Posted by: Michelle UluOla | August 9, 2017

My Life As Morse Code

My Life As Morse Code

— . . . — . . . —




It’s been almost four years since I clocked in here. That seems like a lifetime ago—perhaps it was. I last posted a blog on October 29, 2013, and quite frankly, I thought at the time that it would most probably be my final blogpost. My health was deteriorating at such an alarming rate that I literally felt I was dying. I began “putting my affairs in order,” wrote a will, started giving things away and saying good-bye through little hints. So, it was not surprising that the subject of the post was Reincarnation—that looming possibility was on my mind. [See Reincarnating Through Time“]

As it obviously turned out, I didn’t exit (yet). However, that was the start of almost four of the most traumatic years of my life, which brings me to the subject with which I’ve decided to resume blogging: reincarnating within a lifetime, or how it feels like I’ve lived many lives during my current incarnation.

There are a couple of poems centered on the idea that inscriptions on tombstones consist of a birth date, a death date, and the “dash” in-between, and how one should focus on how one lives during that dash. That got me thinking about my life and how it’s been punctuated like Morse Code—there have been ellipsis dots interrupting my dash! While the three dots of an ellipsis usually represent an omission, they can also indicate hesitation, though in that case, the punctuation is more accurately described as “suspension points.” Well! That perfectly characterizes what’s been going on during my life: the dash interrupted by dots when my life was suspended for periods of time while I mulled over whether I was going to stay or go.

I’ve long thought that a life is made up of many, “mini” lives as we transition from one phase to another: birth, childhood, education, first job, first love, single hood or marriage, having children or not, career, health or illness/accidents, retirement and episodes in-between. Everyone experiences each of those phases differently—some are happy, some are sad. For some people, all those stages blend together in an almost seamless fashion, but for others, certain periods may stand out due to trauma or elation.

A recounting (pun intended) of all the lives I’ve lived during this one would fill a book, so for now, I’ll just touch briefly on those that are relevant to tell my current story.

My “life dash” started out like everyone’s does, and although I dilly-dallied and took some detours along the way, it pretty much progressed as I expected through a happy marriage. I designed a modest, 3-bedroom ranch and we built our retirement home on a rural ridgetop in the beautiful Driftless Region of southwest Wisconsin. Bird watching, gardening and model railroading were happy pastimes. But then, my first ellipse arrived with the transition of my husband.

George had suffered with COPD for eight years, three of them on progressively higher levels of supplemental oxygen. His final four months were spent in home hospice. It had been a slow waltz with death with an occasional cha-cha-cha of go-ahead-back-up. We had mourned along the way as he became less and less able to do the things he loved. We knew when the end was near. On the night of May 19, 1998, I sat next to the hospital bed set up by hospice workers in our living room the previous January. He slept despite the 14-liters-per-minute roar of the tornado of oxygen swirling through his breathing apparatus. As I held George’s hand with my fingers wrapped across the pulse-point on his wrist, I felt the last beats of his heart. We had already said our final “I love you,” said our good-byes, had done everything we needed to do together in this life. I thought I was prepared, but the sound of silence when I turned off the no-longer-required oxygen was literally, deafening. And thus began two years of what felt like my suspended animation while I sat in “observer mode,” watching to see what “I” would decide: would I stay here or follow him? The grieving process is a completely individual one, and there can be no timeframe assigned to it. Eventually, with the help of two shamanas and three of the hospice team members who were energy workers and had become good friends, I “remembered” the path I’d been on prior to my marriage and resumed what I considered my life work of healing service. The ellipse morphed back into a dash.

The next twelve years were full of adventure and discovery of myself—a story for another blog or several chapters in a book! Suffice it to say that, for the most part, I enjoyed being on what I felt was my “path” and dashing along it.

But then, as happens to many people as they age, life took some unexpected twists and turns. There’s no need to relate the gory details here, as they’re irrelevant. Financial and health challenges brought my dash to a screeching halt and ellipse number two commenced. I lost my beloved home and ended up losing or giving away three-fourths of everything I owned (including my car) as I prepared to downsize into a small, 1-bedroom, senior apartment. I’d literally been half-blind for two years due to a cataract I couldn’t afford to have removed, because I was too young to qualify for Medicare. I was diagnosed with Diabetes. Extremely fast onset of pervasive diabetic neuropathy knocked me off my feet enough times that I could barely walk. And mysterious abdominal pain was relentless. It was only through the amazing kindness and generosity of family and friends that, on 12-13-14, I was able to relocate to the southeastern Wisconsin city where I grew up. I struggled to get settled in during the first three months. Thankfully, I was close to my supportive family, including my sister who’s a hospital dietician and helped me do my grocery shopping. My brother got me through cataract surgery the end of March 2015, which buoyed my spirits, as I could finally see again.

However, a month later, the Universe decided it still wasn’t done with me. With no forewarning, no dizziness, no tripping or slipping, I suddenly found myself on my back on my kitchen floor, unable to move, as in that not-very-funny, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial. At least I had some great-looking EMTs who gently lifted me onto the body-board for transport to the hospital where I had a very handsome, excellent surgeon who repaired my broken hip. (I was badly injured, but I could still appreciate the scenery!) Four days in the hospital, nineteen days at the rehab facility, six weeks of home health physical and occupational therapy, and the conventional healthcare system declared they were done with me in mid-July. I could barely walk even with a walker. Over the course of the next five months, I visited numerous specialists and was subjected to all their various, expensive and uncomfortable tests. MRIs revealed my spinal column badly degenerated, but no one was able to determine the cause of the ever-present, abdominal pain. It was obvious that, except for pain medication, conventional medicine had nothing more to offer me.

As a trained Reconnective (energy) Healing® and shamanic practitioner, I searched for someone in those fields that I could turn to for help. Thirty-five years of experience with computers paid off, as I knew how to do a comprehensive on-line search. Synchronicity was at work, as I found an expert physical therapist who specializes in chronic pain and is also a Reiki Master and shamanic practitioner—how’s that for an extraordinary combination?! Little did I expect that when I set up my professional massage table in my bedroom that I’d be the one laying on it. Of course, Medicare doesn’t cover those kinds of therapy, so I had to pay out-of-pocket for weekly, 2-hour sessions. It took 85 weeks, but much to the surprise of my neurologist, my special therapist not only cured what had been declared incurable, Restless Leg Syndrome, but she also tempered the abdominal pain, and most importantly, helped me shift from the walker to a cane, and sometimes, just a limp. We are now down to having once-monthly sessions. That improvement is a move back into a semblance of independence, as it allows me to use the senior taxi service in an area where there are no buses or other forms of public transportation. Now, I don’t have to depend and impose upon my family every time I need to go somewhere.

So, after an almost four-year-long ellipse, twice as long as my previous one, I’m back at the keyboard writing this blog. I sensed it was time a few nights ago, but it was confirmed this afternoon during a session with a highly skilled music therapist/sound practitioner.

This blog ends on a high note (yes, another pun). In addition to the full-time job of running his own computer support company, my brother devotes part-time to his passion: playing keyboards and singing at local venues. I call him a “Keyboard Wizard,” as he is not only a computer expert, but also, is able to play cornet trumpet or harmonica at the same time as his music keyboard! While he usually plays solo, last Friday evening, he joined a friend who plays guitar and sings (usually as a solo artist) and the friend’s sister who also plays guitar and sings. Without benefit of any rehearsal time together, the trio performed flawlessly. Obviously, they are simpatico! All the “Golden Oldie” rock numbers they played were familiar songs from my youth. The crowd at the pub was mostly in their 50s to 70s. My sister took me to hear our brother. I remarked on the way there that it was the first time I’d been out on a Friday night since she took me to see a musical play in January 2015, just after I’d moved here. We ate a typical, Wisconsin Friday night fish fry dinner while the trio entertained us. She knew many of the other attendees, so there was also a lot of animated conversation going on. I “chair-danced” throughout the evening, hoping the somewhat rickety seat wouldn’t collapse under my enthusiasm. Ten years ago, I could still “bust some moves.” My big disappointment now was being unable to get out onto the floor and really dance the way I always used to. However, after I got home and basked in the afterglow of the outing, I felt a shift, a resumption, and I recognized that I’m on my dash again.

As we were leaving, we walked across the dance floor and I realized I could maybe fake-dance with the aid of my cane. My 50th high school class reunion is coming up. I ordered a rhinestone-studded walking cane featured on Amazon. I guess I should start practicing a routine so I can dance my version of Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ On The Ritz”? It certainly won’t be anything like Fred Astaire’s, but after all . . . the dash must go on—

******©UluOla 2017******

Click on links below for Additional Information:

Poem: “The Dash” by Linda Ellis

Poem: “The Dash Between” by Ron Tranmer

Morse Code Translator

Fred Astaire – Puttin’ On The Ritz



  1. Beautifully written. I’m in the middle of two cataract surgeries and other challenges – why do we seem less capable of using the RF on ourselves? I usually fall asleep. Thanks you for your insights, Auntie Em – it’s quite a journey. You are inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words, Connie! It is a puzzlement–everyone I know has that challenge with self-use of RF–I don’t know why. I hold the vision of you smiling happily as your sight is restored and you once again enjoy the beauty around you. (((Hugs)))


  2. Great blog and what a courageous spirit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kathryn for your kind words and your help in facilitating my forward movement!


  3. Pleased to see that you’re posting again. Looking forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your encouragement and support! Feels good to be back at it.


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