It was 4:00 a.m., well before my clock was set to alarm. I instantly woke from a dead sleep to fully awake. I thought I was having a bad dream! I sat straight up holding both of my hands in front of my eyes, just like what you’d imagine happening in the movies.
The room was dark, except for the adorable, fish shaped nightlight in the foyer outside my bedroom door.
The very low light emitting from the the nightlight seemed to brighten my room enough to see the swelling in of each of my fingers. It was actually due to the fact that I FELT it! The throbbing sensation was incredible!
I tried removing the covers to get out of bed, but none of my fingers would bend. My brain was so desperately trying to will them to do so, but to no avail.
I quickly concluded I should push the dark green comforter out of the way using the flat palm of my left hand. I scooched to the side of my king size bed with my right hand still in front of my face.
At this moment, the pain and swelling I had experienced in my feet and ankles during the previous week moved to the outskirts of my radar. Oh yes! The pain was still there, but the swelling had magically disappeared.
There was no warning this new symptom was coming my way, so I had to quickly adjust! I had to be at work by 8:00 a.m., so I had four hours to get ready. Sleep would definitely not find me again so why not get started now?
“Ok…I’m gonna need help,” I told myself.
My husband works swing shifts so there are some mornings he may not be home. I was very fortunate he was off on this fateful day. I quickly woke him to tell of the genesis of my new battle.
“I’m trying to make coffee, but I literally cannot lift the pot to pour the water!” My voice had an anxious tone to it. I’m normally not one to be “out of sorts,” but today was different than any other day I had ever experienced.
He calmly got out of bed and walked into the kitchen. He lifted the carafe to finish making my much needed coffee. When the coffee finished brewing, he got my favorite purple coffee mug, added two Splenda, and poured in a little of my favorite hazelnut creamer.
He brought it to me as I pitifully sat on the reclining loveseat in the living room. I had to use both hands to lift my now…very heavy coffee mug. I mostly used the palms of my hands to lift it. My fingers still refused to bend properly.
He would maintain his gentle, compassionate composure throughout my entire morning. This would calm me. My husband…my hero…
Even to this day, he makes coffee most every morning he is home. His coffee always tastes better anyway. I’m not sure what he does, but I’m definitely on board with his new role in my morning ritual.
I could see his concern throughout the morning as his defined jaw always pulses when he is “thinking.” He is not one to wear his emotion on his sleeve. He certainly takes after his dad. (God rest his sweet soul.)
I, on the other hand, was a little freaked out because I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through an entire workday. I was definitely not one to call out sick, although I always have plenty of personal time off hours accrued.
I wasn’t really sick anyway. My feet, ankles, and now ten swollen fingers just HURT! The intense pain was very definitive to only these three areas. Everything else felt perfectly fine. It was a strange sensation, but there is no other way to describe it.
I improvised everything I did that morning getting ready for work. I skipped a lot of my normal routine as nothing about this morning was routine at all.
Other than the coffee fiasco, another detail that stuck out in my mind was not being able to wring the washcloth I used to wash my face.
In a daze, I would run hot water over the dark blue washcloth. I dropped it where it lay steaming in the sink. I looked at it for what seemed like an eternity, but it was only mere seconds. I used the palm of my hand to push out the excess water. It was still dripping when I lifted it to my face.
The hot steam felt devine on my face but felt horrible on my fingers. I hurriedly ran cooler water over my hands. It ran down to my fingertips to help ease the pain and stinging sensation, but I couldn’t seem to get the water cold enough.
I instantly thought of the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. What I would give to be there submerging my hands into the constant 62 degree water out in the middle of the desert! I had just visited this very place about one week prior to these perplexing events now taking place inside my body.
I struggled putting on makeup. I could not wash or curl my hair. Pushing down on the handle of the two inch barreled curling iron was too much for my weak fingers to operate.
I painfully twisted my hair into a messy bun. It was actually kind of cute so I was ok with this for today; however, the very audible groan, and very ugly grimace on my face was not so cute! My husband and I both laughed about how I sounded and looked in the mirror. It makes me laugh out loud thinking about it today.
To lighten my stress level, Pop also alluded to some other silly, clever jokes. Only he could get away with such banter, but he did manage to make me laugh several other times.
The laughter seemed to release enough endorphins to tackle the next chore. Everything I touched seemed to be just that…a chore, so I was certainly in for an unusual day!
He was by my side the entire morning as he sat on the side of my oversized garden bathtub.
I tried doing everything I could for myself. In just the simple act of getting dressed, I would need Pop’s help. Things you would never even bat an eye were now suddenly very difficult. It’s crazy how much we all actually take for granted on a daily basis.
He zipped my beige, green, and watermelon pink floral dress…as I definitely could not do this for myself today.
Since my feet and ankles were no longer swollen, I slipped into some hot pink, wedge, slide on shoes. It at least felt good to have heels on again. I would not wear my Sanuk flip flops today, but I did pack my brown ones in my red clay, Tombstone, Arizona bag…just in case!
“Have I forgotten anything?” I asked myself. My mind seemed to be in ten different places. I could not think clearly.
Pop told me to go to work and do the best I could. If my new manager wanted to send me home, then so be it.
He kissed me goodbye and said if I needed him to holler. I immediately whispered a quick, “aaaah,” and he smiled at me. He took my Yeti tumbler filled with water and my pink and green Coach bag to the car for me.
He kissed me one more time and went back into the house. My husband…my hero…
I sat in my car to collect my thoughts. The garage was still closed. Of course, I would try to utter a prayer but when I shut my eyes, I would hear my daddy say, “what we don’t enjoy, we endure.”
I remember him saying this many years ago. He’s never said this often, but for some reason, this stuck out in my mind. I heard him say this at his retirement dinner back in the 1990s. I didn’t realize the brevity of this statement until now. It would get me through a full day at work.
My endurance level would certainly be tested beyond measure in the coming months. I cannot honestly say that I endured with very much grace on very many days, but I’d like to think that I tried my best daddy.
I felt my fairytale little corner of the world close in on me a little bit that morning. It was Friday, June 24, 2016, and this day would forever be etched in my mind.
I didn’t think I could feel any worse, so for now, “I’M GOOD, I’M GOOD!”
The final blow is upon me…when my fairytale little corner of the world would be shaken to its core and I would be swallowed up, and appear in a totally different world.
Until then, I would “carry on…and smile along the way.”
“Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” Ecclesiastes 7:3 KJV (always)