What I Love About M.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m celebrating a wedding anniversary. Even though we’ve been married for only two years, that’s only a minute of the time that we have known each other. Like countless other relationships, we started out as friends so I have had time to amass a list of the things that I love about M. [Note: These are in no particular order.]

His mind is always working. Call him “The Energizer Bunny.” He’s a thinker and a doer. This can be a good thing and a bad thing depending on how you look at it. I tend to enjoy the part where his creative juices start to flow about anything: getting rid of 50 things, how to structure an article, saving for Baby A’s education, etc. I’m glad to know that he thinks about these things as much as I do. And he doesn’t sit around hoping that they will happen.

He’s kind to animals, including insects. There are two stories that illustrate this best. The first is when we lived in suburban Los Angeles, he and I would walk a 3-mile loop. Along the way he would stop, pick up worms that had found their way onto the highly-trafficked sidewalk and place them into the dirt or grass. The second is a time when Moo kitty was sick for about a week. Each night he would lay next to Moo on our cold hard tile floor in our tiny bathroom  and pet him for hours. Many times M. would fall asleep next to the big white and black kitty. Both of these times my heart melted.

He can be silly. Usually, this side of M. comes out when he’s playing with Baby A but there have been times when he’s done something that makes me laugh, shake up head and think, I love him. Of course, I do. Silliness is a sign of a sense of humor and M’s is multidimensional. Besides being able to be goofy enough for a toddler to laugh, he has a sharp wit that is brilliant and easy.

He’s talented. Both of us are writers and editors. For me, I work hard at it. Before I write I need to warm-up and do mental calisthenics (it’s why I blog). For him, he can sit down and create sentences that flow and have rhythm. No multiple drafts. No testing the waters. Just good prose. I love artists and M. can paint pictures with words.

He puts family first. Whether it is his sister across the country or my cousin up the block, if you’re related to M. (no matter how distantly) he’ll do anything for you. In a way it is chivalry at its best.

The Intangibles. Then, there are the characteristics of M. that just make me look at him and know that I was meant to spend my life with him: the times my heart melts when he’s with his son or just doing the dishes; or the times my heart feels like it’s breaking when he leaves to go on a trip or sometimes just to go to the office. I have never doubted our role in each other’s life because it is simple—he’s supposed to be here. And as corny as it sounds, I’m sure I didn’t know what true love was until I met him.

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What I Love About M.

We’re Two

This week marks M and my two-year anniversary. We’ve decided to keep it low-key because the marriage has been eventful—in a good way (kind of).

Our union was bound in Las Vegas with 30 of our closest friends and family. It was a party weekend and things haven’t slowed down since. I got pregnant right away and nine months later Baby A was born. Sold our condo just as the bottom was dropping out of the real estate market. We moved to Phoenix and back. Dealt with professional obstacles along the way. And the whole time, we’ve been on the same page. (See “Here’s a Crazy Idea”). We’re lucky.

Marriage is difficult—no news flash there. Each day I feel blessed to have a partner in my life that just gets me. (Sometimes we find each other thinking the same thing at the same time.) But also, have a partner who tastes are different enough from mine to keep things interesting. Our marriage complements our lives. We’re two and I’m looking forward to growing up and old together.

We’re Two

Sometimes You Need To Be Distracted

Reality isn’t my friend right now. G.’s illness is taking it’s toll mentally and physically. I tend to look for things that take me away. The latest version of Bejeweled Blitz can make an hour (or two) disappear. Top Chef and Project Runaway provides a bit of entertainment. But for total escapism, I look to ELLE magazine. I’ve had two month’s worth of issues piled up and over the past two weeks I have leisurely flipped through their pages. Each ad and each editorial page makes me fantasize that I’m wearing these items and living the life that was Before-Baby-A. And that is okay, we don’t always have to deal with the right here and now.

Sometimes You Need To Be Distracted

My “Three Junes” Moment

Life has been off since G. was admitted to the hospital. Plans have been thrown up into the air and every action has been based on the next test, the next surgery, etc. But amidst all this strange uncertainty, I’ve caught glimpses of solitude.

Most parents of young children know the ever-presence of their son or daughter. Since Baby A was born I can count the amount of times that I have been separated from him. As I was making my dinner tonight at my mom and G.’s home (awaiting word from the hospital and caring for their dog), it hit me. I’m alone. It is one of those rare occassions where I am by myself.

In adverently, I’m almost living a scene out of the book “Three Junes” by Julia Glass. One of the characters gets a hotel room on a regular basis so that she can be alone and read a book. Basically, she steals away from her children, her responsibilities and her spouse. While I’m sitting at this computer in my mom’s den, I miss my child, my husband and my kitties. I still have my responsilibities. But for a fleeting moment tonight, I felt that G.’s illness had stolen me away to a place where I could do anything I wanted without interruption of responsibility or courtesy or attention.

Maybe I’ll go read.

My “Three Junes” Moment

“Here’s a Crazy Idea”

M. and I utter these words to each other often. Sometimes the idea is a miss, other times it’s a hit. Like when I said those words to him last Thursday morning.

I was supposed to be taking off in a jet plane to the windy city with Baby a in tow, but  G’s illness (see Notes from a Small Hospital) made me postpone the trip. However, before planning my trip to Chicago to attend my Aunt G.’s 80th birthday, I had planned to go to the city by the bay to run/walk with 10,000s of women in the NIKE Women’s Half-Marathon as I have for the past five years.  Needless to say, I had scrapped the San Francisco plans to head to the Midwest. But on Wednesday night after I found out that G would be resting until his surgery was scheduled, I thought: “Why not run?”

So I made the crazy-idea phone call to Mike on Thursday morning, and here’s the thing, he answered with an enthusiastic “Let’s do it!” What’s more amazing: that’s the norm for us. One of us has an idea to move to another state, take a trip cross-country or start a business and, if it isn’t too ridiculous, we do it. It as made life a bit fun and unpredictable. For the most part, the outcomes have been good ones.

On Sunday, I set a personal record time for this course. Granted, I ran half of it, which I didn’t train to do. Normally, I racewalk it but I decided to keep up with my friend B. And, even though I am so sore today that I can barely walk, I’m so glad we made the trip. It made me realize that many things can be accomplished with fleeting crazy ideas (like running nearly 13.1 miles).

“Here’s a Crazy Idea”

Home

After living with my mom for a week in a retirement community somewhere outside of Palm Springs, I’m glad to be home. I don’t have a childhood home where each time I visit I can stay in my old room and be near the things I remember; my mom and stepdad have moved too much for that. In fact, I can remember five homes that I lived in from kindergarten until high school graduation.

Since then the meaning has changed. For me, home is…

…where M., Moo, Pumpkin and A. are.

…where the Internet is available 24/7 in any place in the house.

…where I know where everything in the kitchen is.

…where my son can run around and I already know the hazards.

…where there is little furniture, but each piece has a story or an inspiration.

…where I can walk to the bank, Starbucks, grocery store and, even Nordstrom. Also, at least one employee at each of the above knows me and Baby A.

…where I can walk through movie productions or premieres unexpectedly.

…where I can walk to a facility and train next to world-class athletes.

…where my Heavenly bed is.

…where my baby smiles, my kitties nap and my husband is.

These are the things that define my home (for now). In the future some of these characteristics will change, but not the first or the last ones on this list.

Home

Lessons Learned in a Small Town Hospital

I know this blog has been quiet. There’s been a medical blowout here at ThankYouEverything and internet access is severely limited. I’ve been lucky to email via my Treo. Blog and tweet is another story. (Yes, I know there are settings but I haven’t set them up. Anyway.)

So I’m here in a small town outside the valley I grew up in because the accumulation of G’s smoking (50 years), his neglected heart murmur and his doctor dodging has come to a head. My mom took him to Urgent Care a week ago because she was afraid he wouldn’t make it another night. She was probably right as they admitted him right away. Since then he’s been moved to a larger hospital and we’re making decisions test-by-test. Despite what looked like a dire situation, the prognosis is good.

But this post isn’t about G’s health. It’s about the lessons I’ve been able to take away from this situation because there are many.

In sickness and in health. If you’re married you have probably uttered these words in your wedding vows. This week I have witnessed them in action. Besides witnessing my mom helping G be comfortable and taking the abuse that normally occurs when one is scared, unrested and hospitalized, I saw other spouses doting on their spouses. I would say that most of us are not made up of nurse material—patience, empathy, and knowledge—and granted, there are some nurses who aren’t either. But throughout this small hospital of 78 beds, there were husbands and wives caring for their loved ones despite their own fear, uncertainty and concern. If love has the power to get you through the uncomfortable task of helping your spouse pee into a cup, it’s stronger than I thought.

Better living through medicine. I write about natural remedies and tend to shy away from taking anything unless I really need to. Because G. had a difficult time sleeping, he was put on a sedative. Not only did this make him drowsy (good for him), it also seemed to alleviate his low-level anxiety and grumpiness (like most people in my family, he wasn’t the best patient in this tiny hospital). Having him on that medication made the days better — for him (though he would probably disagree), for us, and for the hospital staff. Medication has it’s place and when used wisely, it can make a painful situation a bit less so.

Lean on me. No song lyrics could be truer. My role here has been to be a second pair of ears, question girl, medical jargon dictionary, pinpoint person, answering machine, and personal assistant. My mom needs me to do these things and I’m happy to. When it comes to family, I feel (thanks to M.) that we are here to prop each other up through the bad, the good and even the mundane. Science has shown time and again that having a strong support system allows us to recover from major heart surgery and heart attacks, adopt healthy behaviors and live a more satisfied life.

G.’s roommate was a woman who was 50 years old and had Down Syndrome. Every day she had numerous visitors—family and friends. There was a lot of laughter from that side of the room despite the fact she was sitting in the ward that’s one level down from ICU. My bet is she’s living so long with a disease that is suppose to shorten her life span because he is surrounded by a loving family and close friends.

Don’t blame the messenger. Sometimes nurses need to repeat what a doctor has explained to a patient. All of the time they are following doctors’ orders. Unfortunately this makes them on the firing line of cranky patients. Nurses take a lot of abuse, much of it unwarranted. There will always be times when bad or disturbing news and most of the time it will be delivered by someone other than the source. Watching the nurses day in and out, I decided that as a general rule to take a deep breath before reacting to the bearer of bad news. For the most part, he’s only doing his job and why should I make his day worse by unleashing my displeasure on him. Besides, it isn’t very productive.

There you have it. The lessons I observed while sitting in a 78-bed hospital outside the Coachella Valley. Sure, I knew these. In spite of the circumstances, I’m thankful that I could find something positive out of this experience.

Lessons Learned in a Small Town Hospital