Sunday, March 17, 2013
My work brings me into very intimate contact with people who are in the last few years or even the last moments of their lives. I am almost always in their homes rather than in a facility. Sometimes I get to know their families well, also. I see how they have lived and what brought them to their current condition.
Before you think this is going to be a depressing blog post, I want to say that even on days like today, when I kept checking my favorite client to see if he was still breathing, I love my job. There is ALWAYS life in the room, somewhere. And there are also always love and hope in the room, somewhere. I think it is my job to (gently, so they don't realize I am the one doing it), help the clients and the families find the life, the love and the hope.
Many, many of my clients are tremendously bored and lonely. They lived active, people-oriented lives OUTSIDE their homes before they became disabled. They went bowling, or fishing or to the movies. It never occurred to them that one day they would be unable to drive or walk, that their best friends would die, that their children would be busy and that they would have no idea how to amuse themselves.
What can YOU learn to do NOW to keep yourself occupied, entertained, feeling useful and important, even if the day comes that you are completely reliant on someone like me to come to your home three days a week? It would be a good idea to have a major interest, say politics or music that is so general that even if your hands become arthritic, you can use your DragonSpeak software to "type" out letters to your congresscritters. Even if you can't see, you can play your piano by touch.
Pick something NOW and develop an interest so you do not become a lonely widow with nothing in her life but a television.
After my grandfather died, my grandmother built a third of her house by herself - out of very odd-looking recycled materials. She ran a museum. She wrote to congresscritters, chiding them for every promise they broke. She walked on the beach. She taught herself to paint in oils. I can't say that everyone loved her; probably a few people thought she was a wee bit odd. But I admired her tremendously. She had zip and drive and never felt sorry for herself long.
The interesting thing is that for so many years she was over-worked, underappreciated and poor. She easily could have (once she was alone and no one was watching her) sunk into an easy chair, put her feet up and gotten diabetes in front of a television. After all, she deserved it, right?
But she understood, as I hope that I can help all of my clients understand, that everyone deserves to be happy and to feel important. It does not matter how late we start. If life circumstances make it difficult for us to be happy and important in our thirties, forties and fifties, why shouldn't we put twice as much effort into being happy and important in our sixties, seventies and eighties?
This idea is not only for ourselves. Can you also gently nudge your husband or wife, your mother or father to explore some means to greater meaning? Only 10% of us will die quickly. The rest of us will have a slow decline. Let's make that time as pleasurable and peaceful as possible.
Friday, March 15, 2013
I applied to two nursing schools, one that has a group interview, which the advisor described as a Miss America pageant ("Dress well, but don't be nervous," she said!) The other has a proctored essay. I've known for 6 weeks the interview would be on April 8th - it is the actual reason I decided to join Spark.
I just today received an invitation for a proctored essay at the other college on April 6th.
The feminist part of me wants to believe the school that takes the essays is a better school because it judges on brains, not beauty. Alas, it's not really true. I just want it to be true because it's only 20 minutes from my house. I'd be doing clinicals in a neighborhood where it would actually be reasonable for me to drive on a daily basis.
The group interview is at a college an hour away. It's frankly a better school. I was sort of hoping the decisions would be far enough apart so I would already have said yes to one before the other made an offer (if I were lucky enough to be accepted by both).
But I DID go try on skirts at a Goodwill to match my snazzy houndstooth jacket and I come very, very close to fitting perfectly in a brand new size 8. I actually have room in the waist. The liner is too tight in the thighs area. I think I can lose enough in the next 3 weeks to make that comfortable. If not, I'll run out and buy a Spanx or something. (If I were wearing pants there'd be NO WAY I could fit in an 8 yet, Spanx or no Spanx but that's another story.)
Spanx. Sheesh! Who named that? Not a feminist! Some man who is implying our rears are more spankable when they are squished into some extruded and molded rubber product that came off a Firestone tractor tire assembly line? (Imagine me snorting like a horse here... a behavior I will really have to learn to control before the group interview.)
At least I've now lost enough weight so I no longer need any steel belting under that molded, extruded rubber Spanx.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Because upstairs, the floor is not level. If I point the scale facing north, I lose 3 pounds.
I thought about it because I spent too much time studying this weekend between work shifts to exercise much. But then I'd have to keep weighing myself on the same scale or I'd gain 3 pounds next week.
I did keep to a reasonable eating plan, though, so I sighed and used the downstairs scale, on the level downstairs bathroom floor. And yes, I still lost weight. Just a few tenths, but I lost weight. If I weighed myself upstairs, I would never have known.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
He (a former black belt) said he was impressed that I am sticking with it. He said he would like to design a plan for me (which I am sure would be very painful for me to follow) because it would be more efficient. But he's been watching me and he's never seen me without my trusty pedometer and my unsweetened ice tea, and he knows I am serious.
My husband, another former martial artist who still looks very fine at the age of 67, said something similar last week.
This is high praise coming from two hard working lifelong athletes.
My mother, however, sighs and says "Good luck" when I tell her I want to be a size smaller by mid April. I'll admit I've made a rather unimpressive start, but who's to say my progress needs to stay unimpressive? She did go with me on a walk recently, though, and she is now walking her dog farther than she used to, so maybe my walking is a bit contagious.
I feel a little like I am in love. Yesterday, while I was in the tutoring room, I looked down at my pedometer several times and saw a gigantic number (not really, but for a day I was sitting on my rear, it was). I was so happy, because for once I could see how POSSIBLE change really was for me.
This happiness, this sense of possibility, translated into my tutoring, too. I always love my job, but I was a little on FIRE as I explained immune system function and dysfunction to people. They must have thought I was bonkers.
It IS possible. I'm a month in. I no longer feel deprived when I go without my midnight snacks. Logging food has become second nature. Squeezing in exercise is becoming easier and I'm looking for more ways to do it. I have a couple weeks off school coming up and I will have to work a lot more, but I will also get some hiking in. I can do this.
Friday, March 08, 2013
I wish I had lost 8 by now, because I am behind my goal, but it's a start. I actually gained two pounds last week (anniversary week plus two exams I wasn't ready for without really hitting the books meant I spent a lot of time on my rear) so that didn't help.
I am finding, however, that my need to sneak in a little exercise has made me a much nicer person... at least since I have a pedometer! Someone says they forgot something or need something and guess who pipes up that they'll get it? Yep, me! All those little jaunts down the hall or across the room are adding up. I logged over 6,000 steps at school yesterday while I was supposed to be sitting on my rear tutoring other students. And besides that, everyone thought I was a total sweetheart!
The other thing I am doing, although I don't think it has anything to do with weight loss, is a lot of squats, lunges and calf raises. I can sneak them in here and there when no one is in the room. Since I'm standing up, if I hear someone coming, I can very quickly go back to a perfectly normal position... not like if I were lying on the floor doing pushups. If someone came in and saw me attempting to do them, they'd probably run for the defibrillator!
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