Tag Archives: disability

2017 Resolutions and Prayers


2016 wasn’t a great year for me. There were some fantastic moments (like finding out I was going to be a grandmother!) but there were a lot more days full of frustration, anger, pain, and depression. I ran across my list of 2016 resolutions the other day and realized I hadn’t achieved any of them. With some I’d even moved further from my goals. So my 2017 plan will be completely different.

— 1 —

I will care my myself as I would a daughter, sister, or beloved friend. Remember the Golden Rule from Sunday School? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s great for little ones, but when we are adults we need to stop the negative self-talk. I won’t call myself fat, lazy, or selfish. I’ll think about what I would say to someone I loved if they felt that way. And I’ll pray for help seeing myself in a different light and making changes where I can.

— 2 —

I will accept my limitations. I can’t stand for more than fifteen minutes. I can’t sit for more than thirty. That’s on a good day. Taking a shower feels like what running a 5K used to feel like. I’ve got a new medication patch I’m cautiously optimistic about, but even with insurance it costs as much as a week of groceries. So I’m using it sparingly. My disease process is never going to get better, only worse. Hence the first word: Degenerative. I can only hope to slow it, because at the rate it’s going I won’t be able to bend my spine at all by the time I’m sixty. So I’m going to paraphrase St. Teresa and try to do small things with great love!

— 3 —

I will stay authentic. When I was having a bad day earlier this month I posted on FaceBook. Yes, I’m one of those people who shares both happy and sad moments on social media. I’ve been accused of “airing dirty laundry” on FB, but nearly all the comments I got on this post mentioned something about how “genuine” or “authentic” I was. There is no higher praise as far as I’m concerned. I refuse to be caught up in other people’s lies. Perhaps I have just worn out my filter after all these years working with doctors, but I enjoy being honest in all my interactions. Perhaps that will keep me from earning a Lexus selling Nerium with my husband, but I don’t think so. It may take me longer, but I know I’ll have earned it honestly and made no promises I can’t keep.

— 4 —

I will count my blessings. I keep a prayer journal, but in the warm months my entries are sporadic. If I feel up to it when the dogs want a potty break at 8 a.m. (my first pain med and muscle relaxer are at 6 a.m.) then I’ll stay up to check email, and perhaps have breakfast. But on a stormy or cold day I may need some time to make my way out from under the covers after seeing to the fur-babies’ needs. In the winter I always need my Happy Light, and that’s a great time to write in my prayer journal. Blessings I’m thankful for first, then prayers. I want to make this a habit every day, not just the hardest days.

— 5 —

I will continue writing. Again, it’s difficult with my physical limitations to write a blog post, let alone a novel. But I enjoy it, and it’s an outlet for my creativity. Hopefully once I’m ready to publish my books people will enjoy them. Being able to entertain others would make me incredibly happy!

— 6 —

I will become more organized. This one is going to take lots of prayers for patience on my part. Having my life, my home, and my thoughts disorganized is incredibly frustrating to me, and only worsens my depression. But spending hours sorting and dumping things, re-copying from one calendar to another, etc inevitably leads to me overextending myself and ending up writhing in pain in my bed for a day or two. Even after all these years I still need to use my timer every single day or I pay the price.

— 7 —

I will simplify my life. All the “stuff” that surrounds me is distracting and anxiety-provoking. Living simply will be easier, healthier, and much more rewarding in the long run. Yes, I’m going to finally buy the “tidying up” book that I’ve had in my Amazon inbox for forever. Or perhaps I’ll see how long the wait is at the library. That would force me to read it promptly to avoid late charges 😉

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Things That Make Me Crazy

7qt_lyceum_v2Crazy, in this instance, meaning more crazy than my usual amount. Just to clarify.

— 1 —

Being shushed. You know, when someone says, “Shhhhh!” I, myself, prefer the dagger glare with a finger to the lips for someone being loud in the library or movie theater. If that doesn’t work I go to the librarian or manager and have them show the offending parties OUT. They WILL do this. The phrase “Within sixty seconds after I resume my seat I want them GONE!” along with a smartphone clenched in your hand usually works well.

Being shushed is only for young children, usually those still in diapers. If someone shushes you as an adult, feel free to take umbrage and begin communication on the topic. BE WARNED: If you are cursing or behaving in a vulgar manner in public you are in the wrong. Tone it down or take it home. Being shushed by another adult in your own home is another matter altogether. NOT acceptable.

— 2 —

People who are “disabled” and can still live normal lives. As a nurse, I used to take this as a given. So many of our young patients came in on Medicare because they were disabled. And why should I even notice or care if my patients are disabled? Well, it’s part of the admission assessment (“What sort of work do you do?”). Also, we all know the insurance companies run the world, so when providing information to qualify a patient for a particular test, drug, treatment, or even length of stay I was always asked for their insurance information, which specified whether or not they were disabled.

Some people were clearly disabled. Some clearly were not . . . “Yeah, I’d gutted this eight-point buck and drug it ’bout a half-mile to my truck when my chest started hurtin’.” Dude, you can work for a living better than I can, clearly, since I’m in incredible pain just standing here with narcotics and muscle relaxers on board and an ice pack around my neck. Asshat didn’t even send me any venison sausage.

— 3 —

Kids who try to motivate other teens to do college “their way”. I know, peer pressure has been an issue since the dawn of time, or perhaps just since poodle skirts. Anyway, each kid should go to the school that works best for him or her, not for their friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, or their favorite teacher. Go to school where you feel at home or you won’t last. Listen up now or wait and see how many of those credit hours transfer later (50% if you’re lucky). If you feel the need to rush a fraternity or sorority, do so (if your parents can afford it – it’s more than you make!).

But first, before selecting a college, a major, Greek life, a job change, or any other big decisions . . . the pro/con list. I only do these for huge decisions, but they are certainly just as effective for deciding what to have for lunch.

— 4 —

Post-election whiners. It’s pretty much a given that this year no one got exactly what they wanted. Most years close to half the population voted for a candidate who didn’t win. The solution isn’t to whine about it or dramatize your “fear for the future”. And the #notmypresident thing is laughable, since both Canada and Mexico have made it clear you’re welcome to visit, but don’t plan on moving there without jumping through some hoops. Suck it up. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

— 5 —

Clean house snobs. Years ago, when both my boys were still young and I was working full-time and physically able to scrub floors, do yardwork, etc. I hosted Thanksgiving for a large group. Within the next couple of days I got a call from one of my guests. She wanted to apologize in advance for not accepting any future invitations to my home. She said that with my two dogs (chocolate labs) and the lack of cleanliness she just couldn’t justify putting her young children in that environment. Since I still had a “filter” back then I thanked her for being honest about her reason and for letting me know well in advance of any other gathering I had planned. My house is ten times dirtier now than is was then, so she should probably not even drive by.

— 6 —

Rude drivers. I usually don’t get worked up about this until the holiday shopping season, but this year people are already pushing me to my limit. Before you honk at someone in front of you because they are not going far enough above the speed limit to satisfy you, because they let someone pull in front of them, or just because they didn’t want to run a yellow light realize it might be me in front of you. And I might just put my car in park and walk back with my cane to discuss basic manners with you. Don’t make me do that.

— 7 —

People who duck out of Mass early. I’m not talking about people who have a fussy infant or a child who really needs the restroom. I’m talking about people who just want to beat the crowd out of the parking lot and maybe get to the restaurant or country club for brunch before the rush hits. Stay for the final blessing. Stay for a little while longer and talk to the people around you. Sit in the car and discuss the readings, the homily, the music while the parking lot empties. And maybe once a month instead of going out to brunch give a gift card to the elderly people in the clunker parked in a handicapped space and go home to cook and eat brunch together. Just a thought.

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Olympics, Doctor Visits, and College Sympathy Pains

7qt_lyceum_v2

— 1 —

I love the Olympics, but I find them terribly stressful. I remember watching Nadia Comeneci score the first perfect 10 in the Montreal games in 1976. She was awe-inspiring. I remember the “Thomas Flair” changing men’s gymnastics forever. I remember Michael Phelps as a gawky kid, wide-eyed at winning his first gold medal. But it all comes down to two or three minutes with the whole world watching. What if, God forbid, you have to sneeze? One sneeze could literally ruin a career. It could send a young athlete who has trained since they could walk into a life-threatening depression. Watching Aly Raisman’s parents while she was competing literally made my stomach hurt.

— 2 —

I watched them live when that was the only option, but as soon as I could record them and then fast-forward through the commercials and the parts that didn’t interest me that’s what I did. Yes, I was a day behind, but when I was working I figured out a way around that.
olympic results
Now that I can’t work I’m pretty isolated, so I don’t have to worry about people telling me results I don’t want to know.

— 3 —

I have to say I’m not crazy about the newer scoring methods on gymnastics. Difficulty was part of the calculation for the ten-point system, and we got to see how each judge had voted. I miss that. And is the women’s vault built differently now? What was wrong with the old way? And I always enjoy the men’s gymnastics, but I was distracted this year by Sam Mikulak. I can’t even tell you what the young man’s face looked like because I couldn’t take my eyes off his arms. He had a single, massive vein running down each arm. I haven’t stuck anyone for an IV in decades and I could have gotten a 16-gauge into each arm on the first try and hooked him up to an IV line the size of a garden hose. This is called “nurse porn” and we can’t help it. So if you have large, easy-to-see veins don’t freak out in the grocery checkout line if someone stares. They are just wishing everyone was more like you.

— 4 —

Since according to my husband and son I have no filter anymore (I think I just used it up), I over-react to minor issues, and am demanding and refuse to let go of issues until they are resolved to my satisfaction (I kinda thought the last two were points in my favor, but I was out-voted) I moved up all my doctors’ visits to “first available”. I started with my primary care doc, laid out the list of new symptoms (which also included high blood pressure everyone has ignored for a year, Left hip pain with a numb left leg, NEW moderate lumbar scoliosis, and worsening muscle spasms in my neck, shoulders, and upper back). He tossed me a bone by adding an additional blood pressure med. Gee, that was worth my co-pay (not).

— 5 —

I’d already seen my pain management nurse practitioner. If she were any more bored with her job she’d be comatose. I’d filled out a long form about my pain since my last visit and put it face-down on the desk. She never turned it over. I told her about the hip pain and the scoliosis, even pulled up the image on my phone. She said, “Hmmph.” Then she wrote me a scrip for pain pills and said she’d see me in a month. That co-pay was an extra $10. The next time I didn’t fill out a form, she didn’t ask for it, and I was out another $35 just to get a prescription written. I see her again this afternoon and she’s going to earn her $35. I need a new muscle relaxer. Taking half of the one I take at bedtime won’t work. I tried that one day – took it with my 6 a.m. pain pill in preparation for getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom at 8 a.m. No shower, just a potty break. But the next thing I knew both dogs were barking in my face because it was 11 a.m. – doggie lunch time.

— 6 —

I saw my psychiatrist this week, too. He wanted to blow me off with “Have you experienced any new stressors recently?” and “How long has this been going on?” I told him there were no new stressors, just the same ones I’ve been dealing with for five years now, and that the new behaviors had been going on for two months and he really needed to work out a system for patients with sudden changes, since if he hadn’t had a cancellation it would have been another two months until I’d seen him. Anyway, I got a new med he’s very optimistic about, and a new diagnosis I’m not very comfortable with. But if the med works I’ll take the diagnosis. We’ll see in 3-4 weeks.

— 7 —

SOOO many pics of friends moving their kids into Freshman dorms. I feel for them. I remember Aaron’s move-in day like it was yesterday. I was so happy for him, excited that he was where he wanted to be, doing what he wanted to do, and making new friends and learning life lessons.
dormbed
But I loved having him at home so much, and knew I would miss him terribly. The transition was tough in so many ways, and John’s next year will be even more difficult since he’s my youngest. I’m going to savor every moment of his senior year!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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