Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quote for the Week

An old friend lost her husband a couple of weeks ago, two weeks short of his retirement. He was a kind, gentle man. Here is the quote used at his memorial service:

When I die if you need to weep
Cry for your brother or sister
Walking the street beside you
And when you need me, put your arms around anyone
And give them what you used to give me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better than words or sounds.

Look for me in the people I've known or loved
And if you cannot give me away
At least let me live in your eyes and not your mind.

You can love me most by letting hand touch hands
By letting bodies touch bodies
And by letting go of children that need to be free.

Love doesn't die; people do
So when all that's left of me is love
Give me away.
Anonymous

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Treasure Hunting aka Decluttering


The week of Thanksgiving, as I was switching my winter clothes into the front of my closet (Winter comes late in Houston; in fact, this year it hasn't come at all.) I had an inspiration: I would clean out every closet, every drawer, every cluttered nook and cranny of my house, even my garage. I figured I'd be done by the end of 2012. Surprise! I became so obsessed by the idea that I finished today, barely three months after I began. This is why I haven't been blogging regularly; I just couldn't stop cleaning.

I am sooo pleased with myself. I have gotten rid of at least 50% of the stuff overflowing my closets and bookcases and drawers. I have taken innumerable bags to the Salvation Army, sold suitcases full of old books to Half Price Books (I've only made $136 but it's better than nothing.) and I've filled my recyling bin so full I've required help to get it to the curb.

So much for the junk. But along the way, I've found treasures I'd forgotten about: for example, the deed to my parents home, built in 1935 at a cost of $7500. Today that would hardly cover the construction of a closet. I found an auditory training program I've been searching for and figured I must have thrown away. I discovered my husband's baby book and a box of his keepsakes from long ago. Tucked away in a closet were the plans for the house I live in, a tape of my granddaughter's early language (What else would a speech pathologist grandmother save?), pictures of long-forgotten family gatherings, book reviews, birthday cards, and yes, a censored picture Ralph had once taken of me, which was locked away in a little metal box.

My house is spick and span but still contains enough memorabilia (I refuse to call it junk) for my children to deal with someday, hopefully long in the future. The cleaning as tiring but liberating. I'm glad I did it. Now I have to start on my taxes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Quote for Valentine's Day in Memory of My Husband

“I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you.”

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Books for January, a Little Late


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Final Acts: Death, Dying and the Choices We Make edited by Nan Brauer-Maglin and Donna Perry. You probably won't want to read this unless, like me, you belong to a discussion group on death and dying. I found it a fascinating collection of essays about the choices people make or don't make on how they wish to die.


What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. I love Gladwell's work. I have all his books. This is a collection of essays he wrote for The New Yorker. One is about the way the advertising of Clairol and L'oreal mirror the women's movement in the twentieth century; another discusses how much easier it is to interpret intelligence information in hindsight than in the present; another about the birth control pill and how it was mishandled; another, the one that gives the book its name, about a dog whisperer. A great read.


Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. One of my book club's picks. We jump from current to classic, and this is certainly a classic. Short, profound, beautifully written search for enlightenment.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Quote for the Week


A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.
Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Women Should Know about Heart Attack Symptoms


If you've read this before, read it again. If not, this is vital information that could save your life.

I know this has been around but it's a good reminder for us all.....
NURSE'S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE

I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!

FEMALE HEART ATTACKS


I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever read.

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack.. you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.

'I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, 'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when
you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to
the stomach. This was my initial sensation--the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws
being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else... but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics... I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so,
to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.


I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics
pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny
angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get
going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.
Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned firsthand.

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed,
hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up... which doesn't happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a 'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2.Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics.' And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road.

Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

3.Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life.

*Please be a true friend and copy then paste into new email and send this article to all your friends (male & female) who you care about!*
 

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