GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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The Inevitable

Two weeks ago my mom passed away.  I thought I was ready.

I had visited her in the hospital for 3 days prior, seeing her mostly unconscious, bruised from IVs and the respirator on her face (she had very thin skin from sun damage as a child and would bruise easily just brushing up against something).

She had degenerative disk disorder and arthritis in her hip which made sitting for any length of time uncomfortable, even when she was younger.   In the hospital, she would try to toss and turn, but was so weak she could barely move.  We would shift her around as her breathing shallowed indicating she was in pain.  She’d settle down and breath deeply for a while, until that position became uncomfortable.

She had congestive heart failure, had a heart attack 17 years ago or so, continued to smoke afterwards.  She had COPD and breathing problems over the last few years, and kept smoking.  I think cleaning out her dresser & purses, we found 5 packs of ‘stashed’ cigarettes.  She told the doctors she only smoked 2 cigarettes a day.  It was closer to a pack a day.

She also lost her eyesight to macular degeneration. She had told me it’s hereditary but I can’t recall anyone else in the family with it.   I honestly think it had more to do with sitting in a 900 square foot house, windows and doors shut, with a haze of cigarette smoke lingering in the air.

In the hospital she was in pain, annoyed with the respirator and during one days when she seemed more conscious (although I still doubt she knew who was who) wanted to go home.  I wanted her to recover and go home, but I think part of me knew it was the end. I thought I was ready.

Part of my anger in the grief cycle is why didn’t she take better care of herself.  Why continue to smoke after such drastic health events. I never saw her exercise for the sake of exercise.   I really don’t understand it.

I know everyone dies, and no one lives forever but Mom could have lived another 15 years easily.  Well, maybe not easily if she had no desire to change her lifestyle, quit smoking, move more, eat healthier.  I’m not sure how many fresh fruits & veggies she ate.

As I am approaching 50 years old, I’m making a serious commitment to moving more, eating less sugar, and more fruits & veggies.   I’m not going to live forever but when I’m 72 yrs old, I’ll be able to get out and continue to geocache, hike and be social.

As much as I love my mom, I’m not ready to become like her as I get older.

 

 

 


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Broken again (sort of)

I’m actually healing but last week my left knee was very painful.  It was hard to transition from sitting to standing/walking, but once I moved it would feel better.   After work one day I went to the store to pick up healthy joint supplements and pain relieving cream, and as I was walking out to my car, my knee popped, and I couldn’t put weight on my leg.  I was stuck at the edge of the cross walk, and a car was trying to turn into the handicap space.  I waved at him to park and he waved at me to walk across.  But I couldn’t move, shuffling baby steps that were excruciatingly painful.  I think I yelled “JUST PARK!” at the guy, which he did.  Getting out of his car, he tells me he’s had problems with his feet too.  I explained it wasn’t my feet, my knee popped and now I couldn’t walk.  He wished me a nice evening and went on into the store.

I managed to put weight on my sore knee leg if I tippy-toed, and I managed to get to the car.  Which is a manual transition.  I need my left leg to shift.  To fully engage the clutch, I have to straighten my leg…  luckily the store is only 2 miles from my house but that was the most painful 2 miles I’ve ever driven.

I get home, call my oldest son to come outside and get the shopping bags, bring me the crutches from when I had broken my foot, and take me to the after hours clinic.  After a 2-3 hour wait, I go back to see the PA.  She pokes at my knee,  it doesn’t appear to be any bone issues. I haven’t fallen (apart from tripping over Vision and breaking my foot in July), nothing hit my knee…   She explains a x-ray wouldn’t show what’s wrong with the ligaments and tendons, so there was no point in doing one since the bones were fine.  I’m prescribed some anti-inflammatories and pain meds and told to follow-up with my primary care physician.

Next day, call to get into see my PCP (same clinic after hours, just a different side of the building).  Again, pokes at my knee, bones are fine, probably the ligaments or tendons.  She can’t put an order in for an MRI until I have an X-ray.  Which I was told only 12 hours earlier would be pointless .  I get the x-rays and of course, nothing wrong with the bones. A touch of arthritis and a bone spur but other than that, everything is fine.  I’m told I’ll be called for an MRI within 72 hours – since it was Thursday, it wouldn’t be until the first of the next week.

Well, I’m not getting an MRI.  I don’t feel like paying whatever it will cost me, since I have a high deductible on my medical insurance and they only cover ‘well visits’ 100%.   I’ve been icing my knee, taking the anti-inflammatories and if it starts getting sore, usually with a turn or pivot, I try to stay off of it for a bit.    Plus, if I opt for the MRI and they tell me it’s a strain or sprain and to RICE it (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) then I’ve thrown away money.

I think part of the problem with my knee is having walked awkwardly while my broken foot was healing.   I’m more mindful of how I walk, and sit.  And I need to walk more.  I’ve sat around too much lately and I can feel the difference.