Monday, December 14, 2015

Taking It Easy

Because my stress test indicated I might have a problem, I was scheduled for a heart catheterization last Tuesday. I was told the stress test was only 80% accurate, so I was not positive what to expect.

Two brief episodes with pain in my left shoulder after I lay down to sleep at night had not made my primary doctor think I had a problem, but she told me to go to my heart doctor if I had another such experience. I did. Before I called and was worked in for an appointment, I had three more episodes. The heart doctor was suspicious and ordered the stress test, which I laughingly said cured me as I had no more episodes after that.

But a phone call came saying the stress test did look good, and so the doctor had scheduled the cath procedure at the Carbondale hospital. I was told another doctor would be called in if the cath showed blockage; otherwise I would go home that day. As it turned out, it was necessary to put two stints in to correct the problem. I came home the next day with instructions to take it easy for a couple of weeks, which I have been doing. Things have gone so well that I do not want to take any chances of messing up a good thing. Being told not to even lift a gallon of milk or something of that weight has been one of the harder directions to follow because I lift without thinking out of habit. Of course, I have always had Gerald lift truly heavy things, but that may not be wise at our age. Fortunately he lifts outdoor things with a fork lift.

I went to Carbondale feeling quite calm because Gerald had put up our two pre-lit Christmas trees—one upstairs in the first-floor living room and one downstairs in the walk-out family room. Getting the heavy boxes out of closets and putting the trees together and getting the lights correctly plugged is a big job, and I dread doing it every year. However, since Gerald had done all the difficult part for me, I knew I would enjoy decorating them when I got home.

I finished the upstairs tree last week. Tomorrow or next day, I yet need to add all the years’ accumulation of ornaments with their many memories to the downstairs tree. The colored lights, however, are pretty all by themselves. At our age, we have more decorations than we have a place for—most were gifts—so I have the gifts out. Big empty boxes are put back in the closet upstairs although that guest room bed is still covered with stuff. In the downstairs guest room, boxes are yet to be emptied, but soon will be.

No cookies are baked and probably won’t be since we aren’t supposed to be eating such. No cards have even been bought, and I may not send cards this year although I am reluctant to skip that pleasant task.

I just heard Gerald go upstairs and fix himself a sandwich or something simple for supper, so perhaps I should stop this and go join him. I am sure the store-bought chicken salad and potato salad are not in those booklets on healthy eating I was given at the hospital, but they are easier, and I will try to do better soon. Decades ago I pretty much quit frying things when Gerald’s dad was diagnosed with diabetes. He would often eat the noon meal with us if he was working on our farm. Much later in efforts to avoid the family diabetes on the advice of Gerald’s’ nutritionist, we switched to skim milk, less salt, and whole wheat pastas and bread. We use sweetener rather than sugar. But one new hospital pamphlet frowned on sweeteners as well as sugar. That may be a problem.

In the old days, I always used lots of raw veggies in our meals—cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, spinach; but with both of us on warfarin, we were warned not to use much of those healthy vegetables. Healthy menus become complicated as you grow older. Since I have foolishly used food for comfort and to calm anxiety, my biggest need is to simply eat less. I am trying, but this is not easy for a food addict. Nor for someone whose duties require often being in the kitchen although I notice Gerald helping more all the time. Gerald is disciplined about his eating, so he both shames and inspires me. When there are just the two of us here, I have helped out by limiting his desserts to fruit, angel food cake, and goodies baked with sweetener. When he first started farming, I knew how much he enjoyed cake, and I would be sure there was one if I thought he was having an extra hard day. Now there has to be company in the house for him to enjoy such bounty. That makes it easier to take it easy.

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