Rion's Reflections

The Chaos Factor

by Brenda "Rion" Sewell

"Hold tight to your dreams ..
for if they fly away or get lost on the winds,
a part of you that should have been will disappear."
~ Rion ~



The Chaos Factor

Chaos (a state of utter confusion)
Factor (something that actively contributes to the production of a result)

The Chaos Factor reigned supreme at my household yesterday. It all started out innocently with a phone call. 

A friend called to ask if I wanted to go to lunch with her. Needing a little quality time in my life, I readily agreed to meet her at the Denny’s restaurant nearby.

Having Lupus, asthma, diabetes, a bad back, and heart problems (among other illnesses), I must plan ahead for outings. I just hoped I could meet her on time. It takes me awhile to get ready as I usually have to stop in mid stride to wait for the angina pain to stop or the asthma attack to lessen. 

An hour later, I had managed to get a shower, wash my hair, and get dressed. I felt good that I had only had to stop and catch my breath three times.

Before I locked up the house and left, I needed to take all three dogs outside so they could potty before I locked them in their crates.

As I watched the dogs take their sweet time re-investigating smells they had discovered during the morning hours, I became agitated with them and talked to them as if they could understand me. 

“Don’t just stand there sniffing! Go Potty! Gads, quit reading the newspaper and just go!”
Finally, they finished and trotted in the house like they were the ones in a hurry. 

They flew through the dog door and as I reached for the door knob, one of the Belgian shepherds decided to come back out of the dog door. Lightly knocking into my shins, my balance was toppled and she took me down to the ground. 

Sitting on the side walk, I tried to take inventory of what body parts were damaged. Wondering why I was on the ground, the other two shepherds came out of the dog door and proceeded to “help me” up by pushing me with their wet and muddy noses.

Bracing against one of the dogs, I eased myself to my feet and considered myself lucky. The only injuries were a scrape on one knee and another bruise to my psyche.

I reached for the door knob, turned it, and the door knob came off in my hand. Cursing under my breath, I climbed in through the dog door on my hands and knees. 

The dogs thought I was playing a new game. By the time I was through the dog door, I was full of dog slobber, my once tidy hair was now hanging about my face in tatters, and my clothes were full of dirty paw prints.

I looked at the clock and thought, “Ok, I have time to wash up at the sink and change my clothes.” 

I turned on the faucet at the sink and while waiting for the hot water to get there, I thought “Go pick out another outfit to wear.” 

Coming back into the bathroom with another dress, I realized I had left the water running and the wash cloth I had laid on the side of the sink had slid down and successfully blocked the drain. Water was running over the edge of the basin and was soaking the bathroom carpet.

Cutting off the water, I just stood for a minute wondering “Was a lunch at Denny’s worth all this?” then decided not to waste the water and cleaned off the dog slobber from my face and arms.

Picking up the wet carpet, I attempted to throw it into the tub to drain. As I slung the carpet into the tub, I hit the shower doors and one of them came off the track and hit the floor. Silent screams flew through my head as I attempted to put the door back on the track. 

By this time, my asthma had kicked in and I was suffocating so I just left the door, got my oxygen tank and did a breathing treatment. Sitting there breathing in the Albuterol, I realized tears were rolling down my cheeks. 

I don’t know if I was angry or sad. I know that just once I would like to attempt to do something and not have my body go on strike just as I needed it. As I was finishing my treatment, the phone rang. It was my friend.

“I’m sorry; I don’t feel like going out for lunch. I have a little bit of a headache. Can we make it tomorrow instead?” she asked.

It took all of my will power not to just scream, but I said, “Look  ... going out for me is just not an option anymore. I will talk with you later.” and hung up. It would be better to explain later when I was much calmer.

The Chaos Factor has become a part of my life. It has been brought about by the illnesses I have endured all my life. A once full life has become one of aggravation and missed opportunities.

My mind has been so affected by the years of oxygen deprivation from Asthma and a bad heart, that I can not trust it anymore. My short term memory is so flawed that simple tasks (such as turning off the water faucet in the sink) have become major operations.

The Lupus has damaged my body until my muscles are so weakened I cannot keep my balance and fall at the slightest provocation. Pain has become a constant companion. 

Struggling to breathe is a constant battle as the asthma is never controlled, even with all the new and improved medications. My heart rate is too high and angina pain sometimes brings me to my knees.

Depression slides over me like a wraith, haunting my every move. It has joined my other illnesses in creating a state of chaos in my life.

The Chaos Factor may try and rule my domain, but not without a fight. I am stubborn and I may only be the Queen of Insomnia, but I will not give up the battle for a better and healthier life.

© 2003 Brenda “Rion” Sewell


Email me at brendarion at

Background is by Rion