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I talked to Dr D about this as well as my nurse. Both were quite shocked by it. My current CNA has been showing up for work. She does good work, learns quickly, doesn't burn my food or anything like that. As a matter of fact, she cooks pretty well.

Friday I was sitting at the table eating bacon, pancakes and eggs. As I chomped, myself the CNA shocked me with, "You can be the daddy. Can I call you daddy?" This is the same CNA that months ago said I look like a lesbian stud. Now she has asked to call me daddy! I reminded her that there is nothing masculine about me and that we are not playing house.

The same day my nurse visited and the CNA up and left the house 3 times while her supervisor nurse was here. She took 2 phone calls while the supervisor nurse was here. I was shocked that she behaved that way. If my supervisor was around I think I'd watch myself, but not her.

The nurse and I discussed her performance. I said that her work is fine but it'll be her mouth that gets her fired! This CNA won't last long. I can't tell you how disturbed I am by what was said. It's not ok to call me anything but Faith.

6

It's nearly 11pm. I'm still up thinking. I feel so desperate and depleted and tattered.

Yes, I'm relieved I don't have to do another surgery and I'm relieved that there's no bone infection, but I'm also exhausted from the fight. Exhausted from keeping my head up as I tread the waters of chronic illness and chronic pain.

The first 12 hours of being in the ER when they thought I had Osteomyelitis, I thought, oh man I don't want to do this. I was so scared but I knew I'd have to get in the zone and muster up strength, but I sure didn't want to. I just wanted to go home and have a regular life. I want the kind of life I assume exists. Most of all, I want to fall asleep effortlessly. No thinking. No flashbacks. No unrelenting pain.

My body is marked with bruises from daily blood thinner injections. I've got small hematomas on my swollen stomach. My feet are scarred up and look like someone dipped them in black ashes. My fingers are numb, my hair is thin and my eyes are weak! My heart is heavy and tired of being sick. Lupus sucks.

I try not to write like this for fear of sounding pitiful, but this too is a very real side of illness. We all fall. I've fallen.

Chronic illness wears a person down emotionally so that all they want to do is sleep and escape. I just want to sleep and escape but night time brings more pain. I swear if I could take my legs off and put them up for the night, that's what I'd do. If it stops the pain then that's what I'd do. After so long it drives me crazy. I just want to scream, "Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Stop hurting!" Argh!!!

It's going to be a long night, this one. And yeah, I'm going to kick in to coping skills but dang it I'd rather just fall asleep in a way that resembles normality.

I'm not strong tonight but there's always tomorrow.

Faith

2

I smiled every time the doctor or nurse walked in the room. I smiled at the Radiologist, Podiatrist, Hematologist, Wound Team and the vampire, blood sucking Phlebotomist. I'm not an easy stick and hate getting my blood drawn, thus the name calling. Anyway, I smiled at them all, genuinely, because I was greatful for good care.

The partner of my outpatient Podiatrist saw me at the hospital. That doctor did the same as her partner, she did the debridement without numbing the area first. I hate that! I wonder if they've ever felt it? If so, they'd know that it hurts terribly. The other two times it was done by her partner I managed bc I couldn't feel much. This time I cried pretty hard because I felt that razor slice each time. She finally stopped. I was quite relieved. The second time she came I didn't smile at her. I couldn't.

I'm thankful to everyone from the person who cleaned my room to the CNA's who brought warm blankets. I was treated well by doctors, nurses and transportation personnel. The best way to show it was to smile and say thank you.

Thank you to the individuals who knew I was in the hospital and wished me well and offered prayers. You are very much appreciated.

Faith

1

It occurred to me the other day that I expected to be healthier than this and more functional. I don't know why I expected it but I did. It never occurred to me, even while in the hospital under those circumstances, that I'd lay here like *this,* feeling like *this*. What on earth was I thinking, really? Why didn't it dawn on me that it could stay ugly?

I had a lot of questions a year ago. Some of my curiosities were simple. Will I ever cross my legs again? And, will I ever dance again? The answer is yes. I can do both. I wanted to be able to go moss hunting and look for mushrooms and lichens. I looked forward to seeing all the little creatures associated with these types of natural settings. Thankfully, I've gotten to do all of these things again. It's been wonderful regaining these joys. But does it mean I can hope for better health or should I be satisfied with good days and leave it at that?

I struggle to see my life as more than Lupus and chronic illnesses because daily there's a nurse's aide in my home whose presence alone says, "You're sick." The nurse's visit twice a month in my home, plus a bunch of medications all scream, "You're sick." So I struggle to remember just what else I have. This is why my Gratitude Drawing Journal is so important to me. I can list all the thing that make me happy, calm and content. I can draw and paint positive feelings and experiences so I never have far from me just how often my life is good.

Yes, I expected better, more health. I expected to feel better than this but what I don't have in health I do have in loving friends, sustenance and covering, spirituality and joy! You know what? I never expected this. 😊

Faith

2

I really needed my doctor to say it's going to be ok, but that's not the update I got today. I'm literally shaking. He used the word surgery. I just closed my eyes. My heart dropped. Here we go! No amputation, just an outpatient surgery to do whatever to the wound site and then close it up so it heals better. It's been 2 months, two long months and it's not healing enough he said.

Last night the pain was as bad as when I was in the hospital, before the amputation. This pain is no joke! For now, I've sworen off walking because it hurts so badly. The Podiatrist made a few suggestions for after the surgery for what he may be able to do to help with the pain. Unfortunately, the procedures can't be done with my foot this way, so I have to wait.

I'm just in shock. This thing took on a life of its own. It started off small and started to double and triple. It got crazy before finally the infection cleared up. But the wound, as long as it's not healing, can get reinfected. Nobody wants that. So a minor surgery happens so that nothing bigger and even more severe will result.

I'm going to allow myself to fall apart and roll around in fear and pity for just a little bit. Then I'm going to put my big girl panties on an fight like nobody's business!

Faith

Dr. D and I discussed the possibility of me painting almost daily at set times. This would allow me to know ahead of time what to expect. I need set times for things as well as lists to feel more control over my environment and situation. Setting a specific time to paint and doing it has helped me to relax more while painting. There are no expectations. No pressure to produce view worthy materials. The goal is to create and to risk. At first I was concerned about wasting paper and paint but truthfully, I have plenty of both so paint I will.

I've learned a few things over the years about size and media for my personal use. If I use paper that is too big then the project is overwhelming and may not be completed. Paper that is 8 x 10 is usually undaunting, however, there are times I'm so closed up that I need 5 x 9. These sizes also mean if I'm confined to the bed I can still paint with relative ease.

I know for a fact that I'm a paper artist. I love paper, especially textured papers. Oh they just do something to me. Pencil, pen, brushes and other tools are musical as they hit different textured paper. I absolutely love it.

I've been asked if I paint on canvas and create larger art but the answer is no, I usually don't. I'm not comfortable with creating larger art. There's been so much discussion on this subject but the bottom line is this: I am an artist who creates smaller works on paper. Staying within these bounds means I stay true to my craft. It allows me to freely paint instead of attempting to become something I'm not. When I allow myself to paint at a size comfortable for me, I am able to express myself and risk creatively.

Be More by Sundrip

"Be More" is a 7 x 10 watercolor and ink piece created in a wire bound Canson notebook. The art therapy piece expresses the need to bring my emotions to a more balanced view.

I see myself in such a negative light and demand a lot of myself. I'd like to lose the idea that there's something fundamentally wrong with me and get closer to the balanced view that I'm just a flawed human being like everyone else.

After creating the piece free style, with no expectations, I looked at it and began to write what it brought up. The first thing that came to mind is that it's disorganized and very raw. This didn't feel negative to say. It seemed to reflect how I've been feeling lately, disorganized and like I'm just flailing about like a fish out of water. I noticed that the two people dominate the picture. They hold hands and share a small red flower. Though both have a missing foot, one has her mouth open and the other is closed.

As I began writing words like disorganized, fearful, disliked, desperation and paranoid, it occurred to me that I should write how I'd like to be and ways that I am at times. The other side of the paper includes words like risk, flexible, fluid, acceptance and giving. Right between the two figures and by their feet is the word 'integrate'. This reflects my desire to be more harmonious with reality. Reality is that I'm not all bad or all good. Things are no so black and white with me.

Be More detail 1

Of all the words that were written, one sticks out the most. It is the only word that appears in all capital letters and that is the word BURDEN. I ...feel...like...a..burden to others! It'll be quite the struggle to get that emotion in check.

It felt really good to complete this art therapy piece. I like free style painting. I like adding converse words/ideas that turn the piece into a learning and mindful experience.

Faith

Today could have been worse but it wasn't. My water heater leaked all over the carpet. They had to give me a new one. It took about 5 hrs to complete the task. Now I've got a big fan on the carpet drying it.

Nothing got destroyed but the day has been long and full of visitors. My apt is tiny so 2 maintenance men in and out plus me and a CNA was a lot. It's been a long day. The fan will stay on all weekend, too. Argh. Could be worse. Nothing got ruined.

Today has made me aware of the need to protect my art a little better. I've got it in an area that feels safe for it, but I want to put it in a plastic tote to secure it even more. I would be devistated if anything happened to my two files of artwork.

The two files I have only hold legal size papers which is good bc I don't do large art. The files let me store artwork for sale and art therapy pieces neatly and efficiently. I love my little filing systems. I literally store hundreds of pieces on the shelf but now I'll take those systems and place them in plastic totes so I feel more secure.

My CNA and I left after a bit bc the noise got too much for me. We went to the store and avoided much of the stress here at home.

Faith - dry and safe 😊

sunflower visions fma

Title: Sunflower Visions
Art by: Faith Magdalene Austin
Medium: Watercolor and colored pencil on watercolor paper
Size: 9 x 10 inches, 
Finish: Signed, dated, unmounted
Style: Surreal, Abstract, 

Art details: Sunburst, faces, swirls, eyes and hands reaching out are just part of what you'll see in this colorful, jam packed art piece. Lively orange, vivid purple, lime and sage green glow beside sunflower yellow. This is a visual feast, a mindscape, a surreal watercolor art piece. 

"Sunflower Visions" and other original art can be found in my Etsy shop at www.sundrip.etsy.com. You may also contact me for a PayPal invoice.

Thank you for visiting SUNDRIP - Art for Life

wild things fma

Title: Wild Things
Art by: Faith Magdalene Austin
Medium: Acrylic collage on heavy cardstock
Size: 9x12 inches, 
Finish: Sealed, signed, dated, unmounted
Style: Collage, Surreal, Abstract Figurative, raw

Art details: Cut outs of my own art have been arranged to create "Wild Things." Sunflowers, koi fish, African faces, Asian faces and more have been mixed together in a wild collage. This is a visual feast, a mindscape, surreal art piece. 

"Wild Things" and other original art can be found in my Etsy shop at www.sundrip.etsy.com. You may also contact me for a PayPal invoice.

Thank you for visiting SUNDRIP - Art for Life

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