Down when it counts

Reconnecting with Rachel is a highlight of visiting Moscow, ID. I met her when we moved to Flagstaff, AZ. She was a math major at NAU, I was a senior at Coconino High (such a fun word to say and spell). Transferring from Monument Valley High, a school on the Navajo Rez with a total student body of less than 300 to Coconino where there were 300 in the Senior class was a huge adjustment. Rachel and I became friends through our parents. I enjoyed many hours at their house playing table games, laughing, singing and sharing food.

After setting up our space Friday morning in the historic building where the Palouse Fiber Festival was held Ed brought me a slice of pizza and big hazelnut latte to energize me before the marketplace opened at 1pm. I’d been slowly moving on low energy all morning. Low blood pressure had kicked in. Around 11pm I woke up, heart pounding, hands and arms tingly, numb.  Dysautonomia had kicked in worse than I’d ever experienced.  Through out the night I sipped the electrolyte water that I try to always have handy to get the electrolytes back in balance. It didn’t work. If we had been home I would have woken Ed up to take me to the ER. There was no way I wanted to disturb his sound sleep and drag him to find a hospital who knows where, not when we had a show to do, a workshop to teach and the keynote to give Saturday. I prayed desperately to just fall back to sleep and wake up feeling great.

Dragging myself out of bed the next morning Ed took one look at me and firmly said I wasn’t going anywhere that day. He could manage just fine, no worries, no problem. He’d give my apology to Shelley for getting so sick. All of Saturday through the first half of Sunday I was laid low, drifting between the couch and the bed. Definitely one of those times when I couldn’t do anything but sleep. Waking up long enough to drink some more water, lots of water and periodically a bit of chicken broth that Rachel would bring to me. Her daughter and mother-in-law stopped by to take Rachel to lunch. Polly’s m-i-l has been an herbalist for over twenty years working with her naturopath husband. She brought me a bottle of tablets to take for heart well-being. I’m so grateful for her knowledge and kindness! That large bottle of tablets has been very helpful during these past five months when I’ve felt the symptoms getting out of control.

Ed picked me up shortly after 2:30 pm Sunday afternoon. We loaded the rest of our gear in the car and headed west to get as far as Ed could drive before fatigue took over. We made it to Hermiston, OR before Ed’s sciatica kicked in big time and we had to stop for the night. Just across from the motel was a Sheri’s restaurant. Perfect. Ed couldn’t have driven any further and I finally felt like eating something with substance, the first time since the bowl of Rachel’s delicious chicken soup on Friday evening. Her making an abundant amount of that soup with lots of rich broth proved to be a tremendous blessing.

By morning I was feeling much better though still not enough energy to drive. Instead I got to take more pictures.
That white blob middle right is the top of Mt St Helens, the volcano that blew her top in 1980.


Mt Hood. seeming to tower above the top of the John Day Dam.

Sam Hill’s Stonehedge, an exact replica of the one in England, built as the first memorial to the WWI soldiers who’d lost their lives.

The Columbia Sternwheeler. Someday I’d love to take this cruise.


Near the western end of the Columbia Gorge the final high point, Crown Mountain with the Observation House on the old scenic highway. The best place to visit and take in the views of the Columbia Gorge..

Between good hours of sleep the next two days, pacing myself, drinking lots of water, and prayer by Thursday morning when we headed to the Black Sheep Gathering I was feeling pretty much back to normal.

The worst thing about getting knocked down like that was letting down Shelley and all the people who’d signed up for the plant fiber spindling class; missing out on interacting with customers, some who drove long distances – one woman on Friday had driven up from Nevada; and missing Ed’s keynote speech. I’ve heard glowing reports: he had people laughing, and wiping away a few tears. I wish I could have been there.

Tomorrow I’ll write about Dysautonomia and include some helpful links in case anyone out there would be interested. It’s something that more people should be aware of for I have the feeling there are a number of undiagnosed people who deal with low blood pressure, not feeling good, low energy, foggy-brained, along with other possible manifestations.

I’m so thankful for Rachel’s loving care when I was so sick at her house!


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

One thought on “Down when it counts”

  1. Oh, Wanda, I’m sorry to learn you were so sick during that weekend, precisely when you had so much to do! Being away from home at that time must have made it even worse. Thank goodness you were staying with an old friend; that’s so much better than being alone in an impersonal hotel room…

    I had not heard of dysautonomia before, so I had a quick look on Wikipedia and learned that it’s something I really should know about, especially since it seems it can be common along with the chronic illness I’ve been living with for most of my life, and they have quite a few symptoms in common too. I’m glad to read your next post tells more about it; I’m off to read it!

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