29 June 2011

Summer in June

Every day on the way home
my dead trees stand at the edge
of the marsh shocking
as nude bathers on a clothed beach

26 June 2011

what we learned (from the EMG)

It is perhaps not surprising that when one runs electric current through nerves that are working just fine, thank you, (and sometimes overtime) said nerves twitch and transmit more pain signals for days.  (Yes, that's my excuse for nearly a week's absence of posting.)  By now, the purple marker dots where the nerves run have faded, but the bruises are still here.

So more physical therapy ahead if this new, aggressive doctor can convince OWCP that his new diagnosis is related to the original injury all those years ago.  I wish him good luck in his quest, and I really hope he has better luck than any before him.  If he does, maybe I can think that the reason why my ideal job fell through so devastatingly is because I need to be here working with this doctor because maybe he can help heal me as no one else has been able to so far. 

I seem to look for meaning in everything that happens to me once I get over the initial knee-jerk reaction, but I have such a short attention span, I usually forget before I can be disappointed if my wished for meaning doesn't come.

In other news, it's summer, and the sun came out today, so I lay outside and basked and read a book and forgot my watch, and it was a really good book, so pardon me while I go get some more aloe . . .

the tyranny of cottonwoods in June

ponds full of summer scum
puddles fuzzed with cottonwood fluff
handfulls of white down collect in every corner

18 June 2011

How not to fall in love with a house

How not to fall in love with a house
  • Don't meet the neighbors.
  • Don't measure anything. 
  • Don't think about exactly how things will best fit.
  • Don't like the closets.
  • Don't think about how you'll clean it.
  • Don't think about how lovely the tree in the front yard will smell in spring.
  • Don't notice all the places you could walk to (book store, another book store, library, Panera, Home Depot, park, every restaurant I ever go to).
  • Don't notice how quiet it is. 
  • Don't notice the pond and the turtles and the ducks.
  • Don't think about what life will be like when you live there and not where you live right now.
  • Just don't.

14 June 2011

Hope sproinging eternal in rooms with perceived low ceilings

The sleep doctor has spoken.  I still have some work to do with being disciplined enough to get up when I'm supposed to no matter how tired I am (because I will always be tired, and lying in bed NOT sleeping for an extra half hour will not make me any less tired).  However, if I can't get this pain and nerve weirdness under control, it will keep waking me up a lot every night and interrupting what sleep I can get.

So I went to see a pain specialist.  He is very aggressive, has an idea for a diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOC), which, like chronic pain, is kind of a divisive diagnosis in the medical community.  Some believe it's real; others don't.  Of course I couldn't have a single, definitive, concrete diagnosis!  What were you thinking, you silly person?

Next up is a fight with OWCP about another EMG.  EMGs are extremely unpleasant.  Seriously unpleasant.  And he wants me to have it done for both arms, something that should have been done the first time to establish a baseline.  (Now that my right hand is falling apart, it might actually show something worse than the left, so I think it will not be useful as a baseline.)  Oddly enough, the MRI was approved right away; it's kind of eerie, actually.  I'm not sure what to do with this unexpected lack of a predictable road block.  The new doc seems unfamiliar with OWCP, which could be a good thing.  He might not know what can and can't be done, so he might be able to accomplish impossible things through sheer force of will.  More power to him for having the forward momentum going! 

If it gets approved, I'll have to schedule it late in the day because I will not be able to go back to work after I have it done.  I won't even be able to drive myself back home to curl up into a twitching ball for the rest of the day. 

At least my arms are in really bad shape right now.  (Your prayers for the bad spell's continuation until after the test would be appreciated, oddly enough . . .)  If something's torn or whatever in the nerves, it might be more likely to show up now, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for the simple result.  If it's not TOC, I'm sure this doctor will keep looking.  He wants a real, solid diagnosis; he seems to think I really want one, too.  Sometimes I think it would be good to have one: when someone asks, I could tell them something more concrete than "chronic pain and probably something tiny and irreparable torn in my wrist."  Maybe I would care more about a diagnosis if I expected it to be something curable, but I don't.    The good thing about low expectations is that you often get pleasant surprises . . .

I also don't expect OWCP to accept any new diagnosis without a fight.  The good news is that, as I mentioned earlier, this new doctor seems like he'd be willing to wade into the fray and give them a fight.

11 June 2011

Housing for the discouraged

So the buying a house thing also fell through.  I got tired of dealing with banks that were theoretically desperate to get rid of properties but unwilling to do so in practice.  I took another look through my last apartment search for something
  • big enough to fit the books I'm currently storing offsite
  • that had wood floors to help reduce my allergies
  • that was cheaper than what I pay now (I have my rent and the monthly fee for the storage closet where I store all my books)
Surprisingly, I actually found something.

What I'm looking forward to
  • more room for my kitchen magnets (not really)
  • a freezer (frozen vegetables!)
  • room for all my Minnesota books
  • 670 square feet
  • not being over the entrance (no more feeling every entry and exit, no more smoking below my window!)
  • Open south windows
  • a bedroom I can seal off to allergy-proof it
  • less claustrophobia for those who visit
  • not living next to the stairs (no more hearing all those giants clomping up and down all the time)
  • lower rent
  • not being right next to a highway (no more listening to the drag racers!)
  • quieter living (stern, tough grandmother manages the place, and she doesn't tolerate noise)
  • no bugs (apparently, they don't like going much higher than the first floor)
  • playing with where to put stuff for maximum efficiency in use of storage space (graph paper!)
What I'm not looking forward to
  • no microwave (for the 4 times a year I kind of need one)
  • no dishwasher (good thing I don't use very many dishes)
  • no disposal (does anyone have any experience with how to keep the sink from getting clogged?)
  • 2 flights of stairs
  • coin laundry
  • coin laundry two flights of stairs away
  • trying to find a cheap bed
  • packing for the move
  • the move
  • the pain
  • worrying about other people getting hurt during the move
  • the need to get a portable AC for the bedroom since the AC is in the living room
  • manual garage door
  • coordinating the move, so it's as cheap as possible
Any advice on how to make this all as painless as possible?

07 June 2011


this is how spring kills:
branch dangles broken beneath
weight of blooming flowers


right now
this minute

under that
crabapple tree
in bloom

the scent
of heaven

stronger than
the stink
of the city
around you