[Poem][Willow]

Standard

This one is for my beautiful furbaby Willow, my nearly 14 year-old Australian Shepherd. I believe all the health scares, incidents, and wonderful times I’ve had with her and those to come, hopefully, for many more years ahead, have definitely given me invaluable experience to raising any future children I may have!

Willow

The little sly look, that you give when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to.

That slender white stripe that runs down your forehead and nose, that explodes down your neck.

That wild mane of white mess, that sheds into every corner of every room, on every black pant leg.

Those little white paws you rest your weary head on and clean more diligently, daily.

Your short fuzzy muzzle, that hides so many sharp teeth, that you love to bare at me so.

You may be racking up your dog years, and may forget how much I love you.

You may choose not to listen when I call your name, or even remember playing tug-of-war with your blankets.

Years ago you would ignore my looks and force your furry body into my lap.

Years ago you would sleep on the couch, when you knew you weren’t supposed to.

Years ago, six months ago, two weeks, last week, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day until the end.

I’ll love you always my baby Willow, tailless Aussie butt and all!

[1 Year of Loss and Hearing Loss]

Standard

I think quite a few people these days have some story, whether completely honest or not, about how something terrible, horrible, life-changing etc, has happened to them in their life. The addition of whether or not they had overcome whatever it was that happened to them, come sometimes prevent us from believing their story. Some of my family and a few of my friends are aware of what happened to me last year that would be my terrible, horrible, life-changing etc story. I admit, this was not completely easy to write because it brought back a lot of the uncertainty and pain that bombarded me and those who saw what I was going through. I encourage you to read the piece in its entirety; 2013 has forever changed where my life may go.

One Year of Loss and Hearing Loss

Lately, I have been feeling a little down, perhaps a little behind because of events and situations that have been taking place since New Year’s. At the beginning of the year, we’re expected to make resolutions for the months to come and to, hopefully, attain our goals before the year is up. The last couple of months have been hard, but last year, almost a year ago now, came the most difficult time of my life and there was nothing I could do about it while it was happening. That being said, I still feel as though I am picking up the pieces after my dreams and goals fell apart.

The first week of March 2013, I came down with a fever of over 103F that lasted about a week, which included a complete blackout and a trip to the Emergency Room to end it. After this I thought everything would be alright, but unfortunately, it was only the beginning. By the end of the following week, I was back at the ER being admitted for overnight observation. That Saturday was the beginning of three months of hell and six months after that of recovery from being through hell.

Between Saturday and Monday morning, I developed bels palsy on the right side of my face. This is a form of facial paralysis that rarely presents in young patients and, when not treated in the first three days of showing, increasingly becomes worse until functions eventually very slowly returns. It honestly appears as though the sufferer has had a stroke; the muscles in the face become slack, puffiness presents along the jaw line and near the eye, and sometime hearing becomes reduced. Although I had told three nurses and two doctors the night I was admitted to the hospital that my face was feeling funny, my palsy went untreated and undiagnosed for a week and a half, until I saw an optometrist for my eyes which had become bright red but with no itchiness or soreness.

This amazing doctor was the sole reason I was able to receive the few answers I could be given. Not only did he diagnose my palsy but he fast tracked my appointments to see a rheumatologist and neurologist. He went above and beyond what was expected of him and I could not have made it through all that happened without his unrelenting support in attempting to discover what triggered it all in the first place. The rheumatologist confirmed that my current aches and those that I’ve been experiencing since I was ten, were not due to advancing rheumatoid arthritis, and the neurologist confirmed the diagnosis of palsy that had now completely paralyzed the right side of my face and had progressed to the left side.

It was April by this point and I was just dealing with the changes my body was going through. My feet were so swollen I couldn’t walk and when I attempted to, I couldn’t make it down the hallway without support because I was so dizzy. The excruciating pain in both sides of my neck from the palsy that should have been caught right away was unrelenting the entire time and no amount of pain killers could even begin to dull it. My appetite came and went, on top of having no use of the right side of my face and only about 30% of my left. Have you ever tried eating immediately after having your mouth frozen at the dentist? Yeah, I do not recommend it at all, and just think of having to do that for three straight months. But little did I know that something worse was on the way: I lost a decent chunk of my hearing.

Over Eater weekend, my hearing ability dropped noticeably. Sitting on a three-seat couch, I could not hear my own father who was sitting one seat away from me. We thought and hoped it was only temporary because of all the swelling and pain in my neck from the palsy. Unfortunately, upon seeing the neurologist, he said this may not have been the case and sent me to an audiologist. I am so grateful I was sent to this particular doctor because she made the experience as enjoyable as it could have been.

Once all the testing was done, audiologist began explaining my results and how in the normal range of hearing where my own hearing now was. Ever so smoothly, she informed me that I had lost about 40% hearing in both ears and that I would need hearing aids. I couldn’t help it, for obvious reasons, I broke down and began crying. She excused herself from the room to check on other patients and my mum comforted me. Being who I am, the tears lasted for a few minutes before I turned to my mum and said, “at least now I’ll have a way to ignore Caitlin [my sister]. I’ll just have to turn my ears off!” Next thing you know, my mum and I start laughing and even began having a laugh at the nasty pictures of the previous patient’s ear cannels that were completely blocked with blackened earwax and hair. The doctor, having heard us from beyond the door, opened it and said, “I’m hearing an awful lot of laughing from this room considering what I just told you.”

I’m sorry but what else could I do but laugh? Crying wasn’t going to bring back the nerves in my ears that had died. I knew right away that if I could not find humour in my situation then and there, I probably never would. I was fitted for my hearing aids and returned home to resume my recovery.

By June, the worst was over with and the use of my face was slowly (and I mean  slowly!) returning. I could walk almost perfectly without becoming too dizzy and I was looking forward to returning to work. Medically, things were looking up even though through it all, I never did find out what mystery viral infection caused my fever or what caused my extreme aches or what caused my palsy to be so bad and what knocked out my hearing. To this day, I still do not know! Everything else though had been put on hold and the impact of this sickness took a higher toll than I realized.

The beginning of 2013would have been my last semester at the University of Guelph and because of becoming ill, I missed the end of my classes, I was unable to say goodbye to my friends and professors, and ended up barely scraping by in my classes that I actually enjoyed taking. I couldn’t concentrate on my writing at all and the goals I had decided to achieve at the beginning of the year. I couldn’t even begin looking for jobs that would have the potential to lead to a career in my field for fear of having a relapse. It was all I could do to convince my boss in my retail job to let me come back when I said I was feeling better.

The last year has been extremely difficult and dealing with the hearing loss is certainly something I never would have thought I’d need to deal with or explain to people at my age. Even now, and especially with this cold weather, new experiences with the increased sensitivity of my ears, I am constantly reminded of my new limitations. I have so much trouble hearing people sometimes still, whether it’s at work or my family members or taking a simple phone call. Talk about another reason to hate the phone, eh? Even with my hearing aids in, I still experience immense trouble, so I try only to use them when I really need them. I guess my hope is that I can reteach my brain and my ears to hear like I used to. It may be a foolish hope, but being young, I am entitled to do what I can to at least try to make things better on myself.

Telling people has become easier and it does help to talk about what happened, even make jokes about my hearing loss and hearing loss in general to make those around me comfortable with the idea. It has made me more protective and cautious of myself, so much so that it’s affected a couple of my relationships with those I’ve attempted to date once my recovery was further along. I am more skeptical than usual on how men may see me because of my hearing loss and the lack of career I haven’t been able to begin because of the length of time I was recovering. Perhaps even, as a couple of my closer friends have suggested, that because of all that’s happened and because of those negative thoughts towards myself, I may be dealing with depression.

I never thought about talking to someone professional about what I had gone through or now, feeling so low about it all. Sure I mentioned the off thought or two to my family and certain friends, but I never wanted to worry them. As unfair as everything was that happened to me, why would I want to put my family through it too? The more I think about talking to a therapist, the more I feel comfortable writing about posting it in blog form. Even if no one comments or messages me, or bothers to read this whole thing all the way through, I feel better having put it down on paper.

I still feel that I have missed an every important year of my life that I will never get back. I still feel alone in my condition and fear that those I meet and date may not be able to see past it. I still worry that the next time I spike a fever, it will all happen again. Having my entire face paralyzed once in my life was enough. But above all, I still feel nervous and scared I’ll let those that have helped and supported me down. I think for this year, that is my goal, my New Year’s Resolution. For now, that is the best I can promise.

[Poem][Anything and Everything]

Standard

Anything and Everything

Are we the only ones out there?

Are we the only ones who can feel?

The wind in our hair, the rain scattering on our faces.

The spirit that moves and hides in time with us,

It touches anything and everything with the lightest of touches.

A cooing breeze, a scattered sun-shower, the full moon’s reflection in a still pond.

Everything feels the blaze of the sun, the iciness of the snow,

Anything can feel the pain of a cold shoulder, the warmth of a loving hug.

No matter how small, how insignificant, everything has a heart,

Everything has a heart and wants to feel freedom.

Nothing wants to feel lonely, nothing wants to feel unloved.

Everything feels something, anything at all.

[Poem][Darkened Sunlight]

Standard

Thy sky rose as my eyes opened

Seething smells of pastures beneath the waves

Lovingly clashing under the soils of skin

Fingers dancing upon withered sands of clouds

Sunrise of a thousand goodbyes

Let the dusk come swiftly in to water raging

My heartbeat more slowly to quicken the beginning

Quicken the pace of my waking in to the night

Sky, noow set in the waves on the pastures

Small and large creatures having clashed long enough

Deep in darkened sunlight, allow me to bask

Sweet, salty pastures, the earth beyond the sea

[The Project][Part 8]

Standard

Mave knocked twice on the door before opening it and walking in; the antic she walked in to amused her slightly. Her subordinates were rushing around tables and hitting keys on one keyboard and then another; their movements were hurried and sporadic. Mave just stood near the door and watched, outwardly unamused, as Steven stapled a small package of papers together and Ashlee moved from one computer to the next, selecting new programs to run before raising their heads to see who entered the room. “We’re almost ready, but we’re not done yet. You’re earlier than what you said in your email,” Steven said very matter-of-factly, insubordination in his tone.

“Obviously I know that,” Mave said strictly. “Do you really think I would not want to read what you have prepared prior to presenting it to my superiors? Perhaps I need to consider finding more intelligent techs to replace the dense ones I already have.”

“Mave please, we have been working on narrowing the lists you wanted but they’re massive to begin with,” Ashlee said, leaving the last computer to begin processing. She grabbed off her desk a neatly stapled stack of papers and a red pen, which she handed to Mave. “These are ready for you to look at for your approval. It outlines the progress we’ve made in the listed databases and the action plan for where we’re going to move to next, and how we’re going to narrow the lists down further.”

Mave took the materials from Ashlee, gazed over it in passing before adding, “’we?’ Interesting that these tasks have your ID number on the time stamps and yet I gave both of you these to complete.” She looked over to Steven who was still rushing whatever task he should have accomplished with patience and accuracy days prior to her email. “And what have you been accomplishing Steven? Because by the looks of things all you have done is take up space and waste my time and resources.”

Steven’s face flushed red in anger and embarrassment from being told of his inadequacies by a woman, who was younger than him as well as in a higher professional position than him. “I have done plenty for this Mave. Maybe if you actually told us what we were working on, I’d be more willing to put more effort in to it,” he said, voice tense and straining not to raise his voice. He rose from behind his desk and handed Mave his own stack of stapled papers that was considerably lighter than Ashlee’s.

“And making sure you have continued employment is not motivation enough? I will be sure to take that in to consideration during my meeting later, if the topic of your use of resources is mentioned or the potentially reallocating my resources.” Mave had zero tolerance for Steven’s excuses because she had always known him to be a man who craved commendation on whichever assignment he was given, no matter how small. The belief was that being paired with the overly ambitious and young Ashlee would prompt him to excel but apparently not. Mave began using the red pen Ashlee gave her to add notes to Steven’s papers, crossing out entire paragraphs as though he was submitting a high school paper. She sighed loudly in a disappointed manner, shaking her head while putting the pen down on one of the tables. Mave shuffled around the pages she was given and held out the low priority files towards Ashlee.

“When the lists you’re working on now are completed, I need you to contact these individuals to come in to be interviewed. There is a list of questions you must ask in the top folder, and remember that all the interviews must be videotaped. Do you understand?” Ashlee nodded quickly in response to Mave. “Email if you have any questions or need guidance on how to proceed further. I am due upstairs soon. Goodbye.” With that final salutation, Mave left the office without waiting for a further response from either subordinate.

“Well that went well,” Steven stated, voice laced with sarcasm and distrust for his superior. “One of these days that woman is going to get hers. She’s not going to get away with talking to me like that.” Nonetheless, he continued working on his assignments and preparing the next step from there. Steven was not in that rage-induced state of worrying over one’s employment and reluctantly speeding up his work ethic.

Ashlee’s sweet and quiet demeanor quickly vanished and turned to impatient hostility towards her work partner. “Perhaps if you didn’t piss off our boss every chance you got, we’d know what it is we’re working towards. Now shut up and take half of these files.”

Mave stood outside the elevator doors again, waiting for it to make the lock trek back down to the fourth floor. She was contemplating how to phrase her disappointment in her lesser subordinate, and the full cooperation in replacing him with an individual of greater value. She could assure all involved that his knowledge of the Project was beyond limited, consisting of nothing further than massive non-specific lists of hearing-related citizens and just as non-specific pile of individuals who needed to be asked a list of seemingly random questions. The purpose of the Project would remain safely hidden.

The elevator door opened in from of Mave and she walked in, hitting the button for the 75th floor. She took a deep breath and watched the ascending floor numbers light up as the elevator brought her closer to judgment. She shuffled her papers and files and straightened for outfit, but something still nagged at her. She felt calm and prepared, as much as she could be considering how little notice she had. Perhaps that was what was bothering her so much, the fact that this request come so suddenly, especially after she spent all night in the office…

No one knew I spent all night in my office, even those watching the building’s own security cameras would not have been paying that much attention to notice her movements or lack of in leaving the building or staying.

A sickening twist began clawing in the pit of her stomach. Only one person knew, only one person spoke to her and closed his office door before she received the email. Was the why he closed his door? Could he be a bigger player in the company, just hiding on another floor so he could keep an eye on employees? Was Kayden there to keep an eye on me? And I insulted him too!

The elevator bell dinged and the doors opened to the lobby of the 75th floor. A man stood there, waiting for her.

[Poem][Take Control]

Standard

Let the clock tick on

Let the wind chime twinkle

Let the candle flame flicker

Close the door on your stress,

about everything you cannot control

Open your mind to the calm,

of letting everything flow as it wants

Let Fate handle all that is does

Let Fate take control of everything around you

Let You only worry about you

Let You control your own fate

Let nothing stop you

Let nothing slip by you

Live your life because…

Only You can do that