A Very Dark Cloud and A Silver Lining

The Very Dark Cloud–
Yesterday I was knocked out.  It may have been a virus I caught on Thursday when I went to have blood drawn, but it is hard to tell.  I had 100.9 temperature – not too high, but still not normal.  I was shivering, my whole body hurt.  I could not eat anything, but drank lots of plain water mixed with San Pellegrino (for the bubbles and the salt), and some organic Ginger Ale.  I am a bit better today, but still on a liquid diet… Since my immune system is compromised from my illness, this hit me even worse. I told Guido I thought I was dying – and I meant it!  I am definitely being myself – melodramatic ;)   Anyway, I said that tomorrow would be another day, and today is already tomorrow, fortunately, and I am no longer dying!

The Silver Lining–
I had recently “met” a writer I liked a lot on Facebook, David Bishop. He has just started publishing, and his first books are great (I recommend Who Murdered Garson Talmadge and The Woman – they are thrillers, but there is a lot of character development, and the plots are original and awesome).  As happens with many of these new friendships, I told him about my thyroid problems.  He told his special friend Jody, a nurse, who right away called me to find out the details, and to ask for my permission to pass on the information to the head of the department in the hospital where she works so he can call me.  Although it is in Florida, he may know of doctors in this area who could help, or give me some tips.

Nothing may come out of this; however, it touched me that someone who does not know me should be so concerned and willing to help. There are quite a few people around here and out there who could do the same because of their connections (everyone has them, even if they are from a neighbor or an acquaintance).  This is a true silver lining – sincere and caring.  I am grateful to have found such wonderful people out there! If nothing else, it helps to make me feel better.


On another very important note:  This will be the last time I email a blog to the list.  Some who are far away and who have a different system may still get it.  All others have two choices:

1-   Sign up to receive the blogs:  On the low right it says “Email Subscription-   Click to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.  Join 12 other followers”  After that there is a cute little grey box where it states “Sign me up!”. You can then write your email there.

2-  If you do not care for the first option, the other one is to go to the blog occasionally to see if there are new posts: https://martisima.wordpress.com  (Those on Facebook can see it there, as it is automatically posted).

I will not be offended if you don’t choose either option.  Blogs are for people to write whatever they want, and for readers to read or not to read, as they please.   😉

But then, please do not expect me to tell you individually what is happening if you write or call…  I have not answered many emails because I have been quite sick (and because my mailbox was full and I panicked and erased many messages).  I rely on this method of information and on Facebook to tell you how I feel.  Many have never commented at all. No hard feelings! But then, why include them?


Back to bed now, to read some more, and to try to sleep —  not an easy undertaking lately…


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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23 Responses to A Very Dark Cloud and A Silver Lining

  1. Anna Amato says:

    I was so pleased to see your silver lining! Hopefully our new writer’s friend – I plan to find his works – will be able to find someone to help. I lived in Florida for 3 years and while I didn’t like living there I know that there were very good doctors there.
    I am so sorry you felt awful and I personally think melodrama is appropriate when you don’t feel well ;o) and I do mean that! I for one am thrilled that you’re not dying.
    Of course I checked and subscribed also. Thanks for that update.

    • martisima says:

      As usual, you are one of the best — also from Facebook!!! I can’t believe how many good friends I have found there!!!! Thanks so very much for approving of my melodrama and for having signed up. You are obviously not afraid to do it, as some are 😉

      • Kat McLaughlin says:

        Dearest Friend,

        Is there any way you can block specific persons? I think for your health it would be wise to see if someone could check into that? If we don’t vent frustrations over our illnesses, it rebounds physically. You need to stress your hurts and pains, and if some people don’t understand, then maybe they haven’t dealt first hand with an illness, disease, or syndrome as we have. I would have thought that many people learned empathy vicariously through other loved ones, but was shocked to find out how unsympathetic some people really are! I don’t know if it’s because they are cloaked with invisibility while online or it’s just they way they’ve been since birth or within the first five years of life when the personality becomes fixed. I do think there is one responder who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s not a mental illness, therefore, excusable, but a personality disorder. They still know the difference between right and wrong. They feel entitled to say exactly what they mean out of a position of heightened superiority. It’s fascinating to understand their mental machinations from a purely clinical viewpoint, but since this relates to one of my dearest friends, I’m not being terribly objective. I do apologize for railing against this individual, but I’ll just blame it on the Fibromyalgia. Just kidding. But I do believe that people need to speak up against this type of harassment, for it is bullying. I’m not going to take it and nor should you. Please block this person. The rest of us are here for you, to comfort you and help you when you’re not feeling well and emotionally down.

        All My Love,


  2. Princess Solange Von Sachs says:

    Well, why do think that so many of the people who originally wanted to help you eventually dropped their tickets on the floor and left the theater. I doubt that they slipped out because they were ‘afraid’ of melodrama. From what I could tell, they just couldn’t do the ‘right’ thing, bring the ‘right’ food, or say the ‘right’ thing, etc. A lot of well meaning, caring friends just gave up. Maybe that’s a contributing factor to, why, when the lights came up, you saw so many empty seats out there.

    Thank goodness for all your new ‘Facebook Friends.’

    Here’s wishing you many more silver linings, Martha. And please salute Guido for me. My late husband, Tom, loved the guy.

    I’m unsubscribing. Maybe I’ll check out the blog time to time.

    • Kat McLaughlin says:

      Please don’t check in from time to time. Our dear friend doesn’t need ‘friends’ like you. I’d run, not walk, to the nearest psychoanalytical couch to get properly diagnosed…

  3. Kat McLaughlin says:

    I highly doubt it’s not about saying the ‘right’ thing. This comment projects the blame back on the person who is ill. This comment displaces responsibiltiy from self to another. I highly think this has more to do with the words one choses (even though you hope there is some thought behind it) and what one intended. Words mean things! I rather doubt there was much ‘thought’ behind those hurtful words, or you meant exactly what you wrote. Some people are uncomfortable writing to people who have chronic, severe illness. If you don’t know what to write, don’t write. If you have doubt about how you’re words will be intended, think twice before you write them. I think the ‘princess’ falls into the other category. Did you forget what you wrote? You meant every word. Do us all a favor. Please, don’t even bother to check back ‘from time to time’. She doesn’t ‘deserve’ such friends. The empathy level you displayed was on the zero mark. Evidently, you weren’t graced with this character attribute from birth or learned it in the first five years of childhood development. I don’t fault you for character and personality developmentwith which you weren’t born, but I do hold you personally responsible for how you make an effort to find those who are in true pain only to reign down your insensative remarks with a superior attitude. Your tactics in a specific sequence, criticizing her, then ’empathetically lauding her in finding facebook friends’, then your only reason why you were interested in the first place–having some hazy sixth degree of separation connection–was interesting, though. Your mental machinations are fascinating, my dear, but then I only criminally profile serial killers, so I digress…

  4. Rafael says:

    For what it’s worth, when I read Princess Solange Von Sachs response, I tried to understand that she may be expressing the frustrations of someone who wants to help, but whose attempts to help do not, perhaps can never, match the need. I’m going to trust that her intentions to help have been genuine, but that after various attempts she found, to her dismay, that the help offered just could not suffice. And she apparently extrapolated from that experience that others may have also felt the same and “left”. But I think we need to be compassionate all around.

    Martha, I know that I do not really “get it” about your condition; my own picayune complaints seem light years from your serious, even grievous world. So I won’t pretend to preach greater solace or add small comforts. After all, what can I possibly say or do that would actually improve your health? The best I can do–and I know it’s not much–is to try to visit when possible, to stay in touch, and to just listen attentively. I subscribe to your blog as a way of listening, although there are moments when it silently breaks my heart. I wish I had more to give.

    I cannot condone Princess Solange’s words, but I think I can understand the source. I detect no malice there, but I do sense a deep frustration that covers itself in a disapproving gaze because nothing so far has “worked”. Could it be that she and others feel increasingly helpless to help? The wise among us tremble to know that some things are beyond us. And for those of us not so wise, myself included, we withdraw our hand, avert our gaze, and perhaps harden our hearts. We so desperately want things to work, so when nothing avails, we may turn away and even blame the victim. Perhaps that is a Western prejudice, but in any case I myself feel quite incompetent to face the realities of another sufferer without something working. If nothing works, then I feel guilty, and then sad, and then helpless. Greater souls than mine have collapsed under this weight. All I can do it to try to do better, but it seems to be incremental development at best.

    So, Martha, you are important to many people for many reasons. And we love you. If I cannot do more, please forgive me. If I say the wrong thing, please forgive me. If I fail to understand, please forgive that, too. I’m sure many of us will try, but in the trying some will fail because our hands are small or our hearts are weak. (“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” seems more true than ever.) And I know that must seem unfair, too, to ask for compassion from you who should be it’s real recipient. I suppose it is an irony that Job would appreciate. But if you can find some forgiveness, perhaps I, and others, can try harder still. Always, with love, such as it is.

    • martisima says:

      Thanks, Rafael, for your comments. It’s just that some people do not realize when they hurt me. And no, there has been no attempt to help from many, when they could have done so… Some say they want to help, but they don’t mean it. It’s easy. They have already offered, so its’ fine. If I asked them what I really need — going to the dry cleaners for me, doing other errands (NOT grocery shopping), or even cooking a meal– they would immediately come up with some excuse not to do it. Another excuse is that I cook so well they are afraid of doing it for me. A really senseless excuse!

      They are all too busy, and even when they offer to help, they tell me how busy they are, as if saying – yes, I am offering help, but please do not accept it…

      All I want now is to be in San Francisco with you and both our daughters. Then I know I’ll be getting all the help and the love I need!

    • Kat McLaughlin says:

      From the ‘Princess’ and I quote, “Sorry to say this, but your ongoing euro-snobbery gets a tad tedious.” I don’t understand any complexity in this statement. This intended to be hurtful, not helpful, so I don’t truly understand your comment. You may go to the source for the context of the post. It’s under, “Giving Thanks.” Kat

    • Kat McLaughlin says:

      I liked the majority of what you had to say, though. It is a helpless feeling, trying to be there, but know it’s insufficient. You just want to gather her up, tell her it’s going to be okay, but knowing your words will have little effect. I think people don’t want to feel the pain of others and put up a defensive wall to keep out all pain, whether it eminates from within or without. I just had a problem with her calling our loved one an ‘European snob’ (incorrect on all counts) and a ‘tad tedious.’ Why say something like that at all even if it were true. It was meant to hurt. I don’t know where people like that come from, but I do know first-hand that there are some people who get online just to cause havoc on other people’s lives. And they pick people like our dear one because she is the most vulnerable. It’s cyber-bullying and I found it extremely offensive. Sorry about taking the tone I did, but because I too suffer from a dibilitating syndrome, I’m sensitive to these kind of snarky attacks. I, too, have been accused of tedium by those who don’t even know me, telling me that their mother was ill all her life and never complained once. Always with a smile on her face. Well, God help her if she ever complained. Her daughter must have shut her down the first time she complained and never spoke of it again. I just don’t want to see our dear one shut down and withdraw. It’s what I did for close to five years, becoming a recluse and staying clear of family. It’s a hard beam to balance on, knowing what to say, but if one rules their head with their heart, words are effortless… As indicative with my one too many words. Kat

      • martisima says:

        Thanks, Kat! Rafael (my son-in-law) doesn’t know much about my “friends”, and I think he was trying to play devil’s advocate, not knowing the Princess (Pat) was never my friend. Her late husband was Guido’s colleague and they got along quite well because they shared a love: Italy! That’s all. But we must allow people to express their feelings here … as long as they don’t hurt others!

  5. Anna Amato says:

    I’m with Kit – and there will me more later – but Princess Solange – is that really her name?

  6. martisima says:

    Of course her name is not Princess Solange – she changed it when she started ranting. It’s funny that we were never really friends. Her late husband was Guido’s colleague, and they were somewhat close. She herself has said she would unsubscribe. I never understood why she subscribed at all!

    Thanks again, Anna, for being a true friend!!!!

  7. Anna Amato says:

    Sorry Kat for messing up your name; I was checking my mail before flying off to one more training session and saw this.
    Martha, my dear dear friend, I may not have ever met you but there is not a day that goes by that you don’t pop into my thoughts and prayers at least once. I wish I could do more but the blessing is that you don’t ‘expect’ it. I’m so grateful to Daniel Silva for you!

    • martisima says:

      And I am also grateful I “met” you. This is another proof of the friendships we can have through Facebook and writers. When Kat’s novel is published I’ll let you know. It is wonderful! Forget Patricia Cromwell (Port Mortuary was bad. I even wrote a negative review, which I seldom do for books I don’t like. I only write positive reviews!) … And I think you’ll love David Bishop’s novels too. New blood is needed! Try Deborah Crombie too if you haven’t. She is great!!!

      What about the discovery of witches? Getting on or too busy with those training sessions??

      Thanks for being such a loyal friend!!!!

      • Anna Amato says:

        I’m back to Discovery of Witches which I absolutely love! I’ve told everyone about it. I went to Lisa Scottoline’s book signing and bought the book as a gift for my sister in Florida but I had to read it first – sometimes I make myself laugh! It was funny; a collection of her Chick Wit columns from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
        Discovery of Witches is OMG wonderful!

  8. martisima says:

    Just saw this, Anna. Sorry! I was also very surprised about the Discovery, as I thought vampire and witches novels were not good. This one is excellent!

    I also read Red Mist. It is somewhat better than Port Mortuary (which I thought was really bad). I’ll be writing a review. These days I don’t seem to have much else to do…

  9. Anna Amato says:

    Ok here’s my deep dark secret – I have a ‘gift’ sometimes and I don’t usually like books about vampires and witches either. In Discover when electricity comes out of her fingertips I laughed out loud. My family thought it was hysterical as well. I am what they call ‘electrically challenged’. If I’m having a really bad day with a person I am not permitted to touch anything electrical and phones are a particular no-no. So Ms. Harkness has this right on the money as Americans say!

    • martisima says:

      So, are you related to the Bishops? 😉 I’d love to see you touching something electrical when you have a bad day. Send photos, please!

      • Anna Amato says:

        This year I replaced the phones twice – phones are my specialty – the microwave, the refrigerator, the stove and the television all had to be replaced. When I worked for HCA which is a large Hospital Chain in the south they had month end close outs that lasted a week. When they were really behind they asked (ordered) people who were current – me and several others- to help people who were behind. I called one of my friends once during a ‘down’ time to report that the entire system crashed AGAIN. It happened three months in a row. Her comment was ‘and you’re surprised?’ It never occurred to me – and that’s the truth! (just think of Lily Tomlin there)
        You would love it my sisters laugh. Now I’ll keep track for you.

  10. martisima says:

    You have quite an expensive “habit”! Have you tried to follow up on it? It would be a good idea to know why this happens — or maybe you already know?

    Are you putting your tongue out when you say “and that’s the truth!” a la Lily Tomlin? I’d love to see you “charged” and “charging”!

    • Anna Amato says:

      Fortunately I didn’t have to pay for the refrigerator or the stove and the television was old but the microwave threw me – that was fairly new – it happens when someone makes me angry and I have to bite my tongue – I like to think I’m really not that angry but apparently the goddess knows better LOL – I also do something else that appears in the book which I really didn’t know others did – I ask the house to take care of things – I really am loving this book –

      • martisima says:

        This is all very interesting and also enlightening – I always thought you were special. Now I know. What else have you found? For some strange reason, I seem to go back to the book, as if it were calling me. I keep reading it over and over again!

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