Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘HEALTH’

THE VISITOR

I love to hear stories. Especially if they are real. Especially if they have feel good themes. Our world is so negative at the moment, our weather is so snowy and cold — not Spring, that stories that have a good theme or outcome are lovely.

I have two to share. The first concerns a visitor — a spirit — a person from the other side. His passing was a surprise. He was in his 80’s and his health was a challenge. In fact, he was in the hospital when he passed. His condition had improved, he was walking by himself with his walker. He was scheduled to be released the next day. His wife had gone home to shower. With his walker, he went to the bathroom, and upon exiting, he fell, hit his head and passed over.

Of course, his wife felt VERY BAD. She had been with him for the past few days. Walking with him when he got out of bed. Because he had improved, she took the opportunity to go home. Because she wasn’t with him, he also took the opportunity to go HOME.

Of course there were many questions about that accident and they are considering a lawsuit. Meanwhile the wife is puzzled by his fall. Why did he fall? He had his walker, he was scheduled to go home. WHY? The questions continued.

A couple of months passed. She was considering selling their home, moving in with a daughter. She also had aged and her health wasn’t that good. She was sitting in the chair in her bedroom when the scent of Irish Spring soap filled the room. Her husband ALWAYS used that soap.

She called his name. Then asked what happened? “What caused you to fall?” AND SHE RECEIVED HIS ANSWER. (I didn’t ask if she “heard” it or if the answer came into her mind.) He said that his robe got caught under the wheel of the walker and he fell backwards, hitting his head. I didn’t think of asking if they had a longer conversation. I did tell her that often the person who is passing takes advantage of the opportunity when their loved one isn’t there.

It would have been easier to use their names in the story. I know her well and decided to protect their privacy. Writing about her experience has provoked a few questions. I want to hear more of the story.

The second story is also an answer to a question. My daughter was driving and was puzzled about a story she was writing. There was a problem and she couldn’t think of the solution. While her mind was occupied by the traffic, the solution to the writing problem flashed in her mind. She thought I would enjoy her story.

I have mentioned that I often send questions up — and receive the answer. It doesn’t matter if the answer flashes in my mind, or is heard from another person or on the radio or television.

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IRISH MORNING

I have to admit that I have never been to Ireland. I don’t know if the opportunity to visit will ever come. My mother’s father was from there. I have finally learned the county that he was from but since I don’t know his birthdate or any other pertinent information, and his last name was very common — I’m not trying to learn anything more. I’ve titled this thought ramble Irish Morning not because the day reminded me of Ireland but because I was having lunch with a dear friend. She is not only Irish but she came from across the water. For years she lived on my block, went to Mass with us on Sunday. But time passes and our bodies reflect the passing. She had trouble walking up and down the stairs in her house. She moved to a Catholic senior residence. Even though she is on the third floor, they have elevators.

She phoned a few days ago and invited me for lunch. Of course, I accepted immediately. Then she fell, and we postponed the date. Then the snow fell on rain drenched stairs and I didn’t like the crunch as I swept the stairs. And we postponed it again. The day finally came, cold but with sunshine — blue skies. If I gave serious thought to the meeting, I wouldn’t have arrived empty handed. Ooops!

Her residence has many opportunities for a person to stay busy. I passed a room where art work decorated the window. I recognized the name of a friend and stopped to take a photo. A woman passed by with her son and asked if that artwork was mine. I admitted that it was a friend’s, I wasn’t a resident. She had recently moved in and was having trouble adjusting. I had to share a story of my recent painting experience and a photo of the finished art work. She didn’t paint or draw. She used to sing but has lost her voice. I suggested she just sing to herself inside her head. She was on her way to therapy. I was navigating the halls, looking for the building were my friend’s apartment was.

SUCCESS! We had a pleasant visit but more snow and rain was in the forecast. I really didn’t want to get stuck out in the weather. I learned that she had had a stroke a couple of years before. Somehow I missed that information. Her son used to live on our block and shared information about his mother. He rented their house a couple of years back, and moved to an apartment. I no longer receive current news. She is doing well now — in her late 90’s. Not bothered by the aftermath of her fall.

Going back down I shared the elevator with a woman who had a lovely accent. When I asked, she admitted she was from Ireland. Walking down the hall with her, I voiced the question of a bathroom. Two gentlemen going in the opposite direction pointed to a sign on the wall. I told my companion that I’ve noticed that when I ask a question, I often get an immediate answer. I wondered if the same thing happened to her.

Leaving — I met the same woman I saw when I first arrived. She hadn’t slept well the night before and was heading to her apartment for a nap before supper. I mentioned that it must be hard, giving up her house, her car and living in a new place. There were people there from her parish but the friendship is just starting.

SLEEPING DRAGONS

I have a very hard time coming up with titles for my thought rambles. This title is courtesy of a meditation that I listened to this morning. And it is so fitting to my life right now.

Supposedly it is Spring but the temperature and the weather is not reflecting the season. It looks and feels like winter. The flowers are not confused, they are breaking through the surface. The birds are not confused — more are arriving every day, waking Robin up with their morning song. I would love to state that my mood is lighter, happier but I dislike lying.

It feels like I am at the bottom of a very dark, deep pit. The gray skies are not helping. Recently because of either age, or weight, or changes in the measurement — my blood pressure is up. I now require medication — strokes run in my family — one of my aunts was stricken by one and lost most of her quality of life. I’m reminded regularly that I have many more years to accomplish something. What? I have no idea? But in order to enjoy a good quality of life, I need to be in reasonably good health.

When I fell backwards, down the stairs before New Years, my blood pressure was extremely high. So high that my children pestered me to go to the doctors and I received medication. Recently I accompanied my husband to the doctor for his visit. On the way we had a “discussion.” My children were concerned about my cough and wanted our doctor to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia or some other health problem. When the nurse wanted to take my blood pressure, I knew I was in trouble. I knew I was still UPSET. I was RIGHT! My blood pressure was so high she wanted me to take it the next morning and phone her with the results. Thankfully I took it again that night and it was down. I also took it the following morning and it was still in a safe range.

My learning from this experience is that I have to be in better control of my body. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t get angry because there are many times when that response is called for. My husband knows the right buttons to push to get a response. I just need to be aware — a sleeping dragon is within. I don’t need to awaken the beast! I need to be able to take action to quiet it back down. Many memories from my past don’t always bring warm thoughts. Throwing them out instead of dwelling on them is appropriate. I can’t change the weather outside, maybe I can change the weather inside of my own body. That will continue to be the challenge.

SHRINKING

Its not FAIR! I’ve never been tall but I was able to reach stuff on the shelves. Okay! I’ll admit that my youngest daughter was taller than me and when she rearrange the dishes and other stuff I couldn’t reach them. But for the most part, I was able to reach the stuff in my cabinets. Then I noticed that I had to stand on my toes to reach some stuff. Then I noticed that I was afraid I would drop stuff I was putting away. Then I decided that for the safety of various cups and glasses, I had to rearrange the shelves.

I realized I was using the step I purchased for my grandchildren more often. I also realized that it wasn’t tall enough. Or had I shrunk again? My grandson who is twelve is taller than me. His sister will soon be. To make life even more interesting, my husband had shoes on — I was barefoot. I only came up to his chin! He is older, but he doesn’t seem to be shrinking.

I have a wider two step stool that I’m using more often. I hate to admit it, but I’m also using a 2 step ladder to reach the top shelves. I hate to admit it — but it doesn’t seem to be tall enough. Of course it doesn’t help that I have lost my flexibility. If I’m on the floor — sitting is better for my knees, getting up is a challenge. I try not to meet the floor on that level.

Shopping has also become a challenge. First off — I don’t have the strength that I had. Injuries and weight have caused some of that. Also laziness has played a factor. I’ll admit that I have time to exercise. I just don’t do it. Yoga is supposed to help with height. Somehow I don’t think my height will stretch out if I resume yoga. I have been doing Tai Chi on a regular basis. Some of it is muscle memory, some of it is distracted thinking.

I’ve become better at asking for help when I can’t reach a product on the shelf. I’ve become better at searching for tall people who can reach what I can’t. I’ve become better of asking for help when a product — 40 bottles of water is too heavy for me to safely move.

I might vow that I will begin again to do Jane Fonda’s strength training. And I might, it just hasn’t happened yet. I might also begin another exercising program. The pain in my shoulder seems to have diminished, as has the pain in my back. Am I scared to do any of the exercises that caused the pain in the beginning. Good question — no answer.

I’m looking forward to summer — the camper and exercising in the water. I’m also looking forward to losing a few pounds. I’ve tried most of the year so far without success. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I’m maintaining my weight. NOT GAINING. Hopefully I will stop SHRINKING!

HEADACHE

Our grandchildren were in the backseat of our car as we headed to church on Sunday. They must have had too much sugar because they were full of spirit. So much so that I got a headache. At church service — the sung songs were accompanied by drums and guitar, than a big bongo set of drums. My head DID NOT LIKE the drumbeat. I exited the area and went out into the great space. I noticed the trays for communion were being assembled and re-entered the main church area. After communion, the next song was announced. I LOVE to sing it, but it is high energy and my head was providing its own drum beat. Once again I exited.

A young, tall male came out into the space. He did not look well. It was very apparent that something was wrong. He stayed by himself in one of the corners for awhile. When he was ready to rejoin the assembly in church, he passed by where I was sitting. I remarked that I could tell he was upset. He confided that it was the anniversary of a friend who had passed. I shared the story of chia tea. I was making a new batch on the anniversary of my father’s passing, when I noticed a magazine article detailing the benefits of the spices used in the brew. I mentioned that his friend was in a better place but could still interact with him if he was observant. I had just made another batch of chia tea on my son’s birthday. Often I’m rather slow to notice things. Later in the day I realized that even though my father passed over in 1995, he was still taking care of his family.

Monday, I was watching a channel on PBS. I wanted to watch another station and asked my daughter’s remote to change the channel. It is a marvelous piece of equipment — when it works. THIS TIME IT DIDN’T! I tried four times before giving up. PBS was having a membership drive. Over the past few days, I had watched two different programs on health — the benefits of vegetarian cuisine. Monday’s program was by Dr. Mark Hyman. His plan was not as limited, combining both meat and vegetarian food. Since my body seems to NEED meat, I was interested. The program was followed by “The Coast Of Ireland” — seals, whales and puffins.

It probably will come as no surprise when I mention that Costco had Dr. Mark Hyman’s book “Food, What the Heck should I eat?” when I visited the store. It is also no surprise when I say that I bought a copy.

NUMBERS

Until my body parts started acting up, I never paid attention to my age. Sadly problems with my knees, and getting up out of a chair or out of the car brought my age into my attention. Then I fell — twice within a very short time. Going up or coming down the stairs. Thankfully I didn’t do major damage to any of my body parts. Now I go up or down rather carefully — paying attention to what I am carrying. I also hold on to the railings more often. I think the first fall was caused by carrying to much weight in both hands. I’ve determined the second fall was caused by the surface of my slippers being worn. I’m not sure they were the real reason. I haven’t regained my confidence or my speed navigating the stairs. Most days my knees are working better depending on the weather.

Then I got sick and lost more of my balance and energy. I’m still surprised that walking up to our church was too far of a walk for me. I determined that I was going to take Robin for at least one walk every day. Then the weather shifted, the snow came and the ice. Safety became a factor. Each day brings us closer to Spring. I’m hopeful that while I won’t be able to run up and down the stairs like in previous years — they won’t become a major handicap. In order to remain in our house, I have to be able to do the stairs.

Age isn’t the only number I haven’t been paying attention too. I don’t remember the ages of my children or grandchildren but I have solved that problem. I have their age and birth date on strips in my daily calendar.
I have strips for the birthdays of some of my friends so I remember to send a card.

The last anniversary of my blog came and I underestimated the number of years I had been writing. Because of my daily calendar, I usually know what the date and day of the week is. When we are in the country it is easy to lose track. Especially when we don’t have any specific plans.

So by now you must be wondering why I’m going on and on about numbers. Recently I was at the store, getting ready to check out. The elderly woman behind me had a cart piled with one brand, one flavor of frozen dinners. I stared at the cart — I was amazed to see so many of the same kind in a cart. I didn’t count the exact number she had. When I asked if that dinner was really good — she replied that she didn’t cook any more. I answered that I still did. Even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to eat the same thing night after night. I can’t even eat the same foods week after week. I have a good friend, who is now on the other side — Thursday was pork chops and Friday was take out pizza. If I knew what the rest of the week was I don’t remember.

I mentioned that experience to my husband. He calculated that I have cooked over 20,000 meals in my lifetime. And I’m still cooking!

COUGHING

I did my best. When my son started coughing, I did my best to NOT CATCH whatever he had that was causing the problem. I was already coughing — admittedly it was a different cough — dry. I knew the cause — it was the blood pressure medicine I was taking. A friend of mine told me it made her cough too. At first the dry cough wasn’t too bad. Then since my blood pressure wasn’t decreasing, my doctor doubled the dose. My cough also increased. I was coughing so much my back started hurting.

Then my husband started coughing. The cough sounded similar to our son’s. My husband has emphysema, which often evolves into pneumonia. I didn’t like his color, I didn’t like the way he sounded. He didn’t think he needed to go to the doctor. Thankfully I had a well being doctor’s appointment scheduled for that week. He wasn’t better so he accompanied me. Meanwhile I didn’t like the way my cough sounded. It was no longer dry. Thankfully my husband’s lungs were clear but the doctor prescribed medicine for him anyway. My lungs were also clear — I got a new prescription for blood pressure medicine. I picked up the new medicine. The pills for my husband immediately worked to improve his condition. Sadly I was correct about the sound of my cough. It deepened and intensified. The weather in our area became much colder and snow was predicted. I thought the cough was just a cold and if I took care of it, drank plenty of fluids, stayed inside, it would soon be gone. I WAS WRONG.

Each evening the news announced the status of the flu — increasing in intensity, more people, especially children were dying. Both my husband and myself had gotten a flu shot in October. Neither one of us was running a fever. We were confident we didn’t have the flu. Normally I don’t take cough syrup but I went through ALL of the cough syrup in the house, even stuff I had for our grandchildren. For many reasons, I didn’t want to go outside — below zero temperatures and snow didn’t beckon. Except for coming downstairs for food or to cook I stayed on the second floor where it was warmer. Our Christmas tree remained up. When I was feeling better, I didn’t take it down because it occupied the space my son’s chair rested in. I didn’t want him by the windows. Then the tree stayed up because I didn’t have the energy to take it down.

Nine days of snow. Thankfully our son did most of the shoveling. My husband was feeling better, at 5:30 AM I was woken my the sound of shoveling. My husband wasn’t in bed. When I looked outside, I saw the top of his coat, dealing with the fresh snow. Under normal conditions, my husband LOVES to use the snow blower on the whole block. These weren’t normal conditions. But he took pity on our neighbors and didn’t start the machine. Both myself and our son expressed our opinion on his being outside shoveling. Our neighbors took pity on us. A few times our walk was shoveled. Once our front stairs were included. When all was said and done, we had more than 10 inches of snow. Normally I sweep the stairs. This wasn’t a normal time.

My back still hurt. I decided that Tai Chi — the gentle stretching would help it. Other than that — most days I got in less than 3,000 steps. I tried to get more sleep. Coughing didn’t help. Except for one day between the snow storms, I hadn’t been outside. When another big storm was predicted we traveled to the store for supplies — milk, bread ,and vegetables. Finally a littler bit of my energy returned. Enough to take off the ornaments and lights. To take down our Christmas tree. It was February — time for the tree to come down. I even got the stuff together to prepare for income tax.

I hadn’t been outside except for the store run in 10 days. I walked to our accountant — 7000 steps when I returned. I couldn’t believe how tired I was. His office was close to our church, a distance I normally walked. Both my back and knees HURT.

Caught — I was outside cleaning up the yard before the rain came. Working on the icy steps, shoveling a tiny bit of snow off our cellar doors. My son caught me. He had warned me not to go outside when the back was icy. Now he told me to put the shovel down. He would take care of the snow.

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