Tag Archives: health

Another Life Being Well Lived

Have you met Wendy Mitchell? Wendy says “On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young onset dementia. I may not have much of a short-term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget.” Wendy was only 62 with a busy full life ahead of her. Please go over to her site to read more about this fantastic woman.

On reading the Guest Post on the 28th I was immediately transported back to a few days early in 2016 when I didn’t know who or where I was. You may remember that post – A Few Days or the Rest of My Life. Fortunately, I have recovered completely; Wendy is still living that life.

wendy

 

This amazing woman has written a book. “Somebody I used to know” I’ve just received my copy and am looking forward to reading it.

Thank you, BethAnn Chiles, at Its Just Life for introducing Wendy to me.

 

 

And now, because it fits in so well with this subject (and if we are allowed to be proud of something we have written) may I once again post “My Name Is Jane, I Think”?

They’re calling me Jane
Is that who I am
I am perfectly sane
but I don’t know their plan.

I look in the mirror and what do I see
Someone who vaguely resembles me
But why am I here and why all the tears
They are beginning to scare me, what is there to fear?

 It seems like only yesterday I knew who I was and
Proud, strong and upright my life in my hands.
But now you tell me that isn’t so
Well if I am not me then where did I go?

 I remember a time when my children were small
But yesterday and last week I know not at all
Where did those days go and why am I here
I wish you could tell me why did they disappear?

This young woman calls me Mother but I don’t know her at all
She looks kind of familiar, lovely smile, soft hands and all
And the young boys with her they are calling me Gran
But again I don’t know them why are they taking my hand?

Perhaps I knew her when I too was young
When life was before me and everything was fun
And losing one’s self wasn’t even thought of then
So how could I have landed here – is this the end?

 I think I know you – are you a nurse
And where are you taking me, I know the way
Well I did before this curse
Came upon me and befuddled my mind
And now I feel that I have left me behind.

But I am still me though I can’t make you hear
I’m still your mother and hold you all dear
What’s that you say my name is Jane
And I really feel that I’m perfectly sane.

But they’re calling me Jane
Are they talking to me
Is that my name and
Who I used to be?

 

That’s all for today. Thank you all for reading and following me. and please check out Wendy Mitchell. A woman to be followed.

 

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Stop The World

One of the blogs I have recently started to follow is The Kitchens Garden from Cecilia, a New Zealander now happily living in the US.  Her post today brought back memories of another time and place in my life.

Haven’t we all had a “Stop the world I want to get off” moment at some time in our lives?  Well mine was some 26 years ago – way back in 1986.  It was a beautiful summer morning a couple of weeks before Christmas in Blenheim in the South Island of New Zealand.  My dashing (well by then not so dashing or so young) young Scotsman was in hospital recovering from  a burst, undiagnosed duodenal ulcer.

As was my wont, I arrived at the hospital shortly after 8am to be greeted by the nurses with a strained smile.  By this time we were all on first name terms as he had been in the hospital for some six weeks, and I thought their strained greetings very odd.  I was also concerned because a couple of days before when I arrived, my husband wasn’t in his room and I discovered that they had punctured a lung while carrying out some procedure or other.  Of course at the time, I did know what the procedure was but it has taken itself off with so many other things over time.

Well, when I arrived at his room husband was sitting up in bed reading the daily newspaper.  He too looked a little strained I came in and so I asked the reason.  His response, after telling me to take a seat, was that our son had been admitted to hospital the night before with appendicitis. As we hadn’t a phone at the time (see Paradise, Phones and Phrustration) my son’s girl friend had called the hospital to pass on the news.

Now in other circumstances, I would have taken this in my stride.  But just then…  Not only was my darling in hospital in the South Island of New Zealand, but my Mother was in hospital in London, England and my Father in Law was in hospital in Dunoon in Scotland.  And now my son was in hospital in Wellington in the North Island of New Zealand.

That was really a “Stop The World” moment for me.  Fortunately, my son’s operation was straight forward and he was released on the same day as my husband was released from hospital.  And as my daughter had arrived home from London having been summoned by her brother, we managed a happy Christmas with the whole family in one place.

“Said Mr. Smith, “I really cannot
Tell you, Dr. Jones—
The most peculiar pain I’m in—
I think it’s in my bones.
Said Dr. Jones, “Oh, Mr. Smith,
That’s nothing. Without doubt
We have a simple cure for that;
It is to take them out…..”
From Bones by Walter de la Mare
1873 – 1956 English poet, short story writer
and novelist.

And now I am off to a mid-winter Christmas dinner.  Well it’s hard to take the turkey, ham and all the trimmings on a brilliant summer day.

Christmas dinner

Google image

Happy Christmas to you all

Saturday

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go. If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

OFF TO THE GOLDEN DOOR TOMORROW!!

So today I shall be busy with last minute chores so that I can leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow.  We have to be at the airport at 4am so we shall stay at a friend’s house overnight and then he will take us out to the airport.  What a good friend 🙂

Lotte is going to stay with him for the time I am away.  He is looking forward to that and she seems to settle in wherever I leave her.  She has her coat, her brush, her rug and a couple of toys so she will be fine.

Tai Chi

6am Tai Chi at The Golden Door

When I have been to the Golden Door before I haven’t had access to the internet.  Things may have changed but I suspect I shall not be writing blogs until I return.

And in case you think this is a holiday, here is a typical day at Queensland’s Golden Door:

  • 6.15am   Welcome a new day with Tai Chi Qi Gong at sunrise.
  • 6.45am   Enjoy a guided bush walk on our pink, blue or green courses; or Get wet and wild with deep water running in the bottom pool or challenge yourself with high intensity spinning class.
  • 8.00am  Buffet breakfast of seasonal fruit, Golden Door signature muesli and specialty breakfast cuisine.
  • 9.00am  Morning stretch class held in the gymnasium, a gentle and relaxing way to start your day.
  • 9.30am-11.00am  A health & wellbeing workshop aimed at providing you with the knowledge to make positive lifestyle changes.
  • 10.45am   A healthy and nutritious morning tea served in the dining room.
  • 11.00am – 1.00pm  Take part in the various daily exercise activities and spa treatments available. Try something new or take a challenge.
  • 1.00pm   A sumptuous buffet lunch served in the dining room.
  • 2.00pm-6.00pm    Choose from a variety of activities and seminars available to enjoy. Indulge at the spa where your relaxing massage, refreshing body treatment or luxurious beauty treatment awaits.
  • 3.45pm  A healthy and nutritious afternoon tea served in the dining room.
  • 6.30pm  Be rewarded after a busy day with a mouth watering buffet dinner created by our Executive Chef David Hunter and his team.

But it is enjoyable and I always come back renewed and filled with great plans for the future.  They usually last about two weeks, but hey it’s fun.


Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
World Health Organization, 1948

Paradise, Phones and Phrustration

The bathtub was invented in 1850 and the telephone in 1875.  In other words, if you had been living in 1850, you could have sat in the bathtub for 25 years without having to answer the phone.”  ~Bill DeWitt.

Old phone

I read today’s post from the Good Greatsby  and it reminded me of my most favorite Bob Newhardt skit – we always refer to it as Nutty Walt.  Click here to view the video.

Then, as often happens, after reading this post about phones my thoughts went to a time when a phone would have been very useful for me.

My late husband had retired early at 56 and wanted a less hurried lifestyle.  We looked around and we decided upon the Marlborough Sounds in the South Island of New Zealand.  We had been to the Sounds many times with our boat and it seemed like an idyllic spot in which to retire.  I was rather young to be considering this retirement thing at 48.

However, we found a  lovely house in a small bay with only four other houses.  The house sat up above the beach with a path leading down to it.  A perfect place to retire and to write my book.  The book didn’t happen but that is for another post.

Willow Bay

Willow Bay

At the time all telephone services in New Zealand were run by a Government Department. To get a new connection in the city took about 7 days if you were lucky.  To get a new connection in a rural area took forever and ever.

So, we moved to Paradise.  And applied for a phone to be told there was a long waiting list and we had to be patient.  Bear in mind that we lived some 60 kms from any town and the last 5 kms of the road was unpaved.  I had never lived anywhere there weren’t shops and buses and people.  It was quite a revelation to me.

Anyway, back to the telephone.  We managed with difficulty. Remember this is 1986 – few cellphones and very few people had access to the internet.  No phone, no internet, no communication with the outside world.  Very peaceful but frustrating.

One of our neighbours offered the use of their phone if we needed it.

So on a lovely Sunday while Robert was away further south playing bowls I was applying paint over the awful wallpaper in the master bedroom.  And that’s also another story.  I was surprised when Robert walked in as I wasn’t expecting him until the next day.  He looked grey and obviously was quite unwell.

The next morning he was worse.  I ran to my neighbour’s and used their phone to call a doctor.  He told me to bring husband in immediately and had to give me instructions as I didn’t know the town in which he was located.

After driving the 60 kms with husband groaning at each bump and turn in the road,  we arrived at the doctor’s house.  He took my husband inside and left me sitting in the car.  When Robert came out he said the doctor thought it was not serious and gave him a couple of pessaries.

So we went home but in a very short time, he was writhing in agony.  So another call from the neighbour’s house and I was told to bring him into the surgery.  More instructions needed.  Well to cut this long story short, the doctor took one look and declared “This man should be in hospital”.

Children's ward signSo with more instructions, to the hospital, we went.  They admitted him immediately but as the only ward open to admittance on this Sunday was the Children’s’ Ward that’s where he went.  The surgeon was called and he later told me he was grateful to be called out as his wife had been entertaining a rather boring group of people.

I was offered a bed in the nurses home but had to return to Willow Bay as my spaniel had been left there.  On the way home I found a telephone box (yes they were still available then) and called my son in Wellington who agreed to get the first plane in the morning to be with me.  He also agreed to call his sister who was in London and tell her.

The next morning bright and early I was back at the hospital.  The surgeon had examined Robert again and said the only way to find out what was wrong was to operate.

I called the phone company to check on progress – none!

The cause of Robert’s problem was a ruptured duodenal ulcer (that nobody knew was there) so that was the good news.  Other thoughts were unthinkable.  But Robert was sick for a long time and kept in a coma for several days.

I called the phone company again – no progress although I was on first name terms with the operator at this stage.

I used to spend all day sitting with Robert.  I learned patience which was positive.  I used to call one friend in Wellington using the hospital phone.  Still no result from the telephone company.  This friend, in turn, called other friends in Wellington to pass on the news.

One day I arrived at the hospital and Robert greeted me with the news that our son was in hospital in Wellington having had an appendectomy the night before.

This was the final straw.  At this time I had a husband in hospital in Blenheim, a son in hospital in Wellington, a Mother in hospital in London and a Father-in-Law in hospital in Glasgow and still no telephone

Another call to the phone company – I told the operator my tale of woe and he said ‘You really need to speak to my supervisor’  Well, I had tried to on several occasions previously.  As soon as the supervisor heard my problem he arranged for a phone connection the next day – but it was a party-line, shared with a couple of other customers.  And yes, that’s another story – but at least we had a phone.

A pretty scary episode in my life, made more so beca e of lack of ability to communicate with the outside world.  It was 25 years ago but I still remember the feeling of being cut off.

Needless to say, we didn’t stay there long.  After about 9 months we decided to come back to Wellington.  Another adventure in this wandering life of mine.

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”  Buddha


Developing and Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude

Earlier this week I touched on the subject of gratitude.  I am so grateful for all that I have and all the experiences I have had in my life.  I am one of the lucky ones who married early and found the one person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, ill-health took my husband and left me to manage and navigate the rest of my life on my own.  But I am profoundly grateful that I found that one man.

I am grateful for my two adult children and their four strong sons; I am grateful for the support offered by my wonderful family and friends.  I could continue in this vein for pages but that would bore you.

So what I am now suggesting you do is get a piece of paper and write down all the things for which you are grateful.  Don’t forget to add the small things; we all have so many reasons to be grateful.

Here, to get you started is the beginning of a list

  • The warm and dry house that protects me from the elements
  • Wonderful friends
  • My caring and supportive family
  • Fresh water to drink
  • Ability to walk
  • Food to put on the table
  • The money in the bank
  • Living in a free country

Now you get the idea start compiling your own list.  Don’t be surprised if this runs to around a hundred things to be grateful for.

I also tell my family and my clients that you have a gratitude muscle that needs to be exercised just as the other muscles in your body.  Each day take a look at your list and add anything you remember to it. Then at the end of each day write a list of the five things for which you are most grateful.

And even if you have had a bad day, just persevere and you will find some things to be grateful for.


Chronology vs Biology

Ask any of your friends and colleagues if they think aging is something that can be controlled and most will say that nothing  can be done about it, that it simply happens and that’s that.

By now you will know that my answer to that is that they are wrong.  We may be lucky in having good, long life genes but the choices we make throughout our lives have a much greater impact than the genes we have been dealt.

We know that our bodies are continuously replacing cells and that billions of cells are turned over daily.  And for this reason we need to be careful of the lifestyle choices we make.  As much as possible, we need to ensure that those choices are good and healthy ones because the renewal process works best if we provide the proper nutrients.

Added to this healthy lifestyle of exercise, what, how and when we eat, is the ever-present matter of our mind.

We now know that along with this cell regeneration our brain cells also can regenerate.  Much research has led to this discovery and many learned papers have been written on the subject.

I have no formal medical degree; no degree in neurology and would not presume to discuss this in detail but I am convinced that we can halt the deterioration of our mind, by simply taking care not to let our mind lie idle for any length of time.

My father at age 80 was diagnosed with macular degeneration and was told that he would inevitably go blind.  Now he was one of that older generation used to fending for himself.  He did the crossword everyday without fail and as soon as discovered he had this condition he set about (with the help of my sister) training himself to do the crossword even though he would be unable to read the clues or see how the words fitted in.  To do this he would have my sister read the clues and over time became quite adept at completing the crossword.

You see, he had seen how the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease had robbed my mother of the use of her mind and was determined that it wouldn’t happen to him.  I am pleased to report that when he eventually left this earth at age 97 he was in total control of all his faculties.

So here was another example of what I should do with the rest of my life.

There is a difference between our chronological age and our biological age.  Chronological age is determined by calculating the years between the date of our birth and now; biological age is calculated by how old we are perceived to be.  This is based on how we appear, feel and act.  Unfortunately, these age barometers are not often in step.

I certainly don’t feel 72 (my chronological age) and according to those around me I don’t act that age.  So let’s see what we can do to improve our biological age while ignoring our chronological one.

Have you heard of Mavis Lindgren?  She is the 90-year-old marathon runner.  She retired in 1997 after running her 75th marathon.  This from Patrick Roden, A critical care nurse, who was a medical volunteer at the Portland Marathon of 1992 when he came to the aid of the celebrated 85-year-old marathoner, Mavis Lindgren

“What makes her story all the more exceptional to me is that at age 62, Mavis was leading a sedentary life, spending most of time reading, writing and knitting. She had suffered four bouts of pneumonia in five years and, as a retired nurse, she knew the antibiotics weren’t the long-term solution. Something had to change. A doctor urged her to join an early bird walking group. At age 70, encouraged by her son, she ran her first marathon! Two years later, she established a record of 4:33.05, and for the next eight years, held world’s best time for women 70 and over. And at 84 she finished the Los Angeles marathon in 6 hours 45 minutes-the fastest woman in her age category. “After I started running, I never had another cold,” she said”

I am not suggesting that we all become marathon runners, but I do suggest that we take time to look at our sedentary lives and introduce a little exercise into them.

 


I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

During the last years of her life when my Mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s she rarely knew who I was.  She would mistake me for a nurse whom she would thank for my gift and on occasion she was convinced that she had never met me before.

On my last visit to her some years before her death, she had a few lucid moments and in one of these she briefly talked about my son, thinking he was a little boy still and saying that he could come and stay with her at any time.

How sad it was to see this once strong woman reduced to a shell.

Because I live on the other side of the world to her – she in London and me in Wellington NZ – I only managed to visit every two years.  On each visit there was a noticeable decline and her hold on reality was slipping further away.

Following her death I was ‘haunted’ with her question to me “Who are you?” that she asked on my final visit.  I determined then to find out all I could about keeping the mind active as well as to exercise to keep the body trim and fit.

I knew that our thoughts determine the results we achieve and in the next weeks and months I will share with you my journey.  The journey is still continuing and will do so until I die at which time I will not have to ask my daughter “Who are you?”.