Sightline

Sightline is a common term in theater and art. It is also a buzzword in T.V. home renovation shows. As in, we must have a better line of sight to see the kids at all times. I understand the concept. And I can see the value at certain times.

Yesterday, I experienced a surprise sightline. One I never even considered. But once discovered, oh, so needed.

Due to COVID restrictions, we waited at an outside seating area during Dad’s heart surgery. Mom was the only one allowed in the surgery waiting room. Not complaining. We understand and appreciate the precautions.

However, the thought of her waiting alone…well, that was a hard one.

Of course, we could text and call, but nothing is the same as seeing, something we have all experienced during this time of the pandemic.

So, Mom calls:

“Are you still outside?”
“Yes.”
“I think I see you. Stand up and walk a few tables over.”
I walk.
“Yes! There you are!”
“Where are you?”
“Turn around and face the building. Now, look up toward the second floor.”

And there she stood, in the corner of the waiting room. We waved and laughed. It was a sweet turn of events.

A perfect sightline through several layers of glass and steel. An instant sense of joy and relief. A few moments of light-heartedness erasing the distance.

Update:

Dad’s surgery went very well! He is currently in ICU. This morning, he was sitting up in a chair. ❤ Only Mom can visit, but I was able to talk to him on the phone. So good to hear his voice.

Bird Songs

Sleep came easy
Pleasant surprise
I thought surely
It would evade
Instead, it was
Baby sleep sound
I woke to a
Familiar song
But my head
Was still dreamy
Wait-was it a dream?
No-a chorus
Of birds playing
In the morning sun
Their conversation lively
And filled with hope
For the day ahead
I listened as they sang
Outside my window-
A window in the house
Where I grew up-
Now I sit outside
A hospital in the town
Where I grew up-
I sit and wait
Thankful for sunshine
And blue skies
Thankful for prayers
And loving hearts-
Thankful for the birds
I hear singing even now
In this space between
Worry and peace

What is one word almost always associated with hospitals? Waiting! 😉 But that is ok. My dad is not the only person in need of surgery today. We are not the only families waiting outside during these unusual times. Dad and mom are patiently waiting in his room, updating us with texts. We are enjoying the sunshine. I continue to write in between conversations. It is one thing that helps keep my heart calm. ❤

Gone Fishing

I have not thought about going fishing in a long time. As a child, I used to go all the time with my Dad. He still calls me his fishing buddy.

Today, all I could think about is the chance to go fishing again with my Dad.

He is currently in the hospital. A test this morning revealed an artery blockage and heart valve problem. So, he will be having open-heart surgery on Friday morning.

I am thankful for a job where I was able to just pick up and go. I needed to be with my parents. And when I called to tell Mom we were on our way, what do you think my Dad mentioned? Oh, yes-his fishing buddy.

I saw him this afternoon. He looks good. We talked about what was happening and how much better he will feel after recovery. And I told him, maybe this summer we would have to go fishing.

Simply Powerful

Power is often
Found in the simple
Expressions of love
In very few words
Because those are
The only words
Necessary-
Praying for peace
Held in love
Thinking this morning
Filled with courage-
Words from the
Hearts of others
Allowing themselves
To be givers
Of the calm
Their kindness
Pulling away
Anxiousness
Lifting me up
Carrying me
Reminding me how much
I am loved and cared for
Leaving a smile
On my face
A melody
In my heart

These past few weeks have been challenging. An MRI led to a biopsy which led to surgery. Yesterday, I had an excisional biopsy. The surgery went well. I am having very little pain and will spend a few days resting. Once again, we are waiting for the results.

I was very anxious the few days leading up to surgery, until the day before and the morning-of when messages began to pop up on my phone. Each one lifted another piece of the struggle. Each one reminded me that someone else cared.

Yesterday morning, I was overwhelmed with feelings of peace and calm. As I thought about it this morning, I realized many contributed to those feelings. They are still present today. And I know they will carry me through the waiting. ❤

Separately Together

Two people separated by
Doors, walls, a long hallway
One entered
The other remained
Not allowed to cross
This particular threshold
Leading to necessary discomfort
A small room where muscles
Are pinched and prodded
Where skin is broken
Then held together
Only one entered
The other remained
Both feeling discomfort
One physical
One emotional
Both holding tight
That is love
Connection that cannot
Be separated by
Doors, walls, or a long hallway

My husband, Gart, does not like for me to brag about him. Wednesday morning, he sat in not one but two different waiting rooms while I had a biopsy followed by a CT scan.

I knew no matter what happened, he would be there when I walked back out. Ready to listen and encourage. “Let’s not worry until we have something to worry about,” he would say.

That evening, I participated in my weekly poetry circle. This poem came from that time. Writing and listening with a group I have grown to love and trust.

I am thankful to report the biopsy showed no cancer! I will follow-up with my doctor next week. And I know if I need him to, he will wait once again in another waiting room. ❤

Time After Time

Blue Mixed with Gray

We are experiencing unusual winter weather in Oklahoma this week. Frigid temperatures and freezing rain made for a slow drive this morning. I had an early morning appointment at the hospital.

When looking directly out of the front windshield, all seemed gray. Bare trees were covered in ice. Brown and white were mixed on the road from the sand. A layer of white covered the grass. The sky was filled with gray clouds.

Sounds like a dreary scene. And parts of it could be described that way. But there were also bits of wonder. The icy tree limbs brought thoughts of a winter wonderland. Evergreens with white tips provided a lovely visual, making the green stand out.

I looked up and around, giving more attention to the sky, and noticed something. There were tiny hints of blue mixed with the gray. I had to squint to see it, but it was there. The sky was not completely gray, after all.

Funny how life is sometimes that way…squinting to see the blue skies.

Our hospital trip today was for a biopsy/CT scan. A necessary though unwanted addendum to my recent MRI day. MRI Day

As I’ve said before, I’m grateful for good health care. But honestly, I was nervous about these tests.

That blue mixed in with the gray this morning was a perfect reminder of the realities of this life. Beautiful, sad, joyful, difficult…all of it meshed together. That is life.

As I began to feel the strength from those offering prayers on my behalf, I also realized my own prayers for peace had been answered. That answer came through those swaths of blue sky mixed in with the gray.

Enjoying Time

Several times this past week, I thought about painting. An extra colorful sunrise on my drive to work or maybe the evening sky-I would notice a scene and think, “Wonder if I could paint that?”

Of course, time passed, and I used none of it for painting…until today.

My sister-in-law, Paula, was in town this weekend. She invited me and my daughter, Rachel, to a brunch today at my mother-in-law’s house. Thought it would be nice to have some girl time.  

When Rachel and I walked in, it looked like a party! Pretty pink plates with gold polka dots, matching napkins graced a gold tablecloth. A coffee bar, mimosa bar, yogurt bar, scones, and yummy croissant breakfast sandwiches were displayed in the kitchen.

What a surprise! And then I noticed the centerpiece on the table. It was a flowery coffee cup with the letter K filled with pink flowers. Curious. Then my sweet mother-in-law, June, said, “Well, this brunch is for you.”

I have been a little nervous about some upcoming medical tests. The brunch was supposed to be a pick-me-up. That it was. ❤

We ate, laughed, talked, prayed, and I cried just a little. We also baked cookies and watched a great movie. I returned home relaxed and encouraged.

Guess what I did once back home? Painted! Maybe not one of the skies from previous days, but that does not matter. The love and kindness of family reminded me of the importance of slowing down. Enjoying time without worrying about what is to come.

MRI Day

We have days dedicated to celebrating almost everything.  Days for donuts, coffee, moms, dads, cats, and dogs-and the list goes on and on.  Today was MRI day.  At least, that is what I decided to proclaim.  Especially now that my doctor insists I have one in addition to my mammogram every year. 

They are not particularly fun.  Imagine lying face down on a narrow table.  White towels lining the hole where your face rests.  Your arms straight out in front-think Superman pose.  No, wait-Wonder Woman. 😉

Once in position, you must be perfectly still for thirty minutes.  Perfectly still while the tube you are in makes random, intermittent noises, as if preparing for take-off.  Actually, it is just a really loud camera.

I know this probably does not sound like something to celebrate.  But this year, I choose to view it differently.  I am celebrating deep breaths that helped me to relax.  I am celebrating old hymns and classic James Taylor singing inside my head. I am celebrating medical science that says early detection is key.

Even though physically uncomfortable, the above reasons eased my anxiety. And I was reminded that I can do hard things. So, get your mammograms! And if your doctor says the word MRI, you can do it! Until next year! 💕

Mask Up!

I do not like to wear a coat. Oh, I’m thankful for the warmth it provides, especially considering the weather here a couple of weeks ago. For several days, the morning temps hovered around freezing.

If I’d only had to walk from my car to the building, that coat might not have been necessary. However, I have morning car duty-about twenty-five minutes outside. So, not only was I bundled up, but I also wore rain boots and carried my umbrella.

Although thankful while outside, I felt restricted while driving to school. That zipped up coat felt like it was holding me back. Constricting my movements instead of protecting me.

Sometimes that is how it goes, even with the things we need. Rules, routines, laws intended to help, protect, keep us safe. And yet, we struggle against them. Somehow afraid they will do the opposite-take our freedom.

Think about speed limits and other traffic laws. We push the boundaries by wanting to drive a little faster or speed through that yellow light. What about our work schedules and expectations? Designed to help us be our best, yet we complain and find small ways to buck the system.

In our current state of a world-wide pandemic, mask mandates come to mind. I wear one to work every day, as do my colleagues and students. No, it is not fun. However, it is necessary. And we wear them to show our respect and to protect each other.

And yet, depending on which business I happen to enter in which town or city, I may or may not be able to count on that same consideration. It is disheartening, to say the least. Something so simple met with such resistance.

As with most things in life, balance is needed. No one wants to feel like they are wrapped up in a cocoon. Yet, we need the wisdom to recognize the times when necessity says mask up and face the facts. You might just save someone else’s life.

Best Course of Action

My mom and her sister, my Aunt Elizabeth, are breast cancer survivors. My dear friend, Shannon, lost her battle with breast cancer. I witnessed each of these women respond with bravery and courage to a disease that has touched so many.

Geneva’s Daughter Instant Friends

Because of my family history and personal health issues, I have mammograms regularly and see a specialist. And though my personal health history does not include cancer, it does include a lumpectomy, multiple biopsies, and MRIs.

I DO NOT LIKE MRIs AT ALL...

Today was my six-month checkup, including an ultrasound. Dense tissue makes detection difficult. And even though the doctor saw nothing alarming, she recommended another MRI and follow-up again in six months.

When MRI was mentioned today, I kind of zoned out for a moment. I began to feel the anxiety that accompanied my previous MRI. Yes, I survived. But it was definitely an emotional challenge.

Once again, I found myself feeling anxious. For clarification, I asked, “So, you think I should definitely have an MRI?” “Yes. You meet the risk factors. I believe it is the best course of action for you.”

On the drive home, I was tempted to let worry start creeping in. But then I had some thankful thoughts. A doctor who is thorough and gives me her honest opinion. Health insurance to help cover this cost. The knowledge that if there is ever an issue, this test will find it early.

So, I will stay on this course of action, even though it makes me nervous. And I will continue to encourage all my women friends to remain vigilant in fighting this disease.

Get your mammograms! And even an MRI, if necessary. 💗💗💗