I Wish I Could . . .

op report

I wish I could go back to January 2009. Back to when I first started having neck and back pain, and numbness and tingling in my arm. When I thought I’d just slept funny. Before the four cervical spine surgeries, the countless therapies, medications, procedures, and hospitalizations. But I want to go back with the knowledge of what nerve pain and a massive herniated disc feels like, and that ignoring it won’t help. I want to go back to before I had about three seconds to choose a neurosurgeon, to before I assumed that being the Chair of Neurosurgery at a large hospital meant you always made good decisions. (No one does.) Back to when I thought short-term and long-term disability insurance were just like car insurance: you choose the best one, you have a wreck, and they pay (not even close). Then I thought if someone was truly physically disabled they got proof from doctors and X-rays and test results and surgery reports. Nope. Not if you’re under fifty and live in Jefferson County, Kentucky, anyway.

I wish I’d known that having the Dave Ramsey-recommended amount in savings isn’t enough. ┬áThat having ten times that much in savings isn’t enough. That no matter how many forms you fill out or have your doctor fill out, no matter how many different specialists you see, you will need to declare bankruptcy after two years. Of course your average person doesn’t realize this until a few years later, when they’ve drained their retirement fund (never necessary) and borrowed large amounts from family members (quite ugly). Stress peaks, suicide is attempted, foreclosure begins. Why? Because your average person doesn’t know what to do in the case of disaster.

Well, in the case of a disability/financial catastrophe kind of disaster. We’re all ready for the zombie apocalypse. Maybe some network should create a show about someone with a medical crisis which will lead to a financial crisis and how to handle that. Oh, wait . . . that was Breaking Bad. Which was awesome, but I wasn’t that great in Chemistry, nor do I have the appropriate contacts (BITCH!)

And before someone contacts me to do a reality show, like they did after My Family is More Redneck Than Yours, I expect serious money. And you’d better be ready for a mind-numbingly boring show, as just taking a shower causes me enough pain that I need to medicate and lie down with an ice-pack for a while. But if you throw in a dog-trainer I might negotiate on the money. Oh, and a house-keeper. You don’t want people to confuse it with an episode of Hoarders.


I’m linking up to Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop, a great place to find a list of writing prompts every week – one of which is sure to speak to you!


If You Send a Mom an Email . . .

I’m linking up again to Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop. I had planned to use a completely different prompt, but this is the week for this one. I receive a lot of emails. This week I got a very helpful one from a teacher, one that expressed my thoughts better than I could have from a friend, and a couple that disturbed me more each time I read them.
If you send a mom an email, you should read it carefully first.

Because  the mom reads emails carefully.

And sometimes the mom wonders if the content of the email was insulting, or if she is just being sensitive. After all, she was just one of several people it was sent to.

Then the mom will probably forward the email to a trusted friend or two, to get their impression.

The mom’s friends will probably rant and rave, and agree whole-heartedly about the insult being obvious and serious.

They will disagree about the plan of action,

which means the mom will have to re-charge her phone.

Then the mom will respond privately to the email politely and concisely, because she’s a well-brought-up-Southern-girl and that’s the appropriate thing to do

even though some of the other suggestions were tempting.

After that, the mom (and everyone else who was sent the original email) will receive a response in which the mom is mentioned by name.

And it will become clear that the polite and concise email was not clear enough.

Then the mom will text another mom who got the same emails.

And that mom will probably be upset.

After a little while the second mom will email a response to the sender.

And that email will be polite and very well-written, but it will make her response crystal clear.

Then the mom will carefully remove any connection to the sender from her Social Media profiles

while drinking wine.

And then she just might post about it.

So next time you send a mom an email, you’d better read it carefully first :)



To Shovel or Not to Shovel – That is the Question

Is it really necessary to shovel your driveway? Or do you just do it out of habit, or because that’s what your parents did when you were a kid? Or out of guilt, because your neighbor is out shovelling his as soon as the last flake falls? Think about it for a minute.

Now I’m not talking about up north where they measure snowfall in feet rather than inches. Those folks need attached garages, heating coils in outdoor steps, two or three sturdy snow shovels, and a snowplow blade mounted on at least one of their four-wheel-drive vehicles. They also need snowmobiles, cross-country skis, and other things I simply refuse to own. If I ever move away from Kentucky the only white stuff that should be outside my door is sand.

I’m talking about people who live in the suburbs of metropolitan areas, who have less than an acre of land, have concrete or asphalt driveways, and whose kids don’t go to school if ten inches of snow falls overnight. You don’t really need to shovel. That’s right, you don’t. Now if you have a sidewalk, then yes, you are legally obligated to shovel the sidewalk and the area through your driveway that could be considered sidewalk. And there may be some neighborhood associations – the ones that don’t allow basketball hoops or inflatable holiday decorations and send you nasty letters if you leave your garage door open too long – that require shoveling. But it was your choice to buy a house there. Read the fine print next time. The rest of us can just park near the end of the driveway when snow is predicted, shovel away the mound the plow left at the end of the driveway while the car warms up (no 4WD needed), brush off the snow on the roof, hood, and trunk with one of those 3-foot scraper/brush thingies they sell everywhere in the winter, then back out and drive away. If you don’t live right on a snow emergency route your street’s probably not been plowed at all, and if it has it’s certainly not been shoveled clean. So why should you do that to your driveway?

I grew up in the country. A driveway might be a mile long. They were all gravel. About every third person had a pickup with a snow-plow attachment in case of deep drifts. But mostly all it took was somebody driving up and down the driveway a time or two and it was perfectly fine. I married a city boy, one of four brothers. He thought shovelling was essential until he met me. Now he just shakes his head as he watches our neighbors shovel themselves into exhaustion. The guy next door is a bit out of control, though. He precision-shovels his entire driveway, all the way to the garage near the rear of his yard. Then his shovels the front walk, the back walk, and his large deck. I happen to know he signed the petition circulating last week to put in sidewalks – I think he just wants more to shovel!

I watch the neighborhood shovelers for another reason. Back when I worked as a nurse in the Coronary Care Unit the first decent snowfall of the year meant one thing: lots of elderly men coming in with heart attacks from shoveling their driveways. Really? Is it that important for you to be able to see the surface of your driveway? You just drive on it, maybe park on it. It’s not a piece of art, the snow’s not going to hurt it in any way. I worry more about clearing a path for my dogs to get outside without slipping than I do the driveway. We make sure our walkway is clear enough for the mailman, but we don’t really shovel, because it’s brick and river rock.

Have I changed your mind about shovelling? Shocked you to the very core of your driveway-maintenance beliefs? Or just reinforced what you’ve always known? Write a comment, send a pic!

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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!