Chronic Pain Memories
When I returned to Wisconsin for the Thanksgiving Holiday, this past year, I did more than spend quality time with family and friends.
I, also, reconnected with memories created more than twenty years ago. Fond memories of struggling through the early years of a chronic pain condition.
As shared in earlier posts, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1993. The daily, excruciating pain associated with this condition forced me to take a six-month medical leave from my dream job, which eventually led to a resignation for medical reasons.
Because of the severe joint degeneration in my hands, I lost the ability to do even simple self-care tasks e.g., buttoning my blouse, tying my shoes, putting on a bra, or even combing my hair. In addition to working full-time, Hubby served as my primary caregiver. That is one of many reasons why I have kept him around for almost fifty-five years.
Chronic Pain Management: Painting Black Figurines
Approximately four months after the diagnosis, things changed. It started, when I opened the huge box sent by the Eldest Daughter from North Carolina where she was living at the time. Inside were bottles of acrylic paint in an array of colors as well as a number of unpainted figurines.
I called her and said, “Thank you for the gift, but What The H… am I suppose to do with these things?”
“Painting may give you some pain relief as well as strengthen your hands. Give it a try.” she said.
I tried and the first pieces were a disaster. But, I painted figurines almost everyday from 1993 until 1996. The painting improved. But, more importantly, the joints strengthened and the pain lessened.
Daily, for almost three years, I painted figurines depicting African-Americans in different roles — babies, clowns, children, angels, baseball players, basketball players, sorority girls, fraternity boys, historical figures, Buffalo Soldiers, doctors, nurses, etc.
After a while, the pieces went on display in the African-American Art Gallery that we formerly owned. They were quick sellers, especially the Santa’s and Angels.
I painted under the pseudonym, Marie Enno, which I took from the last four letters, spelled backwards, of my first name “Yvonne”; and, my middle name “Marie.” A number of close friends and relatives purchased the figurines. However, they had no idea that Yvonne Marie and Marie Enno were one in the same.
Painting the figurines distracted me from focusing on pain. I know painting was the beginning of my journey:
Yes, I still have pain but I work to control it rather than letting it control me.
Thanksgiving with The Black Santa’s
With the exception of the Santa’s shown in this post, all the figurines were either sold at the gallery or gifted to friends.
When the family Christmas Gatherings, outgrew the space in our home, the Eldest Daughter said, “Let’s move the Santa’s to my home so we can continue to enjoy them.” I agreed and visited my Santa’s at her house every Christmas Holiday until retirement brought us to Florida in 2010.
Though everybody now comes to Florida for Christmas, Eldest Daughter wants to keep the Santa’s. Since they have been in her possession for more than ten years, I believe her home is now their home.
This year, for the first time, she decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving; and, I was able to once again enjoy my beloved Santa’s. She will continue to do this in the future; and I look forward to visiting with my Santa’s every Thanksgiving.
I added the photos below to my Cherished Memories Album. I can now enjoy looking at them when I want.
Hubby and I returned to Wisconsin to spend Thanksgiving with the kids, grands, relatives and friends this past year. Since we decided to go at the last-minute one, our airline ticket prices were over the top. (Side Bar Correction: The decision was mine and I bugged Hubby until he agreed.).
Why I Bugged Hubby
For years, we postponed visiting Hubby’s last remaining Aunt even though, by car, she lived six hours away from our home in Wisconsin. I remember reasons like “not enough time” or “maybe next year.”
Sadly, she passed away the first week in November. There was “enough time” and we couldn’t wait until “maybe next year” to attend her funeral and show our respect.
It was an up-front and up-in-my-face reality moment. Our tomorrows with loved ones are not promised. And, nothing short of my death was going to prevent me from spending Thanksgiving with the children and grands.
It was a short visit with a lot packed into three days, but I am grateful for the many precious memories including this one about my Little Girls.
The youngest members of our families are oftentimes the funniest. And, these two were in hot water for their shenanigans during the after Thanksgiving Family Gathering.
Our 6-year-old granddaughter, Cupcake, and great-granddaughter, Lyric, 7-years-old proudly announced to all that they were putting on a play later in the evening. Everyone purchased a ticket. The two girls disappeared; and, we all assumed they were pulling things together. When the girls came downstairs a bit later, they started to play a board game, and the play was soon forgotten by all.
Several hours later, the Eldest Daughter answered the phone and the caller said, “Someone telephoned 911 from this telephone is everything okay?” She assured the dispatcher all was well and said, “I can’t imagine what happened.”
My son decided to ask the girls and Cupcake admitted making the call. He explained to her that 911 calls were for emergencies only. She quickly said, “This was an emergency Lyric stole my money.” Lyric piped up with “I deserved more money because I am older.”
Aunts, cousins, uncles, dad, friends, etc., all took turns sharing examples with the girls of the right and wrong times to call the 911 emergency number.
The money collected was equally split between the two girls with the promise they would put the play on at our family’s July 4th Celebration.
Once everything settled down with the girls, the party activities continued. Then, the doorbell ring, a police officer came down the steps and entered the lower level. Cupcake looked up from her card game, saw the police officer, and quickly ducked behind the ottoman.
Her dad called her out of hiding. And, she meekly stood before the officer as he calmly explained to both girls that 911 calls were for emergencies only.
Something positive came out of this 911 incident. After all the negative publicity about policemen and their negative relationship with the African-American community, it was good for our teenage family members to witness a police officer interacting with these two little girls as well as our entire family in a kind, professional, and respectful way.
I believe everyday there is something to express gratitude for. Acknowledging and expressing thankfulness, on a daily basis, is one of the most used tools in my Healthy Living War Chest.
Through the world of Blogosphere, I have found many, many bloggers who have given me a reason to express gratitude; and because of them I add new tools to my War Chest daily.
Grateful for Award
And, today, I am grateful to Beverly at My Wonky Donkey Life for nominating me to receive the “Heart As One Drum Beat Award.”
The rules for passing this award along is for the recipient —
“Within their posts whether if be through Poem or Word caring for others if a must for this award. Be through laughter or humor, photograph or story, love and compassion are mandatory.”
I say with the highest level of confidence the five nominees I have selected meet the must requirements for this award –
For me, their
And, without further ado, my nominees for the “Hearts And One Dream Beat Award” are:
Nominees, I leave you with the words of the Award’s creator:
“Together let us beat our drums for harmony, peace, unity and equality. Let the beat of your thoughts ripple out as we share our hearts in one beat of unity. (Sue Dreamwalker)
It’s A New Year
I am excited to begin 2015 focused on:
Because of the holidays, family member illness, and the death of Hubby’s last remaining aunt, I had to step away from blogging for the past several months. Life is getting back to normal and I am happy to reconnect with my blogging friends.
This month, January 13, I will celebrate my second anniversary as a blogger. This blogging experience has opened the door to new experiences, new places and new people both in this country and other parts of the world.
Virtually, via blogging friends, I:
Thank you, blogging friends, for uplifting ME spiritually, emotionally and physically these past two years.
Finally, thanks to the information shared in a WordPress recent post,“Make 2015 A Great Blogging Year,” I have the tools to take my blog to the next level.
Hubby, family, friends, and bloggers have all served to improve the quality of my life. I am grateful. But, recent acquired self-acknowledgement and self-awareness skills, guided me to the recognition that this responsibility is solely mine.
To improve ME in 2015, I will:
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