If at First You Don't Succeed...

Pattye Snyder Health Guide
  • Although life has handed me a unique series of challenges (like many people), I’ve always been able to pull myself up by my proverbial bootstraps and charge on.  Since my second hip replacement last October, and the subsequent “mistakes” during surgery, I’ve STILL been having problems with staph infections and the IT (iliotibial channel) that helps me walk.  I’ve had lots of medications (prescription, over-the-counter, and I think Vodoo too), physical therapy, an exercise program, water therapy, “resting it,” and so on.   To add to my frustrations, my favorite camera evidently had a nervous breakdown on my wild and crazy Arizona trek so NO pictures of course, but some bizarre stories of my adventures.  Gee, I could elaborate on them since no one could prove it didn’t happen! 

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    On my return home, in addition to camera problems, I discovered my dog had suddenly gone blind due to diabetes, and my close friend of over 30 years had developed heart problems.  (I also had a birthday looming which tends to put me in a funk!)  After pouting a few days (actually, I hid in a reading frenzy) it suddenly occurred to me that I was living in the problems and not the solutions.  I feel compassionate for my dog as she learns to go through a new bumper-car type of life, but I also realized that I can protect her only so much and that she needs to learn a new life where I gently reintroduce her to the outdoors she used to love and new friends.


    I had thought she was depressed because she slept all of the time, but of course I was hiding in books and avoiding life for a few days also.  I can’t do a lot for my friend (short prayers help), but am trying to do odd-jobs landscaping-wise for her at their new cabin.  I am also a GREAT LISTENER!  In fact, after I shoveled out an old area at their riverside cabin and laid new “stonework,” we spent much of the afternoon sitting in companionable silence—listening to the birds and watching the world’s SLOWEST tugboat creep down the river.  It’s such an awesome peace to just relax and listen to the soft chug of the tug and the occasional songs from the visiting birds as we chatted about hopes and fears.


    Now, about the camera situation.  I have always taken it somewhat personally, as a nature photographer, when I shot a roll of 36 exposures and more than 2 were not quite worthy for publication (you have to realize what an awesome and very unrealistic photographer I could be at times)!  To lose over 400 shots on my Arizona adventure was somewhat catastrophic to me—a prime insult to my skills. Of course it simply couldn’t have anything to do with equipment failure!


    For years, I’ve fought the digital movement—knew it was just a fad, the pictures weren’t as good, etc.  I just wanted the “old ways” that I knew, but of course, that let me down this time.  (Gee, I sound like a stubborn crotchety old bird, don’t I?)  Well, I swallowed my pride and bought a digital SLR camera that has the capability of using all of my fancy lenses from my other equipment.  So far, so good—right?  I’m having a severe case of DCA now (digital camera anxiety)!  Of course, I expected my first shots to be just as awesome as with the other cameras.  (I AM an awesome photographer, right?)  So far, I’m “underwhelmed”—even my friend who owns the camera store spent a couple of hours trying to help me, but the reality is (I hate to admit it)—I just have to get off my laurels and practice!  I don’t know why anything “new” like this tends to make me feel somewhat panicky.  When I got my first computer, I was a basketcase—I just knew that it would implode at any moment (and I now have two of those creatures in my office!)

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    So, back to reality.  I took my dog for a short walk in the woods yesterday, took my camera and even USED IT!  Mandy and I slept better last night than we have in a long time.  Today it’s a gloriously sunny and cool summer day, so a friend and I are packing a simple picnic lunch (no champagne or brie this time) and are heading out to a park with my dog and my camera—both my dog and I will get much needed exercise, and I will have the opportunity to practice with my new camera equipment. 

    My arthritis has been far worse lately, I think in part to not getting enough light exercise.  I’ll be heading off for a canoe trip in Northern Ontario in four short weeks so I need to get my body stronger and more limber as well as work on new camera skills.  I think my dog and I are both ready to progress to the next challenge finally, but I’d probably better wire National Geographic to NOT expect pictures this time!       

Published On: June 11, 2007