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I’m usually the one encouraging friends and family to eat right. They call and ask me about vitamins or what foods might help a certain health problem. But right now, I’m the one getting e-mail saying “Suzanne, make sure you eat right…make sure you get enough rest…make sure you take care of yourself.” For the third time in four years, I am beside a hospital bed in December.
It’s sort of an interesting story…one that may apply to you if you are nearing menopause. My Mom broke her right ankle in 1997. She had surgery and they put a plate and several screws in her ankle. It healed beautifully, and never gave her any trouble. However, her August stroke paralyzed her right side. She can’t put weight on her right leg. She is either in bed or in a wheel chair. The bone began to deteriorate rapidly.
Thanksgiving weekend I got a call from the rehab facility saying that she had a cut on her right ankle. They speculated that she had banged her leg on the wheelchair. They were treating the cut. On Monday she had no appetite and looked at me with sad eyes. On Tuesday she had trouble breathing and was taken to the emergency room. There they discovered that the wound on her ankle was not cut from the outside. A screw from the inside was pushing its way out through her skin.
She is in a lot of pain, and is now on serious pain medication. On Monday my sister and I have to make a decision about whether to take the screw out or leave it in. The orthopedist candidly says that he is not optimistic about the wound healing either way. An open wound leaves her vulnerable to cellulitis and sepsis. The screw leaves her vulnerable to a bone infection as well. Surgery to remove the screw carries its own risks with a 93 year old stroke victim.
I am staying with her at the hospital most of the day. Because she cannot hear or speak, it helps for me to hold her left hand during treatments, and to be her voice to hospital staff who can’t imagine what a vibrant woman she was 4 months ago.
Hence the e-mails from my wonderful family and friends reminding me to take care of myself during this stressful time. The hospital here does not have the variety of vegetables that the previous hospital had. This is like a college cafeteria with a pizza station, a pasta station, and a sandwich station. Their hot lunch on Wednesday was chicken fajitas, rice and beans. It was the best choice available, but not the best choice for a Type O. Since then I’ve packed my lunch.
At home in the evening I am fixing good food for my husband and myself. However, I am probably eating too much. I was about to write that I need to be careful in stressful situations not to overeat even beneficial food, but it dawns on me that my nutritional needs are higher when I’m under stress. Perhaps I’m not eating too much after all.
I’m not getting enough sleep. One night I stayed late at the hospital because Mom was not responding well. Last night, right at bedtime, I received a hurtful e-mail from a bitter and angry colleague. It took a long time to settle down. I’ll try to do better tonight.
I have been exercising early in the morning. I just know that no matter how good my intentions are, I’m less likely to exercise after a day at the hospital. My husband is wonderful. He is at home today doing dishes and laundry.
I mentioned menopause. What I see in front of me, is confirmation of what all the menopause and peri-menopause books say. If a woman over 40 does not exercise - specifically weight bearing exercise – she will lose bone strength. Those e-mails I’m receiving are good reminders to take care of myself. Perhaps there is a woman you should e-mail today and remind her to exercise to keep her bones strong.
Hugs and prayers,
I have no idea who you are as this is my first time at these boards. I feel for you and know what it was like taking care of my dad when he was in similar condition. My heart touches yours. In care, Janeen
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