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Passing the fear

October 16, 2007

Our house originally was owned by the brother of the subdivision developer, so it has a few amenities the other houses in the neighborhood do not have. All the other front porches are cement, but ours is tile, accented by an iron rail. On a really runaway imagination day, our front porch could almost remind me of the balcony at a hotel where my husband and I stayed in Giardini Naxos, Sicily. Across the courtyard, a black cat walked along a rail at the edge of a balcony, tethered by a long red leather halter. The door to the balcony was open from the house. A lithe white-haired man came out and watered some plants and patted his cat.

Che cosa è il suo nome? I hailed the man across the courtyard.

The man waved and shouted back, Il suo nome è Leo! Yes, he looked exactly like a Leo. Proprietorial and confident.

Except to sweep it, I have never spent more time on my front porch than it took to snatch the mail from the mailbox or proceed to the sidewalk. Recently, since I have put in so much quiet time guarding my failed adrenals until I begin a hydrocortisone regimen, I have run only necessary errands. That is not unusual; it is my typical pattern of choice, though lately I’ve avoided even lunch or coffee times with friends. I do tend to lust after isolation.

My energy comes and goes; when it’s up I’m nearly euphoric, and when it’s down, I’m withered. Surges and stalls. I’m used to this from my cat’s diabetes. His behavior doesn’t change, but I see it in his blood. Sometimes his pancreas kicks in and his glucose is low; other times it remembers it’s dead and he’s high. Adrenal failure works the same way. Failure isn’t death; sometimes they put out cortisol according to the need, sometimes they don’t. Just as I give my cat insulin to avert ketoacidosis, I will be taking hydrocortisone to avert shock under extreme conditions my adrenals can’t match, and enjoy more normal energy levels.  

But I’ve passed the fear. I did my Y-Dan routine yesterday without becoming hypotensive. I walked very slowly on my treadmill today without incident. I can do things and not die. I am symptomatic but not always so. And I can have symptoms and not die. The fear of them has lost its grip.

So tomorrow if the temperature rises above 55 degrees, I thought I would take a vacation. I need to vacate from a sense of pending vacancy. I expect to be gone about ten minutes.

Since I am morbidly afraid of common carriers and become fatigued driving more than ten minutes, I thought I would check out the scene from my front porch. Watch the black cats, the rowdy kids, the school buses. If I go out at 6:00 in the morning, I might see a coyote; my husband and neighbors have seen one loping down the middle of the road before dawn.

I’ll bring my travel mug of café au lait and probably my iPod so that immersion is not too complete. Perhaps I will write some postcards and post them on my blog. “Greetings from the porch.” I can’t really say “Wish you were here,” because I don’t know who’s there.

Oh, and some good news: Coolidge’s expensive lab work came back mostly normal, just a very slightly elevated PLI but nothing we need to deal with. He remains a healthy diabetic. I thought this would be the case. As I’ve told his vet, my Cat is brilliant but not above suspicion. And he’s way past the fear.

  1. October 17, 2007 7:44 am

    I know you will go out on this safari prepared, but don’t forget your rain hat. It might be over 55 sometime today, but the wind and rain will still make things dramatic.

  2. Jane permalink
    October 17, 2007 7:48 am

    I do hope you savor the porch experience! Those of us with physical limitations that keep us from the complicated delights of the healthy develop a unique ability to bask in the beauty of simple things. Our world becomes smaller, and we appreciate to an extreme things that a lot of other people don’t even notice. It really is a blessing….thankfulness takes on new meaning. We are aware that every minute window of enjoyment is indeed a gift from our Father. There really is meaning in affliction, especially if it makes us aware of the fact that every small thing is in fact given to us out of the pure kindness of God. Enjoy!

  3. October 17, 2007 7:51 am

    Yes, getting wet wasn’t really the aspiration. I missed the coyote hour anyway. The back-up plan is benign Proctor. Imagine the photo-op if I return library books!

  4. October 17, 2007 7:55 am

    Jane, I commented back to Vic before I saw your comment, but WordPress puts things in order…You have me inspired. Sitting out in the rain in all my gear would be fun! Did you ever read Dr. Seuss’s And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street? That’s my revised life story.

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