Waiting for the Answers


Last week I ran into the grocery store to pick up a few things.

Diced tomatoes.  Check.

Cereal.  Check.

Bread.  Check

BIZ.  Huh?

It was a mystery.  One I’d written down myself only twenty minutes earlier, and still I stood there in aisle nine staring helplessly at the baking powder and flours, as if they might offer me up some sort of clue as to what BIZ was supposed to be.

But I got nothing.  A brain fog—or my “duh cloud” as I’ve recently started calling it—had rolled in, only this time I found myself wondering:  What is wrong with me?  Am I just tired, or is this one more symptom to add to the list?

Because BIZ hasn’t been the only thing I’ve been wondering about.  For the last eighteen months I’ve been dealing with some weird health issues—going several rounds in a game I call Stump the Doctor.

The bonus of the game is learning other random things I didn’t know about myself, like that I was deficient in vitamin D, and that even though I think pizza is the perfect food–my body rejects its gluten and dairy essence.  Oh and that I am claustrophobic.

Well, I had my suspicions about that last one, but the two mri’s confirmed it.

Along with something odd showing up in my gray matter.

brain mri WALDO _opt

 There’s Waldo, off on a new adventure

So my doctor isn’t sure what Waldo (and his friends) are doing there in my otherwise healthy brain.  Or whether or not Waldo’s presence is actually the one causing my limbs to tingle like Bella on the day she met her sparkly Edward or for my right side to occasionally go numb in a way that makes me think I might do well cast as an extra on The Walking Dead.

Or the BIZ brain fog.  Surely there’s a chance that my blonde hair is weighing me down, but more likely I am letting the stress of waiting for answers muck up my short-term memory.

That’s kind of what unanswered questions do—they can make you a little crazy sometimes.

Will that boy ever love me?

Am I going to get into the college of my dreams?

What will agent 99 say about my novel? (And will I get the call on my shoe phone?)

And the big one:  Am I going to get an answer that I want to hear?

Waiting for those answers is kind of like trying to find Waldo.  Sometimes it’s quick and other times we get stuck staring at that page filled with a million characters in varying shades of red and white wondering when we’re going to see him.

coleen finds waldo _opt

If you can’t beat ’em join ’em?


Except turning the page is an option.  Waiting doesn’t always have to feel like sitting in Limbo’s plastic chair reading a People magazine from 1999 while time resumes its frenetic pace around us.


Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.

~Bradley Whitford


In the meantime, I’m gonna keep on keeping on.

First stop is the aisle where they sell the um, B 12.

Because apparently that’s the BIZ.


What do you do when you get stuck waiting on the unanswered questions?





47 thoughts on “Waiting for the Answers

  1. I try to do something else. Like this morning, I found myself stuck and now I’m here reading your blog. I am Vitamin D deficient. I figured if that was the only thing that showed up on my 40-year work up, I am OK. 🙂 I hope they find the answer to what’s going on. Glad to hear you got MRIs. BIZ and B12 sounds like something I would do on my list.


  2. My short-term memory is shot. Between trying to keep 3 kids and a husband on track and going in different directions, then I started working full-time from home. I can’t remember anything unless I write it down. My kids have gone to some pretty extraordinary lengths to jog my memory while they’re at school. Just the season of life I find myself in. Do the best you can to compensate and keep on keeping on. This too shall pass. Hope you get your health problems sorted. That’s no fun at all.


  3. I laughed as I read this Coleen. I love the idea of DUH moments – since I seem to have so many of them. what do I do? I’ve learned not to panic. whatever I’ve misplaced (or filed carefully) will turn up if I leave it alone and let it go. what do i do? read my kindle, or do something on my phone like play a game, or … whatever. just give it time and i’ll remember. but usually I go home because it might take awhile to remember.


  4. I’m with you on the scary med stuff, Colleen. And on the Bradley Whitford quote. Luv that! Sending you wishes for a good prognosis. Don’t let the memory blinks scare you. I think all the Internet hopping we’re expected to do is not great for our brains or for our memory functions. It sometimes feels like E-induced ADHD. Makes me yearn to be a yogi on a clean, clear mountain contemplating a single lily.


  5. I’m sorry to say I don’t think this particular phenomenon is a symptom, too many of us have it! :-). Can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked down the aisles of the grocery store trying desperately to remember what it was I went in there for. Love that BIZ is B12! lol I write my 2’s that way too. They’ve always looked like z’s. I hope whatever is going on in your head gets fixed quick though, that worry is no fun at all.


  6. Haha! That is hilarious! I was thinking Bisquick. I spend way too much time sitting around worrying about things that haven’t even happened. I like the idea that we just need to move on. Good advice. I don’t want to be in that waiting room reading the old People!


  7. Not knowing what’s wrong with you can be quite stressful in itself. You’ve done really well to find it all so humorous. Where is Wally? sums up my average day too, how funny! I do hope you the vitamins do the job for you.


  8. You know, mystery illnesses suck. They really do. I have a game of Stump the Doctor as well, and interestingly enough, it involves the head as well. No tingly arms or numbness, just other not-so-fun ailments like sloshy head, ringing in the ears, sore throat for months. Ah, modern medicine is amazing ~ if not for that, I’d probably be dead. Not for those head symptoms, but the TB I got from some exotic locale (read: my local nail shop) would’ve done me in for sure. I’d be Nicole Kidman’s character in Moulin Rouge.

    Wow, where the heck did all of that come from? Anyway! I hope you get a prognosis stat and stop being all tingly. That’s only good when you meet Edward the sparkly vampire. As for the memory thing? Yeah, that’s probably a long term thing. It’s called, ‘Having kids, husband, pets, life’ syndrome.

    Didn’t there used to be a washing detergent called BIZ? That’s what I was thinking – B 12 is WAY funnier.

    Be well, my friend!


  9. Wow, I had lots to add here, but can’t seem to remember a dang thing. sigh Ah well, maybe I should go have some dark chocolate, it’s good for the memory.
    The sad thing here is, the medical profession has, by means of a massive ongoing propaganda campaign, convinced the rest of us that they are gods who know everything and can fix everything. It is hard for them to admit, and harder for us to accept, that it isn’t always true.
    On the bright side, our bodies have their own magical ways of healing themselves.
    Oh, and I have yet to meet a writer who does not have a short term memory problem. We seem to spend too much time in other worlds. Apparently, even our brains function differently as they try to adapt to the demands of our imaginations. Who knows, maybe Waldo is just re-tuning some of the machinery.


  10. I hope you get a diagnosis soon. It’s horrible not knowing, and sometimes your imagination gets the better of you. It took a year to diagnose a problem I have with my arm. Thet can’t fix it but at least I know what’s wrong! As for the memory, I got worried enough about mine to see the Doctor and he pointed out that there was no cure for growing old. But then, he was about twelve so what does he know?


  11. I so know all about Duh Brain! Haha. You make a very good point, however. Great post. You made me laugh, and you’ve got me worried. And my husband is currently dealing with some crazy thing and called me AFTER he got home from the ER this morning, so I’ve got that on my mind, then I read about your problems, and I’m already worrying…sorry. Not relevant to your post.


  12. Unanswered questions. Used to hate those. The older I get — the more at peace I am with unanswered questions. Not all of them, but the reality of them … and the fact that, no matter how hard I try, the answers to some questions will elude me. Forever.

    The mystery items on a grocery list? They go un-purchased. Hey, I walk out of the store and I’ve forgotten to purchase some of the clearly written ones. Like milk. Or napkins.


  13. LOL I figured you needed bleach substitute! Unanswered questions, I just move on, though they drive me nuts until I remember! Between my headaches and medication for them, I pretty much have a permanent DUH brain. Or maybe it’s just age, job, husband, kid, all those made up people and situations running around in my head. Somehow I still manage to do programming (day job) and writing. Though it’s probably a good thing my husband does the grocery shopping, or I’m sure I’d have plenty of moments like yours! We use an e-list application on our smartphones called Cozi, or I’d forget everything! Hope you get the other stuff figured out ~


  14. I’m totally impatient. So if there is waiting to do, I have got to find something else to keep my mind occupied or I will go nuts.
    I giggled so hard when you talked about having BIZ on the shopping list and having no idea as to what you had written that for. I do that ALL the time! I think I’m being creative with my little abbreviations but when I get to the store – I’m clueless! lol!
    I hope your MRIs come back clear of anything serious and I also hope they find the cause behind your symptoms so they can get it rectified quickly. I think you are doing the right thing though – keep on keeping on!
    Thanks for sharing!


  15. You are not alone my friend. I have so many duh moments. It’s not funny. And unfortunately I am deficient in several things. So, like you I am supplementing. Glad you figured out the BIZ. Hopefully it was before you drove all the way home.


  16. 🙂 Colleen! I loved the comment about the blond hair weighing you down! I do hope you find a doctor or another someone who can be un-stumped. There seems to be such complexity out there in the world. Makes your head hurt just to try to untangle it all. I sometimes sit down at the computer to do something and then just sit there and stare at the screen because I can’t remember what it was… BIZ–B12 Ha!


  17. I join with all the others in hoping you get answers soon. Waiting is the pits. I try to keep busy and not let myself dwell on things, (easier said than done, I know.)

    My short term memory is scary how it fails me sometimes. I’m convinced it’s from trying always to do too much. My brain protests and shuts down on me.

    Loved the Where’s Waldo analogy.


  18. I love that you’ve told us what “biz” is! So funny. But you are not alone. I am very much the same way. Sometimes it’s aggravating. Especially when I used to remember EVERYTHING and now I can’t remember something that was in my brain less than 30 seconds ago. *sigh* It worries me, but that may be my anxiety. So I try to push it away. I hope they figure out what Waldo is up to though. Keep us posted 🙂


  19. I really hope you get the answers you have been looking for, Coleen. I love how you compare it to the “Where’s Waldo”….I hated those. They were always too stressful to me!



    Oh Coleen, you see life so much like I do at times!

    And don’t worry, both me and my boyfriend are D deficient – it’s a trend like peanut allergies and gluten-free living. Just go with it.


  21. I’m sorry that you have to play the game, stump the doctor. I had to do that a while back when I was having some troubles. Not fun! But hey I found waldo in the picture below. When I have to wait for stuff, I find myself playing the piano, I guess it helps soothe me.


  22. Coleen, the body is a complex organism that often plays stump the doctor. It’s no fun for anyone. My husband has that kind of thing going on now. I admire your ability to take your situation and turn it into an inspirational and funny and touching post. Many, many positive and healing thoughts and prayers are flying your way tonight.


  23. Wow Coleen, you are so brave!!! To share your worries to the world is a very brave thing!

    It is quite possible that your memory symptoms are not related to the brain. But a doctor has to check these things out, right?

    My doctor found that my lathargic brain and energy was due to low adrenal function. I know, one wouldn’t ordinarily connect the two together, but it was true. And that was an easy fix. And I think yours will be too. 🙂

    Hey, we Irish girls know how to hang tough. Together. Need anything? Let me know if I can be of help, or I’ll MYOB. I’m sending you a big cyber hug!


  24. Totally love the “duh cloud” – I’m going to have to use that!!! I can’t remember anything unless I write it down anymore – there’s just too much going on all the time. I hope you’re OK and get your health problems sorted out and they’re not serious. Around here, whenever anything weird is wrong we assume it’s Lyme or another tick borne illness….


  25. {{Hugs}} on the tingling and numbness. I hope you get an answer as to the cause soon. If that’s not possible, I hope those symptoms disappear–and aren’t replaced.

    Duh cloud? It hovers over me at all times. I, too, make grocery lists I can’t decipher or, worse, forget an item I’ve written down and circled. Writers’ brains hold lots of story questions and characters, which tend to crowd out things pantry staples.

    Those unanswered questions of yours would jack up anyone’s anxiety level, but your response: the image of Waldo sauntering across your brain, the Bradley Whitford quote, the decision “to keep on keeping on” are healthy and healthily defiant.

    Keep us posted.


  26. {{Hugs}} on the wait for answers, Coleen. I hope you find out the cause of the numbness and tingling, or, barring that, I hope those symptoms disappear and aren’t replaced.

    A “duh cloud” hovers over me all the time. I routinely forget items I’ve written AND circled on my grocery list. I blame writer’s brain. We’ve got so many story twists and characters in our heads that there’s no room for pantry staples.

    Your attitude, as exemplified by Waldo marching across your brain, the Bradley Whitford quote, and the “keep on keeping on” stance is healthy and healthily defiant. Keep us posted, please.


  27. I’m so glad you found the BIZ. I was worried about the whole time I was reading the post.

    Depending on what my questions are, I can usually forget about them, at least termporarily. I seldom like the answers I find anyway so it’s easier to just ignore the questions. Unless they’re health related, in which case, depending on the seveity, I’ll google first, ask friends second, perhaps see a doctor is my findings lead me to believe there’s something going on.

    I’m glad you found your BIZ and I hope you’ll find your other answers soon, too.

    Take care of yourself, Colleen and don’t stress too much about the “forgetting” or the “duh cloud.” We all have them.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  28. I am having more of those DUH moments too. I’m famous for walking into a room and forgetting why I went there. I am also Vitamin D deficient, which I couldn’t believe given that I live in Colorado, but there you go…


  29. I love this. I’ve had moments when I walk into a room and I’ve forgotten why I’d gone there. I usually have to back track to figure it out. I hate it when that happens. Love the Waldo in your brain picture. I hope all goes well for you. B 12 – BIZ, so funny and yet I certainly understand it.


  30. It appears as if only women are following your blog. Well, that’s OK. I’m not too proud- or have any unresolved masculinity issues in which I am able to admit I suffer from the same occassional dysfunction. What do I do when this happens? Blame it on my wife!


  31. This is really interesting because for years I’d go upstairs. Then stand at the top thinking, what am I doing here? Or, why am I here?

    I have a writer friend who put her running shoes in the oven. The smell was, well… awful. I don’t know if this is a writer thing or if it’s a woman thing and hormone thing. Then I forgot my sister’s name and what grass was called, ‘That green stuff out there.’ But at one stage I thought, alzheimer’s or something worse.

    The great thing is that you’re being checked out and monitored. So I can only hope everything is okay and fine!

    Great post!


    1. Yes, I do the “why am i here?” thing often. I have never put my shoes in the oven, but I have left pans on the stove and ignored the incessant beep of the timer only to later say, hey what’s that beeping noise? 🙂
      Yes, I’m being checked out, some answers so far, but nothing particularly helpful–my doctor recently termed me “unique.”
      Lovely, huh?
      Thanks Christine!


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