Saturday, May 5, 2012

7 Things My Foot Has Taught Me

If you read this blog regularly or are one of my Facebook friends, you know that I had foot surgery a little over three weeks ago. It hasn’t been exactly how I thought it would be, but it has definitely been a learning experience.

7 Things My Foot Has Taught Me

1.)       If you live in the Midwest and have immobilizing foot surgery… your local tornado sirens will go off and you will have to figure out how to get down an entire flight of stairs quickly.

2.)       Know your prescription pain killers!  I was prescribed percocet this time around.  And the side effects were not at all worth my foot being pain free. Lesson learned. Vicodin, my friend. Percocet, not so much.

3.)       Never underestimate the kindness of your co-workers. From parking my car to bringing in my stuff (and I do not pack lightly) to making sure that I have something for lunch (you would think I would have brought something), my co-workers have been an awesome help.

4.)       The motorized carts at Costco aren’t really as fun as they look. You have to worry about running into people. The acceleration is choppy. Its hard to get close enough to the samples to actually get one. And let’s face it at least a fourth of the people in Costco at any give moment just aren’t that bright. I mean if you cut between two folks with their carts and head straight at me, my options are limited. Suffice it to say, if I don’t back up well in a car, I don’t back up well in a Costco scooter.

5.)       Even a true diet soda addict won’t venture into Quick Trip on crutches. It’s way too much trouble. However, that same addict will find her way to a Sonic every single morning. (I promise, once I am mobile, I will once again give up soda.)

6.)       A single button can make all the difference in the world. It was easy to master going to the bathroom on one leg when it involved pulling down sweatpants. However, when I actually put on button-waist pants, it was a whole new ballgame.

7.)       It is true that your parents love their grandchildren more. But it is also true that this is mainly because they get to send them home when they are done spoiling them. So when they become the chief caregiver for said grandchild and can no longer send them home, they become like their own child – annoying, tiresome and a lot more work than they signed up for.  Thankfully my parents haven’t quit on me yet.

Monday, April 23, 2012

This Is What It Is All About

Sometimes I get ahead of myself, or maybe I mean behind myself.  I have a tendency to worry about the life I was supposed to have (at least in my mind) and forget to live the one I do have.  It is pretty easy to ignore this as I go through the motions of the day. There is work to get done. After work my daughter has to be fed, bathed and put to bed. But there is nothing quite like immobility to really put things in perspective.

I have spent nearly two weeks in a recliner at my parents’ house. Talk about the way something wasn’t supposed to play out. The script in my head read differently on this one. I had long overdue foot surgery. I have a genetic deformity that for years has given me trouble on and off. Well whether from age or weight gain, it began to hurt all the time and limited my footwear choices to approximately two pairs of shoes. So it was time and I carefully planned my surgery so that it would happen right before spring break. That way I would have the week off and could return to work with everyone else on the following Monday.

During my consultation I heard the doctor say “five weeks non-weight bearing.” I even told my mother this. Still in my head I was heading back to work, and heading home after that first week down. Well the jokes on me. I have left this recliner only to go to the bathroom and just recently started sitting at the table to eat dinner with the family. This still requires an extra chair to elevate my foot.

Now it looks like I might be returning to work next week, on crutches or with a walker. My stay at my parents will probably closer to five weeks than five days. Thankfully, I am blessed with parents who will do anything for their children, including refilling a glass of ice tea multiple times a day.

Even as I significantly underestimated all of these things, the thing that I didn’t think would be a big deal has been the biggest deal of all – the effect my immobility has had on my three year old daughter. It isn’t that my daughter was an afterthought in all of this; this, however, wasn’t that far off our regular routine. She often spends two nights a week with my parents so that I can go to grad school. She loves spending time there. I often think she prefers it to our home.

She hasn’t complained about being at Grandma and Grandpa’s but she has at times forgotten that she is potty trained. Proudly announcing that she has peeped in her panties. This would be bad enough if it didn’t mean that my mother, who is already playing nursemaid, wasn’t the one having to clean her up. She also has become argumentative about getting dressed and going to bed. She often starts sobbing because one of us has committed some unforgivable sin that we are not aware of and she isn’t willing to explain. She has told me on one occasion that she is mad at my foot. I have been at a bit of a loss with all of this. This isn’t normal behavior for my beautiful girl. My parents have been beyond patient and understanding. I keep telling myself that I will be walking again soon and this too shall pass.

But there is a moment, nearly every night, usually between 2 and 4 am when my sleepy little girl, who is used to sleeping with me, walks out of her room and into the living room. She says the same words each time, “I need you mommy.” And then she climbs up into the recliner and finishes her slumber on top of me. And for a second I can live in the moment as I think “This is what life is all about.” Followed by a sad thought, “that this too shall pass.” She will get too big to sleep in a recliner with me and more heartbreaking, she will probably stop wanting to. But for this moment she is my sweet girl and it doesn’t matter that I can’t walk or get her a cup of juice. She needs her Mommy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reality Check

Ten and half months ago I started this blog and set out to have the healthiest year of my life. I was motivated. I was excited. I was committed. And then… well then instead of taking over my life and making it healthier, I let my life take over and here I sit – 15 pounds heavier and actually unhealthier than I was 10 months ago.

I started this blog for a couple of reasons. First, I needed to make a change and I thought a blog would hold me accountable to that change. I also wanted to write on a regular basis again. I missed it and wanted the creative outlet it would provide. So what the heck happened?

I made excuses. My biggest excuse was stress. I convinced myself that I wasn’t eating better because I was stressed. I wasn’t exercising because I was too stressed about work and didn’t have time. I kept saying I would start next week or after I finished this project or that one.

I actually did start going to a weekly Zumba class, just a few weeks before I knew I was having foot surgery and wouldn’t have to continue for long. I am great at doing things so I can get the credit without really having to follow through.

I won’t say that I have been lying to myself, but I have been telling myself a really good story that was more enchanting than reality. You see the difference, right?

So what next? Do I give up blogging? Do I rename it? I don’t have the answer yet, but here are a few things that I know.

  •  I want to write and a few folks have told me that they want to read it.
  • Until I am ready to work on my sleep habits, no other changes will give me the change I need.
  • While the healthiest year of my life is a great goal, it is overwhelming and I ought to just start with making one healthier decision each day.
  • I have a lot of other stuff that would be fun to write about. I am the single mother of a three year old for goodness sake and six days out of the week I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. That should make for some good posts.

I am not sure where this leaves me but maybe my next post will start me in the right direction. Regardless, I’M BACK!!! Unfortunately as big and unhealthy as ever.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

She Remembered My Name

The other night in class my professor was talking about how much it means to kids when their teachers and school administrators know there names. (I am working on an MA in educational administration.) Its such a small thing and for many teachers it doesn't take that much effort, but to the kid it means everything. But what it got me thinking about had nothing to do with work. It took me back to some small, but incredibly meaningful, gestures that people have made towards me over the years.

In the first few weeks of college, I participated in sorority rush. At one of the parties I met and spoke with a young woman for what might have been 15 minutes. She was sophisticated, witty, interesting and had a smile that drew you in. In other words, everything my 18 year old self thought I wasn't. I didn't think too much of it as I went through the day and met a ton of other people. Walking on campus that night, my friends and I passed a group of three or four girls and one them said "Hi Debi!" with genuine enthusiasm in her voice. At that moment, Schoene (that is her name) transformed me from an insecure girl to the the coolest freshman on campus, even if only in my own mind. She thought enough of me to remember my name.  How many times do I meet someone and have so much on my mind that I hear their name but don't catch it? Don't even try to remember it because I am too distracted. Living in the moment has never been my strong point.

A few years later, I was involved in car accident in a town away from my home. The morning after the accident, I woke up in a hospital room to find Holly and Lynnette walking through the door. They were my best friends in high school and we were still in fairly close contact considering years had passed and we were separated by four or so hours. It wasn't convenient for them to come. They had classes and busy lives, but there they were, like it was the most natural thing in the world to spend an afternoon in a hospital in Peoria. Would I do the same for them? I believe I would, but there are other people who I haven't reached out to when I could have. Have I missed opportunities to surprise others with acts of kindness? Undoubtably.

Fast forward nearly ten years. One of my closest friends, Adrienne, was very ill and hospitalized. The prognosis was not good. The hospital she was in was about 40 minutes and two train from work and a good hour and two more trains from home. It was important for me to go see her every day, but not the easiest thing to accomplish while still showing up for my job. So I would go into work and try to be there by 7 am, in hopes I could leave early. I didn't need to worry. The creative director, Michael, would walk into my office when he got to work and tell me what had to be done that day. I was preoccupied and prioritizing tasks wasn't high on my priority list. Michael was thinking for the both of us. I am so appreciative of what he did to give me extra time with my friend.

For a long time after Adrienne died, one of my coworkers Rachel would walk into my office to ask if I wanted to go to lunch. We must have eaten hundreds of lunches together and became close friends. It took me a while to figure it out, but I realized that Rachel knew Adrienne and I always had lunch together and she took it upon herself to feel that void so it would feel a little less empty and that it did. I often don't know what to say or do when someone is grieving or going through a bad time, so I usually don't do anything other than attend a wake or send a card.

And finally there is Amanda, who has made an art of nurturing her friendships. It can be a random email about a book she is reading and thinks I might like, or an unexpected package in the mail because she found a cute dress she thought my daughter would look great in. She sends news clippings that make her think of you; she never forgets a birthday or aholiday. As I was reading Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, the chapter on maintaining friendships could have been written by Amanda.

There are so many other people I could name, including my great family, who have gone out of their way to show me I was important, to give me what I needed at the time, and to strengthen our friendship. So what does this have to do with the healthiest year of my life?

I want to be the person who lives in the moment; who shows up for someone when they least expect it but need it most; who puts others before myself because their current need is greater; and, who demonstrates how valuable her friendships are by nurturing them. I often feel that I have gotten so caught up trying to make my life what I think it should be rather than living it as it is. I think I used to be more positive and more generous with my time. I want to get back to that place. I want to stop worrying that what I do is going to be wrong and just do it, while accepting that sometimes it might be the wrong gesture, but it came from the right place. I think this is a change that will go a long way towards my emotional health.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting It In

It makes sense to me when someone says they went to the gym for 30 minutes between appointments. I admire the woman who can work two loads of laundry in between fixing dinner and a bed time story. I am not one of those. My life isn't organized enough to fit things in between other things. That requires planning, forethought or at least a strategy. I got none of those.

What I do manage to plan and work in though is food. And this is not a positive thing. Take today. I had a powerbar for breakfast around 7 am and then I started a day of back to back meetings, nine in total. I had a thirty minute break around 11. I wasn't really hungry, but I thought this would probably be my only opportunity to eat. Hungry or not, this girl was not about to miss a meal. I wouldn't be done till 4 so I had to eat. Not just a bit of my turkey and Swiss sandwich but the whole thing. Not so bad, just turkey and Swiss could have been worse.

Graduate classes started tonight. And because of poor planning on my part I didn't realize I was near Whole Foods, or that I needed to go there, last night until I passed the exit and it would have been a pain to turn around. So in the three hours between work and class, I headed to Whole Foods. And then, of course, I ended up in the wrong lane and missed my exit. The worse part is I changed lanes four times trying to figure it out and still missed it. (Some days I probably shouldn't even drive).

I got what I needed -- coconut oil. Of course, I wanted two jars, but realized when I got to the check out that I had picked up the tester for one. So I left Whole Foods with exactly one jar of coconut oil. And then my car wouldn't shift out of park. But the amazing part of this story is that the whole time I was plotting how I was going to work in dinner. I wasn't the least bit hungry, but was so afraid I was going to miss a meal that the comedy of errors that is my life was secondary.

By the time I get close to my class, I still have an hour and a half to waste. My goal for this week was (and still is) to stop eating fast food. So with that in mind I went to Walgreens to buy a notebook. And walked out with a notebook and chocolate cover peanuts. Ate the whole bag in the parking lot and thought what can I eat for my real dinner. Not fast food, I had made a commitment. My mind floated to taquitos from Quik Trip. That is when I almost had to laugh out loud at the insanity of avoiding fast food by eating a half of pound of chocolate cover peanuts and two taquitos from a convenience store. Instead of laughing, I drove through Arby's.

Not exactly a success, but this is my relationship with food. This week's goal is no fast food. Obviously today is a lost cause but that doesn't mean I give up on the whole week. Previous goals are going well. I haven't had a soda, not even a drop. My daughter's playroom is not organized yet, but I have made serious progress. This blog should probably be called The Slow Road to Health. Guess it doesn't matter how long it takes as long as I get there.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Taste of Success

Last week's goal of no soda actually wasn't as difficult as I thought. I have not had a drop and I haven't really craved it. I didn't get on a scale to see if I had lost any weight, but I am certainly less bloated. I haven't noticed a difference in my energy level. Usually, being off soda means I am less tired, but I also haven't been getting a solid seven hours of sleep.

Now on to this week... I will continue with the no soda and I am going to focus on something that I think will alleviate a little stress and probably some guilt too. My focus for this week is to clean out and organize my daughter's playroom, which in theory also serves as an office. Why this? Its the first room you come to when you enter our house. Its a formal living room, but we aren't really formal and my daughter is a bit spoiled (translation: we have way too many toys), so its a playroom. By the end of the week, it will be purged and everything left will have a place. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Epic Fail

It has been more than three weeks since I posted, so that in and of itself should explain the title of this post. July was a mess, to put it mildly. I am no healthier than I was June 1st. Actually I think I am actually less healthy. Stress took over and I lost all focus.

But I am ready to get back on the horse and have revamped how I want to structure my goals a little. I am still not entirely sure how I am going to manage the stress, particularly work stress, but I am ready to give this health thing another try. The bad news is I gained back the weight I had lost in June. The good news is I didn't gain any additional weight, which is nearly a miracle.

I am the type of person who lives well with structure and rules. So I can't just wing it and say I am going to be healthier and I will figure it out as I go. So I am going to set one goal (or rule) each week and I will post every Sunday to tell you how it went. I guess I am declaring a do over.

This week's goal is no soda. NONE. I haven't gone back to the full amount I was drinking before, but I am headed in that direction. So it is time to go cold turkey. No more soda. Just yesterday I read another article about it increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. And it has no upside at all. So good bye soda.

I would love to hear ideas of what other weekly goals I should adopt. Each goal will be focused on for a week but then hopefully incorporated into my life after that and become habit. But for now I will just be thankful that I haven't yet gave up and am still moving forward.