Sometimes life is not all that it’s quacked up to be.

I like this photo. Even though it's kinda quacked up.

 Gosh.  I am going to repeat the headline, just in case you missed it.

Sometimes life is not all that it’s quacked up to be.

You’ve experienced this in your own life at times?

The feeling that you want life to be different from how it presents itself.  That such-and-such shouldn’t happen.  That everything should be rose-colored and delightful, happy and joyful, OK, not just joyful–how about blissful, too?

At other times we try to just accept how life is in its changing forms, trying to invoke a greater wisdom or power.

I’ve been hearing sad stories the last couple of days.  From friends.  Stories that make your heart want to just–break.  Stories of marital challenges.  Stories of health challenges.  Stories of personal challenges.

Don’t you sometimes just want to throw your arms around the world and whisper, “Heal, please heal…”

What advice can you give a friend when everything seems so muddled and confused?  Sometimes the best advice is simply to be a listening presence who agrees that life is not all happy quacking.  To listen deeply, and to respond from the heart, even though you don’t know if your words are right or wrong, will help or hinder or possibly heal.

As many of you know, Barry had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last Wednesday.  The surgeon found two cartilage tears and lots of arthritis. It’s healing nicely.  His surgery for his left knee is scheduled for the day-before-Thanksgiving.

His left knee has been getting worse and worse.  The man can hardly walk at times, I tell ya. 

Last night the pain in his left calf increased.  It was not good.  I felt like my heart would break for the months and months of pain he’s experienced.  His lower leg swelled to twice the size of the surgeried leg.

We were thinking blod clot.  Oh no.  That would not be good.

He went to the doc this afternoon for a nice ultrasound session.

Fortunately, no clot.

Instead it’s something called a Baker’s Cyst.  In his left knee.  And it’s burst, causing swelling and pain.

It takes three weeks to heal.

Just in time for his next knee surgery.

I sat up for two hours on the couch last night, feeling the hurting of the world and breathing my heart into it.

Blessings to all those who are suffering today. 

Flee, pain, flee...

Hope things are looking up again soon.

Hope life is all quacked up to a good place soon, dear hurting ones.

Readers, what do you do when you’re sitting with a hurting friend or the hurting world?  Do you have any advice to share?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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44 Responses to Sometimes life is not all that it’s quacked up to be.

  1. Sybil says:

    Oh Kathy, I do love that first duck image, and your words. You are thoughtful and caring.

    Life can be so hard.

    Advice ? Listen. And let the person know you care. And listen some more. And if they need/want, give them a hug. Or let them hug you.


    Hope Barry’s knee improves.

    • Kathy says:

      That is good advice, Sybil. I am glad you like that crazy quacking duck. Barry is doing better today. Yesterday wasn’t a good day, but today is. Thank you.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear that Barry is in so much pain. Wishing fast healing and a quick recovery after his next surgery.
    Lots of vitual hugs to both of you.

    • Kathy says:

      Gosh, I really didn’t write this post wanting a lot of sympathy for Barry–was thinking more about the general world–but appreciate all your good will. Thanks for the hugs. We’re needing it, some days.

  3. Susan Derozier says:

    What I would do is send out a beautiful Kathy blog and attach stunning pictures to transport those hurting into a healing space. You truly do that everyday Kathy with your loving heart and eyes that “see.”
    Please pass on my wishes for relief and healing to Barry. Will his second surgery be a knee replacement?
    Gibran said “breathe into the ethers and I shall be revived.” Thank you for breathing into the ethers and reviving us all. Hope to talk soon.

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, with everything you’ve been through, Barry’s procedures seem like nothin’. (OK, don’t tell Barry I said so!) We are both more concerned about you… His second surgery is another arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. They won’t even talk knee replacement for a while yet. Sigh. I like Gibran and will hold tight to his words, along with breathing for all of us.

  4. P.j. grath says:

    What can you give a hurting friend besides a listening ear? Presence. Touch. Love. Patience. I’m so glad Barry did not have a clot!!! David has a very bad knee, too, so everything you write today strikes home with me. Bless you both, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, I so agree. I am also feeling sadly for David’s knee. May his journey be easy. May he be protected. May the doctor easily and gently help repair his tears & pain.

  5. Elisa's Spot says:

    I think that marketing gives us this delusion that everything ought to be quackin’ spanky. AND that we are someone deficient if we are NOT said quackin’ thus creating the false idea of sufferin, which the marketers like as they use fear to cause a ‘need’ to heal and to be brand spankin new, because they create an ‘ideal’ as a norm. And we eat it up. Ok we is a bad word! I do NOT eat it up. I spit and I snarl and I refuse and I wait for others to wake the heckle and jeckle up from delusions that a mental ward would medicate! (stamps foot so there!)

    I don’t really care for the all is well school either. Especially when it isn’t true.
    I’m not at all perfect, except perfectly imperfect. For me, sometimes I get lost in that outside poo, that is poo that I simply cannot change and I am left to recognize that I can or cannot and what tool do I have to do the next right thing. (or sit still, which, I have come to see IS sometimes the next right thing.) Physical, mental, and emotional indignities give so many opportunities for humans to stand up, to use the tools our Creator has provided, to go big, to see past a moment if we need it that way. OR to go very very small, as in wading through physical pain with a part of breath at a time–or noticing the endless things that happen on a simple intake of air, and realize one can go even smaller. I’m laughing as I type this. Telling part of myself oh yay the high horse lady is out! But that is ok, the screaming swearing at God that I’ve had ENOUGH, and would like some assistance OR some assistance noticing the assistance that I already have is also chattering. The one who goes small is just glad for nice steam on the stove for comfortable heat. 🙂 You and your family are very special to me. I cannot take your places, but I can keep walking alongside of you! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      The interesting part of this, Elisa, is that I can agree 100% with you, and yet also recognize that underneath all our shifting and moving and crazy emotions–if we just tune into it–is a cadence of spiritual joy which never is born and never leaves. I don’t yet know how to reconcile this spiritual joy with the emotions and feelings which rise and fall, fall and rise. Like you, I will not deny the feelings, yet I will not deny that underlying joy, either. Will choose to highlight different aspects as it seems right…but have not yet figured it out, and maybe that’s the point. **smiling**

      • Elisa's Spot says:

        YES! I’m not sure that I look so much at the reconcile within myself BUT when I exhibit it with some others, they don’t get how I can be both at the same time. Joy in the middle of Hell. I think they think that is somewhat crazy. Lord I’d be boring if I ever figured things out.

  6. Having recently recovered from a pretty awful ankle break, I think the thing that helped me most was the listening ear, the kind and patient touch, and the understanding that sometimes there’s nothing you can do to make it better, and just shout at the world together about unfairness. I’m so glad it wasn’t a blood clot. I’m so sorry that there’s more healing before he can get on with more healing. I’ll shout at the world from under the bridge.

    • Kathy says:

      I can hear you shouting, dear rapidcityrecess! Wow, you really shout loudly for me to hear it 4 1/2 hours to the west of that awesome Mackinac Bridge! I am wondering if your shout didn’t go straight up through Lake Michigan. **Hope your ankle break is fully healed**

  7. Marianne says:

    You’re absolutely right, Kathy. Pain, whether physical or emotional, is not fun. I know the kind of physical pain that screams so loud it’s impossible to focus on anything other than the pain.

    I also understand feeling a loved ones pain. Both scenarios are equally hard from my point of view.

    I’ll hold a space of harmony, peace and love for you and Barry.

    • Kathy says:

      I know how much pain you’ve been through, Marianne. Or at least, I imagine. You are a teacher of Pain’s enduring lessons. I honor that space you’re holding, because I know it comes from the hard-knock lessons pain has taught you. Thank you.

  8. Dawn says:

    So glad it wasn’t a clot! That would have been really bad. WHen things get bad here I try to break the situation down into baby steps and deal with little bits of it until eventually it all gets dealt with. Hugs to you and to Barry. I hope the pain is manageable until he can get the next surgery.

    • Kathy says:

      Wouldn’t that have been awful, Dawn? I’m glad it wasn’t a clot, too. I also agree with your baby-step way of handling things. That is a good philosophy to help folks through during times of pain.

  9. dearrosie says:

    As mothers it’s so painful for us when our loved ones are in pain and we can’t fix it. I’m glad you found out the cause of the painful swelling. Poor guy.
    I think love and an ear that really *hears* are the best things you can give a hurting friend.

  10. kiwidutch says:

    My thoughts are with Barry… I can SO relate, I hoped to be off crutches by Christmas but recent medical visits have put things at the New Year at the earliest.
    Since this injury usually takes 1 year to 18 months to heal I suppose that hoping for the one year healing scenario was asking for a lot, but as long as there is progress I have to be happy.
    It’s difficult having a long term physical problem, not just for the ones who have them but also the loved ones around them because there ARE ‘off days” when you are sick and tired of being sick, immobile and in pain and it DOES make extra work for loved ones who are doing so much extra on a daily basis.

    Cheer him up with a little teat (special lunch or coffee out?) …something out of your usual routine that you could both enjoy, it will do him (and you) the world of good!

    • Kathy says:

      Kiwidutch, I told Barry about your long time on crutches and we are both so sympathetic toward your challenges. We can’t imagine being on crutches that long… Thank you for your kind words toward the loved ones who are caring for the sick ones. And guess what? We went out for a special dinner out last night that ended up lasting most of the day. It really did help cheer him up on a very bad day. Today is much better for him!

      • kiwidutch says:

        Excellent that your special dinner was a nice pick-me-up… do something like this on the spur of the moment at semi regular intervals and it WILL help to keep the pain and frustration in perspective.
        I’m “getting there” but it goes slow… good days, bad days, it happens and I have to grin and bear it and be thankful that there is an eventual end to it at least.
        My respect for people who have to live with this kind of immobility for life has deepened considerably.

  11. holessence says:

    “Don’t you sometimes just want to throw your arms around the world and whisper, ‘Heal, please heal…'”

    Yes. And yes, again.

  12. Susan D says:

    I do discover that in the hurting the heart expands in miraculous tenderness, until it seems impossible for one small body to contain the largeness of it…

    Thinking of Barry and you, and of all who are hurting…

  13. Carol says:

    And if you cannot “heal, please heal”, then make it more comfortable, make it less painful, make it more gentle. Pain can bring out the worst in the one suffering the pain and those close by sometimes when it is yelling its loudest. We hope and pray that Barry’s pain, and yours, will soon go away. And that by Christmas he’ll be full of smiles and knees that work as they should.

    • Kathy says:

      When pain is yelling its loudest, I think it’s so hard for its recipient, Carol. Hoping, too, that by Christmas both of his knees will be working nicely (even though Mount Everest is NOT on the New Year’s agenda, LOL!)

  14. bearyweather says:

    From recent experience … sometimes you just have to close your eyes and suffer through the pain, because it is all encompassing and no one can take it away (and people hovering were irritating). At other times it was friends and family getting my mind off things with talk of everyday things and providing me with simple activities.
    Although I appreciated people asking me about how I felt .. dwelling there and talking about it did not help a whole lot. It was best to move on to hear about them and what was going on in the world.

    Hope Barry’s pain flies away …

    • Kathy says:

      bearyweather, both Barry and I talked about your situation–what I know of it–at length last night. I can not imagine feeling pain for such a long time. I can see how dwelling on it might not help that much. Distracting oneself and concentrating on other things sounds like a good strategy. Thank you for your kind well wishes.

      • bearyweather says:

        A friend told me back when I was not doing so well that this whole medical incident would feel like only a very small bump in the road by Christmas. I think it will take longer then that, but I understand what she means. Time has sped back up for me (a minute no longer feels like an hour) .. Time is healing the memories of being sick as well as healing me. I am so much better … almost ready to go back to work 🙂

  15. bonnie says:

    Lots of times the pain, depression and difficult times we experience and manage to get through, allow us to show more compassion and understanding to the person in need of someone to listen. I listen, hold a hand, give a hug, and continue to listen.

    • Kathy says:

      Bonnie, that is a very good and wise perspective–and oh so true. Before we’ve experienced challenges of our own, perhaps we’re not quite as able to be there with understanding and true compassion. thank you.

  16. Barb says:

    I believe that listening is the most powerful way to help. If a hurting person really feels focused attention the door may open for his/her own understanding and healing. Poor Barry – glad he has your attention, though.

    • Kathy says:

      Listening is indeed a gift, Barb. I so agree with you. What this has made me realize is the gift of having a partner or good friend during a time like this. A listening ear and helping hand is invaluable.

  17. ((Hugs)) to you and Barry!! I’m not sure which one is worse – being the one in pain, or the one watching someone be in pain… As a mother, I am grateful that my children aren’t the ones suffering! It’s no fun going through any sort of pain, especially the type that you can’t take care of yourself. I know that there is nothing that my family can actually do, I just appreciate a hug or a kind word – something that lets me know that they care. I sure have been leaning on my doc pretty hard lately, though!!! It’s too bad that sometimes we have to convince them that we know what’s going on better than they do….

    I’ll be sending my good thoughts to all of you that everything turns out great!! ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Holly, Barry has been in less pain recently–not “no pain”, but “less” pain, so it’s been good. We go back to the knee surgeon tomorrow for his post right-knee-surgery appointment which is also his pre-left-knee-surgery appointment. And I agree with you about being in charge of our own health care!!! Triple exclamation points. Because we have to be. We’ve seen that, again and again, in these few short months. Thanks so much.

  18. Colleen says:

    Kathy, please give Barry our well-wishes and let him know we’ll be cheering him on (wildly) when he runs his first lap around the lake, or down the lane or wherever he might choose to run, or walk 🙂

    It’s hard when someone we love dearly is experiencing pain. Easy to slip right in with them, to feel it with them, or for them. Learning to hold a loving space, to honor theirs, and my own…….

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, you might want to read what I just typed to Holly. We were talking recently about traveling to NYC to see the Christmas lights, but realized there would be NO way Barry could walk that much now. 😦 He’s been feeling better, but still has a long way to go. Thanks for your kindness…

  19. Robin says:

    No advice from me right now. Just tears of sympathy, especially after seeing the photo of the deer.

    I hope Barry is feeling better by now and that the next surgery goes off without a hitch and it eases his pain.

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