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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

the long and winding road

i cannot tell a lie. i am glad the christmas season is over.

ignoring (for now) the myriad reasons why, i am just so gosh darn happy to be home. it's nothing personal against the sweet souls that inhabit winterpeg, but if i never set foot in a canadian winter again...sitting on the floor at terminal 7, noshing on the pistachios i managed to sneak into my carry-on, i didn't even mind the subtle layer of cigarette smoke that wafted in with the warm evening breeze. look, everyone's on a cell phone. look, there's tim robbins texting as he waits for his luggage. look, there's m in a tank top (a tank top!) pulling up to fetch us. despite the endless stereotypes, or perhaps because of them(?), my heart soared. inspired, i grabbed my camera and snapped. ("waiting on a friend").

it struck me that my inner shutterbug had been deflated for almost 2 weeks. a roller coaster holiday, that most definitely should have been recorded, and yet i abstained.

the flight into canada knocked me out. compromised immune system. recycled air. hacking. sniffling. coughing. sneezing.

(what good is this g@#*amn sanitizer, anyway?)

blah. blah. blah.

i missed most of christmas and came up for arctic air on the 27th. but it was more complicated than a flu bug.

(this is the part where i imagine eyes begin to glaze over and rapidly skim downwards.)

days before leaving l.a., my incessant dance with hypertension was kicked up a notch from a two-step to a tango. i discontinued inderal (a beta blocker) and increased norvasc from 5 mg to 10 mg.

(oh, how i would love to be a wallflower and just sit this one out.)

with my digital pal strapped on, cuff puffed and tight, the shockingly high numbers truly scared me. they were high. i mean, stroke high. and i called it. obviously, inderal (a beta blocker) had been working well with the 5 mg of norvasc i had previously been taking. now at 10 mg of norvasc and no inderal, my body was going wack-o.

and i felt it. tremendous palpitations. weakness. dizziness.

turns out the roller coaster wasn't the joyous holiday season, but the rate at which my heart was pumping blood. faster. slower. faster. slower.

make it stop. i want to get off.

one very long weekend later, my manic monday finally dawned. dr. dauer and i agreed i needed to get my hands on some inderal, but stay with the 10 mg of norvasc. and so things seemed to settle. ish.

let's ignore the cold that started during my last couple of days in winnipeg, and was exacerbated by the flight home.

the city of angels stretched out below, pulling into glittering focus, as i reached for my boots. i yanked and i yanked. "k, i can't get my boots on", i semi-giggled. i always swell up when i fly, but this was unusual. a discomforting tug of war between boot and foot ensued. finally sporting my sexy ski boots (not!), i figured the issue to be case closed.


henriette meet cankles. cankles meet henriette.

from age 13, to now 41, every single doctor's visit in both canada and the states has included testing for edema. this is done by checking the ankles for swelling. if you press the skin it should bounce right back if you are not retaining water. it is one of the surest signs of kidney failure.

(we reserve the right to dislike dents in the skin)

chopping an eggplant, i quietly realized that my feet were beginning to hurt. i mean really hurt. clumsily unsheathing it from my clog, my foot throbbed a shocking red, the shoe imprint startling; the size: henriette's foot squared.

imagine someone has tied elastic bands all over your body. none of your pants fit. you can't wear your wedding ring. you are constipated. your digits feel like they belong to someone else.

you don't recognize yourself.

i do try, every day, to find something wonderful. like the 3 lemons i found at the side of the road, that had fallen from my neighbor's tree. i still think it's amazing that lemons grow on trees here...well, of course, they grow on trees,...but, ah, you know what i mean...

i had a seriously heavy heart today. i know i can't change this road i'm walking, but i am hoping i'll still find little gifts like that along the way.

lemons or lemonade. i'll take 'em all.

and that ain't no beatles' song.

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