The sorry-ass truth

I’m not feigning modesty when I say I’m a fake. That last piece; I didn’t feel that way when I posted it. I felt that way last week, but I only catch rare glimpses at rare moments of wisdom. Mostly, my life of late is pain, ennui, and resentment. Do you want to know what the two biggest things on my mind are right now—aside from my health issues? Number one, I’m wondering how the hell I’m going to keep up with all the bloggers who are following my blog now that there are so many of them. In the past, I followed the blog of every person who followed mine, but I can’t continue doing that. Yet, there is a big part of me that would like even more followers because more followers means more validation.

Number two, I don’t feel that there’s anyone I can really count upon. When I had my surgery, I figured, okay, I’ll be in a sling for six weeks, and unable to use my arm for at least another month. Peggy will be gone eleven days during that time, and she will be at work three days out of seven when she’s home. I therefore need to freeze lots of food, get the house and yard in really good shape, and do everything else that might need doing in the next three months. Due to my providence, I was left with very few things that I needed. Namely, cleaning the house, mowing the yard, and help walking the dogs. I assumed I could count on Peggy for the house and yard, but I figured I would need help with the dogs during the ten days she would be gone and the three days per week that she works. Who would help me? My friends, my Odd Fellow lodge, my Masonic lodge?

Here’s how it has played out. Only four Odd Fellows offered to help, and they are too old and feeble to walk the dogs with me. I’ve heard from two Masons, only one of whom asked what he could do. “You can help me walk the dogs. One of them is blind; I can’t use the shoulder that was operated on at all; my other shoulder hurts so much that I have to walk with my hand in my pocket; I’m afraid they will get tangled up and trip me; plus it would be hard for me to hold them while I pick up poop. I need you to hold one of them and to help with the poop.” “Well,” he said, “maybe the dogs will just have to hangout by the fire until you’re well again.”

So much for the Odd Fellows. So much for the Masons. Luckily, I have other friends.

For instance, my best friend of 22 years, Walt. Haven’t seen him. Not at all. I’ve called numerous times, but, alas, it was never at a convenient time, and he has stopped calling back.

My next best friend of 23 years, Shirley, who lives just around the block. I stopped calling her after the fifth time in a row that she turned me down. When I gave her a birthday gift yesterday, she was all smiles and hugs, but what they meant to her, I cannot say.

My third best friend of 14 years, Jackie. She came over twice, but now she’s busy knitting a sweater on her days off and can’t come at all.

After an appreciable outpouring of support during the week after surgery, I was apparently expected to be back to normal after two weeks at the latest.

So who has helped?

My neighbor, Ellie, and a couple who I hardly knew, Doug and Leslie. Ellie has called, walked the dogs with me, and has twice sent her son to mow the grass when Peggy didn’t have time. Doug and Leslie have literally come every time I called them, made arrangements to help days in advance, and even called to offer their help when they didn’t hear from me. They have brought me gifts, cooked me meals, taken me places, and walked the dogs more times than I can count. Two other new friends have helped some too.

I have heard it said that you don’t know who your friends are until you need them. Yet, I would not be at all surprised but what those people who have utterly failed me are oblivious to how I feel. I’m sure that, in their minds, I had an endless list of friends to call upon, so it really didn’t matter if they turned me down repeatedly. It was as if they said, “I’m really here for you, but just be sure that you only ask me to do those things that I really want to do anyway at the very time that I really want to do them.”

Or maybe they were like the Mason who offered to help but then decided that the kind of help I said Ineeded wasn’t really necessary. Yet, I had thought that walking the dogs with me was a very small thing to ask in terms of actual work (more a social event than a chore), yet a very great thing in terms of what I needed. I had done everything else in advance so as to avoid needless imposition.

My dilemma now is how to treat these people in the future when I no longer need them and, presumably, they will once again find my company desirable. In all honesty, I don’t want to see them, because it seems to me that I mistook spray painted plastic for 24-carat gold. How could I have been so stupid?

Peggy just left for her button convention in Portland. Because she’s a procrastinator, she spent most of the time since her return from Mississippi preparing button trays for a competition that she had known about for the last year. The only real time we've had together was a three hour walk in the woods the day after her return on April 12. Today, she promised to walk the dogs with me before she left, but she later decided she didn’t have time. She also promised to do some dusting, but she ran out of time for that also. I can’t do housework effectively with one hand, but I’m through living as if I were an animal who has no choice but to go hungry until someone decides to fill his bowl.

It is now 1:00 a.m. After I wrote the above, I took the dogs for a walk and cleaned two rooms, my thought being that I can finish the house in four days at that rate. I went to bed at 10:30, but the night has thus far been spent getting up every half hour to take more pills. My left shoulder—the one that didn’t have surgery—has been bothering me all along because it had to take over for my right shoulder, and cleaning house makes it hurt many times worse. Oddly enough, my right shoulder is now hurting even more than the left one. I tried to let it rest in its sling while I worked, but I was constantly running into things that I needed it for, just a little. After an ice bag, an Ambien, two Percocet, two Benadryl, and two Requip, I still can’t sleep. I literally don’t know how I am going to carry on without help.

I think that much can be said in favor of money over friends in times of trouble. If Peggy didn’t oppose it, I would have hired a maid, and that would have at least taken the house off my back, but, alas, she doesn’t want strangers coming around. She said she would clean it herself Sunday, and I know her intentions are good, but I also know that her best intentions often get snowed out. She will come home with scores of new buttons to be organized and carded, so the house could get postponed yet again. I simply can’t count on anything getting done unless I do it. If I re-injure the shoulder that was operated on in the process, I will be very sad indeed, but this waiting for people to help me is just so much degrading bullshit.

53 comments:

edwin said...

Dear Snowbrush,

I don't know what to say. Really. I've been lucky in life, any problem I've had I've been able to walk away from. That is not to say I have walked, but I could have done. I have reduced my friends to a wreck calling on their support, taken everything they could give me, until they had nothing left to give. They have done things for me that I hope to hell I'll never have a chance to pay back as it would mean that they or their loved ones are at risk of death. I know this doesn't give you practical help, but I want you to know that there are people out there who give freely and expect nothing in return: just that you give freely when you can help another. Don't let the bitterness take you into the darkness.

I also feel that there is only so much that can be expected from humans. We all have our needs and our limits. I know it is frustrating when it is objectively true that your needs are greater. But no one can feel your frustration, no one can feel your pain. Few can understand the feelings of betrayal when your own body lets you down.

I suspect there are ways of making things smoother. I don't know your set up is, what you tried, or what your personal limits are. I have, on the other hand, been a carer most of my life and have provided support for people in your situation, in their own homes. I have used hoists to be able to wash people's backs, held hands while strangers have cried and cried. These problems are severe, but you can over come them.

I feel it would be rude to make practical suggestions, as I don't wish to sound patronising. I would be happy to continue this if you want, but I'm not happy doing so publicly. If I knew what I was doing (I'm useless with computers) I suspect I could have found your email address, in which case I would have mailed to direct. If that's true then you should be able to find mine and you are welcome to send me a mail and we can discuss this further.

Take care

ed

Beth Niquette said...

What an interesting stinging blog you have here this morning! Sounds like you need a hug.

((hugs)) Cyber hugs, dear friend, can't hurt your injured shoulder.

My husband had major shoulder surgery a few years ago--they say (who are THEY, anyway?) it is the most painful injury/surgery a human can have.

Chin up, Buddy. I almost died a year and a half ago, from one of those skin eating staph infections, it tried to eat me alife from the foot up--it's good to be alive.

Perhaps, joy of all joys, you'll find you have more friends than you thought.

Emma J said...

I came to tell you thank you for your advice about the Microsoft natural keyboard - and I am even more appreciative that you took the time when you are facing real pain and real frustrations yourself and not just whining for the fun of it like I was.

I hope things get better for you and that someone in your circle hears your cri de coeur (which is easy for me to say when it requires no coming over and doing anything on my part). Your words struck my conscience and reminded me of two older friends here who have not been able to rely on my help (*because I was BUSY*)

I will go and do better and hope people there do the same.

God bless you.

His kajirah said...

Hello Snow

I'm not sure if you can accomplish this with your shoulder, but if you can, or even part way...(even visually if you are unable to do it)

Cris cross your arms over your chest resting on your shoulder and squeeze gently...

That's a sincere hug from me to you

Wishing you a pain eased day,
~cali

pink dogwood said...

I have no advice to give you since I have never been in a situation like this, but I feel like I should say something to make you feel better?

One advice though - I used to feel same as your wife about hiring someone to clean my house. But I was training for a marathon and had no time to clean, but the clutter and dirty house would drive me crazy. Finally I allowed myself to hire someone to clean the house and have lived happily since. Also, after a few weeks I got comfortable with the two sisters who come to clean my house and now I don't mind them going into my bedroom to clean.

Another story - one of my friend was having trouble with her marriage. They went to see a marriage counselor. He listened to both sides of the story and said - "I could ask you guys to come here week after week and listen to you guys. Or you guys could hire someone to clean your house because that seems to be the biggest complain both of you have." They went home and hired someone to clean there house and have been happily together since - that was 15 years ago.


One last thing - you write so beautifully and honestly that naturally you have a lot of followers. But don't feel obligated to go and visit each blog. just do what you can to distract you from your pain and discomfort.

Hope this helps and wishing you all the best.

julie mitchell said...

Wow...Your situation is really a bummer...Friends...I don't know how many I could really count on, nor am I sure of how much my friends can count on me...Truth being everyone is BUSY. And we isolate from each other. Blogging is an easy way to have friends without expectations. or benefits. maybe that's why it is so popular. We can write a few words...offer prayers, hugs, advice, love and compassion without leaving the comfort of our safety zone or breaking a sweat.
A few months ago it was brought to my attention that a fellow member of the church I attend was literally dying alone. When I approached one of the ministers to see if there was awareness I was told that they didn't know he was in need...dying yes, in need no. How could that be? It isn't that no one cared...everyone thought someone else was meeting his needs...but no one bothered to ask.
Your post has certainly pointed out to me my lack of reaching out in the community, and how an hour out of my week here and there might really make a difference in someones life. But even as I write this a little voice is saying, "but I'm so busy"....

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Oh dear Snowbush I hope I haven't made things worse by nominating you for post of the day with Authorblog. Maybe he won't see my comment! ;-)

The truth is dear Snowbrush that they are both the truth aren't they? The ups - we'd have to be dead not to feel them (you still have some wonderful things in your life) and the inevitable, lonely, drawn-out downs of life with pain.

People who don't have that pain often don't get it. To make them get it you'd have to go on and on and on and on about your pain and that eventually drives them away.

So that leaves us with ourselves to rely upon and for you right now that's not much help. Get a cleaner. I have a cleaner, we can't afford it but I need it. It takes one burden off my shoulders.

Wishing you well as always.

Snowbrush said...

Thank you, Edwin, for your long and thoughtful response and for sharing some of your personal story. I wouldn't know how to look you, but you are welcome to write to me on my blog. You can always request that I not publish it for others to see, and I will honor that.

Beth "they say (who are THEY, anyway?) it is the most painful injury/surgery"

I've heard that too, but individual experiences vary widely just as the extensiveness of shoulder surgeries vary widely. This is what makes it so impossible for the people down at the doctor's office to know if I'm healing normally without running an MRI. I see the doc next Tuesday.

As for your staph infection, I know that a great many people would love to trade their problems for mine, and I don't blame them. Even so, I get worn down sometimes, and today is the worst yet. It's one thing to hurt, but quite another for it to go on for nearly a year with no end in sight. Cali is my inspiration about this.

Emma " hope things get better for you and that someone in your circle hears your cri de coeur"

Thank you, Emma. I called both Jackie and Ellie this morning. Ellie is taking me shopping this afternoon, and Jackie is coming over tomorrow to do anything that I ask her to do. It was very hard for me to make these calls because it felt degrading to actually say how bad off I am.

Cali "Cris cross your arms over your chest resting on your shoulder and squeeze gently..."

Funny you should mention that, because I've often been in such pain that I couldn't bear to walk unless I did just that. Otherwise, the vibration was too painful Hug received, dear Cali.

Pink "But don't feel obligated to go and visit each blog."

Thanks for the words of wisdom and for the assurance that it's okay to not keep up with everyone's blog. That is hard though. Just as I know how much it cheers me to hear from others, esp when I am low, I realize that others benefit from hearing from me. Some of the blogs that I follow have upwards of 100 followers, yet these people are often among the first to respond when I post something. I don't know how they keep it up. I can do it kind of halfway now because I can't do much else, but if I were able to work, I had much rather do that than sit in front of a computer for hours each day.

Snowbrush said...

I just answered some posts, posted my answer, and then two more posts came in behind it. Just know that I didn't mean to overlook anyone.

I was surprised, Julie, by your account of someone dying, but no one thinking he might need anything. Bit of an odd disconnect there. I must admit that I sometimes wish that my face-to-face friends could be as caring as my blog friends, but I also realize the truth of what you say about it being an easy way to care. Also, I am completely honest on my blog, whereas I must admit that I tend to hold back from my face-to-face friends until I am so far gone that I'm unable to approach them constructively.

Reasons "I hope I haven't made things worse by nominating you for post of the day with Authorblog"

No, not at all. Gaston Studio did it last week, and it was great fun to suddenly have new people visiting without knowing at first where they came from.

Reasons "People who don't have that pain often don't get it."

No, they don't. To see it from the outside is like watching a war movie and then thinking you know something about war. And for me, who does know something about chronic pain, to think that I understand someone else's pain would be equally delusional. As bad as mine is, I don't doubt but what it is minor compared to some.

julie mitchell said...

...and on a practical level..kids can walk dogs...Have you considered hiring one? Or two.

...Where is you medical team in all of this? Seems they should be doing a better job of helping you with pain management

Snowbrush said...

Thing is, Julie, I need the walks too as they're the only exercise I get. I also need the socializing as my health is making it hard for me to feel safe about driving and that's making it hard for me to get out and be among people. Too, the blind dog bites and doesn't like children, so I would need an adult that she knows and trusts to walk her. What I'm leaning toward is just going ahead and walking the dogs myself unless someone offers to go with me. I had, at this point, rather risk falling than to rely on other people's whims and schedules. I don't mean that in a cynical way so much as a practical way. I literally feel that I have to do everything for myself that I can possibly do. After trying to clean house yesterday and suffering so much for so little effort, I realize that cleaning house is beyond my ability no matter how dirty it gets. Walking the dogs isn't. I just have to be damn careful.

Michelle said...

Yes, I can relate, every one offers help but very few deliver. It is hard. Maybe you should just hire the maid :)

nollyposh said...

Dear Snowbrush, Do you know what i learned through illness? That the housework doesn't really matter and can always wait (and i am pretty 'thing' about neatness around the home)and i also learned too who really cares about me... i believe that part of the purpose of the illness i had, was to show me these things, to help me to realize just what was REALLY important in my life and sometimes the lessons are a little ...difficult... But i learned to ~relax~ and be less judging of people, and i learned to live with what i couldn't change and just change the things i could... i learned to look at my life as a reflection of myself and i pondered upon things ...Like what it is about certain situations and people that cause me to have an emotional reaction anyway... It has been and still continues to be, an interesting journey that has filled me with such interesting insights that i will be eternally grateful for them ...and i wish for you the same my friend X:-)

Snowbrush said...

Michelle "every one offers help but very few deliver"

Including me at times. I very much regret that one of my elderly friends died a slow death, and that I only visited him once. Other friends, I visited, and it wasn't the worth of the friend that made the difference but what was going on in my life.

Nollyposh "the housework doesn't really matter"

Well, Ms Posh, so much for your credibility. (ha)

There is, of course, much truth in what you say. It is also true that moods come and moods go. Things that are clear to me sometimes are lost on me at other times. The best I can do on those "other times" is usually to keep my mouth shut so as to avoid alienating people unnecessarily. Writing at one of these "other times" and getting loving responses helped. Thank you.

Mim said...

We have had alot of illness in my little family - just hubby and I. Point is...friends are great for being friends - not for chores.
Hire a housecleaner - and to hell with what your wife thinks (sorry Peg) and hire a dogwalker for goodness sake.

I took Requip for years for RLS. It's evil. If you take it for that have your tried Miraplex? It's much nicer.

see ya around...

Snowbrush said...

Requip is evil, Mim? Seriously, how so? I take it for nocturnal myclonus, and in the process of quadrupling the dosage. I was on Klonopin for years prior to the Requip. Boy was going off Klonopin ever evil. Talk about insomnia from hell!

Gaston Studio said...

Snow, to hear you in such distress pains me, and I can offer so little.

One thing's for sure, you shouldn't worry about your followers right now, we all know your situation and it's your wonderful writing that has brought us to you and keep us coming back.

If the house is bothering, hire someone to clean it and deal with Peggy after the fact. You need to be honest with her, too.

Also hire an adult to walk with you and the dogs, they can stand away until the dogs get to trust them.

The most disappointing thing is that your long time friends aren't responding the way you expected and that hurts, in the heart and soul. I've been there and done that, so can relate.

I know that people are busy with their own lives and I suspect you know it too. I also know that some people don't really mean it when they offer help, unless it's the kind of help they can choose. But it's still hard to have this kind of realization hit you in the face at a time of need.

To me, the most important thing about all of this is that you get well and whatever it takes to accomplish that, is what must be done.

Take care of yourself, my blogging friend and here's a gentle hug from me.
Jane

Pantheist Mom said...

SB, the first thing I thought to say to you was to screw the housework for a while, because that would be the logical thing to say and do. However, this comes from someone who missed a significant amount of her daughter's infant days because I had it in mind that a clean house would make me feel more in control. It did, to some extent, but I missed some time just sitting and holding my newborn. If you're *able* to let it go, then do.

As for the blog thing - it's ok to drop some stuff. I just read a book with the following lines which I read over and over:
"She had never realized before that worry could be dumped in someone else's lap like a physical object. She should have done it years ago."

Please don't feel responsible/obligated to keep up with blogs. Wrap it up and drop it in someone else's lap for a little while. It can really be done. I'm not going to stop reading your blog if you stop commenting on mine. It's not tit for tat. I read yours because I enjoy it. Period.

Thinking of you,
Jen

Natalie said...

Hi Snow,I am one to do things myself. I know the job will get done that way. My hub is well intentioned as well, but he is disorganised with his time, and CONSTANTLY makes things worse. I have had many frustrating hours considering the options, and I came up with this. You NEED a clean house to feel good, then it is up to you to get your needs met. Get a maid at least for the times of greatest need. It will also illustrate to Peggy (God Bless Her) that this is really important to you, so that you can feel good in yourself, and not worry about it.
Please ,Please don't injure your shoulders any more! You need to lower your expectations of people, and work around them.
I battled a profound illness a few years back, and do you know? Not ONE person offered to mind my children for me. I was a single mum at the time. I had many "friends", who loved to be driven around, me mind their kids, me buy their groceries and lend them money, but they were never there for me. Some were good listeners, but I needed practical help. Even my family didn't come.

I learned to be cynical, untrusting and to avoid people. I wiped all but two of these friends.I have learned not to expect anything from anybody, if someone comes good, them cherish that, and never forget the kindness shown. I have tried to repay all kindness, and to be a loyal and caring, friend and family member. This is most often not reciprocated.

True friends are as rare as rocking horse pooh, if you find one, treat them like the precious jewel they are.xx♥

Lisa said...

hmmmmmmm
thought provoking from both sides dear friend

i have no words of course, no instant remedy but have always found expectation to be the mother of all disappointment

I have learned not to expect i guess, but is that an answer ?

sending love
as always
Lisa xx

Snowbrush said...

Jane " the most important thing about all of this is that you get well and whatever it takes to accomplish that, is what must be done."

You can say that Amem chorus thing a dozen times or so here. YES. That is what I focus on nearly all the time, and it requires a positive attitude, and I usually have a positive attitude. I wrote when I didn't. Tomorrow will be different. I will forgive. I will see my part in it all. I will move on.

Jen "SB"

I didn't know that meant. I first thought "son of a bitch," but I of course I just as quickly realized that that wasn't really it. SB= ME, Snowbrush. Yes, now I see.

Jen "She had never realized before that worry could be dumped in someone else's lap like a physical object"

Catch! (ha)--and love. What was the boo, BTW?

Jeez, Natalie, what IS IT with those ungrateful Australians you're surrounded by? Look, you're right. I know, because it's happening to me. Still, I HAVE to keep a positive attitude about things, and mostly I do.

Natalie "Please ,Please don't injure your shoulders any more!"

Would you believe, I didn't see it coming yesterday, at least not this bad. I mean, I only cleaned two lousy rooms. Sure, I was in bad shape anyway, but that was like taking a flat tire and making it into a train wreck.

Lisa "I have learned not to expect i guess, but is that an answer ?"

The Stoics would have it so. Happiness, they would contend, must come from what we can control, and what it is that we can control? Our behavior. Namely, we can choose always and everywhere to do that which is right.

Two Mile Creek Primitives said...

Oh Snowbrush, I wish I lived next door to you.. I would be a pest.. I could do things for you and I would.... but then you'd do some crafts with me when you felt better. LOL!! I miss having my Dad around. He did everything with me. Hubbie is to busy with work and my race car..and he hates crafts.. I can't say anything BECAUSE it IS my car, and I do like to race it..sigh.. I fiddle in the house all day alone..it would be grand to go next door to you and do something to help.. My cooking might kill ya thou...we could always eat out...!All I can say is..when the house work hasn't been done and it's piled to the ceiling..and dog poo is knee deep on the floor, then maybe Peggy will get the hint! Don't rehurt your self. It just ain't worth that..nothing is.
Hugs Rene

Caitlin Dale said...

Holy crap you are popular these days. Just wanted to say that I am sorry people are letting you down. But maybe its a blessing...showing you who is worth your time and who isn't. Things will get better.

C Woods said...

So sorry to hear of your troubles. With time, I hope you will feel better.

Several suggestions. I'm just brainstorming here ---you probably thought of many of these.

Unless you are highly allergic to dust mites, the dust will not hurt/kill you. Leave it go. If guests are bothered by that, direct them to your dust rags.

Can you hire a dog walker ---maybe a pre-teen or teenager? If you don't know of someone, a school guidance counselor may suggest someone in your neighborhood who loves animals, wants to be a veterinarian, or just needs spend money. Hell, there are a lot of adults who are out of work who might appreciate an extra few dollars a day. They might even dust for you.

I hired in-home care for my elderly mother for days i can't be there. They do housework, cook, walk pets, drive her to appointments, etc. Charges are about $15-20/hr, through an agency. The actual helpers probably earn only $7-10/hour, so if you hire someone yourself, you will pay less. The advantage of an agency is, they screen the applicants for you.

I don't know how old you are, but in some states, there are programs for seniors for the same kind of help --free or very low-cost from a government agency. Aren't there some in-home medicare benefits? You might not be old enough to qualify for any of these? What about your health coverage? Anything available through them?

You talk about Bible study at your church. Can't someone there help you? Isn't religion supposed to be about "good works'? (I am a religious skeptic so I know what should be isn't always so.)

The blind man might be a good dog walker ---as long as you are along to guide him. I once met a couple ---he was blind and she in a wheel chair. He pushed her chair ---and she gave him directions of where to stop, turn, etc. It was a perfect match.

Is there something you can do without pain? Can you trade typing for dog walking? Set up a blog for someone in exchange for walking the dogs? Read to your blind friend? Tutor a student?

Instead of asking people if they can help you with dog walking ---which sounds like a 3-times a day, every day job, can you ask if they will help you with dog walking on a certain day/time? Can you help me next Tuesday afternoon, or perhaps the first Tuesday evening of each month for three months? For most people that may seem manageable. They will be helping, but won't feel like they will be sucked into a big ongoing commitment.

As to following blogs. I have three blogs. I appreciate every follower, but I can't keep up. I follow many of my followers, but I will not follow a blog that simply doesn't interest me. I don't feel obligated to follow a follower and I'm not offended if someone I follow doesn't follow me. Doing otherwise just causes resentment & guilt. I gave up guilt when I gave up religion. If another blogger is offended or feels slighted, that is more about him/her than about me. We all do our best with the time we have.

All Consuming said...

I've been thinking about your huge list of followers and those you follow too recently and was concerned you might feel this way. I don't know if you recall but I did a post that skimmed the subject a while ago. One of the things I want to be very forceful about is that you really do not have to comment about my comment unless you absolutely want to of course. For myself, having to do that alone when I'm feeling run down with that many people, and then feeling I should also comment on their blogs too would leave me so drained that I wouldn't be able to do posts on my own blog! And that's now with me feeling quite a bit better, let alone how I was before.

If people are as kind and thoughtful as they seem to be they will not mind at all how often you comment, if they make noises that sound a little hurt refer them back to this post, if they start being emotionally upset with you anyway, they are not so thoughtful after all.

You need to have as many pressures lifted as possible. I know I'm very lucky to have Spatz and Ed (yup the same one as above)who on a day to day basis have and will do those extra things I just can't do when hubby is at work, and were I in your shoes I think that I would, (bearing in mind what you have said about people not necessarily appreciating the full extent of your problem), write to those whom I cared about and had hoped would be there, a letter explaining the situation and your difficulties. It may be the case that you would feel embarrassed to ask for help, or even feel it would embarrass them, however there’s a point you have to come to with pain where you say ‘sod it’ to such worries. Once sent, if you get no more help than you did before, at least you will know where you stand. And also, there may well be some of those friends who would really want to know about this rather than have you struggle without completely filling them in.

I really have used the word ‘really’ far too much in this post methinks.
Take care. x

Renee said...

Holy crow.

What you have written here could be said by so many of us that are facing health challenges. But I don't think any of us could have stated it so well.

This is an absolutely brilliant post on a trilliion levels.

Degrading bullshit, animal who has no choice but to go hungry, spray painted plastic, how to treat these people in the future......

Absolutely true.

I really can't say enough about this post. It is fantastic.

If I was there I would walk with you but only to the corner and then I couldn't bend because it would hurt my back. But I would definitely come for the interesting conversations.

Love Renee xoxo

Life at Star's Rest said...

I hear you...when I was diagnosed with stage 3b melanoma, at that point 52% chance of five year survival, it seemed most of the people I knew disappeared. My siblings never called to see how I was doing and when I called them, it was to hear everything that was wrong in *their* lives. Like you, friends of many, many years stopped answering emails etc. I was really angry and hurt for a long time and finally accepted that I was basically dealing with cancer on my own with the help of a counselor. Even my husband 'couldn't handle' hearing me talk about cancer. I'm up here on the mountain by myself most of the time, taking care of five horses, carrying firewood all winter, wading through deep snow. I don't know what I'm trying to say except that we go on because that is who we are. I let go of the old friends and embraced the ones who did come through for me. I stopped expecting my brother and sister to be anything but the very damaged people they are. And my husband? Well, I'm still working my way through that one. Some people just can't deal with illness and potential death and he is one of them. Doesn't make him a bad person, I just have to shift my expectations. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I understand and I wish you some relief from the pain. It wears you down and often turns you into someone you don't like too much for a while. Carmon

Lille Diane said...

And here in the midst of all your pain you did something so thoughtful for me. I am even more touched by you helping me with my grand project. You've been on my mind a lot. I added a song before I read your blog... yes, before! I stopped by your blog to get your http thingy (lol) to openly dedicate it to you on my blog.

Now I see it is just what you needed and I will go finish it right now!!

I cannot be there to help you or clean for you, but I can send every good thought, prayer and hope to you from my heart. I am so honored you take time in your pain to visit me regularly in my bloggy world.

HUGZZZZ, SB. Big, big, gigantic air hugzzz!

crone51 said...

I hear you. I remember going through a couple of periods in life like that - and, indeed, I did find out who my real friends were.

I wish you lived next door - I would love to help out and I have a feeling that getting to chat with you would be wonderful !

People need to realize that we are all only temporarily able bodied. Aging will get us ( if we are lucky) and we will need help at some point. Everyone does. Best to you , new bloggy friend.

Snowbrush said...

To Two Mile Creek. What's this about your cooking being so bad? (I eat anything but meat.) I'll tell you who you could get interested in crafts--Peggy.

Caitlin " Things will get better."

No hemming or hawing here, Caitlin. I want the date and the hour.

Thank you very, C Woods, for your practical ideas and your thoughts about following blogs. You took a lot of time on writing it all out, and I deeply appreciate it. BTW, it's the dog who is blind.

All Consuming, I appreciate your ideas about writing to my friends, keeping up with blogs, and so forth. Most of all, I enjoyed learning a little more about you.

And thank you, Renee, for validating so much of my experience. I sort a thought that, as one who has been there deeper and longer than I, that you would.

Carmon, I was very sorry to hear how hard it is for you husband to listen to you talk about having cancer. I hadn't realized how isolated you were from other people. It was largely the isolation that caused me to leave the country.

And to Lille Diane, yes indeed, I did jump right on getting you started with your projects list. You just made it to temptingly easy. [To everyone else, she has a to-do list that included looking up a word (panache), so I looked it up for her.]

And, Crone 51, I wish we lived next door too.

Life at Star's Rest said...

Being isolated on top of a beautiful mountain is definitely not that bad...I'm the biggest introvert you ever saw and being alone up here with the animals is the happiest I've ever been in my life! That post I put up about choosing to be happy was really written for my husband. I'm glad it touched so many other people. Carmon

rhymeswithplague said...

I only recently found your blog and each time I come here I am blown away by your posts. Your transparency and honesty and just plain guts in the face of having had chronic pain and surgery and a long recovery makes me glad to have stumbled across you. This post particularly provided me with a good slap for all the times I have said "if there's anything I can do" and then didn't.

My wife has had both knees replaced and one shoulder rotator-cuff surgery in the past two years and although it has been very painful for her, the saving grace is I am learning to be more caring, more helpful, more willing to get up off my big behind and actually do something, like actually help her with a physical need or make breakfast or clean the house or mow the lawn. I still have a long way to go. Thank you for today's lesson.

BT said...

Gosh, what can I add that everyone else hasn't already said. I hate hearing 'but she won't let anyone in the house'. Bloody hell, woman, you are in pain, you need her now more than ever so if Peggy can't do it, hire someone who will. Go on, today. Pick up the phone and hire a cleaner and a dog walker. A teenager who loves dogs, there must be loads of them.
Phew, I feel better now, I've been getting so CROSS here.

Seriously, wishing you well and happier days
BT
xxxx

julie mitchell said...

Hi Snow...
just stopping by to see how you are today...Better I hope..I'm also here to say I'm a bit sorry for my somewhat negative post regarding coming through for friends....some do and some don't..and so it is...today I did go by to see a friend in need...so your post spurred me to try to put my compassion into action.
Sending you healing thoughts...hug, hug

Strayer said...

If I lived closer, Snow, I'd help you out for sure. When I got evicted by the slumlady in Corvallis, before Christmas, it was so unjust I thought someone would stand up for me, or beside me, and make everything ok. Didn't happen.

Then when I had to move, even my small handful of friends vanished. I nearly killed myself trying to get everything taken down, cat yard undone, retrapping outside strays, nearly killed me I'd have to say, to do that alone.

Who helped? Nobody, except, in the end, for two days, an old boyfriend came by on his bike and helped me take down the cat yard. I was so grateful I broke down in sobs.

People don't care much about other people if it involves something other than a few words, I've found. There is no time for it. No empathy. No extra energy to spend on others. There is very little tangible kindness to be found in this world. I found some tonight, and it really lifted my spirits. I kindness exists out there. Snow, if I lived closer, I'd come by every day for a couple of hours, until you would have to force me to leave and get a stalking order against me. Just kidding there.

Remember, some things can wait. Dusting for one? Some things, I've found out, in my spinal cord disability, just aren't going to get done and if I do get them done, they might get done very poorly.

Rob-bear said...

The fact that I haven't been able to work for about three years because of chronic health problems is about as much as I have in common with you (at least on this front).

Yet I understand pain and the ethics of pain management (that's what my thesis was going to be about). I have the knowledge, but I doubt I'll ever have the energy to do the research and writing.

When I knew I was in trouble three years ago, I very carefully "selected" a team of friends to help me through the mess. It wasn't a "general invitation." It was a handful of friends I knew and really trusted, and I asked if they could do certain things to help me. None of them has ever let me down. I guess I made good choices, or I have really good friends, or something.

I could talk briefly with you about some pain management issues, but that would be done best by e-mail. Unfortunately, you haven't listed an e-mail address in your profile. But I think you have mine.

Mim said...

Soul - regarding Requip - I can't really explain what I mean about that drug but I know that it made me (1) cranky (2) appeared to change my hormone levels (3) paranoid (4) spend money....the list goes on. I have RLS and while the requip worked I often got sick from it, and also had a syncopy effect three times - the last time I ended up in the hospital with a split lip from fainting. I also found that there is a terrible effect in that the more you take the worse the symptoms get. There is a class action suit against that drug right now - for people who became gamblers - it has something to do with changing inhibitions. I didn't gamble but SHOPPED...and since I stopped that drug, have not shopped in that crazy way.
I had also taken Klonopin in the past, and yes...that was so addictive and a pain to go off.
I just switched to Mirapex and I like it MUCH better. I also find that I have to take iron supplements every day - not sure if that helps with your issue but it sure helps with RLS. I can tell if I've forgotten to take my iron!

I hope you're feeling better - and I hope you've taken everyones advice and gotten some help. I also wish you lived down the street - I'd walk your dogs on Tuesday and Thursday nights - just to be a good neighbor.
Take care, Mim

Matawheeze said...

Anger and frustration go with being dependent. Wanting to do what we want when we want it done is so much what we think it means to be grown-up. You are learning, and re-learning, early what it means to lose independence. It sucks.

Everyone says they want to help and they do want to. But wanting to isn't doing. I'm no better than the friends you have who have offered and fallen short. Sometimes I manage to reach out, sometimes not. Finding how to cope with what you have - dirty house, hiring, capable friends, or non, is as hard as the physical healing. We all have that job eventually. Your readers appreciate you sharing it as you go.

Snowbrush said...

Carmon "Being isolated on top of a beautiful mountain is definitely not that bad."

'Cept in winter, I would want to go low, way low. Peggy would be up there with you though; two introverts hanging out together agreeably.

To rhymeswithplague (Greg?), thank you for your kind words and for sharing some of your own story.

BT "Go on, today. Pick up the phone and hire a cleaner and a dog walker."

If you saw the house, you would wonder why I was in such a stew. As for the dogs, I've just started walking them alone while trying to be really careful. about falling. I'm not ready to relinquish that chore to an employee since it's one of the few things that I still can do.

To Julie, thank you for the healing thoughts.

To Strayer (who lives nearby), incredible as it might seem, I was unaware of your distress. You post frequently, so maybe I simply missed it. In any event, you have my email address, so you can be sure that I will know when you really need something. I no longer have the physical ability to help as I might once have, but I can usually do something.

To Rob-bear, yes your address is on your site. I will send you mine for those tips about pain relief. I assume though that I'm building up a tolerance.

To Mim, thanks for filling me in. So far, I've noticed nothing remiss with Requip. I'm afraid I've injured my shoulder by jerking it in my sleep, and that is why I was told that I can gradually quadruple the dose. If I actually go to that high a dose, maybe things will get weird for me too.

To Matawheeze, yours are words for the wise alright. It's not just having the need for other people's help that's hard but what it implies about myself. I'm hopeful though that, in a year or so, I'll be strong and active again.

KC said...

Snow, All I can say is I wish I lived closer. I would love to walk the dogs and yard work is something I do for fun.
I hope you find the help you need.

soulbrush said...

i say: don't rely on anyone
but
don't overdo it either...
it's only bloody housework!
get a cleaner
get a dog walker
pay for what you need
relax and try not to worry
contact only the poeple you really want to in bloggyland...and maybe don't reply in such detail to everyone who comments on your blog, i never reply on my blog -i go to their blogs and have a chat if i really want to...(like i am doing with you now)...don't waste your time. people come over, comment and then don't return, you are wasting valuable energy...
i'm just saying:
preserve yourself,
do what's right for you!
it's your life and no one elses!!!
i'm just saying...

Michelle said...

Would your shoulders let you paint??

Or something crafty?

Why not give it a go.....would keep you out of trouble :)

xxx

Snowbrush said...

Michelle "Would your shoulders let you paint??"

Michelle, my dear, I dusted and vacuumed two rooms in my house this week, and I've been paying for it for days. There are times when I think I'm going to go out of my mind, and there are other times when I can scarcely believe how strong I am. I have always been an extremely active person physically, and now I simply can't.

kj said...

soulbrush, first, i agree with mim and bt: hire what and who you need. resentments will shrink that way, and that's what you need.

you are brutually honest. i much admire that. i've felt exactly as you describe in times of heightened vulnerability, which physical illness and recovery certainly is. and yet, i had something to learn about asking for help and for taking care of myself. why be mad at peggy if you can have the house cleaned and feel better. okay, so maybe peggy will be mad at you but at least it will be her problem and not yours.

i've read about 75% of your comments. what a thoughtful intelligent bunch. i'm glad to be among them. you've got some good advice here, soulbrush. if people on the blogs care about you like this, my guess is you have friends who do too. if there is a breakdown in expectations, i encourage you to get to the emotional bottom of it

love to you, soulbrush.

kj

Snowbrush said...

To KJ. I hope you won't think I'm just being nit-picky when I point out the possibility that you might have your brushes mixed up. I know a very nice, loving London blogger by the name of Soulbrush, but I'm not her. I'm the maudlin, contrary, and opinionated American blogger by the name of Snowbrush. I only mention this because I'm afraid Soulbrush might be insulted if she discovers that you mixed us up.

I agree with you about the intelligence of my readers. I will even admit to taking a certain amount of pride in how long and thoughtful their posts are. They obviously take me seriously, and I in turn take them seriously. I'm serious, or can you tell?

I thank you very much for your kind words, and I deeply appreciate you.

BT said...

Well, I think you've put a curse on me. Today my left shoulder is giving me real pain. Several times in the garden today, I've let out some not very printable words as a pain shot through. So it's back to using my right arm and hoping the tennis elbow doesn't return to that. I sleep on my left, too, so may have to try the other side now. Grrrr.

Snowbrush said...

BT, if you have stage one impingement, you might be able to turn things around with physical therapy. If you have stage two impingement or a torn tendon, you too will be facing surgery someday. At least, we can be thankful there IS surgery. When I think of how much pain I've been in, I can't imagine what people did in the days when there was NO solution. Of course, they died younger, so that solved the problem for a lot of them. Anyway, if I was you, I would see an orthopedist if possible rather than hope the problem will resolve on its own.

Joy said...

I'm with those who suggest paying someone to come in and clean once a week or whatever works out for you.

This pain has gone on too long. I thought the surgery would help but not cause so much pain for this long.

soulbrush said...

ha ha i am honoured to be 'mixed up' with you snowbrush. i DID come back to see how the comments are going, and i think i was wrong when i said you shouldn't answer yours,because it take too much time,,,, i think that people know that you will write back so they come back...know what i mean? I think i did tell you of my shoulder hell (both, but the right one more than the left one) which i had for more than 2 years...i have never experienced such pain before or since...even my back surgery healed and got better slowly. but this just went on and on and on...in desperation i sought an acupuncturist and it took 4 months of weekly (excruciating) sessions to gradually heal..it aged me a lot and has left me feeling vulnerable about myself physically, which i never was before. keep your chin up (what a stupid saying)...and one step in front of the other...

BT said...

snowbrush, thank you for your advice. I must admit the tennis elbow went away over winter, so I'm hoping this might. It's so difficult in Ireland as their health service is pretty bad. maybe I'll go private and heed your words. Thanks again. I hope you're managing some sleep. I slept on my back, it seemed the only way.

Bella said...

hi there. Sorry to hear that you're having physical pain right now. I think it just takes patience to find the right combination of therapies to include drug therapy. As far as the chores and house, hiring a teen, if feasible financially, would be a great option. Sometimes you just have to compromise and let someone else do it, irregardless of whether or not it's done to your satisfaction?! I know for me giving up the "perfection of the way I want it done" is hard.

Lisa said...

i have been sending you intense love all weekend.hoping you are doing ok dear snowbunny xx

Snowbrush said...

Joy "I'm with those who suggest paying someone to come in and clean"

Peggy got a start on Sunday, Joy, and will probably finish up on Tuesday.

Soulbrush, someone else confused the two of us on my latest post. I'm wondering if they ever do that on your blog or if Soul is more easily switched for Snow because it's more what people might expect to see. I tried acupuncture, but got no relief from it, and was eventually convinced that torn tendons don't grow back across the gap that separates them unless they are surgically reattached. Either your experience proved otherwise, or you had another problem with your shoulders.

BT "I must admit the tennis elbow went away over winter, so I'm hoping this might."

I had tennis elbow too, and it did eventually go away. Soulbrush just wrote of acupuncture helping her shoulders, and I have heard other people say that it's effective as well, but if you actually have a torn tendon, I would doubt that acupuncture will do the trick. I wish for you a diagnosis, because that would give you a better idea of what you're up against. I too have spent months of nights on my back, and at least two months in a recliner.

Bella " Sometimes you just have to compromise and let someone else do it"

Yes, I do. It's hard, but I have no choice. I can scarcely bear the pain on my good days, and days on which I try to perform physical labor (even something like cleaning house) are not good day.

Lisa, thank you very much. I'm really, really touched.