The Beauty of Schedules

I have never been a strict schedule kind of girl. I’m not sure why. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person. I believe in being on time, but when it comes to me (and even Baby A) our daily events happen around certain times.

During Baby A’s first year, I had a schedule to go to the gym. I would wake up at 4 AM on most weekdays to workout and shower. On the weekends, I would sleep in and, if I went, it was a bonus. This schedule helped me lose 50 of the 60 pounds I gained when pregnant.

When we moved to Los Angeles we didn’t join a gym right away. I decided I would get up early and head to the track for my workouts. Weather, work and waking up got in the way of that plan. Even after joining the gym, morning workouts have proven to be difficult. But now, I have a schedule.

It allows me to go to the gym two weekdays and on the weekends. It gives me a plan. It alleviates the self-imposed guilt I have when I leave Baby A with M. It gives me the balance I need and have difficulty requesting. It’s a beautiful thing.

The Beauty of Schedules

That Was Easy

Today was an easy day. No time outs. No being a chew toy. No throwing up hands up in defeat. It’s been a while since my day hasn’t been filled with toddler drama. Could it be that my sleep-deprived child is finally mellowing out?

Probably not. But at the end of today, I don’t feel beat down by the pressures of motherhood. And for that, I am truly grateful. I realize that tomorrow is a new day—one that could very well feel like the difficult old ones I have been experiencing. Right now, that doesn’t matter because tonight I’m going to sleep with my shoulders lowered and my jaw relaxed. *Sigh*

That Was Easy

A Major DO: Bed Rest

Ahh...The Westin Heavenly Bed. I loved this bed so much I bought one. Aaron Gustafson/Creative Commons

Never underestimate the power of bed rest. Christmas night I was congested so I took some NyQuil and went to bed. I woke up yesterday feeling like a semi had hit me. Lucky for me, I have a caring husband and an active father in law who were determine to let me rest. And boy did I! Honestly, I didn’t have a choice since I couldn’t be out of bed for more than 10 minutes without wanting to crawl back into bed because I felt so weak. So I slept and read magazines all day.

Today, I feel nearly 100 percent. I’m still a little bit sore, but the congestion is gone. I have never been one of those people who takes to her bed when she is sick—unless I physically do not have the strength to do so and even then I’m usually still tapping away on my laptop. I had no idea yesterday that I would wake up today feeling so much better.

During this sickness season, I urge you to call in sick and take to your bed to rest if you sneezing, coughing and achy. Not only will you feel better sooner, you won’t spread the germs.

A Major DO: Bed Rest

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

Explained: Why I Can’t Stop Eating Ice Cream Until the Carton is Empty

The Ultimate Indulgence

Anyone who knows me knows that I have incredible ability to put away gobs of ice cream in a single sitting. Lactose intolerance, be damned. I never have been able to figure out why I can’t stop myself from shoving in the creamy good stuff, not stopping until I hit the bottom of the carton. It’s strange but while I’m scooping away I’ve always felt that something in my brain clicks off and all eat-right bets are off.

This morning I received the explanation of my binging ways, courtesy of the UT Southwestern Medical Center PR department.

Apparently researchers at this institution have found that fat we eat—specifically palmitic acid, which is found in foods such as butter, cheese, milk and beef—travels to the brain and causes a communication break down between our cells and the hormones leptin and insulin, which suppress appetite. The bottom line: Our whole brain chemistry can change just by eating something delicious. These fatty acids make us resistant to the every mechanism that tells us not to overeat.

Ah-ha! That clicking in the brain wasn’t just my imagination. Thank you for clearing that up.

Explained: Why I Can’t Stop Eating Ice Cream Until the Carton is Empty

Barber Extraordinaire

Baby A’s hair was so long that it was getting into his eyes. It was so bad that M. was afraid he would become cross-eyed. Being the good mommy that I try to be, I dampened his bangs, twisted them like I used to when I would trim by own and thought I would take off a little bit. A. began to wiggle and what was supposed to be a trim was a cut—an inch.

I’m told all the time how cute may daughter is. Now, he really looks like a she. I was a bit distraught because I had given my little boy an awful haircut—that is, until I opened up the September issue of Cookie magazine. There was a version of A.’s new do on page 130. Who knew that I was a trendsetting barber?

Thanks Cookie for making moms like me feel better for our snippy slip-ups.

Barber Extraordinaire

I Guess I Should Be Thankful…

that my nose isn’t broken.

I started today with Alexander slamming his head into my nose. No blood; just pain. All day there has been pain. In honesty, today hasn’t been a great day because of how it started. Now, I could sit here an opine and go on about how children have no idea about what is around them or even how they don’t realize how hard their little noggins are. But, I’ll spare you.

That’s why for today, the only thing I am thankful for is that my very Greek/Italian nose is in one piece.

I Guess I Should Be Thankful…