Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shriner's Hospital feet

I wrote this book for KSS to teach her about her cerebral palsy. She was four years old and ready to learn about her diagnosis. (If you click on the images they will enlarge.) Its still in its rough draft stage as there was never an official print run of it. I read it to her once. She looked up at me and asked "Do I have Zebra palsy?"
I knodded my head and the doors were open to teach her.

I have included it here so you can see the braces or AFOs  (AFO = ankle-foot orthotic) so you know what I am talking about.

My second visit to Shiners Children's hospital was to make plaster casts of KSS feet so they could make AFO's for her.

Commonly called "braces".

Plastic torture devices that hurt like a SOB if you get kicked with them while trying to shoe a fighting child who doesn't want to go to the store with you.

Oh did I mentioned they are hinged plastic torture devises that will leave you screeching in high-E when you get pinched in there folding parts.

And KSS was not to fond of them either.

Her first pair didn't fit correctly and we had no idea they didn't fit her. We put them on her faithfully everyday like we were supposed to. Only to discover months later that they were not conforming to her feet correctly and they were undoubtedly causing her pain 24/7.

Well durr....that would explain why she hated them so much.

Made us grown up feel like crud too. Yeah, thanks Doc, I just spent the last few months hurting my child and adding to her pain and even further hindering her attempts to learn to walk. Nice job of making me feel like a  monster.

Once we got AFO's that fit things got better. 

but I digress...I want to share with you what happened that first fitting.

While we waited for KSS turn to have her legs casted in paster to make molds, she got wiggly.

So she and I wandered off. Her crawling slowly about the hallway looking for stuff to get into. The hallways were silent and empty. She tired door after door to find them locked.

I grabbed a quick drink of water and as I glanced up found myself alone in the hallway.


As I started checking doors I laughed at myself...geeze how stupid do you have to be to loose a small child who crawls at a very slow pace?

At last a door gave way and I peeked in to find KSS smiling up at me. "Sajah?" she grinned.

I scooped her up and froze.

The sight before searing itself onto my soul.

Stopping my heart.

there were rows and rows of pairs of plaster feet hanging from wires that stretched across the room. This was the room the AFOs were made in.

The main set of lights were off and so the little dangling feet were ghostly lite in a somber light.

Like a bunch of dancing angels. Beautiful chubby feet, ankles and toes.

My heart resumed beating, as the tears welled up. There feet didn't belong to dancing children. I could see the twists and bends in them. 

These feet belong to children who might never walk, run or dance .

I looked at KSS. then back to the feet.

There were worried parents behind each pair of feet. Parents who cried many tears over those precious feet.

Row upon rows. 

I ran hand down KSS's crooked leg and cupped her foot.

I thought of the workers in here taking each pair of feet down and handcrafting the AFOs to fit them. 

I left the room and took her back to the waiting room. The enormity of the world I was now in, crystal clear in my head...and too much for my heart to handle.

I have visited that room many times in my dreams.

I always slip in quietly, stand among the dangling feet and catch my tears in my hands, then lovingly wet each tiny foot and re-sculpt it. My heart wishing endlessly to be able to heal those feet. To free those children, to give them feet that fly and jump.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Silent born

toes over the edge
Arching back
I allow my inflated lungs to pull my chest upwards and then I leap
and plummet into life
....her tiny face, silent born
her voice echoing in my tears.
....his hands on my waist holding me
"woman" he whispers
my soul perks up and my body responds...yes
depression like an anchor pulls my body down
to drown in the murky darkness
to wake to daylight and the dew on my face
to die with each breath, too painful to drawn in another,
close the coffin lid...
hearing the dirt falling down
hand reaching up and grabbing rung after rung
returning from mother earths womb
warm wind tousling my hair and embracing me
found my way and lost my way.
I watched the stick man die.
burned at the stake, one flame at a time
return me to the deep,
I feel the coil wind and tugged snug.
flung, catapulted to the sky, I go flailing
chest expands and I grab a lung full of life
silent born
eagle wings open and holding back the sky
flies so close her shadow touches me
she pulls me and my spirit takes flight
my tears pull me to the earth once again
slick river of blood
yellow boots
stamping out codes in the puddles
as I hopscotch down the driveway.
inhaled her last breath as she dies on my chest
and another one leaves me behind
take me with you...
take me with you....
inhaling in the night and saddened I can't translate the darkness
some cosmic code that calls to me and dances like a forgotten language on my tongue
translation lost, the echo to faint to hear again...
toes over the edge
Arching back

(C) Nov 2010

Don't bother asking for a translation. This is one of those poems that I "found" scrawled in my notebooks. I Know only snatches of the images. The stick man was my friend HRP that I played Chess with. The eagle soaring over head, that happened while floating the Rogue River. The coolness of her shadow awoke me. There have been many who have died on my chest...

Somewhere within my soul is a restless writer who scribbles cryptic poems and story idea on to notes and then tucks them away till I find them. Sometimes they inspire me to write on. Sometimes they leave me wondering if perhaps I awoke from a dream and simply jotted it down.

This have been an incredibly exhausting few weeks and tomorrow is my one day off. Then I start the end of the month grind at work. I promise to write something new. I have so much I would like to write about. Just lacking the time to do so.

I just realized I do know another of the images. This one:
....his hands on my waist holding me 
"woman" he whispers
my soul perks up and my body responds...yes

It was a full moon August night and me and my friend John were out to look at the comet that was just HUGE. I was bare foot in the tall green grass and just giddy with the excitement of a full moon, a comet and the warm summer breeze. John tapped me on the shoulder and said "look."

I looked behind me and got my socks knocked off....the start of an eclipse. Freaking awesome double whammy of heavenly wonders!! Comet/eclipse of a full moon.

At the peek of the eclipse the comet just GLOWED!! it was a sight I will never forget. I threw up my arms  tossed back my head and howled. Then dropped my arms and felt my spirit lift as I left the grass. I was leaving this planet and going with the comet.

then I felt

....his hands on my waist holding me
"woman" he whispers
my soul perks up and my body responds...yes

"Do i need to chain you up to keep you here?"

I laugh and toss my long dark hair wildly. I felt my body again lift up as if infused with helium. My eyes returned to the sky.

Again, I felt his hands grab my waist and this time with a firm jerk he pulled me back.


good thing he was there to anchor me to the planet. Writers are very prone to being sucked up by passing celestial objects.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas cheese, well it beats coal in your stocking

Working all week covering a co-worker. No time to write. So I am going to cheese you with this email from 2010.

This is one of my writings that takes me by surprise each time I read it. Just how deep the subject matter is, and how beautiful it turned out despite being written from a place of dark depression.

Enjoy. I am looking forward to next week. A lot to blog about.

2010 Christmas

I have struggled to get in the Christmas spirit this year. The usual winter depression gnawing away at the fringes of my sanity is not helping.

I have nothing to give anyone. I feel like the little drummer boy. Even though I "buy" you all gifts all year long.

Thought this year I would actually tell you what my heart gives you all.

Every time I drive back to Medford I go on a heck of a shopping spree.

The commute from Medford is long and boring and on the way to GP I write in my head. I spin fabulous tales that no one will ever read. I sing loudly and badly to the fuzzy oldies station that fades in and out on my radio.

I stress over stuff I need to do, didn't do, should do and did do.

I spend the commute in the dark playground of my mind.

After work I head for home.

From the on-ramp to Rogue River I usually spend crying and screaming. De-stressing from the job that places me daily in the mist of the elderly and the ever looming impending shadow of death. Most days the amplified pain of my collection of orthopedic injuries reaches 10 on the pain scale and the screaming and crying helps....no not really, but I feels good to give the universe an ear full.

Then I hit Rogue River.

And the Powerball and Megabucks bill board greets me with it ever cheery tally of BAZILLIONS of dollars that are sitting in the pot waiting to be won.

45 million this particular night.

and the tears stop.

and the shopping starts.

Oh the usual frivolous thoughts light up my mind instantly.

With that money I would quit my job.

wait, my boss and co-workers know where I live....and I am an old woman with a bad back, I might be able to take one of them, but collectively they will kick my arse. Nix that idea.

Buy Corey a car that he fits in and won't bump his head.

buy me a new truck....(laugh till my side hurts as imagine the look on the salesman face as he tries to figure out the trade in value of my filthy truck with its custom paint job.)
In short order I have bought you all cars.

45 million.

lets see.
houses next.
Call my sister and tell her to house hunt...vs suprising her with a deed?

buy co-worker a house and leave the key and deed on her desk.

Send my parents to the coast for the day and paint the house blue again...leave a nice slick custom motorcycle with a comfortable seat and a matching side car in the drive way.

Sneak in and pay all the bills I can find for all of you.

Send oldest Brother to Africa. I promised him when he was young we would go. He has to go alone though. With all the hardware in my pelvis I would never get through the scanners.

Go spend time with Brother closest to my age and his family. Tell his kids all the crazy things we used to do...and show them the pictures! (aint seen nothing till you have seen him in Tiny Grandmas mumu's and her stole in his underwear with the mink heads poking out his fly.)

Buy Brother next younger from above brother and his family a huge house in Gold Hill so he doesn't have to do this commute any more.

and the list goes on and on.

I think of each and everyone of you, and how you impact my life.

and how I never tell you

how I wish I could win that money and anonymously give each and everyone of you what ever you want or need.

How after the initial greed reaction I reach deeper inside and I want to lavish those in my life with magical suprises.

A cat for my children, and a house to go with it.

Its not about paying you for being who you are, its about honoring you and reaching inside and communicating with you from my soul. Something I lack the ability to do verbally.

By the time I Sylvia's ranch I am bawling again. Marveling at how RICH I am, not with money, but simply by knowing you. All of you.

Wish I could spend that 45 billion to buy time. More time. Then I could make you all some fabulous gift that would let you know how much I treasure you.

Then I drive by furniture row and I start buying furniture to go in all the houses I bought on the drive.

By the time I hit the off ramp I am spent...physically and mentally....and monetarily. I sneak in and check on the kids and then slid into Corey's warm sleeping arms.

He slumbers unaware of the money that came and went in the night.

My gift to you all tonight.

A memory.

Of a Christmas that didn't go quite as I had planned. That was a  year I lived at the farm. The year that Grandma's daughter bought her a pony. Tink was a dazzling mahogany bay with a long flowing black mane and tail.

The grand kids couldn't wait to ride her so before we ate dinner and opened presents, we went out to the yard. She was acting spooky so I insisted on getting on her first. She reared up so I tossed my weight forward to bring her down. Next think I know I'm on the ground with a pony in my lap. She had flipped backwards and taken me along for the ride. She popped up and I rolled to my side, keenly aware that from mid back down I was numb.

15,000 dollars later I was bolted back together with an impressive set of 4 3" screws and a Frankenstein plate in my pelvis.

The ER staff was all bummed that I had to spend Christmas in the hospital.

The next day around 8:00pm I looked up to see John and Suzy come into my room. What a pair they were. John I had worked with for 9 years at (insert name of some random nursing home). He and I share the same twisted sense of humor and inability to speak to our fellow man unless we are doing so in writing.

Suzy (name changed for privacy) was a resident who was 1/2 Native American and 1/2 mailman. She delighted in doing dumb Indian impression that would have won her all sorts of Oscars. She had long ago adopted me into her tribe.

They slid up to my bed and wiggled and twist like hyper puppy dogs.

"whhhaaat" I smiled, so pleased to see them. Soooo pleased.

Suzy handed me a Christmas present. "we brought you a present." And their faces split into Cheshire cat grins.

My brow wrinkled as I looked at the dusty present. Wondering two things. Why was it dusty?...and how did these two make it past security?

As I opened the wrapping paper they leaned over my rail and peered down to see the action. They looked like two kids on peaking into Santa's bag.

It was empty.

I glanced up at them and they burst into hysterical laughter. When they had caught their breath John explained they had stolen it from under the hospital's decorative tree in the ER on there way up to see me.

I can tell you this...belly laughing after having a horse fall on you and then having pelvic surgery is painful, but so worth it when you do it with friends.

So my favorite Christmas present of all time - an empty box filled with mischief and nincompoopery.

My favorite gift that I get all year round is you.

All the people in my life who see me, work with me, talk with me, eat Chinese food with me, share this planet with me. You are my gifts. It never ceases to amaze me that you would give up your precious time to spend some of it with me.

and someday when I win that bazzillion dollars you will be soooooo glad I am in your life.

and no Christmas is complete without a stocking

I made this one just for you

In it I put laughter, for those days you need some

band-aids, for those days you are hurting.

tucked in 1/2 a rainbow so you don't forget to chase the magic this planet has to offer,

a handful of fall leaves, a gust of snow,

arms to hold you,

a broken chain,

two hairs from a stallions mane,

a bucket of rain.

a soft hankie to dry your tears,

dew drops gathered on cat whiskers,

warm apples off the tree

a shooting star so you will always have wishes,

puppy kisses.

bright green spring grass,

a warm breeze,

healthy feet to chase your dreams,

moon beams.

Strength to break your bonds,

and too hold on.

The perfect wave

an Indian brave

a handful of skipping stones,

a smooth pond for you to free them on.

a horse only you can ride,

a place to hide.

a smile, kisses

and lots of wishes

a candy cane,

a country lane,

and may you wake to no pain.

I'm so glad you checked your e-mail today,

so that I may


and tell you how much I enjoy your company.

Merry Christmas

Love P

Monday, December 3, 2012

The four sisters

I tuck you carefully in and kiss your forehead. Stop squirming little one and I shall tell you a bedtime story.

Once upon a time there was a group of four sisters.

Oh they were the wildest girls you ever saw. Like a herd of delicate Arabian mares.

Everything about them was musical and magical.

Their laughter was like the sound of falling snow, light delicate and hushed.

 Life flowed from there hands as they linked arms and spun in circles. You could see the joy radiating from there eyes.

No one knew there names, or ever called them...

Everyone liked to watch them. Young girls wanted to be like them. To taste their freedom.

The sisters would ride there horses at a full gallop down the crooked path to the ocean.

There they would write messages in the sand and wait for the ocean to wash them away. Occasionally they would have to start over as one of the horses would prance over there messages.

No one knew there names, or ever called them...

Their days were care free and unblemished. They never new pain or hurt.

One night, when the stars were late to rise, the girls woke and rode bareback down the crooked path, the horses dancing in the distilled moonlight.

There on the beach was a girl with long dark hair. Around her bare feet were angry words scratched deep into the sand. The ocean tried but could not wash them away. The cool dark water filled the holes, but could not stay and ran out in dark trickles.

The sisters shivered and reined the horses around. Wanting to flee the beach. They had their happiness and their peace. There was no room in their hearts for this darkness.

"Joy, Hope, Trust, Love!!" The girl with windswept hair called.

The sisters twisted on there horses and their mouths opened in surprise for no one knew there names, or ever called them...

"I don't know you." said one of the sisters

"But I know you" said the girl as the wine dark sea swirled around her ankles. "you haunt me in my dreams, and I call for you and you never come." Her face reddens with anger " WHY DO YOU VISIT OTHERS AND SPEND TIME WITH THEM AND NEVER ME?"

The sisters dismount and walk through the cool sand. "well" said Trust, "I'm not with you...for someone has taken me from you. That man with the flesh knife. Someone else must give me back to you."

"NEVER" snorts the Girl drawing up a wall of sand. " to protect myself I will not allow people to get close to me."

With a voice so soft it sounded like the sound of butterfly wings, Joy spoke. "I cannot be held."

The dark haired girl roared, "but I must have you! I want to know what it feels like to have

"Do you even know what joy feels like?" she whispered.

Darkness clouds the girls eyes, and her legs give way and bring her to the sand. Her shoulders slump and draw her closer to the earth. "No, but I just know if I had Joy I could put her in my heart and ease the ache that is there."

"That is where my sister belongs." Joy responds, pointing to Love.


The sisters wait.

The realization is slow and painful, like a process of disarming a bomb. One of the heavy chains of the darkness drops off...slowly it dawns on the dark haired girl.

"No one will love me...I don't even allow myself to love me." She wails painfully into the night.

Love and Joy and Trust speak as one. "start your journey there my friend." They remount there horses.

"WAIT!!" called the girl, "I am stuck."

"Then stop hiding and come after us" they said reining their mounts around and starting back up the crooked path.

"WAIT!!" called the girl, "I am alone."

"No you are not." They responded pointing to the riderless horse next to them. "Hope will stay with you."

"She is always with you." Said Love. ""Always."

Dissipating like fog the sisters dematerialized into the night.

"How will I find you again?" She said quietly.

"It is easy..." said Hope in her singsong voice, "you follow the beats of your heart."

The girl smiled and her heart sang.

Carefully I close the book and for a moment watch you sleep. One last kiss to your forehead and then I slip out into the night to ride with the sisters.

(C) Jan 12, 2005 P R