Saturday, October 20, 2018

Soon It Will be Knocking

                                           Soon it will be knocking at my garden gate   
                                           It fills me with grief that has no name
                                           The remaining marigolds stands so straight
                                           Their brilliant orange warms them like a flame

                                           Bathed in the clear light of an autumn sky
                                           The lovely dahlias they too, will soon go
                                           When the evening comes and the winds die
                                           Oh if only there were an aftermath glow

                                           Pretty morning glories will close for good
                                           As the ice crystals cover each tiny stem
                                           The berries are already red on the dogwood
                                           As they welcome the little squirrels in

                                           Pretty flowers that have dotted the land so bold
                                           Will bow and make a grand exit like the rose
                                           As autumn's shadows turn to winter's cold
                                           My oh my how swift this beautiful season goes

                                           Though it may seem sad when all is gone
                                           And old Jack Frost covers instead of dew
                                           So much beauty known is yet to be shown
                                           When the spring returns and all is brand new

                                                © Susie Swanson, 2018

We're expecting our first freeze of the season tonight and tomorrow night. Y'all stay warm and have a nice weekend.  Blessings, Susie

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Pine Torch Tale

When I see an old kerosene lantern it brings back lots of memories and takes me back to a place when folks didn’t know what a flashlight was or ever heard of one.
Times were so much different back then that most people wouldn’t even recognize some of the ways people did to get by. Everybody used a pine torch or a kerosene lantern. We never had but one lantern that I recall. Daddy kept it hanging on the wall of the old smokehouse. He used it back in his Fox Hunting Days. It seemed the pine torch became more and more popular for lack of kerosene I suppose.

I remember many a night walking beside my daddy, mama or grandma by the light of a pine torch. Daddy always kept plenty of pine in the wood box to start fires in the cook stove or heater. He’d go upon the hill with his axe and find a big black pine and come back with a bucket full. He had a certain wood box he kept the pine in.
My grandma was the world’s worst to grab a piece out of the wood box and light it up when she needed to go somewhere after dark. We called her little ma cause she was skinny as a rail. We called our other grandma big ma cause she had more meat on her bones.

My little ma lived with us till she died. She was a Christian woman and really believed in the power of prayer. She could pray some of the most humbling, heartfelt prayers that I’ve ever heard. I know cause when something got to bothering her she’d go up on the mountain above where we built our playhouses to pray and I either followed or listened in. I remember her lifting up many prayers for her two sons.

My daddy and my uncle did worry her quite a bit, especially when they both decided to take a little nip or maybe several when the mood hit em. Now don’t get me wrong, they were good, hard working men and believed in keeping their families fed and looked after but they had their short comings just like everybody else. But when they both quit, they quit fast as they started.

When dark thirty came and they weren’t home little ma would start walking the floors and asking mama, “ye reckon where them boys are.” Mama would say, “don’t fret so they’ll be in after while.” They both knew why they were out late, but just didn’t know the where. After a while little ma would grab a stick of pine from the wood box and tell mama, “let’s go see if we can find em, they may have drowned in that there creek.”
There wasn’t but four of us six young’uns by that time, me being the oldest. The others hadn’t come along yet. Little ma would walk out in the yard and light up that pine torch and mama would put the baby on her hip and here we’d all go out that dark road towards the creek.

There was always a little foot log we walked across to get to the other side of the creek. Little ma always worried that someone would set em out and they’d get drowned in the creek trying to crawl on all fours. The creek wasn’t deep at all and flowed down kinda like a wide branch of water.

One night in particular stands out in my memory, more so. We were all walking out that little road and us young’uns were hanging on to mama and little ma’s legs like always when we heard something that gave us quite a scare. Little ma and mama heard it first and told us to be quiet a minute. We all listened close and heard it again. By that time we were really hanging to mama and little ma’s legs. Mama said, “here take this baby ma and I’ll go in front.” Ma still had the pine torch and she handed it to mama and we followed behind. The strange noise continued the closer we got to the creek. Us young’uns were absolutely scared to death but mama assured us it’d be alright cause she knew what it was. She said, “uns hush young’uns, it’s just your daddy and uncle.”

When we walked down the little hill and closer to the creek there they were. Daddy was on all fours trying to crawl across the foot log and our uncle was in the middle of that creek trying to crawl across it. They both were hollering, “Help us mommy, come get us”.
While little ma was Thanking God that her boys were safe, mama spoke up and said, “here take this pine torch, I’m gonna break em once and for all.” Mama reached up and broke a big limb off the bank of the road. She left the leaves on it and didn’t take the time to strip em off like she did lots of times with us. She walked up to that foot log and started on daddy first. She whupped him with that limb till he managed to get up on his feet and she made him walk off of that foot log and told him he’d better get towards that house or else. He was hollering, “Oh, Oh, Stop You’re Gonna Kill Me.” Then when she seen him staggering on towards home she walked straight into that little creek and done the same to my uncle. She kept whupping him with that limb till he was crying and hollering, “Stop Her Mommy She’s Gonna Kill Me.” Little ma started in the water with the baby on her hip but mama pointed at her and told her to stay right where she was and to hold that pine torch up a little higher.

When my uncle seen his mama wasn’t gonna help him any and he’d had enough of that bushy limb he straightened up and walked outta that creek and staggered on towards the house. As mama was takin the baby outta little ma’s arms, little ma said, “you shouldn’t have done that, you just about killed em.” Mama said “If I’d wanted em dead they wouldn’t be up walkin right now and I’m sick and tired of them two birds worryin ye to death all the time and if this doesn’t do the trick I’ll give em some more of their medicine till I break em from this stuff.” Mama knew it couldn’t have hurt em to bad cause she didn’t strip the leaves off the limb. She just whupped em good with it.

Little ma didn’t say anymore and we all walked back to the house by the light of the pine torch. Daddy and my uncle managed to stagger on in home without a pine torch cause when we walked in the door there laid my uncle on the couch and daddy had managed to make it to the bed.
Mama put us all to bed and then I heard her tell little ma, “ I hated to do what I did in front of ye and all these young’uns but I’m tired of seein ye worry yourself to death all the time.” Little ma didn’t say anything back, just went on to bed. The only thing I noticed different the next morning was a few scratches on their face, nose and arms and how nice they talked to mama. Sugar wouldn’t melt in their mouth.

I guess, after many nights of an old mother worrying about her boys out karousin and going to that little creek with a pine torch in her hand, it all came to an end that one night, when mama decided to sober em both up really fast. But little ma kept praying for her boys as long as she lived and anybody else that needed it and those pine torches continued to come in handy every step we made.

© Susie Swanson, 2018

Monday, October 1, 2018

My Story

I've posted so many stories and poems over the years on here from my childhood memories that I know you all are shocked to see anything else but I've felt compelled to write and post this for a while and try to explain something that I'd never thought in a million years I'd ever be writing about. This one is not my norm and it's taken a lot out of me to do it and hope you can bare with me and I thank you all in advance for reading it.

I've always heard about Addison's Disease being a Rare disease and very few people would ever have it. I've read about how famous people like President Kennedy had it and that's why he always had that darkness or orange colored skin color but in my experience with it and following so many group pages on Facebook I've come to find out it's more common than I thought.

Like other diseases Addison's can be quite complicated and hard to explain to someone that doesn't have it but I'd like to try to explain it as much as possible since I have become one of its victims.

Many that have followed me over the past several years knows how I've posted updates about my health issues and how hard it's been for me to do the things I once did and live the life I once knew. I've told you all about how I lost my Thyroid in 2014 due to another Auto Immune disease called Hashimoto's. You've followed my journey on how hard it's been to get optimal on any thyroid meds, and how many Endocrinoligists I've seen. The thyroid is a very important gland that keeps our body going and sends out signals to other glands in our body to produce the hormones they have to produce in order to keep every thing in sync. The thyroid is sometimes called the central gear to our body. Some people can have theirs removed due to other causes and live a some what normal life without it but others like myself that has to still deal with Hashimoto's and other auto immune diseases it becomes so hard to do. When this happens it can and does cause the other glands in our body to get out of sync and go down as well. And Hashimoto's being an auto immune disease stays with the body and when we get one auto immune disease they all like to jump in and stir the pot like Auto Immune related adrenal disease.

There's two little glands that sits on top of each kidney called the Adrenal Glands. These two glands produce eight hormones and are all vital to our bodies but one hormone is even more so important and that's called Cortisol which is our stress hormone. We make cortisol in our sleep at night and that gives us the full blown energy we need to get up in the mornings and feel refreshed and ready to take on the world . Around 3pm each evening our cortisol tends to wear down and by bedtime that's why we're tired and ready for bed. If we get in any stressful situation we have the cortisol as a bodily defense. I've read that 80% of people have some kind of adrenal gland insufficency and doesn't even know it till it's to late.

In an Addison Patient's body the adrenal glands have either stopped producing these hormones and any cortisol at all or producing very little and not enough to live on. Therefore the only treatment available is Steroids for life. Primary Addison's means the adrenal glands does not produce at all and Secondary Addison's is where they're still producing small amounts of cortisol but not enough. With either one the only treatment is steroids.

I was diagnosed with Secondary Addison's back in July of this year after a couple of very important tests were run. I knew my adrenal glands were down since I've been even more sick for the past couple of years. The only places I can go is to the doctors, labs, etc and I'm in a wheelchair then. I have a hard time taking care of my needs and therefore have a Home health Aid coming in four hours a day to help me with baths, etc. and help my husband with light housework chores. I now take steroids on a daily basis and like any other Addison's patient I have to find my own dose according to low cortisol symptoms. Some days I take more than others and still feel it's not enough. We can only go on our symptoms of low cortisol and we quickly learn those and how to dose. Mine is extreme weakness, jello type feeling in my arms and legs, anxiety, headaches, brain fog which means can't remember or focus, low or high BP and the list goes on and on.

Addison's patients are faced with many things and many questions. Every day or night we ask ourselves do I need to take more steroids, is my BP to low, is my sodium to low (due to salt cravings) is my potassium to low, why is my BP so high and should I go to the ER. With Addison's the electrolytes can get unbalanced or fall fast and we have to stay quite salty. By this I mean drink lots of salt water or take salt pills and we also have to eat potassium filled foods as well.

Addison Patients are usually given an emergency kit that consists of an emergency injection that contains 100mg of Hydrocortisone to inject themselves when they start to go into a crisis and are told to get to the ER fast as possible for more injections and a possible four to five day hospital stay with more Hydrocortisone IV's till the cortisol levels rises above the danger level. A crisis consists of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, low blood pressure ( it can fall very fast), incoherent, slurring of words, etc. And if not immediate treatment is given with these emergency steroids the organs start shutting down including the brain and it can mean death.

A crisis can be brought on just by a tiny, bit of stress, sickness of any type, underlying issues like a sinus infection, UTI etc. Steroids tend to weaken the immune system more over time and it's hard for the body to fight off anything that comes along . I'll not even go into the many side effects that come with these steroids as some probably already knows that's taken them any length of time. I now wear a Medic Alert Bracelet that can tell emergency personel that I have Addison's and steroid dependent and to give emergency steroids if the occasion rises.

I now take one day at a time just like we all have to do and I put it in God's hands a long time ago. We've all got our own battles to fight and where would we be without him to help us. It's like a baby learning to walk, we can only take one step at a time. I try not to worry about tomorrow because we're not promised tomorrow and I can't afford to stress over things that's beyond my control. Stress is our enemy and to an Addison Patient it can be a killer.

My days are spent in the recliner and some days are worse than others that land me in the bed in a quiet, isolated place where it's dark. Because with Addison's light can make the eyes blurry or not be able to see at all. If I try and watch TV to long or stay on the computer I see blue lights in front of my eyes. That's a sign of low cortisol.

Yes, I miss the life I once knew and I look around at all the things I'd like to still do and it breaks my heart but I have to get used to the new norm. The one thing that hurts me the most is seeing the hurt in my husband's eyes and wanting to do more to make it go away for me. I told him a long time ago it wasn't fair to him but he's never once complained and been by my side through it all. He's never missed a doctor appointment with me and we've cried together, prayed together and come October we've been married 48 years. I tell him every day that he's my biggest Blessing and my best friend. God knows who to put in our lives. He sure has Blessed me in so many ways and I can never thank him enough for what he's done for me and given me.

I just wanted you all to know a little about me since I haven't posted an update lately and I know so many have been praying for me and I'm so grateful for each prayer. My writing has come to a halt for now. I can't focus long enough and get confused at times (brain fog) and forget what I'm trying to do or say. I assume most of you have already recognized some of the posts I've been sharing are older ones. I had planned on doing another book and have some that I wrote back when I was able of short stories and poems but that is not possible now nor will it be anytime soon. I've been trying to write this post for a long time and thought to my soul I'd never get it finished. But as most of you know so well I can get long winded and don't know when to stop.

This December my blog will celebrate it's 8th anniversary and I've enjoyed every minute of it and the many friends I've met on here and each one of you are very dear to my heart. I will continue to post as I'm able and try to keep up as much as possible because I miss your posts so much. Thank you all for your visits to my Blog and your sweet comments. If you don't hear from me from time to time you'll know the reason and God bless you all and thanks for your friendship and your prayers.

© Susie Swanson, 2018