It’s a New Day!

I finally went back to Weight Watchers today for a lot of reasons, the least of which is my weight. They started a new program this week. Tomorrow is a new month. This is a new year, a new church year, that is. I’ve completed my fibromyalgia study/class at the University of Pittsburgh. And, I am ready for a new start.

Of course, it’s raining and ugly outside, a perfect day to stay inside, but I chose to go out into it. That is something I learned at Pitt, that I have a choice. And right now, my choice is to get back on track with Weight Watchers. Perhaps if I start controlling what I eat, I’ll be able to be more accepting of those things in my life that I can’t control.

After my meeting, I went out to a non-WW-approved lunch. Kind of a last fling. I feel no guilt since it was a choice. Then, I went to my hair/pedicure appointment. I planned to spent the next several hours getting pampered. Except, my appointment is actually for Thursday.

So, instead of fretting, I looked at it as a free afternoon to catch up on a few things, like this blog and a bit of housework and some meal planning.

Published in: on November 30, 2010 at 2:16 PM  Comments (2)  

The Day After

Today is the day after my aunt’s funeral and I have some time to breathe before I move on to Thanksgiving. Getting through the funeral service was the easy part for me. I just had to play the organ. Oh, I did start to cry a few times, but was able to control it. I was able to do that because my sister and brother-in-law were here to take care of my parents. That was a huge help.

The meal afterward wasn’t as well-attended as my cousins originally thought, so that meant there was a ton of food left over. What that means is that I don’t have to cook for Thanksgiving. Well, not exactly, but I won’t be doing a turkey. Yet another huge help. They gave me about a dozen or so pieces of the chicken, a lot of green beans, and a generous helping of the pasta dish. After sharing that with my folks for their lunch, I have enough for a good meal tomorrow. All I have to do is the pie which really isn’t that much trouble. I have all the ingredients and now the time to put it together.

I am still exhausted from this extended weekend ordeal, but I think I am stronger for having gone through it. I am definitely closer to my sister and brother-in-law who continues to surprise me with his kindness.

Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 7:25 AM  Comments (4)  

Today Is My Aunt’s Funeral

We will bury my aunt today. Yesterday was extremely hard. Dad was devastated at seeing her, but I think he enjoyed seeing all the relatives. I plan to write an actual update later today, unless I fall asleep as soon as sit down after arriving home today.

Published in: on November 23, 2010 at 5:56 AM  Leave a Comment  

Life Got More Complicated

I slept in this morning, read the paper over breakfast, and then cleaned the bathroom before I showered. While I was doing that, my phone rang. It was my cousin calling to tell me that my aunt had died. She was my dad’s last remaining sibling and we hadn’t seen her in about 6 years. She had Alzheimer’s and was in bad shape then. Dad kept wanting to go visit her, but my cousin kept telling him that she would not know him. I was torn between taking him to see her and having to comfort him as he broke down then or dealing with his grief when she passed away. I took the easy way out, but now feel guilty for not going to see her.

Besides the obvious complication of dealing with a death in the family, I will also have to deal with preparing for house guests and practicing for an additional church service. My sister and brother-in-law are coming up for the funeral. My cousin asked me to play for the funeral, which will be difficult because I’ll be crying. Hard to read music when there are tears in your eyes. The preparation for my house guests means cleaning that I hadn’t intended to do just yet. I was going to tackle the major cleaning this week, but have to do it NOW.

The hardest part, of course, was talking to dad about Aunt Ann. He broke down and eventually left the room and took to bed. He is sick (on antibiotics for a chest thing) so that isn’t too unexpected that he’d want to go to bed. But, he was definitely crying when I left. The best thing about my sister coming up, other than seeing her, is that she will be able to sit with dad and mom at the funeral while I’m at the organ.

I realize this post is scattered, but that’s how my mind is right now. Time to sign off and figure out something with the music. Or maybe do the dishes or vacuum or something.

Published in: on November 20, 2010 at 7:23 PM  Comments (4)  

My Shoulder Diagnosis

I saw the orthopedic surgeon yesterday, and got some good news. There is no obvious tear, but there is some damage. I have a bone spur and some calcification. The pain is tendonitis. I got a cortisone shot which wasn’t as painful as the others I’ve had in the past. And, it helped quite a bit. So much so that I went shopping and carried my purchases in my right hand, which hurt, but which I was able to do. Of course, by the time I got home, the shoulder was pretty sore and I had to ice it. That’s why I waited till today to post this. I also have to start physical therapy.

All this means that I will be making Thanksgiving dinner and playing the organ for Thanksgiving morning, regular Sunday services, mid-week Advent services, and two more services on Christmas Eve. Then, there is going to church on Christmas day, cooking for mom and dad, and then playing for regular Sunday services the following morning. I’m tired just thinking about it. But, that schedule had me completely stressed out because I had no idea how I’d manage it all in pain. Or how I’d get through it if I had to have surgery and there was no one to take me to and from the hospital and to help with my rehab. Now, I’m just under the stress I normally feel when I sit down and think about my life.

Since I have to run over to see mom and dad, I am going to cut this short. I’ll be posting something else later today or tomorrow, something more on topic, I hope.

Published in: on November 19, 2010 at 10:10 AM  Comments (4)  

Lessons in Frustration

I wasn’t planning on writing about this, but circumstances overtook intentions. I was going to focus solely on the pain in my shoulder. After all, I have yet to see the doctor about that and, after a normal weekend, it is bad again. Driving to two churches and playing for two services really ramped up the pain. But, instead of being able to rest it, I had other things I had to do.

Hence, the frustration. My dad had been harping on the need to take his care for an oil change and a check up. What that meant was he wanted me to call someone and make him an appointment to do that. So I did. He was scheduled to be at the Honda dealer at 9 A.M. yesterday morning. On Sunday afternoon while I was visiting, I asked if he’d like to drive the car to the dealership and leave it there so it would be done by Monday afternoon. He said that he’d remember to go in the morning.

Monday at noon, just as I was getting ready to start cooking my lunch, tummy growling in anticipation, the phone rang. Guess who? Guess who was ready to take his car to the dealer for the oil change, etc? Guess who wanted me to go along? So, instead of eating lunch, I got into my car, drove to their house, drove to the dealership with dad following me (he didn’t remember where it was), drove him back home, and drove myself home. I ate lunch three hours later, at 3 P.M.

Last night was the next to last session of my fibromyalgia/stress relief study group. My arm/shoulder was killing me by this time, but I was determined to go because I like these women and I think that, if I actually practiced some of these techniques faithfully, they would help with my pain levels. But, I did not want to drive in the dark with a sore shoulder. I ended up going and, although I spent the entire evening in pain, I did enjoy myself.

I got home, did some unwinding, and went to bed. At 2 A.M. my phone rang. It was dad. He wanted to know when we were going to get his car. I explained to him that it was the middle of the night and that I have a doctor appointment in the morning (all true) and would not be able to help him till the afternoon. Of course, I’d told him that yesterday when I dropped him off at his house. It turns out that he called me five times last night while I was at my fibromyalgia group meeting. I didn’t get home till 9 P.M. and since I was so tired and sore, I didn’t check my answering machine. If I had, I might have been able to prevent this middle of the night phone call, but maybe not.

All I want to do now is scream at the top of my lungs or whine to whoever will listen and even to anyone who won’t. I’m tired. I’m in pain. I don’t have it in me to care for others right now because I need to care for me and yet this is my dad and my mom. They raised me. They did for me when I wasn’t able to do for myself. I don’t believe I have the right to refuse them.

Next up, the report from the orthopedic surgeon and what it means for Thanksgiving and beyond.

Published in: on November 16, 2010 at 7:09 AM  Comments (2)  

Random Thoughts on Christmas Decorations

This has absolutely nothing to do with my topic, but I just had to vent about something I saw this morning on the way to Panera. A house in my neighborhood had Christmas decorations out already. And, there were still pumpkins in the yard, probably even one that has a face carved into it. This is just wrong. Thanksgiving isn’t for another two weeks.

It’s one thing for stores to rush the season. After all, they are trying to make money. I don’t like it, but I understand it. But, for a homeowner to put those reindeer figures on his lawn before Veteran’s Day is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Rant over.

Ho Ho Ho Humbug!

Published in: on November 10, 2010 at 10:41 AM  Comments (3)  

Favoring One Side Has Consequences

The other day, I whined about my sore shoulder. Well, I finally contacted the doctor and he suggested that I see the orthopedic surgeon who did my knee surgery last year. The reasoning behind this decision was my description of what happened when the pain first began. I told the doctor that the pain was intense, a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, and that I heard noises when I did whatever it was I did. I also told him that it’s been waking me up at night and has interfered with my daily life. He thinks I may have torn something. I won’t know till next week since that’s when I have my appointment, but at least I have one.

So, here’s what I mean by my heading. I was cleaning stuff out of the fridge. I had some spaghetti sauce from last week and decided that I’d better toss it. As I was carrying it across the room it fell out of my hand and landed right side up. Nothing spilled. I was extremely glad since my kitchen is mostly white. I got out a spoon and took the container and the spoon to the garbage can to dump it. That’s when it spilled. I laughed so hard I nearly cried.

Not sure what this teaches me, but the laughter sure helped to ease some of the pain. I guess it is the best medicine.

Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 3:38 PM  Comments (2)  

Writing and Pain and Rain/Snow/Cold

Well, it’s been an interesting week. If anyone is following me, they know I was late with my Thursday post. I am also a bit late with today’s, but I did answer the comments pretty much as they came in.

Let me explain my title. I have a very sore shoulder. I’ve had a touch of bursitis in my right shoulder for a while now and that combined with the fibromyalgia has always meant a bit of pain there. But, on Monday night, I did something while cleaning the kitchen that caused the shoulder to make a lot of noise and give me a lot of pain. Since then, I’ve used heat and extra-strength acetaminophen to get through the day. I kept putting off calling the doctor, thinking that it would feel better, but, here it is Saturday and it’s not a lot better. Needless to say, I’m calling on Monday.

The weather is not helping. We had gorgeous weather over the weekend and then it turned cold and wet. We were even supposed to have some wet snow mixed in with rain overnight. It may have happened. I don’t know. I was in bed. Even if there had been snow, it would have melted on contact with the ground. It’s still too warm for anything to stick. But, with temperatures in the 40s, it’s cold. And that is not fun for a weather-sensitive person who also happens to have a very sore shoulder.

All of which is just my way of saying, I hurt and I want some sympathy and I don’t want to have to play for church tomorrow, but I also don’t want to give up the money that I’ll earn by doing so. Although, if my shoulder doesn’t feel better in a few hours, I’ll be making the “I’m sick” phone call. It’s not so much the act of playing that’s the problem. It’s the driving. I put close to 100 miles on my car each Sunday driving from my house to church 1 then to church 2 then to visit my parents then home. That may not happen tomorrow since the short (15 minute) drive to my visit my parents usually makes my arm hurt like the dickens.

I think I kind of made my mind up, didn’t I?

Published in: on November 6, 2010 at 1:28 PM  Comments (2)  

That’s Me, Sort Of

The November/December 2010 issue of Weight Watchers Magazine is all about preparing for the rapidly approaching holiday season. I normally gloss over the articles since they tend to focus on people I can’t relate to – busy mothers or young men and women just starting out in life and dealing with weight issues in addition to a job hunt. But this issue has an article about caregivers and the unique weight loss and health challenges they face. Needless to say, I stopped to read this one while paging through the magazine in search of new, WW-friendly recipes.

The article, by Ginny Graves, detailed three steps all caregivers should take to get or stay healthy. Graves advises readers to learn their own limitations so that they don’t become totally overwhelmed. I can definitely relate to that. If you’ve read earlier posts, you know that I have fibromyalgia and that overdoing things only makes my condition worse. And, naturally that means I can’t do as much for my folks, which makes me feel guilty. Sharing the burden helps, but there isn’t always a way to share. My sister wants to help, but she lives several hours away and can’t be here for the day-to-day care. I send her emails almost every day detailing what I’ve noticed or what the doctor said, but it often feels as if she’s the boss and I’m sending her progress reports. Yet another source of frustration for me.

Graves called the second step owing the role of caregiver. She cited a study by the National Family Caregivers Association that showed the vast majority of caregivers were “more proactive about seeking resources” once they acknowledged that they are caregivers. This is true. I realized that something had to be done before I ended up in the assisted living facility I’d like to see my parents in. At that point, I sought help from the county’s Area Agency on Aging and the Veteran’s Administration. I just wish I could convince mom and dad to accept more help, for my sake if not for theirs.

Finally, Graves reminds all of us to remember ourselves. This is a common theme in Weight Watchers meetings as well as in many self-help articles in magazines. We all give lip service to the fact that you can’t help someone unless you help yourself first, but how many of us actually follow this? Think about the card in the pocket of the airplane. The one that explains what to do when the emergency oxygen mask comes down from the overhead compartment. I haven’t flown for a long time, but I seem to remember that it said that if you are traveling with a child, you should put on your mask first and then help the child put his or her mask on. I need to remember that.

I have contacted Ms. Graves and plan to pick her brain on this subject next week. Stay tuned for a follow-up.

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 2:53 PM  Comments (2)