Monday, December 22, 2008

Peace and Prosperity?

Consider this my Christmas card to you. Overwhelmed by... frankly everything, I've skipped my annual card ritual. Three boxes of beautiful Christmas cards that I got for 75% off last January will go unused. I wonder if anyone will even miss my snail mail holiday greetings. After all, with so much yucky stuff going on in the world it would seem a bit frivolous and anti-green movement to send out dozens of cards.

My friend Rhonda ( cautions that just because a new year begins, it doesn't mean that the issues of the old year will simply melt away. So true. However, the new year does give us an opportunity to refocus. Buying a new calendar allows us to take a fresh look at the time ahead. Will there be challenges? Absolutely, but maybe we'll be better prepared to handle them thanks to the life experience we gained last year.

So, despite a war that seems unending and a really scary economy I shall still dare to wish you peace and prosperity. I'm thinking about sending about a hope letter for 2009. Perhaps we need good cheer more than ever before.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Princess, Report to the Main Stage

Every little girl is a princess, right? Disney tells us that. T-shirts tell us. Grandparents tell us. So why don't more stores carry cute dresses to bring out the princess in the little girls we love. What I've been finding are dresses that look like tiny versions of the ones that big girls wear to nightclubs.

My goddaughter turns 7 in February. She wants dresses for Christmas. I've seen some beautiful party dresses, but the dresses that would be suitable for school or a birthday party are ridiculous. The fabrics, styles and colors look way too mature, unless Jasmyne plans to hit a few bars with her girls after she finishes her homework. Do they really need to make a gold strapless dress in a size 10?

I know there are websites with modest clothes for girls, but they usually feature nothing but drab, ankle-length jumpers. I don't want her to look like a reject from the turn of the century. Auntie Moma wants to buy casual dresses that scream CUTE! I'm trying to dress a little girl who loves Disney princesses, puppies and ballet. The dresses I've spotted at various department stores would be more suitable for a girl who performs as Princess, showing her puppies as she prances around the main stage.

Monday, December 8, 2008

God Bless the Caregivers

I've learned so much about pain management and spine health over the past few years. A few months ago my mom, Wheezy, went under the knife for her second spine surgery. The first was a walk in the park for various reasons. Her recovery was picture perfect, especially to me because she was living three states away and I only saw her on weekends. It was like watching time lapse photography. She lived with my nephew and his mom. Miss Baker, a family friend who works as a home health aide, gave her excellent care. The Senior Taxi service was booked for trips to the doctor and rehab. Looking back, I had a darn good care team in place. Sure, five months of weekend trips from North Carolina to the Buckeye State took a toll on my wallet, energy level and my marriage, but if the time away from my ex-husband accelerated the collapse of our union, it was just icing on the cake.

In September mom had her second spine surgery. It was a much longer procedure and the recovery has been fraught with extreme pain. Finding the right mix of meds (she's on 12 right now) has been difficult as each brings its own special side effects to the table. She seemed to hit a peak about a month after surgery. My cousin Peanut (not his real name) moved in to help with cooking, errands and visits to doctors who only seem to be available when I have to be on the air. Oh, and did I mention that she has reached her medicare limit? Despite the recession, there will be no layoffs at the Indian Land CVS thanks to the Holloway family.

Through it all, Wheezy has been one tough cougar. Perhaps she's been a little too tough at times. I'm not proud of the top-of-my-lungs scolding I laid on her Thanksgiving Day when she slipped up and let me know that she'd been bending to pick up the dog's poop. Bending from the waist is a BIG no-no! The worst part has been watching the suffering day in and day out, knowing that all I can do is fill up her med holder and offer a sympathetic ear. Seeing her struggle to rise from a chair or hearing her beg God for mercy as she talked in her sleep has been heartbreaking. Every good day was followed by a painfully worse bad day. Not fun at all. I wouldn't wish it on Osama Bin Laden. I'm just thankful that my job has blessed me with the financial resources pay for her medications, a lift chair (, and a few homeopathic remedies (NeuraGEL seems to help a little ,

After a visit to her doctor revealed a possibility that the surgery might need to be repeated, I thought we'd suffer a simultaneous nervous breakdown. Thankfully that isn't the case and it looks like she's finally turning a corner. Perhaps it was the switch from the drug Neurontin to Lyrica (, the addition of Cymbalta (, the physical therapy, the tens unit (, the acupuncture ( or cousin Peanut's cheesecake (you can find him on Facebook). We've tried everything, attacking recovery like we were OJ and a bunch of his thug friends. There's no way for us to know if the breakthrough is a combination of everything, just one thing or if time really does heal all wounds.

I'll be eternally grateful for the love, support and advice we've received from so many people during Wheezy's season of healing. I'm so thankful for all of your prayers, but there is still one more prayer request. There are so many caregivers who need support. They are working full time and providing assistance to loved ones full time. Chronic pain leaves our patients cranky and fighting the loss of their independence can make them downright uncooperative. Some caregivers can't get out of the house long enough to go to church or catch a movie. It is a non-stop physically and emotionally challenging labor of love. Many have lost hope for recovery and 2009 will be a year of making peace with the thought of saying goodbye. Pray for them too or go a step further and offer to sit with the sick loved one of a friend or coworker for a few hours. It would mean more than you'll ever know.

My prayers were answered this morning when Wheezy told me that she slept through the night last night. For the first time since her surgery she wasn't awakened by pain. Watch out drivers, she's looking forward to getting behind the wheel of her 300 again. And Wheezy fans, she plans to reclaim her Wednesday slot on the Matt and Ramona Show. Run for cover cougar meat, she'll be growlin' and prowlin' again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December TV Blues

What a letdown. TV gives us the best it has to offer during November sweeps. Sweeps is the word TV folks use to describe the three months of the year when the top reality and scripted shows try their hardest to entertain us and the local news goes all out to scare the daylights out of us. Then comes December and there's nothing! No more "Project Runway" ( and "America's Next Top Model." There will be few if any new episodes of "The Office," "Everybody Hates Chris" and "My Name is Earl." "Fringe" will probably be a rerun. Baby, I've got the TV blues and I'm starting to watch stuff that I know is not good for me. I'm on a slippery slope sliding into trash TV. HELLLLLLLLLP!

Oh, how I long to hear the cheesy announcer say, "THIS is DAHN-cing WITH the STAAAAARS!." My Monday night was shameful without it. What did I do instead? I am ashamed to say that I watched, "Real Chance of Love." Two VH-1 reality show brothers who are brothas call themselves the "Stallionaires." They are hoping to find TV love by making out with a rag-tag group of nutty women who've been given names like MILF, Bay-Bay-Bay, Cornfed and Risky. Please don't judge me. I know I shouldn't know this much about this trashtastic ( show. You've got to understand that the only show I have to look forward to between now and February sweeps is the muppet Christmas special.

Perhaps someone out there can help. Is there a really good show I missed this season that I can catch in reruns? Please save me from "Real Chance of Love." Without your help I might start watching "Rock of Love Charm School." If you care about me, you won't let that happen.