Category Archives: Health

Five Days Gone Forever

I’ve never been much on religion or fate or astrology. I’ve dabbled in all three at different points in my life and eventually abandoned them all and just lived day to day thinking that everything that happens simply happens with no rhyme or reason. Then something happened that makes me question that theory. I don’t know which of the three was in control of the situation (or maybe something else entirely) but something bigger was calling the shots to make everything fall into place perfectly. There are just too many coincidences for this to all have happened on its own.

About five months ago, I was in the middle of a horrible break-up. We had decided to go our separate ways and I was looking forward to spending some alone time to focus on my three year old son and  myself for a change. I had reconnected with a very special person from my past and we agreed that we would see one another but take things very slowly and get to know each other again after nearly  30 years.

This special man and I had seen one another three times when I collapsed on the floor out of nowhere and wouldn’t wake up. He called an ambulance and searched through my cell phone for family to call. I was taken to the hospital and placed in ICU. For days I slept and the doctors couldn’t figure out why.

While I slept my family and friends all gathered together at the hospital. Family that I hadn’t spoken to in years, friends that cared more than I was aware of and old friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in years poured in to wait together for a verdict  on my condition. There were wars and reconciliations as well as accusations and apologies and I slept through it all. I slept long enough for all these people to settle their differences and talk out their issues. They all had the opportunity to see from their own perspective that I had a lot of people who cared about me in their own way.  They were able to see the role I played in each of their lives and when I finally woke up, I was also able to see how important I was to each of them.

Eventually the doctors were able to diagnose bacterial meningitis and began to treat me accordingly. After five days, I opened my eyes. There were a lot of after effects that I had to deal with and five months later, I am still recovering. That special man never left my side and has turned out to be the man I’ve been looking for all my life. He just happens to be the man that my parents didn’t approve of when we were kids, but they were given the opportunity in those five days to get to know him and see how much he cared for me. He came home with me from the hospital and took care of me until I was able to take care of myself.

I gained so much from the whole experience. I now have a relationship with my mother and brother and because of that, I have a lot more contact with my oldest son. My family was able to talk to the people that have been closest to me over the last several years and to know that I have been responsible and thoughtful and worked hard to be a good mother to my little guy…and I had worked hard to do the right things for my oldest son as well. I also gained an appreciation for life and the little things that I never noticed before. I realized the importance of slowing down and taking time for myself and taking care of myself.

I lost a lot along the way as well. Most of which I am getting back slowly over time but some things may be gone forever. I look back now and see how far I’ve come in just five months. When I left the hospital, I had problems using KathyV2013my hands, words wouldn’t come easily, my thoughts were slow, I walked on a walker and I slept most of the days away. Now I am back at work full time, I have use of my hands and my legs and I’m back to a somewhat normal sleep pattern. My words have come back and my thought processes are still speeding up. I think I’ve regained most of my mind but it seems to work differently now. That is something I will learn to work with over time.

I also lost five days of my life that I can never get back. That is emotionally very hard to deal with. The ‘not knowing’ of what really happened and having to rely on what I’m told from each person’s point of view. I gained so much from the whole experience that in the end it doesn’t really matter what happened. It only matters that it happened and it changed my life forever.


Old People Don’t Suck!

When I was younger, I use to wonder why “old people” were so rude and selfish. I just bounced around with my happy-go-lucky attitude and snarled back at them with a smirk when they’d get rude over something that I deemed silly. I can remember passing it off as jealousy of my youth. In my mind, old people sucked! As I thought all these things, and voiced a little of it too, I never considered their side of it. I never considered the reasons that they did the things they did or acted the way they acted.

Well, I’m not exactly “old” yet but I’m getting there. I’ll be 41 this year and that puts me about 20 years ahead of my original “Old Folks are Rude” discovery. I’m sure my opinion of this will evolve even more but as of now, I am beginning to understand. I kind of understand now that I was being selfish and rude. It was me that sucked! It was my heavy gas pedal foot and my energy level. It was me being inconsiderate of other people wanting to be safe on the road rather than just getting where they were going in the quickest possible manner. It was me being in too big of a hurry to wait for someone to read a label on something in the grocery store and brushing past them like they had no right to be there. It was me, that bounced attitude off these people and they were just reflecting it back. It was me all along!

And now that I’m getting older, I understand that sometimes “old timers” have just had enough! We (I say that loosely..) just don’t give a shit! Why should we? I’m gonna stand there and read that label because, dang it, carbs matter these days! I’m going to drive near the speed limit (for now anyway) because not only do I have someone in the car with me most of the time, but I understand that I also hold the lives of other drivers in my hands. I’m going to walk as slow as I need too because by cracky, my feet and legs hurt bad enough when I get out of bed in the morning and I’m not going to make it worse! Why should I hurt myself for these heathen whipper snappers?!??!

So be warned, children! (…and by children, I men anyone under 30-ish these days) I’m rude, selfish and inconsiderate and I don’t apologize for it!*


*This is what I want to say so badly it hurts, but the truth is, I’m a doormat. I suck! I want so badly to be rude, selfish and inconsiderate but I always fall short. I really, really want to not give a shit! …but I do. I just can’t help it. So feel free to crash into me with your cart in the grocery store and cut me off in traffic. I’ll smile and wave at you…then go home and cry in the shower…

Bad Mother? What Do You Think?

First, a little background. This is a typical day in my life:

I wake up around 6:00 a.m. and spend about a half hour in the bathroom getting ready for my day. I then pack my gym bag, my purse and my 2 year old son’s backpack. I feed the dogs and then make breakfast for my son. (Scrambled eggs, toast, fresh fruit…not just cold cereal or some vitamin “pouch”) I wake him up, help him get dressed, and give him his breakfast to eat on his own. While he’s eating, I’m usually cleaning this or that and sometimes I help him a little or just talk to him. Then we comb his hair, brush his teeth and head out to preschool. I work 8 hours each day, 5 days each week. My lunch hour is spent at the gym.

When I pick my son up from preschool after working all day, I spend time with him… in his room doing puzzles, reading books, playing in the yard…. while his Dad makes dinner. I spend an hour every night doing a bedtime routine with him and just before he falls asleep, I tuck him into bed. When he is down for the night, I’m up very late doing laundry, cleaning dinner dishes and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables for him to have the next day at preschool. Then a shower, a little internet time and off to bed usually somewhere between midnight and 1:00 a.m.

I’ve been informed that I am a bad mother because:

  1. It is my opinion that giving my son a “vitamin pouch” (filled with preservatives) to suck on in the backseat of my car instead of feeding him real meals with fresh fruits and vegetables, is NOT okay.
  2. I help him get dressed.
  3. I don’t let him run wild in the grocery store.
  4. I spend quality time with him in the rocking chair before bed.
  5. I put my son before myself, and don’t take enough time for myself to just be an adult.
  6. I don’t sleep enough and I’m likely to have an accident while driving my son to preschool.
  7. I don’t mind staying up a little later at night or get up a little earlier in the morning to make sure my son has what he needs to be healthy.

If that’s a bad mother, I’m guilty as charged. I don’t care what these people do with their own children and I didn’t attack the things they do. I just voiced an opinion about their precious “vitamin pouch” and they unleashed the wrath of hell on me. My opinion was no longer than a two sentences and they managed to touch on all 7 of the points above in their paragraphs and paragraphs of stretching to drag a complete stranger down.

I guess an opinion is okay as long as it fits in with the opinions of the majority of readers. What was I thinking?

Guess I Really Do Need A Nap!

On the UC Berkeley News Center page there is an interesting article concerning sleep and napping during the day. Apparently studies have shown that taking a nap during the day helps to clear out the short-term memory in our brains so that we can begin to fill it again and be more productive. In their study, two groups were tested on their ability to learn, half with a nap and half without. Their subjects took a 90 minute nap around 2 p.m. and were much more capable at 6 p.m. than those without a nap.

I do believe naps would be beneficial in schools. Not just in the early grades but also in High School. I’ve been saying for years that the school day isn’t long enough. Our kids are packing more and more learning into this small amount of time. If a 60 minute nap would be helpful, why not extend the day by a few hours and let them sleep one of them away?  Even an extra hour of class, especially after a good nap, could make a real difference in the education of our children.

I think the most important thing on my mind is the length of the nap. I mean, if I convinced my employer that I’d be more productive after a 90 minute nap and he agreed to let me have one each day, I’d actually be adding 90 minutes to my work day or I’d lose 90 minutes of pay each day. How many employers are going to pay for me to take a nap? Most really don’t want to pay for a lunch hour! I do however want to run out and buy one of those blue and red kindergarten mats to fold up behind the door in my office, just in case I feel the need to do a brain dump.

The Death of Jack

I hadn’t thought about Jack Kevorkian in many years but today I was bombarded with stories about him everywhere I surfed. I think the first account of his death that I read today was from Yahoo News. I then surfed on and happened across another death announcement on the National Public Radio site. So, I did a Wikipedia search and found another.

I’m filled with mixed emotions about Mr. Kevorkian just as I was years ago when he was constantly in the news. In that same stretch of years, I’ve changed my point of view on many things but not this one. There’s a nagging itch in the back of my head that wants to say that he was just plain insane…but that’s only a small part of me.

For the most part, I believe he was a hero. Not only to his patients but a role model to the rest of us. I believe there was something very special about this man and it has absolutely nothing to do with the cause that he fought for. It is the very fact that he fought so passionately for what he believed in. We should all admire him for that. If the world had more men willing to stand up as ferociously and selflessly as Mr. Kevorkian, I believe our planet would be a much better place.

I believe another important thing to remember about him is that as he was performing this “service” to his dying patients, he did not act in a malicious way. He did the things that he did with only love and compassion. Most of us have had the misfortune to watch someone we love suffer a long painful death due to illness. I’ve seen this first hand twice in my life and watching someone waste away, in pain, is truly horrible. One of these people knew she would soon be leaving us and was ready but determined to fight until the very last second. It would have been a crime to take that away from her. Mr. Kevorkian’s ideas would never have done that. He would have only helped those who wanted his help. I believe I would want his help in that situation and given the opportunity, I believe he would have been there to help.

Those who fought so diligently against his cause fell into basically two categories in my mind; those who believed it was wrong according to religion and those who believed it was wrong due to the presidents it would set and the limits (or lack thereof) being stretched. To the latter, I say, If you can make it illegal, you can regulate it instead. As for religion, the patients themselves have the right to choose their own religious beliefs and if they choose to ignore religion in making that decision, it should be left to them. Not their families and certainly not the public or the government. For a country with separation of church and state, there sure are a lot of laws made based on emotions that surround religion.

RIP Mr. Kevorkian

18 Ways to Trick Your Body

“Tricks of the Body” is by far one of the most informative articles I’ve read in a long while. It contains 18 tips on how to easily control simple things like a toothache or a stuffed nose. It also explains why these things work by giving examples of research conclusions.

I was actually able to test one of the points as I sat at my computer. Number 14 deals with preventing near-sightedness. The author explains that you should close your eyes, tense your body and take a deep breath. Release the breath and relax your muscles at the same time. Doing this every few hours in a day spent concentrating on a computer screen can reduce near-point stress on the involuntary muscles in the eyes. When I tried it, not only did my eyes just feel better, but the slight, nagging headache I’d been experiencing all day simply disappeared.

I think my problem with this article is going to be remembering exacly what I need to do when confronted with one of these situations. There is so much information in this article that I could find myself going through the motions to quell acid reflux in an attempt to ward of brain freeze. Maybe I should print it out and put it on a string around my neck..

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