Acclimation

This year has been a long journey of learning to acclimate myself to a new – everything – it feels like some days.

Recently I was in a group where we were asked to describe ourselves using a series of adjectives.  It was a confusing exercise, and at first no one did very well with it, but as it went along more and more people understood the situation and got into the spirit.

I identified myself as a woman who is a certain age, is a widow, a reader, and is disabled.  It was only after the exercise was over that I realized that I hadn’t used two adjectives which would have been at the top of my list a year ago: knitter/designer and cyclist.  And there’s that new, intensely painful adjective: widow.

It’s weird how upsetting I found all of this, as if over the past year I’d lost my identity in some way.  Reader?  Well, yes, I read, but I’m much more of a knitter or cyclist, right?  I tried to explain it to Andy, but I didn’t do a great job.  Essentially, I felt that I’d had a huge part of my personality removed, and I guess I have.

I have to admit to myself that I haven’t ridden my bike in any meaningful way in over a year, and although I DO knit, it’s not with the same passion and intensity I’d had even last year.  I may be a cyclist/knitter in the same way I was again, but right now I’m just a reader, which is fine.  I just can’t seem to muster up the same passion for my knitting, and that’s due in part to my physical limitations; it’s hard for me to sit in a position conducive to knitting for more than an hour or so.

However, I will be a widow for, well, probably forever.  Which is fine, I’m not seeking to change that status any time soon.  It’s a new adjective, a new label, and I have to get used to it.

Scary Week Ahead

A few weeks ago my doctor wanted to try to reduce the pain meds I’m on, we’ve done that every few months, but this time was different for two reasons: He wanted to ENTIRELY remove my evening pain meds (replaced, if necessary, with ‘breakthrough pain’ oxycodone), and he was (unknown to me) going to be out of town for 2 weeks.

I had some major problems with the medicine cut-back so the nurse in my doctor’s office adjusted my dosage, and when my doc returned he decided to just return to what I’d been taking originally, yay!

Except it was a really rough two weeks.

It was hard to get by with minimal pain relief, I couldn’t sleep and that led to daily exhaustion, which led to more pain, and soon I was in a vicious spiral that took me almost two weeks to halt and reverse.  I don’t think my doc anticipated how difficult this medicine changeover would be, I hope he carries this new knowledge with him when dealing with future patients.

I had felt like I was making some great strides before the medicine change up.  Those were put on hold, but I’m working hard to increase my stamina again.  This week I attended a full day kick-off event for my Americorp job, and was very happy to get through it.  I paid the next day in exhaustion and soreness, but I got through it!

This coming week I have three days of training for Americorp, and I’m pretty scared about it.  Tues, Wed & Thurs I need to be at the Minneapolis Convention Center at 7:30am and stay until 4:30pm. I’ve spoken about my fears to the director of our local program, he assured me that if I’m unable to stay the full day they can work around that.

Then on Saturday my cookies are due to the State Fair Creative Events building.  I want to decorate them by Thursday so the royal icing is dry and hard enough to transport on Sat. That means each day at the end of my Americorp training I’ll be doing a bit of decorating (I like to do it over a few days to build up the icing)

It’s going to be a long week, but I’m not doing anything that I haven’t ASKED to do!  And I have a strategy to step back from either obligation if I feel I need to.  This week I’ll be taking my walker, that will make the day easier!  (Especially since the handicapped parking spaces are usually so far away from whatever event I’m going to!)

I feel certain that when my job actually begins, when I’m actually AT the elementary school, the days will be shorter and much easier than these training days will be.  Who knows?  By that time I may be riding my bike the 7 blocks to the school every day, wouldn’t THAT be a kick in the walker!

4 thoughts on “Acclimation

  1. Sounds rough! What hasn’t changed about you is that you are a thinker and you are creative. Whether or not you are able to DO the things you dream up, and even when you feel like your thinking and creating are slower or more labored than they used to be, you’re still amazingly gifted in my book! Good luck with the transition to working in the school. I hope once there’s a routine, you’ll find a rhythm that works for you and that you’ll be buoyed by the time spent connecting with kids!

  2. Annie,
    That’s an exercise each one of us should do every so often. Our interests and our abilities change over the years, but it is really difficult when it is our abilities that result in looking at oneself in a different light. I do believe you will be enjoying your knitting and riding you bicycle in the not too distant future. Until then, I am doing enough knitting for both of us and watching much TV. I imagine you still being here with us, sitting on the couch near me as I knit and watch TV. I still have not properly adjusted to the fact that reading from books, magazines and newspapers is something I cannot enjoy because it is no so much work for my ‘good’ eye. Someday I will accept the fact I must listen to books and read print materials on my computer or I-pad, but I haven’t reached that acceptance yet. I prefer to spend my time knitting and watching a huge variety of programs, movies, etc. I have access to on TV.
    I will be thinking of you this week as you go through Americorp training and decorating cookies for the State Fair. While you are in training on Wednesday we will be making what I hope is our last visit to Mayo for the summer. The summer is flying by!!! We do hope to visit with Max before we leave the area.

  3. You have definately morphed into a new Annie. It has been more than a rough trip. I hope you can continue forward to these new experiences. Are you concerned about being around school children who have lots of germs? When I was recovering from my cancer I avoided children at my doctor’s orders.

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