Stories Start Somewhere

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

Each day, Tracy gets a little stronger, pain is not her friend. Today her goal is walking to the restroom. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s that many steps closer to home.

Her nurses over night and this morning have been super pleasant and helpful. She’s had her gradual weaning off of the pain pump, and so far, she is doing well. Of course, the goal is to get her off completely, but right now, they are helping her to move with lesser pain.

We are so grateful for all the great words of encouragement. I know Trace is really feeling disappointed that she cannot move as well as she was moving before surgery. She has pain and numbness in her left leg, which is typically her good leg. This also adds to her anxiety, and anxiety can increase pain levels.

I share this so you can know the hard, bare truth of our story. I know we are not alone. Many of you have gone through similar difficult circumstances and overcome.

Any words of encouragement you can send to Trace—music that is groovy or cool, any neat videos that might be distracting, words of positivity—all of this will be much appreciated.

Thank you friends, we are grateful for each one of you.


Before I can read 
stories in the clouds
I must know my own story—
a story rolled out
slowly over time.

I must understand
how I found my place
in the universe—
how that rolling out
finished all my edges.

I must understand
how my own story gives 
weight to the words of myths 
and purpose to the memory 
of legends.

The signs are there
waiting in the clouds;
they don’t appear
by magical conjuring—
they reside in us.

Every story
begins somewhere,
so I will begin 
with the song
inside of me.

--Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What difficult circumstance have you overcome?

When Worlds Collide

Coffee in a styrofoam cup—not my favorite, but I am happy we are able to enjoy our coffee together.

What a day!

At 7 am the nurse (under doctor orders) ripped Tracy off her pain pump without making sure her pain was managed.

I probably don’t need to tell you how awful the day was. We spent most of it trying to get back on top of the pain. Trace was crying and her pain all day was largely unmanageable. It was dreadful.

Friends, even I had a hard time.

More than once the tears spilled over in my eyes out of sheer helplessness. At one point, I realized I wasn’t helpless; I had power to help her because I still had my voice.

And one voice has power.

I teach my students this at school, and I believe it to be true. You have a voice, use it wisely. So I made a choice to use my voice and made some phone calls to her surgeon; I also reached out to the hospital case manager.

Once I started reaching out, I found many folks with empathy. The pain management doc isn’t usually at this hospital on Wednesdays, but when he heard what was going on, he came all the way from his Novi clinic after a full work day, just to see Tracy. He reordered the pain pump—administered and weaned differently—and she found some relief.

We finally (both of us) (mostly) slept.

She is up, asked for coffee and her phone and is looking at a breakfast menu. First time she’s wanted to do any of that.

Thank you God for answered prayer and (finally) a pain pump returned!

When Worlds Collide

When worlds collide,
life changes in a way
that is never quite
the same again.

Our path lies
where we choose to
walk (or fly)—not
the beaten path

and maybe not
even the road less
travelled, but where we
establish our rest.

We choose life
near the cool waters
feasting on simple rhythms—
sunrise and sunset,

morning and evening.
One giant living hum—
peace amidst the chaos—
in the middle

of every thing.
We sing our stories
rejoicing in each moment
when worlds collide.

—a draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Hospital Nights


Well, Trace made it through night one like the champion she is.

And today feels like a new day.


I think I slept about an hour and half total. Worst bed and chair out of all the hospitals I’ve stayed at…and I have stayed just about at every hospital in the tri-county area. This fancy-schmamcy one had a couch and chair in the room that were simply dreadful, and I’m so wishing for a good nights rest tonight.

I will tell you this, every patient needs an advocate because not all nurses are created with the same empathy and ingenuity levels. To be honest, I’m afraid to leave her alone here.

A nurse anesthetist came in and said that her levels of pain are simply not acceptable. I was so relieved to hear someone say out loud exactly what I was thinking. Hopefully, she will make some changes.

On a good note, Trace is off the pain pump, and it’s just as well. She was pretty violently ill this morning from all the narcotics. Now it’s a matter of getting the right “cocktail” of meds to relieve her pain. The pain is still wickedly intense and not managed.

The surgical team came in early this morning and said everything looks great from the outside, but they have to do a standing x-ray today to make sure. That should be interesting with her pain level.

Most importantly, please pray that we can figure out how to get on top and ahead of the pain. (Can you tell that’s the theme of the day?) That is our biggest need right now.

Hospital Nights

It’s 2am
and peace
has settled
in the room.

Her bloodstream—
narcotic drunk,
a slumped
on her mouth.

Getting up
to use
the commode
wasn’t so bad.

Of course,
dilaudid helps—
gotta love
that pain pump.

I’m trying
to close
my eyes
But I’m terrified

she’ll sleep—
sleep through
button pressing
and suddenly wake

screaming again.
I know
she can’t
live on that

high forever—
hooked up,
hooked on
drugs every day.

Eventually she—
she will
need to
feel pain again.

The only road
to recovery
is in her own
clear thinking

and her
sheer determined,
unflappable, unstoppable,
undeniably tough spirit.

—a draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan