Friday, August 27, 2010
I'm adjusting. Husband on the liver transplant list is becoming the new "normal", and I've talked daughter #1 into working only three days a week so she can give me a hand around the house and farm - there's too much work for one person, and if I have to pay someone, it may as well be my daughter as some local yahoo (forgive me.)
So today I spent a l-o-n-g day of serious cleaning - I totally love that mop thingee that you plug in and it emits steam!! - and I made some real progress. Even cleaned the kitchen enough to make some potato-leek soup with our own veggies.
At the end of today, I downloaded my BodyMedia armband data and entered it in the appropriate SP places - I haven't done that in a week, and it feels good to be back to paying attention. Even if I don't change my activity or diet, just entering the data keeps me aware of my goals.
I spent an hour (actually, closer to two hours) catching up with Spark Buddies' doings and team activities, and came up with a couple new ideas to jumpstart my program without making all that many changes. Sadly, I've determined that my foot just isn't ready to cooperate with the C25K quite yet, but I haven't given up that goal - just postponed it until I do a bit more healing.
I've always dealt with adversity by making A Plan - any plan, even a silly, unrealistic one, is enough to give me some comfort and change my focus. Also, I know that I feel best when I have a project that I can dig into, preferably literally - heavy physical labor, indoors or out, balances my tendency to live too much in my head. Also, that delicious tiredness at the end of the day ... even the occasional sore muscle ... there's no substitute for honest labor.
So I've make a couple plans, for myself and my weight goals, for my house, my business, my farm, my husband - you name it, I've got it laid out, and I feel much better for it. I've shaped my eyebrows and flossed my teeth. I've got my armband, my week's worth of menus, and my shopping list, and my day-planner with Time For Myself written in in ink! Yep, I'm ready to resume living my life!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Satchel Paige is one of my heroes, and I don't even like baseball.
Among his many wise (and wise-ass) remarks was, "Just keep runnin'. Don't look back. Something might be gainin' on ya."
So today, while I try to wrap my mind around what' going on in my life in general, I asked my dearest friend Katrina www.secondsights.com/ to do a reading for me. In part, it read:
Outcome is The Star - Set a goal and work toward it, letting nothing distract you from the outcome. Don't worry about how you're going to get from here to there. Set the goal and start walking. If you are going from Virginia to California, all you really have to know is that California is West and keep walking West. You'll get there. It's nice to know about the terrain and climate of the states in between, but really, the main idea is to just keep walking in the direction of where you know the goal lies, even if you don't know anything about the journey in between. By all means, walk. You don't have time to sit still.
So maybe I ought to get on this weight-loss-and-health-gain thing. I admit I've been doggin' it for a long damn time, paying lip service to The Cause and wearing the BodyMedia arm band and logging the data, but not really putting my heart into it (literally or figuratively.)
Tonight, honestly, it just seems like one more thing I have to put on the To Do list. But there's always tomorrow. And tomorrow is another day. (That's not Satchel, that's Scarlett O'Hara - but she had the right idea there.)
And now, before I inadvertently invoke any other quote-worthy folks, I'm calling it a day.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Some of my SparkFriends know a little of my backstory with my husband and his health challenges, most don't. If you're interested, here's the short version:
John was in a car accident a bunch of years ago - punctured his spleen, lost more than half his blood volume and had to have multiple transfusions. Unfortunately, he did this on the "wrong" side of town, where St. I-forget-who Hospital used to buy blood by the pint from whoever was willing to sell it - usually not the best, healthiest folks. Anyway, he got a transfusion that was tainted (at least this is the best guess we can make) and, twenty years later, was diagnosed with Hepatitis C.
Still, he stayed healthy (and meanwhile developed back problems so complicated that his Xrays are featured in a couple of textbooks now) for another decade or so. He was offered the Interferon/Ribaviron treatment, but for many reasons (mostly a very low long term success rate for his genotype, after a long and very painful treatment) did not take it. Last summer he started getting some edema in his legs, and it's been steadily downhill from there.
I'll spare you the details, but he got connected to an internationally respected doctor at Mt. Sinai in NYC. We saw him in March, and he was fairly positive - gave John a different main diagnosis (cirrhosis, yes, but caused largely by Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, rather than Hepatitis C - which he still has, of course), a different treatment protocol, and a different - positive - prognosis.
John's been having more and more problems, largely with the edema in the legs and ascites (fluid build-up in the abdomen), but also some hepatic encephalopathy (cognitive problems due to liver disease) and feeeling worse and worse. It's slow, but progressive. So we went back to NYC and saw the doctor again. This time he looked at him, prodded a little and suggested he be evaluated for a liver transplant immediately (in Rochester, though - closer to home and with a better chance of finding a donor.)
So that's where we are now. I haven't given up - not by a long shot - on either my husband or myself, but I may not be around much, and if I am, it may be sort of hit-and-miss. I have a huge amount of house and farm stuff to deal with (especially with hay to get in and winter to prepare for) and now have to be especially supportive of my husband, and ready to do whatever he needs done. A positive side of having to take better care of his needs is that his diet is moderately high protein (100 gms/day), lower carb (and only "quality" carbs) with little sugar and just about no salt - exactly what I need to lose weight.
I'm willing to shelve most of my artistic pursuits for the time being, like writing my book(s) but I can't devote myself 100% to the care of someone else. I almost wish I could, but I'm just not made that way. I need some alone time to read or walk or draw or just sit. Doing morning, noon and night for someone else will make me crazy, and then I can't help either of us. So Im trying to find that balance. And to manage ... eh, difficult to explain, but I get so upset with him sometimes, so angry, but then I realize how ill he is, and feel so terribly guilty and sad, and that doesn't help either.
I'm so very tired of tightropes and eggshells, but that seems to be what's underfoot at the moment. Wish me luck, kids.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
About two weeks ago, I was driving my daughter to a bead store about thirty miles from home (nearly everything is at least thirty miles from home.) On a set of S curves around the lake, two lanes each way separated only by yellow lines and with a 55 mph limit, a car going the other way cut off another. The one swerved and missed the other, but I realized in a split second that if the cars clipped one another and one spun out, with the trajectory of that curve it would hit us head-on, and that would be it for us. That didn't happen, of course, but I was seriously shaken. I tried to tell my daughter about the close call we'd just had, but she wasn't looking at the time and didn't have my perspective - and at 22, she probably still feels immortal.
I spent the next couple days feeling, as my grandmother would say, like a goose had walked over my grave.
This morning's front page has a picture of that same stretch of parkway. Apparently there were two accidents there last week, and one was a fatality - one car clipped another, causing the first to slide into opposing traffic and take out a car going the other way - exactly what could have happened to my daughter and me. Now, of course, there's another debate about putting up a median, but everyone knows it won't happen.
The point here isn't about driving, or even near misses. It's about, well, what would have followed had I not been quite so lucky that day. A whole cascade of bad things, from dirty dishes left in the sink to sick husbands with no one to care for them. Obviously, there's not a whole lot I can do about the husband, other than maybe finding extended care insurance, but there are a myriad things that I can take care of. Does anyone else in the family know the location of the safe deposit box key? What's in that safe deposit box, for that matter, and where are the other policies? Can anyone else identify all the people in those old photographs? How about the family histories of all those two hundred year old things? How were we related? Where are the relatives all buried? (And how about the good stuff, like the skeletons in the various relatives' closets?) I'm willing to bet I'm the only one who knows most of those answers.
So while I'm decluttering and cleaning up in general, sorting through the boxes and boxes of my mother's belongings, her attic, my attic, all that nonsense, I'm taking a few extra minutes to make some notes. I don't want to leave all this Stuff for someone else to deal with, but I also don't want to leave a bunch of mysteries. I went through a bunch of paintings and photographs the other day, identifying the people, the settings and the circumstances as far as I know them. I intend to do this with anything I come across that has a history I know about. I spent a couple hours on the computer and wrote down all the family history and genealogy I could come up with. If I think of more, I'll add it.
I fully intend to live another forty years, hale and hearty to the last. But just in case - in case I do get run over by that bus or get struck by lightning - I'm vowing to take care of some of these details. It would be a shame if it got lost, and it will if I don't do this.
But I'll tell you one thing: I'm going to be taking a different route to the bead store from now on.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I was all the way down to S before I realized it was in alphabetical order. This could be interesting...
A - Available or married? Married. So very married.
B - Books? Yes - enough to open my own branch of the library. Currently, a couple paperback cozy mysteries, a book on welding techniques for artists, a book on Woody Landscape Plants, and Chi Running. Also the usual armload of magazines.
C - Cake or pie? Pie. But not cream pie.
D - Drink of choice? Gin. Failing that, water, no ice.
E - Essential item? Duct tape.
F - Favorite color? For what?
G - Game to play or watch? Backgammon. Preferably for money.
H - Hometown? Philadelphia.
I - Indulgence? Jacuzzi.
J - Job? No, thank you. I've already had more than my share.
K - Kids and names? Annie and Alexandra.
L - Life is incomplete without? A sketch book and a dictionary.
M - Music group or singer? At the moment, Etta James.
N - Number of siblings? Zero by birth, but many recognized along the way.
O - Oranges or apples? Apples.
P - Phobias/fears? Spiders and polar bears.
Q - Favorite quote? Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
H. L. Mencken
R - Reason to smile? I'm still here.
S - Season? Whichever one we're currently in.
T - Tattoos? Yep, a Celtic on my left calf.
U - Unknown fact about me? I have an excellent sense of direction outdoors, but indoors - even in a largish house - I get hopelessly lost.
V - Vegetable you love? Anything but okra, and even that is okay if it isn't cooked to the glue stage.
W - Worst habit? I tend to wander off.
X - X-rays you've had? Feet, hands, wrists, teeth, knee, lungs, left side of head, sinuses, spine ... God, you name it, I've got a picture of it around here somewhere.
Y - Your favorite food? Tiny new potatoes with sour cream and caviar. Anything with fresh basil. Callard and Bowser toffee. Espresso with real whipped cream. My mother's pot roast.
Z - Zodiac? Pisces, Scorpio on the ascendant, moon in Capricorn. Grand trine in water signs.
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