Updates, Patchkits, Life, and Other Soul-baring Ramblings

Therapy today: good and bad. The therapist thinks the FYG is overdoing it with her therapy work at home (nor surprise)  and the surgeon dismissed her too soon (no duh).  It’s almost 3 months later, and the FYG’s leg is still swollen, gets sore too much, the leg is still inflamed and she is not sure we will see the FYG ever fully able to straighten the crookedness issue.  Her broken leg is almost always a darker color than the non-broken leg, and she still has obvious bruising.

We need to see our regular doctor in order to get a scrip to see another orthopedic surgeon for another scrip for more therapy. All of which I agree with and have wondered about myself. But…. yeah.  It hurts.

The Cherub still has a runny nose.  She’s off of antibiotics, and we go back for another xray in about half a week.


Me? I’m about as crazy and neurotic as I have been for a long time now, I think a tiny bit better, not much worse.

Remember those inflatable Bozo the clowns with weighted bottoms? You punched them and they bounced back up, until, over time, they sort of got deflated and they didn’t bounce back up any more, they grew more and more wobbly and saggy, and then they just quit bouncing back and just laid there on the ground, a colorful but empty pile of airless plastic?

That was me about 7 years ago.  I worked on patching the holes, but then there was what is known by those who name these things as a trigger, and the air just whoofed right out.

I still work on patching,  but life keeps punching holes in my airbag.  Every one of these events is another hole.  Some of them are pinholes, some are slashes.  Sometimes I feel like I finally have the thing all patched up and am just about ready to refill it with air when someone or something comes right along and jabs another gaping hole, and ooof, down we go again.

We all have our own patch kits. There are some things that work for every person’s patch kit, and other things that are quirky enough to only be effective for that particular person. A few years back after a major trauma,  I was in contact with a Christian therapist, and I expressed some concern about the time I spent reading books.  The therapist pointed out that the trauma I’d been through was pretty major and it wasn’t like there was ever going to be an end to it exactly,  and that other people going through similar things take drugs, legal or otherwise, turn to drink, check in to mental institutions,   or worse.  There were plenty of ways to deal with a crisis and spending all day reading through one book after another was not only not the worst way, in that therapist’s opinion, it was one of the best for me at that time.

Some people clean things when traumatically stressed, some eat chocolate, some run, some cook, some read, some curl up in the fetal position with the covers over their heads- some read books.  Some add more whiskey to their coffee, some add a drop of coffee to their whiskey, some seek therapy, some seek prescriptions, some turn to God, some turn to astrology, some turn to bar hopping or sexual partner hopping, some become vegetarian or paleo (the point being not the diet, but a radical change of diet), some pack up their bags and move,  some make jokes, some commit suicide.


One of those things is obviously much better and more effective over the long run than others, some are obviously seriously wrong, but most of them are neutral and it is largely up to the person involved to discover what works best for them in their own patchkit and on their own time scale. Nobody gets to decide for somebody else that they have had more than enough time to deal and it’s time to move on.

My patch kit is a pretty odd assortment of stuff.  It includes, merely in alphabetical order here:

Bible reading


crocheting a single washcloth, and then undoing it and crocheting it again, and then undoing it and crocheting it again, and then…. in this way I have made my favorite ball of thread (which I cannot find again) last five years.

folk music

Foreign language practice

Hearing from friends who are more interested in understanding and less interested in imagining themselves prophets and judges.


K-pop music

Listening to my kids laugh

other foreign dramas (have to be subtitled, watching a show in English in no way works as part of my patch kit)






snuggling grandbabies

Social networking and other internet stuff

talking and/or blogging about stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with why I need a patch kit


tired-housewife-sweeping-floor-vintageThere are a lot of things I regret, like almost anybody who gets to fifty or more.

But one of them?

I really





that housecleaning and exercise don’t work so well for me

as part of the patch kit.


P.S. A different sort of airbag:  I meant to include this K-Pop song earlier- it’s called “I Need an Airbag,” by Tablo of Epik High, and it comes from a very dark time in his life. I found it soothing and helpful at a dark time in my life. I still enjoy it, but it’s not longer precisely where I am:


Translated by Eduipe

I need an airbag.
Before I crash into the encroaching, massive sorrow.

For the nights that I don’t want to be home, taxi driver swerves around the shortcuts.
On radio, the verbose DJ’s on with easy-laugh guests and won’t play music, their conversations drag out.
If it was any other day, I would have asked the driver to change the frequency, well, I don’t have a song I want to listen to anyways.
I mute my thoughts so they can jabber on.
Laughter explodes, trails words that I don’t understand, but seeing as how the rigid taxi driver is chuckling along, it must be trending.
Perhaps I was an island all by myself.
Finally, someone’s request is playing.
It’s a very sad song, one that I once used to really like.
Would he be also by himself,
At a place where a long day sojourns, sleeps for a while?

I need an airbag.
Before I crash into the encroaching, massive sorrow.
I need an airbag.
It’s too late to steer away.

Nowadays, there are tons of things to tidy up, and I don’t get drunk easily either. But then again, it’s not like I avoid going for drinks.
Is it because I don’t want to be alone?
Or is it because I want to be visibly alone?
Loneliness is only natural for me.
Even if there is someone by me, would there be enough of me to share?
It’s a question mark that I don’t want to hang on.
But thankfully that’s when a loud voice on the phone latches onto my ears. Sounds like the planned get-together got cancelled.
As the taxi driver grumble away off phone, my eyes wander to the family photo tacked on to the taximeter, crooked.
Is it because I’m without home or path to walk down on, that I wander?
Or is it because I don’t have anyone waiting for me, even though I’ve got plenty of places to be

I need an airbag.
Before I crash into the encroaching, massive sorrow.

I need an airbag.
It’s too late to steer away.
I guess I’m all alone again.
I guess I’m all alone again.
I guess I’m all alone again.

Once again.
I guess I’m all alone again.
I guess I’m all alone again.
I guess I’m all alone again.
Once again.

I’m precarious right now.
I’m dangerous right now.
Don’t hit me.

When did it start, looking out the window
Rain’s already pooled around on the streets, as if it’s been raining for a while.
Then I see the reflection of the electronic board by the side of the road.
Why is it then the tears swell up, at the thought of you, who must be living just fine.
How lonely the number 1 looked tacked on next to the word ‘death’
I need an airbag.
Before I crash into the encroaching, massive sorrow.

I need an airbag.
It’s too late to steer away.
It’s the kind of night when I miss you. My heart, rains and slides.
I need you, yes I need you, my airbag.

I guess I’m all alone again.
I guess I’m all alone again.
I guess I’m all alone again.
Once again.

I guess I’m all alone again.
I guess I’m all alone again.
I guess I’m all alone again.
Not again.

If you’re interested in what sent Tablo careening out of orbit into that dark place where he needed an airbag, I blogged about it here.

But be sure to read about his comeback, too, which I blogged about here.

It was fascinating to me that separated by gender, a generation (I am old enough to be his mother), thousands of miles, and cultures which are a world apart and dealing with different sorts of issues altogether,  he was able to still come up with word pictures that completely resonated with me and my feelings about it all.

I need an airbag for life, because I keep crashing into the encroaching, massive sorrow.

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  1. Posted April 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Reading books has been my “patch kit” for years too. Books of varying type have helped me over the years. Reading blogs, more than my writing them, has been extremely helpful. When I was younger I used to play the piano and listen to classical music. Another thing that has helped me is looking out over our village and thank the Lord for the blessings that He has given me. That used to be hard to do, but now thankfully it is much easier. I marvel often at how God helps and the variety of ways He sends that help.

  2. 6 arrows
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    All I can say is, this resonated with me on many levels. Thank you.

  3. Posted April 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Boy, I know just what you mean about patch kits and getting more deflated as we age and life deals us more blows. My patch kits are Bible Study, being outdoors just sitting and enjoying nature, working in my garden, feeding the birds and squirrels in my back yard, reading, listening to music, creating something through either beads (like earrings) or crocheting or knitting, or (this is really bad) shopping for things I don’t need and probably will never live long enough to use because I already have several – like fountain pens and various color inks, and pretty notebooks; taking pictures. Thank God I have a lot of patches –
    I’m mostly a loner so my patch kit doesn’t include much other people interaction, unfortunately. I also do not like to diet or exercise, but absolutely have to or I’m going to live a much shorter life and one which won’t be very enjoyable, however long it lasts……oh – I also love organizing. Just going through my desk drawers and touching all my “stuff” and re-arranging it.

  4. Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow. I so recognize myself in these words!

  5. shari
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    when the (grown) kids come in for a visit and they see the pans all lined up on the countertop, with shiny, shiny, sparkly copper bottoms facing up, they know I’ve been upset. If I could just put that energy to the back closet . . . .sigh.

    You have assembled a wonderful patch-kit. You will not fall and not get back up. It might take time, but you will feel upright again.


  6. elizabeth
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I clean when I’m completely unhinged. It gives me something to control. It doesn’t fix it. It often makes it worse. It just gives me something to do with myself until I get a handle on myself. I craft and bake/cook and I give crafts and food to friends or others that need a nice boost. When I’m under all the pressure in the world, when the depression and anxiety get too much, I help others…I get outside of myself. I only recently learned to talked to a friend of mine about things. And I stress eat-less good for me but satisfying in the moment I’m learning to cook for myself instead of eating something packaged when I want to stress eat.

  7. selfanalyst
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    “Nobody gets to decide for somebody else that they have had more than enough time to deal and it’s time to move on.”

    Best.Line. Ever.

    Take your time and realize that patch kits evolve just as people and situations evolve. You are fine, God loves you.

  8. Lesia
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I read lots of blogs and rarely ever comment on any of them, but this one struck a chord with me. I loved the image of the inflatable clown always bouncing back until it just couldn’t bounce back any more. What a perfect analogy for how I feel right now. I love your list of ways you cope with all the issues that you are dealing with. Maybe I’ll borrow some of your ideas. My list includes hot baths, long walks, sudoku puzzles, and keeping a thankfulness journal. I’m praying that God will give you strength and peace in your journey.

  9. Kimberley
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I take stuff out and organize my closet when I need to come to terms with something. It’s kind of slash and burn because I donate a ton of stuff. Then I feel better looking at the extra space. I like to leave a shelf or drawer completely empty as if that is where I am storing all the gunk that needs to be dealt with.
    While it is a useful type of patch it would be more useful if I cooked or scrubbed toilets–although I once had to deal with a pretty mean woman at church and took a toothbrush to my kitchen sink like my life depended on it. That faucet shone for a good long time with just the occasional wipe down. Not worth the mean woman though.

  10. Elena
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    What kind of crochet thread is it? I have a decent sized stash….

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      That’s the problem. I don’t really crochet anything. I bought this at one of those big close out stores- the kind that bring in whatever somebody else is getting rid of, and you buy it while you’re there, because you won’t see it again. I bought it because it was cheerful, and I wanted to try crocheting. I bought three, um, things of it. I’ve used two and gave away the washcloths and a couple of hats I made from it, and now…. I am on my third. But I tossed the wrappers long ago and have absolutely no idea what it is, who made it, or anything. And since it makes me happy, I just crochet and unravel, crochet and unravel- kind of like Ulysses’ wife, only for different reasons.=)

      • Elena
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        I definitely get the mental therapy aspect of it. I have knitted about a zillion dishcloths for the same reason. 😀 But if you ever get a chance to take a picture of the yarn, do post it (here or on FB) and someone might recognize it!

        • Headmistress, zookeeper
          Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Here’s a pic!

  11. Lynn
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    “Patch Kits”…gosh, I like your term…and your “Patches”…

    re the injury, I have to admit, the leg sounds concerning.

    Everything you describe sounds very concerning. I hope you are able to find some other Physiotherapists/Doctors to ask for new suggestions. It seems like what is going on, is not quite the ticket, so to speak.

    Can I ask how crooked it is? where? is it a muscle contracture type thing, or is the bones set wrong/moved and grown crooked?

    that swelling and discolouration sounds really worrying too…Has anyone (medical) had any thoughts on that? Sure would worry me.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      The crookedness is that the knee and ankle don’t quite align. if her knee is straight, her foot turns out to the right. Lots of people do this naturally (one of her sisters, for instance), but she never did before. The therapist she saw today says that sometimes the bone just grows back the way, but there are some exercises she can try that might encourage help. I am not explaining it well.

      I think the therapists are right about one problem being she is overdoing her home therapy. That’s the kind of kid she is, very physically driven. This week she was trying swing dancing again. She carries babies around, and goes up and down the stairs without crutches (and she won’t use a cane), and insists she is fine, even when I see her limping more and more throughout the day. I really do think that stuff adds to the swelling and discoloration, because it does come and go.

      And yes, we should be seeing a totally different surgeon soon.

      • elizabeth
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        From what you’re describing, she definitely is overdoing it she sounds very intelligent and very determined. She will overcome. At all costs. I pray you find a doctor that can help and that can convince her to ease up. Pushing at it when it’s hurting just makes it hurt more. But I also understand she is a teenager and teens don’t always want to do what’s best for them. I will keep your struggles with this in my prayers.

      • Lynn
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        gosh, yes, sure does sound like overdoing it is contributing.

        when you see the next Surgeon/Doctor, maybe it would be possible to ask for a new x-ray/MRI to see if the bones are all line up proper.

        good luck in finding the “right” Doctor and Therapist. It is tough, they all have a ton of patients (thousands?), so to get them to focus strongly on one (your daughter) is sometimes not easy.

        she is lucky to have a Mom who is noticing these things, and thinking about what they mean/what to do/finding the “right” doctor. It has become necessary (maybe always was) to advocate for “the Patient”.

      • Lynn
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        sorry, just read your reply again, and it hit me
        “The therapist she saw today says that sometimes the bone just grows back the way”

        doesn’t that sound (the comment) like she is saying that the bone is then out of place/not aligned properly?

        maybe it was not “set” straight?

      • Donna
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        This just breaks my heart. We watched a dear friend’s daughter do the same thing. It is hard to corral a young person who is only thinking about right now. Unfortunately, sometimes the damage they do lasts a lifetime and I don’t think they bargain for that when they do it. We’re still praying for her. (((hugs)))

        • Headmistress, zookeeper
          Posted April 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          That’s one of the (many) problems with the ‘right to suicide’ crowd or the Hemlock society types- and the two songs I shared by Tablo illustrate it well- making long term, permanent decisions based on ‘right now’ thinking is seriously flawed, dangerous, and just wrong.

          The difference between the man who wrote Airbag and the man who wrote Up is a couple of years.

      • Posted April 5, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        I broke my left fibula and had surgery last April (I’m Connie at Smockity Frocks’ daugher so you might have known about it from her blog). I still had noticeable swelling after long bouts in the car during our family vacation at the end of August and I felt like I noticed slight discoloration up until I had the plate removed in December. Now I’m 4 months out from that and it still seems to swell some if I am unusually active (working out a lot etc) but I have no discomfort from it and my doctor, who is amazing, said it looks excellent and it has aligned and healed about the best that could be expected. So some swelling/discoloration may be normal for quite a while after the injury.

  12. Amelia
    Posted April 5, 2014 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    I resonate with this post. I do feel less resilient as I get older. It is one of many reasons our time as missionaries in the Philippines is coming to a close after 20+ years. Sometimes I struggle with guilt over it, but most of the time I’m confident God has another place for us to devote our time and energies. I have a patch (one of many) which I use sometimes when life feels out of control. I starch and iron my pillowcase. I love crisp, line dried cotton sheets and ironing the pillowcase is just a tiny bit of OCD I can indulge in without expending too much time or energy and it just makes me happy.

  13. Katie Jo
    Posted April 5, 2014 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    So that’s why I read so much. Excellent post, thank you!

    Fortunately washing dishes can be therapeutic for me, particularly with really good dish soap, but that’s just about the only kind of cleaning that is. I also have a tendency to go on long walks when upset. Hard to do when I am the only one home with 4 children under the age of 7. I have to take them with and that kind of defeats the purpose of collecting my thoughts. I wonder if the patch kit can change over time, or using different patches at different phases of life.

  14. Lori
    Posted April 5, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    May God deeply bless you today for the great encouragement you give to me and many others in sharing deeply from your own life. Yes, a patchwork box. So many wonderful analogies and reminders all throughout your post. Rich with grace and comfort.

  15. Posted April 5, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink


    I art journal. It’s very therapeutic. I wish cleaning did it for me too.

  16. Donna
    Posted April 5, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I think the most important part is to keep patching, which you are doing. Those times you made progress (before being deflated again) mean something…you ARE making progress! Do not give up.

  17. shelley p
    Posted April 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    God, you and other blogs written by inspireing ladies are my patch, reading them keep me going and encourage me to keep going. I’ve just started seeing a therapist from our local hospice, she says I’m like someone with post traumatic syndrome..great!!! two disabled boys who health is assessed on what its like when then wake up…and then moment through moments…day and night….constantly changing and constant hospital appointments, 130 last year in total…so really sympathise with you.. thank you for blogging about this, at least I know I’m not the only one who have times of struggle. Thank you.

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