The first night of the first class. That’s the funny thing about the future, it’s always coming at us.

We’re always caught up between moving forward and the stuckness of living as “sick” people.  Stuck waiting for doctor’s appointments; for our medications to work as they’re supposed to; for comfort when none can be had; for our pain to stop, or at least ebb.  We are perpetually in the stuckness.  All while being propelled toward tomorrow and the joys of the unknown.  It’s the same for the generally healthy too.  That’s life.

I found myself stalling this afternoon. Checking emails for the hundredth time. Looking in on my RSD families, making sure everyone is alright.  All of this as I nervously watched the clock. My class starts at 6:30. What time did I have to leave to get there on time? Carefully plotting out the steps to the train, which direction I would take from my stop to the school. Yes, that’s where my mind was. It’s a subway trip I’ve done countless times over the course of my life.  But I wasn’t as acutely aware of the stuckness then.  Now I am. Now I’m semi-frozen to the place that I stand.  But I can’t be, not really.

I mentioned to that same friend that during my thirteen years of having RSD, and the five before that having lupus, I’d come to expect nothing.  Complications happened. Surgery after procedure after surgery.  It was a receiving line of bad news, more often than not.  So I learned to just get up every day, very often with help from my husband.  He’d have to come around to my side of the bed and practically lift me to sitting. It was awful! But I’d get up, one way or another, focus on getting my daughter to school, then rest. Later on, I’d pick her up.

We’d come home and have a snack, work on homework.  All that time, I had myself running on the schedule of “one more thing and then I can rest. One more thing and then I can rest.” During those years, I genuinely thought I was hiding my sickness from my daughter.  There was no way to miss it though!  She was caught up in my illogical regimen.  My stuckness became her stuckness.

Although I’ve always maintained a positive attitude, to the point that most people had no idea I had any medical issues at all, internally I came to expect the worst when it came to my health.  I made no plans beyond caring for my daughter each day, basically had no expectations, or so I thought. My friend pointed out, by expecting nothing good, I was truly always bracing for the bad. The years went on, my baby girl was growing up! I was holding steady at my medication doses, having procedures when needed, usually every 4-6 weeks. Those were painful years.  I didn’t think I’d have a future any different from my present at that time.  I was stuck, and very wrong.

I talk every day to members of my two RSD families about what the day to day of this disease is like.  It’s complete crap, to be honest.  I’ve come to know some folks that were just diagnosed with it and I genuinely feel for them.  There’s no rule book that RSD follows.  It’s all up in the air.  What meds will be prescribed? Will they work? Will I need procedures or scary sounding devices? Will this pain stop? Will RSD spread to my healthy limbs? If my today self met my 13 years ago self, I could honestly answer those questions:  You’ll work up to taking at least 12 pills a day at some point and briefly (6 years) require an internal morphine pump.  Some will work, some won’t.  You’ll end up finding out you’re allergic to a bunch too. Yes, you’ll have somewhere between 80-90 small procedures to major surgeries. No, the pain won’t stop.  That’s a tough one to accept. Some days will be better than others. Yes, it will spread.  It’ll be in your left foot for a while.  Then it will spread to your left arm.

Then the right foot, leg and arm.  In there somewhere, it’ll affect your face.  Oh and your back. Somewhere in that timeline, you’ll need spinal surgery to correct your lifelong back pain. That’s before they’ll let you get that pump. Also, along the way, you’ll develop spasms in your hands and feet.  There are other things, but that seems like an awful lot to digest. I know that my younger self would have launched straight into denial, hearing all of that. But what good would it do?  Life happens whether we’re ready or not. Whether we are stuck or not.

Fast forward to now. Ok.  Here I am, mired in the stuckness up to my eyes, and ultimately miserable.  I allowed myself to hope, it didn’t work out exactly the way I planned.  But, as my very wise friend pointed out to me, I’ve been a chameleon all these years, recreating myself based on my health at the time.  I’m a survivor, someone who lives with the overall ethic that the “show must go on!”  She’s right.

I had two options: I could unenroll from the class and cut my losses OR I could get on that train, stuckness or not, and go to that class.  I could worry about my physical ability to sew OR I could try to relearn a skill I’ve had all my life, slowly and with breaks.  To be continued…….

Friday, 12:45 p.m. (I stopped on Thursday because I wanted to see how the class went before completing this post)

I left for the city.  Read a magazine on the way.  After arriving at my stop, I decided to venture up a different street since the rush hour crowds were thick with people trying to get home. After stopping in the main office to update my semester sticker, (so far, so good), I went to the bookstore to buy the text that had just been added to the course description, (No such luck!). The kind saleswoman said she didn’t even know about the out-of-print books being needed. (Ok, that one’s out of my control). The classroom is in a new building for me. Making my way up to it, I hear voices. After rounding the corner, I see a familiar face. One of the women from my last summer

class is in this one too!  That’s a lucky break!

My professor is like that cool older friend we had as kids who knows a lot about a lot. She’s an encyclopedia of costume/fashion/film, and probably a hundred other things too.  Laid back and funny as well.  This will be ok.

As I make my way back toward the subway, through still bustling streets, I find myself smiling.  It’s involuntary. Stuckness or not, I made a plan that involves becoming a wardrobe technician.  And, stuckness or not, I plan to follow through on it.

How will you break through your stuckness? Make it good, fun, light.  Make it count.  Finish p/t even if it hurts; take your meds on time; try to break bad sleeping habits, (that one’s for me).  On the light side, watch a movie that helps distract you from the pain.  Share a laugh with someone who brings you joy.  Read a book or listen to your favorite music.  Every time we do those things, the stuckness gets weaker.

And after all, the show must go on.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

Good visits, bad news…. and revisiting “the last resort.”

I know I should have posted a more public update about my foot, right after the doctor’s appointment. Or at least a “What The Heck Happened at The Doctor’s Office.” But, honestly, I was just out of energy.

To start, the podiatrist was fantastic. The entire staff was friendly and no one looked at my medical story like it would be a problem. That was a great start to the visit.

After the nurse brought me to the exam room, I only waited about two minutes. When the doctor came in, he immediately started to apologize for everything I’ve been through. He said, “I read your medical history and can’t imagine how many doctors, tests and procedures got you to this point. I’m only sorry you are at this point.” Wow. Okay. Second good thing, he seemed to understand RSD. Or at least that my medical situation is genuine.

Typing a few keys, he then brought up my x-rays. I explained what symptoms I’ve had, how my doc told me the images show arthritis. That’s when he said, “Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. There’s arthritis, but there’s more to it.”

Image one:

I have a disorder called hallux rigidus in the joint between my big toe and the long bone in my foot. That bone pointed up like a horn is not normal. It should be smooth. The doc said if the image had been taken with my foot flat on the floor, the bone it’s connected to would also appear pointed. They’re both the same shape and locked against each other, limiting my toe’s range of motion. It won’t get better. And – just to add to the fun – I have a heel spur too. I suspected that, with some of the other pain I’ve had. That’s a feeling I know all too well.

Image two:

So, then he moved on to the other issues. I have extra bone in that same area. Calcifications that come from degenerative arthritis. Those two little round shapes are supposed to be there, they’re the sesamoid bones. It’s the weirdness of the the long bone (metatarsal). The head shouldn’t be so wide and oddly shaped.

Images three & four:

The doc knows I’m not a good surgical candidate, so we’re going to approach this from another direction. Orthotics. Yay. But the other options involve removing bone and shaving off the sharp edges. No thanks.

At this point, they have to get insurance approval for the orthotics. He’s hoping they can make one that takes the pressure off of the damaged part, putting the outer edge of my foot to better use. It won’t be comfortable, but it sure beats surgery. He said that I may not have a choice down the road. But that it would be the “last resort.”

Well, I’ve heard that before and it took years to get there. It doesn’t scare me the way it used to. I know more now. I’ve been through too much. Older and wiser. Well, older anyway. LOL.

After he used the words “last resort,” I actually laughed a little and explained my history with that phrase. He’s hoping we don’t get there for a long time. The orthotics, if approved, will be a good bandaid. Like the knee injections. And physical therapy for my back. My body is a mess. (As I typed that, it made me laugh. Perhaps it shouldn’t. But I have no misguided notions about things getting “better”).

So that’s where we are. We do what can, when we can, with whatever aid we can. That’s mostly how I get through the day to day. I use the energy I have to do what absolutely can’t wait. Everything else will have to keep. In the meantime, I use lidocaine ointment on the days when my foot pain is too much to manage.

In other news, my busy season has begun. I was hired to take on the school musical, I’m prepping for the holiday show AND a major event in June. See? Life goes on. Jammed up bones won’t stop me!

Wishing each of you the strength and courage to keep going, even when life wants to block you. ❤️

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

The quest for what’s ours and the hope for hopefully……

Well, as I write this, I’m embarking on what should be a simple task, but probably won’t be: getting a copy of my x-ray report.

Yes, MY x-ray. But, as the healthcare system has shown time and again, we have no rights. Or limited rights, despite the fact that our names are on the paperwork, our private information is in the file and OUR BODIES were imaged/poked/prodded, etc.

Let me back up for a moment. On Wednesday, I went to see my doc for my regular monthly follow up. After examining my right foot, he sent me for an x-ray. That was easy enough. By the time I got home, he called and left me a garbled message with the result. I returned the call, but was only able to leave a message. Back and forth, blah blah blah. In any event, it sounds like I have arthritis in one toe. 🤦🏻‍♀️

For crying out loud.

Anyway, I’ve had to use lidocaine ointment every night to help with the pain. Last night was the first time in a week that I didn’t use it, but only because my skin was irritated. Now I’m really hoping that I haven’t developed a lidocaine allergy or something. That would figure. 🤦🏻‍♀️

So my goal today is to get that report. I just called the office and the young lady who answered sounded like I’d asked her for her bank card. Whatever. It’s my report. If I have to play that muffled voicemail to prove that my doc DID call with the result, I will. She grudgingly said, “Just go to the front desk.” Okaaaay, I will.

To be continued…….

Destination #1 – the radiology office

At 12:15, I arrived at the office where the x-ray was taken. The staff at the front desk was not only friendly, they went out of their way to help me. One printed the report while their colleague made a disc of the films. I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, I’m always impressed by the professionalism and kindness of the folks working in this office. They treat people with dignity and respect, at least they have in all of the times I’ve been there.

Success!!

So, technically, I didn’t need to go to my doc’s office to get the report. But, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to find out what would happen.

Destination #2 – pain management office

At around 1:00, I approached the receptionist at the desk. Identifying myself and letting her know that I’d called ahead, I stated that I was there to pick up my test result.

There was a lot of clicking on her keyboard and respelling of my name, she asked me to have a seat and that someone would be with me shortly. No one needed to be with me! I just needed the paper printed and I’d be on my way. Ugh. (Why did I do this to myself?)

She picked up the phone and called someone. Then disappeared into a back office. This was turning into a giant event, all for a printout that I didn’t even need – but was my RIGHT to obtain.

A few minutes later, I hear, “Ms…… Ms. Mc(complete destruction of my last name)? Can you fill this out for me?”

“What am I filling out?”

“A record release form.”

Hold up. I had to fill out a record release form to release a record to MYSELF? Apparently. So, I obediently signed the paper, adding my name and address. Then I filled out the recipient of my record… me. If the waiting room hadn’t been so crowded, I’d have taken a picture of it. While I appreciate their sense of privacy and respecting patients’ rights, it all just seemed silly.

After bringing my record release to the back office, she returned with the result. All of this for a paper I already had in my purse. Why? Why?!? I guess I had to prove a point.

Success, with a side order of ludicrous.

How often are we made to feel like we’re making ridiculous and criminal demands by asking for copies of our test results, medical notes, surgical information? Too often! These papers are about US! I don’t care if Dr. Bigshot doesn’t want his notes copied. He wrote those notes about ME and my weird medical stuff. I’m entitled to get them. If he doesn’t want things put out there, then he shouldn’t put them in writing. (Sorry, that was a rant addressing a records request made about 10 years ago to an egomaniacal surgeon). But, bottom line, these are our records.

While I waited for the disc to be made, I sat and read the result. Thankfully, there are no fractures or dislocations in my foot. But there is “moderate osteoarthrosis of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint including between the head of the metatarsal and sesamoid bones. Additional mild midfoot osteoarthrosis is noted. There are plantar and Achilles calcaneal enthesopathic changes.” What the what?!? 😳

Bottom line: I have arthritis in the bones making up my big toe. And there are some trouble spots elsewhere in the foot. That explains the pain. (See pictures).

That was my adventure for the day. Tomorrow, I’ll meet the new podiatrist and he’ll hopefully explain what all of this means long term. Hopefully, he’ll understand RSD. Hopefully, he’ll be nice. That’s a lot of hopefully. But what else do we have in these situations?

Wishing each of you a good week. Hopefully, it will be peaceful, with low/no pain and low/no aggravation.

We can hope, right?

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

Jury duty….

It happened.

I worried that, eventually, I’d get a jury summons. Sure enough, it came last spring, saying I was to appear the day before our school musical. Needless to say, I postponed. At the time, September 10th (my first choice) seemed a million months away. The alternate date, September 17th, seemed even farther. Then it completely fell away from the “act now!” part of my brain.

About three weeks ago, I received the red-trimmed, folded summons announcing my appearance date of 9/17/18. Ugh. It isn’t the act of serving. That’s not the issue at all. It was having to serve this week. When it arrived, I’d already scheduled my pain management follow up appointment. And all of you taking medications that only get filled once every 4-6 weeks know that you CANNOT change those appts without careful consideration and serious damage control planning. Counting out my meds, I realized that changing the date could mean I’d run out. Not an option.

So, gambling BIG time, I left everything alone – praying I’d be dismissed this afternoon. Thankfully, I was. 🎉 Wednesday’s follow up is safe. Phew!

As I sat in the large jury room, I remembered my last summons. This was back in the constant procedures, walking with a cane days. I was in so much pain, sitting for any length of time was difficult. So my doc wrote a note to excuse me. But when I got there, I had to go before the judge and both lawyers. I basically had to do a presentation about RSD, arachnoiditis and my back issues. To their credit, they asked a TON of questions. The judge actually wrote down a lot of what I said, and skimmed through my medical reports (brought just in case they needed documentation). At the end, everyone agreed I’d met my “burden of proof” and was excused.

It was so scary but empowering at the same time. Whenever I have the opportunity to explain my medical situation, I do my best to convey that not all pain patients look the same. We don’t all “look sick.” We may each receive a different diagnosis, but our pain is real and deserves to be treated. All of us deserve respect and dignity. And, in that terrifying, hopefully-as-close-as-I’ll-ever-get-to-“Law and Order” moment, they gave me both.

Today, I was two random people away from getting picked for a civil case, but it was not to be. I’d like to thank the universe for making that possible! Now, I can see my doc on Wednesday and talk about all things naltrexone and my getting-worse-by-the-day right foot pain. 😬

We’ll see what happens and I’ll be sure to update everyone in the next, “What the heck happened at the doctor’s office,” segment. 😉

Wishing each of you comfort, calm and safety. Especially those of you facing extreme weather. You’re all in my thoughts.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

A week of weak….. the rage of fighting the good fight….

Consistent laryngitis. A monster headache. Swollen knuckles. Well, that was my week. I should end the blog right there, LOL.

Seriously though. I’ve never had laryngitis has often as I have this summer. When we left to move our gal to school, my throat actually hurt. Tonsils were swollen and red. But with salt and warm water gargling, it eased up. The crackling voice continued, much to my annoyance. It’s been on and off this week. Now it’s back on. Is it an allergy thing? Anyone with insight into that, please share!

Since we’ve been home again, I feel like I’m in a sort of weird sleep state during my awake hours. It would be great if I actually could sleep at a normal time, but…. I think that’s part of adjusting my life. For the past 18 years, I’ve been ready for all parenting scenarios. Homework, meals, illnesses, etc. Now that our gal is away at school, I’m on smartphone standby – available at a moment’s notice to support/listen/whatever’s needed. It’s just weird to remember that she’s not in her room, that I don’t have to be home to manage the day. Very weird!

But I must move on to another topic. Recently, I’ve heard from a couple of folks that their pain med prescriptions were cut way back. They spoke with their docs, to no avail. As time passed, they’ve heard of others in the same predicament. Here’s the thing, they were seeing different docs but in the same hospital system. Rumor was that one practice was under investigation, making ALL of the other docs skittish. Suddenly no one wants to look like they’re overprescribing pain medications. But patients are suffering. The consequences are devastating and no one with the power to change that seems to care. That may not be the case, but it sure looks that way. Like they’ve been warned behind the scenes to stop the scripts.

And then there’s the flip side of this. Within a hospital system, a lot of docs are pulling back on how many opioids they’re willing to prescribe. But then you have an ethical, hard-working doc who doesn’t want their patients to suffer. Well, word gets out that this doc listens and treats pain appropriately and everyone wants an appointment. To the powers that be, it could look like this one doc is the candy man – handing out scripts like Oprah giving out cars. That’s obviously not the case, but that doc could soon be under investigation. This is a mess. A vicious cycle where the only losers – regardless of how the game is played – are the patients.

How do we fight this? Unmanaged pain puts people into desperate situations. THIS is why people do extreme things for relief – things they’d never do otherwise. THIS is why people die.

We’ve all met the crap docs, docs who should give back the white coat and just walk away. Now.

But we’ve also met the good ones, docs who listen and believe you. The ones who don’t automatically recommend the most extreme, expensive thing on the menu for you to try. They don’t deserve to lose their licenses. But we don’t deserve a life sentence of uncontrollable pain.

Something’s got to give. And it sure as heck won’t be us.

Wishing you all of strength to keep fighting the good fight.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

Thank you Ziploc… numbness…. and on we go.

Hello friends!

We completed our task: moving our freshman daughter into her college dorm. It was not the absolute worst day of my life, as I’d predicted, but only because she seems so happy. That was a HUGE relief.

I was so focused on helping her rearrange furniture and setting up the room, that I forgot to fall apart! LOL. Even afterward, as we drove away, my husband and I were just tired and calm. She’s met a nice group of kids. She’s ok.

While packing, we tried to stay as organized as possible. In the end, it was vacuum storage bags that saved us. (See picture below).

We ended up using SIX of those magical bags and still had room for her full-size keyboard, the keyboard stand, her stereo, guitalele and other necessities. (She has her own room, so she could bring all of those items!). It was incredible. I just suggested using the bags on a whim, thinking that they’d be great for bed linens and towels. But they made packing all of her clothes very simple. Thank you, Ziploc!

So we survived the trip to the school, moved her in and participated in the family festivities. All the while, I kept thinking, “this is when I’ll lose it. This is when I’ll fall apart crying.” But it never happened. And that’s amazing. It was such an overwhelmingly positive few days, I cannot thank her school enough for that.

With the family events over and the freshmen moved in, it was time to go. We took our gal out for dinner on Friday evening, hugged her a lot and watched as she walked back to her room, smiling all the way. She’s ok.

As my husband and I traveled home, we kept saying how weird it was leaving NYC with the car overflowing. Now, the car was practically empty! It was strange. It’ll be an adjustment on our part. But all good.

Physically, it occurred to me that I’ve been numb. The lack of sleep crashed over me on Friday night. Saturday dawned and my husband could not wake me up. Maybe it was the country air, maybe the months of anticipation – I don’t know for sure. But I was out cold.

We arrived home on Sunday afternoon. I’ve busied myself with washing dishes, running a few errands. Resting a bit. I’m still numb. And still exhausted. What else is new?

We’ve spoken to her every day, either in an actual call or by text. She usually gives us a quick rundown of her day and the friends she spent it with. She sounds great.

I’m still regrouping from the week-long road trip. My feet have been burning a bit. My skin is really irritated too. But I think that’s something allergy related. My husband suggested that I take Claritin and it really helped. I just have to remember to take it, LOL. This week, I’ll call the Colorado pharmacy to order my new prescription for low-dose naltrexone. And I’m seeing my regular doc soon, so I can get his take on it.

Ah, and the most exciting news of all, 😒. Towards the end of the last year, I got a jury duty questionnaire. Then I got called, ugh. But the day they wanted me was the day that our school musical was starting, so that was a big noooooooo. Anyway, I picked two dates in September, knowing that our gal would be all set by then. Well, I came back to an official call for 9/17. I haven’t been called for jury duty in years. Until now. We’ll see how it goes.

Wishing each of you a calm, painless week. Knowing my gal is ok is everything. Because of that, I know I’ll be ok too. ❤️

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️