A Morning of Mourning…

I’ve learned more in the past couple of months than I had ever hoped to. There are so many things about myself that I’ve never noticed before. Crucial situations can do that to a person. You don’t know what to expect until you’re in a situation. And even when you are in the situation, you still don’t know what to do or what to expect. You find yourself going through life in a kind of “trial by fire” frame of mind, getting burned here, singed there.

I spoke about loss in a previous post: Goodbye to My Girls – https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/goodbye-to-my-girls/ I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was in mourning when I wrote that piece. As a matter of fact, I think I still am. But it’s not the first time. My original surgery date had been scheduled for May 20, 2015. The morning of my surgery was a very emotional one for me. I was not prepared for the wave of emotions that washed over me, literally, as I showered for the last time with all in tact. I found myself feeling overwhelmingly apologetic for my decision to radically address my medical issue. I never imagined I would feel so guilty about it.

I arrived at the hospital, pretty calm as I recall. After all, I had had a very cleansing cry that morning. I had mourned that morning. So I felt pretty clear and a lot lighter. I remember talking to the staff in the operating room. The next thing I remember was the nurse whispering to me gently that the doctor would come and talk to me. I was too out of it to think that there might be something wrong. I felt a soreness on my left side, so I assumed it was from the radical surgery that had been performed. As I emerged from the anesthesia, reality greeted me with the cruelest twist. The surgery had not been performed due to a medical complication. What?!! This had to be the worst kind of joke. Either that, or I must have heard wrong. There was no way that I was put completely under anesthesia for a major surgical procedure, only to awake to find that it had not taken place. The more coherent I became, the clearer the picture came into view. My surgeon made the best call. He didn’t take any chances with risking proceeding forward and I get it. But I wasn’t prepared for the mental fall out of this interruption.

Fate had allowed me to mourn the loss of 2 vital parts of my anatomy and prepare for it mentally. I was thrilled that I had a little while longer to be in tact. But all that really did was mess my head up. I mean, here I sit, writing this piece, and I still don’t feel mentally ready, not the way I did on May 20th. The postponement opened the door for my mind to play tricks on me. I started to toy with the idea that maybe, just maybe, this surgery isn’t necessary at all. Life certainly wouldn’t be so cruel as to play this kind of joke on me, or would it? To say goodbye once is bad enough, but to have to say goodbye again, is more than anyone deserves.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

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Is Support M.I.A.?

Every now and then people do really nice things for one another. Some people are blessed enough to have this happen more times than they can count. Then there are those of us that have a hard time recalling when a gesture was made on our behalf that just blew us away. Well, I’m happy to say that I now know what that feels like.

A very good friend of mine knows all too well my struggle and is often on the receiving end of my ranting. Little did I know that she was gathering information to do the ultimate “good deed”. My friend took the time to research and set up a Gofundme campaign on my behalf and titled it: Hearts Connecting for Sylvia/shortlink: http://bit.ly/1ecBS8O or gofundme.com/heartsforSylvia. I don’t know who was more excited, her or me.

Aside from a handful of very giving people, the most peculiar thing is that the response has not been what we had hoped for. The campaign has been posted numerous times via social media. I am disheartened, disappointed, and down right sad to find that the people I expected to be supportive, are the ones that are quiet as a mouse. It costs nothing to share the link and make others aware of the cause, but that isn’t happening either.

When I view the campaign, it is astounding to me that there have been hundreds of visits to the page, but where is the support? Don’t people realize that a little goes a long, long way? A donation counts whether it’s $5.00 or $25.00, $50.00 or $500.00. Every bit helps and every bit counts. I would never have imagined I would be writing a post like this to express the urgency and the need. I have come to the aid of others on numerous occasions without a second thought. I’ve always been taught that if you’re blessed to give and show your support, than you should pay it forward.

I am trying so hard not to lose faith in people but this instance makes it very difficult. I feel like I’ve been walking a tight rope, slowly and cautiously, all the while thinking supportive people are behind me and there to catch me should I fall. But instead, I look over my shoulder, and not only are they not walking on the rope with me, but they they seem to have left the building. Many of these people I’ve known for many, many years so they know the strength of my character. The life battles that I am now fighting, have inspired me to be more transparent about my life than ever before. It’s not easy to be this open, but it does provide a kind of therapy to release my thoughts. I just need some support to carry the load. I may not be dying or on my last breath, thank God, but it’s a fight every day just to survive. So, I’m appealing to the goodness and selfless nature that I know must exist in most people.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Goodbye To My Girls….

Don’t you just hate goodbyes? Just as you get to know someone or get use to the way things are done, the person leaves or the situation changes. I think this has been the story of my life. It seems like I’m always saying goodbye to someone or something. Sometimes the goodbyes are bittersweet, in that people are moving on to bigger and better things, while leaving me behind. At other times, the goodbyes are just bitter, leaving me feeling like I’ve lost a part of me.

Well, I’m about to embark on the biggest goodbye of my life. The time has come for me to say the dreaded two words, that come together to mark the ending of an era. But this is no ordinary farewell. Honestly, even as I’m writing this, I still find it hard to wrap my head around it. How hard would it be for you to say so long to friends that you’ve known your entire life? These girls have rode with me through thick and thin; true ‘ride or die’ chicks. My girls have been there for me even when I didn’t seem to notice or unintentionally took them for granted. When the chips were down, they stood with me in solidarity, while lending there silent yet powerful support. They made me proud and instilled in me a confidence that made me honored to be represented so well by them. I can only hope that I’ve done them the same justice. Yet, the time has come in my life where I’ve come to realize that things can change, even my girls. My ‘ride or die’ crew is no longer what they once were. They’ve become a danger to me to me that cannot be ignored.

Even as I sit here, writing and sharing about how good my girls have been to me, it makes me so sad to think about what my life will be like without them. Of course, there will be newbies that will rise to the occasion I’m sure, but there will never be another pair to replace the originals, in my heart. I know that they would remain if they could, after all, they’ve been with me from the beginning. But I’ve got to let them go and it hurts in a way like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

So, fellow bloggers, please keep me in your prayers and turn up the volume on Wednesday May 20th, as I undergo radical surgery and once and for all, say goodbye to my girls.

Sylvia Porter-Hall

An Unforeseen Race

 

Pure craziness now surrounds the world of healthcare. This has probably been the case for quite some time now, but it has recently become painfully evident to me. The chaos that is now a part of securing proper medical coverage, simply can’t be made up. I wish that it could but it’s a very real scene for many people; a reoccurring nightmare. It has become a dirty rat race where the people winning certainly are not the recipients of the much sought after ‘care’. The chase is on and many are finding themselves in a vicious cycle that is marred by nasty customer service people and incorrect information. People have become little hamsters running on their tread wheels, forever chasing the ‘illusive affordable healthcare’ programs and getting nowhere fast.

I recall a time, when I wasn’t in the least bit concerned about healthcare. I had a decent job and had worked at the same company for many years. So, healthcare was never an issue for me. But, like in so many instances, life happened and changed my plans. One bad bout with illness can land you in the ‘disability’ pot where you are introduced to all kinds of unsavory ingredients that don’t blend well together. I know all too well because it happened to me.

I don’t know anyone that desires to be in the ‘disability’ pot. Especially, when you’re use to working. Suddenly, you find yourself in a health crisis and can no longer do many of the things you once were capable of doing. Your income is now limited, so you find yourself having to settle for healthcare that has been more or less decided on for you. Honestly, I’ve learned more about healthcare in the past 18 months than I care to know and I must say, I was not prepared.

Just when you think you have the right plan in place, one that satisfies all your medical, dental and prescription needs, the ‘state’ decides to make new change(s) and everything hits the fan all over again. Obviously the people that come together to make these rules and decisions on how healthcare plans will be administered, have not had to run on the tread wheel themselves. Or maybe they’ve forgotten what it feels like. It’s painfully disheartening and disappointing to be kicked while you’re down. It seems the more you need particular components in your healthcare plan, the more options become unavailable to you. It’s like someone is turning a knife slowly in an existing wound, while watching you bleed out slowly. We might as well sign our names in blood. After all, that seems to be the cost to stay healthy nowadays.

I can’t end without mentioning the skimpy dental plans that seem to be becoming more and more streamline by the minute. And heaven help you if you are heading towards your senior years. Do these people not deserve to have comparable and appropriate coverage, just as they would if they were 20 years younger? Do teeth become a non-issue or less important when people become older? I beg to differ. Don’t the ‘powers that be’ realize that if proper dental care isn’t made attainable for everyone, regardless of age, that more people than ever will be in need of affordable health insurance because dental issues can surely result in other health issues. Once again, back on the vicious cycle and around an around we go.

What should ‘we’ the people do? Should we gather names and sign petitions to express our extreme dissatisfaction? Do we write to our politicians? And if we do so, will they hear us? Better yet, will they even respond to us? Who knows what the answers are but there has to be a better way. We live in a great country with so many liberties and freedoms, but many of us are at risk of not fully enjoying these privileges because we are slowly losing our rights, ability and support to stay healthy. If our neighbor Canada can offer free healthcare to its citizens, than why can’t New York State do the same?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Multiple Choice(s)

 

All of us have had to make choices at some point in our lives. Some have been easy and required little to no thought, while others have been difficult and required much consideration. You might be someone who finds it stressful deciding what you’re going to where to work every day. Or you might be the person that undergoes much stress in deciding which shoes go better with an outfit for an upcoming fancy gala. No matter how superficial or crucial the decision(s) may be, a choice has to be made; a stand has to be taken. Now, you can always opt to simply do nothing. But how far will that get you?

According to the Associated Press, a New York teenager by the name of Kwasi Enin has recently been the talk of the  national news media. You might question why? This student found himself in a most unique situation;one that I’m sure was the envy of many. Incredibly, Kwasi had been accepted to all 8 Ivy League Colleges. As if this wasn’t extraordinary enough, he was also accepted to several New York colleges. Is there no end to this teenager’s potential? And just think….he’s just getting started!

Kwasi’s parents, Ebenezer and Doreen Enin, who both emigrated from Ghana in the 80s, have always encouraged both Kwasi and his sister Adwoa to excel academically according the Associated Press reports. Evidently, the message was heard loud and clear! A.P. also states that Yale has always been a top contender for Kwasi in terms of his choice of colleges. A recent visit to this prestigious university’s campus tipped the scale as Kwasi made his decision. He liked the fact that everyone was welcoming and that he had met many geniuses during his visit. Kwasi also noted that Yale’s residential college system is good to all of the students as reported by AP.

The Associated Press reports that Kwasi wrote a passionate essay for his Yale college application where he expresses his love of music. Yes. He is also an outstanding musician! Surprised? Hardly. Even though Kwasi has a great love for music, it is not the direction he is headed. He aspires to become a physician and will be attending medical school.  Wow! Quite a lot to absorb for a student who is only 17 years old. But something tells me that he will do just fine. Kwasi Enin was faced with a huge decision and he had 8+ selections to choose from. After careful consideration, he weighed all his options and made his choice.  How would you handle it if you ever find yourself  faced with multiple choices?

My mother – The Unknown Comic

Everyone has a mother. It would be nice to think that everyone loves their mother. Maybe you have a mother only you could love. Would it be safe to say that nothing or no one can replace your mother’s love? Fortunately, I can say that wholeheartedly. My mother has always been a constant and rock-hard presence in my life. She has fought for me as a child, when I knew nothing of fighting. She came to my school when I was harassed almost every day by the same boy during my 5th year of high school. I remember coming home upset, sometimes in tears, complaining about this ‘same’ boy that continuously bothered me. My mother never hesitated;she would show up at the school promptly as if she were reporting to work. She would in no uncertain terms, let the principal know that there would be problems if she had to keep coming down to the school. I wish now that I could rewind to those times and watch it play out again. I’m sure my mother had the principal and staff in stitches. Especially with what I now know about her natural sense of humor!

I recall a time in my life as a grade school student, the Halloween season was in full affect. The children could wear costumes,bring treats, and their parents were invited as well. My mother showed up that afternoon dressed in attire that was a combination of a hobo and a farmer! I know….can you even imagine?! I just remember being mortified and just staring at my mother as if she had two heads! If I could have run away and denied even knowing who she was, I’m sure I would have. But I was embarrassed, not crazy! At the end of the day I survived, but I think I stayed on guard after that…never quite knowing what to expect from my blossoming comedic mother.

I’ve come to notice over the years, that she just seems to get funnier. And she doesn’t even try to be funny – it just seems to happen.  My mother was recently ill, so I took her to the ’emergency’ room. As soon as it dawned on her that she would be waited on hand and foot, she quickly dug in and got very comfortable with the idea. Please understand, this is not to take away anything from the fact that my mother was ill. She was and gave us all quite a scare. But by the same token, I’m sure the staff were tickled to tears by her, but were happy to say goodbye when the time came!

My mother lives outside of the city;what some consider the country. I live in the city, but have been staying with her while she recovers from her illness. Honestly, there have been a few times where I could have pulled my hair out from the roots…and I love my hair. My mother is not the easiest person to live with, not to mention her current ‘under the weather’ state of being.

I had been on a phone call with one of my sisters. My mother always gets a little jealous concerning our interaction. Still trying to figure that one out but hey, that will probably be another post!(smile)  I was on the phone with my sister, and my mother interrupted the conversation numerous times to say the darndest things that could have waited until the call ended. When that didn’t work, she even went as far as to crouch over as if she was struggling; in the most dramatic fashion. It took every bit of self-control I had to continue my conversation without allowing her to interrupt as was her plan. I had to fight back the strongest urge to burst into hysterical, teary-eyed laughter, but I maintained!

She had a follow-up doctor’s appointment yesterday of which I accompanied her to. She had began making little complaints before we even left the house. She was getting around fine, so I started the car and waited for her to lock the front door to the house and get in. I heard her ever so lightly mumble under her breath that I didn’t even help her get in the car. I just started praying on the spot for God to give me the strength to get through the errands without my head popping off my shoulders. I took the deepest of  breaths as she got in the car and sat in the passenger seat.

When we arrived at her doctor’s office building, she exited the car with her cane (that she doesn’t need mind you) and proceeds to try and cross over to the building by way of the grass and bumpy landscape. I suggested she use the sidewalk to avoid falling, but of course she insisted on doing things her way. There was a small flight of stairs once we entered the building. Now here I am, about to assist her up the stairs after being almost ‘torn a new one’ from not assisting her to the car in the first place. She walked up those stairs with such speed that I almost fell down in shock. I had to quicken my step just to keep up with her. All this, after moping around the house at the exaggerated speed of a snail. My mother the comedic actress! We got to the check-in window and of course, everyone there was familiar with her. They all greeted her at the same time by her first name. You know, kind of like on the sitcom Cheers whenever ‘Norm’ would enter and they would all say, “Norm” together in unison. I was thinking, “where am I?” They were reacting to her like they were her fans and she was of course loving it! I was merely a bystander.

I accompanied my mother to the exam room to help fill in any blanks she might leave out when speaking with her doctor. Her doctor asked if my mother was depressed. My mother thought that was a silly question and pretty much said as much. I, being in the role of bystander as far as my mother was concerned, knew the doctor was on point in asking her if she was depressed. She had been wearing the most ‘woe is me’ expression and demeanor. Why wouldn’t she be asked that?! And out of all the discussion that went on at this appointment, my mom’s main concern was whether or not she could eat ice cream! Okay…that was it! And this appointment was only the 1st of many stops that we had to make on this journey! As you can see, we made it through! I tell you…if my mother weren’t so downright funny, this would definitely be a different kind of post! Gotta love her…and I do!

 

 

Why Microwave Popcorn Is An Absolute Health Nightmare

Thanks to ‘Be Like Water’ for sharing this very informative article. I have never been a fan of popcorn and evidently, that’s a good thing! Read more…..

Be Like Water

Burnt Popcorn

If you or someone you know is still eating microwave popcorn, listen up! I can’t tell you how many countless times I used to eat microwave popcorn when I worked in an office. My co-workers would buy one of those packs from the vending machine in the break room and pop that sucker right into the microwave and the whole floor would smell DELICIOUS! I just couldn’t help myself. It was the one thing in the vending machine that always had to be refilled week after week – way before the stale peanuts.

I’m so glad I stopped that habit, when I finally gave up my use of microwaves, because let me tell you, this stuff is horrible for your health and here’s why… 

The Bag

The bag almost all microwave popcorn varieties come in is lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical is the same toxic stuff found in…

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If you quit, I will support you…..

 

When you read the title of this article, what comes to mind? When it was said to me, it blew my mind! I learned some very sobering truths during what turned out to be an enlightening conversation with a friend. Now, I was already aware that she is a very hardworking person and is very driven in her career and is very successful as a result. She shared with me that her mom has always been against her decision to become a doctor; hence the title of this post. Have you ever heard of such a thing? This would be some parents’ dream; their son or daughter aspiring to become a doctor and working diligently to make that happen.

Nonetheless, my friend’s mom has consistently, even to this day, encouraged her daughter to try other professions; anything other than the medical field. I could only look my friend with pure amazement and curiosity. As I continued to listen, her mother’s thinking began to have a very sensible rationale behind it; one that never occurred to me. It turns out her mom was only trying to spare her daughter the harsh realities of the vicious grind and obscene trespassing that would overtake her personal life; both non-negotiable and unavoidable factors of aspiring to this profession. This truly was an “aha” moment for me! I totally get where my friend’s mom is coming from. But, I still want to know what you think! Would you ever say this to your children, spouse, friend, etc.? Or, would you just let them be?

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