Crappy day all around, except..

Today wasn’t nice.  Rain and wind, low pressure, all things that make me ache.  And I regressed into my world of complaining about my health.  Increased he morning does of Lyrica and so I hope and pray that I get some relief from the numbness, tingling and pain.  My hips decided that today was the day for them to remind me of their presence.  I am trying not to beat mysef up about my loss of focus on the ‘healthy’ me; it is hard though, because it hasn’t been all that long since I began the process of transformation.

So what were the good things about today?  Coffee with a dear friend, some down time with Doug (even though he beat me at Words with Friends yet again).  I guess that’s enough.  But I really don’t want to force this writing thing tonight, so I won’t.

Tomorrow is, after all, Friday!

Imaginary conversation

Last night, I posted the midterm marks.  Within half an hour, the first email came.  You need to understand that I also posted a series of comments that basically said things like, “What part of the number 3 don’t you understand?”   I also told them that I meant it when I said, “Study the assignment, show all your work and formulas, and write so that I can read it.” I really tried to be nice. What follows here is totally imaginary; my students would never be like this (nor would I). Enjoy!

STUDENT: Professor Perry, I am really upset about my mark on the midterm.

ME (thoughts): Of course you are. Who are you anyway? Have you ever been in class? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before.
ME (words): I’m sorry to hear that. We could meet to go over the exam if you like. Please remind me of your name again.

STUDENT: …. I can’t come to your office hours. Can I see you some other time.
ME (thoughts): Of course you can’t make office hours. That would be asking too much.
ME (words): What’s a good time you?

STUDENT:….tells me when
ME (thoughts): Figures, that’s the only day I’m not on campus.
ME (words): OK, let’s meet then. What did you get on the test?

STUDENT: Uh, well, like it wasn’t really good, you know. Like about 54.
ME (thoughts): 54!!! I bet that was out of 175, not 100 Now I know which one you are!
ME (words): Well, I guess that means we have some work to do.

STUDENT: Like I was hoping there would be some extra problems I could do, or a quiz or something, or maybe like a makeup exam.
ME (thoughts): Not on your life, chum. Why don’t you try coming to class for a change.
ME (words): No, there’s nothing like that. You still have several components of the course to complete, so you can do yourself some good.

STUDENT: Well you know I didn’t get a good mark on the first assignment or the quiz either. Like maybe you could go over some of the stuff with me.
ME(thoughts): Forget it, kid. You probably want me to reteach the course just for you, and that ain’t gone happen.
ME (words): If you have questions about what we cover in class, I am more than happy to answer them. All I ask is that you show me that you have made some effort to figure it out.

STUDENT: Well, umm, I guess I’d better go. When was that appointment we made?
ME(thoughts): Why am I not surprised that you forgot already.
ME (words): The appointment is for …. See you in class before then, though.

STUDENT: Yah, sure. Where’s your office again?
ME (thoughts): Again, why am I not surprised.
Me (words): It’s on your course outline.
ME (more thoughts): How do you know you can’t come to office hours if you haven’t even checked the course outline for my office number? Why do I bother?

Believe it or not after reading that, I do love teaching and I love the kids who make an honest effort. One wrote a makeup today after missing the test because her father had a near fatal stroke the day before (why do I think I’ve said this before) the original was scheduled. He is still in hospital and will be for some time. She got 82 percent. I do love such kids. And, honestly, those who came to see me today were completely willing to admit their own responsibility for their lousy test performance. I love those kids too and will do anything I can to help them. I also screwed up a couple of grades, forgetting the order of u and y in the alphabet and having to inform a student that she really got 69 percent not 82 percent. Hard. Part of the game, though.

Anyway, enough. Off to call an old friend, taking the advice of another newer friend who says not to put off those calls and visits…

Love you all,

It kept me up all night….

Soemtimes i get these things running through my mind and and I can’t get them to go away.  My head spins all night with words or thoughts.  You’d think by now that I would know enough to get up and write things down, get them out of my head.  So here is last night’s gremlin, a one-page mystery story.


I really don’t understand what happenened just now or even exactly why.  It just did,.  Probably I should have known better, should have said no when he called and said he wanted to come over and talk, just talk.  We sat here at the kitchen table, facing one another in uncomfortable silence, the past an univited and unwelcome intruder occupying the chair between us. The tension was ridiculous; we have known each other since we were in diapers.  Our parents keep reminding us how cute we were learning to crawl together, helping each other take our first steps.  Later, we were still cute, according to our parents, as we started school together,  learned to ride our bikes together.  You know the kinds of kids we were, the kind who were always together, never doing anything on their own.  Cute.  Maybe, to our parents. We grew up. We were inseparable, like it or not. But no matter what we did, we were cute to everyone who saw us. Even our teachers began to say how cute we were. But they didn’t see it all.  No-one did.  Evil lived behind his empty smile, but no-one saw that either

We’re not kids anymore.  Far from it.  And I don’t think we’re cute anymore either.  All he wanted to do was talk, he said.  And he must have said something, but I don’t remember what.  It’s all a blur.  Except that the past and that ever-present smell of corruption that seemed to be a part of him left the room, slithering out under the door, leaving dead space behind them.  And now I sit here, across the table from him, his eyes and his smile emptier than usual.  I stare at the knife in my hand, watching the blood drip off the end,  

Drip. Drip. Drip.


The season of pomegranates has arrived!  Every year about this time,  I start the process of relearning how to dissect one of the blessed things.  They come with instructions but I’ve never found them particularly helpful. Usually by the time I get to the end of the third quarter of it (I have found that doing it in quarters is the best approach), I find some of the old skill coming back. By then, of course, I am more than prepared to do what I did as a kid, or what we used to do in India, dive into the thing face first, take a bite, spit out the bitter bits of skin, etc., that you don’t want and chew on the rest, seeds and all. Messy, but fun. So every year, I start anew and every pomegranate is an adventure.
Now, here’s one of our favourite streams of unconsciousness, not a long one, but a fun one. During our last municipal election, one of the candidates billed himself as a “tax fighter.” Add the noise of the kitchen exhaust fan to the conversation we were having about this guy and remember that at least one of the participants in the conversation is really hard of hearing. Then perhaps, and only perhaps, you will understand why I said “What’s an attack spider?” You had to be there, I guess.
I’ll do another story tomorrow. For now must do something to prepare for tomorrow’s class. Have a up of tea I think ….

Marking done!

OK.  So it took longer than I thought it would and the kiddies managed to find yet more creative ways to amaze me.  Even one of the brightest of them decided to approach one of the simpler problems in a  totally complicated way. Many failed but a few got outstanding marks.  Typical for a statistics exam.  After all these years, I still get upset when someone does less well than I had hoped.  Perhaps I really am too old for it; in the past, I would get upset but not lose sleep over their missteps.  Now it leaves me rattled for days.

Thanks, by the way, to Peter and Janice for the offer of assistance.  I did enlist Doug’s help briefly, but otherwise managed it all by myself (gold star please). Perhaps next time we will have a marking party! Michael and I had a great time last year, and Doug made a great lunch for us that day and a per dinner a couple of weeks later.  I’ll check with you later on this.

We took the day off on Friday and went away for the day.  Before we did, we finished booking all the pieces of our February holiday.  We’re cruising through the Panama Canal (east to west) and spending a week or so in Los Angeles afterwards.  We will get excited soon, I hope.  Nothiing exciting about the rest of our day; just a day away.  And a Swiss Chalet dinner afterwards.  Today I bought a bluetooth keyboard for my tablet, and once I get used to it, It should encourage me to post daily again and to write more regularly.  


Nothing wild or fun in this post, I know, but nothing lamentatious (is that a word?) either.  Progress? Who knows.

Gotts go play Words with Friends with my best friend, the guy I love who 18 plus years ago agreed to be my lawfully wedded hubby. I hope he hasn’t regretted it … he says not, and certainly shows no evidence of regret.  Thankfully….

Talk to you tomorrow, all being well.



What’s it all about anyway…

So several missed days, and for a bit, I beat myself up about that.  Just for a bit.  I guess I have been questioning the whole exercise.  My friends are really supportive of the endeavour, but I am really struggling with it.  Yesterday I remembered that I first started the thing as a way of working through some of the issues around my health and my perceptions and definitions of self.  That purpose seems to have gotten lost in the process.  Granted, I have been going through some crappy times, but…

I really want to do the blog for two reasons.  Well, maybe three.  The third, and least important as I now look at it, is the whole transformation thing.  The second is to get me to sit down and write every day.  I still want to write the great Canadian mystery novel, but I am so undisciplined in my writing habits that it will never happen.  The blog, if I do it every day, can help me establish the pattern.  Hopefully, it will be like a good exercise program; it’s hard to get started but once you’re into it, you miss it if you don’t do it.  The first,and most important reason, and the one I seem to have lost track of, is that I want to have fun exploring who I am and who I can become.

So far, the problem has been that I take myself far too seriously.  I need to goof around more, to really enjoy this thing.  Sure, there will be days when I am overwhelmed by things and revert to the sad and confused character I used to be.  You know the one.  She can’t think or talk about anything other than her health or her financial circumstances.  It’s taken a while, but I think I have to come accept that both of them are what they are, and I should really make the most of the opportunities they provide.  This is going be the time of my life!!
So expect some silliness. Some bad jokes or transcripts of some of the stream of unconsciousness conversations that Doug and I have. We blame them on our mutual lack of hearing but I think it’s more that we are both slightly mad. I’m sure you have responded to something you thought you heard and discovered that your response was totally out to lunch. We do that regularly. We often laugh until we cry. Literally.
I honestly believe that if I do take myself less seriously, I will learn a great deal more about who I am. So I want to try it. And when I regress, please say something. It may be very easy for me to do the woe-is-me thing on some days when the clouds hide the sun. Like today, for example, which marks the end of the second week on the first level increase of my meds with no appreciable improvement in the pain, numbness and tingling in my right hand. Thankfully, I am less zonky and dizzy than I was last week.
Now, I must return to my marking. Hopefully the change in activity will get the hand to settle down. After all, it would be unfair to the kiddies to mark their statistics exams when I am grumpy. They need me to be in a very good mood!
Prepare to enjoy this blog. Prepare to see a different side of gail.

Hang in there, friends.

It’s all about balance, isn’t it?

It’s really frustrating this medication thing.  Into my second week of first step increase of the stuff that is supposed to stop .. ok, help…the nerve stuff in my hands with no improvement.   But my days are totally messed up because I’m zonked before 10 am, and have trouble functioning at all because I am feeling weak, drowzy and almost dizzy … what I call wobbly.  So while I wait for the negative side effects to subside, I wonder how much more increase I can tolerate.  I know I can’t tolerate the feelings in my right hand much longer.

Marking my midterm will be interesting next week.

Doug and I will be celebrating one of our special days tomorrow; it’s the 24th anniversary of our first date.  Traditionally, we return to the same restaurant each year, and that’s what we plan on doing.  Need some fun!!


I must apologize ….

This blog seems to have become a forum for me to exercise my right to moan, whine, complain and otherwise rant on.  For that, I apologize.  The whole point, after all, was to transform my self into a person for whom health and pain and discomfort and “disability” or “limitations” were not the primary topic of conversation, nor the focus of my own obsessions.  So what do I do?  I seem to have forgotten my purpose in doing this whole thing.  I spend a page an evening pouring out my litany of woe instead of working on, or even beginning, my transition. 

I need to change the topic of conversations I have with others, although I admit for people who are on the way to advanced middle age, the topic of health is never far away.  My friends need first of all, to recognize the change I’m trying to make, second to understand why, and third to keep me honest about it.  Certainly if others set the topic, we can chat about their  health, but if I bring it up, we need to find ways to remind me of what this whole thing is about.  For the time being, I can continue to use this forum to air some of the things that are going on in my life, but I also have to really concentrate on getting on with the task at hand.

I am about to take the biggest risk so far with the blog; I am going to invite a number of special friends to follow me.  These are people I care about, people I trust, people whose views I value.  I needed to be prepared to accept what these wonderful people may say to me, and I think I’m finally there.  So that invitation will go out tonight or tomorrow.  I think…..

The other thing about the blog to date is that it seems to be missing one of the major parts of my life, my faith.  While I’m not exactly sure why that is, nor am I sure where it fits in all this, but I know it does, somewhere.  And that too is part of this journey. 

So, I am going to try to change the tone of what I write and make it more in tune with what I set out to do.  I want to explore who I am meant to be, to become all that I can be (so trite), and to leave behind some of the things I have become.  A dear friend once recommended a book called “Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be.”  I am going to do that, and hope that I have the wisdom to hold on to the parts of that person that are valuable and good.  ‘Cause I’m pretty sure there are some!!

And yes, there is pain today, and there were low points.  But these things become manageable somehow….

Be well, my friends, and sleep well.




Pain sucks….

No post yesterday.  Visit to my second-favourite doc, my rheumatologist.  Saw one of her trainees, a Fellow preparing for his own practice.  He could become my second-favourite doc, except he’s moving back to Victoria.

Thorough work-up, discovering swelling and tenderness in right knee and ankle, along with the trigger finger (yes, that is an official diagnosis) on my left hand.  All would be helped by cortisone injections, he says.  OK, say I.  Anything to help.  No help, unfortunately for the terrible stuff in my right hand — pain, numbness, tingling from thumb to baby finger, including palm.  Keep working at finding the level of medication that will bring relief without making me dizzy, Grogginess will diminish, he says.  OK, I say.

So, 3 injections, one of which was incredibly painful – that little tendon that causes the triggering is very small and very sore and he had to find exactly the right spot to inject. 

Go home, he says.  Light duty today.  No stairs if possible, no marathons, no typing.  Definitely no bike ride.  OK, I say. 

Will the pain stop? I ask hopefully.  It may, he says, but these things take time.  OK, I say.

Then the news that my regular rheumatologist is planning to retire next year and is starting the process with her patients.  Great.  Within a year, I will have a new doc to get to know.  She looks 25 or so.  Another impact of my aging – everyone looks so young.

Home, tea, sleep, watch Tigers lose again, watch Dodgers lose again.  All in all….

Hands are better in the morning so I type this now and publish later, perhaps with an add-on.  Now, to teach, to prepare them for their mid-term on Monday, to be the “healthy 67-year old” again for an hour.


And no add-on. Too much pain. Good night.

Yesterday was bad; today …..

I didn’t post yesterday because I was so groggy from the increased medication, I couldn’t see straight.  Couldn’t focus on keyboard keys or anything else.  Slept a lot then smiled a lot at my nephew’s house for Thanksgiving chicken (small family).  Long talks with 7-year old Adam and 9-year old Emma leading to much laughter and many hugs.  Then home to sleep some more.  Thankful that I have such a wonderful family and that somehow I managed to fool them through dinner.  Also that this effect of the drug will pass soon enough.

Today, if anything, was worse.  Less groggy to be sure, but the tingling is not improving.  The real problem is that the pain is getting worse.  So bad today that I frequently went off on my own and shed a tear or two.  My hands are pretty useless now, late in the day.  I did manage to put dinner on the table and do the marking scheme for my midterm, but at considerable cost.  If this is being healthy,…..

The drug will kick in soon, I am pretty sure.  Then the grogginess will cease and the pain will be manageable again.  Right now, I can’t type anymore. 

I hope everyone who reads this has had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Really, we all have so much to be thankful for, so much goodness and love, such a bounty of happiness.  We are truly blessed.

This hasn’t made much sense, but it’s the best I can do.

Good night all.