Hello 2021 I’m Back! Stuff Happens %#&@!

Hello my writing and reader friends. I’m back to my blog after declaring a blog break, which in essence, wasn’t much of a break, as I was still somewhat visiting blogland and social media – sometimes hard to stay away when I needed a distraction. Truthfully, my online life has been my sanity. And I didn’t appreciate Facebook banning me yet again, this time for one full week, for using free and clean speech.

 

Well I can’t really say that 2020 went out like a lion and 2021 came in like a lamb, because really, it still feels like 2020, so far, as a continuation of 2020. I didn’t get near the things accomplished as I had set out to do as the days seemed to vanish as quickly as they did before my break.

 

What happened?

 

In the 2-3 weeks of my blog absence, I’ve had three hospital runs with my husband and spent much of the time looking after him. It’s really difficult to complete an article with several interruptions to my concentration, so my writing is still impaired. My husband has been incapacitated with his liver issues as fluid continues to build up in his torso and legs, rendering his legs obstinate and uncooperative sometimes just to walk.

It didn’t help that the condo above us did something wonky when they took it upon themselves to renovate their shower and didn’t follow protocols, so the result became our shower leaking from above and almost caving in the shower ceiling with water weight. The jackhammering of tiles now and the dust and the no use of our master walkin shower has become an added weight on me until they finish repairing it. We are left with the guest bathroom tub/shower combo and with the tub being a foot or so high, my hub cannot get his tree stump legs up to step in the tub. So I have come up with some funky ideas to get him in. After numerous failures I’ve finagled a way to set up the step stool in front of the tub, where he can hold on to the towel bar with one hand and onto my shoulder as I lift one leg at a time into the shower for him. No such thing as can’t in my vocabulary!

It also didn’t help when the hospital screwed up his first appointment our wonderful Dr. B had arranged for my hub to have a paracentesis (draining of fluid through the stomach by radiology with a long needle that draws out the ascites fluid), a mixup that had me wheeling him directly to emergency for relief. That turned out to be a nightmare as emerge docs aren’t well-versed in the procedure and they didn’t get enough out of him – because they didn’t use the proper draw method and attached an IV tube instead, letting it slowwwwwwwwwwwww drip into a bag. He needed approximately six litres drawn out (which normally takes about half hour to 45 minutes – I know this because it wasn’t my first rodeo, and after three hours of only a litre dripped, my hubby was fed up and demanded to go home. We did, but not before speaking with the ER doc and requesting he forward what transpired with my hub to Dr. B so he could rectify the proper missed appointment.

Dr B’s secretary Lisa, emailed me an hour after we got back home late that night asking, “What happened to the appointment we booked? How did he end up in emerge?” I filled Lisa in and she immediately faxed back Dr. B, who in turn communicated with the appropriate department and got my hub back in on New Year’s Eve afternoon. It seems like an eternity ago already because a week later he retained back all plus! So back to the drawing board, notifying Dr B. and he faxed in a new request with a standing order of draining every two weeks for my husband, until such time he stops retaining. Not so simple. A whole week went by before the hospital called back with such appointment. Another hospital mixup occurred with instructions. Only this past Friday the hospital called to book hubby in for a date this week. I pleaded my case about the delays and the state of my husband’s health, his big abdomen that begun laboring his breathing, and the prior mixups and asked for mercy. They stuck him in same day on an emergency list. My heart sang until the phone rang again and I was in rush mode to get to it when I seemed to have pulled a muscle in my calf, maybe a tendon? I could not walk. I still can’t! I hobbled around on hubby’s walker, got him ready, then took his cane so I could walk on one foot til we’d reach the hospital and I would push him around the various departments leaning on the wheelchair hopping all the way.

 

Oye!

 

I was disheartened to learn they could only get 4 litres out of the 8-10 that were circulating in him. Leaving him with only an 8 pound loss instead of the 20 he was retaining. As of this writing he’s already gained back 4 of those pounds since Friday and next appointment isn’t til a week this Friday. Oye!

This is has all been very difficult on me – not to even mention how my husband feels. But the standing order made me very sad because the heavy duty diuretics he’s been on to help avoid this situation, are no longer doing a great job. One of his diuretics was the hero for keeping him fluid-free and we’d worked so hard for a year, four years ago, monitoring for the correct dosage. But as it stands now, that pill has been quartered from its original dose because the drug was elevating his potassium levels to a dangerous number. Thank goodness for our wonderful doctors who also have a standing order for me to take him to the lab weekly to keep watch. The lower dosage has brought down the dangerous level, but leaves him building back fluid. The other diuretic has been increased to the max dose but still not enough to keep from pooling. Thus, Dr. B had warned that he just may have to be drained every two weeks indefinitely.

It’s all been so disheartening for me, myself and I, but as I’m not here to complain, only update, I wanted to share how my new year has begun – where it left off, and keep you guys abreast of my chaotic life.

I’m still eagerly awaiting my new sparkling 2021 to begin, but I’m back, because really, visiting blogland and being around all my far away friends is a comfort, and often where I come to feel sane.

 

Happy New Year

©DGKaye2021

 

#Coloring Books and Life – One Day at a Time

breathe

I have a mantra. It’s been used by many, advised by many, including myself – it’s called ‘One Day at a Time’.

 

I’ve often preached this saying to others when they’re feeling overwhelmed, as words of wisdom to help lessen their load, but I was usually guilty of not following my own advice – until this past year.

 

It’s easy for me to pass on words of encouragement, because I’ve always been a builder-upper of others. But when it comes to myself, I know I sometimes have a difficult time taking my own advice. But this year, I learned the meaning behind that phrase.

 

I’m a bit OCD when it comes to my ‘to do’ list and getting everything accomplished I set out to do in my own self-imposed time restrictions. But when life threw me some frightening curve balls for the better part of the first half of this year, with my husband’s health issues, I had to take heed to my own words or I’d have been swallowed up by the abyss of pressure I put on myself.

 

Duty called. There was no book writing, I had no time, nor the mental capacity to focus on writing. If I wasn’t running to doctors and hospitals on a daily basis, I was nursemaid to my husband’s needs, and couldn’t concentrate on anything while I worried every minute if he needed meds, food, his legs rubbed, some words of encouragement, or if he was too silent left unattended in another room for more than twenty minutes, or that he may have passed out yet again.

 

My blogs were written in midnight hours, and blog reading became my escape from the madness, reminding me that I was still part of a community, other than living in the realms of life and death. I learned quickly that I couldn’t make plans for tomorrow, next week, or even think about next year. My life was on hold, and I only had time to do what needed to be done for my husband at any given moment.

 

My ‘to do’ lists became everything medical – appointments to make, follow up with, chase doctors, and go back and forth from long hospital days and nights. This was when I learned to Let Go. I could no longer worry about my book waiting for me to come back to and all of my self-imposed deadlines to do the things I normally did on a daily basis. I learned to surrender to the moments and let go of letting to dos overwhelm me, and stop dwelling on the things piling up I’d have to catch up on. I learned to accept each day as it came, in gratitude that my husband was alive and that he was my only priority in those moments.

 

What spurred me to write this post is a coloring book I purchased that caught my eye in a grocery store one day. The pages had beautiful art to color in, but within each picture is an inspirational quote.

Coloring book - breathe quote

 

Now I’m going to be honest, I failed art in high school. Heck, I could never even stay within the lines in a coloring book, which coincides with my atrocious handwriting. But I was always a writer. I had a lot of creativity in my head – it’s just that my head could never translate to my hand, my creative ideas. This is similar to the way I design my book covers – in my head. Sure I have an artist who makes my covers for this very reason, my lack of art skills. But I come up with what I’d like to see for my covers, and describe them to my artist, who then creates my visions.

Coloring Book quote Live simply

 

But getting back to the coloring book, when I pull it out, usually late at night, after the computer is shut down, and I’m looking for an hour to relax, I open it to a new page and I’m immediately overwhelmed by the amount of detail there is to fill in. At first glance, I think to myself, Omg, this page will take forever with all those tiny details.

Coloring book quote - I Am

 

But I developed a strategy. I start in one corner with one color, then decide where in the picture I wish to use the same color. I then move on to a new color and do the same, using color as my guide to the next place to work on. Within 2 hours I realized I’ve completed a page, and I stand back and say, “It’s just like life, one day at a time, one color at a time, and eventually I get there.”

 

*Coloring book photos from Posh Coloring book by Deborah Muller

©D.G. Kaye July2016

Sodium Overload

salt new

 

Last week I wrote a post on grocery shopping tips. I thought I’d revisit the topic and talk about the drawbacks of taking in too much sodium. As a person who is adamant about reading labels in detail of ingredients, I have to admit that until I approached the phase of menopause, I wasn’t too well-versed in the effects that sodium had on me. At that time, my focus was more on fat, fiber and sugar content. But as my bloating days were becoming more frequent and my love for Sushi (soy sauce anyone?) never faltered, I discovered how much excess sodium was a culprit in the distention of my stomach.

 

Health guidelines state we shouldn’t take in more than 2000-2500 milligrams daily and I can tell you, with today’s food industry, you really have to become a detective to be aware of all the sneaky ways sodium gets in our diets. For a shocking preview, next time you are in a grocery store, pick up a can of any chicken soup (which isn’t labeled low-sodium), and take a look at the sodium content. Most cans will list around 480 to 800 milligrams per serving and there is usually two servings to each can, which really doesn’t make it difficult to eat the whole can when it is merely a low calorie soup. Eating that can of soup would bring you to almost half or just over the amount of sodium we should be ingesting in a whole day. All that sodium just from soup?

 

 

Just about everything we eat contains sodium. It’s up to us to become diligent and pay attention to the numbers. Too much sodium can cause seriously high blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular issues.

Fast food outlets produce some of the highest amounts of sodium. Many sauces and marinades we buy pre-made have exceedingly high levels.

I was cleaning out my fridge the other day and I think we all have those bottles in our fridges that stay pushed to the back because we either forget they are there or no longer use them. I decided to stop being a packrat and toss the things I wouldn’t eat and that take up space. I came across a bottle of salmon marinade that I hadn’t used for TWO YEARS! Yes, I knew it was there but hadn’t used it for a few years and yet it hadn’t gone off. That is scary in itself. Sodium and preservatives can make for a frighteningly long shelf life.

Before I finally tossed that bottle, I looked at the label and saw that the whole bottle (8oz.) contained over 9000 milligrams of sodium – 460 milligrams per teaspoon! Holy crap! It wasn’t uncommon to use half a bottle when preparing a meal for two. That is 4500 milligrams divided by two equaling 2250 milligrams per person, just as a marinade! Frightening! No wonder I had stopped using it.

 

I am not a big salt user and I cook almost everything from scratch and make most of my own dressings and marinades for the past few years now. When cooking, I add some sea salt for taste and never put a shaker on the table.

 

Often if I am in a restaurant and order a soup, I find my mouth is overwhelmed with salt and I don’t eat it. Many cooks will add extra salt to bring certain foods back to life – YUCK, or may have no idea what too much is. My taste buds are the first indicator to sodium overload. Next comes the distention of my stomach and swollen feet and fingers. These are sometimes indicators you have taken in a lot of sodium (especially if it isn’t due to a medical issue).

Do your homework. Read labels. Prepare your meals in healthier ways and your heart will thank you.

 

DGKaye ©2014