January 1, 2016

The Aftermath: Brave New World…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:00 pm

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I get around,
I kicked the habit (kicked the habit, kicked the habit),
Shed my skin (shed my skin).
This is the new stuff (this is the new stuff),
I go dancing in (we go dancing in)…

—Peter Gabriel, lyrics: Sledgehammer
______________________________

He walked in the other day at work to pick up a few things for a job he was finishing up. A small-time builder, a guy I’ve done business with for years. I got up and met him at the counter. I smiled and greeted him. And he smiled back, and spoke my name. “Ira. It’s good to see you,” he said. “I called in the other week, and they told me you were in the hospital. How are you doing?” And I filled him in a little, in the next few minutes. I’ve been back for a few weeks. Part days, at first. I’m back to almost full-time. I come in a little late in the mornings, and work til closing. I’m feeling pretty good. I figure I’ll be back to full-time before long.

He asked about what had happened, and I told him. My heart. A-Fib, turned into congestive failure. The fluids, and how I was filled with them. He listened, all sympathetic. I asked what he was after, kind of edged it in sideways, and wrote it up when he told me. And we kept talking about where I had been. It was close, I told him. It got a little tricky there, early on. I came very close to leaving it all behind, that first Saturday night. And I told him how it was. It was the strangest thing. I knew I was in bad shape, right there. I knew I might not make it. And he asked. “Did you see a white light, or anything?” The man never was particularly religious, at least not around me, so I was a little surprised at the question. I mean, we’ve always got along real well. But we have never, never discussed what we believed, when it comes to faith. And now, here he was, asking me what I had seen when death came stalking close.

Nope. There was no light, I told him. I was always conscious. But I can tell you one thing. I wasn’t afraid. I felt no fear at all. “Wow,” he said. “I wonder if I’ll be afraid when the time comes. I don’t know.” And we just stood there and talked about it, what it might look like to die, and what comes after. It’s amazing how easy it is to talk to just about anyone about the hard stuff, when you were as close to death as I was.

And that odd little scene right there is only one among many in the brave new world I’ve been walking through this past month, ever since I’ve been home from the hospital.

Home from the hospital. To anyone who’s ever been trapped in a place like that, those are beautiful, magical words. Home. Out of this crazy place, where bells and whistles and all kinds of beeping noises of every imaginable tone and volume go off at random at all hours of the day and night. Home, from this place where people come in and wake you up and stab you with needles to draw blood, and poke and prod you all over late at night. Home, from this place where rest is a mirage and sleep is impossible. Anyone who’s ever stayed at any hospital knows what that feeling’s like, to be told that they can go home, tomorrow or the day after. It’s like being told there is light after the deepest darkness, hope after despair, life after death.

And it’s all still pretty close for me, the whole experience. I remember so many things that happened, there at the hospital. Good stuff, and bad. A couple of defining incidents remain especially vivid in my mind.

Monday morning. I woke up in good time. Just coming out of that frightful weekend, when the death angel had come that close to taking me. Saturday night into Sunday morning. That was the lowest point. And then, on Sunday, I improved a bit. And now, it was Monday morning. And the doctor, the guy who had made the calls from afar, that doctor was standing in my room, looking all grave and glum. A small crowd had assembled around. A couple of nurses. The doctor. My brother, Steve. And my friend, Gloria, had stopped in for a few minutes on her way to the college classroom where she teaches art history.

The doctor stood there, in his white doctor’s gown. Like I said, he looked pretty grave. As he certainly had a right to do, I guess. I mean, the man had brought me back from the brink. He’s the one who had discovered my heart was actually failing, that I was filled to the brim, almost, with fluids. And here he was in person for the first time, at least the first time that I saw him. He stood there, close to the door. All eyes focused on him. All was silent. It reminded me for all the world of an Amish church service. The doctor surveyed the room, kind of like an Amish preacher does. I don’t remember that he cleared his throat, or anything, like an Amish preacher would. He looked around, looked at me, looked at the people assembled and standing around.

He never said my name, at least not that I remember. My head was a little foggy, I will admit, so I might be wrong. But he spoke. “The patient’s heart is very weak, working at only fifteen percent strength. (Fifty percent of capability is considered full strength, so if you multiply it out, I was actually at thirty percent of capability. But they never tell you that. They want that scare factor figured in.) The doctor went on, dramatically. “Had he not gotten treatment, he would have died sometime this week.” (That shocked me. Good Lord. That was a close thing.) The Amish sermon continued. “He had his last drink of alcohol before he came in. There will never be another drop of anything. No wine, no beer, no non-alcoholic beer. No nothing.” And I thought to myself. What does he think, that I’m asleep, that he keeps talking about me in third person like I’m not here? But I was too tired to be all that offended. Or to be shocked, much, at even that last astounding and horrifying statement about no alcohol. Right then, I just wanted to rest.

And I wanted this pesky doctor to go away and leave me alone. After a few more grave proclamations, one of which was the assertion that I would be in the hospital for at least two weeks, the man did leave. The small crowd dispersed with him. The nurses went out. Gloria left for her classroom. Only Steve stayed with me. He didn’t say a whole lot of anything. He was still too shocked by the doctor’s proclamations, probably. Which was all fine by me. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, anyway. I sank back and closed my eyes. That morning, I was a pretty sick man.

And that was Monday, and about all that’s worth remembering about that day. And time went on, there in the ICU. I wasn’t focused on much of anything except resting over the next few days. I had one major complaint, though. The food. It was just atrocious. Inedible. It didn’t matter what they told you they were serving you. You lifted the heavy lid off the plate, and whatever name the food had, it looked the same and smelled the same. Slop, is what it was. And no one ever bothered to tell me that it was salt-free slop. During the first few days, I had no clue that I was even on a low sodium diet. No clue at all. So it never occurred to me, that what I plotted next was strictly against the rules.

My nephews, John and David, had arrived that Tuesday from points in the Midwest. They hung out a lot during the day, just chatting about things. And they went out to Steve’s house a lot, too, to clean up and sleep and eat. And I think it was Thursday, when I couldn’t take it any more, when it came to the food. And I told my nephews. When you go out for lunch, bring me back something to eat. I’m hungry for cheese sticks. Their younger brother, Mervin, had arrived by this time. And the three of them allowed that it should be no problem. If Uncle Ira was hungry for cheese sticks, then cheese sticks he would have. I mean, look at the poor guy, all wasted away, there in the ICU. The boys disappeared, to go downtown to eat. They were gone for quite a while. A couple of hours, at least. They were hanging out, the brothers. John and David were heading for home late that afternoon. They planned to drive all night, to get back.

Somehow, while they were gone, the nurse found out they were planning on bringing me food. She scolded me. “You can’t do that. You’re on a strict diet.” No one told me that, I said. I’m hungry for some food from outside. She left it at that, or seemed to. And soon enough, the three of them came shuffling back into the room. One of them carried a folded paper bag. I took it eagerly. The cheese sticks. Oh, yum. And dip, too. Good stuff, right there. I quickly scarfed down two of the greasy sticks, while the nurse was gone. That’s about all I could handle. I had the boys hide the bag in the back room, where there was a couch and a chair, and some shelves. Keep those things out of sight. No sense getting everyone all riled up about nothing. That’s what I figured.

The nurse returned while the boys were sitting around, just chatting. John and David wanted to leave around four, or so. The nurse did not seem very happy. She grumped at my visitors. It’s two o’clock. Only one person was allowed to be in the room with me from two until four. We had known this was the rule, but so far, no one had paid any attention to it. And no one had enforced it. This nurse got all bossy. The boys pretty much ignored her, and she walked out soon. Stay for a little, yet, I told John and David. Don’t pay any attention to her. She’s just mad that you brought me food.

The boys left soon, then, heading out for home. Mervin stayed with me. He soon wandered off, as I took a nap. I stirred and looked out of the room. The grave doctor was strolling by right that moment. The bossy nurse had stopped him, and was talking to him in an animated manner. The doctor’s face turned grim as well as grave. When the nurse had finished, he turned and walked right into my room. A short, curt greeting. Then he asked, ominously. “Did you just eat a cheeseburger and French fries?” I did not, I said. I ate two cheese sticks. He understood me to say “cheese steaks,” I figured out later. “That’s even worse,” he said. How could two cheese sticks be worse than a burger and fries? I wondered. But I didn’t argue. And he told me. That food is full of salt. If I eat it, it will trigger more fluids in my body. I had no idea, but I didn’t bother arguing with the man. But I did bristle a bit. The food here is slop, I muttered. It’s not fit to eat.

The doctor continued to look grave, as well as grim. “Look,” he said. “We’ve got you back this far. Work with me, here, as a team.” OK, I said. I’ll do that. I don’t like your food here. But I won’t eat anything more from the outside. He was satisfied with my weak promise, and left me then. I was relieved. The man had saved my life, that much was true and remains true. But he was also God-like and intimidating, always. I can’t say I have or ever had any personal liking for him. I respect him tremendously. But I don’t like him.

And that’s how I found out about the brave new world that awaited me when I ever got home. From those two little incidents. And they loomed there, on the edge of things, two massive changes, cold and menacing. These medical people had me trapped. They had saved me from myself, from my own stupid choices. And now they were dictating the conditions of my life. And I could accept that. Still, I didn’t want to think about it.

Home looked pretty barren and desolate, all of a sudden. I was an invalid. Walking along, weak and wounded. My food would be pretty much tasteless. No hot dogs again, ever. Or sausage sandwiches. And there would be no alcohol in my world. Either one of these things would have been bad enough, all on its own. Combined, they lurked out there like monsters, dark and frightening. I averted my eyes and my thoughts from such a dismal world as that. And as the week’s end approached, and my health improved dramatically, I chafed to get out of that place, the hospital. But I shrank, too, at the thought of going home. Of going home and facing that hard stuff I didn’t want to face. Alone. It all seemed like such a harsh and bitter thing.

And Monday came again. Today, I would get out of this place. Not in two weeks, as the grave doctor had foretold. But in one week. Well, if he was that wrong about such a thing as that, maybe he’d be wrong about other things, too. That desperate thought flashed through my head a few times that day. And noon came, then, and my last plate of slop. I actually was eating the food by then. It was tasteless, most of it, being salt-free. But it was food. And around two, my nephew Andrew walked in. It was time to leave this place. We picked up my stuff and walked out.

I felt numb as we drove along the highway toward home, and I felt it pulsing down there, deep inside. Fear. Fear of a lot of things, but mostly fear of the unknown. I was in a new place, here, a place I had never even imagined before. And yet, I felt gratitude, too. I was grateful just to be alive, to be here, to be able to go home. Yeah, things would be different. Tough, and a lot different. But life is life, wherever you find yourself. And I figured I’d live through whatever was coming at me. I always had before.

But still. God, I thought. I don’t know about all this. I need your help, getting through. You know that. I’m gonna figure you’ll be there, just like you always promised you would be. I’ll try not to whine too much. But I feel like I’m in the middle of a desolate land, here, with no way out. I need you to guide me. Help me. We got home then, and Andrew helped me carry my stuff in. Then we headed out in Big Blue to the health food store. If you gotta be on low sodium, I figured, go talk to the people who can help you with the right foods. I walked out with a small paper bag filled with sixty bucks worth of low sodium foods, spices, and vegetables.

And the first evening at home was a little surreal and strange. Not so much from the food. But because of the alcohol, or lack thereof. I know the family had some doubts about it all, that I’d be able to quit for any measurable length of time. There had been a few subtle inquiries, sliding in from here and there. Are you going to be OK, not drinking? How about getting rid of all your bottles? Don’t you think you should? No, I said. If you think getting rid of all the alcohol in my house is going to do a lick of good, well, you don’t know what it is to face a thing like that. It’s a matter of the mind. It’s choices. You choose to drink. And you choose to not drink. And if I’m gonna sneak around and drink, a dry house won’t do much good. Heck, I’ll just run out to the bar. So no, I won’t get rid of the alcohol in my house, and I won’t keep people from drinking around me. I don’t want people to be all nervous, to feel like they have to tiptoe around me. I want people to be who they are.

That first evening, I snacked on some of the stuff from the health food store. Andrew took a nap on the couch for a while. And then it was dark outside. And soon Steve stopped by, to see how things were going. I was tired, I got tired very easily those days. And I told Andrew, when he asked. I don’t really have a place for you to sleep, except the couch. Go on over to Steve’s house. I’m fine. I’m going to bed very soon. I’ll stop over tomorrow morning, before you have to leave for the airport. And that’s what happened. Andrew followed Steve to his home. And that night, for the first time in ten days, I was all alone in my home.

It was strange and it was scary, those first few days. At least for the first week. The low-sodium diet scared me more than not drinking. For the alcohol, it was very simple. The grave doctor had pretty much told me. One drop, and you’re dead. Well, not dead, but I might as well be, the way he talked. I knew he was way overstating his case, but I was determined to listen to what he told me. No alcohol means no alcohol. Just don’t drink. But the food with no salt? Well, that was a minefield, right there.

I learned pretty quick. Almost all prepackaged food at the grocery store is loaded with sodium. I had never bothered to check the labels before. I mean, who does that? Why would you? But now, I had to. And that first week, I stuck pretty much with veggies and organic meat from the health food store. I cooked up a mixture of some sort in the crock pot. No salt at all. Just spices, pepper, and Mrs. Dash. The food all tasted quite bland, those first few weeks.

And I went back to work, at least part time, right from my first full day back home. You gotta stay busy, doing something. And it was a relief, to get back in the swing of things at work. My builders all welcomed me back when they called in or stopped by. Glad you are here and doing well. That was their sentiment, across the board. I’m happy to be here, and I’m glad to be back, I told them all.

And now it’s been almost exactly one month since I walked out of the hospital. I’ve had three or four follow-up checkups in that time. After the first full week, the grave doctor had me stop by. He checked me out. Everything seemed good. Blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen. The drugs, I said. They’re giving me vivid dreams. Every night. Not nightmares, necessarily. But strong dreams. He glanced at me, rather disdainfully. “No, those drugs do not give you dreams,” he said. And that was that. OK, then. I didn’t speak much more with him about anything after that. What good does it do to talk, if the person you’re talking to isn’t listening? I did ask one more question, though. How long will I be on medication? “The rest of your life,” he told me. Which was not a very nice thing to say. It threw me for a serious loop, into a real depressed state of mind.

A few days later, the A-Fib doctor disabused me of that notion. The drugs I’m on are toxic. They want to get me off all drugs, as soon as they can. Definitely within months. I rejoiced and thought dark thoughts about the grave doctor.

I’ve been getting comfortable with my new lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong. Of an evening, especially when I’m sitting at my computer, writing, I sure would like a drink. I would really like one. But it’s never been even close, so far. No alcohol means no alcohol. And right now, that’s the world I live in.

The sodium, too, doesn’t scare me as the monster it was a month ago. I’m learning to cook at home, now. I fry up a lot of potatoes, and cook up a lot of eggs. And now and then, I eat foods that I know are loaded with salt. Cheese. Sliced summer sausage. A bite here, a bite there. Just not much, at any single time. And every morning, I weigh myself. Just to keep track, to make sure the fluids are not building up. And over the holidays, the weight has fluctuated, sure. But it’s been because of all those goodies that people keep pushing on me. Coming right up, real soon here, it’s going to be time to get serious about a few things, like exercising at the gym. And I plan to.

Last Saturday, I was driving around in Big Blue, running a few errands here and there. Around late morning, I found myself close to the Waffle House along Rt. 30 in Lancaster. I’ve always loved the Waffle House breakfast of hash browns, smothered in onions, eggs over-medium, and buttered toast. I thought about it. Could they fix it without salt? Can’t hurt to try, I figured. So I went in and sat at the counter. The waitress, a cheerful hard-eyed woman in her fifties, took my order. I don’t want any salt on anything, I told her. Will that be a problem? She assured me it would not be.

She slung my plate down a short time later. The food looked as greasy and delicious as it always does. I settled in and just chowed. The eggs were fine. The toast was fine. The hash browns, well, those were pretty much laced with salt. I chewed and swallowed bravely, every last shred of food went down. And I could feel the taste in my mouth and throat. Salt. Lots of salt. I was careful the rest of the day, to eat only bland salt-free food. And the next morning, I was relieved that the scales showed I had actually lost a pound from the day before. My little foray to the Waffle House had come off OK, seemed like. I felt relieved.

And the next Monday, I had another checkup scheduled at the grave doctor’s office. But when I got there, he had handed me off to an assistant. A nurse practitioner. My vital signs all checked out at optimum levels. Blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen. All perfect. I feel real good, I told the doctor. I haven’t felt this good in over a year. I think my heart was running wild for months, I just didn’t know it. The doctor looked very pleased. And she asked me. “How’s the diet coming along?” Good, I said. But then I told her of that salty breakfast a few days before at the Waffle House. She seemed unconcerned. “We figure you’re going to splurge once in a while,” she said. “We just don’t want you to go out and eat a whole pizza, or anything like that.” I was pretty relieved. I’m sure the grave doctor would have been way less kind or understanding. I won’t do anything like that, I assured her.

And then she asked about what I knew she was going to ask. The alcohol. From my records on the charts, they all pretty much figured I was a drunk. There was no way I could have kept from drinking this long. And she looked at me, a little resigned. She knew what my answer would be. But she asked the question bravely. “How’s it going, with the alcohol?” And I told her. It’s a remarkable thing. I haven’t had a drop. But that don’t mean I don’t want to. I can’t tell you how bad I want a drink.

She didn’t scold me at all, or talk down to me in any way. She looked me in the eye and told me a little bit about how it was and why it was that way. And she got me talked out of having a drink, at least until the next check-up, right at two months out. And then, we’ll see. Two months. That was about all I could find in me to promise.

Two months. I guess we’ll see how it goes when I get there.
********************************
Well, the New Year has arrived. A few words, and a few reflections, about all that.

Last year was a dark and brutal time. The last two years were. I remember a year ago, writing about how I’m ready for whatever comes, even if it’s worse than the year that had just passed. And I guess I was ready. I could not have imagined at the time what 2015 would bring. It came, it brought a few days of light and many weeks of darkness. And now it’s gone. Passed on, like all things must pass.

It was a tough time for the family, the last twelve months. Two of us almost crossed over to the other side. My sister Maggie and me. We walked right up, both of us, to the banks of the River Styx. And yet, somehow, we did not board the boat for that final crossing over those dark waters. Somehow, the death angel stayed his hand. We drew back, into life. And we stayed.

And through all that, Dad is still rolling along like he always has. His children may be dropping like flies, but the old man chugs along. He just turned ninety-four, and he just traveled to Pine Craft, Florida, for his annual winter stay. He’ll be there until March, sometime, writing and holding court. The man just cranked out the third volume of his five-volume memoir. Our Stay in Canada. His memories and reflections of the twenty-three years he lived in Aylmer. To me, this was the most interesting volume, because I was born during that time. And the world he describes is the world I grew up in.

And the rest of the extended family rolls along, too. All going about their lives, busy and industrious. One generation ages and will soon pass, the next generation pushes up to replace the one before. People come and go about their lives. They now rise and live; in time, they will fade and fall. So it is, and so it has always been.

And looking forward to 2016, I suppose I should be anticipating all the great things that might come. But mostly, I feel ambivalence. After the last two years, I don’t have a whole lot of expectations about anything. About the only thing I can say with any confidence is this. Whatever the year brings, whatever the future holds, I will walk forward into life. And I will face whatever comes without fear.

Happy New Year to all my readers.

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(20 Comments) »

  1. And a Happy New Year to you my friend!

    Comment by Richard — January 1, 2016 @ 6:07 pm

  2. All this has left me not knowing what to say to you, and you can ask my husband, that is a first. All I can think of is when we travel this earth God is by our side and we are blessed by that.

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — January 1, 2016 @ 7:09 pm

  3. Ira

    I am so glad and grateful you are back up and running. I knew God wasn’t done with what he had for you to accomplish here. Besides, the weekends are just not the same when you don’t have a blog out.

    I had a cousin die back east and I was back and passing near your neck of the woods about two months ago. But I was hurrying to the airport, so closest I got to you was about 25 miles.

    Hope your Christmas was great and sure wish you a happy and wonderful New Year.

    Let me know if you are ever out to the Northwest.

    Comment by Larry Hooper — January 1, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

  4. I used to have a doctor who always said, “Growing old is not for sissies.” The older I get the more I realize this is true. Growing old is hard but you are making a great effort and I applaud you for that. May your New Year be blessed with all good things as you walk into the future with God by your side. Peace!

    Comment by Rosanna F. — January 1, 2016 @ 9:47 pm

  5. I really enjoy your writings. This chapter in your life can be a stumbling stone or building block – it’s all how you choose to move forward with your situation.
    Personally I don’t do ‘New Year’s Resolutions” but instead goals.

    One of my goals for 2016 is to stop drinking so that I may be a more productive person. I enjoy wine on the weekends and have decided to go without this year.
    Let’s help one another out here.

    Comment by Pete Beckary — January 1, 2016 @ 11:17 pm

  6. Happy New Year, Ira! Thanks again for sharing meaningful reflections on life lessons learned. I gain wisdom from your writing.

    Comment by Aaron Martin — January 1, 2016 @ 11:17 pm

  7. You’re doing terrific, Ira, and should be proud of yourself–doing without salt and alcohol is tough and you’re handling it so well. You’re an inspiration!

    Comment by Erin — January 2, 2016 @ 2:16 am

  8. Happy New Year.

    Comment by Erin B. — January 2, 2016 @ 9:43 am

  9. Gosh, Ira, you scared us too. I think you’ll do what you have to do. It just has to be your idea, your choice. You’ll probably find the nurse practitioner more compatible to work with–they tend to treat their patients as adults, not bad boys or girls.

    In 2016, I’m gonna try not to be so mean. As my husband says, “You have a “kind” streak.” Gonna try to let it grow and the other shrink. Might as well leave the world with some folks sorry to see me go. Stay well and keep writing.

    Comment by Cynthia R Chase — January 2, 2016 @ 10:35 am

  10. I am happy for you that you are doing well. You describe the close calls and hospital stays so well, I know. I believe it was Jayne Russell that stated ‘growing old is not for sissies’. I am finding that is dead on…Happy New Year!

    Comment by Linda Ault — January 2, 2016 @ 10:57 am

  11. Thank you for your post! Keep them coming!

    Comment by Martha — January 2, 2016 @ 11:08 am

  12. Ira,
    I am glad to hear that you are doing better. It is no fun laying in a hospital and when you come home it is not how you figured it to be, especially with the restrictions on your diet and beverages.

    I will agree with you that 2015 was a tough year. I myself had a lot of problems with my health. The whole year until late in October, I felt like something was wrong, more than usual I just didn’t feel like myself. So in August my regular doctor changed my COPD medication and I started to cough up mucus a lot. Then I went to the ER, My daughter & son took me. They kept me and said that I had pneumonia.
    I stayed for 5 days and then came home.
    Now I feel much better. I also agree that you have to be tough to get old. Only a person that is ageing can confirm this, on the 10th of last month I turned 74 years old. I think I lost a lot of energy with that birthday.
    Glad your back to doing your writings. I look forward to them every week and miss them when you miss a week.

    God Bless you and continue to heal your body and heart.

    In Christ,
    Linda Morris

    Comment by Linda — January 2, 2016 @ 4:31 pm

  13. Do you think your dad’s book will be published? Despite not being Amish, I’ve read a lot of his magazines. They were in a box of comic books at a summer camp I attended when I was young. I loved rainy days because the box would come out. I’d read them 5 summers in a row. I have no idea why the camp had the magazines.

    Glad your heart is on the mend.

    Comment by Susan — January 2, 2016 @ 6:00 pm

  14. Happy Grand New Year to you. too! Glad you made it!

    Comment by Kathy Dean — January 2, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

  15. Happy NEW Year, Ira. Things have changed.

    As for me, I’m going to live as long as the patriarchs … or die trying.

    Comment by LeRoy — January 3, 2016 @ 9:18 pm

  16. Ira, I wanted to remind you of the AA motto…”one day at a time” No one is expected to promise not to drink for 2 months or two weeks or even two days. Just not today. Very powerful blog!

    Comment by S. L. — January 4, 2016 @ 11:29 am

  17. I’m beginning to see how the new year coming to pass means very little. Sure, it can be a time of reflection but what of it? It’s the looking forward that means something. Or even moreso staying in the moment. What has God placed before me today? Who will He put in my path? How can I be useful to Him or others? What does He want me to eat today? What does He want me to drink today? Why is it so bleeding hard to put God in the middle of my day, in the middle of my heart? Sigh. Well…it just is. But my wonderful Father knows this and is with me, loving me, helping me, rooting for me. He’s on my side. But it’s still not easy.

    Yes, you wrote it was time to get down to business with exercising. For me it’s time to get the food in order-more water, more vegetables, more fruit, no refined sugars, no white flour. I’m always watching documentaries on health and pretty much know what to do. I’ve taken college courses on nutrition and learned a lot. It’s the “doing it” that people gloss over. I’m just crabbing because it means I can’t do what I want, when I want. I believe it’s called self will. Means I gotta sweat a little, do things differently, be uncomfortable for a while, no more quick fixes, no more avoiding what God has for me. Gotta feel the feelings. Even the good feelings. Especially the good feelings! Goodness knows I’ve felt and hung on to enough of the crummy ones.

    They say it gets easier the more you do it…or stop doing it. I believe it since we are creatures of habit and I’ve experienced health before. Just slipped somewhere along the line. Alright, enough babbling.

    God be with you on your new journey. And God be with me too.

    Comment by Francine — January 6, 2016 @ 12:37 am

  18. It was hard to leave you.

    Comment by glo — January 6, 2016 @ 5:48 am

  19. As serious as your life has been lately, you still manage to make me laugh and grin the whole way through. Glad you mentioned your dad. I was wondering how he was doing. Have you discovered Crockpot cooking? It will be your best friend…and its little sister, freezing leftovers. :)

    Comment by Lisa DeYoung — January 9, 2016 @ 9:26 pm

  20. It is no walk in the park when health issues come along,Father Time and age march together and have no respect for us mortals it seems.Genetics,lifestyle choices,our out look on life,who knows what all goes into the outcome..Alcohol had to go 25+ years ago because it was impacting my health and it wasn’t doing my relationships with other people any good either. There was the moment of clarity standing in the doorway of that empty apartment in Phoenix,a movie reel going backward in my head with pictures,all the way back to sixteen when I picked up my first drink.And after 20 years I was done.By the Grace of God and the help of some friends it has stayed that way,one day at a time.It does get easier and it does get better and it can be done…the paradox is every day that I work at my job at 330pm a can of beer is opened by me,a straw is put in,and I serve it and have no desire to drink it…peace to all and be well..

    Comment by lenny — January 12, 2016 @ 6:13 pm

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