August, 2016

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A spacious place

Friday, August 12th, 2016

About a month ago, I stubbed my toe so mightily I broke it.

toe

This is not an unusual occurrence for me. I suppose I walk with a lot of force? And into things? Is there honestly a better explanation for why one frequently stubs toes?

Last night, I was heading to the living room to watch Michael Phelps win all of those gold medals when I slammed — slammed — my right pinky toe into the foot of the couch. It might as well have been a sledgehammer to the foot. Pain shot up my leg like an electric current. I collapsed onto the couch and SCREAMED INTO A PILLOW, no words, just one long primal shriek muffled by a cushion from Target.

Remembering it this morning I giggle — because sheesh Annie, overdramatic much? It was one of those moments that made me grateful I live alone; no one should be forced to bear witness to such hysteria (although I will say that it did hurt like a mother-truckin’ cuss word). Foxy came running down the stairs and looked at me, then turned around and retreated back to her safe corner in my bedroom.

Today while out for a walk, one of Foxy’s feet collided with a large landscaping rock. I heard the hit, it was so hard. She stubbed her toe! We both froze, and then she curled her paw up underneath her, refusing to put any weight on it. She looked straight into my eyes, a big fat “What just happened?” and when I reached down for her, she willingly jumped into my arms like a toddler.

I carried all 40+ pounds of her for several city blocks, and wished for some giant to do the same for me.

Life is barreling forward — I’m wrapping up my job, heading into an unknown future, and while all I want to do is watch the Olympics and read my stack of books and have someone lift me up and carry the load, I’m moving too fast and running into things and screaming into pillows, a dog my only witness. It’s like the walls of my life are pressing in on me, the clutter tripping me up.

In many ways, this past year has been difficult. It’s been crowded and messy. The Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces” comes on the radio and I want to cry, because is there any better cure for spiritual congestion than space?

A week from today, Foxy and I are going to hit the road for a while. We’re going to drive around and go on some hikes and share a string cheese every day. I’m in search of space, both physical and mental, landscape and soulscape. By the time I get back to Minneapolis, I plan to have an answer to the “What’s next for you?” question.

In the meantime, I’m taping this verse to my steering wheel:
“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” —Psalm 18:19

Losing my eyesight, and my mind

Monday, August 1st, 2016

HERE IS THE BACKSTORY:
Back in mid-June, I got pink eye — or if I want to sound older than a fourth grader, conjunctivitis. It was gross and ugly and uncomfortable and all of those things that you remember your childhood pink eye to be. I looked like I had been crying all the time, which, if you know me, isn’t all that hard to believe.

After a week with a goopy red eye and unusual blurry vision, I finally went to the MinuteClinic and got a prescription eye drop (EYE DROP #1). “The infection should be gone within 2-4 days,” the nurse practitioner told me. “If it isn’t, you need to see an ophthalmologist.”

Well, wouldn’t you know, I’m the lucky star who just couldn’t shake my conjunctivitis. So, after two weeks of pink eye, to the ophthalmologist I went. He did some tests, and discovered my cornea to be “incredibly infected.” He gave me a stronger eye drop (EYE DROP #2), and said that my affliction should be over within a week.

In the meantime, he checked my vision — something that historically had never been a problem for me, although things have been blurry lately — and, well, I NEED GLASSES. The doctor scheduled me to come back for another exam two weeks later, giving the drops a chance to work their magic, just in case my failing eyesight was at all tied to this sexy eye infection.

So ten days ago, I went back to the doctor for the follow-up exam. And because Annie Parsons is no quitter, the infection is STILL THERE. Surely I have broken some sort of record for “most consecutive days with a rotting eyeball.” He measured my eyesight again and still found it to be worthy of glasses, but gave me another prescription drop (EYE DROP #3), and asked me to come back in three weeks with a (hopefully) healed cornea. Late next week, I’ll return to pay a fourth co-pay for what I hope is my final exam, and walk out with a script for glasses.

So.

HERE IS THE REAL STORY:
As established, I have now been prescribed three different eye drops of various strength. The bottles all look pretty much the same, but I’ve been good at keeping them straight.

Until yesterday.

“Where did this fourth bottle come from?” I wondered. I mentally ticked back through my doctor’s visits, counting one, then two, then three prescriptions. There was not a fourth. Why did I have four bottles of eye drops?

Suddenly, all of the air sucked out of the room. The ground opened up beneath me and the earth swallowed me whole.

I remembered.

Two weeks ago, her eye had been goopy. I’d scrounged around through her stash of medicine from the past three years, and found her eye drops. The bottle looked the same as mine.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been using Foxy’s… expired… eye drops.

I don’t deserve to be an adult.

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