There are a few things that changed in my life after having 4 massive DVTs in 6 months. One is a disorder called PTS, or Post Thrombotic Syndrome. When the blood clots were in my leg, they held the delicate butterfly-wing-thin valves in my veins open, eventually damaging them. These valves have the special job of keeping the blood that is being pumped up out of your feet and legs from immediately falling back down and pooling in lower points. The sluggish blood flow increases the risk of another blood clot, and the overall result is a heaviness and constant tingling/buzzing in my leg, the foot getting very hot or very cold, and often dull or sharp pains. My lucky leg gets tired way sooner than my good leg. Lucky, because it still works, and I'm blessed either way.
To combat the symptoms of the PTS, I wear a very sexy compression sleeve on my lower leg. It is Oh-So-Hot Bandaid-Beige, and looks muy guapa. To forestall another clot, I take large amounts of blood thinners. They tried regular amounts, but I grew 3 more blood clots, so, uh, yah, bigger dose is better, baby. The have no impact on my health or the way I feel, except if I were to get cut badly, well... let's just say we try to avoid that.
I don't climb ladders, don't use sharp knives for complicated cuts, and I gave up sword juggling and walking on broken glass in my circus act.
I'm careful. That's all.
Back in June we went on a weekend away to visit Francine and Joyce in Sonoma County.
We headed to famed Bodega Bay, where the birds do NOT attack people anymore. We even drove right past the church and old school house from the movie. Interestingly, the people no longer run through the streets screaming there, either. They just walk real normal-like.
The kids did what kids do, of course, when there is sand and water to spare. It was a warm, sunny day with a calm breeze and, well, cold water. You can't have it all. It's not Southern California, after all.
Francine brought shovels and buckets and totes, and we all played in a way that only the beach encourages. I can't imagine plunking myself down on the wet dirt in our back yard to play like that.
There was a long breakwater at the mouth of the bay leading to the ocean, and Adam climbed clear out to the end of it. I started out with Ellie to follow him, when I saw an amazing
starfish make that sea-star (the kids corrected me all day...), and we wanted to show it to the others.
We weren't too far out on the breakwater so Ellie went back and grabbed a tote. We gently collected the sea-star (ooo, I got it right that time) and took it to show everyone.
By the time we got back to the location where we had found it, my leg was already a bit tired. We put the sea-star back on his rock where he hurriedly ran at .00001 miles per hour to tell his family all about his kidnapping, then Ellie and I started back to making our way to the end of the breakwater.
It was slow going as we climbed over the huge boulders in our bare feet, and the sharp lava-like texture began to take it's tole on my endurance. I have wimpy feet, I guess. We billy-goated along for about 3/4 of the length of the breakwater and I slowly realized I had to stop.
It's not that I couldn't make it to the end, and it's not even that I couldn't have made it there and back, it's that I had to save something for the way back. As my leg grew more and more tired, I began to take mis-steps. I started to feel like an unsteady baby goat on new legs, not the big strong mama goat that I see in my mind's eye (I only see myself as a goat when I'm on rocks. Otherwise I am a mermaid or a gazelle). I scanned the boulders around me and realized that I was basically walking over the top of lava-shards. Everywhere I looked I saw an opportunity to loose my balance and get a gash or cut.
I told Ellie to go on without me.
I was mad. It was the first time I haven't pushed myself to the end of a task. I have always compelled myself to never give up on something I start, even if it takes me months or years. But this time it was simply... what would be the word?
It would have been unwise to continue.
So I took a rest, and slowly started back. I picked my way more carefully along, as my leg had become a little shaky. My feet were bugging me the most, which was lame. I used to have leather soles in the summer as a kid. This was simply disgraceful. I admit, I felt a little distressed.
At about this point I was joined by a seagull. He sat up on a rock about 6 feet away, and let me get just so close before he lifted up into the air and floated two or three boulders further down the breakwater, to light again. This repeated over and over until I was just about to the beach. I couldn't tell if he was simply annoyed that I was in snail-like pursuit of him, or if he had actually come to keep me company. It was a silly but comforting idea. Either way, he took my mind off of my leg and feet, and I got back without a scratch.
Also, I got to see my sea-star again. He had moved .6 inches.
During the time that it took me to bumble my way to the sand, the sky had filled with a low and looming fog, and for a time the kids almost vanished from view at the end of the breakwater.
I began to worry about them as the came and went from my sight, bobbing up and down as they picked their way through the rocks. What if one fell off the end into the sea? What if Jonah, though brave as a little bear, got scared or hurt? Could Adam get him back without getting hurt, himself, in the process?
It seems when you set your mind to worrying, the worries flood in like flies through a door left open by the kids. Adam, Jonah and Ellie eventually made it back, but in the last 50 yards of the breakwater, Jonah had lost his footing and fallen, getting badly scratched on hands, legs and arms. He sobbed his way along the last stretch of rocks, encouraged and helped by Adam. Poor little guy.
His crying blew along in the wind and reached me from far away as they made their way along the sand. I suppose it was bound to happen. I mean, I don't feel like it was fate that someone would get hurt, but just that when you live life, you're bound to get bumps and bruises. It's just part of the deal.
We gathered our things and by the time we were all packed up to head back to Francine's, the late evening sun broke through the fog and chased it over the hills with it's tail between it's legs. Funny how dark moments can come and go so quickly sometimes.
And sometimes not. That's life, too.
Francine's house makes everything better.
(Or maybe it's just Francine, ya' think?
Yah, probably that second one.)
Jonah has graduated to be able to play in it.
Quite the coveted coming-of-age privilege in our family.
Evidence of Francine's green thumb
Francine's amazing living room, with bowls and baskets of toys, rattles and puzzles. Art in every nook and cranny, gorgeous plants, and special treasures tucked into tiny corners.
(can you find two elephants?)
Nano isn't quite ready to play in the dollhouse,
but she sneaks over and carefully moves a few things now and then.
Dinner with Francine is always Comfort Food, no matter what is served.
Time for goodbye hugs.
We needed them. It would soon be a very difficult night.
(to be continued...)