On My Heart (A Series)… Finding the Sunshine


Battling the Depression Monster has been challenging. I want, I need to be outside playing in the dirt but my need for supervision and Charles’ job don’t always cooperate with each other. Plus, my upper body still does not have the range of motion that would allow me any digging.

Yesterday, I was determined to do SOMETHING about the dark presence that shows up to nullify every good thing. I started on my American Government classwork. It wasn’t the best idea for cheerfulness, but it was the best idea I had at the time. I certainly saved the hardest class for last. This professor’s tests are “no books, no notes, nothing but what you have been able to retain in your brain from your classwork. No assignment extensions, no working ahead, no make-ups.” She sounds fun.

It was probably afternoon before I got showered and dressed, but then I took a nap. Naps just happen to me now; I wake up surprised. Showers are exhausting. I still have not seen my scar, but I can see that the bruises on my belly from the tubes are starting to fade. What were previously bright red, pink, and purplish black are now yellow and gray. I used a special skin concoction to try to promote healing of the scar. It sickened me to run my hand over it with the lotion. It felt like a child’s science fair salt map project. Note to self: Order more turtlenecks. Yikes.

After the nap, I walked out to the garage to put something away and noticed how sunny it was out in the driveway. So, I just planted myself on the retaining wall and soaked in some of that natural vitamin D, one of nature’s antidepressants.

I don’t know how long I was out there – 45 minutes maybe – but eventually Charles joined me. He was getting ready to fuss at me because he assumed I had gone off somewhere without telling him (being my typical bullheaded self). He was ready for battle, but relaxed when he saw me just sitting. Understandably, he likes to stay close in case I take a spill. I have gotten over being irritated at his watchfulness. I appreciate his concern. I mean, until I am no longer the person who needs a nap after taking a shower, for crying out loud, then I still need supervision. I am so ready to be back to my normal life, that I am uncharacteristically unwilling to take chances.

Charles took this opportunity to finally plant the three drift roses and my blueberries for me. Nature plants in fall and it irritates me no end I cannot be out there with my hands in the dirt (nature’s other antidepressant). But, watching him plant them for me is the next best thing.

I stood in the garden briefly and ate warm tomatoes off the vines. They taste like sunshine to me.

Afterward, Charles showed me a picture on his phone of a fish that “Wet Pets” (our local aquarium shop) had advertised. “What do you think of this guy?” he asked. It was an El Diablo Jawfish, a curious looking species that I had never seen before.

“We could go check him out, and have Thai food,” I said.

We got dinner at a place called Sweet Basil, in Norman, Oklahoma. I was impressed by their menu. It listed each dish that could be made vegetarian or vegan. I ordered the vegan version of the vegetable pineapple fried rice. I also asked for the vegetable egg rolls. “Those aren’t vegan,” he told me. “We use the same oil that we use to fry the meat.” He didn’t have to tell me that, I doubt I would have known, but I appreciate his being honest. I ordered the cucumber salad instead. It was very good. I highly recommend the place and we will be eating there again.

We finished up and got to Wet Pets before they closed at 6:00 p.m. I realize this means we had dinner at 5:00 p.m., and that we might be old people. We agreed on the jawfish and brought him home. He’s in the aquarium now, hiding under a rock – part of his M.O. The pictures show what he looks like, but is not our actual fish (photographer’s credit given), because he is still under that rock. I’ve taken a year of college Spanish, and it wasn’t until this morning that I realized that El Diablo translates to “the Devil.” Fun!

The outing did me good. I was sleepy by the time bedtime rolled around… but wide awake when my head hit the pillow. When I did fall asleep, I dreamed about a movie my older sister took me to when I was 7 years old. It was a horror film called “What’s the Matter with Helen?” with Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winter. We were supposed to see “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” She was always doing that though – telling Mom we would see a child appropriate movie then slipping into something horrific. I still do not understand how we were able to get into those adult movies. If I was 7, she was only 10 or 11. In the dream, I went to the bathroom and Debbie Reynolds was hanging dead in the stall. Delightful.

I worry about every slight rise in blood pressure (it is never over 110/70) or what my clotting numbers look like. I worry that my home health nurse will misunderstand the doctors’ orders, adjust my warfarin medicine incorrectly and I will throw a clot sometime in the night. I worry Charles will wake up to find me dead. I worry that my next cough or sneeze is going to rip apart everything and my heart and lungs will just fall out on the floor. I worry that my checkup next week will show that the surgery was unsuccessful and that they will have to do it again. I worry that every little ache and pain and weird twinge are symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, then I tell myself “no, it is just normal healing.” But then the discharge paperwork says “don’t ignore pain.” It is pain if it just lasts a few seconds? Is an ache the same as a pain? Is paranoia a side effect to heart surgery?

This morning I napped after my shower, again. I also napped before it, if you want to know the truth. I’m going to read Chap. 1 – Ideas That Shape American Politics, take the quiz, and pound out an essay on poverty in America.

Then, I’m going to find myself another patch of sunshine and maybe walk barefoot in the grass. The Depression Monster hates that.

One comment on “On My Heart (A Series)… Finding the Sunshine

  • Cheryl , Direct link to comment

    Keep it up, you’re doing great! The depression monster doesn’t have a chance. I told Roger a few things you had written and he nodded, yep, I’ve felt like that, he said. He also said our neighbor, down the street, had heart valve surgery and he was with us until he was 91. You, my dear, will be around for a long time. Tell Charles we said “Hello”. ❤️

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