Room 506A

As sudden as an earthquake, I ended up in the emergency room several years ago because of severe abdominal pain. It turned out to be pancreatitis. I didn’t know anything about this condition but later learned it could be life-threatening. Pancreatitis is often caused by excessive alcohol consumption, but since I rarely drink alcohol, this wasn’t possible. The culprit turned out to be a gallstone found in the bile duct and the pain felt like a million knives doing the twist. Since my gallbladder was removed decades ago, gallstones never again entered my mind. Apparently though, if the gallbladder is gone, the gallstones have nowhere else to go.

It was an autumn Friday morning and I had just enjoyed a good cup of coffee with my husband when those knives started dancing. My husband comforted me as I laid down, but he felt helpless unable to take away the pain. After a couple of hours, I knew I wouldn’t be going into work. Maybe stubbornness played a role in my decision to ride it out. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I wanted to enjoy my morning routine and have a productive day at work. Later I’d celebrate that it was Friday and the weekend was just around the corner.

However, things don’t always work out like we plan. That afternoon, I took in the sight of the emergency room where an IV was started, blood was drawn, and questions asked such as, “Are you allergic to any medications?” and “How would you rate your pain?” In full agony, I barely whispered, “It’s a ten.” The nurse gave me medication through the IV; soon the dancing knives ended their performance, although I wondered why it began in the first place.

While I waited for results, I couldn’t help think about the auto-immune liver disease my daughter was diagnosed with several years back – Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). So far, my symptoms were parallel to hers. Could it be that I’ve had PSC all these years? As hard as I resisted, tears welled up. I kept thinking I had passed this horrible disease on to my daughter which made my heart ache. I was letting my darkest thoughts grab the reins and spiral me into a deep emotional funk. I fought back though, sliding these thoughts under the hospital bed. I had to remain calm and continue to breathe deeply, otherwise, I’d turn into a big mess.

If anyone has ever spent the night in a hospital, they’re aware of the constant nightly interruptions. Just when I fell into a soothing sleep, the nurse would come in and cheerily say, “Hi Lauren, time for labs,” or, “Hi Lauren, I need to check your vitals.” I know they’re only doing their jobs, but when I’ve fallen into a wonderful, deep sleep and woken up abruptly, it’s like entering an alternate universe. I’d roll over, hold out my arm with eyes closed while they poked and prodded. Then I’d fall back into my much-needed slumber.

By Sunday, I was raring to go home. The noise had taken its toll; a headache was coming on like a tidal wave from the high-pitched beeping. That deep longing for my own bed would not vanish. I woke up early and walked a few laps around the hospital floor. I had to prove to the doctor I was in good enough shape to be discharged, so I took each step slowly in a forward fashion. I was decked out in my blue hospital gown, tied securely so as not to put on a show. The red, traction hospital socks were the final touch to the classy ensemble. The venture was successful.

When I returned to my room, the nurse came in to share some bad news – that I was slightly jaundiced. This fed my anxiety because I thought jaundice was an end-of-liver-disease symptom. I’m right; it is, but it’s also a common indicator for other causes. Regardless, I was still well enough to go home, but since we still had no answers, I had to endure more tests. The most logical was an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP). This procedure is risky since I’ve had pancreatitis, but it was the only method that could detect different causes, including cancer. Even though I was hesitant because of the risks, I agreed to the ERCP. On a stormy day in October, I walked through the hospital doors for the 1:00 pm procedure.

One memory that remains vivid from this procedure was the seconds of sedation consciousness. One of the medications slowed down my heart rate which concerned my doctor enough to halt what he was doing. It was during this time that I felt something down my throat, thought I was going to choke, and tried to get my doctor’s attention. In my mind, I tried to lift my hand but it wouldn’t budge. Just when panic was setting in…so did the sedation. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. I was happy to see my husband, who was relieved the procedure was over, and then my doctor walked in to share the results.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the camera all the way down, Lauren…your bile duct was heavily scarred…I’m so sorry,” he said.

What? I felt my shoulders drop. The bottom line was to repeat this procedure, but I had to wait until the end of November, a six-week wait. I wasn’t about to tempt fate, so I dealt with the anticipation as best I could. The nameless cause morphed into an elephant in the room. Everywhere I looked, there it was. I had to maneuver around it in order to live life.

The clocks on the hand seemed to move at a slower speed, but the day of the procedure finally arrived. I felt relieved, but as I sat in the cold hospital room, surrounded by machines and medical staff, nervousness overpowered my relief. To calm myself, I said a silent prayer – that the doctors would have steady hands and sharp eyes to bring solid answers, for strength on my part, and for a “third time’s a charm” not to be necessary.

Once again, my thoughts returned to the days of numerous tests my daughter underwent when the doctors remained dumbfounded as they were unable to come up with a diagnosis for her. It took three years for one doctor, who was head of the Gastroenterology department, to finally give it a name. During those years, my husband and I lived in a cloud of disbelief that our daughter could be very sick; everyone has that invincible thought at some time “it won’t happen to us.” And while sitting in the office listening to the doctor speak, I felt time stop on the spot. The world may have kept spinning, but our family’s world became suspended.

When I waited for my diagnosis, was I afraid I could have cancer? Was I scared of having PSC? Sure, but mainly, I wasn’t concerned about myself. I simply didn’t want to be a burden; I wanted to be healthy so when my daughter needs me in the future, I’ll be able to comfort her. That has been my primary wish – that nothing happens to my husband, my son, or to me, so that when her disease progresses and becomes life-threatening, she knows her family is right beside her. Although bile duct gallstones can be serious, this is the primary reason I was grateful that neither cancer or PSC weren’t found.

Because of this painful experience, I’m reminded of just how fragile life is and that no day is guaranteed. I was fully aware before, but this fact became even clearer. It’s so easy to take even the simplest of tasks for granted. I even had moments when I could’ve easily lost sight of optimism and hope if it weren’t for the support circle of family and friends. I admit to still getting annoyed at little things, but my moments of annoyance don’t linger as long. My perspective is changed because I’ve tiptoed on the other side. Moving forward, I am grateful for the blessing of these positive results and hope for many tomorrows ahead.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

Tiny Nuances

The circle stretches miles long
Hands held, leaving no room
Baring the strength of steel

Some things cannot be forced
Tiny nuances glow in time
The truth, clear as pure water

Emotions flood out
Frenzied with freedom
The agony is extreme

Floatingdown, down
Falling reckless
Into arms open wide

To guide and to calm
Into moving forward

The circle remains as
is

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

After All This Time…

Dear Friends,

My blog sat alone for almost a year and a half, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Baydreamer and I had been forgotten. At the end of 2018, I posted about the success of a medical procedure, and then I fell off the blog for over a year? Since then my health has been back to normal, but soon after, I felt the need to disengage from technology. Now, I’m drawn to blogging again because with physical distancing, the connections that blogging offers are welcomed. As to writing, I drifted from poetry; instead, I have been writing personal essays and trying my hand at fiction, which has been challenging but rewarding. Occasionally, though, a poem begins to form.

How surreal I return in uncertain times, living in a pandemic world. I realize when the sun shines and the sky brightens to a beautiful cerulean blue, my attitude shifts to positive thoughts. When I stroll around our backyard, enjoying all the spring blooms, I wonder if the flowers have the slightest hunch of what Covid-19 is and its impact on human society. Probably not, which is why they bloom in spite of the bleakness all around the globe.

Don’t these flowers radiate joy? How can the same elation flood through our veins despite hearing the grim accounts of this virus? Answers vary, but two thoughts come to mind: Faith and Hope. Whatever you believe in and no matter how far you need to stretch to grasp even a fraction of Hope, without these, we can easily become defeated and remain in that gloomy headspace. It seems taking one day at a time is applicable once again.

Even while practicing physical distancing, there is some good that comes to light: I have seen more smiles on the street while walking our chocolate lab mix, Copper. Not to mention, the neighborhood has never been so joyfully packed with people of all ages out for a walk. This truly is a welcoming site. Stories of people helping each other are abundant – offering to grocery shop for a neighbor or reaching out to those who are lonely where isolation is more challenging. These simple gestures are a means to stay sane in the midst of this insane scenario. Acts of kindness make us feel good and they afford a sense of purpose. At 8 pm each night in our community, everyone howls in gratitude for the heroes working in essential jobs risking their lives for us. My family participates in this gesture of appreciation, and Copper sings his part in the chorus, too.

However, five weeks into sheltering-in-place does not advise complacency. It’s not over until it’s over. We still need to be responsible in taking precautions to help mitigate the spreading of the virus. We wash our hands a million times a day, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes stay within reach, and we wear masks and gloves, not just to protect ourselves but to protect each other. Those who have lost loved ones to the virus remain in our hearts. This health crisis is serious and if any doubts arise, simply turn on the news. There is no exemption card. The effects from Covid-19 are devastating, overwhelming, and heartbreaking.

But while staying at home, the time is at hand to find beauty in each day: an opportunity to complete unfinished projects, spend quality time with family, get exercise, pick up a good book, put thoughts to paper, or step outside where flora and fauna are abundant. I revel in the gorgeous spring blooms where hope blossoms. They provide a sense of normalcy in these most abnormal circumstances. My family and friends are doing well and we are beyond grateful. And after all this time, thank you so much for stopping by, but mostly, I hope you’ll stay safe and healthy. 

For those of you who are new to my site or who haven’t visited my other pages, I encourage you to visit my “About Me” page and sign my “Guestbook.” 

In Love and Friendship,

Lauren

 

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

 

 

 

Glue

I see your broken pieces
I almost step on their sharpness
I want to be their healing glue

I know you’re weary
I understand every part of you
I want to be your shoulder

I know your heart aches
trying to make sense of it all
but I won’t let you fall
Let me be your remedy

Lauren Scott © 2018

Colors

Some wounds lie beneath
the surface, gasping for air,
but finding no respite. Each
touch invites salt-inflicted
agony. If they can’t be seen,
it doesn’t mean stories lack
sad beginnings, middles,
or endings. Life isn’t always
Hallmark. The whole truth
isn’t visible to the naked
eye. Hard times come in
different shapes and sizes;
they have no boundaries.
And reactions that follow
come in various colors.

What color are you?

Lauren Scott © 2018

Most People

Dear Friends,

There’s been a lot going on, which has taken me away from blogging. So, I apologize for missing your wonderful posts, but I hope to start reading again soon. In the meantime, I’m sharing a song that struck a chord with me. Luke Bryan is one of our favorite country music singers, and if you like country music, then you’ll know who he is. If you’re not a fan of this genre, then I invite you to listen to the words because they truly say it all. With all the hate and violence, Luke sings, “Most people are good.” This song encourages us to still believe in humanity and not focus 100% on what the media shows us.

With continued heartbreak in the world and with our daily doses of stress of various types, I thought this song would be a soothing addition to your day. It might also change your outlook if you’re struggling to find the good. I hope you enjoy it! Lauren ❤🎵🎶

The Right Attitude

No-fear-Image

One of my new dear friends, Debby, from https://dgkayewriter.com/, wrote this to me regarding my last health update and it stuck…

“We get what we focus on, so don’t make it fear!”
~DG Kaye

This message isn’t new, but it’s so easy to allow fear to slip into our thoughts. It affects not only our reactions to stressful times, but it also affects us physically, causing anxiety and even some unwanted aches and pains. So, this was a timely reminder for me, even though I’m not truly living in fear. However, I am inviting Optimism for a long stay, and if you’re dealing with stress in any form, will you join me in this attitude adjustment? I hope you will, and Thanks, Debby! 💕

hope

And lastly, I’d like to wish you all a Fabulous Friday, and a Wonderful Weekend ahead. With love, Lauren ❤❤❤

Photos: Google

The Game

It’s better to move on, if you can’t play. Don’t reside in self-pity.
Its color isn’t your best shade, and it’s their loss. They have no
idea what they’re missing – your compassion, your sincerity,
your wit, and all the love you hold in your heart. Don’t be quick
to belittle these qualities; not everyone is worthy of their presence.
They can’t simply be attained or purchased with a hundred-dollar
bill. They are innate in your DNA. They depict who you are –
a person of integrity, a person who cares about the common good
and cares less about false images. Your life is about the love you
offer. Your smile and jolly laugh spread onto others, affording them
a taste of happiness. Your past mistakes are not meant to haunt you
into the present or future. Instead, allow them to make you wiser.
If you invite them to ride along, misery will surely worm its way
in. And who wants to experience life in a confining box of misery?
It would be more rewarding to live in a bubble of joy, to watch it
float into the universe, calming storms and designing sunrises,
turning despair into hope and creating more smiles on the streets.
Remember who you are – that you are worth every bit of love you
receive and every spoonful of joy you feel.

Lauren Scott © 2018

Journal Entry 9/10/18

September 10, Monday

(hospital stay 9/7-9/9 Fri-Sun)

It’s evening when I usually pick up a good book, but my eyes are just too tired and my mind is too preoccupied to concentrate on anything. My body is also fatigued as though every ounce of energy has been zapped. Then when my head meets the pillow, my mind begins to wander again. Some thoughts lead into great memories of present or past. This is when I breathe deeply and thank God. And some start to tumble into a darker place where I have no desire to be. Those thoughts provoke wild emotions, and the last thing I need is puffy eyes in my morning reflection.

So, it takes mustering up a lot of strength to bat those dark thoughts away as if they’re pesky, blood-sucking mosquitoes. This is when I also breathe deeply – slowly inhaling, slowly exhaling, hoping to relax and fall into a deep slumber where thinking is finished for the night. And I pray to God that I’ll be okay. One thing I’ve been reminded of is just how fragile life can be, and I didn’t need reminding.

With this being said, and even through an occasional two-minute-melt-down, I’ll keep the faith as the waiting and testing continues. I won’t let optimism out of my sight. Taking one day at a time still rings true. And I am beyond grateful for the love and support of my awesome family and friends.

(I hope to catch up on blog-reading real soon. Stay safe and well. Lauren ❤)

 

 

The Face of Happiness

sunflowers to be 2018

My last post on the topic of mass shootings was depressing, although 
another chance to bring awareness to this frequented tragic issue in our country.
However, I thought it was time for a more hopeful topic. So, this photo shows
sunflowers-to-be! Yes, sunflowers growing from seeds (one of three pots), and
watching them sprout evokes feelings of awe and wonder – awakening
excitement and promise of tomorrow and of new life.

After they grow to around 12″, we’ll transplant them in the ground. We’ve 
also planted some seeds around the yard and are enjoying watching those
sprout up, too. We have a garden area in front of the house that might be
a good place for transplanting these – for tall, happy sunflowers greeting
all who stroll by. The trouble is that we have deer wandering around all
the time. So, we’d have to put some kind of wire fence around them. Other-

wise, we’d be providing lunch for the dear deer. 🙂

Anyway, below are some quotes I found online…

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”
~ Chinese Proverb

“The tiny seed knew that in order to grow, it needed to be dropped in dirt,
covered in darkness, and struggle to reach the light.”
~ Anonymous

“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.”
~Paramahansa Yogananda

“The earth laughs in flowers.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunflowers are happy flowers. They exude joy and friendliness, don’t you think? Fingers are crossed and with our love and care, we pray these seeds will grow to their full potential. I’ll keep you posted, and I hope you enjoyed this splash of hope and inspiration. xoxo

sunflowers

(Goal in sight) 🙂