Archive of ‘lessons learned’ category



I’ve never been one to need a hard chair and a desk and white board to get me some education ;). The first month I was sick with some weird ‘bronchitis/pneumonia’ (i.e.: precursor to the Full-Blown Lyme Takeover), I watched a heck of a lot of movies, which I believed was the dominion of the sick, and was practically expected of me. I borrowed the complete set of Monty Python Dvd’s from my neighbour, and imagined I could truly laugh away the problems. I could ‘spend’ the time of illness by ignoring the ticking hands of the clock and loose myself in british comedy. That was fun for like, 1 hour. I’ve seen movies where sick kids watch movies all day, which sounds like fun in theory, but honestly, I watched ‘Flashdance’ and ‘The God’s Must be Crazy’ (1 & 2) in one afternoon and it wasn’t as diverting as pop culture has led me to believe. As the credits rolled, I still was lying prone on the couch, my head pounding and the wet in my lungs tickling, making me cough. And I was 6 hours of my life poorer. 

I made a decision when I had to stop going to school in Grade 10 that if I was going to spend this time in my life chasing that elusive dragon of health, I was going to read every damn classic I could lay my hands on. Everything is a tall order, but being 15 I thought it was manageable ;).  I’d had a mental list of ‘fabulous books’ that I wanted to have the time to read, and here was my big chance…I’d run out of excuses. I dreamed of greedily savouring Sommerset Maughn adventures, Tolstoy’s & Dumas’ dramas, dive headlong into the worlds of C.S. Lewis, Wilde, Juvenal, Homer, Margret Atwood, Jules Verne, HG Wells…and why stop at novels? “Leaves of Grass”, the wordsmiths Wordsworth, Keats, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, Horace…a world teeming with emotion, poured into words, neat little rows of toy-soldier-letters, infinite patterns. Words. I didn’t need to leave my bed to travel to pastoral England, ride to Tibet, fall in love with Paris, and St. Petersburg, the sea floor, a wardrobe. The future, the past…it was all here. It was waiting for me. 

The further I travelled back in literary time – that is to say, the older books I began to read – I began expanding & redefining my horizons, seeking out global classics. I also found myself combing the e-shelves for religious texts and holy documents from a wide breadth of religions, from the obscure, long dead, and current religions, and some semi-religious philosophies for a healthy balance. The Popul Vuh, teachings of Buddha, Qur’an, Hebrew & New Testament Bibles, Gathas, world ‘Myths’…I began collecting religions the way some people collect rocks. Was a part of me searching for the ‘way’, the answer, the meaning of it all? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve yet to find it in one volume, anyway. I’ve come to see the ‘wisdom’ and ‘truth’ as scattered, and global religions as each gathering but a seed from the ‘dandelion of truth’ (work with me here, people. the meaning of the universe is in a dandelion. deal with it.). Not an original deduction by any means, but I felt sure that the overlap of ideas in holy/philosophic works represented some universal truths. I tried ‘god’ – both the uppercase and lowercase variety; plural, infinite, natural, and monotheist  – and it wasn’t for me. 

2013 Rhapsody, in A Major

A year of sailing seven seas, internal.
Year of the spirochete, infernal.
Mortal heart of a child, eternal.

Girl + Infection = Outcome Unexpected

Girl + Infection = more pills than Lego pieces, per capita

Rectangles, round, ovals, gel caps,
    pasties, sublinguals, compounded, and tablets.
    (to navigate the bottles, you’ll require maps!)


I’ve swallowed more handfuls of pills
    than fears.
I’ve dripped more drops of medications,
    than tears.
I’ve flown beyond this body,
    but always come back.

If life = chronic infection:
    hold close the light: it’s more illuminating than blackness
embrace love: let it heal and guide you
    follow you heart, to your path
lead with hope, and courage will follow
    find this moment, and you’ll receive the present
trust in happiness: it never left
    welcome life, your old friend
live in your life: you’ll discover it’s waiting

open your arms, and embrace your future
open your mind, and wisdom and perseverance will arrive
open your heart, and love will fill it.

The beginning of the journey never promised
    a fairy-tale ending,
    the truth? At the end of five years?

Girl > Infection.

A note: This poem came to me this morning while watching the clock change from December 31, 2012, 11:59 PM to January 1, 2013, 12:00.

Oodles of fun

Two fellow spinners from The Linden Singers, Judy and Tegan, came over this afternoon for a wonderful adventure in spinning! I have never had the opportunity to spin with other spinners, or fellows to gush over fibre with, and wow was I missing out. This craft is individual, but meant for sharing and giving and exploring. It’s the most enriching part of the experience! I learned so much in an afternoon, and got to try spinning on Tegans’ teensy ‘Ladybug’ wheel, which official makes the Cowichan Spinner  the ‘elephant’ wheel (voluptuous and graceful!). Judy gave me a bunch of fantastic local fibers to play with

a tussah silk mustachio (a belated tribute to Movember perhaps!)

I haven’t felt inclined to write much lately. The words usually pour from my fingers, they hit the keys running. My mind disengages and I turn on my heart to find what I want to say. But I suppose I am just a little bit tired of being optimistic, tired of hoping, and marking the minute changes in my health on a weekly basis, sick of still being sick.

I try to remind myself that a silk worm hatches into a moth. Forming a chrysalis is hard work, and very important if a silkworm is ever going to grow up. They spin tiny threads around themselves into a safe haven, and once they are sealed up in this sleeping bag of their own design, they wait. Patiently. Quietly. Knowing that something important will happen after. Their whole being undergoes a great transformation, and only when they are ready do they break free of their cocoon, and dry their wet wings in the sun. Then they are free to fly and explore and do all the complicated moth-things that we are only beginning to understand.

When all of ‘this’ is all finished, my life will ‘move on’ to some place. I supposed it will take awhile for me to understand what ‘this’ was all about, and how it will affect my life (although I am beginning to see how). In the meantime, I need to be patient for wings take a lot of energy to grow.

pupa |ˈpyoōpə|
noun ( pl. -pae |-ˌpē; -ˌpī|)
an insect in its inactive immature form between larva and adult, e.g., a chrysalis.


Needles. Actually typing that word makes me feel a little nauseous. A nurse is here, going over some simple diagrams with my mom about how to do an IM injection, while I sit idly by, trying not to listen, but its very difficult. When my ‘vastus lateralis’ and a syringe appear in the same sentence, I can feel my fear coursing through my neck, making my arteries bulge with the quickening heart-rate. There is a lot of vocabulary being discussed right now that is so not cool for a parlor chat.

Apparently, putting a needle into your thigh is simple; the needle is so sharp it will cut through flesh like butter.
->As an aside, obsidian makes the sharpest possible blade, and it is even used as a scalpel blade. Unlike its metal counterpart, the obsidian blade will actually cut between cells, rather than ripping through. Isn’t that nice? Wikipedia has such wonderful and terrifying powers.

Anyways, the basics of how to do an IM injection into your thigh (notes approved by the lovely nurse who visited) is this:

  1. Pick the site, by choosing the middle third of your leg, from somewhere above the knee to below the thigh.
  2. Clean the site w/ the lovely perfume-smelling rubbing alcohol pad (jkjk). Put another pad between the pinky and ring fingers of your non-dominant hand for later.
  3. Pinch the muscle in your leg, and pick your spot.
  4. Put it in on a 90 degree angle into the pinched muscle spot, and then release.
  5. Suck back on the syringe to check for blood- hitting a vessel of some sort.
  6. Inject. Depress syringe.
  7. Use the pad between your other fingers to press down on the skin near where the needle is, and then pull the needle out. This stops ripping of your delicate tissues (I don’t like the sound of that).

And tada. You’ve just shot up. Tres cool and chic *rolls eyes. I wouldn’t use that info without first learning from a physician/nurse – and a prescription.

I have all the information I need, and still I am terrified. I think I’ll go back to flipping through this vegan cookbook I got out of the library. Ciao, and wish we luck.

    Consider This Lesson Learned

    I have learned so much from being in a wheel chair. This temporary perspective has changed my view of life, and I hope that you can learn these lessons other ways.

    These are the lessons I learned.

    I learned that sometimes the best way to make changes, in this instance, is to sit down to take a stand; that the only way to get where you need to be is to understand- where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going- and that knowing these things allows you to make the changes.

    I’ve learned that the people who are best equipped to make changes, are the ones who have experienced the problem.

    I’ve learned that if people must look down on you, your smile and charisma must raise you up to their eye level.

    I’ve learned that if you cannot use your legs, your words must carry you further, and carry more weight than ever.

    I have learned that if you cannot use your arms, your heart must reach further to touch others and hand yourself things.

    I’ve learned that if you cannot trust your mind, that you must trust others implicitly, and that learning to trust others, is the surest sign you trust yourself.

    I’ve learned that if you must get places, if you must do something or say something or think something, that if it is worth this great effort, than you might as well go full way.

    I’ve learned that a broken body, a broken heart, a broken soul, and a broken mind are much more different than I thought, and you can survive with just one piece of your puzzle and spend the rest of your time repairing the others.

    I’ve learned that if you had the energy to get sick, you must find within yourself the energy to get better.

    Lessons learned.
    Lessons learned.

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