Thursday, July 12, 2012

Living, Part II

This post definitely has an upbeat theme, compared to its predecessor (see Living, dated June 13), so do lean in and take note: His aunt did not die. Each time we visited her in the hospital, over a period of weeks, she showed gradual but steady improvement. She even survived the second part of the surgical procedure, where they replaced the leaky heart valve. And then there was the birthday party, attended by family and nursing staff in the hospital. Even though someone else blew out the candles and she deferred sampling the cake, she smiled in appreciation. I watched, clearly dumbstruck.

Now dramatically launched into her 96th year, Riki is back to getting her hair done once a week and last time added a manicure. Rather comfortably lodged in a rehab facility a week ago, she is currently on a more intense physical therapy regimen than I have—including riding a stationary bike, lifting light weights, and walking…every day. Now a member of the Clean Plate Club, she eats everything she is served. She is frustrated by being easily exhausted, however, and longs for her life to return to better days. To keep up her spirits, we discuss fun things we’ll do together once she goes home. She will need someone with her, as she lives alone, and she’s not thrilled about that. But while her life has changed, she is getting back to a level at which she can happily live. Amazing to me, the one who had her respectfully dead and buried one month ago!

I clearly need to rethink my views and while these results aren’t necessarily the average, perhaps adapted surgery for the elderly is not out of the question—in my mind at least (let’s leave the health care issue and its funding dilemma aside for the moment). Within the same month, another 90-something quietly left this earth in relative peace surrounded by loved ones in her home. Like snowflakes, comparisons cannot be made for the many wrinkles of aging. But when I get a phone call from a 95 year-old woman who has taken a step back from death’s door, telling me she is feeling better all the time and is looking forward to luncheons with friends and attending church once again, I see myself in the much-later (ha!) future hopefully in the same frame of mind.

And should my journey into my nineties turn out to be a climb up the face of a mountain, I now think I would have the courage to go for it. Each day truly is a gift, even when you have to work very hard to accent the positive. Besides, there is always someone younger who is watching and learning.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Note to Self

Having just celebrated my birthday, July marks the start of a new year for me and with it comes the resolve to lose those 25 pounds that I think only show in the shower and in photographs.  These extra pounds that I have added to my body while doing the only exercise to which I am unfailingly faithful--that of lifting the fork or spoon from the plate to my mouth--and which never, ever show in everyday activities (of course they don't).  Once I "suck it in," while scrutinizing myself in my full-length wardrobe mirror, I am good to go for the entire day.  My wardrobe mirror may be a bit warped, however, because other mirrors--especially in department stores' dressing rooms--seem to show my mid-section in three sections, and my behind to be a bit wider and to segue into my generous thighs.  And this of course would explain the tightness of the outfit I currently have tried on.  And how much longer can I blame the dryer for the problems I have with the clothes already in my closet?!

So, I am doing a total reality check this morning.  I've written a note to myself and as an underscore, I'm posting it:

Self, you are fatYes, you are happy and yes, you deserve to be wined and dined; also, yes, you have worked hard all your life--as a wife, as a mother, as a working woman, as a divorcé trying to make ends
meet, as someone who survived bad times and who has finally emerged financially comfortable with few needs and wants and unlimited gifts that money cannot buy.  However!  Get over the cuisine reward-time!  Over-feeding yourself is not good for you, girlfriend!  And not putting exercise up there with the twice-daily ritual of brushing your teeth is not only foolish, but it will shorten your life!  Get off the couch, step away from the computer--and don't go back there unless you first set a timer to less than 30 minutes.

Today is truly the first day of the rest of your life, so change for a better you!  Give yourself the best reward--looking and feeling good--because you deserve it.  If you can accomplish all that you have these past years, you can certainly do thisDo

How's that for a birthday gift?!