I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Extra hour of sleep

Light pillars from APOD
One of my daily habits is to look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day as a stop during my morning reads. This picture, taken in late October over Whitefish Bay near the Canadian and US borders, shows vertical lines of light over a ground source that reflect from falling ice crystals. "As the ground temperature was above freezing, the flat crystals likely melted as they approached the ground, creating a lower end to the vertical light pillars. The red ground lights originated from wind turbines."

I gazed at the picture for a long time, as it gives me a sense of peace and serenity, which I often get from APOD's pictures. Looking at nature scenes and massive galaxies far from Earth never fails to add perspective to the goings on around me. I do get wound up, as most of us do, who follow the news cycles.

Our clocks in most of the US changed from Daylight Saving Time back to standard, which will last until spring. So I enjoyed an extra hour of sleep before I began my day. Since I usually retire early, I made myself stay up a little later, but when I woke I had only managed to stay asleep an extra half hour. For some reason, I have more difficulty gaining that extra hour than I do losing it in the springtime. From all the complaining I hear over the time change, I'm thinking it might be on its way out. I found an interesting article online about the time change here. It covers 5 myths about daylight saving time. I especially like the closing line:
In fact, some opponents of DST aren’t against daylight saving time per se: They think it should be adopted as the year-round standard time. Because it basically already is.
We spend eight months of the year on what is supposed to be "standard time." In four months we'll go back to DST. Why not stay on it all year round? Because of the time change, tonight the sun will set here at 4:43pm! At least I won't have to use my headlamp to walk to the bus in the mornings for awhile. I started using it last week because there are a few areas on the walk that are not well illuminated by street lights and as I age, I need to be more careful not to trip and fall.

I still have some residual soreness from the fall I took several weeks ago on our regular hiking day in the mountains. I hit the inside of my knee so hard on a rock that it is still sensitive at the spot, and I notice a little weakness if I turn my knee the wrong way. Acupuncture seems to be helping. I look forward to seeing Warren, my acupuncturist, every week. Although I know he's going to be needling me, I sure do like the results. Last week he put several into the top of my head, and I felt goosebumps all the way down to my toes with each one.

My sister Norma Jean learned about my experience with acupuncture, and when she saw her massage therapist asked for a recommendation. She went to one treatment for her feet, which have been bothering her for months now, and he told her that her arches are falling. He put needles in her legs from the knees down (she said she felt nothing) and recommended she purchase certain orthotics. When she left his office, she was in serious pain, but by the time she woke the next day, all the pain is gone, and it has not returned! He told her she didn't need to come back unless she needed to. I on the other hand have already had four treatments, with three more to go.

But I don't mind. I actually enjoy the sense of overall well-being I have when I leave, and the heel pain that was my original reason for going is much diminished. For the first time in years, there are times when I don't have any pain in my heel. It does return after a hard hike or long walk, but it's much, much better. And during the half-hour that I have the needles in, we chat and he massages my shoulders. He used to be a kinestheologist (someone who is a little like a massage therapist and manipulates pressure points). It feels great as I lie there bearing a strong resemblance to a pincushion. Once all the needles are out, I ask if it's safe to move around, and I realize I worry about disturbing the needles when they are in.

Something that has been on my mind for awhile now, ever since learning that my friend Ronni's pancreatic cancer has returned, is whether or not it's a particularly painful cancer in the last stages. Of course I went online to read about it, and I found that it's a relatively rare cancer and that yes, it's not going to be easy to manage the pain and still be conscious and aware as she desires. If it's so rare, how come I know two people right now who have it? It's one of the scariest forms of cancer because it's usually too late to treat once it's discovered. Ronni at least thought she had a chance of it not returning, and she spent months being cancer free after that awful Whipple surgery. It makes me wonder what I would choose to do if diagnosed with such a disease at my age. Would I want to go through all that for a chance of a cancer free life?

I am reaching the age where this sort of conversation goes on in my mind more often. My friend John just spent two days in the hospital with a bowel obstruction, which has been treated and cleared without surgery, but years ago he suffered from the same thing and during surgery a large part of his bowel was removed, which I guess exacerbates the occasional difficulties he has now. When he doesn't show up at the coffee shop, I wonder if he's all right. I realize that, without warning, he wormed his way into my heart and I care very much about his health.

The only remedy to my dilemma is not to care, and I'm not about to go there. So I've added him to my list of people to worry about. I actually feel very fortunate to have so many souls on the planet with me right now who matter to me, because I feel so much less alone as I go through my days. There's the one on top of the heap, my guy, because we share everything without being joined at the hip. He thinks of my needs even when I don't. It's nice, and it also reminds me to be thankful for all the weeks and years we share together, because at some point it will all change. I don't want to have missed the moment because I was too busy thinking about the future.

Yes, I am very fortunate indeed. He's still sleeping, even though it's an hour later than it was yesterday at the same time on the clock. I'm getting restless and ready to start my day. The coffee shop staff will have an extra hour before opening, and I'll bet they will appreciate it. They're young and don't go to bed all that early on a Saturday night, I'm sure. I'm feeling pretty good myself right now, filled with energy and ready for my Sunday activities to continue. Before I get out of bed, I'll take a quick look at the news and read the Sunday comics.

I hope you will have a wonderful week ahead. Don't forget to vote, unless you live in a mail-in ballot state like I do. We are done with our civic duty already. Please remember that whatever happens, we live in a democracy where we get a chance to choose our leaders, and there will be plenty of happy (or sad) people no matter what. Be well until we meet again next week, and I wish you all good things.

15 comments:

Tabor said...

I also visited friends in Hawaii who were important in my younger years and who are fighting challenges. I may or may not blog about it, but this kind of thing gives me pause. You may know more of those with rare cancers because the demographics of those you know is more narrow? Thanks for that lovely photo. The atmosphere is so powerful.

Linda Reeder said...

I enjoyed a full night's sleep, for a change, and still woke up by 7:00, in DAYLIGHT! That's all good.
It seems like we are dealing with health issues all the time now that we and our friends are "old". This week we can think about politics instead. Oh dear.

gigihawaii said...

I wonder if acupuncture would cure arthritis, which afflicts David.

Rian said...

I've always written down my thoughts... journaling for years, then eventually writing on a website and then blogging. But blogging gives me the advantage of knowing other people either through their comments or reading their blogs. Saying this, it amazes me that so many of us think alike. Reading your blog this morning, DJan, I have to say that we share a lot of the same thoughts (perhaps it's age or environment or ?). I too love science and reading anything science related. I love nature and would love to be able to hike in the beautiful areas you post about, and I too think about health-related issues due to advancing age. I can't imagine that any of us can say that we don't have to deal with cancer (or some other debilitating illness) either in the family or with people we know. I too don't know what I'd do if my cancer returned at my age. But it's not something to dwell on... I've always believed that it's not what happens to us that matters, but how we handle it (easy to say, harder to do).
Anyway, we do need to be grateful that we've come this far and focus on enjoying each day the best we can. Family and friends are a big help here.

Elephant's Child said...

Yet another lovely, thoughtful post for me to carry with me as we edge closer to dawn here.
Thank you.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Interesting that possible future illness pops into your mind. I understand it well and am aware that we really have no way to plan for it. I also am happy that you are blessed with your special guy. That part of my life is now like a roller coaster and I ride it as it comes. I have found several ways to help hubby gain some time with memory loss but the mood swings are very unpredictable. I am also trying to be more hands on by hugs more to try to calm things. Some days it helps.
As for extra sleep. We actually were up earlier than usual.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am so glad you are getting some relief from the acupuncture. Cancer is a horrible thing no matter what kind...my former brother in law who ate nothing but healthy food and no sugar hiked all over the world, never smoked or drank...ends up with cancer. Not fair...but what is fair anymore? I will grieve for him for a long time.
Days have been tough here, but we will survive:)

Rob and Trish MacGregor said...

A beautiful photo there at the top! I can see why it invokes such peaceful feelings!

Red said...

One key thing about aging is ti remain socially active...to have friends of different ages. We get support by being out in the community. I think every time you come back from a hike you're on a high.

Marie Smith said...

You’ve given me much to ponder again this morning, Jan! Have a great week.

Arkansas Patti said...

Darn, I never get to enjoy that extra hour in fact I lose an hour. I go to bed at the new time but wake up the same old time. Grr. How cool to get a massage with your acupuncture. That alone would get me back. Wish we had mail in voting but I will hit the poles tomorrow. Since a lot of people had early voted the lines shouldn't be long. Sure will be glad when this is over.

Sally Wessely said...

That extra hour of sleep was nice, but it sure is hard to adjust to these change. I read about your acupuncture treatments with interest. I only tried it once, and I found it upsetting to me, but I think I could really benefit from it now for the pain in my feet. I’m going to see about going that route again. This aging business is no fun. Thank heavens I don’t have anything serious going on. Have a great week! Hugs.

Rita said...

That photo is fascinating! I love seeing anything from the Hubble or outer space at all, too.

DST--I think they should just pick one and leave it there. It is more disruptive to me as I have gotten older than it ever seemed to be when I was younger, but I never liked it.

I also have a list of people I worry about--family, friends, pen pals, and internet friends I have never met. But glad that I have them to worry about. ;)

I'm only 67 but having lived with chronic pain and illness for almost two decades...I have wondered what I would do if I had to make a choice to go through even more misery with chemo or some such. I really don't know what I would choose.

I voted by mail weeks ago. Glad to avoid trying to be standing in line at the polls. The republicans are trying to keep the Native Americans from voting here. Suddenly requiring a specific address and not accepting a PO Box when no one on the reservations has a regular address. So sad. I am praying for change. :)

I relax with meditative music or getting lost in a good show. I hope it's a really good week. :)

Galen Pearl said...

Wow, what a photo. What an amazing universe we live in.

Yes, that question that begins to take up residence in our minds about this age. What would I go through to stay alive a little longer? I've had friends who made different choices and all seemed happy with the choice they made. One friend fought through terrible treatments to gain whatever time she could until her last day. Another (with pancreatic cancer) let nature take its course. I wonder if we really know what we would do until faced with the question. Always a pleasure to visit your blog.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Thank you for sharing the APOD photo AND giving me an excellent new addition to my morning routine. I'm putting the APOD website on my early morning check list. I'm sorry to hear about John ... hope he is on the way to a full recovery. I am curious if John is the one in your coffee group who has taken his fishing boat to Alaska for so many years? If yes, he probably shares my fascination with ships. Looking over the comments above, I see that Rian put perfectly into words my frequent thoughts about Eye on the Edge, "Reading your blog this morning, DJan, I have to say that we share a lot of the same thoughts (perhaps it's age or environment or ?)." Yes, it often seems we are on the same page or close to it. Re: DST ... To me, it would make more sense to do Daylight Saving during the winter when the sun sets so early. Enjoyed this post and thank you, as always, for sharing. Thanks for your kind words on John's Island and I'm glad you will be going along on the journey down the West Coast. Have a great day and take care! John