“It’s Been Awhile” by Raymond Roy


It’s been a while since I was on my knees….

Just as I thought the world is only getting colder,
Bowing my head, I felt the weight of the world off my shoulders. 

It reminded me humility waits patiently, but opens the door on bended knee,

as thankfulness, comes naturally. 
Clasped hands pressed together in this place

Reminded me to seek, a state of grace. 
As I finished, 

I had a stubborn smile as I remembered, it had been a while……..It’s been a while since I was on my knees. 

Peace. 

“More CowBell”(‘s) Palsy “Mr. Heavyfoot” 

3 week update . “Mr. Heavyfoot”

So thankful for modern medicine. I feel 90% of my facial/blinking has returned to “normal”. I did want to share and a shift in a few things physically and emotionally after after a 10 day regiment using oral steroids(Prednisolone). All was well until 3 days after stopping taking them. If you are familiar with the comedy skit team, The Kids in The Hall, you will likely be familiar with one,  Mr. Heavyfoot

Mr. Heavyfoot from “The Kids in the Hall “

This is a great depiction of how both my arms and legs feel. The sensation is one of pumping iron to the point of feeling like my arms are going to burst but at the same time, weighing me down like sandbags. 

Emotionally, I am so thankful to have my family around me. A few stresses left me finding it hard to focus and wanting to distance myself and regroup. 

I have a new found respect for those that require steroid treatments such as those with Lupus, and other conditions. Big thanks again to good friends and family for sharing not only best wishes but especially their experiences with Bell’s palsy and Prednisolone. 

Peace. 

Original post  start here 

For those who know me, they have learned to wince when they sensed a bad pun or play on words. My intention is always to entertain and perhaps brighten ones day. A few days ago I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy which I had never heard of and is pretty much as I understand a temporary condition (4-6 weeks). For more information Click Here

From Web MD:”Bell’s palsy is a paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of your face. Damage to the facial nerve that controls muscles on one side of the face causes that side of your face to droop camera.The nerve damage may also affect your sense of taste and how you make tears and saliva. This condition comes on suddenly, often overnight, and usually gets better on its own within a few weeks.”

Bell’s palsy is NOT the result of a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). While stroke and TIA can cause facial paralysis, there is no link between Bell’s palsy and either of these conditions. But sudden weakness that occurs on one side of your face should be checked by a doctor right away to rule out these more serious causes.”

Although I initially felt numbness on my face, I thought it was from our recent trip to the water park where the side of my face was being pummeled by high velocity highly chlorinated water and was simply a reaction to the chemicals.

It was when I was eating the next day that my lips felt swollen and numb, and I kept dribbling liquid out of the left side(right side below) of my mouth when drinking.

Whoa oh, I’m half way there!
As you can imagine, I thought I’d had a stroke. This is when the “me caveman!””me strong” mentality set in. My Dr. confirmed the Bells palsy with a few physical tests to rule out a stroke. Obviously I was relieved am optimistic of a full recovery. With my blogs intention of “breaking chains” I felt it important to share the reality of how men tend to “live in denial” when it comes to their health but unfortunately too many”die in denial” thinking things will just go away. Good advice from my older brother Danny years ago. “Take care of yourself so you can care for those you love.”

On a lighter note, the pun side of my grey matter can’t help but with literally a “stiff upper lip”, appreciate a new found ability to do a impersonation E.G. Robinsons ” Little Caesar“. Edward G Robinson of Ya see,it’s curtains for you! Curtains, ya hear me!”

To Little Caesar, Curtains for me? not quite yet, not yet!

Take care of yourselves.

Peace

Updated 7/3/2017
Update: 

Physically

Blinking: it was like my eye had memory loss, forgetting to do what you take for granted (wipe clean lubricate/protect the eye). Intitially I set an hourly timer, and used artificial tears. I wore and eye patch at night to keep the old guy from drying out. After a few days I used Mineral oil  eye ointment which although at times clouded vision a little, lasted longer and was more comfortable. 

Emotionally 

You take your smile for granted and it was an emotional challenge getting in public, talking to people and noticing that the content of the conversation was secondary to the look you received as they noticed half your face wasn’t moving. 

Thanks to the support of my family and friends. The daily “How’s your face” inquiry from my life partner kept it light, to the wonderful Guardian Angel out there sharing of personal experiences with Bell’s palsy helped me keep my spirits up! I am honored to have you in my life. 

Peace. 

Firewatch

36 years ago I started my journey to earn the title of US Marine. No doubt the yellow footprints come to mind but today, I remember a time through all the the chaos of Marine bootcamp that I found even more surreal than the days that started at 0530 with reville blasting and two minutes to be dressed and on the road to chow. It was Firewatch.

For civilian types, firewatch is basically patrolling the squadbay for an hour while the rest of the platoon sleeps. This was a time of self reflection as in “what the hell did I get myself into?” Walking the squadbay, you could hear the sound of your steps on the the always pristine floors blend in with multiple breathing/snores of your platoon brothers. Approaching the lone mirror at the front of the squadbay aka “the classroom”, you didn’t recognize your own reflection as your physical transformation didn’t take place standing in front of a mirror. Your body felt stronger everyday and at this late hour, it longed for sleep.

Five minutes before your watch was up, you woke up your relief. The last five minutes of duty always felt like an hour.


Whether consciously designed as a time for a Marine recruit to be self aware or not, it was an hour in time that I did just that.

Firewatch: Sleep well America, Marines have been on Firewatch since 1775.

#SemperFi

The Pact By Raymond Roy #writephoto

The Pact
Just as he reached up for the knocker, the door eerily swing open. Deep into the remote cottage yellow sunshine cut into the pitch black recesses. True divided lites in the aged handcrafted wood windows created a checkerboard pattern on the terra-cotta tile floor. In the beams of light, elongated dust particles danced, almost suspended like mosquito larvae in long forgotten stagnant pond. 
 “Enter, I’ve been waiting for you”. 
A sulphur-like scent hung in the air. “Would you care for something to drink?, We have allot to talk about”. 

“Yeah sure,,Scotch on the rocks would be great”

“Scotch? Not a problem,as I am sure you can appreciate, Ice is difficult to keep around here.”
With a nervous dry response, (stuttering)”yeah, I guess forgot about that.” 

“So,,,,,,well done on the Paris agreement”…. “the warmer the world is that you promised to deliver to me, the better.”
“Hey, ya mind if we crack a window open? Getting a little toasty in here.” 

Written for Sue Vincent’s Photo Prompt Thanks Sue! 

The Appointment by Raymond Roy

Window sample packed so tightly into my coupe, I had to lean the front seat forward just to squeeze it in. 2pm in home demo appt. 

“You wait right here young man, I will be right back”. The lady of the house went in to the kitchen. The house smelled old. As I heard her clanking around, I couldn’t help but notice the city citation letter sitting on her coffee table. It listed specific home repairs in lieu of condemning the property. Windows was one of them. As I understood her husband was on the road driving tractor trailer. 

Clanging in the kitchen continued, muffling out what sounded like voices. 

Sitting patiently, tap, tap, tap, an iridescent house fly pummeled its exoskeleton against the plastered wall. Suddenly it dive bombs down into to corner of the room on to what appeared to be a matted rug sticking out from behind an ottoman. Like John Coffey in “the Green Mile” opening his mouth to release the evil he had sucked out of another being, a flurry of flies swarmed out from behind the foot rest. Much like a flock of starlings swirling in the windy autumn day, the flies orchestrated their way toward my side of the room gathering on the unkept glass of the south facing picture window. Looking closer at the matted rug, I realized it wasn’t a rug at all but sadly was the tail of a once beloved family pet. Hmm, 

“Ma’m, everything okay in there? Ma’m? ”

Walking toward the arched doorway, I struggled to get my footing as the well worn shag rug offered little resistance to the soles of my dress shoes. To the left, the front door was to the and to the right a narrow hallway leading to the kitchen. Her back was to me as she continued to bang dirty dishes around. As I walked closer, the voice I had heard was hers, spewing out a series of expletives so graphic it would make a sailor blush. “Ma’m? ” Approaching the rooms threshold, I understood what the clanging was loud, the was no water in the sink nor was any coming out of the tap as she repeatedly went through the motions. 

Through the kitchen window I could see the overgrown back yard. 

“Ma’m”?  

She looked up, put down her pots, as if to surrender, her shoulders sank. I reached out a hand and gently placed it on her back. It was if she had never experienced a human touch. Heavy teardrops rolled down her face ashen cheeks, splashing on the chipped porcelain sink. The last thing she needed was windows. 

The Gift

Crybaby! Quit your whining! You are too sensitive ! Too sensitive? Thanks for the compliment! Seriously, if you have been told this in a negative conatation, You have a gift! Yes a gift! 

A few years back, I read a book about Highly Sensitive People or “HSP’s. 

We all go through adolescence where our hormones are changing, both body and mind are like the Polar Express train going off the rails just trying to make it to the station of adulthood. During this time period, experienced parents know, this is a only phase (this is also called the graying of hair phase for them). This phase is not the the topic at hand. 

As a society, if memory serves, about 30% of society are considered to be HSP. 

If you wear the mark of an HSP you may ask, “how can this be a gift?” 

Indulge me for a moment, 

As an HSP, You see things differently than most others. Standing on a crowded bus, an elderly man struggles to catch his balance and while most others are totally oblivious to his plight, you stand up to render aid. Almost on queue another HSP takes action with you. During that moment not a word is exchanged (let’s call it “HSP vision”), and you know you see the would through the same lenses. This is not to say non-HSPs are insensitive and unfeeling but rather let’s consider the contrast like that of two types of animals, an armadillo and a frog. The “non-HSP armadillo”, it trudges through life, able to endure heat and drought. It has poor vision and not keenly aware of what is going on around it. When the world throws rocks at  it, it has plenty of armor shall we say a thick skin. 


The HSP is like a frog. By taking in oxygen it needs to breathe through the pores of its skin. As it’s environment becomes toxic, it’s struggle becomes evident. Ever on on guard for predators with its large watchful eyes. When the environment is a pristine clean pond, with minimal chaos, it thrives. 


Of late “suck it up buttercup” “go to your cryroom” moments coined in abrasive news feeds poses the question, if this is a gift, how can we a a human race benefit from it? Take heart my super sensitive human being,,historically, we would have known HSPs as noblemen/women. Advisors to kings and heads of state. It was their ability to quickly assess risk in the political environment that earned them their place in history 

Not to say HSP are better but rather play a different role 

The book also talked about one of the burdens that come with being an HSP was to be “overstimulated”. Not being able to shut off your radar is inherent. 

The key to managing this is to withdraw, find a place of quiet and peace until you are able to process all that you have taken it. Just as the thought and acceptance of high sensitivity being a gift rather than a detriment spoke to my inner being, I hope that in some way, it would enlighten others of the same disposition. And for my armadillos friends , all the best! 

Peace 

Thank you to  Elaine Aron for exploring The Highly Sensitive Person in the spirit of understanding. 

“Day in Court”

I was 15 years old, visiting my Dad in Edmonton Alberta during my high school Spring break in Washington State. Strangely He and I went on a shopping spree. Blue plaid suit, deep blue shirt and a white tie. 


The next day we got up early. Dad standing in front of me shirtless freshly shaven, smelled of Aqua Velva, and his fine thin brown hair still wet. A lit Export “A” cigarette hung in his lips, the neglected ash fought the forces of gravity as he struggled to complete a full Windsor knot in my new tie. Looking me over, it was if he was searching for something he had lost long ago. 

Securing each button on his dress shirt, his “Born to Love” jailhouse tattoo on his chest slowly disappeared from sight…….
Sitting in a narrow hallway of a provincial court, for what seemed hours, little did I know, I was to be Exhibit A in his “day in court”. Dull humming of the flickering fluorescent lights was interrupted by a “Click, Clack” as the court door opened. “Raymond, come in here”. Wincing I entered the brightly lit court room. Unaccustomed to the tie, my throat tightened as I saw a room full of serious faces. I sensed that a dialogue had been taking place and I was about to become part of it. My ears were ringing, I felt like I was looking through a fisheye lens. My Dad glancing at me with out making full eye contact. (He was somewhere else mentally) “Raymond,tell everyone how old you are”. 

I blurted out, “15 years old sir”. 

All eyes were on me, still oblivious to what was going on. Through the fog, my Dad was pointing at me, I heard “Your Honor, this how I looked!” “This is how old I was when I was arrested for joyriding in a jeep and sent into general population”! Still a bit puzzled, Dad gave me a quick glance of reassurance, and escorted me back in the hall. 

The story continues with me coming to understand the high level of abuse and mistreatment my Father experienced as a teen while in “custody”. During one particular incident he was forced to clean up the room directly under the gallows. 

I hadn’t heard these details until I was sixteen and with his death shortly after that, I put these stories away. It was too much to carry as a teenager. 
If this was my Dad’s “day in court”. Why had I felt judged? Why did I feel the weight of the chains that seemed to still bind him? 
Was the click of the courtroom door the securing of an emotional lock for which I had not the key? 

What had I done? Answer? Not a damn thing! 
As a teen, part of the burden was simply knowing that injustices such as these even existed. Wanting to rectify the injustice against your loved one is only natural and I had to accept the fact that this was HIS “Day in Court”. Those were HIS choices, and not mine. I would and still have many of my own mistakes to pay for.

There is importance in speaking out against injustice. Getting a “Day In Court” may seem ideal but a sobering fact is that justice as you perceive it may not prevail. 

Secondly, understand who “The Court” is before asking for them to pass judgment. Otherwise, be not surprised when “the judgemental” judge you. 

Finally, as a Dad of 5, the only one wearing a blue plaid suit to MY “Day in Court” will be me.


RIP GJR 

Peace.