Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kristin Lavransdatter

Medieval Norway. 
Historical fiction, particularly a love story or a story of motherhood.

Okay, here's the deal.  If you're interested in any two of the above three topics, you should enjoy the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy.

Me?  I didn't care diddly about medieval Norway.  But, hey, I learned something as I read through these books.  (Warning: it sure wasn't easy reading for me.  And to be fair, I started the series before my brain broke.  Even back in early spring it was a stretch.  For a while after my hospitalization, I considered reading Kristen to be therapy.)

I want so much to chatter on about the book.  Oh, uh, I mean, uh, critique it.  Yeah, that's it.  But I don't know how I can say anything without giving away spoilers.

My friend Polly would often recommend the Kristen series to people who were gathering a new reading list for themselves.  Last year, several other friends decided to read the series.  The books got a nearly-universal thumbs-up as more people recommended them enthusiastically.  And now I'm part of the crowd. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More Brain Recovery

Speech therapist and physical therapist told me last Friday that I had "met all the goals" which had been set for me in the hospital.  I'm still in need of plenty of work: strength, endurance, speed.  While my legs still look spindly, we can now feel that there's something in my calves besides bone and skin-cover.  Although I appear to be building up some small amount of muscle, I still have not regained any of the weight lost during the hospital stay.  (Now, the flabby stuff on my belly which disappeared?  It can just stay gone!   The muscles in my legs --puny though they were-- need to come back, please!)

I am allowed to do light housework now.  Problem is, I can only tackle one thing per day.  Today it was picking strawberries and lettuce from our small garden.  Yesterday it was out-patient therapy and a short trip to the grocery store.  Day before was church and a bit of time with the kids.  Tomorrow is laundry and therapy and evening church; this will definitely require in-between napping.  I don't know when the vacuum cleaner and I will ever become reacquainted.

I've been given permission to begin weaning myself off the nerve-pain medicine.  I think I'll be off that drug prior to my follow-up visit with the neurologist.  I've bent the ear of two doctors, two therapists, and one nurse.  Nobody will budge on beginning to wean off the anti-seizure drug.  Thing is, I am really getting annoyed by its side-effects.  The neurologist suggested that the side-effects should lessen as I get rid of the other med. 

My boss is still patiently waiting to hear from the neurologist about my follow-up visit.  Turns out my employer was required by law to hold my position for me for only two weeks.  They have been more than generous in finding substitutes for me on the work-schedule.  They do want me back if at all possible.  It's so awesome to have a good employer that acts according to the Table of Duties' "To Masters" section.

When I talked to the neurologist last time, I gained a little more hope for returning to driving.  He said it makes a difference that I had a "provoked seizure" instead of a seizure that my body came up with on its own.  I guess if you go poking around in somebody's brain, sending her into a seizure doesn't mean she's going to have her own seizures later. 

I'm beginning to see what I suspect are side effects of not drinking my kombucha.  Today I talked to our doctor about the chin rash and the lower back pain.  Nothing to do but treat the symptoms.  I keep thinking that some of these things would resolve themselves if I could get back to my kombucha and my supplements and off the drugs.  But I am, so far, managing to be an obedient patient.

Still exhausted.  The doctors and therapists insist that "When You're Doing NOTHING Is When Your Brain Is Healing.  So do a lot of nothing."  No fear.  I am still quite the lazy slug.  Naps are my friend.

Okay, I think that's pretty much all the news for those of you who are asking how I'm doing. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cause Your Face to Shine, and We Shall Be Saved

The Aaronic benediction --
the way God told His priests to put His name on the people --
the way God designed for His people to be blessed:
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious unto you.

Psalm 31, right in the midst of the psalmist's plea to be rescued from those who are persecuting him:
Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
save me for Your mercies' sake.

I don't know about anybody else, but I think it's really cool that David, in his grief and his weakness and his prayers, grabbed hold of the liturgy to speak it back to God. 

And I think the psalm sheds light on what we hear at the end of every Service.  The pastor's not just saying some nicey-nice words about happy stuff happening to us.  He's not wishing us some inspirational, [temporally] abundant-life kind of week.  No.  The words of the Benediction are about mercy and salvation and rescue and the resurrection of the body.  These words are about Jesus and His suffering and death for us.

PS: In case I forget later where the line from
the title was drawn, it's from Psalm 80.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"We Don't Like Show-offs Around Here"

I signed up for Curves primarily because Maggie needed exercise.  We went together.  It's not the toughest, most strenuous workout.  I try to get more out of the gym-time by pushing harder on the cardio segments, swinging my arms, jogging with my knees higher, or whatever can push me to maybe (?) break a sweat.  A few times, an elderly woman has said to me, "Hey, we don't like show-offs around here."

I don't know if it's the same woman who's said it several times, or different women.  I don't know if it's a weird, back-handed compliment or if it's a genuine complaint.  I don't know if it's a clumsy but well-meaning way to try to initiate conversation with a new-comer. 

I have no idea how to respond to that comment, so I usually don't.  I usually act as if I didn't hear.  But it always leave me in a quandary: Do I take a lazy approach to working out so that I don't offend those who cannot expend as much effort as I do used to?  Do I work as hard as before, and try to explain? 

Someone said it to me again last month.  One or two minutes before my brain aneurysm ruptured.

I've wondered several times what she thought when I collapsed and they called 911 and the paramedics rushed up with the ambulance.  Was she horrified at her comment?  Did she think, "Serves her right, the show-off"? 

Maybe God in His grace caused her to not even remember that she said it.