I’m finally starting to get my energy back. At least a little bit. Definitely, it’s better than none. One thing I’ve learned for certain is that my fibromyalgia is managed better when there is no significant stress in my life. The small, day-to-day things that crop up aren’t usually a problem. It’s the things that really get the adrenaline pumping that throw my body off course.
There have certainly been enough of those lately. Finishing up the work of the parish search committee was a good thing, but it was also fraught with meetings and decisions at the end. My father-in-law’s week in the hospital, where they discovered his lymphoma had returned after 10 years – followed by 4 days of chemo every 3 weeks – has kept us running. (Today is his last day of treatment – Hallelujah!!). My step-dad’s cataract surgery followed by my mother’s hospitalization and subsequent death was a major stressor. The stress of all that was definitely intensified by the need to deal with family every day and a week long visit from my daughter.
All the immediate stress was done by last Sunday, when the Patriots managed to lose the Super Bowl. Not that I’m a rabid fan or anything, but a win would have had different emotions than the loss. Since every emotion has some kind of effect on the human body, the win would have stimulated energy and lifted my spirits a bit. But we can’t rewrite history.
I have tried to “keep a low profile” this week, doing only what are necessary household chores since I know that’s the way to get my energy back in balance. But the politicians thought it important to woo me by phone until Tuesday. Personally, I think they should be added to the “Do Not Call” list. Since they call from numbers that show up on caller ID as “Private Caller,” I have to answer. My step-dad’s phone is also blocked and shows up in the same way. Since he is usually the only one to call my house with that designation and in light of my mother’s recent passing, I have to answer, in case there is some emergency. So when it turns out to be some politician begging for votes, it really gets me steamed. That certainly doesn’t help restore energy balance.
Today was my father-in-law’s last chemo treatment, if all goes “as planned.” My husband has been using his lunch hour to run into the city, pick up his parents, take them home and go back to work all week again. At least it didn’t snow enough to keep his sister from bringing them into the city before she went to work this time. Since Wednesday is my husband’s half day at work, he picked me up and I went with him yesterday to pick them up. We stopped for lunch on the way home and sort-of “celebrated” treatment being done. He insisted on paying because, after all, we’re spending money on gas to drive him around. He can drive himself in on Friday for the shot that helps bring his blood cells back to a good count.
Just had to take a break and check the phone. I have had more phone calls in the past 2 weeks than I had in the previous 6 months. I hate talking on the phone for any length of time – even with an earpiece, it still seems to cause the pain and stiffness in my neck to increase. It’s usually very quiet in my house and if I’m concentrating on something, like writing, that first ring startles me so much that it practically causes me to jump out of my skin. Not a good thing, since that startle response causes the adrenaline to flow. This time I could tell from the caller ID that it was my sister calling from work. I let the machine pick up the call. I figured if she left a message, I’d respond to it. If she didn’t leave a message, it wasn’t important enough to require a response. I was right. She left a message with an updated address for the Scleroderma Foundation (my mom had scleroderma and we had requested donations to this charity rather than flowers). If I had answered, though, she would have found enough to talk about that I would have been listening for 20 – 25 minutes. It happened Tuesday that way. She’s taking over where my mother left off. One wise choice means improved energy and decreased pain. That’s what coping with fibromyalgia comes down to sometimes – making choices that are right for you.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. So you already know I didn’t fast. I used to, when I was young. But it would have been awfully awkward to go to the restaurant with my in-laws and watch them eat. It wouldn’t have bothered me but it would have made them uncomfortable, so I made the choice to eat out of love for them. I think doing things for love is always the way to go. I couldn’t go to church at noon, since that was when we went to pick them up from the hospital. So I wanted to go in the evening. My husband really didn’t want to go at all. He was in a funky mood all day – maybe he was coming down from all the atypical chaos we’ve been living the past few weeks, too. I told him I would go by myself, but really would prefer to go with him. Since we both do things we don’t really feel like for the other person from time to time, he agreed to go – grudgingly. I was glad he was there. Our interim priest is one of those folks who like to talk and talk and talk and … I’m sure you know someone like that. I’d probably still be stuck listening if my husband hadn’t been there to intercede.
Our interim priest is a good person and definitely a better pastor than our prior priest had been. But when he gets an idea in his head, he’s like a dog with a bone. It’s tough to get him to let go. He is also a bit freer with spending than we are accustomed to in this small, frugal New England parish. He has grand ideas that often don’t fly well because he hasn’t considered the reality of the parishioners. Anyway, our new priest will be ordained in June. She’s finishing seminary right now and has been ordained a Deacon already. Her ordination to the priesthood will take place in our church, since that is the custom in our diocese. Mr Interim has the grand idea that he will be involved in the planning of her ordination on Saturday, June 7. Then he will con-celebrate Mass with her for the next two weeks to “give the parish a transition time” and then he will move out. Our warden has discussed this with her and she is not excited about that prospect. I don’t blame her. She isn’t a 25 year old who needs to be brought along in baby steps. She’s in her mid-50’s. She’s been a nurse, a nursing instructor at the college level, has developed a “Parish Nurse” program for our diocese and is now completing seminary. She’s strong and intelligent and I think she should take over without his interference. She needs to prove she can make this parish her own. I think his presence would hinder that.
Mr Interim and his wife are planning a visit to Hawaii, where he may be called to serve as interim priest in a parish out there. So much for the plans to retire to Montana after leaving us. Anyway, he may be away one weekend in February and, rather than paying a supply priest for the weekend, we may do the Daily Offices of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. As a lay reader for nearly 40 years, I’ve conducted those before, so it won’t be a problem – except maybe for the parish. We have some young people that probably haven’t attended a Sunday service that was not the Holy Eucharist and won’t know Morning Prayer. It will definitely be interesting.
I haven’t heard from my Lakota friends, who are back on the rez, for about a week. They knew my mom died, so they may be giving me some “space.” I know they were looking for a place to live that wasn’t someone else’s home. There are 5 in their immediate family and when you put that many people in someone else’s home, it gets very crowded and people can get cranky. Especially when you don’t really like the people you’re living with.
Housing on the rez is very inconsistent. You have some folks with adequate housing. You have many others who live with 8-12 people in a 2 bedroom house or dilapidated trailer. Home repairs are difficult to have done and many homes fall into disrepair. Most are not properly insulated. Heat is fueled by propane, which is getting very expensive. Some heat with wood. Still not cheap.
I have a lot more to say on that topic, but will leave it for a future day. You might find an article in the Sioux Falls “Argus Leader” newspaper of some interest if you care about those who live on the reservations in this nation.
Right now, I have to go write more thank you notes to those who were kind to my mother in her final days in this realm of life. I should probably be done already, but each one takes time and stirs up emotions. So I really can’t do too many at once if I ever hope to recover my energy.
For those who pray: Pray for those who live in poverty and pray for all the victims of the uncharacteristic winter tornadoes.