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Finding Freedom

Living Forgiven and Free

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August 2015

Reframing a Pee Puddle

wooden-frames

A tap on my shoulder, “There’s a liquid dripping on the floor from your bag!” Slight panic ensues. My first thought is about the awful smell! Have I eaten asparagus lately? Embarrassment sneaks in.

It happened twice before. A rookie mistake. I didn’t close the clip on my urine bag after I emptied it and it resulted in a colossal mess. So when I saw the puddle this time I immediately checked the clip to pinch it off but it was already closed. I was relieved that I didn’t make that mistake again. The bag must have a leak. Yuck.

The music at church was winding down and the sermon was about to begin. It seemed an eternity that my good Samaritan (who alerted me to my mess) had been gone to find paper towels. Oh no. the lights are going to come on. Fortunately the Spirit was moving and the worship team began another song. This gave the kind lady behind me and Steve precious minutes to clean up my mess. Lysol included. Then I hoisted the defective bag onto my lap and made for a quick exit.

Tears of frustration and embarrassment began to flow as I rolled up my van ramp and locked my power chair in place. I felt defeated. I felt humiliated because a complete stranger just wiped my pee off the floor. I felt disappointed because I spent a ton of energy getting ready for church and wanted to stay and hear my favorite pastor. I wanted so badly to not be in this stupid wheel chair. I wanted so badly to not have ALS. I wanted…I wanted… I let myself wallow all the way home.

FREEZE — Time to reframe this mess.

How do you reframe a pee puddle? How do I keep my sense of humor and return to gratitude? This was an easy one. I only had to overcome public urination and disappointment. Piece of cake.

How to reframe a pee puddle:

  1. I will be able to listen to the sermon podcast in a few days.
  2. Praise God that I have a pee bag! Have I told you lately the freedom and energy savings I enjoy because I have one? I’m so thankful.
  3. It happened during the worship part of the service while the lights were dimmed. My embarrassment would have increased 10 fold if the lady behind hadn’t noticed until the lights came on.
  4. The church floor is concrete. Imagine how much worse it would have been if the floor was carpeted. The church decorating committee would have been in an uproar!
  5. It’s a urine bag — not a colostomy bag.  BOOM.

Dignity and gratitude returned after reframing the situation with a new perspective. Do you have a frustrating or embarrassing situation that needs reframing? I suggest you give it a try.

I’m Forgiven and Free and continuously reframing

P.S. Why do I have a pee bag?
On March 5, 2015, I underwent surgery to have a supra pubic catheter (SPC) inserted directly into my bladder through my abdomen. People usually get an SPC after a spinal cord injury and bladder control is lost. I can still control my bladder, but as a result of the leg paralysis due to ALS, I can’t get to the toilet!

Freedom

This journal entry appeared in my TimeHop app as one that was written one year ago today. It’s a short one but rings true.

By   — Aug 26, 2013 4:09pm

I’ve been thinking about freedom. What does it mean to be free? Dictionaries speak to personal liberty as from slavery or bondage, without constraint.  Here’s one that rings true for me, “able to choose between alternative actions in identical circumstances.”

Able to choose. Each of us has freedom to choose. Because I’m free I am no longer enslaved to drama or what other people think. I am free.

Call me crazy but I am in the best emotional and spiritual shape I’ve ever experienced in my life! Maybe it’s the carefully-dyed grey hair and wisdom that accompanies it.

But seriously, why would I want to live anywhere else but in freedom, love, and joy? Why would I CHOOSE anything else. What are you choosing today?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1

I’m forgiven and free.

Acid Tears

It’s been happening a few times a week. Unprovoked, my eyes well up and acid tears run down my cheeks. The searing renders me useless until after a few minutes it ceases as quickly as it began. I googled acid tears and searched a few of my Facebook groups. My best guess is that it’s a release of acid build up in my body from muscle breakdown. Just another form of ALS related tears.

I’ve had a few frustration and sadness tears lately as independent transfers are now in my rear-view mirror. I require human assistance with braces, a gait belt and/or a patient-lift system to move to and from my bed, shower chair, power chair, transfer chair or recliner. The one exception I’m holding onto for dear life is transferring from my power chair to the driver seat of my van. Both seats are high so not much hip strength is required. With leg braces on, I pull myself up and pivot holding on to both front seats for balance and gently lower myself down. I’ll continue this as long as I can do it safely. I can picture Steve or a good Samaritan pulling my crumpled body from between the two front seats. When this last bastion of transferring independence fails me, we will remove the driver’s seat so I can drive my power chair up to the steering wheel. The obvious drawback is no one else but me will be able to drive my van.

The latest batch of tears haven’t shown up in explosive melt downs but rather gentle sometimes imperceivable trickles. My family and friends are patient and gentle as always while interjecting appropriate humor as needed. Picture this Lake Tahoe camping scene: three grown men after a few campfire libations, using a patient lift and sling to hoist me into the motorhome. Let your imagination tell the rest of the story. Long story short, at 30 minutes a pop, I was successfully hoisted in and out of the motor home for seven fun-filled days in my happy place. You have to work hard to not be grateful in Lake Tahoe.

Back to gratitude. I’m grateful that I can use my hands, eat, talk, laugh and breathe. I’m grateful I have access to numerous mechanical (at times humorous) devices that replace my legs and feet. I’m grateful that I have all the love and support a person could ever want or need (I’m talking about you!). I’m grateful that my husband, children and grandchildren give me reason to live.

What are you grateful for today?

I’m Forgiven and Free and grateful you are part of my life

The Struggle is Real

My FaceBook newsfeed is filled with good times and good friends. The smiles are sincere. Yet I continue to struggle with grief. Just when I think I’ve adjusted to a new normal or come to terms with ALS, a rogue wave knocks me to my knees. It’s relentless. I feel like I’ve earned an advanced degree in grief processing. Yet, if I’m so good at grieving why doesn’t it stop?

Here’s what I’ve learned to be true. Grief happens and I know I’m not alone in the struggle. You can’t ignore the pain, go under it or go around it. You’ve got to go through it. It sucks. I reflect in the midst of the struggle to see if I can find the cause of my sadness. It’s usually related to a recent loss of ability or no longer being able to easily participate in an activity I want to do. So I guess the grief will continue.

The key for me to stay emotionally balanced is to not get stuck in the sadness. I acknowledge the pain, let the tears come, write about it, and give myself a day or two to be sad. Then it’s time to change my focus to gratitude. I have many more good days than sad days. There are still many things I can do and many reasons to be grateful. Please keep your prayers and support coming. They mean the world to me.

I’m Forgiven and Free and living and turning to gratitude

The Struggle is Real

Life can be tough. Relationships, job, finances, illness, drama. We all experience pain and grief. Some days and seasons are worse than others. Yet, freedom is possible. It’s waiting for you on the other side.

Join me on the journey of finding freedom and joy in spite of circumstances.

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