October 30, 2012
Radio Share, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 44
I don’t usually turn on the radio on my five minute or less commute to work. Sometimes I do in the hopes of trying to find a good song to change an occasional sour morning mood. I also have developed a severe dis-affection for anything Adam Levine. Giving credit where credit is due, AL is extremely talented at penning pop-hooks that remain in the mind...for days. I just like a little variety in my head. So, I ended up flipping stations three times before the first traffic signal. I landed on WDVD, and the Blaine & Allyson show. They were discussing who should sleep on the couch when one partner snores and the other works weird hours. I didn't think much of until until Allyson mentioned that sometimes her husband seems to stop breathing in his sleep.
I also don't usually throw myself out there into cyber space and accost talks how hosts. But, I just kept thinking about the reality of what she had mentioned and I knew that I couldn't let it go. So, I pulled up the radio web site, opened the listener comments box, and started in.
Oct 6th will be the 6th anniv of my husband's funeral, and what would have been our 11th wedding anniversary. It's a long story, but the bottom line is he had sleep apnea. He wore a mask in bed, but sometimes he would remove it in his sleep. I would wake up because I couldn't hear him breathing. At 2 AM one night he woke me up laughing in his sleep. I put his mask back on him and for the 1st time in our entire lives together, I went to sleep on the couch. In the morning, I woke up and started Sunday breakfast. Neither he or our dog showed up at the smell of bacon, so I went to check. Our two year Jack Russell old terrier was sitting perfectly still on our bed; her paw resting on my husband's knee. And I just knew. He was gone. It's the worst decision I ever made in my life. I regret it every day. No one should sleep on the damn couch! Get him to a doctor. Please. Jodi Korte.
Jodi, I am so very sorry about your loss and I am so happy you wrote this. Thank you for sharing your story. I am really trying to get my husband to go to a sleep study. Here's a hug! Dana
Jodi, I am very sorry for your loss. I can't even begin to express my feelings to you after reading your email. Please don't hold it against yourself that you slept on the couch.
Thank you for the info on sleep disorders, and again, my most sincere condolences to you and your family. Blaine
I truly didn’t anticipate a real response, thought I might get a standard email, and certainly didn’t expect very personal notes. I was touched to have received them. It made me feel a bit better that my little, somewhat angry, short paragraph impulse, was acknowledged. Then, the outcome expanded a whole lot more.
OMG jodi!! my heart just broke:( i am so sorry:( i can't imagine how horrific that must have been for you and how much you must still miss him. i know we could tell you a million times over that even if you hadn't gone to the couch-the outcome might have still been the same. but i know that doesn't help. because if i was in your shoes i would feel exactly the way you do. 'what if?". warren has been on the couch for a month now-i am making an appointment for warren today. prayers, thoughts, hugs, from all of us jodi. we are having an expert on our show about snoring tomorrow. would you mind if i shared your letter with our listeners? it may impact them the way it just impacted me. Allyson
It didn’t take a second to hit “reply.” It did take a few to hash out some additional information I felt was important.
“ I hope it's not too late to respond,” I wrote since it was almost 10:30 pm on Thursday night.
“Yes, Please do share!
Jeff had some other medical issues, too. The apnea was compounded by diabetes, neuropathy and being overweight. His heart was enlarged from all that as well.
We knew that though, and in some ways we were blessed because, there's nothing worth fighting over or being angry about when you know it's just a matter of time.
Truly, everyone is in that same place, but few people recognize it. Everyone is going to pass sometime. I have many funny, sweet stories to tell about my husband. On the first anniversary of his passing, I wrote and had printed in two newspapers a memorial. It was written in response to a lunchroom conversation about how some spouses don't do this or don't do that. My sweet husband cooked gourmet meals, and cleaned the bathrooms, and did laundry (only his own, because he had some disasters with mine - but, hey, at least he tried.) So, I started thinking about the things Jeff didn't do.
Things You Never Gave Me
Half-hearted kisses; empty words or faulty promises
Less than your whole heart; tears we did not share
Love with conditions; words of discouragement
Disrespect or disregard; staunch predictability
No without a yes; you before me; your bad days
Any reason to doubt myself; any reason to doubt your love.
This is why I loved you so; for things you never gave me.
I can't tell you all how much it means to me that you are paying attention to the real dangers of apnea. It just means the world to me. Especially, this week.
Blessings, Jodi Korte
I received another reply from Dana: Jodi, I just wanted to let you know that after I forwarded your email onto my husband, he got on the phone and found a sleep study. He just has to get a referral from our doctor and he is going to do it. Thank you for your story and God Bless!!
I smiled through the tears at that one. After the show, I sent a simple note. I wasn’t capable of much more because it was disconcerting to hear my often repeated words coming back to me through the radio.
“Thank you,” I wrote. “That was an awesome interview, I especially appreciated the laughter. Jeff had a great sense of humor and he certainly would have appreciated it! Wishing you all the best.”
Amazingly, the dialog continued:
Thanks for inspiring it jodi!!:) we'll be thinking of you and jeff tomorrow. and thanks again for helping me and probably so many other people who thought "there is plenty of time to worry about it later". take care- Allyson
Jodi, Your story really made an impact on us and our listeners. I am so sorry for your loss. I know tomorrow will be a tough day for you and your family. I’ll be thinking of you. Blaine
Reply 3: Jodi-
While I know this is a hard time for you and your family, I want you to know that you may have saved both Dan and Warren's life with your insightful email. Dan is waiting for the doctor to call him back about the study and as Allyson said before, she called for Warren. Thank you and God Bless!
I suddenly had to not be at home, or alone. I went into work and distracted myself for a little while. Had lunch with a friend, and headed on up to Hartland to pick up another friend who was returning from a bus trip. So, Friday wasn’t such a bad day after all. And although Saturday was the day, the one that coincided with the actual Saturday calendar date of our wedding, I was ok. And that’s really all I could have asked for, and all I really wanted, too.
October 24, 2012
Notifications, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 43
A FedEx notification on my door gave me a glimmer of hope for my journal’s return. I didn’t hesitate to drop my lunch bag on the counter, head back downstairs, and drive off to the office. It turned out to be a long, fruitless search. There were no packages for me or for my address, but the logs all showed the package was signed for and delivered to the office. Even a call to FedEx didn’t solve the mystery. I was told to check back in tomorrow, as if by magic the package would suddenly turn up.
The same afternoon I am also the recipient of an end of therapy notification. My therapist got married while I was away in Ireland. That was not a surprise, and I am truly happy for him. The surprise was that he also accepted a new position which will make him unavailable to me. Between paperwork and wrapping up, came the probably standard suggestion that I could either be referred within the same practice, or I could search out a new beginning on my own. I decline both options immediately, blurting out the truth that I probably won’t do either. I don’t want to start again. It’s the same problem I have when I try to get in to see my MD and the registrar asks if I would see someone else in the practice. The answer is always, “No.” I don’t pride myself on being complex, but I am not a simple person.
It’s agreed I have reached a plateau. I profess I am an intelligent, acutely aware person who at this point in my life would know when or if I needed re-grounding, and we both feel comfortable with that. It’s hard work staying out of the quagmire of everyday living. Truthfully, I had already started wondering each week what was left to talk about. I have been enduring a status quo that has become boring, even to me.
We laughed about how our relationship has morphed from my original reluctance to comfortableness, a shared strange sense of humor and how remarkably different I am now. It’s so true. I am no longer in that hole. Still, my current life is easily aligned with the old Henny Youngman joke: In the recovery room after hand surgery this guy says, 'Tell it to me straight, Doc. Will I be able to play the violin after my operation?'And the doctor says 'Sure.' And the guy says, 'That’s fantastic, I couldn't do it before.' That’s how it is with therapy and me. I’ve never been the bubbly type and no one should expect I ever will.
As I am getting ready to walk out of the therapy office and into coping on my own, I am thinking of ways to say goodbye. I don’t want to cry, and I don’t want to be cold. I’ve gotten a lot out of this purely professional relationship even though I had my doubts. Just as I am about to ask for a farewell hug, my therapist quirkishly offers, “I’ll see you on two weeks, then?” Caught off guard, I laugh and say, “Sure.” He asks if I need a card to remind me, and I say, “No, I can write it on the back of the one I already have…” and then pause for a second like there’s a punch-line. Because there is; and he’s already laughing. I don’t really have to say it, but I do anyway. “On the other hand,” I lead in with smile, “You might as well give me a new one since you won’t be needing these particular ones anymore.”
On my way home, having been so internally proud of myself for adapting quickly and ably resigning myself to the abrupt reality that therapy ends today, I war between annoyance at knowing I will have to face the goodbye situation again, and “thank goodness for the suggestion.” Sometimes, when you’re riding the rails of life, a fork appears, and you begin to think you have control over the veer. However, if the timing’s not right, track jumping, derailment, and crashes occur. I read somewhere recently GOD sometimes delays our arrival because there’s trouble ahead. Whether a storm, a crash, or a disappointment worse than the one we are going through now, we’re in GOD’s protection. I’m still a long way from perpetual roses and sunshine, but then again, ba-dump-bump...!
October 15, 2012
Underlined, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 42
My week of separations continued. Following Monday’s situational disappointment, came Tuesday’s realization that I have lost my Ireland journal. The thing about the journal is, that’s where all my memories are. Upon reflection, that isn’t quite right. I should have real mind-set memories, no? I tried sitting down and running through the days in my mind. Although I was able to jot down basic bits and pieces, I’ve lost the emotion that went with them. I have a few fond memories of circumstantial meetings and forged bonds. But it occurs to me that I missed a lot over there. Taking down notes, drawing out scenarios, descriptions in detail, kept me from… everything. I’ve been clinging to my notebook for a few years now. Not the same one, of course. Many half empty booklets and binders reflect my unfinished business. I go back over them occasionally and read what I’ve forgotten about. I am starting to wonder if the writing has become a hindrance.
Because, truly, I think it places a barrier between me and others. Nobody interrupts a painter painting; no one approaches a writer writing. I can project a sincere not-now-I’m-writing vibe and find myself unbothered. I’ve truly never been a verbal butterfly, but it occurs to me I am no longer even a mild social being, in terms of exchange. Observation is enjoyable; participating means sharing. If I could go forward without a past, I would. But I can’t and the where, when, why, who and what timing of revelation is still an awkward mystery to me. Natural curiosity makes people want to know who they are conversationally sharing brain space with. I don’t know where to start sharing why I am who I am now. The pen serves me well for solid separation and allows me to retreat behind paper walls. I use them both as a shield and to fill awkward spaces where I am obviously alone.
So, now, without my latest journal, I find I am only recalling bits and pieces. Strangely, they are drawn from conversations and meetings, and all the rest is just background noise. Turning up the volume doesn’t make the past any clearer; not the recent past, not the not-so-long ago past, and certainly not the long-long ago past. So, what does it mean then, that I remember only interactions and fail to recall observations? I Is my lack of memories due to hard drive deletion, or do I have I simply not made any? Once committed to paper, I set them free. For lack of holding on to them, and lack of holding true conversations, I have plenty of empty mind space, and a mostly empty heart, as well.
I find myself sighing, tilting my head into another god-smack. I think it’s time to stop hiding behind props and begin engaging. I’m trying to envision another trip to Ireland (or church or the coffee shop or anywhere) without a notebook to protect me. Not easy to imagine, it draws up an uneasy fear, and sits quietly above emphatic, flowery doodles of distraction. Trying to figure a way out of this uncomfortable conclusion, I read these paragraphs again, silently in my own voice, and find myself reaching the same uncomfortable conclusion. Underlined.
October 08, 2012
That's that, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 41
Just one day of slight ups and some surprisingly big downs. An attempt to turn things around in a way that would normally bring me down... hasn’t. I’m not as bothered by it as I have been in the past. In fact, my amusement is sickly amusing. Does that mean I am becoming heart-stronger or strongly heading back down the WTH aisle at the IDGAF store?
In spite of all that, I was ok today. Until I found out something that set me back a bit, or a whole lot, to be honest. I convinced myself that I would be ok coming home from Ireland. I didn’t realize how much stock I had put into one, single, solitary, all-focused, not entirely rational, and now non-existent path. Feeling quite foolish, disappointed, and totally without a direction to cast my hopes.
Sometimes GOD quietly closes a door for you. Sometimes HE slams it shut on the foot you’ve stubbornly been using to keep it propped open. I got slammed; a little harder and a little harder to take than my usual god-smack. Of course, I’d been pushing to keep it open. I can only shake my head and glance back over my shoulder. I should have realized it was too difficult an undertaking to be worthwhile.
I’d like to be able to blame the pain on someone else, but no one let me down. I let myself down in a zig-zag, running-after pattern I’ve followed before. You know when you know better and you just can’t stop yourself from bee-lining, full-stinger ready, just can’t avoid buzzing and trying and buzzing and trying and buzzing and trying, only to fail and fail and fail?
It seems now, that the truth blares out. I never had a chance, but still I believed. Stubbornness moves against us more than for us.
Trying to divest myself of the very emotional investment I have made, chasing rainbows toward an always fictitious pot of gold. I would have done better counting shiny penny moments and tracking mini-triumphs.
It's a painful blessing to bear: the resounding slam indicates without doubt - my plans were not GOD’s plan. When that happens, there's nothing left to do, but thank GOD that your toes won’t be jammed up against that door anymore, pick up your heart, and limp off in a new direction. That’s that.
October 01, 2012
Someday Faith, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 40
Maybe it’s because I learned faith later in life. I haven’t had as much time to fall away. I was never introduced to it growing up. I was, however, introduced to wrathful GOD, a GOD who uses suffering as retribution, a GOD so unhappy with his creation of man that HE began again. I knew only religious fear, that rules were rules, and no matter how hard we tried there was no guarantee that we would please HIM; no guarantee to be inscribed onto the tree of life.
I never had faith growing up, so it’s pretty much my balloon-like life preserver now. It's wavered through my life storms more than a lot, but so far I’ve never let go. I have, at times, slacked the tethering to let it soar. I’ve watched it go higher, and ironically grow smaller.
It’s best to keep faith close to you, revel in the buoyancy. Keeping it too close though, runs the risk of alternate-view obliteration. We don’t need to be absorbed by our faith to the point of blindness. It certainly shouldn’t shut us off from others, keep them out of view. I don’t profess to have all or even any of the moral answers to so many of our current religious and political issues. I’m not about to say what’s right and wrong. I am not a biblical scholar; I am not an authority. I am a constant learner with more questions for each highly interpretive answer I am given.
Through the Bible, GOD has told us his view and shown us his plans. It’s a simple message, really: Love. Love everyone as much as you can, but do not allow that love to sway your beliefs. It isn’t for us to change anyone’s mind or being or to judge. It’s up to us to open our hearts and arms and share and lead and teach. I don’t have much of a problem loving, until betrayal. That’s where my trouble begins. I’ve found that the wrong kind of forgiveness just leads to more hurt. It’s like continually sticking a whetted finger into a live socket and expecting not to be shocked. I’m tired of being shocked, so I eliminate the potential for it. The problem is that no one can be open and closed at the same time. Staying closed definitely leads to less conflict, but it’s kind of lonely that way, too.
I question my faith; how I keep it, how I show it, how I share it… or don’t share it. I figure I am the way I am because that is how I am supposed to be. Years of trying to overcome shyness, speech and physical impediments, stuttering and weight issues have been stressful. I can’t change any of that. I do struggle to keep faith, and sometimes it shrinks small as a mustard seed. But I suppose there’s a “hurrah” in heaven for my stubbornness and an impending “amen” on earth because something good will happen.. someday.