It has been a very eventful week and as I sit here today I am so aware of feeling different; actually feeling the freedom I’d hoped for in retirement. Strange, given what’s transpired in the past week or so that I feel this way now after a trauma-filled week … but I do. It’s as if some kind of weight has been lifted from my spirit (and my shoulders) that is making life just plain easier to live. After years of feeling as if my immune system had collapsed I’m back to being who I once was; able to take things in my stride and move along in life with the things that matter the most to me.
Trauma #1: In Santa Fe on our holiday I hurt my ankle when I missed a step and came crashing down to the ground. When the two young women who witnessed my fall came to my rescue and asked if I was alright my answer was a bit obscure: “No, but yes”. That certainly left them concerned that I’d not only hurt my ankle but perhaps also bumped my head. I knew what I meant though. The “no” was that I recognized that I’d done some significant injury to myself. The “yes” was that I also recognized that whatever I’d done it would be alright; I could manage whatever I needed to. This new (to me) feeling I attribute to the meditation I’ve been doing. Indeed, on the hour’s drive from Albuquerque (where I fell) to Santa Fe (where I got treatment), I focused on icing my ankle and meditating; imagining my ankle whole and well and trying to “breathe into it”. Once x-rayed and bandaged up, I was told that it would take at least a week before I could walk without an ankle-splint. Well, two days later I wasn’t sporting the splint and was able to trek to a hotspring.
A little aside here. Because I had good health-care coverage (on my VISA card) I received great medical care in Santa Fe. No worries. What I can’t understand is the response that I’m seeing daily on the news with folks going what I can only call “nuts” fighting against universal health care in the US. Indeed, while in Santa Fe, when anyone asked where I was from, my answer would be: “I‘m from Canada, where we have a great health care system in spite of what you’re hearing on your news”. Everybody here knows that they can get the health care they need when they need it. Nobody here worries about whether or not they can afford the surgery or medical attention that they need to be well. Do we wait a while for elective/non-urgent procedures? Sometimes. But when my mother needed angioplasty a couple of years ago she got what she needed right away, with great care and … no bill to haunt us. When David needed an MRI or a Cat Scan for an eye infection, he got it … no wait and no bill. Now I know that we can never underestimate people’s capacity for being stupid but honestly … who would believe that Obama would actually be suggesting “death panels”; at least who other than someone as vacuous as Sarah Palin? So folks in the US, please get it together and start to take care of each other. Everyone needs access to good medical care; make sure you support it. Okay – I’m putting the soap-box away now.
Trauma #2: Two days ago I had some pretty significant dental surgery. This was follow-up to a disastrous root canal done a few years ago; a piece of the file broke off inside the root and was left there (and the dentist forgot to tell me about it). The result was recurring infections and no way to clean the area because of the broken file blocking the canal. So on Monday they cut open my gum and went in “through the top”. Once again, I used meditation as a way to get through a difficult experience. As I left the endodontist’s office – after a 2-hour ordeal – I was told to expect that I’d be in pretty rough shape for about a week. My son Motti took good care of me all day, keeping me company, bringing me ice and bowls of the jello that David had made before leaving for work that morning. My friend Laurie came by with popsicles, a welcome addition to the get-well diet. In the evening David took over the nursing duties and delighted me with mashed potatoes and the best cupcake I’ve ever eaten. It’s Wednesday now and I’m feeling pretty good; just a little swelling left so that when I smile one side of my mouth goes up and one side turns down. Weird. But once again, healing much faster than anticipated.
So here I am. I’d expected that today I’d still be down for the count with my foot elevated in a splint and an icepack on my face. Instead I’ve been up since 6:30 and I’ve just completed – and submitted – a draft that I hope will be a chapter in the second volume of Living Legacies: A Collection of Inspirational Contemporary Canadian Jewish Women. It’s still not easy for me to realize that my hours are my own, that I can pursue the things that I choose to do, and that I don’t have to answer to anyone else for what I do or how I do it. It’s still not easy to see myself in my new roles as writer and speaker … and of course doer. But little by little, day by day, I’m feeling stronger in my own identity. Little by little, day by day, I’m finding ways to adjust to the changes in schedule and expectation (there’s that tricky word again!). There are still some dark clouds hovering not too far away (more about that in another posting) but overall I think that I’m “over the hump” and starting to wear my retirement with more ease. I sure hope so.
Time to do a standing yoga meditation and then go for a walk; it’s finally a sunny day in Toronto.
Anyone have time to meet for a coffee?