Welcome to my digital writing journal, or mydigitalclutter. What started as a family blog almost two years ago has morphed into my writing therapy. This is where I do a lot of free writing, mostly about my life with my family and the things that catch my interest. While nowhere even close to perfect, in each post I like to see how my writing is changing with time and practice. Most posts are left unedited for this reason, so if you don't mind, take the journey with me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Patience, My Lacking Virtue

So, I thought I would do a quick post to update on my mom.  Her surgery is almost four weeks out and she is still struggling quite a bit.  She went to the doctor today and they did all sorts of tests, and we hope they will have some answers soon.  She was doing remarkably well as she left the hospital, but she has progressively trodden the path to ill health again.  They think she may have an infection, so they are testing her for that.  The good news is, at least for now, no pace-maker.

I have to give an enormous shout out to all the health professionals that took care of her while she was in ICU and the recovery unit.  After a week in ICU, she was fed up with the whole hospital stay, but there were those who made it more tolerable.  She did have one or two caregivers that had much to be desired, (i.e. not letting her get out of bed).  Luckily for us, the angels far outshone.  One who tenderly gave my mom a sponge bath, washed her hair and made her more comfortable in her less than luxurious bed.  Others communicated with us about the smallest detail and really made it a positive experience.

Because of all the time spent walking the hospital halls, we spent a few meals at the cafeteria.  The food was WONDERFUL! They had the grill going 24/7, and even when we were there far into the night, there was always someone to ring up a piece of fruit, water bottle, or if times were really rough, a hamburger and fries.

During these past few weeks, I've had a myriad of emotions.  It's been hard to talk to my mom because she isn't upbeat and happy.  She doesn't feel well, and when she doesn't, she gets a little ornery.  I've taken most of it in stride, with a grain of salt, but it has been hard to sit by, and not be able to do anything for her.  Unfortunately, there isn't much I can do, but call, stop by, and let her know how much I love her.

We are hoping and praying that all will soon be well, and she will regain her former strength and personality.  She lamented to me today that she feels guilty for not rejoicing about not needing a pacemaker.  She just wants to feel better, and I can understand that more than I can say.  I'm sure we both would give anything for her to be able to walk a mile, play with the kids, make a card, garden, and all the other things she loves to do.  It will come in time, we just need to learn patience.

Patience is one of my most lacking traits.  I want things, and I want them now.  As a child I would have to try and "trick" myself into waiting for an activity that held my excitement.  "It will come when it comes" was a mantra my 8 -year old self would say.  One would think after so many years, that type of thinking would have caught on.  Nope.  If anything, I'm more impatient than I ever was.  I get frustrated that I'm not writing as fast or as much as I would like.  I look at al those around my and compare.  I must get it from my mom, because right now she sure isn't feeling like being patient.

Oh the joys of trials in our lives.  Really, my trials, and those of my mom are so insignificant when we think of what the Savior did for us.  The pains and anguish He suffered.  My trials are so small in comparison.  Perhaps with the eternal, and spiritual perspective, both mom and I can learn to be a bit more patient in this earthly existence and learn a little of what this experience holds for us.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Feeling the Funk

Sometimes I remind myself I have the most wonderful husband on earth.  Don't ask me why, but I get a little clouded by life, as I'm sure many of us do.  Last night as we were lying in bed, waiting for the sweet bliss of slumber, he asked me what he could do for me.  Now, this is a question he asks multiple times a day, because he sees my funk and wants to help me.  I thought about it, and really pondered the question.  There really isn't anything he can do for me.  It is all up to me, but luckily, I have him along for the journey.

I saw a sign on the side of the road once, an ad for depression awareness.  It said, "You don't tell someone with diabetes to snap out of it."  I can't tell you the number of times over my life I've heard this particular analogy, and sorry in advance to anyone it may offend, I hate it!  Don't ask me why, but I do.  It seems to equate my moodiness to a serious health condition.  I've known people with diabetes, and it is a daily struggle to keep their bodies in sync.  For some reason, I never saw depression as something similar.  It has taken me years to get into a state of mind to accept that there may be some similarities, even if it isn't the impression the sign meant to evoke.

Let's be honest....we all deal with the blues, or a bout of depression once in a while.  Some of us, me included, struggle on a daily basis with demons that others can't comprehend.  I hit a breaking point a couple of years ago, scaring myself, my family, and most of all, my husband.  I think for the first time in my life, I realized that what I was dealing with wasn't normal, and it was something that I needed help to "snap out of".  I had my own journey of discovery, and many key players both medically, emotionally, helped me along the way.  Here are some of my observations, though I don't credit to following my own advice very often:

1. You can prevent problems with your diabetes and depression with diet and exercise.  It seems to be the standard answer these days, and I struggle with motivation to get up and go to the gym along with just about the entire human population, but I have to admit my days are better when I have taken the time to work on my body and mind.  Of course, this realization isn't so clear at 5:30 am when my alarm goes off.  If I eat better, I feel better.  That said, I still don't eat lunch on a busy day and then, I'm out of synch with life.

2. It's embarrassing to feel as though I'm drowning.  My normal isn't your normal, and it certainly isn't the normal for my neighbor.  The fact is that there is a stigma attached to depression, and to some extent diabetes.  I feel as though I have to hide all my emotions behind my front door and not ever let them out into the world.  I have to keep up a brave front in order to disguise my weakness.  Truth is, every time I've needed help, it's been there when I've been either brave enough to ask for it, or too far gone to see that my feelings are leaking into everyday life.  What makes us so scared to ask for help?  I know that I'm ready to be there for someone at the drop of a hat if they are emotionally or physically in need.  Goodness, I spent a week at the hospital with my Mom, to offer what little emotional support I could.  What makes me think she wouldn't do the same for me were the situation reversed?

3. Live a grateful life.  I always feel better when I have a spirit of gratitude about me.  Truth is, when the sky is dark, it is hard to be grateful for the sun.  I'm never good at keeping a gratitude journal, and if I were, perhaps looking back on it during tough times, I would be keener at realizing what I have to be grateful for.  Right now, the thing that makes me realize how much I have to be thankful for is when I listen to my children pray.  That Nigel is thankful for his plastic army men pulls me back to home and I know that there is always something to be grateful for.

I have a plethora of other observations about myself.  It's taken a long time to see them.  Much like the time in college where a friend observed I always ordered lemonade to drink, and I suddenly realized that it was my favorite drink at the time,  it took someone to point out to me that my blues weren't normal, and that was okay.
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