pink houses

I went to my doctor last week for my follow-up appointment; since having my sleep study.  I wrote about that and you may read it here.  I thought what I wanted to hear from the doctor was that I didn’t have Sleep Apnea, and that I didn’t need to wear a CPAP machine –  that was until that is what he said to me.

In actuality I do have sleep apnea, but in his opinion it isn’t severe enough to require that I use the machine.  That brings me to the next worse case scenario in my mind. To have gone through all that bad stuff with the 22 electrodes, wires and other torture devices for nothing – or for not having easy fix to the problem.

Taking responsibility for my own actions.

I’ve had a lot of time of my hands the past two weeks – time to think.  Time to be honest with myself and to do some soul-searching.  It hasn’t been easy.  When I first wrote the post about my sleep issues I said I was doing so, in the hopes that I might be able to help someone else that was struggling with the same issues.

Now I need to write about this to help myself.

The day after the sleep study, I triggered an old back injury playing with my dog.

It was 24 years ago a warm summer morning.

John Mellencamp – Pink Houses  was playing on my CD player in the car cranked up way louder than it should have been.  I was driving to work, singing at the top of my lungs and all was good.  John Mellencamp was a rebel, but not just for the sake of being a rebel – he was an artist with a vision. He had something to say with his music.  I had the biggest crush on him. I thought he was so sexy in the rough bad boy way – but not too bad.  Seeing that video brought me back to my younger self.  The young woman who had dreams and plans and wasn’t going to grow old, be overweight or follow the rules.

Sirens were blaring and lights were flashing I was in a rescue squad being taken to the hospital.  John Mellencamp and I had wrecked our car.

After hours of being strapped to the backboard and x-rays and cat scans and numerous tests, I was told I was going to be transported to another hospital.  When I asked why, I was told that The University of Virginia hospital was the best in the area for handling Spinal cord injuries.  Spinal cord injury I asked what did that mean?  Silence.  I was told, PARALYSIS may be involved. Those were the last words that I heard that day.

While talking about my sleep study Dr. Hammond mentioned that I was rather restless in the bed and moved my legs quite a bit.  It could be a sign that I had a form of restless leg syndrome – no I didn’t really think so.  I just hate sleeping with my sheets and blankets tucked in.  I should have un-tucked them before the study began.  I was uncomfortable all night long.  Low levels of iron can also cause the legs to be restless.  Pain, discomfort and being overweight can cause one to toss and turn in the bed.

My doctor told me I needed to spend less unproductive time in the bed. (Mr. Wishes offered to help make it more productive.)  The doctor says I need to stop going to bed so early.  We counted back from the time that I wanted to get up in the morning – 6:30 am, and arrived to the conclusion that I should be going to bed around 11:00 pm.  My schedule for years has been that I would go to bed 8-8:30, read or watch TV for an hour – and move around quite a bit, trying to get comfortable.  Most nights I fall asleep fairly easily but then wake in the night and toss and turn for hours.

Doctor thinks if I stay up later that I will be so tired and my brain won’t be as active and I will be able to fall asleep and stay asleep.  We both agreed that we did not want to bring sleeping medication into the picture at this time.

It was gently suggested that losing weight would help also.

For over twenty years I have lived with chronic back pain.  I have complicated issues with allergies that leave me unable to take pain or anti-inflammatory medications.

My first meeting with the doctor we talked about the fact that lack of  good sleep was a cycle that could complicate all aspects of your health and well-being.  I’ve thought about it over and over and I realized that the root of my problems really began all those years ago when John and I wrecked the car.  The pain was ever-present, I became less active physically and started putting on weight, they cycle had begun.

Being an introvert, quiet alone time is good for me.  It allows me time to recharge and reflect on my world.  Writing my blog is hard to do. It crosses every private boundary that I carefully put up.  Allowing strangers into my world that I would not have contact with under normal circumstances is rather scary.  I absolutely write things that I would never say to people I don’t know or even to my friends and family.

I have struggled with this post because I have felt very vulnerable.  I have also been rewarded with messages from strangers and new internet correspondents, that have contacted me, thanked me for my honesty and that have just written to check up on how I am doing.  I am sincerely, grateful and touched by the kindness that you all have shown me.

Where I am now.

Last weekend, I was feeling a little better and went out to the studio for the first time in over a week.  About a half hour into my time out there, I reached for an item at the back of my work table – simple movement but it set my back into spasms.  I’ve spent another week, sitting still.  I am unable to stand straight or walk for more than a few steps at a time.

Rest is what I need, and time.  I am not in the place that I want to be now.  I have pain, discomfort, anger and depression.

All those years ago after the accident, I was in a very dark place, but I had a goal to be able to walk down the aisle on my wedding day and stand and take the hand of the man I loved more than anything.

I now have a plan to make myself better.  I know this isn’t going to happen over night and it won’t be easy.  If I turned my world around then I can do it now.

Until next time,



P.S. I still think John Mellencamp is hot – no worries – Mr. Wishes knows I feel that way.

I remember this shot being taken as though it was yesterday.  My eyes were closed not because of the flash from the camera but because I was in horrible pain but I was thinking wow we did it!

13 thoughts on “pink houses

  1. Thanks for sharing Kim. I, too, understand that fear of putting words and emotions out there, especially in such a public way. I wish you freedom from the pain you are feeling, that you might be released from it to live the life (and sleep the sleep!) you so desire!

  2. Sweet Kim, What a wonderful brave soul you are….thank you for sharing bits of your soul. I totally get the sleep issue, and also the fear of being vulnerable. I love a woman who can wear her heart on her sleeve…they’re always the coolest chicks to hang with. Keep sharing, it’s good for the spirit!

  3. Kim, I admire the way you are writing your story and I know it must be hard to put these thoughts down. I hope your pain reverses soon and you can get out into your studio. I know you want to express yourself in your studio and you will get there! Keep faith. Am looking forward to the May show and I am sure you are also!

  4. Girl….you’ve done it again. You’ve made me tear up. Now stop it! LOL I’m so very proud of you as I know how very difficult it is for you to share your most private thoughts and feelings. I look forward to reading your blogs because I get to know another little piece of you each time. It’s another little piece of you that again makes me realize why I love you so much and am so glad you are in my life. XXOO

  5. Wow, your bravery and honesty astound me yet make me feel glad to know that real people do exist on this planet. No plastication here, you are real, raw, and also refreshing. So much of our pain comes from things remembered…getting brave enough to push at the pain instead of pulling away is so challenging, but so healing. You inspire me. You will get better. Keep going, and thanks sooooo much for sharing. You help more than you know. Blessings

  6. Could it be that simple? Add three more hours to your day and you will sleep well and have more energy? Make sure those three extra hours include lots of studio time. Thank you for sharing your story! I hope the pain subsides soon!

    P.S. You picked a winner in Mr. Wishes all those years ago!

    • Lisa – I don’t think it is that easy. Reading between my lines – because I was too chicken to put it all out there. I need to make major life style changes. I need to lose weight, be more active, and change some daily routines – including getting out of the house and the studio (and my comfort zone). This is not going to happen over night and I need to make a commitment to make things better. The first step is acknowledging it. Sigh. Hugs to each everyone that expressed kind words to me.

      • Kim – I have been thinking about you everyday this week. This morning, when the alarm went off at 5, I was exhausted. I even got a decent night’s sleep. I was thinking about the doctor’s advice. I too need to make some of the lifestype changes that you mention. But, I also just need more sleep than seven hours. I will make a committment to live a “more mindful” lifestyle along with you. That will include eating better, exercising, sleeping and playing (in the studio and with Mr. Tabby). By the end of the year, we will both be energetic, glass making fools!

  7. Kim, my internet sister that I have never met. Yet again we share experiences. I too had an accident and deal with chronic back pain. I relate to the vulnerability too. But by sharing your story you display strength of character that speaks much louder than you have given yourself credit for. Maybe now you can get a glimpse of what the rest of us see it in you. You are an inspiration to all. And may you be back on track in the very near future.
    P.S. I have just started Tai Chi and find it is doing wonders for my back.

  8. Hello and thank you for helping us all grow along with you in your present challenges. I was waylaid by this painting project and failed to check in until now, only to discover the import of your visit with your physician. Indeed, I’d far rather hear that I might have to put up with some sort of device, than have to attend to more subtle changes in my routine and lifestyle.

    “If I turned my world around then, I can do it now”, is a tribute to the spirit that resides deep within. I salute you and that spirit, and believe in you and it. Tai Chi is a proven way towards opening up new vistas, while easing stresses aside. It’s also a wonderfully personal discipline which yet is done in the positive midst of other like souls.

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