Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fighting Frustration

So I got three good days of walking in then the work week hit and . . . nothing. Up at 5, to work by 7, done with work at 3:30, home by 3:45, errands if there are any, dinner, chat with Beautiful Daughter from 6-7, then more student work to finish, finally bed around 10. The thought there's always tomorrow offers some comfort, but so far tomorrow has come without a workout happening. Frustration is mounting.

Times like this I like watching motivational videos. This one is awesome and as soon as I'm finished chatting with Beautiful Daughter, I'm out the door and to the rec center.

***Update***: Mission accomplished. 15 minutes on the treadmill, 18 minutes on the spinner, and 15 minutes of upper body weights. Yeah, Baby!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Walk

Today's walk was a mile shorter than my walk yesterday, and it was quite a bit more brisk out, but I'm finding just how much I need physical activity of some sort to help me stay balanced. After only three days of taking an hour out of my day to get in a walk, I can honestly say I'm sleeping better, I'm more focused, and most definitely I'm easier to get along with. I know Hubby appreciates this last aspect.

Today's route was a first for me, mostly sidewalk with a mile jaunt around a city pond. My calf muscles, my feet, and my inner thighs suggested taking a break not long into the walk, but I told them all to hush and just deal. After about a mile, they all quieted down. At the two mile mark, I pulled the Garmin out to check my pace and heart rate. For not doing much of anything for quite a few weeks, I was pleased to see a 4.5 mph pace. Maybe in a week I can get the speed up another notch. My heart rate hovered just above 140, and at seeing this, that familiar thrill of burning calories surfaced.

Walking is a simple activity that doesn't require much skill. All I have to do is commit to doing it and follow through. For the sake of my well being, it's the least I can do.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 2 Getting Back At It

Since mid September, I haven't done much in regards to working out. Several things were pulling at me--work, my daughter being gone, Hubby still not finding employment--and I let the one thing that really does wonders for my state of mind be the one thing to got pushed to the side. Now, when I look back over the last two and a half months, I realize my semi unhappiness with my life can be chalked up to me stepping away from something as simple as walking for an hour a day. In a way, I'm kind of like the people who get depressed during the wintertime and use a day light to ease their distress. I need exercise to ease mine.

So yesterday I got back out there and walked for a little over an hour. The route I took is a path that offers lots of nature--squirrels, lots of different birds, a pretty little black and white cat sunning itself, and a pond with lots of geese coming and going. The path is also away from traffic and doesn't get a lot of use, with me being the only one walking it, so the only noises I had to deal with were that of nature.

Today I took a different route, all sidewalk. With the earphones in, I enjoyed the just under 5 miles while listening to good music--David Gray, Adele, Coldplay, Foster the People. I ended with an average pace of 4.4 mph, which isn't so bad considering I haven't been out and I definitely haven't been pushing myself for quite a few weeks now. I even jogged the last half mile, which is quite something given I'm not a jogger/runner by any stretch of the imagination.

Now I have the rest of the day ahead of me, and while I have some work to get finished up, a house that needs some attention, and grocery shopping to do, I don't feel overwhelmed. I feel very ready to tackle it all.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bountiful Thanksgiving

My always funny, always delightful boys, Hubby, and I traveled to Indiana to spend the day with my dad, my sister and her husband, and after dinner, a short visit with mom. Because she's been having some rough days, we decided to break up the visits, with only a couple of us going at a time rather than all of us and tiring her out too much. While Mom was noticeably uncomfortable due to increased pain, she put on a smile and seemed to enjoy seeing her grandsons. They did their darndest to make her happy and accomplished doing so by telling Chuck Norris jokes. Those can definitely make a person laugh.

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, number one on the list being having the opportunity to be with my mom. Seeing her in pain, seeing her frustration, seeing her apart from her family gathered around a table filled with a bountiful feast make me sad, but seeing her smile at the boys and the boys give her hugs and hold her hand is priceless. I hope for just a second she was able to forget the pain, the frustration, and not being home.

What's to come is uncertain. I do know of one certainty though: my parents' unwavering devotion to one another. Throughout the time we spent visiting, my parents held hands. So much comfort can come from such a small gesture.

We all should hold hands more often.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When It Rains . . .

Hubby snores. Loudly. To the point that I sometimes sleep on the couch. Tonight, I thought I'd go ahead and sleep in Lovely Daughter's bed as she's in China and her room seemed lonely. In the dark, I pulled back the covers and slid under the comforter. Really looking forward to a night of quiet in a comfy bed, I was shocked when my feet touched what felt like a huge wet spot on the mattress. The first thought I had was the family dog had somehow gotten into her room and had had an accident on Lovely Daughter's bed, but I knew that was unlikely as he'd been downstairs with us all evening then went to his own bed when the boys said goodnight to me. I got up, turned on the light, and with dismay discovered a very large wet area on the ceiling. I stood on the mattress and poked at the spot: saturated and about ready to drop. Perfect.

While nothing can be done tonight, I know tomorrow holds a day of cleaning bedding, drying out a mattress, and fixing a ceiling, which means figuring out where the leak is in the roof. Thankfully I found the problem before the ceiling actually fell, so that's a positive, but I'm not looking forward to the work ahead of us. Nope, not at all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Great Day

Yesterday Hubby and I drove over to see Mom. I'd heard from my sister that she was doing well after having a rough day on Wednesday. I really didn't know what to expect when I walked in, so it was a very pleasant surprise to see Mom sitting up, her hair washed and styled, a smile on her face, and her very much aware of who I was. She looked and acted like the Mom I knew before almost losing her.

We stayed all afternoon, leaving for about an hour to have some lunch, and to let Mom visit with some friends who'd driven a long ways to see her. When we returned to her room, we talked and laughed, reminiscing about my childhood days, my high school days, and my life now. The friends from Michigan, who'd babysat me when I was a baby, filled us in on their kids' lives and their own. Somehow, talk turned to playing euchre, and Mom was determined she was going to play. Hubby scrounged up two decks of cards from the nurses' station, this after he sweet talked one of the nurses into giving Mom a hamburger for dinner, so we set about creating a table over Mom's bed. Then I dealt the first hand. For the next hour, we played Mom's favorite game, and she showed she not only remembered all the rules, but she could give me clues to what was in her hand to help me out when bidding. I marveled at how in three weeks my mom went from having her parish priest rush to the hospital to read her last rites to playing bid euchre.

Today, my sister told me Mom wasn't so good again. And this seems to be the pattern she's fallen into: one good day, a couple of rough days. I'm just very thankful I was able to enjoy a great day with her. We don't know what's ahead, so all we can do is enjoy each and every moment we have, whether it be rough, good, and if we're lucky, even great.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Foggy Days

My days this week have been foggy; I know I worked, and I know I spent time with my boys just like I always do, but distraction was ever present. A colleague came to my door Tuesday as I gazed at my binders, trying to figure out which one I needed for class. He said hello, and his greeting registered, but several seconds passed before realization of my rudeness kicked in and I looked up to say hello. I apologized for being impolite, to which he laughed and said no problem. That's how the entire week has been: going through the motions while being somewhere else.

I visited Mom yesterday. Last Saturday when I left the hospital, she was responsive, able to identify each of her six children, able to answer questions. Yesterday, she was a little slower in answering the questions, taking quite a long time to process the information before responding. In addition to her processing of information having been affected, so has her short term memory. It is gone. I was sitting next to her for a couple of hours then moved to a chair beside my dad. After several minutes, she demanded to know who was sitting there. When I stood and smiled at her, the puzzled look on her face told me she'd forgotten I was there. Dad said she does that often now.

The physical therapist worked with Mom, helping her learn how to roll onto her side then push herself to a sitting position. Mom fussed, insisting she was going to fall off the bed. Her sense of balance has been knocked out of kilter. The therapist wouldn't say if it would return. I sat across from mom, at the ready just in case she toppled forward. Afterward, Mom commented she must not be doing well, she must be much worse than anyone is letting on because they took her IVs away. Dad and I assured her she was doing fine and didn't need the IVs because she was eating and drinking. Dad held her hand, telling her that because she was able to sit up with help, he is certain she will be going home soon. The doctor didn't seem as hopeful as my dad.

All we can do is wait. Mom waits to see if she will improve further. Dad waits for the moment he can take his wife of 54 years home. I wait for the fog to lift. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wrapped in Sadness

Fourteen years ago, my mom was diagnosed with MS. Since that time, not a moment of her life has passed without her condition being that pesky fly buzzing around her head and not going away no matter how many times she swats at it. As the years have gone by, I've watched her struggle to remain the vibrant and mobile mom, grandma, wife she was used to being for all of us. For the last eight years, the MS seemed to have leveled off, seeming satisfied that my mom was confined to a wheelchair but able to still do some things that gave her great pleasure, like visiting friends once a week for breakfast. About three weeks ago, though, the MS raised its ugly head and showed us all it's still very much in control, and then last week, the call came that Mom was in the hospital, the outlook grim.

When I arrived to Mom's hospital bed, I realized I wasn't as prepared for the more difficult days to come as I had thought I was. Since her diagnosis, I've read as much about MS as I could. I've talked with Mom about how she's feeling and the meds she takes. I've helped take care of her. At times I considered how I might feel the moment Mom was no longer able to even sit in a wheelchair and would have to spend her time bedridden, most likely in a nursing home, away from the love of her life. But none of this prepared me for the sadness I'm feeling. To see someone I love trapped, unable to make sense of what's happening to her, breaks my heart. During the past eight years, when the MS would do something crazy like take away her sense of smell, I could hug her, make a joke that she was better off because of the stink coming from the boys' socks. She'd see the humor and some of her dismay would ease at least a little. This time, a hug and a joke won't ease her dismay.

And I'm not sure what will ease my sadness.