Random Acts of "Kindness"

Archive for January, 2014

EXERCISING “ME”

It has been my practice to write in advance, to have thought rambles scheduled to publish in the future. Today I’m going to actually publish a ramble on the day that it is written. I decided to share my realization that at least for the moment, I’m on my list. WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT? Have I confused you?

This question was in one of my self-help books — write down 10 people who are important to you. Then the next question — where on the list where you? I wasn’t there at all. I have been a caregiver most of my life — my father, my husband, my children, my father with Alzheimer disease, now my grandchildren. When I go shopping their needs are on my mind. Many times I come home and realize that I had forgotten to buy the items that I needed.

Last year I did Haylie Pomroy’s Fast Metabolism food plan. I didn’t lose the 20 pounds in 28 days that was advertised on the book’s cover. But I lost 10, most of it in my belly — I no longer looked 7 months pregnant. I wish I could say I kept all the pounds off but life interfered, specifically corn on the cob which wasn’t allowed. At least the weight didn’t go back onto only my belly. Although I planned to go back on the plan, life interfered. Beginning the new year — same resolution — get rid of the weight.

What I remembered from the food plan is that it was easy and I felt GREAT. I’m not expecting to lose 20 pounds in 28 days. In other words, I’m not planning to end it in 28 days. This time I’m planning the week’s menu’s ahead. I’m looking to see what I can make that my family will eat so I don’t have to do double cooking. I’m going shopping with “me” high on the list. Although I’m following the food plan for the most part, I’m being more lenient. Chocolate covered cherries — YUM! But only a couple.

Soon after the New Year I got the flu so my weight was already down. I wasn’t expecting to lose anything the first week, but I did. Three pounds to be exact. I still have a horrible cough, and the weather has alternated between snow and zero. This is one of the coldest winters in many years. The weather personnel refer to it as groundhog days from the movie where the day kept repeating itself.

I haven’t been able to take Robin for a walk each day; I’m staying home, trying to get rid of the cough. Because of the congestion and my breathing, I haven’t been able to do aerobics — just yoga and stretching. Nothing that taxes my breathing. My weight is still DOWN!

With all of these negatives, the good news is that for the moment –I’M ON MY LIST — maybe at the top!

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BROADSIDED

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned many times that I make plans and God laughs. He/She or SHim did it again. Not only laughed but pulled the rug out from under my feet. Where were all my friends? Were they helping God or applauding the plan? Good Question — no answer.

We planned to spend the New Year with our younger daughter and her family in Central Illinois. That is until we learned a snow storm was headed into our area — forecast 10 inches of snow or more. We could have driven down before the storm hit, but then we would need to drive back home. Not only dealing with the long highway that is surrounded by open fields — blowing and drifting snow, possibly black ice but then we would have had to deal with the snow at home. We changed our plans and stayed home. And it snowed — and Snowed — and SNOWED! Hercules, the storm was aptly named. We even got to experience lake effect snow. More than 43 hours of snow the weather man proclaimed. Finally, FINALLY we saw blue skies — no snow for a day. Then the snow returned. Admittedly only another inch or two but still. The yard stick in the back yard measured more than 14 inches of white stuff. We were lucky, the snow was not heavy. I did my part, sweeping off the steps, pushing the shovel down the path in the back yard. My husband used our snow blower for our benefit and the benefit of our neighbors.

We took advantage of the blue skies and replenished food supplies in our house. My freezer is well stocked but I run out of bread, milk, fresh vegetables etc. The weather forecast promised freezing temperatures — a Polar Vortex. The weatherman was correct — the thermometer dropped below zero and stayed there. FOR DAYS. Worst weather in many years.

I stayed in the house. No choice. Walking to the store which is only a block a way on Sunday, I was exhausted. I wanted a coffee shop where I could sit down and rest. I wanted to spot a friend who had a car who could drive me home. I felt ancient — no energy. I actually sat on a bench and rested a bit before walking back home.

I had planned to start a new eating plan and lose some weight. I had already started exercising again. I put my plans on hold. No energy, my body hurt — I went to bed and stayed there. And stayed there. The news mentioned that flu was spreading. But I had a flu shot. Bad cold? It wasn’t getting better. I slept, woke and drank some tea and slept some more. My body hurt. Four days into this, I heard the symptoms of flu on the TV. No energy, felt like you have been hit by a bus, high fever, body aches etc. Treat within 48 hours. Well I’d had it for more than 48 hours, 96 to be exact.

I finally went to the Minute Clinic. I wanted evacuation orders for the bug. I learned it normally lasts seven days, I was in day five. The prescribed medication wouldn’t help me. But my lungs were clear, my temperature normal. I was in good shape.

I was advised to go home and rest for another week. My resistance is compromised and I could catch anything.

PRESENTS

I was asked today what my favorite Christmas gift was by one of my daughters. I had to admit that my many gifts were not material. I started listing my favorites for this Christmas.

The first has to be that my husband’s health is improving. Although we had a health scare, it didn’t require a hospital stay and his cough is improving. Our children that are in driving distance of our home were able to join us for the celebration of Christmas — even if we celebrated on different days.

The medical personnel we encountered had my husband’s health in mind. They took their time, ran the tests and tried to investigate to the best of their abilities. Sometimes answers were not immediately apparent.

When we went to the doctor’s office. I was at the right place at the right time to share my experience with a woman who was grieving not only a son who passed many years ago but more recently a dog. I hope the stories I shared brightened her day.

Our dog is becoming more comfortable in our home. When our youngest daughter arrived with her family and two dogs — Robin met them at the door and was ready to defend her home and us. She didn’t care if Maggie, a golden retriever, was bigger. She was ready to defend us. It took a bit of time before peace reigned. Robin forgot that she had met them at Thanksgiving. They are still not friends but good playmates. What surprised me was that Robin was ready to defend me. Hopefully we will never have the need for her to defend me when we are out on a walk but it is nice to know that even though she is timid, she is ready to defend her family.

It didn’t feel like Christmas to me, in fact, on Christmas Eve I had thought about not going to church on Christmas morn. My husband decided to stay home but I changed my mind and was very glad that I did. First off, I reminded myself that it was Christ’s birthday, time to say thank you. The music was beautiful, two violinists joined the piano or organ music. The cantor had a beautiful voice. Of course, the church was beautiful. The Mass was celebrated by an older, retired priest who has a touch of dementia. I always enjoy his thoughts and homilies. He focuses on what is important to me. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I was surprised to see an older acquaintance whose health is declining. I have known the family since our youngest daughter was in kindergarten. He was sitting in a corner which was hidden from my view. At communion I helped him walk back to his seat. I also shared my blog address with his granddaughter. It might come in handy at a future date.

Christmas isn’t about material things. It is about spirit and the gifts that come from God. Those are much more valuable than worldly possessions. Hopefully my sharing of my stories brings some brightness to your day.

DETOUR

I make plans, if not plans, at least I have a general idea of what it is I want to accomplish. Often GOD LAUGHS! And it happened AGAIN. We were celebrating an early Christmas on Saturday, it was Friday and I wasn’t ready. The house wasn’t completely decorated, the cookies weren’t made and I planned to do some precooking.

My husband had a bad cough, and I was concerned. I didn’t like his color, his cough nor his lack of energy. He has emphysema. Colds have often become pneumonia in the past. Friday morning, I signed him up at the minute clinic a short distance from the house. The nurse practitioner listened to his lungs and told him he needed a chest x-ray. She didn’t have the necessary equipment but a clinic a short drive from the house did.

Three hours later, chest x-ray and EKG taken, the nurse practitioner was concerned. She thought his cough might have been caused by his heart. She wanted him to go the hospital — Emergency to be exact, via ambulance. I didn’t think we needed an ambulance.

Neither my husband nor I had breakfast, not even a cup of coffee. I planned to stop for food on the way. We were advised that tests might be delayed if we stopped to eat. We drove directly to the hospital, no stops along the way.

Long story short — my husband was going to sign himself out of the hospital at 4:00 in the afternoon. Another EKG had been run. The emergency room doctor was concerned about the level of oxygen in his blood. He had a oxygen treatment. She was able to contact his primary care doctor and learned that the oxygen levels in his blood were always on the low side. He was released with the promise that if he had any chest pains he would return to the hospital immediately.

Five PM and we were finally returning home. I had been on the phone with our children throughout the day. I was TIRED and hungry. I hadn’t accomplished one thing that was on my to do list.

Did we really need cookies? Saturday our family gathered at our home. Except for the family in Florida, we were all present — adults, children and dogs. What better gift for Christmas? We didn’t miss the cookies.

Monday, we visited our primary doctor. My husbands breathing was better — no wheezing. I didn’t accompany him into the office, but remained in the waiting room talking to a woman who was grieving the passing of her son a few years before. More recently she had also lost a loved dog. I told stories from my life — “help from my friends in high places.”

I don’t know why we received a DETOUR or ROADBLOCK on Friday. I don’t know why I was prevented from baking or cooking. I don’t know if there was something seriously wrong with my husband.
We are home. His color is better and so is his cough. The cookies still aren’t made.

On Friday, I kept reminding myself that God was in charge and so He/She is.

GOD’S DIRECTIONS

I recently wrote a thought ramble STEERING WHEEL concerning God’s Direction of my life and my tendency to want to direct my course. I recently met an acquaintance who is grieving for the passing of her fiancĂ©e. He had a stroke and she was his main caregiver until life changed and she was no longer responsible for his care. We were not close friends and I didn’t know of his passing. I could relate to her sorrow, I could also relate to the feeling of guilt that arises when you feel you have left a loved one down.

I experienced a great deal of guilt when we had to put my father, who had Alzheimer’s, in a nursing home because he could no longer walk. I spent a portion of chapter 10 in To Pap, With Love writing about my feelings. I also felt guilty when we had to send our Chocolate Lab, Mabel, home in July 2011. A neighbor’s comment helped take away my guilt.

It is not easy to accept God’s decisions or direction in our life. Have we been prevented from taking a planned trip? Why? Have we fallen and sprained or broken an important part of our body. Once again — WHY?? When life doesn’t follow the path that we have chosen — the question becomes WHY??

It doesn’t matter if the change is life changing – a failed marriage or romance, the loss of a friend or family member, the loss of a job. The change can be minor — a fall — sprained or broken body part, unplanned medical expense or emergency, unexpected bill, argument with a friend.

It is extremely hard in those situations to remember that God is in charge, He wants the best for us. Whatever the challenge in our life is, with His help, we can do it! We need to remember to ask for His help!

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