Just before my last entry, I had injured my left knee while trying to keep up with two lines of very enthusiastic people pulling a soon to me megalith at Stones Rising 2014. I didn't know it, but I was about to embark on a year of learning exactly why the stereotypical old person is grumpy.
The knee hurt--quite a lot--so I thought I'd twisted or sprained it, and off to the chiropractor I went. When she and I agreed it wasn't helping, I went to my general practitioner. When, several visits later, we determined that what we'd been trying wasn't helping, I went to an orthopedist. The orthopedist gave me a cortisone shot and prescribed round 1 of PT. The cortisone shot gave me hot flashes for three days and then wore off; the PT was great. The doctor gave me lubricant shots. They didn't work. Finally the doc said we should do arthroscopic surgery. He didn't have a great rep as a surgeon, so I found another one and we did the surgery...where it turned out that yes, I had a torn meniscus, but--far worse-- I had galloping arthritis in that knee. The doctor was irritated that it had not imaged in the MRI or X-ray. Round 2 of PT. I join a gym and ride the bike on non-PT days. PT doesn't work--it helps a little, but not enough to declare me healed. By this point we are towards the end of what has been a miserable camping and festival season. Sometimes I couldn't even stand. I called my doc and we determined that I should get the damned knee replaced.
I can unequivocally say that that was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I can also say that I now understand the meaning of "out of spoons" (if you don't know Spoon Theory, look it up. It will explain a lot about how people with chronic pain deal with the assumptions of people who don't have chronic pain.)
I now know why it's hard for people with chronic pain to be creative. Dealing with pain is exhausting.
I now know who my friends are, and I have a lot of them, with loving hands who picked me up when I couldn't walk, fetched things, and helped me to my campsite when I needed it. They were there for me when I cried out of frustration, and they understood because they knew that I'm not the kind of person who cries in public, that I'm the kind of person who values her independence. I have friends even at Four Quarters outside events: neighbors at a rave which draws 4,000 kids who made me a breakfast sandwich when the EMTs had put me on the disabled list and sent me (in misery) back to bed; friends of long standing from another, much smaller, event, who gave me use of their golf cart and brought me my dinner when I couldn't stand.
I now know that my husband of 27 years is an even more wonderful man than I knew.
Happily, I am back to work on writing and illustrating my next book, The Promethean Oracle. Here are some examples of the latest:
This is Ashurbanial, who was not just the ruthless last king of the Neo-Assyrian period, he was the founder of the first library, which had 30,000 volumes, many of which he hand-picked or wrote himself.
Eziekiel had many powerful visions, but the most famous is the "wheel within the wheel." Well, that's "done", so I focused on the cherubims' wings.
Here is Khaemwaset, the second son of Ramses II and a scholar rather than a warrior. His fascination with the already ancient monuments of his ancestors led to their study and preservation: Khaemwaset was the world's first Egyptologist.
The Minotaur, looking at you.
Unfortunately, the buildup to the surgery, and the surgery aftermath, made it impossible for me to, even with help, sell artwork at Stones Rising or any of the other major events I usually attend. This means I'm going into 2016 without the funds to pay for vending space at my spring events.
To this end I've set up a GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/8hct5dbd I've included gifts for those who donate special amounts too: $50 gets you a pack of greeting cards, and $100 a 5 X 7" print, your choice. You don't have to donate anything, I'm not going to hold it against anyone. But every little bit helps!
Thanks for listening, and enjoy the new art! You can see more at http://badgersoph.deviantart.com .