Describing Dilaudid

The nausea was relentless. Truly I wanted to die because death would be an end of it. Two weeks of heaving and my gut muscles screamed like they were shredding. Okay maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But in my mind they registered as raw, and I was the only one who could hear them screaming. It was me moaning that other people could hear.

Let’s face it, you know you’re sick when you call out, “Please help me” to everybody who gets near enough. Richard was mortified. Not me. I had no pride, false or otherwise.

This is the extremity. Next comes flailing your arms and throwing yourself against the wall. I know. I had several times stumbled around semi-lucid in a repeating little drama that began with me savoring a chip of crushed ice or a sip of sports drink, loudly proclaiming my delight, and more and more likely to guzzle and gulp in my dehydrated condition, knowing what must follow and not able to control myself. To hell with the inevitable hurling – I WAS SO THIRSTY after two weeks of this crap.

I remembered a bit of history gleaned from Sherry’s novels about the Arab world at that time. Suddenly I can relate to dying of dysentery on the beach where they landed with those crazy Christian Crusaders.

And today, this very day right now people, mostly children, are dying that way in that same part of the world, dying for lack of clean water.

Rich wouldn’t let me get too out of hand in the Emergency Room waiting area, and just as soon as I started heaving, the staff in charge loudly commanded the others to “Find someplace to put her!”

I spent the next two hours tucked away in a back corner, a closet with a short examining table, where they did an EKG and left me squirming and writhing with nothing but a heart monitor giving any indication anybody knew I was back there.

Even when you hold a bowl under your chin continuously, there will be mishaps. My biggest problem, though, wasn’t the vomiting. My attention was fixed and foremost on my breathing. I knew from painful experience what would occur if I let myself go even for a minute.

I had started hyper-ventilating hours before, at home. My hands were buzzing with that half numb sensation that quickly escalates to muscle spasms … and if you’ve never experienced these, you are among the blessed.

Deep slow breaths. Almost as hard to do as it was to suck on one ice chip and not swallow any of it. So there I was guzzling, retching and hyper-ventilating. It was a minimum two-hour wait to be seen by a doctor.

Honestly, with what little clarity I had left, I began to doubt I would make it. I thought I might really make this much harder for myself, if such can be imagined, were I to act out or even get into a confrontation with hospital staff … of which I am quite capable. You might even say it’s my nature.

I had continually to resist the urge to run around with arms flailing, demanding someone help me. When it almost overtook my self-control, Richard held me tight until I could once more turn my attention and efforts to my breathing.

When at last it was my turn to be seen, the doctor came in flanked by two nurses who knew what she was going to say before she said it. One of the nurses had three syringes, loaded and ready to go. She held them in her right hand, each between two fingers, all points up, ready for the command. When the doctor said, “Let’s get some …” that nurse was already pumping me full of Zofran, Ativan and Dilaudid.

Dilaudid, just two milligrams. A flower bud opened itself in my middle, radiating great overlapping loops of warmth and well-being that slowly spread to my nearly-numb finger tips and finally my breathing settled in and I wrapped myself into it and let go.

They admitted me and I lay thankfully in their angelic care for five more days. We figured out a sinus infection had spread to my digestive system and got it squared away.

And what do I wish I could do again? Don’t you know it!


I digress …

Most of the time I’m not here.

My body is here but “I” am somewhere else that includes here, but is larger.

I bounce back and forth between the personal and the universal, I suppose you would call it the “trans-personal.” I miss the stuff in between.

Life interrupts my meditative state. My mind wants to wander, but events force me to pay attention. Or, I float. It’s what I like to do.

Self-absorbed … I know. I observe and I strongly prefer it to getting involved.

unless a healing is needed. but then it’s all spiritual after all.

When I get with people I love, I don’t have to lower my vibration, just harmonize. And it’s lovely.

Life is miraculous. What really strikes me is how people take it for granted. Dreamers stumbling around in their dreams.

Food For Thought

I have no God.

I do have a Creator. The distinction is significant. I doubt my creator cares for worship, fearful submission or doling out rewards and punishments. These are, I believe, remnants of
the past.

I believe I (and everyone else) am like my Creator in being, myself a Creator, on a much smaller scale, which is of course heresy. I have always been a heretic. But my beliefs aren’t meant to be heresy, that is just what the established religions call them. So pretty much I stay away from institutions of religion, because they do presume to tell me what I should believe, and had better believe or at least profess to believe. At 13 I left the Roman Catholic Church, wherein I had been thoroughly indoctrinated, and struck out with my own small brain and big eyes to find my own way, which I have done, becoming a Reiki Master energy healer and something akin to a shaman, traveling out of my body, communing with spirits, visiting the “other side” and much more. And the more I learn the further I get from the Holy Roman Church. Say Amen.

It’s amazing to me that anyone still goes to these spired halls and participates in what passes therein for spirituality.

The Dalai Lama finds no fault with any of them. I guess I am less evolved than His Holiness, in case you wondered about that. I’m not a dilettante by nature, and I’ve long ago stopped looking for the church where I wouldn’t be a heretic. However my basic life path is primarily spiritual. So I speak about such things, with no authority at all. Read on at your own risk.

Lately, I am struck by how few people notice their words and actions create their (and our) world. Even their most casual meandering thoughts, as well as their most fixated hatred and their most seductive dreams of revenge … why stop there? … let’s not forget their maddest ravings, most hideous debaucheries, their most evil actions. All that. The dark side of a primitive brooding from which we have yet to awaken.

All sent forth upon an undefended sleepy world of flora and fauna, rock and sand, sea and land. The whole of creation bears the brunt of it. I wish I was more of an optimist.

Don’t think we are creators of worlds?

When we adopt a stray from the animal shelter, we create a home for it. It is no longer lost. It is home. We create it. Wouldn’t you agree?

Is it a good home or the type we see on “pet Detectives”? Depends what we create.

My point is that the world is like an art studio where we create. Most of us just dabble. Ah! But some achieve greatness. Make your own list. It will be different than mine.

What if we are here to learn to use our creative powers? It sure looks that way to me. Meanwhile most of us don’t think we are creators. Most experience life as a rapid bombardment, if not with actual bombs then certainly with non-stop incoming issues of one kind or another. I have no time to be creative, many complain, myself included. I’m too busy COPING to be creative. Well that’s a popular deception. Do we have all the time in the world or not a minute to waste? That’s a good topic for meditation.

Either way, if you look I think you will begin to see that every move you make has not only the potential to change the world in big and small ways, it DOES change the world in big and small ways.

I think it would be really amazing if people were aware. What would you do with full knowledge that your every thought and action has far-reaching consequences? Now that’s what I call food for thought.

How Blessed Can You Be? )Life-Savers, final)

The next person who saved my life was my Physiatrist. I call her my Polio Doctor because she has taken an interest in caring for Polio survivors. When it was time for me to take a disability separation I chose instead to take a demotion and keep working. She told me it was an ethical problem for her to continue helping me to hurt myself. I agreed the next time I was unable to work, I was done.

I agreed and promptly forgot all about it. So a month later when I once again needed a Doctor’ note for time off, she faxed a note to the prison that said, “This employee is totally and permanently disabled from all work.” And that was that.

Almost too late. I was completely exhausted. It was months before I even began to recover. I had pushed myself too far, and would have continued that way until I dropped. She made a decision my ego wouldn’t let me make. My ego wanted to continue to be a leader in the agency. I had the first slot at the academy, then the whole second week. I had worked on my ego sufficiently that my classes were a joy to teach and I was the favorite instructor of the whole training academy that lasted a month. It was like I was finally making progress in my mission to transform corrections. Mentally I was just getting into a comfortable stride. My body just couldn’t keep up.

When I had to stop working it crushed my mission. I tried many times to give those trainings away, but nobody could figure out what I was doing. Something in my presence with attendees.

“There’s some way you’re being with them and none of us can do it,” Kevin said. Even Sue. My partner and a superior trainer. She watched over and over but whenever i asked her are you ready to present them she just shook her head and said, “No.” Seven years later they are still calling me with questions, trying to figure it out.

It wasn’t magic. Fact is I was in the Introduction Leader’s Program at Landmark Education. Yes the thing that used to be EST. It should be accredited as a Philosophy elective.

I loved digging into the corrections research and hooked up with a global group of professionals, academics and researchers all working on my mission which was also their mission: to transform corrections from the current Waste Management Model to a more humane and integrated approach based on what we know works. I was not alone. I had found my people. I had management’s ear. I was at Headquarters … occasionally. I was part of the Classification Unit, the place I wanted to work from the first time I was over there.

For years I heard the. Classification Unit referred to as the Think Tank. And it seemed like all the strangest people worked there, geniuses and misfits. My kind of place. And I got there! On my first day Jim put his arm around my shoulder and said, “You’re safe now. I’ve got your back.”

I was right where I had always wanted to be, and I loved it. But my body was taking a beating. Who knew Polio still had some punches left.

And I got sick. At first I thought it was just being out of shape, so I put a 40 lb. backpack on and hiked up Mt. Adams with Richard and Kate. I made it to about 9,000 ft. But at Killen Creek meadow I sat down and stayed down for the rest of the day and night.

The hike went like this: Richard and Kate were always way ahead of me. I was trudging and grinding my way up the trail. Every so often I’d catch up with the two of them taking a break. But as soon as they saw me, they got up and started up the trail. I got no breaks.

Not only that, but I had also unwittingly initiated a big burnout of my beleaguered nervous system. I missed several weeks of work and the search for the diagnosis began. 1993. That diagnosis would take five years to get.

I thought I might make it to 62, but I was done at 57. But I’m alive and as well as I can be and Dr. Moise saved me from doing more damage. Thank you, Doc.

My next life-saver was the HR person who spoke this “Oh. By the way as I was leaving the building for the last time. “No matter what they say, if you work you’ll lose your insurance.” Big lifesaver!!! Thank you HR person. You were a life-saver.

I got sober in 1989 in Tri-Cities. Shorty Hofstedt was my sponsor. He told everybody I was so scared, I came to my first meeting drunk. Which is true. I needed a drink to get my courage up. Then I sat by an old guy, thinking that would be safe. That old guy was Shorty. Shorty knew Dr. Bob and Bill W.

I was only the second woman he had ever sponsored. We were both named Rose. I loved him. May he rest in peace. He was a pillar and an elder of AA. He never cut me any slack. Thanks, Shorty. You were my Life-Saver.

Finally, my husband is a life-saver. He has signed on for every minute of every day, there beside me, there to protect and care for me, and when possible have fun together. Thanks, Richard. You are my Life-Saver and my best friend.

How blessed can you be!?!

In search of a great neurosurgeon

I need a excellent neurosurgeon to do the endoscopy on my spinal stenosis. I have a strong constitution in a weak set of bones. I know now I was born with the spina bifida. My discs were shot before I was 35, so my low back was fused. This left me with a low back so absolutely plumb that the rest of my back had to twist to fit, and my neck has never stopped getting painfully out of alignment since. It was the headache that sent me to the doctor in 1993. They guessed, wrongly that I had a brain tumor and I ended up at the neurologist who promptly ordered an MRI.

The Radiologist called to check because the order said possible tumor but the pictures said MS. Shit I thought, two neurological disorders in one lifetime? That seems like a lot. Hey guys, I had polio when I was five. Could that have something to do with it? Nobody knew.

I’ll never forget the spinal tap that boob did on me. Go right back to full activity he said, and I did. And soon I had a leak. And that headache is right up there with the worst migraine or neck related headaches I have ever had.

My brother Vince couldn’t believe he didn’t tell me to rest for a few days. I was going in for a blood patch a week or so later when it finally closed on its own.

That experience soured me on neurologists.

That Radiologist had never seen Polio or he wouldn’t have mistaken it for MS. Polio damage is limited to the brain stem. Dr. Moise knew that. She told me it meant I had both Polio Encephalitis and Paralytic Polio.

The good news is I didn’t have Bulbar Polio, which was the strain that attacked the lungs, causing the majority of fatalities. The reality is you need a minimum of 35-40% of your lung capacity to survive. You gotta keep breathing.

Walking not so much. I was paralyzed and I had encephalitis too, but my lungs are unscarred. You see there is always something to be grateful for.

Besides throwing the rest of my back out of alignment, the surgery left a knot of scar tissue that felt like being stabbed with a knitting needle. One physical therapist used deep massage on the knot. When it let go out came memories from having polio. Tears flowed. I reconnected with my sister and my mother on a deeper level. And I learned things that helped me heal by releasing wrong ideas I had as a little girl, and the emotional pain inside of being hospitalized for months.

And let’s not forget the cruelty of the nuns. The hospital staff were terrified of catching it. We were quarantined in the hospital. Staff were masked in my room. They had no intention of opening their mouths to speak and they were in a hurry. So any delay while I asked begged sobbed or screamed kicked and demanded my Mommy was met with swift justice. They’d pick me up and toss me on my stomach. Then came the impatient overly rough administration of suppositories. I tell you for me it was a rape-like experience.

But when I got out of isolation after three weeks alone and one of semi-isolation, I thought I would finally get to see my Mommy. I was devastated. I cried for hours until the nun told me if I continued to act like a baby, they would treat me like a baby and put me in a crib.

Under threat of humiliation I choked back my tears. Mightily I resisted the sobs and the tears. Again and again those waves of sorrow drowned me, and then they brought out an old enamel crib. Ancient even in 1954. Thin iron bars painted white. Up went the sides.

And as if that wasn’t humiliation enough for a five year old, they wheeled it out into the center of the ward and set it there as if on display. Indeed I have no doubt the other children were warned to behave or face a similar fate.

When at last my mother appeared she got right on it. “She’s a big girl! Why is she in a crib?” She demanded to know. The nuns promptly lied. They told my Mom it was to keep me at rest.

After a while they released me to a single bed. By then I was in a wheelchair. I learned to read in that crib.

The wheelchair was such freedom after the crib! Every evening after lights out, when the nuns were gone, I made my rounds. I adjusted pillows, I washed hair, I combed hair. I carried water. I loved every minute!

So after being born with defects in skeleton, Polio, fusion, scar tissue … On to the next thing: spinal stenosis.

So now I need a great neurosurgeon.

Nobody in the stands

There is nobody in the stands in Seattle. The Chicago White Sox are in town. They turned out for Texas, but no crowd to see Chicago.

It’s June, and the rains are warmer and gentler than they were just a few weeks ago.

I remember my Papa Bill liked to stand right next to the rain. He loved it. I love the sun break between downpours. Everything is so clean and fresh. And when the rain falls softly on a windless day, then I stand in his footsteps and bathe my senses. Then I enjoy the rain with my Papa Bill.

It’s not so gloomy when it rains in June.

Memo From Earth

No one has a clue what is really going on. Who are we? Where are we? Why are we here? What should we do? Whose idea was it to blindfold us?

People cling to life down here and they’re terrified at the moment of death. Then they pass through, kicking and screaming and find themselves in a far better place. Now what was all that fuss?

Let’s be real:

This is not the best of all possible worlds. It is a kind of Purgatory where the ego is burned away. So much beauty and so much pain. But highly habit-forming, addictive delights abound. The pleasures of the senses. Yet they lack the power to sustain.

What holds us together in the madness of incarnation is the love. It’s the thread that knits us into the tapestry. Without love this world would die.

So we come through the gauntlet again and again, wondering what is the point of it. Until one day, we start to see things a little differently. The ego weakens, perspective is earned here through the experiences we have. Eventually, the thickest will break free of the spell.

From within the limits of this dense subjectivity we try to find our own way. We learn humility over many lifetimes of egocentric wandering. It’s all about us, isn’t it? Me, look at me …

In the end, if nothing else then boredom, that old reliable clean-up crew will at long last win the day.

No longer mesmerized by my reflection in the pond, I will eventually begin in earnest to search for answers. My view of life evolves. At the moment of death, will I say “Thank God that’s over!” Or will I balk? Cling to my ego. Beg for life?

Ah life! It’s so confining. This body with its five senses and its ecstatic pleasures is compelling, there’s no denying that. But when the mortal fascination wanes, we ought to move on to weightier matters. How about the well-being of our immortal soul? Is that as important as a night of sexual indulgence or a day of self-indulgent musing.

When we begin to see the limits of this existence, we set aside blissful ignorance and put on the mantle of maturity. There’s suffering at stake. Pay attention!

Is maturity the requirement for parole? is this some form of juvenile rehabilitation? Useless as long as we are in love with ourselves, the ego is slowly burned off, layer by layer, until the mature spirit emerges at last.

And then what?

And then you get out of here. Death is a liberation.

Dreams, Death and Eternal Life

You close your eyes for the last time, as this life ends, as this dream evanesces and is gone to the keeping of memory. And you open your eyes in a new reality, awakened from the Earth dream, and loved ones bid you on.

How do you know that? he asks.

How indeed? I hardly know how to answer.

Well whoever said that I mean, how do they know that?

Oh but I said it.

Oh you said that?

Yes. And how do I know it? It’s a good question.

I suppose my guides told me, or maybe it was intuition. I just know.








Stuck in my body?

My physical well being and my mood move together. It is possible to achieve a better mood briefly, but generally if I feel badly physically then I am also downhearted. Not self-pitying necessarily, but just down.

Is this a failure in my maturity? My spiritual development? Or is it my nature, and as such a veritable fact of life? Should I accept it or try to overcome the direct causal connection between my physical well being and my enjoyment of life? Do some people really dismantle this connection? Become impervious to physical pain? Mood-managers supreme! Nothing can dent their perfect happiness armor. Right. Who is that? Show me? I’m gonna have to call BS on that one.

I’ll tell you what I see all around me: I see suffering. Physical and emotional and spiritual suffering. Abundant suffering. Frowning and grimacing and trying to look expressionless to hide their unhappiness.

Seriously, happy people smile. I smile when I’m happy. Don’t you?

It’s scary out here.


I always forget what wellness feels like, whenever I am distracted by some intense affliction. Like going through detox from pain meds. Now that energy is generating from within my body, my spirit is lifted. I would like to eliminate that cause-effect relationship.

I mean there has been quite a bit of affliction one way and another, and I am sure it is that way for many of us living on this planet today.

I’m a long way I guess from enlightened detachment. People say “be with the pain” etc. as if acceptance will do it. The best I’ve done with acceptance is being able to get through it. I would never go there voluntarily.

No. I really have looked around, and the thing that has always worked best for me has been self-talk.

Rich and I were talking about it this morning. How the body justs obeys whatever you say, likely whatever you think too! So if I say woe is me my body gets sad, chemically, actually and immediately.

When I am exhausted if I have further to go, I say or think, but saying out loud is more powerful, “I am strong.” My body instantly jumps up. Just like my dog. When I talk to him he jumps up. Okay.

So I think I will work on this method for a while. Maybe go further into Louie Hay’s work on affirmations and visualizations.

If we don’t have to argue with our bodies, just discipline them, okay train the body and be loving with it, emotionally gentle. Remember you don’t want your body in fight or flight. Ugh!

Well be all that as it may, I did forget what wellness feels like. Perhaps it has been too long.

Namaste from wellness land.