Calling Elvis

Have y'all seen Spinal Tap? There's this scene in it when our intrepid band is lost backstage and trying to find the stage and they keep coming around corners and saying, "Helloooo, CLEVELAND!" and then it turns out they are at yet another dead end.

I think that may be a sign.

SO, having successfully freaked out over my eye shot (The idea was worse than the reality, in the end. Actually, the WORST part ended up being the feeling I had afterward when I felt like I had a truckload of sand in my eye and I couldn't do anything about it. I was so miserable as soon as the kids went to bed, so did I. The next day, no sand but, um, also? No improvement in my vision. I'm just... PRAYING I don't have to have another shot in five weeks because, as y'all so eloquently put it...EEEWWWWWWWW!), I have been thinking.

Well, okay, obsessing a bit. I have three other posts in the works about my parents' visit and missing my old dog Sydney and how the Blink-o-Meter is back on and so far, I am winning. (Oh yeah, oh yeah, I rule...I...dang, is that a strand out? An entire strand? Freaking cheap freaking twinkling freaking lights...grrrr.)

But while all of this holiday craziness has been going on, I've been running a sub-process about this year and trying to figure out what exactly I'm supposed to be learning from it. Because, y'all? It has kind of... well... SUCKED being me this year. (Please don't send me e-mails telling me that there are people out there with REAL problems and that I should get a grip. I'm not comparing what I've been through to people who have faced life-threatening illnesses or the deaths of loved ones or things of real magnitude, obviously. I know how blessed I am. I have my family and my good marriage and a fairly reliable Internet connection. And for all my (endlessly detailed) mental instability, my sense of humor is intact, for which I give thanks daily.)

Still, this hasn't been my best year. Oddly enough, it doesn't really have anything to do with the move across country, although the move from Texas to New York did highlight some of the areas of my life that have changed drastically. I used to have the energy of six people--honestly. I would have had us unpacked and meeting the neighbors within about two weeks. But here it is, nearly nine months later and we're not unpacked. While I have met my neighbors, I have yet to form the friendships in our community that would, um, MAKE THIS A COMMUNITY for me. I'm not very mobile. I'm overweight and way, way out of shape.

I think most of it has to do with just being in pain all the time. The biggest difference in my life today from what my life was two years ago is that, well, I haven't taken a single step without pain in that time. Which kind of just...grinds the Elvis right out of you, you know?

I miss my Elvis.

I think my husband, who is the most nurturing, loving, supportive, patient man on this planet, misses my Elvis, too. I mean, imagine marrying the Elvis of the 50's and waking up one day to the Elvis of the 70's.

Dudes, I'm AFRAID to go to the BATHROOM.

(Okay, so, um, I'm sorry about that. It's just that... well, how often do I get to make Elvis jokes? Sorry. Really. I couldn't resist. I tried.) (Sort of.)

Actually, I'm not even Elvis in the 70's. I'm like an Elvis IMPERSONATOR from the 70's. It's just NOT GOOD.

So, the thing about being at the mercy of your body and pain is that it makes you (well, ME) feel tentative and muted in almost every other area of my life. And that becomes a really vicious cycle because the less outgoing I am--the more I hide in my house--the more tentative and invisible I feel. So, here I am, two years into this thing, and I can't think of one redeeming quality about myself. I can't think of anything I ADD to our quality of life as a family.

Which makes me very, very sad.

The thing is, though, that I am not a quitter. And things are bad now for me but I honestly believe it will turn around. The conclusion I'm coming to, though, is that I have to MAKE it turn around. I can't just sit here waiting to wake up with my Elvis ready to do the Jailhouse Rock.

I don't know exactly what this means yet, but I will tell you that I saw my great friend Miraculous Laurie today and we're going to start taking Yoga classes together. And I'm going to start pursuing some less mainstream alternatives to my pain issue. And I'm going to force myself into that rhinestone suit I wore in Las Vegas... oops, sorry, that was just for Coop.



Stefanie said…
Go for it! And rock the suit. ;) You can conquer the world, Barb.
hokgardner said…
Living in chronic pain is enough to knock the Elvis out of anyone. I've been dealing with it with my husband for a year - since he was diagnosed with arthritis in his neck. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to not be able to walk without pain.

I feel for you.

And I can think of redeeming qualities that you have - you are a good mother and a good writer and a good wife. You are kind and sympathetic and willing to help others. And while you claim to not be funny in person (I disagree with that, having spent time with you), you are very funny in print.

And those are just off the top of my head.
Susan said…
I am living with chronic pain too (TMJ and fibromyalgia). It really makes me aware of my own mortality, which I don't particularly want to think about too often. It sucks. I'm glad to have a blessed life in every other way and for that I'm grateful. But it would sure be nice to wake up pain-free and with some energy for a change.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, sure other people have worse problems, but that doesn't make your problems less worse to you. Hey, what if you were the guy at the end of the spectrum where your problems *were* the absolute worst ones? How must *that* guy feel? I mean, then they'd say, "You think you have it bad, but--oh, that's right, you DO!" I digress... I just hope 2009 is better for you. After all, we still have Rhinebeck...
Ann in NJ said…
Chronic pain sucks all the light and joy out of living. Hopefully alternative medicines will give you some relief - obviously mainstream procedures are failing miserably!

But on top of that, you are absolutely contributing; to your family, to your neighbors, to your blog friends! I owe you a huge thank you for getting me over the hump into knitting. (The sock is coming along slowly, but it's coming!)
Lynn said…
I can't tell you why you are struggling physically right now. I can only speak from *my own* experience, in which sometimes pain is a metaphor, sometimes it's a warning, and sometimes it just *is*. But the wit and grace with which you delineate your challenges and your attempts to deal with them, frequently take my breath away. You build connections, Barb. This is a good thing. We may not be able to experience exactly what you are thinking and feeling, but your writing certainly helps me to connect some of the dots in my own life. And I have to guess that it does the same for others. We all lose people or pets we love dearly, and we are the richer and the better for having loved them, even when it hurts abominably to be apart from them.

We gain, we lose, we negotiate, we accept, we fight to defend our values, we admit our mistakes, we fall down and get up again, and for many of us, writing helps us to find or create the meaning behind the things we experience.

I am sitting here, waiting for the sugared pecans that I will take to my knitting group's party on Friday night, to cool down so I can go to bed and maybe sleep through the night. And quite possibly the things I am writing in this comment make sense only to me. [In which case feel free to delete.] It's been a long, long day.

Maybe the most important thing I can say tonight is that I grin every time Bloglines tells me you've posted again. I know it will be good, even if you're writing about hard things.

You keep it real, sister. I don't think you have any idea how important that is, and what a good example you are setting for your girls. As Stefanie said, rock on!
DK said…
Dude, your house looks WAY more put together than mine. I've lived down here a year and a half and never unpacked. In fact, I repacked in the middle and moved and now am just more not-unpacked.

(It bothers me, too, though, if it's any consolation)

Naw, really though, this year has sort of sucked for you, and that is what it is, even if no one has been struck down, or whatever constitutes "real" adversity (I think yours counts!). Yo've got to honor that, yo. Even Elvis had his off days (years).

I think you can conquer the world, too. But maybe you should take a little time to knit and have a cup of coffee before you do....
Kris said…
You are a lovely sweet caring mother, wife and knitter. You are the rock of your family and give them support and nurture to help the grow and stay grounded in this crazy world.

I understand that chronic pain can drag you down and make you feel less then human. The holidays don't help much with pressures of daily life either. But some good advice that was given to me some time ago, was you have to take care of yourself before taking care of others.

It's kind of funny, because now that I'm writing this out, I really should take my own advice. I know if I loose some weight, the pressure in my knees and ankles will lessen. I know if I take a little time and energy, I could find a solution to my constant emotional swings.

One day at a time and your Elvis will return.
Kathy Ireland said…
I could not have said it any better than what Lynn said.
Unknown said…

yoga is a great idea, as is acupuncture.

Also, my mom, who has multiple health issues goes to an ayurvedic dr in NY (he is an MD with extra training and has an office in Manhattan and a retreat in Brewster, north of the city). she says his approaches help a lot
knittergran said…
There's a possibility of another shot??? OMFSM!
Crossing my fingers,doing a good luck dance and talking to FSM on your behalf.
And ditto to what hokgardner said!
Miri said…
You are a kick-ass woman.

Look, you even made me say the dreaded donkey word. But it's not the New Year yet, so I guess my resolution(s) can wait.

I am starting Pilates. Which as far as I can tell is Newer Age Yoga. Then again, I don't know anything about it since I haven't started it YET.
Anonymous said…
I am sorry you are still in pain. One of the few breaks I get from my chronic hip pain is when I laugh. for just a few seconds it allows me to block it. Your blog makes me laugh on a regular basis, so thanks for the breaks from my pain!
I can't imagine what going through chronic pain is like; I only know I would cope far worse than you have. I hope you find a successful strategy for addressing it. And don't ever feel like you're spoiling youself because you're mad as hell about it! You wouldn't be human if you weren't angry, if you weren't having your "why me?" days.
MadMad said…
Oh, you're gonna love yoga - it's not as easy as it looks! And hang in there till you find a class/instructor you like (and who doesn't make you want to giggle and roll your eyes the entire session - it's worth it!