Getting through setbacks: patience, my dear, patience

October 20, 2023

I cannot believe that it has been 2 months since my last post. Today I realised that it was high time for an update. I have been struggling with health issues that have prevented me to paint. And oh how I miss it! To make up for my long absence I am posting a photograph I took a few days ago whilst up at the crack of dawn. This is a sunset as seen from our yard. A the saying goes: “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning”. It was confirmed, we had rain for most of that day. My flower beds loved it, me, not so much, then again: one appreciates the return of sun and warmth all the more after the rain is over!

It was a 10 second moment when the rising sun was able to send some beams of red light through the rain-bearing morning cloud. I can see this as a painting! Some day…

To update you a bit about my situation: early in life I was the lucky recipient of the family disease of migraine. I have learned to live with the attacks, that would debilitate me for days on end when I was younger. Pills lessened the headaches and if I gave myself the peace and quiet to recover, as opposed to being busy again as soon as the primary symptoms subsided, it was manageable.

If you follow this blog, you know that we moved out of the Greater Toronto Area earlier this year. And for some reason, from the first day in the new rental, my migraines came back with a vengeance – after a 2 year absence. And they had changed. The headaches were not too bad, but the brainfog, sluggishness and trouble finding words that accompanied the attacks were a new symptom and simply terrifying. When they decided to become a weekly guest in my life, and sometimes even more frequently, I was wiped out for months. And I started to worry.

Normally, if you can call it that, I would be able to track down what the cause of an attack was. They typically hit after a stressful event or period, almost like a release valve. But this time around, I was unable to find a link.

Today I am almost 3 months ‘in remission’ thanks to working very closely with my wonderful homeopath, Dr. André Saine, from Montreal. We seem to have found a remedy that keeps the attacks at bay and slowly, slowly I am starting to regain energy. I even started painting again – the delight!

Another setback 🙁

But then something went wrong with my shoulder. My right shoulder. The shoulder that plays a pivotal role in all my artistic activities. And I had to stop doing a lot of the things I loved to do. The diagnosis is a combination of “Osteoarthritis of the shoulder” and impingement of the tendons. which means there is ongoing damage of the shoulder cartilage that causes significant pain and disability.” I am not dancing with joy, but I am trying to make the best of it now.

Canada’s doctor drama

In our new location the drama of shortage of medical practitioners is painfully visible. NO doctor is admitting new patients. I am lucky that my old doctor is willing to work with me remotely or else I would be limited to the Emergency Department of the Hospital or a Walk-in Clinic. Both ‘collect’ a number of patients first, then do triage (which patient to help when) if you are lucky (or you have a serious injury) you are not sent home to come back another day. This is where we are with healthcare in Canada… Not enough doctors. And why? It beats me. I know doctors work hard to earn a good living. I also know that the government subsidises them based on the total number of patients they have one file, whether they see them or not. So one would think that money is not the issue. Does nobody want to aim for a job in the medical sector? And if so, why?

Plenty of inspiration…

Back to my diagnosis: what does it mean for my painting activity? I have been thinking about it. I am not supposed to do things that hurt. So my plan is to try and do short painting sessions of 10 minutes or so and then stop. Which is really tough when you are just getting in the zone! I will have to set a timer or something like that, because, pain or no pain, once I get going I often lose track of time and then pay for it with a useless shoulder the rest of the week.

I am not exactly lacking inspiration either! I have 4 new works on my easels, in varying stages of completion. All are supposed to be part of a series entitled ‘Emotions’, that some galleries have expressed an interest in. My easels are patient – I hope the galleries are as well.

The joy of photography

In the meantime, to find an outlet for my creative urges, I bless the camera of my iPhone. I never wander around our new area without having it ready. And there is much to see around here. Even in my own bathroom. The other day I was taking a bath and while staring at the fake-marble tiles of the shower, I found the face of an old man, he is probably lying doen. Do you see his closed eyes, his moustache, his nose?

Or this: art by mother nature on the beach, where the waves leave patterns in the sand:

And finally, a detail of a cherished object I have at the house. Applause for those of yu who can tell what this detail is from… give it a shot and let me know what you think!

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