I have been scanning a lot of old pictures, and reliving memories. Typing is difficult at the moment, but I am very good at denying pain.

I’m never sure when I will “post something,” and the desire came for me this morning. I have been struggling with hand problems, and wrote something about it last week. I entitled my words, “My pain is a lion.” I didn’t share that writing on my blog, because I was hoping the pain would subside, and I wouldn’t need to share my “emotional and overly dramatic” ramblings.

However, I’ll start out with some humor.

Despite what I wrote on “Her Song Unsung,” today my life did not feel like a love song!

Yesterday, it was early and I thought my husband had left for work (he was actually in the bathroom). I had my Ipod next to my bed and my headphones were on. I was listening to Peaches singing my song, “Saying Goodbye.”

I decided to try “harmonizing.” I explored some really high notes – which sounded great to me. I forgot that no one else could hear what I was hearing. My husband came out of the bathroom and said,

“I thought I heard sirens! Do you realize your singing is going to wake up the kids?”

It was 5:00 a.m. at that moment.

I found that very funny!

On my way home, I stopped at the post office. I sat in my car for twenty minutes while taking a call from my mother. She was very upset; she was that way yesterday, also.

However, she was not upset about anything rational.

It was impossible for me to comfort her. I strained to find patience, as I explained to her that anger was not helpful for her. My mother was angry with my father, all while he was sleeping in his assisted living location. They do not live together. She was going to call and wake him up to give him a “piece of her mind.” He had not done anything!

I explained to my mom that my father was an “old, sick, and tired man.” I wanted her not to blame him for his condition and inability to meet her needs.

Then she told me she was angry with her caregiver. It progressed to her becoming angry with me. I understood.

Her anger was about her own condition. She was aware that she does not have any control in her life. She felt powerless, and her capacity to find words has diminished so quickly.

She said to me, “You are my daughter, and you have all the words – so I cannot win with you.”

I told her that everything I was saying were things she had taught me.

She insisted that wasn’t so.

I found the evidence to show my daughter I wore a bikini in my prior life. I know she'll insist I used Photoshop!

I found the evidence to show my daughter I wore a bikini in my prior life. I know she’ll insist I used Photoshop!

Written last week:

“My pain is a lion”

I awoke and the metaphor was clear. It was a lion. The pain in my hands was definitely like a lion “roaring.”

Last night, I strapped Velcro braces on each wrist. The night loomed long, even though I wore headphones and listened to my music, which soothed my soul.

The braces were the “lion’s cage.” I could feel the lion roaring – there was a throbbing, which might have been excruciating for me if released from the tight brace. Held at bay by the tight straps, I willed myself to accept my situation.

Now it was morning, I removed the braces and the lion was released.

I was brought to my knees and humbled.

My youthful feeling was hard to maintain while looking at my “arthritic” hands. My wrists hurt and I could not bend my fingers. I’ve never been one to say prayers. I prayed that sensation would return.

Like a morning sunrise, gradually sensation came back. However, it was far from normal. I could barely type this without grimacing.

I tried to stay positive.

I would describe myself as an agnostic – I don’t know what I believe; that is honestly how I am.

I’ve had glimmers of faith sometimes. I heard myself asking god this very morning, “Have I not been appreciative enough? Are you testing me now to see whether I can maintain my joy?”

As I walked around my kitchen struggling to do the simplest things with my disobedient hands, I was listening to my own song “Just a Tune,” which I recently recorded.

The words jumped out to me! I was speaking to the god who I wasn’t sure was listening. Those words were:

“And with all the gifts you’ve given me, the greatest one of all was when, I could feel joy again.”

That truly was my greatest gift! I will accept whatever is my fate now in my life.

I shared my hand problems last week with my former, high school choir teacher, Frankie. She sent me an email. Her message was that I should quickly go see a certain specialist. He worked with musicians that had hand problems from the L.A. Philharmonic. Frankie is a professional organist. She told me that when she had shoulder problems she went to see him, and it helped her so much.

I thanked her for her concern. I did not have outside insurance, and I was having lab tests and an MRI done through Kaiser. I wanted to first find out if I actually had carpal tunnel syndrome.

She responded to my message:

Dear Judy,

This doctor can tell you immediately what you have because of his enormous experience. I do understand the concern about expense, but I also know that he rarely sees a person more than once or twice. I wasted a lot of time with another PT with my shoulder injury and should have gone to him right away. I look forward to an update.

Love, Frankie

My pain was wearing on me. I sent Frankie a message.

Dear Frankie,

I’ll call and see what an initial visit costs. I’m certain he would know right away something that might be helpful. I wish I wasn’t so broke. We’re in really bad shape. All the money I’ve spent on recording has given me more pleasure than anything I’ve ever had in my entire life! However, sometimes it feels like an addiction, because we can hardly afford it and I can’t stop myself.

Love, Judy

Dear Judy,

I will pay for your first visit, should you decide to pursue that at some point. What you said about an addiction was very interesting. Because you were finally able to blossom and express yourself, it is understandable that you wanted to continue.

Love, Frankie

I am sobbing as I read your message, Frankie.

I’m having such a hard time. I thought I could maintain my joyful spirit! My mother’s mental decline is wearing on me. She is now having personality changes. She called me to rant about how angry she is at my father, then her caregiver, and now she is angry with me! I know she can’t help it.

I am discouraged about my hands.

I hate for this to be about money, and your gesture to pay has me crying. Honestly, I have learned so much about how to “treat myself.” I am worth it – I know!!! That is why I am recording and using the word “addiction” wasn’t helpful. It is my passion, and it isn’t that I “can’t stop,” it’s that I don’t want to.

In my heart, I do believe it will pay off for me and be worth the investment.

I’ll call this doctor soon, and keep you posted. I love you so much, Frankie.

Love, Judy

Over dinner, I mentioned to my husband that I decided I would see this specialist.

He said, “I remember you driving our daughter out to Santa Monica to see someone. You spent a lot of money for nothing!”

I had already made my decision.

I dialed the number. I asked how much it was – it wasn’t exorbitant. I was told that this doctor specialized in treating musicians. The lady on the other end said to me, “When do you want to come in? We’re here Tuesday through Friday.”

I looked at my calendar. “How about next Thursday?” I said.

She said, “I thought you have considerable pain. Do you want to come in sooner?”

I hesitated and said, “I could come in tomorrow. Do you have any openings? Will I get relief to where I could play my guitar again?”

She said, “Yes, I guarantee you will.”

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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  1. Barbara says:

    God bless you, Judy. You are indeed the meat in the sandwich, with your mother’s dementia getting worse and your daughter’s problem’s not getting solved. Whenever it is convenient for you and Mike to pick me up, I would love to go hear you sing.


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