The Kindness Of Little Things

We read, all the time, about the kindness of strangers, about gratitude and blessings and I am for all of them and more. I did random acts of kindness even before people knew that expression. I started when my little boy was four years old, He is now 22, and has just been accepted into medical school, he still never wants to miss anything.

 

I took my little “farmer”

 

 

who always woke up at five am to a diner where we ate blueberry pancakes and drank tinny flavored orange juice. We noticed a very cranky, “mean looking” old woman sitting at the next table. He said she looked “mean.”  I explained to him “maybe she was just having a very bad day or was unhappy.” I asked him what we thought we should do, to cheer her up? We decided to pay her check and not tell her. We gave an extra twenty-dollar bill to the waitress

 

 

 

to pay for her bill and the next customer’s.

 

No way did we start this trend but I’m sure my son and I were way ahead of the crowd. Now, I decided to take another approach to kindness and gratitude.

I am appreciating those things I have or own that I take for granted. Like my pillow, not the saggy old one that is basically flat, but the newer one that has some bounce to it like the hop of a bunny on a lazy green lawn.

 

 

More importantly, I am thankful for my white comforter because it keeps me warm at night perched on top of three, sometimes four, other blankets. I get cold easily either from Fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or a combination of maladies.

 

 

 

No, “she” is not a down-filled comforter, I tried that. I ordered a queen sized comforter from a very well-known and expensive store, put it into a duvet cover and within three days there were feathers flying everywhere both in and out of the duvet. About 2,000 flying feathers.

 

 

I started sneezing and I couldn’t stop. I have had down comforters before with no problem but THIS company/store was quite arrogant about the problem and turned me off so much I decided not to get a replacement for it. It was horrible, it looked like the down comforter had exploded. Not a good experience with THAT company! Be nicer to your clients please. I would have stayed with you if your service people had been kinder.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, it could be a piece (or two) of milk chocolate or rainbow sprinkles on vanilla ice cream, it could be a new book or a gift card to Amazon. Most of all it could be an appreciative grin or the blink of an eye or my husband’s loud laughter when he thinks something I’ve said is silly and funny.

Appreciate all the small stuff, because you know what? It’s all small stuff and in the end, if you start noticing more and more of the good stuff? It will make your day-to-day life a lot happier.

Focus on the good and not on the bad. Hold the door for someone, smile at a stranger, always say “Thank you” and “You are welcome”, if someone was kind to you, thank them.  It really IS the little things that count. Life is scary, it’s unpredictable and it is short. Families can be stressful and hard and filled with tension BUT, they are still family. Appreciate the good people in your life. Get rid of the negative people who influence you.

We ALL need reminders once in a while, that’s okay. Just come back to it.

WISHING ALL OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

 

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Talking Out Loud: Feeling Sorry For Myself

My throat is scratchy, every time I swallow it’s like a science experiment. I feel cold even though I am under three blankets. Oh wait, I shouldn’t be surprised, we’re back from our short vacation in the sun.

We are anticipating a snowstorm with wind and ice and I’m sure the clouds can just feel me smoldering with anger and resentment, like a fire just beginning to spread quickly.

The Universe can feel that I don’t want to live here anymore, the Winters are too tough for my aches and pain, Fibromyalgia has never been my friend but it is becoming my worst enemy.

I hate having to confirm a lunch date with my best friend in the morning although she totally understands.  Will I be okay for getting up and out of bed? Can I dress myself and drive my car and meet her over salads sipping strong, strong coffee? I have NO energy and NO short-term memory. That is excruciatingly embarrassing to me, that is the worst part.

I will know that only tomorrow morning and even that is iffy. I can deal with this chronic pain disease much more easily in the Spring, Summer, even Fall but Winter? Oh, Winter is the devil of all evil, to me. He’s that bratty, bad boy, the one every grade school had who tried to make other kids’ lives unbearable, the bad boy brat that succeeded in torturing a grade.

Way back, when I was a child, we never had a “No Bullying Allowed” rule. We just had the town bully and everyone knew who he was. I can picture his face so easily in my mind as he grabbed my winter hat and threw it around the bus to taunt me.

Now, we are all grown-up, the bullies, the kids, those of us who care for our grown-up children and parents and dogs. We face problems every single day. The stress and tension are finally catching up with me.

I don’t smile much anymore. It’s tough enough to get out of my warm, comfortable bed with my dog lying beside me. Sometimes, I choose not to get out of bed. I’m okay with that.

Please, I don’t need platitudes or well wishes, I just need circumstances to change. I need a sign, I’ve been patient. Until now.

Yes, I will ask the Angels for help.

I will ask anyone for help. But, so far, nothing has worked. I’m so very tired. I want to curl up in my bed until I see that it is Spring. Things will change in the Spring, for the better. We will make it change, not now, not during the bleak, gray darkness of Winter.

The new us, starts in the Spring, 2015.

 

 

Flare-Up Friday

Cluster headache

Cluster headache (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DEDICATED TO ALL MY FIBRO FRIENDS

My world is gray and I feel like a dull-looking ice-cube. Last night, I knew something was going on in my body, things were changing. After all these years you would think I would know immediately the signs of a flare-up but I look for excuses. Basically, I lie to myself. I’ve had small headaches for a week, usually at night, all of a sudden that changed to a more serious headache. My balance which is not good became much worse. I needed the pink cane to be able to walk without falling. Anyone looking at me from behind would have sworn I was drunk. I wasn’t.

My husband said I “didn’t look right” I’m not sure what that means exactly but apparently I didn’t look “good.” For two days before this I had (note past tense) been feeling great (as great as one can feel when you have Fibromyalgia.) I had showered, dressed, out the door for two days in a row, fairly early, running errands, taking photographs, shopping, meeting a friend. It’s not like I was doing a triathlon, just regular things that most people don’t even think about. But for us Fibro warriors we, unfortunately, need to think about everything.

I was proud, feeling strong. Then, I crashed. My back was aching ridiculously, of course I blamed the uncomfortable chair at the restaurant. My appetite certainly didn’t suffer, If I’m hungry I must be fine. Two trips to the women’s room, a little unusual but nothing to even think about even though I knew deep inside it was IBS. I blamed my muscle aches and bone pain on the weather. My general feeling of discomfort, I was sure was from not drinking enough water during the day and not eating enough.

Yes, you got it, I was trying to pull a fast one on myself. I was trying to fake what I really knew was starting: a Fibro Flare-Up.  “Nooooo: I groaned to myself. I had done so well, I was outside a lot, with nature, trying to keep a positive attitude, all the things I am “supposed” to do. I was eating well,  healthy things like salads, drinking cranberry juice, no soda or diet soda, and eating fruit, veggies with yummy desserts but essentially all good things. I hadn’t gained or lost weight, my blood tests had all come back normal.

Even my green eyes felt heavy, tired and looked dull. I flunked the “eye-ball virus negative test*” known only to a few but it is a definite indicator of sickness vs. health. I knew my color was certainly not rosy thought it never really is but it had that “look” the one moms (and some dads) see on their children’s faces in one second begging the immediate question: “are you feeling okay?”

I was cold, so I went to bed early piled under a massive amount of blankets, (6) and tried to get warm. That was a hard one, I was still cold. Took two aspirin for my head (not allowed to take Advil per my doctor which I now long for like a junkie) and tried to go to sleep. When I woke up this morning, the headache was still there, I was still freezing and I couldn’t get out of bed.

I sighed, I knew what it was all along. I just pretended that it was allergies or my imagination. Do you do that too? Well, it didn’t work. So now, it’s Saturday, I’m under six blankets, still shivering in my bed with my headache, my husband brought me coffee in bed and I’m under the Fibromyalgia House Arrest. There are no colors in this room and basically it hurts to move. If you need me I’ll be here but for now, I think I’ll take a nap. I’m too tired from just waking up to do anything but sleep.

*eyeball virus negative test: a diagnosis based on a game about rapid movement from your eyes, going left to right and back etc.

Banana Milkshakes

'Cavendish' bananas are the main commercial cu...

Image via Wikipedia

I feel really poorly again today and I don’t know why. Every step hurts, every joint aches, every muscle is stiff, and I’m not hungry, which is definitely unusual. The windows had been open with fresh air coming in but I missed the comfort of the cool air conditioner and a cozy blanket and the room swaying like a slow-motion ballet. My head is pounding and I feel weak, it’s hard to move, hard to think, I feel like throwing up but can’t.

I tried Alleve for my body aches and headache but it didn’t help. I always question and try to diagnose my ailments and when I come up with no new answers, I sigh and breathe deeply and think “Fibromyalgia Flare?” Or maybe it’s the flu or too many allergens, a virus or just a few bad days. At this point I don’t care what it is or what it is called, I just know I am back in bed, with my dog near me and my mood, weary. I’m tired of being tired and achy and I want to slip into my sneakers and go places, see people. Instead, I am alone with my book but I haven’t read one single page.

I tried so hard to heal myself and I made a banana milkshake, with very ripe bananas, milk and ice and sipped it slowly to try to soothe my spirits, to hydrate myself with bright and shiny, nutritious food. It didn’t help and I am disappointed; I thought for sure that the banana milkshake cure would help me. I tried to listen to music and sing but I just couldn’t stand to listen to the music, so I stayed silent, listening only to the beating downpour of rain attacking my windows. I can’t even think of leaving my bed to help out with driving and that makes me feel both guilty and drained; my head pounds harder, my whole body feels hot and it burns like a slow-cooker, constant with a warm temperature.

Last night I felt worse than today and I tried to cure my evening with chocolate. There’s a lot to be said about half a big pack of M & M’s at the end of a very long day. I chose each pretty color to pop into my mouth and crunch. I know it is not right to treat illness and malaise with food  but once in a while, the cheerful colors of M & M’s soothe me, the endorphins kick in and I go to sleep.

Perhaps tomorrow I will feel chipper and I will wake up happy, my head and eyes clear and more energy in my body. Maybe my legs will swing over my bed and I will greet the day with enthusiasm. But if not, maybe it will happen the next day or the one after that. If I still feel the same way I will eat the rest of the pack of M & M’s, make another banana milkshake and begrudgingly call the doctor. I will have to go in to see her and she will most probably tell me “it’s viral, go back to bed and drink plenty of liquids” as if I didn’t know that already.

Prednisone Bitch, Part 2 (ENERGY!!!)

The Energizer Bunny

Image by Ben+Sam via Flickr

I just made 5  huge portions of baked ziti and covered them all with shiny aluminum foil. I put two small portions in the freezer, for my daughter (she’s a vegetarian) I made a big one for all of us to eat tomorrow night and made 2 to give to a friend.  I also made chilled peach soup with spices  for my friend and bought her a still-warm Italian bread from the bakery as well as a bag of brownies. I delivered the food, found room in our crowded refrigerator for ours and practically buried my head in the freezer to make room for the rest.  I have folded three loads of laundry, have one load in the washing machine that I will soon transfer to the dryer. I loaded the dishwasher and ran it, and then washed various pots and pans by hand, rapidly. This is so not me, this is me on steroids; I could be a walking, no sprinting, advertisement about drugs: this is my body on steroids, this is my body without; what a difference!  I am spritzing  Fantastik on paper towels to wipe up spills, I am cleaning up the house. My movements make me dart back and forth and I am talking at a really fast pace. I actually think my husband prefers me like this, the “energizer bunny” onspeed and not my usual low-key self. He better not get used to it because in a few days it’s all over and I will be back to my old chronic pain and fatigued self. Unfortunately.

I know it will be depressing when I come 0ff of this steroid high but it’s amazing how good I feel. Rush, rush, rush. My fingers can’t  type as fast as my thoughts are running, streaking through my head. My son, looks at me both amusement and  concern: “Mom, calm down” he advises, but I explain to him that I cannot. I will however, be back to my usual sub-par pace in a mere few days. As for now, I feel chipper; a little too chipper. Remind me later, friends, when this wears off, what it felt like to read this, to feel this, to embrace this because every day I will feel less and less energized, more and more lethargic. I am the movie “Cocoon” for those of us old enough to remember. I am “Cocoon” the re-make, 2010.

Luckily, the bitchiness of the first day is over and I am no longer throwing darts, figuratively, at someone’s head. I am not sending off vapid e-mails and insulting comments, that was bad-me, ” Prednisone Bitch-Me.”  Thankfully, she  has left, departed, disappeared, leaving behind sparks and energy.  It was as if wild-me had been let out of hiding after many years or I had broken out of prison. The energy is here, the meanness is gone, it was a good trade.

Perhaps I will go to bed late tonight ( can you see me tiring out quickly?) and do a few more chores, instead of what I usually do: read in bed, watch a little Food Network television ( or Bravo or Travel) and play on my computer. Luckily, I have already DVR’d a few shows, which I have never done before but accomplished that this morning after my first cup of really strong, aromatic, Bustello coffee. Now I know that I can watch these shows at my leisure, when leisure finds its way back to me, say in about 4 days or so. Right now, I can’t at all describe myself as leisurely.

The first night I was on Prednisone I was roaming the house, inside, up and down my 13  carpeted steps because I could not fall asleep, I was up until after 2am, now I know why. Last night, with my allergies so bad I had to take a Benadryl, I nodded off at about 12:30am. My usual bedtime sans Prednisone is about 10:30 and that’s on a really good night.

My mind races, my legs, that usually, carry the weight of the world, walking slowly  and painfully in sneakers has all but disappeared. I am practically frolicking. It’s like a vacation from chronic pain, fatigue, fog, and lethargy. I am very alert though when someone is speaking to me I don’t listen as carefully because my mind is already formulating the next sentence.

I’ve typed this whole page in less than a few minutes but don’t give me credit. In a few days I probably look back and say how artificial the feeling was, how the energy was just too much. Will I do that? Probably not. I will remember how I felt with great fondness and longing. This is not what normal people feel either, this is steroids, pure and simple, artificial and dangerous and today, it feels good. I’m not going to lie.