Suffering for the sake of art? A Cautionary Tale


Warning: a not-so-pretty rashed leg photo accompanies this tale later in the blog.

In my excursions and explorations to find the best vantage points for taking a photo, I have never truly considered where I was standing, or what was surrounding me…not necessarily. Typically, when I see something that catches my eye, I look for the right place to stand or crouch, which means that it’s typically a clear space, free from branches, metals, and other poky things. I mean, who wants to be stuck by a rusty piece of metal anyway?

So, when I found this wetland area close to my neighborhood lake on a bike ride a few days ago, I approached the pond by way of the clearest path, aka, the goose, duck, dog path. Then after gazing at a tree reflection in the water, I shot a few photos. After being satisfied with one set of photos, I walked along the pond’s edge to see if there were any other vantage points. Unfortunately, the edge of the pond wasn’t as clear a path, so I put up with a few sticker pokes and some weed scratches on my legs (I was wearing my workout capris) to find a few more vantage points. And after wandering around the wetland area for about 20 minutes, I finally decided to get back on my mountain bike and keep on riding.

Little did I know that one of those sticker pokes would soon put me down and out for the count.

On the second morning after my photographic mountain biking wetland adventure, I awoke feeling not quite 100 percent. I shrugged it off as best I could and started ironing my clothes for work after my shower. But, I really wasn’t feeling good. About three minutes into the ironing, I felt compelled to lay down in bed in the fetal position. I really needed to get ready for work, so after a couple of minutes of deep breathing, I forced myself back up and finished my ironing and got dressed. Just in case though, I grabbed my thermometer and took my temp. Sure enough, I had an elevated temperature. That’s when I decided there wasn’t a chance I was going in to work. So, I took off my work clothes and donned my comfy clothes and waited for the doctor’s office to open to make my appointment.

Let’s fast forward a bit:

  • Doctor could not find a reason for my fever, chills, body aches and pains and headache and sent me home with a note suggesting I stay home for the rest of the week because something had to be brewing and was likely to show up.
  • 24 hours later, the few little red dots on my leg from my bike ride blew up into a full blown rash taking up half my lower leg.
  • Back at the doctor’s office, the diagnosis was Cellulitis.
  • So, a shot of penicillin in the hip, a filled prescription of Dicloxacillin and a quart of Bourdeaux Cherry Chocolate ice cream later and I was back home laying on the couch with my leg propped up and wrapped in a hot moist towel.

What’s so bad about Cellulitis? It can kill you!

Even though my doctor explained what it was and what I needed to do to keep the infection from causing further harm, I did a little research to find out what causes it and what the remedies are. This is pretty scary stuff and not to be taken lightly. And, because I rarely get sick and consider myself a tough person, this particular infection, is figuratively killing me. I understand I need to take it easy and rest and be diligent about following doctor’s orders, but I am always outside barring hazardous weather…always! It’s killing me to sit here, in my home, gazing outside at the bright blue sky on this amazing March day.

Photo Gear

Sitting here lamenting my condition, I have been considering what I can do to protect myself from having this happen again. The typical photo gear from what I’ve seen is a tripod, a couple of extra lenses and maybe a camera case. I think my photo gear list is going to include either long pants, or if riding a bicycle in capris, then long socks. I can always roll the socks down when I ride to keep from getting too hot and then roll them up when I feel like wandering through the bushes and weeds to capture nature. I’m just not sure which socks I like best…stripes, or penguins…

Something positive out of all of this?

I had a not-so-good first marriage of 16 years where I felt pretty much like a single parent. Because my children were quite young, I couldn’t rely on them when I had a gall bladder attack in the middle of the night when I was three months pregnant with their baby sister in 1997. And because gall bladder attacks radiate from the center of your chest, I thought it was a heart attack. I couldn’t rely on their Dad because of his late nights of so-called “work” until 3 a.m. in the morning when he’d coming home stumbling through the door…drunk. Fast forward to present-day and I don’t feel like a single parent anymore. Not with my new husband and not with my grown children. The love and attention I have received in only 24 hours is more than my dreams could have imagined…more than I had ever expected. A simple, “How are you doing today, Mom?” Or, “You are the love of my life. I will always be here for you,” means the world to me. And it isn’t just the words, it’s the actions that have made me grateful for my family and for my one and only MtnMan.

Am I suffering? Yes and no. Am I suffering for the sake of art? I am in no way a Van Gogh. And while the amazingly quiet, bright blue-sky mornings of early March have been torture to me only because I cannot be in them, I know that with some patience and time, the pain and lack of mobility will eventually subside. And because I am lucky enough to have married a wonderful man this second go-round, I was still able to enjoy the sunshine and nature on an evening drive, albeit from the passenger seat of my husband’s truck. Oh and yes, that blue square is actually a photo of the Colorado early evening sky on March 9th.

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