Thursday, August 14, 2014
Pain is our body's way of telling us that there is something wrong. The pain is eminating from the breastbone and into both sides of my chest but most notably in the right side. The pain is apparent when I cough, sneeze, or attempt to get up - pushing up off the bed or rolling over. I can find a number of sensitive spots when I press down with my fingers. Despite all of this, I get up and putter around....the movement is essential I think to reducing the pain even though it is painful to move.....
Miss Thelma, our beagle cross, had to go to the vet's office. Her tail is tucked tightly between her legs and trying to manipulate it upwards and causing her to cry out in pain. Our regular vet has just recently retired and has left her practice to a lovely Vet named Bonnie. Max has to accompany Thelma and myself to the Vet's office because lifting her would cause too much pain. As it is, she cannot get into or out of the car without falling. She is not a patient dog and she pulls us around the waiting room as she goes from one bag of food to another sniffing it out while the resident kitty Bosco peers over the bench we have seated ourselves at.
Bonnie is so soft spoken and very gentle with Thelma... she feels every inch of her and notes a number of lumps. She finds a painful spot on Thelma's spine and continues to her tail where she gets a yelp from the slightest pull upward. Her gentle face looks into mine when she lifts up Thelma to return her to the floor from the examining table. She has a look of concern as she sits on the floor next to Thelma. She plants a kiss on the top of Thelma's head and begins to talk to us about what our thoughts are on the care of Thelma... she gets up and excuses herself for a minute and returns with a box of kleenex. Apparently my eyes had sprung a leak. What is the difference in how we look at end-of-life care for our pets and for ourselves. I am torn looking at our dog, our beautiful loving Thelma and realizing that her cancerous tumours will take her life soon and mine.... well, who knows. We have to consider Thelma's quality of life.... and what does that mean?? It means that when she is in agony and can no longer move properly... we will have to consider the alternative. For now, the steroids she is on is making her comfortable and she is beginning to eat again. She is also peeing all over the floor because that is a side effect of the medication. Let's hope she stays comfortable.
I am looking forward to beginning a new school year now that the summer has been disappointingly cool. It's great though for working in the garden and I am preserving produce as it ripens on the vine. So far I have made relish, pickled beets and Salsa. Its amazing how good fresh veggies are just out of the garden!!! The pumpkins are ripening fast and turning orange. I wonder if they are turning early because of the cold nights?? The tomatoes are finishing their ripening on the counter and then once ripe... end up in the freezer until I have enough tomatoes to cook. It makes it easier to remove the skins too... just run them under hot water and the skin splits and peels. Easy peasy.
REFLECTION ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I have a love/hate relationship with FB. I love the fact that you can communicate at a moment's notice to someone half a world away, look at their pics and know something about them that you might not otherwise have discovered. I dislike the fact that people will use FB to air out their daily dramas, post endless selfies and post comments that they now feel obligated to defend using whatever tactics to win the argument. Here's how one such incident played out...
A 'friend' posts a comment which became hotly debated. My comment was then rewarded with a return volley that amounted to using my cancer journey on chemo as being a direct support of scientists using animals for testing. What animal testing and the original post of declawing her cat had anything to do with my cancer journey felt like a slap in the face. I was angry that such an insensitive and mean volley was followed by a typical disclaimer of 'well you are a strong and opinionated woman so I thought you wouldn't mind'. The apology she issued privately through text ended with a 'but' and then turned it around back on to me.
Is this a phenomenon of social media or is this just seeing what a person is made of? After a back and forth and an offer to get together over lunch (my treat) .... she wanted me to know that she wasn't sure? Its a great lesson to be learned to weigh out what you think and what should be written in response. Perhaps the down side of social media is an upside to finding out how people really think and feel. To be fair... after a lengthy back and forth, I let her know that I am writing a paper on my experiences with social networking... of course her name and identity will be anonymous. Her response after my coming clean and letting her know about my experiment has us hopefully meeting for lunch to discuss what happened and how we could both learn from the experience.
We are all responsible for what we put out there on the internet and should take ownership... of the 15 comments I put out on my social media friend's 'hot topics', clearly this was the only one who used a highly defensive mechanism to counter her point of view by stating how I couldn't stand for her to be right. It had nothing to do with being right or wrong but more about crossing the line, using personal information to win a side of the argument in front of so many people that clearly was not related to the topic of discussion.
It has been a few months of experimenting with social media on both FB and Disqus and I have learned so much about communicating socially online with others. This latest experiment on FB was an eye opener.... I intentionally posted to stir the pot to see what reactions I would get... I got more than what I bargained for and a few real surprises along the way. I am writing a paper on my experiences with social media and what amounts to a uniquely different way of communicating through the written word. Knowing who you are communicating with is obviously really important and knowing to what extent a person will go to win an argument is equally as important. Should I have unfriended her?
The simple answer would be Yes, and I did, but without speaking face to face, which ultimately is the true test of communicating, it would have to be a 'not sure' right now. Using my personal information against me publicly crosses boundaries of that friendship line. We make many assumptions in our ability to communicate with others and it is always based on our own thoughts and feelings. Looking forward to lunch and get the eye to eye communication of course depending on how she reads this post?
For the other 14 posts... many turned into wonderful opportunities to learn and grow from the interaction. Some I apologized openly and genuinely to online as a show of respect for those I was 'battling' wits with and letting them know that I was learning the ropes on what trolls were and what online commentaries are really about. There were return apologies and an offering of words of support and kindness from three of the combatants. These have proved to be invaluable in how one conducts themselves online. Once out there on the internet, it is virtually impossible to remove. It is quintessentially a way to understand how you are perceived by the written word by others who do not know you and who care less what feelings get in the way of their retort once they feel offended. Choose your words carefully, less you are misunderstood.
There was one post on FB where the topic was 'catcalling' and those late teen/early twenty somethings were brutal in their comments and had no qualms about openly attacking one of the young women who was posting comments. Eventually it sank as low as to post naked photos and comments I dare not post here.
The first posting I did in this online experiment was with regards to an attack in China by a group of radical muslims.....the forum was hosted by a known American racist woman, Pamela Geller (not allowed in Canada because of her hate mongering). The comments were appalling, vicious attacks on anyone who had anything positive to say about Muslim people. It was my first venture in learning how to not respond and to just be an observer. I was interested in seeing which comments earned the most negative responses and how they were written. Some pro-comments were upvoted primarily because they reflected the majority opinion. Those that were pro-muslim drew the most dispicable behavior of "hey everyone look what I found out about this person..." a true example of online bullying eliciting help from other online bullies with #norealname. The whole experience rattled me to the core... was this really what people thought or was this a mob mentality playing out in the virtual world. It was the first time I truly felt afraid of our world in general and wondered how in a civilized world, people could be so barbaric??
In all, my paper will eschew the experiences both good and bad in my online foray as a grown adult who has not grown up with online social networking. I am grateful that my self-esteem is healthy and that this experiment has made me wiser and more prudent about what I post and what I comment on. Life is easier in the garden enjoying the bright sunshine and laughter of my children when I am not in pain. Cheers!!!