Loneliness Friend or Foe ?

 

Those of us who have had to change our lives due to illness, accident or chronic pain know all about being lonely and isolated. During this time when the world is more divided than not, during this social change due to politics as well as being a time when everyone has his or her nosestuck in an iPad or a smart phone, isolation is more common than ever.

We human beings are social creatures and this idea of being alone in our beliefs and literally in our day to day lives is a sad fact. We need the warmth of friendship, fellowship of family and the comradery of others. There is an almost mystical strength that can exist between us when we are an us and not an I. We call it friendship, love and having an acquaintance. There can also be a warmth that is shared between strangers as we relay a smile or a courtesy with another.

For those of us who lead isolated lives because of the physical loss of function this loneliness can be just as detrimental as any other kind. It is my belief we need the warm of other humans more than ever. Thankfully, many of us are able to have pets and they do offer a clearly mystical attachment that reaches deep within our hearts and lives. The love they offer to us is without guile and of such a pure nature it is always to be trusted. Of course, there are a few independent critters out there, just like many humans who don’t relate well to others but usually animals and humans will return what is shown to them through affection, play and care.

After these many years of writing about chronic pain and illness, I have met some wonderful people who share my pain, loneliness and understanding of life. Health trouble can and usually does affect us in either one way or another such as; sweet or sour, wisdom or bitterness, or anger versus deep joy. There is something about traveling those rocky roads in life that brings about an understanding that cannot be achieved through any other means. I’m not an advocate of suffering but I do see it as a crossroads in life and have seen it change many lives in my experience as a nurse and as the patient.

We humans as well as our critters, don’t usually latch onto change at all well. It’s difficult to be not only isolated but limited by pain or bodily changes. I am fortunate to have a husband who is there for me, especially since he retired. It is kindly and sometimes comical to watch him learn his way around the kitchen. The army taught him how to clean a mess, peel potatoes and a few other things and we manage. I can usually make it down to our kitchen and have occasionally, lately, made a rare trip to the store with his assistance. Unfortunately, most of the shopping falls to him. I miss cooking the most because I am a fabulous cook. Do let me toot my own horn because it is true. I hate clutter and it seems we live with more and more of that every day. Where does it all come from? Surely someone could do something about all the junk mail and catalogues we receive every day.

I miss going out to eat on a regular basis, although occasionally we do grab a foam cushion and make it into a nice restaurant. My first question about a restaurant isn’t about the food, it’s more of a concern of mine to know what kind of seating is available. I do thank the good Lord for the internet when it comes to shopping yet we try to shop locally whenever possible. I find shopping for clothes online the most frustrating of all compromises I have had to make and once I find something comfortable, I stick with it. I don’t go very many places anymore anyway but the old pride of appearance engrained in me by my Mom is still alive and well. I refuse to look as badly as I feel unless it’s a quick and necessary trip to the local Emergency Room.

I am so pleased that through the blessings of my writing I have met so many fine individuals who understand, share and also face grave challenges. There are far more brave people in this world than most of us ever know. I have become strongly convinced it is vitally important not to get involved in the darker side of life whether it’s through reading, movies or the news. We who already fight enormous challenges must stave off depression anyway we can without compromising our principles or ideals.

There is a dark, deep hole of not only depression but one of self-pity which has a slippery edge and an allure when one suffers throughout any part of one’s life or body. Being with others, chatting with others by phone or internet is not as good as in person but we have to face this fact as another compromise. Of course, that means adjustment to another change.

I have come to dislike that word, compromise and often wonder if it will ever stop popping up and disrupting my life. I know the answer; it will not stop. I have found through deep thought, meditation and prayer that the answers usually come for each new problem. I’m not talking about healing but adapting. My illnesses do not get better so I must adjust, adapt, renew and learn. Symptoms can improve and I have streaks of time that are less pain than others. Constant learning seems to be on the agenda for the remainder of my life. I learn from sharing with others and allowing them to share with me. I learn from reading and remembering my numerous life experiences. Life is amazing and most folks delve into so little of it. Many things I love to do or planned to do are now out of the question for me. Do you find that heavy and depressing? Well, it is. I have learned to move along and conquer that nasty new challenge, whatever it is and not dwell on it too long.  Occasionally I run across an old blog, article or poem I have written and it reminds me of how I once felt and it is often a good lesson for me. Last week I found an older poem I wrote a few years ago and it gave me the idea for this blog and I would like to close this blog with that poem. It’s about reaching out and sharing, learning and appreciating others as a way of gaining wisdom for ourselves.

 

MUCH  LIKE  ME

 

My shopping cart is littered with ads

Torn and bedraggled

Much like me,

Left behind by harried customers

Much like me.

 

I push my cart

While pulling my list

From the pocket of my wet jacket

Wishing I was anywhere but here.

 

I realize no one knows how I feel

No one can see my pain

Nor would they care.

 

In this world I am an anonymous, older woman

Dressed too warmly

Walking very slowly

Someone to ignore.

 

As I look around at the microcosm of humanity

Which is nestled here in this retail world

I wonder at the variety I see.

 

An exhausted young mother pushes a super cart

Loaded with scuffling children

Chocolate milk and sweetened cereal

Frustration and maternal pride

Compete for her emotions

On her fatigued

Flushed pink face.

 

Two elderly gentlemen

Swap health stories

Each taking his blood pressure

At the machine outside the pharmacy.

 

In the book section

A studious overweight gent

Gazes over the rim of his glasses

Searching through the new diet paperbacks

Seeking vitality

Between the covers of a book.

 

A middle-aged couple

Shop the health food aisle

With its promise to live forever

If only they knew

Which vitamin or herb to take

As they seek the magic bullet.

 

I’m so tempted to tell them

What to buy, what not to buy

But realize it isn’t my business

It’s theirs.

 

Moving into the produce section

I watch a seasoned housewife

Pick among the produce

Seeking only the best

Measuring the importance of her life

One cabbage at a time.

 

They’re all there,

Old people and young

Newly wedded couples

All at different stages of this experience

This event called LIFE

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

 

I wish them health

I wish them love

And long life

As I realize

They are making their way through life

As best they can

Much like me.

33 thoughts on “Loneliness Friend or Foe ?

  1. Perfect timing. Feeling a little down and isolated as well today. Frustrated with my body as weather changes are coming. Fatigued because pain issues prevented sleep again last night. Needed to mow the lawn and clean the house but here I sit in my pajamas having read a book most off the day. Ugh….

    • Laura, sorry it applies but not surprised. Afraid it applies to so many of us who find ourselves in this predicament. Hope these words helped you a bit. Love ya, Sue

  2. Wonderful poem, Sue! And wonderful blog. I am sure it will touch so many. I’m glad I saw your post on FB about there being a new blog. I confess I have been away for a while – literally and figuratively. We had a wonderful beach vacation 2 weeks ago, but it involved an 8 hour car ride each direction. When I arrived home, my body was a mess. I am still sorting it all out and trying to get back to where I was before we left. The pressure is on because I have a rehearsal tomorrow evening and a concert on Sunday. I was not in the best shape to practice last week, so… I am behind the 8 ball. I’m more concerned about DH. He had a middle ear infection – diagnosed 2 weeks before our vaca, after a misdiagnosis of swimmer’s ear at an Urgent Care (not where DD works). He has hearing loss now worse than when he was diagnosed 4 weeks ago. This is very concerning. He will finally see his ENT this Thursday. Meanwhile, he is currently prepping for a colonoscopy tomorrow morning. Oh joy.
    Blessings to everyone!

    • Lyn, Well girl, it sounds to me like you need a vaca to recover from your vaca. Overdid the joy and fun but doesn’t it seem worthwhile? I am sorry to hear about your dear man’s troubles. How frustrating when the medical care is often due to medical carelessness. Let us pray the infection leaves him intact and without further, worse problems now that they are onto it. Oh boy, everyone’s favorite procedure, the old colon view. Often the prep is the worse part. Truthfully I hadn’t missed you on here due to your posting so many pics on FB of your lovely vacation. I’ll bet you are tan and pooped. Rest now. Love, Sue

  3. Sue, great blog and poem! My mother also insisted that I look my best, and I greatly miss my former life!
    I had hoped a colleague from work with would come to visit this week, but unfortunately, she had other plans. My hubby had suggested my friend visit. She had two recent deaths in her family and he thought a visit would be good for both of us, as he has seen the support, and encouragement we give to each other. There is something special about two female friends who understand each other! I never had a sister or a daughter, but I believe those friendships must be very special, at least it was for my mother and her sisters. I have a family reunion next week, but it is over three hours away and not what my neck could tolerate next weekend. This yearly reunion is a close-knit group of cousins who promised the three sisters who raised us, that we would continue our reunions when they were gone … and we have! The three sisters were very much alike, much like my grandmother who raised them, and who ruled the family until her death. Such strength in a tiny woman! She had two premies long before there was ever a NICU! I am told she spent the night watching her tiny babe asleep in a basket, warmed from the door of the woodstove on which they lay. Yes, next weekend I will be lonely and maybe even down in the dumps because as humans, we need that connection with others who care, where we feel we belong! Maybe next year the reunion will be closer to home, and my neck will cooperate, but this year, like the three sisters and their baby brother, I will be there in spirit! Hope everyone is comfy tonight! Pommum🐕 Brenda 🧡

    • Pommum Brenda, I do so love to hear you talk about your mom and grandma. What strength and endurance when you think of all the conveniences we have now in everyday life and medically compared to those bygone days. I am sorry you are going to miss the reunion but so completely understand. I didn’t even make it down to Calif. for my Mom’s funeral when she passed ten years ago or my GS’s wedding a year ago back in Washington DC. Heartaches, heartaches so we just have to move on and not dwell on what we miss. I think you and I both have made that into an art form.
      You are one of the most courageous blog and FB friends I have ever met and I pray your recent surgery is healing well. I know it is long and tedious. Are you still on the lake? I love your pics, especially of the precious little Poms. Much love, Sue

      • Sue, we hope to stay at the lake for the rest of the warm weather, with quick trips into the city to wash our clothes (we do like to stay clean) and visit my husband’s parents. We especially enjoy the autumn months at the cottage. It is very peaceful, the younger folk are back at work or school, the air is cool and the beautiful autumn colours are reflected in the lake! Korra, who loves run and chase chipmunks, is also happy at that time of year because she can run to her heart’s content without getting hot in her thick Pom coat…you can see the joy shining in her eyes. Hope you are having a good week. Much Love … Pommum Brenda

    • Pommum
      My mother told me about helping deliver my Aunt’s babies. She has a few premature ones. At my Grandma’s house. Mother would put them in the warming oven and try to get them to live. But they didn’t. It made her very sad to speak about it.
      Hope you have a good week next week.
      Tonie

      • Tonie, my great-grandparents retired at the farm of my grandparents, and of course, my mother was raised there. She remembered her aunts coming to the farm to have their mother (my great grandmother) deliver their babies. These births always took place in the same bedroom that later belonged to my Uncle George. Two brothers, my mother’s cousins, came to visit the farm every summer and insisted on seeing the bedroom where they were born. It is quite sad to go to the cemetery and see the graves of young babies who never had a chance to enjoy life and to imagine the heartache their parents must have felt. I have been working on my family tree, and have found the names of babies who never lived to their first birthday, and was then surprised to see a younger child with the same name. I later read that Scottish parents had guidelines concerning the naming a child, and it was proper to give a new baby the name of a deceased brother or sister. Wishing everyone a comfortable week. Cheers … Brenda

      • Brenda
        My grandma Dalton lost twin baby boys. They are buried right near her and my parents. Yes, all through this old cemetery are graves of babies. My son once rented a big Victorian home that was owned by a Dr. Across the street was a cemetery where he and his wife were buried. Along with seven babies that died. Imagine not being able to save them ?
        Lots of Scottish around here. Including my sister and brother. Their Fathers family was Scottish. Mabe’s. And Burnette’s. This area was Scotch, Welsh, Irish, English , and some Germans. I do love history.

  4. Very apt blog for me too
    Yes missing out… new things to take their place..not so good ,isolation ,pain frustration,loss.the list goes on
    But the determination doesn’t go and we do find a way to live …well sometimes life is better then other times.maybe it’s just our outlook is better some days
    Lyn hope dh gets all this sorted with his ears and colonoscopy fine
    And you too better soon
    Wish all was better for us all
    Chris

    • Chris dear, how are things in England? Hope those heat waves have subsided for you and pray DH is solving some of his problems with his ears. Has daily life been going well for you? How’s the gut these days?
      Warm here today, still recovering from that last fracture of the vertebra here and nausea. I don’t feel like eating when I have so much pain with every movement and then I get nausea from hunger and from the pain. Just one big frustrating circle to deal with everyday. Hope your DD is going well and GS. Our DD and her dear family just got back from a wonderfully amazing trip to Alaska. They had such fun and saw so much beauty up north. Do take care now, remember you are loved, Sue

      • Well it feels like we are headed for autumn here
        The nights are a bit chilly and the days are just the way I like them sunny not very hot and a more golden look to them
        Dh is keeping on top of his ear problems with wipes ,drops and keeping aid out
        We went to a country park today for Dh to walk and photo..I stay in car as it hurts to walk.but I have a nice view of the lake ,the door open and I can read my book ..so I am ok too…
        I do wish this fracture you have would heal up ….you must have lost some weight
        Well we have a thunder storm due in tomorrow and they are saying 11/2ins rain in two hrs for us …the usual flood warnings out
        But we will go for that scone again in the morning
        Chris

    • Brenda S., good to hear from you. I wish so many of us had not been struck with such painful, loneliness producing ailments when we were so young. I was 42, and life began to swirl out of control but now I feel I’ve learned so much along the way. Have to put a positive spin on life to survive. Fondly, Sue

  5. Very timely blog for us all I think Sue. I may be busy most of the time, but still am isolated and lonely.
    Got the results back from Lyme’s titers and they are down, but still test positive. So tomorrow I am making an appointment with the Infectious Disease Dr. Always something.
    Now I have my sister’s appointments to keep up with as well as her finances. I really believe she is getting some dementia. Can’t remember (always think of the joke, CRS Disease. Can’t Remember S—t) can’t focus. Worries me. But can only do what I can.
    Helped Mrs Blair today, so I am tired. Very hot and humid here. I sweated so much , no bathroom all day. But I was drinking Powerde the whole time. Now resting.
    I have been blessed in not loosing too much yet. But as you say, my stuff doesn’t get better, so I am making all of it I can now. While I can. Who knows what is in for tomorrow?
    Take care all
    Tonie

    • Tonie, good to hear from you but sorry to hear your concerns for Judy, your dear sister. Just remember a lot of us old gals simply have old brains. It might not be senile dementia, or worse yet Alzheimer’s. We all know living with pain can be hard on the deductive reasoning and memory. I know pain not only makes me foggy but also nauseous. Such a complicated issue when we add pain meds. Is she taking something strong for her back pain? Also, it doesn’t sound like she is getting much social stimulation. Is she more isolated now? I know your burden has been doubled with driving her and now handling so much of her life and that makes me concerned for you. I know you often are called on to be wonder woman but please get in time for you and help with some of that garden work, heavy lifting, etc.
      Any new word from France? It is now mid Aug. so hope the word is good from your DH.
      Heat on top of all this is bad. What were you drinking? Are you a big iced tea drinker? Always curious. Don’t see that out here that much but I know it’s big in the South.
      Is the canning coming to a close or is the garden still producing like mad? Remember my dear friend how much I value you, Much love, Sue

      • Sue
        She takes no pain meds. Just Tylenol. Of course Gabapentin, Tizanidine, diabetic pill, hormones, and vitamins. She is planning a visit to an old friend the end of the month. So that will be good for her.
        My grandson Nathan is here for a visit so I will have help all the time for a week or so.
        France is the same. Surgery the end of the month, Immigration appointment. We are both having a problem being patient.
        As to my drinks. When I am working outside like that I drink Powerade and water. Not a big iced tea drinker. Was growing up, but seldom now. I mostly drink water (and coffee j. But I like hot teas.
        Tomatoes are coming in, and still getting strawberries. It will be time to dig the potatoes and harvest the onions soon.
        Very bad storm withmuch needed rain yesterday. Took down a big locust tree in Judy’s front yard, fell on the power lines and pulled them out of the house, and then on the lines to my house. Even broke the power pole. So they need to replace it. Nice guys. We were off grid for 5 hours. Ugh. I have to get a generator.
        Take care you. I have to go feed my chicks.
        Love
        Tonie

  6. Love this and I can totally relate. I go through all of these emotions sometimes several or one at a time. One thing I try not to do is become bitter and angry cuz I have asked a few times, why me or what did I do to deserve this?. I did nothing and am just one of the chosen ones and all I do wish sometimes is that my family and some friends would be more understanding and instead of hearing that things are being said behind my back that they would just ask me anything and just love the new me that I have become by no choice of my own. Love your blog and you are one of those friends that I am honestly very luck to have met you online. Never give up and I’m always praying for you and others that are dealing with any disease.💖💖

    • Doris, nice to hear from you on here. Didn’t you just have a birthday? Hope it was enjoyable for you. Many of the issues you have mentioned here are the reasons I started writing after I had to stop my nursing career. Knew I wanted to help others even if I couldn’t be an RN actively. These are many of the things, questions, doubts, and emotions so many of us feel…millions of folks live with pain. It sometimes helps each of us to remember we are not the only ones with these problems. It isn’t a huge help but keeps the old poor me attitude at bay.
      I agree with you because I also have met so many wonderful people online and it has been a huge blessing for me. Be good to yourself today my dear. Fondly, Sue

  7. Tonie, wow, what a storm. I’m so sorry you and Judy had to go through that. Must have been a muddy mess and inconvenience for all. Glad it was repaired so soon before your frozen food had time to defrost. Whoosh, what an experience and the sadness of losing an old tree.
    I agree that a trip to see an old friend will be great for J. I am curious why she is still on hormones at her age. If you mean premarin or something in that category. Hope your time with Nathan is helpful,of course it will be for him but hope he can help you, also. I know it’s a bit tedious but also know how special he is to you. Have fun!
    That’s why I was asking about your DH because it’s August. Prayers for him to get through it quickly, recover and then return home to you. You guys are still newlyweds and have a lot of catching up to do. Wow, can’t get over how your garden keeps producing. Hope that storm didn’t do more damage than worth the rain. I was just asking about drinks because I couldn’t quite read the word Powerade. I’ve never noticed it. Is it like Gatorade? I know you’re an expert in this heat wave on hydration having lived in AZ so many years.
    Well, I should try to accomplish something today. Had to reschedule an appt. to get my knees injected. He had surgery, and I’m pleased to not be bothered by it today. Slow week with lots of fatigue. Back still so bad when I stand at all. DD and family on vaca this week out of town. School doesn’t start out here until Sept. Do take care and enjoy your week with Nathan. Love you, Sue

  8. Hello all
    Hope everyone is doing good this morning. I am okay. Waiting for the Dr to call me back with an appointment. The ID Dr. He had to receive all my records from the Internist to review first.
    I hear Sweetie telling me I need to add water to her trough.. They have been drinking a lot because of the heat this week.
    Sue, Powerade is like Gatorade, I just like it’s flavor better. I mix it with water most of the time, unless I am really dehydrated, then I chug it. DId you know that by the time you feel thirsty you are already getting dehydrated ? Which is why I am always drinking.
    So, B’s surgery is for Tuesday. Please pray all is benign. And his appointment finally scheduled with Frankfurt for the 19th of Sept. Just a few more weeks, then we will know which direction the wind blows.
    It has been nice with my sweet boy here this week. But he goes home Friday. He misses his Mom and wants to start his job. Such sweetness and innocence is rare in this world. He has been such a help to me. Mentally and physically. And Spiritually .
    So, that’s me for now. Like you Sue, I feel so tired all the time. Hopefully this Dr can help with that.
    Take care
    Love
    Tonie

  9. We all have so many problems and concerns that they seem overwhelming and you have a real mixing bowl there tonie. just take one day at a time .my prayers for B and for yourself too..yes you will miss your company of this week but you will both remember the lovely times and looked forward to the next
    I’ve got an X-ray of my hip later today..I went to the dr yesterday.apparently on an X-ray a few years ago it showed it was misaligned.so maybe that’s the problem
    Dh has an eye infection that needs to be cleared before the op. he had an eye swab done ..difficult as he has one all the time
    He’s got used to chloramphenicol eye drops and they don’t work now
    How are you feeling sue
    Hi to all and a wish for better times
    Chris

    • Chris dear, good to hear from you. Not good here but with so many problems not surprising so looking for the joy in this wonderful world with all of my problems and its. Sorry to hear about your hip. Could it be your sacroiliac and pelvis, also? What is the plan? Why didn’t they something back when they found it?
      Sorry to hear dear man of yours is having eye problems. Hope the ears heal soon so he can wear his aides. Love to both of you, Sue

      • Good to hear from you sue
        Well at that time of the other hip X-ray it was my other hip causing the problem..they just took that hip as well
        It wasn’t causing me any pain ..they did send me for physio tho as I had bursitis on that other hip.
        But just now these last two weeks it’s playing up.well the dr says it’s the hip joint the way the pain is..we shall see when have X-ray back I’ve just been for it
        You DH. Makes me laugh with his ……helping……you
        Chris

  10. Tonie, Special prayers for Bernard on Tuesday for the doctors and the results to be in a positive direction. I knew your week with Nathan would be special as he is so special and the two of you have always shared a magic relationship. I have thought for a long time that you might also have Sjogren’s syndrome added to your list of rheumatological diseases due to that thirst. Of course, in AZ you being cooked alive half of the time.
    It will be so good to see the infectious disease specialist and get some answers about this long term lyme disease you have had and what can be done and what to expect. One day at a time my dear as you very well know..one challenge at a time.
    Much pain here with so many places. GD coming tomorrow to put in her couple of hours to help me with the housework and yard guy coming also, thankfully. The morning glories and my clematis are both trying to creep across my patio to get into the house. I keep telling those creeping plants they are outdoor plants and aren’t allowed in. My porch is a glory of flowers and all go beautiful this year. Jim has been helping to keep them watered although I warn him not to say bad things to them, you know he isn’t a plant lover. I’m sure there is an occasional, “grow damn it” coming out of him. Oh well..he knows how much my flowers mean to me each spring and summer, into the fall. Hang in my dear and keep looking for the joy, the glory, the lessons and the love. Love you much, Sue

  11. Well the dr rang me with the results and it not so bad
    The ligaments in the hip have gone and two bones in hip are rubbing together.so when my foot hits the ground it hurts
    Causing some bursitis…great two hips with it now
    So she says take as much of the anti inflammatory as I can with the diver…and injection…not keen as when I had a fractured sacrum one went wrong
    Then said physio could strengthen the hip… so I’m going down that road with the ice and as many meds as I can..she said no walking
    Nice weather here today lying on bed with window open
    But gives 86 and up to 90 for the weekend
    Did I say we had the conservatory roof done again first try no good so did a bit further..hope this try works as we will be going into winter and having to have the roof off ..
    Hope all As good as can be
    Chris
    Lyn hope you dh was ok with his ears and colonoscopy

    • Chris dear, shame on me for not finding this. I am saddened to hear about your hips. Physio should help keep strong what you have left in there, but the no walking, what a hard thing. Can you do the minimum like going out for tea and your goodies? Well, with the hot weather the ice will feel good. One often wonders which is best, heat or ice? How often are you going in for physio? Sitting in a chair? How is that for you or is it lie down all the time?
      As far as the anti-inflammatories, be sure to always take them with food. Let us all hope the diverticulitis doesn’t act up for you. Sorry no blog last weekend, bot Tonie and I were sort of down and exhausted but one this weekend for certain. Thinking of you and hoping will be better soon with the treatments and rest. Love, Sue

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