Archives for: December 2008
The kids and I went shopping this afternoon. SS got a pair of khakis for his January internship, but DD and I escaped the stores with all of our money still in hand. As we drove home I realized it was late, and I had no plan at all for dinner. It had been a cold day, so chili sounded like a good idea. But as we talked, I realized it wasn’t going to be easy to please everyone.
DD didn’t want beef. She didn’t want chili powder or salt. She said that she would eat any kind of beans, but HH doesn’t like black beans. Pinto beans are avoid for me. SS said turkey chili would be acceptable, but he definitely wanted chili powder. I decided that in a two Blood Type family, you need two pots of chili.
I cooked one onion just until it was transparent and put half in one pan and half in another. In one pan I browned a pound of beef; in the other a pound of turkey. In the beef pan I put a can of black beans, two teaspoons of chili powder, and a Mexican seasoned salt that has cumin and red pepper. In the turkey pan I put a can of pinto beans, 1 ½ teaspoons of cumin, and a generous shake of garlic.
Both pans simmered while I made corn bread and salad.
I’ll admit that the chili I cook all day in the crock pot is more traditional. But for a fast meal on a cold day, this worked out fine. The As were happy. The Os were happy. Both pots of chili turned out good.
We are back at home after what our Strong Son calls the “Christmas Tour de Texas”. We spent six days visiting family and friends from one end of the state to the other. There were new traditions to add excitement, old traditions to add constancy, and favorite traditions that were left on the shelf this year out of practicality.
I didn’t decorate our house very much. Between taking care of DD and helping my Mom with paperwork, there just wasn’t time. I put up the tree and the lights, but no ornaments. I hung the wreath on the porch and got out one nativity scene. It wasn’t grand, but it was pretty. I didn’t do any Christmas baking. DD was on a liquid diet for days. I cooked very simple, beneficial meals for my husband and me. After SS got home Friday night I cooked a little more, fixing some of his favorite dishes. It wasn’t fancy, but it was healthy.
We left Sunday for a Memorial Service for my Dad that included all four of his grandchildren. Then we spent a few days with my Mom, leaving after Christmas Eve lunch. We crossed the state to spend Christmas Eve evening and Christmas Day with HH’s family. We returned home Friday night.
Everywhere we went there was plenty of beneficial food. Usually on a holiday trip, there are lots of temptations. Often there are many meals where beneficials are absent and neutrals are scarce. This was not one of those trips. I ate heartily at every meal. Yet I weighed precisely the same when I returned home as I did when I left.
DD’s mouth began to improve on Monday. By Christmas Day she could talk and smile without pain. We began to walk for exercise, which felt good physically and emotionally. Tonight she is back at work, taking two protein shakes and containers of applesauce and pumpkin in her bag. I will fix fresh carrot/celery/watermelon juice when she gets off.
We didn’t get to drive around looking at neighborhood Christmas lights this year. But we did go to a synchronized light show, where they played Christmas carols. As the music played, lights in the Christmas trees flashed on and off to the beat of the music. It was fabulous.
Of course we missed my Dad. But we did not “sorrow as others who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. The baby in the manger was sent to teach us about God and bear the burden of our sin. Because of Christmas, we have the promise that we will see my Dad again.
I picked up a great idea at the hardware store. It doesn’t have anything to do with food, but it has a great deal to do with health.
Monday and Tuesday were freezing cold. We have a propane heater that looks like a fireplace in our living room. We kept that going non-stop because DD was so cold from the ice packs she had to keep on her face. While the heater kept the living room and kitchen delightfully warm, it also tricked the thermostat into thinking that the whole house was warm. The office where the computer is was chilly.
I had a lot of computer work to do, and I suddenly realized I was chilled – not quite teeth chattering chilled, but shaking arm chilled. Since I was already fighting a cold, I was worried that I was coming down with a fever. Fortunately, I got back to the warm part of the house, and I was fine.
This made me decide to buy a little heater for the office. I talked to a guy at the hardware store about electric, oil, and kerosene heaters. He gave me pros and cons to each one. Then he said, “What you really need is what my wife bought in Arkansas. It is an electric pad you put on the floor under your desk. You put your feet on it. As it warms your feet, it makes your whole body feel warm and comfortable.”
I may shop on the internet for one of those pads. Or I may just use the heating pad I already have. Working at the computer on a cold day with toasty feet sounds wonderful to me; certainly a lot better than shaking inside a sweater and a jacket.
I am happy to report that on this 1-week anniversary of my cold, I am symptom free! I am unhappy to report that DD has had a very difficult time recovering from having her wisdom teeth removed. She is still on soft food and pain pills. Her face is noticeably swollen. The surgeon told her she can’t exercise and can’t go back to work. I can’t help wondering if her low body weight may have had something to do with her slow recovery. She didn’t have any reserve to draw from. That’s not the kind of thing girls or women think of when they desire to be unnaturally thin.
Studies show that people under stress are statistically likely to get sick. The day after I got home from the funeral, I got a scratchy throat. I looked in the BTD encyclopedia. Dr. D recommends astragalus, l-glutamine, and kutki as antiviral remedies. I didn’t have any kutki, but I started attacking the sore throat with the other two immediately. I also began taking Coldeze. The Encyclopedia recommends zinc for non-secretors, and I’m a secretor. However I seem to have had good results with Coldeze in the past, and I figured it couldn’t hurt.
I am moving through every stage of a typical cold virus. But it is very mild. Just a scratchy throat, not one that is burning sore. Just sniffles, not heavy congestion. Just a dry cough that responds to menthol, not a deep cough that takes codeine to get relief. Nothing stops a virus, but I’m glad that the Type O protocols are keeping it from raging out of control. Perhaps I need this cold to slow me down a little. Otherwise I might be frantically trying to make up for time missed shopping and decorating.
DD had her wisdom teeth out on Monday. Her mouth is so small, that they had a hard time getting them out. She was is a lot more pain than she expected on Monday. Today she doesn’t hurt as much, but she is really swollen. She’s sleeping a lot. I tease her that her first semester grades were so good, and I hope she doesn’t slack off now that her “wisdom” has been removed!
My Dad passed away early in the morning. The infection had caused so many problems with his internal organs that his heart just gave out. My feelings are going every which way. I will miss him so much. But if he could not recover, I'm glad that he didn't linger. My Mom, sister and I had a great time tonight telling stories about him and laughing. But when someone tells me how much he meant to them, I start to cry. We have so much to do and so many decisions to make. But nothing is really as important as spending time with each other.
In talking with the urologist last week, he said that women get UTIs easier than men, but they also get over them easier. He said that when a man gets a UTI, particularly when it is reoccurring, there is almost always a physical cause - a stone, a blockage, or problem with surrounding organs. Remember this if you are a man! The urologist thought that Dad's infections were caused by a stone near his kidney
A few random thoughts:
Take time to love your friends and your family - you don't know how long you will have them.
I'm fully committed to preventive medicine, but there are things that beneficial food, vitamin C, and herbs won't cure. I regret not taking him to a urologist in September.
In times of stress, don't skimp on meals or exercise. I've tried to stay focused on beneficial foods. This afternoon I walked for 45 minutes while I talked to family on the phone. It helps a lot with the stress levels.
Plan ahead to take the stress off your family. I'm so glad Dad had talked with us about his wishes for funeral and burial. It has made the decisions much easier. My husband and I had never made plans. Tonight we started planning to make plans.
Make sure your relationship with God is secure. The biggest comfort we have is knowing that Dad can hear music again, that he can walk again, that he is reunited with his parents and his brother, and that he is in the presence of God.
DD is at a Christmas Cookie party tonight. She called this morning while I was in the hall waiting for the nurses to finish a procedure on my Dad. She didn't know what to do. She wanted to go to visit with her friends from church. But she didn't want to be pressured to eat cookies.
I told her that part of her recovery from the compulsive exercise/eating mode she has been in will be learning how to be polite, be social, and be healthy all at the same time. The Blood Type/GenoType diet is the only diet I know that seeks to build overall health for the long term, but it is quirky compared to what is "normal in our culture".
In a social situation, you have to determine what compromises you can make and where you draw the line. No amount of social pressure will cause me to drink alcoholic beverages. Almost all of them are avoid for me. In addition I have religious and genetic reasons to abstain. I will not eat brownies, because I have a history of allergic reactions to chocolate. But if I was at a cookie party, I would scout the table for the best options - maybe a fruit cake that was mostly nuts and fruit or a rice krispie cookie. Perhaps if I saw an old favorite like a crème puff I would take one and eat it very slowly.
I told DD it was important that she not let either the BTD or her fears about her weight drive her into seclusion. She decided to go and enjoy herself, but not eat cookies.
Then, because the nurses were taking longer than expected, I got philosophical. I remember reading in a CS Lewis book - one of the Space Trilogy books if I remember right - that God creates some experiences to be rare, special and exciting - but not to be every day events. You can apply that statement to lots of things, but I apply it to food.
Sugar and honey are perfect examples. God created them, and they are good. But they are meant to be eaten in small amounts on occasion, not gulped down by the quart full every day. If you eat sugar cane, the way God made it, you would never have a problem with weight or diabetes. It's when it is refined that it becomes detrimental to health.
Macadamia nuts are another example. They are beneficial for me, and they are delicious. But they are too expensive to make into nut butter and eat with carrot sticks. They need to be relished a few at a time on special occasions.
What we have done in our culture is take the exceptional foods that should be rare and over eat them. Sodas, fried chips, cake, cookies, ice cream, crackers, and candy have become daily necessities. At the same time, the staple beneficial foods like vegetables, which ought to be eaten daily, have become snubbed by the culture and eaten rarely.
We have taken food the way that God planned it and perverted it. Thus we have cookie parties, but never veggie parties. "If I had an apartment," said DD, dropping a hint, "I'd have a veggie party." I laughed, because I think she would. And with her creativity, I think people would have fun.
I'm searching for some positive things to say about spending the past two days at the hospital. One of them is that hospital food has really improved.
My Dad has never gotten over the UTI that he had last summer. His doctor has tried several antibiotics for drug resistant bacteria. Each time Dad finished a course of antibiotics, they waited a week and did another urine test. He would e-mail saying, "I failed another test," and back on antibiotics he would go. When he failed the last test, I called his doctor and said I thought he should see a urologist. He had an appointment for the first Wednesday in December.
When we left their house on Saturday after Thanksgiving, he was happily waving good bye. Saturday night he sent me an e-mail detailing things we had accomplished on our Thanksgiving visit and making plans for the Wednesday appointment. Sunday morning my Mom called to say she could not get him to wake up. EMS took him to the hospital, and I grabbed my bags and started for their house. During the night the UTI had exploded into a full body infection. He was dealing with pneumonia, kidney failure, and a possible heart attack.
He is a critically ill man. I have had to talk with the doctors about his "directive to physicians." I have to walk a fine line between having my Mom at the hospital to see him during the brief ICU visiting periods, and making sure she gets enough rest so that she doesn't get sick herself.
In high stress situations, I ask myself two questions: What is God trying to teach me? and Where are the hidden blessings? I've found two of the latter. One is a big improvement in hospital food. Vending machines have bottled water and juice not just soda. The snack machines are still filled with things I can't eat because they are made with wheat and peanuts, but at least I can get something to drink. Today Mom and I went to the cafeteria for lunch. I wasn't expecting much, but she has knee and leg issues and walks with a cane. It was a much shorter walk to the concourse than it was to the parking garage.
We had a delicious and healthy lunch. I had grilled tilapia with onions and red peppers. For side dishes I had green beans, zucchini, and carrots. The green beans were fresh and cooked to perfection. This is not the bland, overcooked, mushy food that hospitals used to serve. If I hadn't known better I would have thought I was in an upscale restaurant.
The second hidden blessing is that I am truly thankful I have not found a job yet. It leaves me free to stay with Mom and Dad while they need me. If I had found the perfect job a month ago, I would now be negotiating for time off and wishing I could be two places at once. As always, God's timing is perfect.
I don't know if Dad will recover. It depends first on whether they can find drugs to knock out a very resistant bacteria and second on whether his heart, lungs and kidneys can recover from the damage done by the infection. We wait.