I just took my last prednisone tablet. I came down with a bug on Christmas day. I finally went to the doctor who put me on prednisone and an antibiotic. After three weeks I was still sick so the ENT put me back on prednisone. I can’t tell you what all this does to a diabetic. I am waiting for Mr. Hyde to knock on my door. I’ve already experienced the Cinderella syndrome– my diamond-studded coach turned back into a pumpkin, my ball gown turned to rags again, and my feet have swollen so much that I’ve lost my glass slipper.
Prednisone/cortisone is a MIRACLE drug. I know how it has helped people fighting life and death circumstances. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on it for allergies and sinus issues, but I can remember the first time an ENT put me on a corticosteroid. I felt wonderful–it took care of my sinus pressure and knee pain. I became Doctor Jekyll; I danced, I sang, I swooned. Then I crashed hard the day after my last pill. No one darkened my path. Eventually, the black turned to gray and the gray turned back to a lovely sunny day, but I wish someone had told me back then what I’d experience during the “after-effects.” Seems like most drugs contain a little poison even with the promise of a medical cure.
This paradigm of either/or has become all too real for me, especially in some of my ventures that I entertained. I wanted to wear the hat of a teacher–I did so. I loved teaching literature, teaching students that best stories delve into the truths about the human condition. But I hated, as most teachers admit to, working with helicopter parents or those who blamed me and other teachers for their children’s inappropriate behaviors. I hated assigning C’s or D’s to struggling students, but more so, hated assigning a C- on a student’s report card –especially when I expected a confrontation from he/she/ and parents who thought their child deserved better.
Part of my job included being school newspaper adviser, following another childhood dream to become a journalist. I loved instructing students about the 5 W’s and H (who, what, where, when, why, and how) and how to dig for a good story. Yet, I hated holding them to deadlines. I also hated when I found typos that appeared in the students’ columns ONLY after publication.
I worked harder on my writing as I closed in on retirement so that I’d have something to keep me busy in my later years. I had completed my nine year project of writing Scruples & Drams, and while my husband and I were put up in a tiny apartment for the summer by his company, I wrote Passages, a book of faith-based poetry.
I’d experienced the highs and low of being published before, but I had no idea what it meant to take my role as author seriously. If I wanted to sell books, I would have to put myself out on the street corner and turn into saleswoman. Not an easy task for this insecure introvert who wants to write and hide behind my computer screen.
January 1, 2017, I finished my fourth book since I retired in 2013, the sixth since 1996. The last ones are central to Clearwater, Minnesota, my hometown that is rich in history and female protagonists. I love the research and bringing to life those people who lived during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Unfortunately, it seems like I gave up the last two Christmases to meet my personal deadlines.
Which brings me around to computers…..I have this love-hate relationship with them. I now can’t write long hand–for a number of reasons. First, years of writing on the black and then white boards, correcting literally THOUSANDS of essays, and now arthritis has caused my pen to make sloppy strokes. But I also think faster with the keyboard–we have become almost one–scary, I know. But learning the newest and best programs, or apps, caused my brain to become a cobweb of attachments. These near human beings–the computers and Internet (always capitalize this, the former English teacher says–another contradiction) can make mistakes and it takes a real human or many humans to correct. My latest online newspaper bill proved this. The company quadrupled the price each month. Finally, we are promised a computer-derived refund. I could go on about the many problems we have faced because of the need to go paperless.
This brings to mind one of my favorite 50’s/60’s singers who died last year, Bobby Vee. He, too, experienced his highs of achievement. He was literally “found” in 1959 after the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper crashed in Clear Lake, Iowa, but died in the lost world of Alzheimer’s.
Which also brings to mind that almost every time I turn on cable news, any of the channels, I receive conflicting or contradictory news between have/have not’s, the wants/want not’s etc., those seeking power and those who want to keep them from power. Some people believe we’re living in miracle times while others believe it’s mayhem personified.
It seems like our country is really a house divided. Maybe it is my age…but I’ve never seen so many people, even in my own family, pulled in different directions concerning the path we think our country should take. Instead of a balance of power, it seems like we are on a roller-coaster of contradictions and hypocrisy.
The title of this blog, “The Devil’s in the Details,” is a twist on the original phrase, “God’s in the Details.” To me it takes FAITH to walk on this planet. I have a gravitational pull to the center because I hate teeter tottering–maybe, because I am the middle child, but I also have trouble solving difficult problems because I’m often riding in that gray area or fence-line.
I want to believe that truth can still be found in the values that I learned from my parents, grandparents, teachers, good literature, and ministers. I want to walk in the long shadows of my role models. There in that safe spot, I know I can find wisdom and peace of mind.
I realized from a friend’s word of wisdom over my feelings of doubt about where I’m going in this retirement gig. My review: Like Bobby Vee’s “Rubber Ball” that comes “bouncing back to me,” it takes faith and action to get that ball in the air. Once it stops bouncing around, it takes faith and action again to keep it frolicking along. It also takes direction and a wide target–which is my biggest problem–again trying to find some direction in the little details.
As I wind down this blog, longer than I’d hoped for, I just had another round of cortisone–this time in the form of a shot in the knee to prolong my “WHEN, NOT IF” need for knee replacement. My blood sugar spiked almost immediately so I’m sure my Jekyll/Hyde personality will soon follow. Bobby Vee’s song, “Devil or Angel, ” illustrates that all of us are often caught up in a dichotomy of decisions or indecisions, ups and downs, likes/loves, dislikes/hates. All I can ask is WHO WILL I BE TODAY?