caregiver, family

The Longer Goodbye

My Miss Brenda has taken a few turns for the worse but no one prepares you for hospice or the hospice call including date of death.

I took the news calmly. But did question their all knowing practical knowledge of date and time of one’s passing. “How do you know?” “Are you sure?” “What makes you so positive?” They answered all with the confidence of seeing this before and in my head, I knew they had. Obviously.

My mom was a player in life pushing every physical limit and doing alot of damage to one’s body. Before my parents parted ways, they were quite the twosome, in their partying ways. My dad got sober. My mother. Never. So this early demise of body should not surprise, but it did.

No tears flowed after my hospice conversation. Very stoic and processing what I questioned but my strong exterior allowed me to create Frosty day, early birthday celebration, and just visits. On the otherside I was in constant contact with hospice. I knew everything at all times. Little pieces of me were breaking away as I focused on how to make the end “nice.”

A week into this personal journey hospice called again. “She improving.” “It’s a miracle.” This time I had no questions, just relief. Knowing full well that tomorrow is another day and yet another possibility of that phone call. While they predict the end of life to the minute. They do admit the miracles astound them. So, for right now My Miss Brenda is doing OK. Still under hospice care but not a patient with a date and time stamped in their file.

On my last visit. I cried. It hit me that she is alone with her TV and a bunch of health care techs and nurses. That’s it. She is alone with her thoughts and confusions and the reconciliation of her choices in life. While I am very close by, she is still alone. Driving home in tears, I realized that this is the world she built. She chose distance and still keeps me at arms length, but all her choice. When she does let me in, it is nice. It’s fleeting but it’s nice.

So me and my lady have more time. This will give both of us the time we need to truly say goodbye.

fitness, health, weight loss

Nooming…

No, this is not a paid Noom promotion. I have a handful of dedicated followers but that does not create #paidpromotion.

A girl can dream!

I began Noom about two weeks ago due to a high salt content in my diet creating havoc on my blood pressure and causing additional weight gain. I have struggled with this since July 1991 directly after my sons birth. We all have this story in a variety of shapes and sizes and the clothes to boot. So, I won’t bore you with the countless attempts with my arch nemesis Weight Watchers. Now, it does work for many and it worked once for me and I still have the sacred ten pound token saved and in written into my will. My son will cherish, I am sure. But more often than not, I cheated the system, time and time again. It was easy as they have become more holistic centered rather that weight centered. I needed a boot camp mentality instead of an it’s ok, try again tomorrow. Just me.

Enter Noom. It is pricey. Very, and still not boot camp. But worth every penny. It keeps me accountable in a way like no other. While the Noom coach is not saying “get off you ass” or “close that refrigerator door.” I hear those phrases as they are subtlety weaved into our daily text exchange. The program is designed to teach, applaud, and turn you around if floundering on a dime. It is based around the psychology of eating through a series of daily lessons and charting foods based on colors and overall calorie content. Green=Good, Yellow=So, so, Red=Watch it! This stop sign method works for me as it is easy. The focus lies in the color groups but you have a calorie bar at the top. My limit is 1400 calories. I have only gone over by sixty on one day and it was with a green food. I felt fine with that decision. All while inputting my meals in the dashboard app, as well. This measures my sodium. I must stay under 1500 MG a day. Side note, a simple salad at Pei Wei is a challenge but it can be done. Sodium lives everywhere and this is a challenge. But my goals have been met with one or two days slightly over. Truly on good foods, that I learned to take out of my arsenal. Good bye chicken thighs and roast turkey breast. Who knew? Hello Mrs. Dash and low sodium Ezekiel bread. It is sprouted, must be frozen, pricey, but worth it. It gives me bread without the extra preservatives. Overall, very pleased but it is work and if you are not ready to work. Don’t do it. I was ready.

Two weeks later down 5 pounds and 8 ounces. Everything counts. Will I continue? You betcha. Is it still hard? Eh, getting into the good habits for this thing called health, so much easier. Is it better than Weight Watchers? For me, yes. No one has the right answers but if you want success you will find what works!

Please note I would do paid ads, thank you very much, because we all need another fifty something with grey hair to save the day on the great mascara debate. Sure we do. But seriously, just message me!

book

Stress Combative

About Things. 

Chapter 1

Once upon a time a little girl was born into chaos. Loving chaos. But chaos. A million years later, I like to think that it was just too much love, and only one child. Sharing was not an option, in this scenario, and agreeing on my fate was not an option. Sounds odd parents and grandparents surrounding a baby bassinet wondering who would be the best parental figure. The players in this mini-drama were my grandparents and my parents, the latter more like Romeo and Juliet, soon to part ways, and both addicted to alcohol. Spoiler. Great people. Just lost in their own lives and trying to make it on their own. Plus me. It was too much and that gave the opening for my Silvia and Sam to swoop in and care for me. Best idea ever. I am in their debt. I had the raisers, the friends, the playmates, and the biological parents lost in their own lives. Complicated. Yes. Awful. No. This is my beginning. My stories. My life. And now onto the characters…

anxiety, caregiver, life

This Thing Called Life…

My days recently go from thinking of island life to going back to work. Now, I teach, so I have a few weeks of torture left. My mom has entered hospice. While that no longer brings me to a new level of panic, it does bring to light on what she can no longer accomplish that she once did with ease. Enter panic and the reality that our time is finite. This mixed with my recent back recovery and a few extra non-needed pounds. I am a mess who wants nothing more than to not be someone’s burden when there is more life to lead.

So while I have undergone weight gain and loss in my life. My consistent yo-yo has never been for any other reason than vanity and on the flip side, my love of food. Today is different I am now taking the time to read labels, give up salt, sugar, and the bad carbs. I am a new leafy eater with a side of protein. Right now I am cooking chicken and turkey to freeze for later in the coming weeks. I think they call this food prepping. I call this a forced chance to write. My goal is twenty pounds but I would be great with fifteen, as it might be enough to release the extra burden of stressors, I now feel truly caring for a parent who cannot take care of themselves.

The weight is heavy and mixed with everyday life almost too much as everything is out of my control. So I am going to learn to cook, meal prep, eat well for the first time in my life. I can control that. My exercise will be daily walking at 5:30 am to set me up for a successful school year, and I can control (not enjoy) those early hours. I will mix in meditation and restorative yoga as I heal and focus on our relationship as mother/daughter and probably write and focus on my grandson. It helps. Alot.

I am sure my next few or more blogs will be about my Miss Brenda. Of course liberties will be taken as that’s what I do. Take a story and try to see the lighter side of this thing called life. Follow along.

family, granparent life, grey hair, life

Thirty-four Years of Bliss

When you only feel thirty-four years old, how can I have been married for thirty-four years? Is this possible? Please note the bliss is relative based on the day and recently the price of gas. But the fact that we have withstood trials and tribulations for over three decades creates a moment of pure reflection and wonder. Are we truly kindred spirits or do we just not give up. I believe the latter. Even soul mates drift apart. Marriage is work. Yes, we have our moments of romance but those are interrupted by the reality of day to day life.

After the decades you start floundering for gifts. Even cards quite don’t say it perfectly. As a family we have it all and the extraneous stuff is just stuff for instagram moments. You know, the nauseating ones, that make you feel like the posters are that happy daily. Nope. Don’t get me wrong I love jewelry and any fancy gift but often reality wins. This year I came up with a BBQ for the win and a special gift of family. Let me explain the latter as you understand the concept of the BBQ.

Well, it started with a trip to Prescott and no gift or card for me, the wife. I disguised my anger and kept up with the day. Then I saw my gift. He is three and my buddy. Day made. Anniversary made. All forgiven. We had a fabulous weekend of family, church, and getting to be part of our buddies baby to grown up room transistion. I love to spoil everyone I know. It’s my thing. Years ago the hubs parents bought our nursery and the big boy room furniture. Just because. We did the same. Just because. So, no jewelery or fancy new bag. Just the reality of life in the best possible way!

chronic pain, fitness, goals, sugar-free

Sugar-free and Me

I have tried alot of methods to lose weight and some have worked. Actually, worked well. Of course, mixed with an active lifestyle. One that failed not once but twice was keto. Not me. But with my recent health setback and literally from active to a coach potato by necessity, I need some change. I needed some research both to keep me busy and my own convincing to take the plunge, well the second plunge. I did this once with success and just went off. No reason. It was easy and felt great. So here we go…sugar-free is me…is now born.

My reasoning is completely to decrease inflammation. Which is still present. The absence of sugar is key as the white stuff spikes inflammation. Bye. Now, I could bore you with data. But not my style. Just enjoy my meandering stories and real life messages. Saying ciao is hard. I had pizza last night and quietly chewed our breakup story. I am ready. My life in the absence of pain will win and be my constant reminder along with societies vast array of sugar free choices if a sauce or an ice cream is truly needed. As for bread hello, ezkiel…and I love it. In moderation. I am good but it will be tough. I began today and promptly ordered supplements for sauces and chips. Sauces from Primal and G Hughes, carrots, cottage cheese instead of flavored yogurt, and Rx bars instead of premier protein etc, etc, etc. Just a bit of shopping adds combined with some everyday needs will make this tasty life without misery. #goals

On any road taken no one is perfect and I will not be. Nope. I will travel, learn, explore, investigate, concoct recipies until I get this right.

And I will…

education, family, retirement

80 Points!

In a teachers life this is a happy dance. I have choices. Kinda. I am not quite ready for retirement but yet I am. The freedom sounds enticing but I still want to teach. I doubt this will leave my soul. So, here we go again, options for a life after I am starting to pursue. My online Outschool acceptance/classroom is up to date but I no ideas for a class as of yet. None. Next up, interviewing for online tutoring to hopefully start this summer and keep it going throughout my final decision to stay or go. Hoping my three followers will guide me with possible class ideas that will entice kids into extra classes outside of the school day. If you have kids, know them etc. etc. Please share what type of classes that woukd interest you and yours. Below is my Outschool dashboard. Please send me your ideas.

Thanks in advance!

https://outschool.com/parents/97d6cb8e-35f2-4cc2-a888-32db5b15410e?signup=true&utm_campaign=share_parent_link

family, life

Love

I have never been a cook. Nope. It is a running joke in our home. This has never bothered me as I learned the craft from my Sylvia. She had the love but not the touch. My grandfather and I just smiled and lied through our meals, as she enjoyed cooking just had zero ability. But oh, the lady could sew, clean, and wash clothes like nobody’s business. But cook. Nope. For some reason she raised me to think I did not need home skills. So I have none. I meander my way through our daily needs with exasperation and the wish of a fairy godmother. Thirty-three years later I do my best. No one complains but they do avoid my cooking. It’s ok. Enter the air fryer. Now, I am a gadget queen. Anything that makes life easier I am on it. We have vacuums and mops that wander our home and I replenish them with the newer models asap. They break. Easily. But the air fryer is a gift from the heavens as my cooking is now tolerable. The hubs is using phrases like, “let’s put this meal on repeat.” Yup, repeat. In all our years a second of anything has never been requested. So, my air fryer and I are on the best of terms. Meat, a bit of oil and spice plus the right settings and we have dinner. I even chopped the other night. That does not happen. But I did. I love my new friend. I named her Sylvia. I truly believe if my grandmother had this golden device she would have rocked our nightly meals.

back pain, chronic pain, family, life, retirement

306 Days

Let’s first explain the title. I am taking this rather random number based on my physiotherapist’s ramblings on how long it takes to heal a back that is herniated. Tah-dah a title is born. Of course, the number might be wrong as I was medicated at this first meeting. Or is it? This back disaster is my current state combined with vertigo. I got super lucky. Weeks later, I can chuckle a bit and feel a bit of pride to be the star of an EMT horror story of difficult patients. Let me explain, while riding in the ambulance after having my husband stuff me with a protein bar, because he thinks water plus protein cures all ills, I vomited everywhere. Everywhere. Several times. On a happy note the hubs scrubbing forced his hand to promise me new flooring. Of course, a request since year two in the house, but heck eight years later is great. Back to the story. So, this sweet EMT, who sported a training badge, kept rattling on with stupid stories, that were keeping me from killing all of them in pursuit of pain meds. Anyhow, he held my vomit bag the entire way to the hospital. At our goodbyes. I thanked the kid and grabbed the captain and asked him to sign his papers and pass him for the day. Or did I ask for meds? I don’t know? Probably both. The captain promised he would happily sign him off as he peeled my hand out of his and yelled, “Take her away.”

Currently, I am on week five or day 271 of my current holding position of rest, PT, and more rest. I am off all meds that caused me to forget what I read, watched, re-read, and re-watched during my time of bedridden status. With the pain away but in a wet- cement state, I wait. I wait to start my life again. I am on pause. I long for the simplicity of my life that I led. I teach. I miss my kids. I spin. I miss my Echelon/Peloton app life. I am stuck in the house because I can’t drive due to the back and the vertigo. I miss people. But with all the things I miss there is so much more I have learned in the silence of my waiting. Serious thoughts have come my way while crying in pain. Religion. The importance of family. Work and my need for my social and intellectual growth plus monetary needs. Along with the harsh truth that I am easily replaced, especially at fifty-nine. There were also thoughts that can be filed under the not so serious. Cue the meds folks. Days of reality TV nonsense, movie upon movie, and many attempts at new binge shows. Note. Not a Bridgerton fan. Probably the only human who could not get through episode 1. All I could think of was the pain the actresses endured with their corsets. While the mundane entertained my mind, it was the big thoughts, that truly got me through the day. Not my twelve orders of athletic wear to make dressing easier or the endless scrolling and the constant attempt to find anything to take my mind of the situation at hand. Nope. The big stuff. Religion, family, and work. Repeat. It made the struggle of each day and each small success sweet.

Religion became my anchor. I prayed, read scripture, and talked alot to the man upstairs. I felt his presence, cried, and kept praying. For the first time I felt his guiding hand. Truly, in the darkness of our room I was not alone. Ever. This gave me hope and a feeling that my herniated disc came at a time that had no reason, but had every reason. I renewed my faith and my belief that I am never alone if I just give my life over to him. I have. Completely.

Family. Oh my. So many days I have taken my family for granted and allowed the little stuff to aggravate me, but once you need them to walk you to the bathroom, there is a new respect. The little annoyances in life are gone. Who cares about the toothpaste or how the dishwasher gets loaded or not. Or my control issues with my son. My crew rallied to just get me through the day. They became my daily cheerleaders, my rock during bad moments, and my everything. Family replaced my long list of wants and it still needs some soul searching as to why my control issues and wants superceded my families love. But I will continue on this path much after my pause button has been removed.

Work. It has been five weeks since I have seen my kids. I can’t imagine their current state. I just can’t. But since this was an extended leave I was caught off from school until I return. I have turned over all things I control with fervor to a state of “you do you” and I will pick up the pieces upon my return. While, I do not think I am replaceable. I am. Perhaps, my replacement does not give the quality I gave daily, but another has taken my place. This hurts. But before I officially retire, the discussion did happen the day after my hospital grand entrance. A bit soon. But needed. There before me stood a man that gave me the world almost thirty-four years ago, and he was doing it again. He put aside all worries of money. All. I cried as I listened to our future together which requires my health not my teachers salary. There were no tears about the end date. Just hopes and dreams of a healthy life both in Neebish, Mexico and our time here in the valley. I thought even the the discussion of leaving the workforce would hurt. Nope. Just gave me a world of options. I want to leave healthy. Not stuck in bed. So while I will return very shortly, I won’t kill myself. I won’t. Just be the best teacher and let the other BS fall to the wayside. How did I get into this situation in the first place by killing myself. No more.

Today, the vertigo is disappearing. The back needs one more appointment and possibly shots along with a full drying of my wet-cement. But I am coming back to my status of Go, go, go but never forgetting this time of pause and what I am graced with in my life.

back pain, chronic pain, family, granparent life, grey hair, life

The Pursuit of Normality

Travel souvenirs are now adorned with stim stuff. From L-R Walgreens battery powered unit, Easy@Home rechargeable unit, and WI Touch Pro

Over the past ten days I have searched, researched, and guinea pigged my way back to a state of non-movement. By far this is the worst day I have ever felt in the history of my hip/back situation. No reasons. Probably, the large pops my body gave off after yesterday’s chiro session. No blame. The journey is long and the session was rough. But, as I lie around, I have good news to report. Yes. Good.

My favorite new TENS device is the Wi Touch Pro. The device itself is bulky, but it comes in green or orange, so at least I felt springy. I Just added batteries, downloaded the app on my phone, and chose my setting. Note: app can be wonky. Breathe. Yesterday, I did three sessions, for thirty minutes, in the morning and evening and was functional. Since this is a ten or more week rehab. I was not perfect. But I could walk, stop at a store, and buy Easter stuff for my grandnugget. I even made a simple dinner later on that evening for the hubs. He was shocked. It was edible. Double shock. Basically, I was enjoying simple pleasures that I no longer take for granted. No More! This feeling of progress was amazing. Then, late yesterday Dr. Chiro came back into my life. Ugh. Back to ice and heat today with a side of Real Housewives, one too many times. Due to my experience go buy Wi Touch Pro (non-solicitated) on Amazon for $89.00. It will be my morning and evening sessions, after my spasms stop. You can find it on www.amazon.com. It is worth every penny. Again, it is not a cure. It is just a helpful tool as you heal.

Easy@Home was my rechargeable unit. It gave me the non-pairing hassle and a simple on/off and plus/minus system for pressure. However, I found myself adjusting it often to hit all the areas of pain. But at home the odd positions, beeping often and glowing green until you beep off is worth it! My first attempt with device life was with the Easy@Home and have used it with success since my initial injury in December. This week, while visiting my nugget, and trying to survive my first attempt at normality. It was my go to product. My buddy enjoyed turning grandma on and off and my beeping. My robotic life humored him and allowed me to do priceless adventures. Since driving causes me to curse throughout the length of my trip, windows closed. Obviously. I decided to give Easy@Home a try while I drove home from Prescott. It was fabulous. In the world of buying a miracle, these units do mask the pain as you heal, and this lower cost unit at $36.00 produces bang for the buck. Go get it! www.amazon.com

My next unit, for school next week. Yes. I am a teacher. Pray. I have asked for forgiveness and have requested to wear lululemon dupes for the next few weeks. My go-to is Baleaf or Crz Yoga, all found on Amazon. Duh! So, if you see a teacher looking extra sporty. You found me. I have no choice as the units do not work under clothes that constrain. They hit the on/off button and poof, pain comes back, and you are left with your hand in crazy positions. Which looks odd in public, frankly anywhere. But as I teach. NO BUENO. Between the buttons, and consistently beeping. My students would go bananas. So, the AUVON system will be for my weekday school adventures. It is a wired product that has a remote, that does need Bluetooth, and controls with twenty-four different sessions. I am trying hard to be there for my kids next week, but I know staying in school last week damaged me further. Just my stubborn ways. Note to self. Back injury equates going home. This unit was $39.00 and I found it on Amazon. Duh! Please note that all of these units are reviewed just by me. That’s it. Me. I am not paid. Just another rehabbing patient trying to find inner peace.