Posted in Blogging, His Days (about the husband), Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

Learning Compassion (again)

As some of my reader’s and friends already know my husband passed away on August 17th, 2019. I miss him every single day.

This is something I wrote in 2015 about him and me and learning compassion. Not only for him but for me also. It’s something I’m still working on. The compassion part for me.

I will eventually come back to blogging. I just don’t know when. Thank you for sticking around.

oldmansil

 

I watch him out of the corner of my eye as I do the daily dishes. I’m worried about him, as he hasn’t eaten in a couple of days. He has hardly moved from his bed in the same amount of time.

I know I can’t nag him to eat. I’ve tried that in the past and it just makes us both miserable. I feel bad because the other day he asked for something special to eat and I had to tell him no. Not because I wouldn’t cook it because we had no money to buy it to cook. He didn’t seem to understand when I explained it to him.

He doesn’t understand lots of things now. It saddens me, but I have learned not to let it linger in my mind. It’s not his fault. It’s the fault of his medications. The strong pain pills he takes several times a day. They have robbed him of his sharp mind like the pain has robbed him of his appetite, his focus, his ability to function like he used to.

When we moved into this 30-year-old mobile home almost 2 years ago. We decided to put his twin size bed in the living room. He loves his TV, but the couch was too uncomfortable for him to lay on all day. So we got rid of the old loveseat and put in a twin bed we got for free. It has worked out well. The TV gives him something to do.

I watch him as I do the dishes. I see the deep furrows of pain on his face. I wish I could do something more for him but I know I can’t. Soon his afternoon pills will take effect, his eyes will gloss over, the furrows won’t be quite so deep. For a little while.

I finish the last dish, put it in the dish rack to air dry, wipe my hands and make myself another cup of coffee. I’ve been in the kitchen for 45 minutes and not a word was spoken between him and I. Just the sound of the TV going and the clink of dishes being cleaned.

I walk down the hall to my office and sit down with my coffee cup in hand. Taking small sips, I think about the last time we spoke to each other. Was it yesterday? Or the day before? I lay my head back and close my eyes. We don’t speak much anymore. I’ve learned to accept it. As I’ve learned to accept a lot of things in the last few years.

I could sink into a pool of self-pity, but why? It’s not his fault he became disabled, so racked with pain that taking a simple shower has to be planned ahead of time, just so the pain will be somewhat manageable.

I could rage at the universe and cry an ocean of tears. Again, why? The universe is not to blame for the circumstances that made us lose our home and come to live in a broken-down trailer. It’s a roof over our heads and heat in the winter.

I could rail against it all. I have in the past, I won’t lie about that. I’m human, with faults. So, I railed against something him and I had no control over. I cried, I felt sorry for myself. Worse of all, I wanted to leave. I wanted to run away from the pain. His pain and mine. I wanted to run fast and as far as I could. Halfway across the world.

I didn’t run. I couldn’t run. I won’t run.

Instead, I learned compassion. Compassion for him. He doesn’t want to be in this much pain. Every single day, every single minute, to live in pain. Who would want that? So I find my compassion for him. My patience. My desire to help ease his suffering if I can. Which I can’t.

I can only help him suffer less. I will settle for that.

I have also learned to have compassion for myself. That was the hardest part. To be gentle with myself as much as I am gentle with him. I make mistakes, I lose my temper, I get frustrated, I get depressed. It’s ok to feel all these things. I will NOT beat myself up over having these feelings because they never last. I can’t let them. I won’t let them. I feel them and then I let them go without the guilt.

I open my eyes, sip my coffee and keep an ear out for him as I face my computer and do what I know I’m good at. Writing words.

I write the words I cannot speak out loud. I write the words that my soul feels. I write the words that I have learned. I write my heart. That’s how I learn compassion all over again.

 

 

 

Posted in His Days (about the husband), Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction

Sam The Wonder Dog ~~~ An Update on the Husband

Hello Folks!

You’re probably wondering about the title of this post, eh? I know it’s kind of strange but all will become clear soon.

 

As many of you know, my husband had a stroke about three weeks ago. After battling cancer and a bad back, now this. He’s had a rough five or six years. He’s one tough man. Although I think he’s met his match this time.

The stroke left his right arm and hand almost useless. Which for him is very frustrating as it’s, of course, his prominent hand. At the best of times, this is a man with very little patience. Now, oh boy, he’s frustrated as hell.

We learned when he was in the hospital that this is actually his third stroke. He has had two prior ones we didn’t know about. This last one also occurred in the exact same some spot of the brain as the last one. I don’t know how that works on the brain with strokes but it was my understanding this one on top of the other is not that common.

Leave it to him to be different.

It’s also usual to have a stroke and then have the opposite side of your body affected. Again, the husband has to be different. The strokes all happened to his right side of the brain and affected the RIGHT side of his body. Most unusual.

I’ve noticed some changes in his personality since the stroke. I would guess this is normal. They are a bit subtle but there nonetheless. After his stroke, the doctors changed his pain meds. He was taking oxycodone. Now he’s on Hydromorphone which is derivative of morphine. It actually seems to work better for him.

When I brought him home last Friday I thought I could handle it. I figured it wasn’t going to be much different from what it normally is. I had to do pretty much everything then, I figured how much can it change? Oh, how naive I was!

I have to dress him, help him eat (usually just cut up big pieces for him) and other, personal things. I won’t go into detail. Just let’s say his personal space is no more. Sigh.

It’s damn hard. On me, mostly. Especially when he falls, which he has done three times last week. The most recent one was this morning. At 3 am, I finally broke down and called 911 as I knew there was no way I could get him up off the floor by myself. He fell outside the bathroom which is a narrow hallway. He is too weak to help much. His legs don’t want to work right and without his one hand and arm, well forget it. He wasn’t getting up.

The other times he was in the living room and I could maneuver his walker to him so between the walker and me we got him up. That was not going to work this morning.

This is where Sam, the wonder dog comes in. Now, Sam is just a little guy. Weighing in at about nine pounds, ten at the most. He sleeps with me in my bedroom, always has. My bedroom is on one end of the house. I keep my door closed as I can’t sleep if I hear the tv. Which for the husband has to be on 24/7. I also have to sleep in a cold room with a fan going.

Sam, the art of a loyal buddy (c) JLPhillips 2013

The husband has a bed in the living room. Which is right next to my bedroom. Unfortunately, I still cannot hear him if he falls. Sam lets me know when the husband falls. Which is strange because the husband has fallen before he had the stroke and Sam never let me know. But now, he wakes me up. I think he realizes it’s more important now then it was before. As before the husband could usually get back up himself and him falling happened rarely.

Even when he fell in the hallway this morning, Sam woke me up. He is my little hero. I walked out to the living room and noticed that the husband’s bed was empty. Sam took off to the hallway so I knew to follow and that’s where I found the husband. Poor man, he’s kind of banged up on this one. He has a cut over one eye and bruises.

He managed to take his walker to the bathroom but for some reason decided to try to get back to bed without it. Didn’t work well. Down he went. He doesn’t remember how long he was on the floor, just knew it had been a while.

There is, however, a tiny little ray of hope in all this. I believe I have found the main reason he has been falling. It only happens in the middle of the night. And only when he takes two sleeping pills. So……I did a little experiment this past week. For a couple of nights, I only gave him one sleeping pill. (Much to his disgust). Those nights he DIDN’T fall. He managed to get up, go the bathroom and get back to bed in one piece. Last night he insisted I give him two sleeping pills. He fell.

No more two sleeping pills a night. I even talked to the home nurse yesterday and she agreed with me, that it was possibly the sleeping pills that are making him fall. As far as I’m concerned, last night proved my theory.

My gut told me this was the case, I always listen to my gut.

So this has been our life lately.

As for me, personally. I’m tired. I’m more than tired. I’m exhausted. But, I will go on and do what I must because no one else is going to do it for me. The husband is a good man, whose had a bad run of luck on his health. I will be there for him.

That’s the least I can do.

As for Sam, he got an extra treat today. Good boy, Sam!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cee's Share Your World, Mi Vida Loca, questions and answers

Share Your World ~~ August 14, 2017

Another week, another Cee’s Share Your World. Here we go!

When you leave a room, do you turn the lights off behind you or keep the lights on throughout your house most of the time?

I leave them on. I live in a small place. Usually, one or two lights on at night are enough for the whole place. And, since I’m usually in and out of those rooms I just leave them on. One’s in the kitchen which lights up the living room to where the husband is parked and the other is my office where I usually am.

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500? 

Who has $500 to spend? Ha! IF I did, I would love to spend them on either books, things for the house or put a flower garden in. Or, better yet, all three!

Complete this sentence: My favorite thing to do on my cell phone is…

Nothing. We do have a cell phone but it’s one of those pay as you go phone setups. We only use it for emergencies. Usually, I make the husband take it on those rare occasions when he goes somewhere by himself. Just in case. Especially in winter. Lately, we’ve only used it when he had to spend overnight at the hospital.

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I’ve been sitting here for about ten minutes trying to think of something. I got nothing. I’ve been kind of in a, not exactly dark place, but not a really good place. There is always tomorrow.

Posted in Cee's Share Your World, Mi Vida Loca, questions and answers

Share Your World ~~~ July 10, 2017

Good day, People! Hope everyone is safe and sound today and having a great time!

Let’s get started on this week’s questions and answers from Cee’s Share Your World.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Mostly how I spend every other day. On my computer. Either writing (or trying to), playing games or reading. One day is much like another around here, rain or shine.

Sometimes, when I had a covered porch I would sit outside and listen to it rain. I love the rain. I wish I had a covered porch once more.

List at least five favorite treats. (They do not have to be sugary).

Peanuts, pears, anything with lemon in it, asparagus (they are a bit expensive around here), popcorn (unsalted), most berries. If I’m really bad I love peanut M & M’s.

 

Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests?

It’s been close to 12 years since I’ve had out-of-town guests. That’s when my mom and sister gave me a surprise visit from Wisconsin. They stayed with me for about a week and we took them to Banff (a town in Alberta) and the Rocky Mountains. It’s beautiful up there no matter what time of year. We took them to several local touristy type places too. They seemed to enjoy themselves.

You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with?

Cee gave the best answer…..the person who could fix the elevator from inside. LOL

If I couldn’t luck out and have them, I wouldn’t mind being stuck in an elevator with Neil Gaiman or JD Robb (Nora Roberts) so I could talk books, poetry, and just everyday things. I think both are interesting people without the glamor and drama of other high-profile people.

Or, anyone who wouldn’t go hysterical and I could have a decent conversation with while we wait for that person to fix the elevator.

 

There you are, folks! Hope you enjoyed and if you want to join us, just click the link above and it will take you to Cee’s where you can join in on the fun.

 

 

Posted in Cee's Share Your World, Mi Vida Loca, questions and answers

Share Your World ~~~ June 26, 2017

It’s Tuesday here so it must mean it’s time for Monday’s Cee’s Share your world! A bit twisted I know but that’s me!

Here we go:

What goal are you working on now? Your goal can be something fun or extremely serious.  Have fun with this question.

I always have several goals going on at any given time. Nothing like spreading myself out. First, to get healthy, which seems to be a lot of people’s goals. Second to finish writing my two or three books I have in various stages of completion. Then going on to write several more. Then there is my goal to become filthy rich. Yeah, I’m always working on that one but seem to keep getting further behind with it. Of course, that would mean I need to be ambitious and driving in my goal to become filthy rich. Eh, maybe tomorrow.

What is one thing you’re glad you tried but would never do again?

After my first divorce, I would have said marriage. Yet, here I am, married again. Will I never learn?

I tried flying a kite once because several people have told me to “go fly a kite”. It got stuck in a tree. So, I never tried again.

I tried perming my hair once when I was a kid. Disaster! Never tried that again.

I even tried decaffeinated coffee once on my doctor’s advice. Oh. My. God. Never again! Talk about nasty!

Did you choose your profession or did it choose you?

Well, it depends on your definition of ‘profession’. If it means I’m a Jack of all trades and master of none, then yup that’s what I chose! I never had the same job twice. I’ve been many things in my life, secretary (as Cee would say, “for people old enough to remember what that was”, Antique restorer and dealer, carpet cleaner, Personal Assistant (a glorified secretary really), retail clerk, casino worker, personal aide. Just to name a few that I remember. I like variety.

Have you ever gotten lost?

I don’t get lost! I have mini adventures. LOL

So in short, yes, I’ve gotten lost. I’m terrible with directions. One time I got lost between Fort Worth and Dallas. Now everyone knows Fort Worth-Dallas area is huge. I mean it’s traffic is horrendous. I got so lost I almost ended up in Oklahoma……running out of gas…..with no money. Yeah, that was NOT a fun time. I did manage to get back to where I needed to be but with a raging headache and a vow never to drive in Dallas alone again.

 

 

Posted in Cee's Share Your World, Mi Vida Loca, questions and answers

Share Your World ~~~ June 19, 2017

Once again here I am with Cee’s Share Your World! Did you miss me? 😉

This week’s questions are:

What is something that people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?

Selfies. Really. Do you not remember what you look like? If so just look in a mirror! Good grief.

What quirky things do people do where you are from?

Hm, I’m FROM Wisconsin but now live in Canada so which place to choose? Actually, Wisconsin and the part of Canada I’m living in now is not that much different. The people are nice. They drink beer a lot. They love cheese. There are a bunch of rednecks. They love their pickup trucks. They all think any weather over 35 degrees is shorts time.  As for quirky? Hell if I know. Maybe I’m the quirky one. LOL

 

What are some things you wish you could unlearn? 

Not to criticize myself so much. I learned how to do this at a very young age as people around me were always quick to criticize.

Who is someone that you miss having in your life?

My mom and dad mostly. They weren’t perfect but I loved them and I miss them every day. Also, my Aunt Nene. I haven’t heard from her in years and suspect she passed away. I may have to do some research to find out for sure. She would be in her 80’s now. She was my favorite relative.

 

 

 

There you have it. See you next week unless you hear from me sooner.

 

 

 

Posted in Cee's Share Your World, Mi Vida Loca

Share Your World ~~~ June 12, 2017

Always a day late and a dollar short. 😉

Here are Cee’s Share Your World questions and my answers for this week.

 

What do you do when you’re not working? If you are retired, what do you do that is not part of your regular daytime routine?

I haven’t worked a ‘real’ job since I moved to Canada almost 17 years ago. A long time. Now I’m close to retirement age. In fact, I will be officially retired after September when I turn 62. Whew, that seems like a big number in age. I don’t feel any older than I did when I was 32. Eh, we all get to this age at one point if we are lucky. For the last four or five years, I’ve been taking care of the husband who is sickly. That will continue. So really, nothing is different or not part of a regular routine.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Ah, my favorite fantasy. The first thing I would do is help some friends that need help. I would go visit them and give them the gift of relieving their financial nightmares. Then I would build me my cabin in some woods with a wild garden and enjoy life for a change. They say money doesn’t buy happiness but I say let me be the judge of that. 😉

What makes you laugh the most?

My dog Sam. Really. He’s a funny pup and makes me laugh every day, even if I don’t feel like it. He’s a goof with a giant heart. My friends make me laugh too. I’m lucky in that I pick some really funny and kind-hearted people as friends. Sometimes I wonder why they pick me as I’m not all that funny.

What is your biggest pet peeve with modern technology?

That it’s sometimes smarter than me. LOL

 

There you go, folks. Exciting stuff, eh? How’s your week going?

 

 

Posted in Cee's Share Your World, Mi Vida Loca

Share Your World ~~~ June 5, 2017

Thanks once again to Cee at Cee’s Photography for giving me a reason to post this week. 😉

Here are this week’s questions and answers.

What’s your strongest sense?

I would have to say sight. I’m a very visual person. From reading, writing to art and appreciating nature, I use my sight to understand things.

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best? (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey)

I would say I’m a mix of three of them, Doc, as I’m very practical, Bashful, because I am a tad until I get to know you, and Grumpy…..for obvious reasons. Ha!

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what age would that be?

After some thought, I am going for 40. Why 40? Because you are old enough to have learned quite a bit and young enough to still do silly things now and then without feeling foolish. I loved it when I turned 40. I was newly divorced and living life and having fun! I really enjoyed that year.

List of Jobs You Think You Might Enjoy: Even if you aren’t thinking about a career change, it can be fun to think of other jobs you might enjoy.  [Remember:  This is SYW where even your dreams can become reality.]

  • Author (making enough money to live nicely),
  • Cat cuddler (I read somewhere that this is a real thing)
  • Artist (again making enough money to cover the bills)
  • Dragon Whisperer (If dragons were still around)

 

 

 

So, what dream job would you want?

 

 

 

Posted in Cee's Share Your World, Mi Vida Loca

Share Your World ~~~ May 22, 2017

Time for Cee’s Share Your World! It’s easy to join us every week. Just click on the link and read how.

 

What is one thing have you not done that you really want to do? 

There are lots of things I haven’t done that I wish I could. But either money or age is in the way. Like, travel to Europe and England and Australia. Go on a hot air balloon ride or a helicopter ride. Visit my online friends. Alas, not going to happen I’m afraid.

How often do you get a haircut?

About once every ten years or so. That’s how it’s worked out anyway. Last time I had it cut was about ten years ago. The time before that…..about the same. I don’t like myself in short hair, rarely have the money for a professional cut and don’t trust anyone to cut it so that it doesn’t look like hell. I trim it myself when I need to. I always have it up in a ponytail. I’m just one of those long-haired hippy women.

In regards to puzzle what’s your choice: jigsaw, crossword, word search or numeric puzzles?

Crossword or word search is my preference. I hate anything to do with numbers. Numbers hate me or should I say my brain hates numbers. I mean, I’ve done them so I CAN do them. I just don’t care for number puzzles.

How many cities have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

Wow, ask me the hard one. I probably forgot some but I will say close to…..10 or 12. Around there as much as I can remember. I’ve lived in Wisconsin, Mississippi, Texas, back to Wisconsin and then Canada. So yeah, quite a few. Most of the cities are in Texas with the ex. He had a bad problem of not paying the bills and then we would move, most times to a whole new town or city. I’m surprised he still lives in Texas as most places have people looking for him. ha!

 

 

Hope your weekend was a good one and that this week is going great!

 

 

Posted in Cee's Share Your World, Mi Vida Loca

Share Your World ~~~ May 15, 2017

It must be Monday, so time for Cee’s Share Your World.

I’ve been terrible in writing posts lately and I apologize for that. In between feeling sick most of the past few months and having a terrible case of ‘blank page syndrome’ with my writing I’ve felt I’ve really let my readers down. Hell, I’ve let ME down.

I’m trying to get back into flash fiction and writing my books but it’s been a struggle to concentrate.

If I can ever figure out what my stomach problems are maybe it can be fixed. I’m trying….that’s all I can say. Hope you guys stick with me.

Now, enough of the maudlin crap. Here are this week’s questions.

 

 

How many languages do you speak?

Two if you count sarcasm as a language, which I do, by the way. Otherwise, just good old English. I took Spanish, French and German in school but I never was very good at them. I think it’s because my teachers didn’t make it interesting enough. I mean, let’s learn how to talk the language, not just put a sentence together. Maybe it’s the way I learn things. By actual doing. I would have learned the languages better if we would have had conversations with them. Or maybe I just don’t have the knack for picking up languages. I dunno.

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

I haven’t been doing a lot of reading. Mostly blogs if I do. I have tons of books to read but again, that concentration issue is not letting me enjoy reading. As for watching, I hate to admit this, but I got hooked on Netflix a few months ago. I watch it on my computer. I’m really into the English crime shows. I finished 19 seasons of Midsomer Murders and a few seasons of Father Brown (just waiting for the next seasons to get on Canada Netflix). Now, for some strange reason, I started watching iZombie.  I’m almost through season one. Please don’t judge me. I actually like the show.

As for eating. Not a whole lot. Because you know, stomach problems. I have had to cut out anything with milk, cheese, beans, spicy, tomatoes and tomato sauce and some vegetables because they make my stomach worse. My doctor says I have developed ‘food sensitivities’ because of my diabetes. I think I’ve developed IBS but eh, either way, it sucks. I’ve been living on chicken and bland ass food. I hate it. But I hate the fiery, crampy, volcanic stomach more.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

I finally was forced by my telephone company to get a smartphone. I had an old flip phone for a lot of years. We use it for emergencies only. We’re old. We take it in the car with us in winter in case something happens. I make the husband carry it if he goes somewhere, in case. We use it rarely. Anyway, I got a great deal from the phone company because they were forcing me to upgrade my cell phone. I played with it when I first got it last year and took photos of Sam and the cats. Then I turned it off and put it away. Soooo, the answer is Sam and the cats.

What is your favorite time of day?

First thing in the morning after I get up. I’m always the first one up and I love the quiet. The TV that the husband insists on being on 24/7 is in stealth mode because he is sleeping and hasn’t watched it in more than 4 hours. So the house is quiet for a change. I make my first cup of coffee and sit in front of my computer and just listen to the silence for a while. Ahhhh, my kind of peace.

 

 

Hope everyone is having a good day. If not…tomorrow is the start of another chance to change things. 

If you feel like joining Cee and me in our questions and answers, please do! I love hearing from you all.