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Family visit, hike, and March results (mixed)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The primary purpose of my vacation was to visit my mom, who had been quite sick since suffering a heart attack in January (she has congestive heart failure and many other health problems; she is 93). So, I mostly spent my time in Portola Valley quietly visiting and helping my mom. She is MUCH improved, and is expected to be released from hospice into regular nursing home care this week. I couldn’t believe how much her health has improved! She was enjoying reading again, her vital signs were good, and she was more alert and awake. She sponsored an Easter party for the children of the nursing home employees, and she was thrilled to have the small visitors (who are from all races and cultures; all were dressed in their Easter best for the Easter egg hunt and carrying little paper Easter baskets).

Her mobility however is much worse. Last month when I visited, she was still struggling her way to the restroom on her walker, with the support of a caregiver. She did NOT want to lose the ability to make it there on her own two feet. Now she is wheeled in (on a wheelchair with a potty seat that rolls right over the toilet – very inventive!), and has accepted the change with equanimity.

The Kindle e-reader has been a real benefit for mom, and for anyone else with impaired vision. She can change any book to LARGE print. She can’t order books herself because the keys are too small for her to read, so I ordered several of her favorite mysteries for her, plus the new Maeve Binchy novel. When reading the newspaper, she can only read the headlines; if she is interested in the topic she uses a magnifying glass. She reads VERY slowly but I am so glad she is reading again.

I was able to run lots of errands for mom, which gave my older sister Pam a break. Pam does most of the work helping mom (errands, visits to the doctor, helping manage money, doing taxes, designated medical decision maker, etc). My younger sister Mindy has accepted a job back east (in Pittsburgh), so she will be unable to help out, and she has been very tied up with the move/house hunt for the past month. It was great to spend time with my family.

Family photos (mom & sisters & brother)

I met my friend Charlie for a hike. We hiked in Wunderlich park in Woodside. The coast redwoods were lovely, but not as big as the giant Sequoias. It is interesting to realize how many of my long time friends were made through hiking! I met Charlie more than 20 years ago through a Sierra Club hiking group in California.

Charlie on the trail

Charlie in circle of redwoods

I also hiked with my sisters in Redwood Park in the Oakland hills – but I forgot my camera. Lots of hills!

Finally -- I had mixed results with my SP goals this month. I met my exercise goals. I met my fruits and vegetables goals. I controlled alcohol. I did not control caffeine intake, and I struggled with stress and sleep disruption. My digestion has been very upset on both ends (stomach and intestinal); probably stress related but it is getting to the point that I need to check things out with a physician. I tracked food intake only approx 50% of the days. My biggest problems with tracking are due to work and family related travel. In March I traveled for 10 days for family, and traveled for 8 days for work – that’s more than half the month on the road. Weigh in was not good; two months ago I reset my weight loss ticker to a reduced weight that I am now exceeding, erasing all my minor gains since the reset. I'll decide whether to reset it again after I figure out whether this is a temporary blip -- or I need to start from a new higher weight. I wish I'd left the ticker at my old original start weight!

I know I can do better. I’ll work on re-visioning my goals and making some changes that work for me consistently – even when I am traveling, working long hours, and stressed.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    The most important thing is to be honest and compassionate with yourself. That is all. You are doing a great job of seeing your mother's condition and what the capabilities of others are to provide for her. You are giving credit where it is due and not blaming when it is not reasonable to do so. You are recognising that things are stressful for you and where you have failed to be perfect with Spark, but ALSO that you have lessened the burden for your sister and have pleased your mother.

    This is advanced thinking and feeling; many people are not able to be so honest and compassionate about their mothers. Other relatives, maybe, but mothers pull especially on our hearts and make even the most mature people become children.

    Give yourself a pat on the back for your bravery, your honesty and your compassion!

    1869 days ago
    You are doing great under difficult circumstances. I know by experience how hard it is to travel often, and you travel more than I do!
    I am really glad to read how much better your mother is feeling. It is fantastic she can read again! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful family picture with us, it is very special.
    1873 days ago
    Such a nice happy family pic!! Your Mom is looking great!
    Sounds like an overall good vacation! With all the exercise you do and getting out that bike...that weight gain will be gone in no time! Just keep focused -I am sure you will figure it all out. But, it is hard not to be tempted with bad choice on those occasions! emoticon emoticon
    1873 days ago
    Thank you for sharing the lovely family picture. I'm sure it's something that you will always treasure, because everyone looks so happy. You are proof that living at a distance from each other needn't keep family from being close.

    It's wonderful that your mother's health has improved so much, and that she has adjusted to not being able to get to the washroom with her walker. It was so kind of her to think of having an Easter party for the children of the health care workers. She sounds like a remarkable woman, and I'm glad she is able to read again. My mother became legally blind because of macular degeneration, and being unable to read was a real tragedy in her life. She had only grade 8 formal education, but was a life-long reader and learner. We tried to interest her in audio-books, but she was unable to make the transition.

    With all the travelling you do, both for work and for pleasure, I can understand why it's difficult to stick to your goals. I think you are doing really well, considering all the long hours you put in, and the stressful times you've been going through.

    Take care of yourself; I hope you had a lovely dinner out with your friends.

    1873 days ago
    What a beautiful family photo! You all look great, but I especially can't believe that your mom is 93 from that picture! I'm glad she is doing better and able to enjoy reading again. It sounds like you did pretty well meeting your goals~traveling definitely impacts our weight and habits. It just takes us out of our normal routine. You travel a lot and I'm inspired by how you manage to keep up with your healthy habits despite being away from home. Here's to April!

    1874 days ago
  • DR1939
    Glad things are going well with your mom.
    1874 days ago
    Loved the family picture with you mom! You are so right about the ebook readers for the visually impaired! My husband had given up reading for several years due to macular degeneration, and then we discovered that he could read books on my I-pad. It has given him a huge part of his life back. Everyone with a visually impaired family member needs to check out reading possibilities on a tablet device. Love those trees! You will do great figuring out where to go tweaking those goals. You are is tough when travel and stress enter into the picture!

    1874 days ago
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