Posted in Living with Pain

That was then…this is now…and I’m okay

It’s funny how our mind works, thankfully forgetting parts of our past that really don’t need to be remembered. That is, until you call something forth. Then the floodgates open and the memories pour out of the grey matter of our brains and back into our hearts.

In the process of writing my book I’m researching topics that relate to the various health issues I’ve survived over the years. As I look up one topic, another one shows up on the screen and “Oh yeah, I forgot I had that” or “Oh, I remember that now.”  YEARS of my life that I’ve buried have resurfaced and I’ve become the observer of myself.  Not quite looking in the mirror because the me of those yesterdays is not the me of the now.

I’ve become a casual observer of my past, watching and listening to my stories. I’m writing things down as they come to me. Yet, there is no emotion attached.  There used to be so much emotional baggage related to the various health crises that I couldn’t get out of my own way. No matter what advice I was offered, I didn’t listen. I knew what was best and I did my best.  At least I thought so at the time. Now I know that was a load of crap I was selling myself.  But now I can look back and smile because that journey has brought me here to the now. Now, where I’m living my life. Now, where I’m participating in my life and observing my past with nothing more than academic interest.

I’ve learned to let the ghosts of the past be just that….the past. I don’t have to live my story again in order to tell it.

Posted in Writing

A Craptastic Adventure through the Not-So-Friendly Skies

Luggage Guard
No Mom and Dad – You AREN’T traveling this weekend

So maybe it’s not that our cats don’t want us to leave…maybe they just know we are about to embark on a craptastic trip and they just want us to avoid it. It’s possible isn’t it? I mean, cats are all-knowing are they not?

My husband and I left our home Friday morning for what was supposed to be a long weekend to visit his family in Georgia. Normally a trip from Wyoming to Georgia is relatively uneventful in terms of travel…it’s just the normal parts of visiting family that you only get to see a couple times a year that is the eventful part. 

We should have realized something else was to occur on this trip when it started with my full pat-down from the TSA because my blingy butt set off the alarm. Upon scan of my hands, another alarm went off and so I was escorted to the “Private Area” with two female TSA agents. They were both wonderful, friendly and professional so that experience wasn’t horrible. However when trying to determine why my hands were a problem I mentioned that I had been in the bathroom  just before coming through security (a necessary requirement of anyone with Crohn’s since we ALWAYS have to go). In an offhand way I said – “Well, maybe it’s the soap?” to which I was told – “Yes, most likely – this happens A LOT”….SERIOUSLY?????  The next thing I’ll write after finishing this blog will be a letter to the airport manager that they may want to look in to a different product if unsuspecting travelers that decide to “take care of business” before security are regularly getting pulled in to be screened.

Anyhoo….we left Rapid City off to Minneapolis and very nearly missed our connecting flight because we miscalculated our timing while hanging out in the club and arrived to the gate at the very last minute  whereupon we were informed that our primo seats had been given away….bummer. Twist of fate, new seat assignment actually afforded more leg room which is really a bonus for my 6’1″ husband. So after rushing through the plane, avoiding the evil glares from fellow passengers, getting settled, buckling our seatbelts and anxiously awaiting take-off….we all finally start to notice that we haven’t moved yet. Hmmmmmmmm……

Finally an announcement comes over the speakers that there are some difficulties with doors not closing properly, some fuel somethingorother not functioning and they are working on it – please be patient. OK, no prob….we can do that. What happens when a plane sits on the ground for awhile? EVERYONE has to go to the bathroom. A steady stream of our fellow passengers came by, leaned against the nearby bulkhead wall, took care of business and back to their seats they went.

Well apparently too many people had to go &  the toilet broke.
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So now we have an additional delay!! The one-liners were running through my head….”what a shitty flight“….”man, this really stinks“….”this flight sure has gone down the drain” “holy crap, is that a toilet in the middle of the plane?”…..they were all bad I know..but I was entertaining myself while we sat and did nothing else! So two and a half hours later, we finally left the ground.  We arrived to Atlanta later than expected, but we arrived. We were able to upgrade our rental to a convertible – BONUS! We enjoyed our family time and headed for home on Monday.  

Synchronicity of the Universe began to show up, although I wasn’t aware of it quite yet. We hoped to meet up with a friend who lived in the Atlanta area for lunch, but we couldn’t work it out. So we left on our flight to Memphis, happy to head home. We got to the gate for our next leg, boarded the plane and settled in – early this time! We backed up from the gate only to hear a huge KA-CHUNK. The ears of all the travelers knew that was NOT a sound we were supposed to hear! Needless to say – the plane stopped. The door was opened. The cockpit door opened and the First Officer came out and peeked out the door. He went back to the cockpit and the Captain replaced him to go look out the door only to turn around and pick up the microphone…Ruh-Roh Raggy…….

He starts off with “Well Folks, you might have heard a loud sound while we were backing up” which was followed by a technical explanation which I didn’t understand or really hear. You remember the Charlie Brown episodes when the teacher talked? That’s mostly what I heard except for BROKEN….NOT AN EASY FIX…..GATE AGENTS WILL BE WAITING FOR YOU TO GIVE YOU TOMORROW’S FLIGHT INFORMATION AND YOUR HOTEL RESERVATIONS…sigh. The chatting in our immediate area began and everyone was in fairly good humor about it. There was a gal just behind us who was also going back to Rapid City. She was traveling alone and not a seasoned traveler so we all grouped up. Turns out they booked us at the same hotel and we were to leave around the same time in the morning. So instant companions! The really fun part of that new relationship came about the next morning when we brought her in to the Delta Sky Club to hang out prior to our flight, she had never experienced that and it gave us a chance to get to know each other more in relative peace and quiet.

 Here’s where the synchronicity begins…turns out we had quite a bit in common. I love when the Universe puts people together who needed to meet who may not have otherwise!! She asked about my necklace I was wearing and I told her it is a Buddha Eye and on the other side is the text for Om Mani Padmi Hum, a Buddist Chant. Turns out friends of hers just recently were married in a Buddhist Ceremony so we had  conversation about Buddhism, Meditation and Mindfulness (which I happen to provide instruction on!). It was a great reminder from the Universe again that I need to get another class going because I’ve had a few people asking for it!!

We went to our respective gates and said our goodbyes as we headed home…or so we thought….Enter Mother Nature and a Wyoming/South Dakota Spring Snow…which closed the airport for two days. So guess what happened next? We land in Atlanta and the email from Delta arrives letting us know our flight later that day to Rapid City was cancelled.     YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELLED………………………….those unfortunately, were words we were going to read A LOT the next two days.

Time for the next round of Synchronicity. My hubby called our friend who we had hoped to see on Monday to see if we could stay at their house since we now knew we definitely were not getting home because the airport was closed, as was the interstate. Scott and Lisa were happy to host us, let us shower and do laundry – that in and of itself was such a welcome relief to these weary travelers because our luggage was somewhere in Memphis, so we only had what we were wearing. A quick trip to Target solved that with a new little sundress and flip flops and the sweatshirt and yoga pants I was wearing, and my hubby’s jeans and shirt went in the laundry. Clean clothes are a luxury we take for granted. At this point, we were feeling very thankful for friends and a place to stay. 

The Universe was working with me on this trip because I really needed to visit with Lisa, I hadn’t done so in far too long. She is an RN working in a Pain Management Clinic and we discussed the book I’m writing related to that very topic! We shared ideas about how the holistic aspects of healing are needed and that because I’ve been through the “system” that I may indeed be the one to help get the message through to not only others that suffer from chronic pain, but to those that treat them. Needless to say, I did quite a bit of writing the next morning on the plane! Thank you Lisa and thank you Universe!!

Fast forward and what day is it? Oh, Wednesday now at 4AM. Time to get up, get dressed and hit the road back to Atlanta. The GPS wants to take us on a crazy route which we were able to amend without issue. But really….why would it not give us the most direct route to the airport??? Arrrrgh!!!!

Because we didn’t have luggage and already had our boarding passes, we went to security right away. Yay for wearing sweats and yoga pants through security = no blingy butt to cause concern! We got on our plane, I got to do some writing, we are tired but feeling happy because we’re on our way home……We land in Minneapolis and hubby’s phone beeps and…..

BAM…..YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELLED

Okay, I finally am getting close to losing it at this point. My head has giant boulders that are playing a game of marbles inside my head and all I want is some sleep in my own bed with my purring kitties. At this point, all three flights to Rapid City for the day have been cancelled.  There is one flight scheduled for 9:30PM that has not been cancelled yet, so there is some hope. Except that the gal at the counter said the system was locked and she couldn’t get in to put us on stand-by……head pounds harder…..

After some ibuprofen, coffee and a quick meditation, the headache finally eases and we decide to go walk around and look for our new friend who we knew had to be stranded some where in the airport. We wandered for 4 miles and headed back to the club to see if there was any word on the flight. We walked in and the staff excitedly greeted us with the news that we were now on the Standby List. We’re not quite jumping for joy yet, but there is a TINY spark of hope now.  And a spark is enough to begin some positive affirmation activity.

With hourly checks on the chances of getting home, it started to look a little more hopeful around 4PM – 12 hours now since we left our friends home. 

We found out where the gate was and went to dinner, hoping that it would be the last airport meal until the next time we travel. When we walked in to the other Delta Club, we were told it looked almost certain we would be going home. It was nearly 9PM when we got word that we were now CONFIRMED! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. At the gate, we found our new friend, and many of the others who had also been stranded at the airport.  New friendships forged during chaos. After a VERY choppy ride out of Minneapolis we arrived in Rapid City! Because it was a large plane, there was tons of luggage. So by about 11:15 PM the luggage carousel stopped…without our luggage.

Of course our luggage didn’t arrive, I mean seriously….what were we thinking??? So we headed home exhausted doing our best to keep awake. We pulled in to our driveway at 1AM…23 hours after we woke up. 

We are now happily at home and exhausted. There are lots of purring kitties around us. Our luggage arrived tonight…..the Craptastic Adventure is finally over and we have some new ideas on what to do the next time we travel!!

 

Posted in Crohn's Disease, Crohns, IBD

IBD Awareness Week – The Rubberband Ball from Hell 2.0

I originally created this blog post not too long after starting my blog adventure early in 2013.  During these past months in my work with my book writing coach Lisa Tener, Writer’s Digest, and the posts by the folks here on WordPress, I think I’ve learned more about writing and how to blog. This week’s story about re-purposing your older blogs as well as it being CCFA’s IBD Awareness Week was a great excuse to dig this old story up. I did indeed decide to make a few updates, incorporating some things my friend Doug Hardy taught me (thanks Doug!).

This story is about my adventure with a small bowel obstruction. This is just what I refer to as a “side-effect” of living with Crohn’s Disease. Sometimes you eat stuff that just gets stuck…plain and simple. Only the pain is excruciating, generally landing you in the emergency room, and  some times – surgery to fix it.  I was lucky…this time.  Continue reading “IBD Awareness Week – The Rubberband Ball from Hell 2.0”