Sweet Morning Smells

Honeysuckle Flower
“Honeysuckle growing on a honeysuckle vine”, Bill Haley

Last night was not good for sleep; It was not due to pain.  I couldn’t sleep more than 45 minutes at a time.  Every 45 minutes I would awaken, look at the clock, lie awake for 30 minutes and then sleep for another 45.  Finally, at 4:30 AM, I arose, took a shower, shaved, drank a cup of “Taster’s Choice”, and drove to Walgreen’s to pick up some Q-Tips and coffee filters.

Back home I brewed a pot of coffee and ate a banana while thinking about what I was going to do this early in the morning.  When the coffee was finished brewing and I had poured myself a cup, I went out into the backyard to hear the birds and enjoy my fresh brew.  It was already light but it would be about 30 minutes before sunrise:  not enough time to get anywhere for a sunrise photo.  As I sat enjoying the cool morning air, I caught the scent of something sweet and fresh.  I turned and spied the source, my honeysuckle vine in full bloom.  The closer I got to it the stronger the wonderful aroma became.  Standing beside this vine profuse with whiter and yellow flowers, my nose leading the way, I lowered my head into the thickness of the flowers and inhaled deeply:  pure heaven.

I hadn’t tried the Manfrotto XPRO Geared 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head so I went back in the house to gather equipment to photograph this beautiful flower.  For a lens I chose the Sigma 105mm EX 2.8 Macro.  This is an old lens I’ve had for many years.  It is not the newer DG model.  With Sony Alpha a7r and tripod in hand, I sat up just inches away.  Maneuvering to get just the composition I wanted was easy using the XPRO Geared Head.  It was very responsive and smooth.  I expecially like the fact it has three leveling bubbles.  Added to the leveling bubble on the Manfrotto 55XPRO3 tripod, keeping everything in line was a breeze.  When I began, the air was perfectly still and keeping focus was simple.  However, this being Oklahoma, it wasn’t but a few minutes after sunrise before the air began to stir and the vines began to sway.  A few more shots and I was done.

Just Getting Started, It Seems

Okay, so I went to my physician and explained my aches and pains.  He thought it sounded like sciatica and gave me a shot in the spot I identified as most painful.  That was on a Monday.  For the next couple days I thought the “shot” was the panacea for all that ailed me.  Then on Thursday, some tell-tale sensations started me thinking, “Maybe not”.  By Friday, I was taking Tramadol again for pain; The weekend was back to “horrible as usual”!  By Sunday evening I was ready to try anything.  After consulting my “most trusted authority”, I began thinking seriously about inflammation as the most likely cause of the pain.  I had reached the point I was willing to do almost anything to ease the pain even at the risk of serious side effects.

Sunday evening I took four 200mg ibuprofen tablets (800mg).  On Monday I began a regimen of taking three 200mg ibuprofen tablets, three times a day.  By Monday afternoon I was pain-free and remained that way until Friday when I cut back to one tablet three times a day; The pain began to return until I was convinced it was going to take higher doses than that.  I returned to taking three at a time and the pain left again.  I have not needed to supplement the ibuprofen with Tramadol.

I know this is risky and I don’t plan on doing this long-term.  Of course, I admit that long-term may be relative, but I am considering safer and permanent solutions as well.  I’m trying to find out how to proceed to identify the source of the inflammation and pursue a course that brings healing at that point.  I don’t have a lot of confidence in allowing my personal physician to direct this pursuit but I don’t know what sort of physician I should seek out, first.


I’m no expert on pain.  I don’t have any information or answers on what to do to get rid of pain; I wish I did.  I have pain:  physical pain.  Mine is caused my arthritis.  It keeps me from doing a lot of the things I want to do most.  It steals the joy away when I’m doing the things I can.  It saps my energy until I’m tired and don’t feel like doing much, at all.  It prevents any restful sleep at night and causes me to wish for the sounding alarm on the clock.  Medication helps, sometimes:  meloxicam, Tramadol, acetaminophen, ibuprofen.  Topical pain relief creams and moist heat give relief, at times.  Even Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has a place in my self-therapy.  But when the sciatic nerve on my left side erupts pain courses across past my artificial hip, runs down my leg and explodes into my arthritis destroyed left knee.  It quickly becomes crippling agony.  What to do?  What to do?

I have no answers.  I’ve already had a total replacement of my right knee and left hip.  I anticipate future replacements of my left knee and left shoulder.  Will replacements stop there?  I don’t know.  And then, what do I do about the sciatic nerve?  Tomorrow, after a regular monthly visit to my chiropractor, I have a “not regular” appointment with my physician to discuss options.  I’m hoping there are some.

I know there are many out there who have it much worse than I and their pain is greater.  Some will think I’m whining.  Perhaps some will understand.  My hope is that writing about it will help me feel better.  That’s all!

Thoughts on this Easter Sunday

This morning I watched a program on OETA about the individual childhood lives of Ruth Bell and Billy Graham.  The story went on to tell how they met, married, and lived as a couple, as parents, and as crusaders for Jesus Christ.  At the end of the show, I switched the channel and was reminded by the Pope, during Easter Mass, of the recent murder of 147 young people, in Kenya, because of their faith in Jesus Christ at the hands of followers of another faith.  I flipped the channel again to hear a news report that, in the USA, we will spend 2.2 billion dollars on Easter candy this year.  I tuned the remote to another channel where I watched a news report and video of a group of people, somewhere in the USA, carrying signs and posters protesting religious rights in the USA:  a country founded on the free exercise of religion and not the right to be free from religion.

I can’t help but wonder what this all means.

I Like This Barn

Barn in Snow
Old Wooden Barn

I don’t remember if there was a house standing on this place the first time I saw this barn; a stem-wall outlines the location.  That was over 50 years ago, and the best my memory will serve, I don’t believe there was.  That’s a long time for a farmhouse to be gone, even for Oklahoma.  Most rotted away within the last fifty years, not the first fifty since settlers settled on this plot of prairie.  This barn still stands though, a testimony to the fact barns are more useful than houses out here.  Even so, there aren’t many of the old wooden barns around anymore.  They aren’t used for storing hay, feed, shelter for livestock, or the imagination of children acting out adventures in imaginary lands:  all replaced by round bales, metal equipment sheds, grocery stores, and video games.

I like this barn.  There’s no telling when it last sheltered anything more than an owl and an assortment of rodents and vermin.  I like this barn.  It’s defined its own purpose.  Hmm, I like this barn.