Facing big changes

I thought as I got older that things would become more static. After all, I've been married for 28 years (and it's still growing strong). I left my job nearly seven years ago. I thought things would go along more or less the same.

But the whole static thing - that's not happening.

Nora
Mom red hatFirst of all, this week marks the first anniversary of my mother's death. I guess I had known theoretically that my mom could die. But she had been around all my life, been there long before me.

But when she really did die, it rocked my world. After my dad died in 2003, we had become close friends, talked on the phone daily.

I spent the last three weeks of her life with her after she chose to go on hospice. I passed many long hours in the quiet house while she lay on her bed, not really napping, not really anything. The clocks ticked in unison, then opposite each other, then back again.

Toward the end the hospice nurse had me buy diapers, and later mom told me that by the time she needed them, she hoped she wouldn't give a shit. And then we both laughed. She was sharp and funny. The last sound she ever made was a laugh, after my brother claimed I was trying to kill him when the cot I had set up in her room collapsed under him.

There was a lot of laughter. Also I ate and ate and ate, chips, ice cream, weird frozen dinners from Grocery Outlet. And I hid in the laundry room or my old room and wept. I went for runs with tears streaming down my face.

When she died, she was the first person I wanted to tell.

Knees
2014-08-25 09.06.33In March, I ran to my kung fu weapons class. And then I attempted to run back again. But my right leg hurt, like someone had jammed my knee backward. (The class had not involved anything that hurt.)

And then I started having a pain run down my leg. So bad I wasn't sure how I would go to Detroit, make it through airports, sleep in a hotel bed, and do a ton of school visits. I managed it, but since then my leg and knee have been not been good.

When I first went to PT back in March, I was told my insurance would cover 77 visits a year. I laughed.  Who needs 77 visits? I was sure it would be cleared up in three or four.

That pain down my leg? Not my IT band like I thought. Pinched sciatic nerve. Finally got on top of that after some sleepless nights and many, many sessions of PT.

And I haven't run since that day six or seven months ago. When I tried, my knee always hurt to some degree. I kept asking about when I could run again, ignoring wrinkled noses, suggestions of taking up swimming or cycling, or maybe sticking with walking, or if I got really lucky possibly running on a cushioned track. I had been logging a thousand miles a year running in my neighborhood, and I didn't want to change.

I had an X-ray, then recently an MRI. I started asking questions about that MRI. Then wished I hadn't. Arthritis in all three compartments of the right knee. Moderately bad in two. More severe behind the knee cap. But, my doctor said, both knees looked the same in the X-ray (which was news to me, and not good news), so who knew? And he had seen people with bone-on-bone knees, the cartilage completely gone, who didn't feel pain.

Kyle Young Flying Kick Kung FuI made the mistake of asking about my own knees in that regard. I'm only 55, so I figured the answer couldn't be bad. But it turns out I'm close to bone on bone. My PT and my doctor have talked of trekking poles and canes and even knee replacements. Only I barely heard them because I was mentally curled up in a fetal position. Down the line, I'm thinking, because it hardly hurts now.  I'm doing all the exercises, taking all the supplements anyone has ever suggested: turmeric, fish oil, ginger, Vitamin D, Move Free, tart cherry juice, and pectin dissolved in grape juice.

And I'm definitely not asking about Brazilian jiujitsu or kung fu. Because while I can substitute walking for running, I'm not interested in substituting tai chi for more active martial arts.

Working at home
I've been lucky enough to work at home since February 1, 2008. Before that I had worked in a cubicle or a shared office and written a book a year (while also parenting, cooking, exercising, housekeeping, and wife-ing. I learned that while you will be always be crappy at something, the trick is to rotate your area of crappiness). To a large degree, this was made possible by my husband bringing home a paycheck every two weeks and covering our health insurance.

Working at home is a real luxury, if at times a lonely one. I talk to myself a lot. If I feel really tired, I'll allow myself a short nap. My husband works llong hours, so he's usually gone from the house for over 12 hours at a time.

But Friday is his last day on the job. He's going to do freelance graphic design. Luckily, our kid is going to college in LA, so he can have an office and I can use her room as an office.  But what about talking to myself? Will he look down on me if I nap? Will we drive each other crazy?
It's hard when all these changes happen at once. I hope you'll continue to talk to yourself and nap as often as necessary. :)
I guess I'm starting to realize changes don't stop. You think you're settled, but it's an illusion.