Tag Archives: life reflections

A View from the Hospital Bed

I had been ill for some time and since my family physician had failed to identify the symptoms (nor refer me elsewhere) I had to seek alternative help. A trip to the clinic, referral to emergency and then a specialist appointment culminated into a three night stay at the hospital.

It was all so quick I barely had time to prepare. Within a week I went from diagnosis to laying in a backless ugly green gown, with an IV in my arm and a catheter…well you get the idea.

Upon reflection I came to a few realizations about my adventure:

1. HOSPITALS ARE NOT DESIGNED FOR HEALING

With the constant sound of bedside buzzers, an intercom paging staff, laundry across the hall being done after 11 pm, plus the moans and cries from patients, it became clear that rest was not part of post operative care. I was woken up from a drug induced sleep so often to be inspected, injected, and inserted but the worst part came the day they started to decreased my drugs. Now I was feeling ‘rejected’ because without the benefit of a full-scale drug assault the pain increased and a lonely, sleepless night was to follow.

I had it easier than some patients because my husband and I opted to pay for a semi-private room which included a TV. The TV didn’t show up until the night before I was discharged. There I was craning my neck to see the screen and wouldn’t you know it, almost everything was repeats.

2. INFECTION HIGHLY LIKELY- CLEANING LOW PRIORITY

You would think hospitals would be the cleanest place on the planet but you would be wrong. A band-aid laid on the floor for three days untouched. The sink next to my bed, which had seen all sorts of human and other fluids, remained dirty. The bathroom I shared with one other woman definitely did not get a proper cleaning. On my last day a lady came with what appeared to be cleaning supplies but she was gone too quickly for me to be entirely sure what her purpose was.

3. NURSES ARE INCREDIBLE!

I have a new-found respect for the nursing profession. They brought both their expertise and compassion to the job every day. As patients we become like babes, completely dependent on them to provide all our care. The nurses I encountered not only showed respect but displayed a good sense of humour. It was evident that there is sisterhood and brotherhood that exists to support each other. At a time when I felt most vulnerable I also felt like I was in the best hands – cared for and nurtured towards recovery.

4. WITHOUT FRIENDS AND FAMILY WE ARE NOTHING

My husband was my rock. We had not been through this together and I needed him more than ever. He is such a good man and I say that with the deepest respect. I again saw the depth of his love and strength. (Along with the fact that he can handle household chores without me having to ask first) 🙂

I was reminded of how lucky I am with all the friends and family who offered well wishes and time. My dear friend Lise, who has experienced her share of surgeries provided compassionate post surgery care. My sister arrived with comforting items and a full day of motherly support.

Care giving is personal as we struggle to know what to do when someone is ill. However, with an abundance of empathy blanketed around me even the simplest tasks a person can do becomes a demonstration of love.

5. GRATITUDE AND BEAUTY SURROUNDS US

When my surgeon said I could be discharged I called my husband early in the morning to come “spring me from this joint.” I could not wait to leave. I had already watched through a window as the sun cast its early glow on the buildings outside. When I stepped out of that hospital I took a deep breath.

Resting on our deck at home with the sun still warming me I listened to every sound the birds made with a heightened sense of appreciation. The comfort of a familiar place, bed and everything that we have chosen to feather our nest gave me joy.

I have a specific picture imprinted on my mind and a feeling in my heart that was left as a reminder to be thankful.

Butterflies in my stomach

Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach?

It is a term that has been used to describe that nervous feeling one gets normally just before moving out of their comfort zone. With adrenaline pumping, that fight or flight response kicks into gear. Some of the most common examples of potential butterflies in the stomach would be public speaking, first dates and job interviews. We are facing people we know little to nothing about and the expectations is we have something good and important to say. Our voice is now front and center, our future and/or reputation may ride heavily on this encounter.

Public speaking was not a source of great anxiety for me, I don’t know why but speaking in public came naturally. I get an initial small sensation of nervousness that quickly dissipates as soon as the first introduction is complete. Good thing that, as I make part of my living standing up in front of people for presentations and workshops. For others though, it is a dreadful prospect to be asked to speak in front of an audience. Toastmasters has provided tips, support and opportunities to help many get over this fear. Butterflies will lessen as participants get more comfortable with their new skill.

Toastmasters

First dates had me fighting off the butterflies, while putting on my clothes and makeup the importance of breathing itself took on a whole new meaning. I remember the first time I saw my husband… butterflies. An unplanned meeting of the minds after one of his gigs (former bass player in a band), our first date, first invite to my New Years party (for four) and subsequent first kiss, all had butterflies flying around like they were high on caffeine.  At our wedding the butterflies were momentarily flying but couldn’t get full lift off, I was exactly where I wanted to be and once I saw my man there was no room for anything but love.

Job interviews, Wow! I have seen people just fall apart at the thought of doing a job interview. It is such a real fear that places the butterflies in overdrive. A hands shaking, voice stuttering, no digesting, face flushing experience for some individuals. Much like public speaking there is a real feeling of vulnerability, others are hanging on your words and essentially you are on stage.  What you are wearing, your body language, facial expressions, everything under the microscope. Each person in that room with you has gone through the exact same experience at one point or another but that is of little comfort when you are in the hot seat. I like helping people get over their anxiety with job interviews and use unique tools to accomplish that goal, but I have been around long enough to know it is a big hurdle for many people.

Sometimes the butterflies can tell you not to go in a certain direction, they can act like a warning sign. Flight may be a good thing. When trying to make a decision or simply even exploring options I have often found those butterflies help me understand whether I’m going down the right path or not. Paying attention to our body and all of its little internal signals is not to be taken lightly. It fascinates me that we have been created with an inner knowing and have the ability to conquer our fear or follow our bliss if we just let those butterflies do their thing and then move on.

Caught a few butterflies today, but feeling much better now.

🙂

What makes you nervous and how do relieve those butterflies?

Greeting the Sun

I listened again as she went over all the reasons why she didn’t go out today; in bed mid-afternoon with blankets tucked close to her body. She has done this many times, laying there resentful of others who go on with life, proclaiming there is nothing to do, making excuses to me as if I would believe them.

I want my call to be something more, I want to offer hope, drag her back from the depths of her despair.

In fact, when I do call she does manage to brighten up over time and slowly get out of bed. Right in the midst of our talk she rises, this holds some consolation to me,  but I know yet another day opened and closed, she missed the beauty of it all. Is it wrong to want more? So many wasted hours that could have been squeezed out for maximum enjoyment or even just wrapped cozily around without fear or frustration.

For some people, life was short. If they could do it all again, would they rise with the sun? Step out of their comfort zone more often? Bond more closely with people? Travel to more places? Watch more sunsets? Flop into bed late at night knowing they had drank fully from the cup of life?

I’m used to motivating clients and students and there is so many times when the thrill of hearing about their success made my day. Not because of my contribution but because I know what it took for them to get there. Our success comes in the discovery of our enumerable talents, seizing the opportunity, connecting with others, sharing the personal journey with people who love us or whom play a part in the realizations of our dreams. We are so rich!

Yet, finding the positive aspects of life can be so difficult for some people and when they are close to us the pain is greater. I live with many memories of great times, laughter, love and support so I don’t want to minimize the gifts and lessons. I also know I will feel some sadness for all the moments and days in which I could not reach this person. Ultimately, it is not my life and therefore I can’t control it. I certainly can’t profess to not have days myself where I wanted to pull the covers over my head, we all do. However, the frequency of wanting to hide like a turtle in a shell can well determine the state of overall health and there in lies the concern.

As I passed through from one year to the next I felt something unexplainable and as yet have no way to describe its presence, other than it’s powerful.  I celebrated a birthday with people I love deeply and for the first year in my entire life when I blew out the candles I did not even hesitate, I wished for someone else. If I get my wish, I will benefit by knowing they are healthy. Birthdays for me have never been wholeheartedly a marker of my age but more a celebration that I am alive! I reflect on what life may offer in the coming months and seem content to be open to the possibilities. I continue to meet wonderful people through blogging that in turn brighten my world and expand my horizons.

In writing this I expose another part of my personal world without naming the individual that provided so much inspiration. I guess that’s another seed in this post, everyone and everything inspires us…even if it is just to live…live…live!

I intend to seek out positive people and remind myself that what we know so far is.. that the sun will rise again and if we are lucky enough to greet it, it was a good day.

Shallow Roots – Loneliness Exposed

Over Christmas the story about Scrooge emerges, this lonely soul wondering through his world without enjoyment, meaningful friendship or companionship. There are people who at this time of year find it particularly hard; depression and loneliness can be at its peak. Interestingly, stats show that as a society depression is growing and loneliness, though subjective, is sharing the stage.

How is it that in an age when people have the ability to do anything and communicate with each other twenty-four seven through technology, they still feel alone? Young people especially have been diagnosed with varying degrees of depression, anxiety and loneliness and yet we are the generations who have the most at our disposal.

In our backyard we are not running for the bomb shelter daily, as my mother had to do as a child. Our food is not rationed and most illness that would have wiped out children or adults generations ago is preventable,
manageable or treatable. We have (despite current financial circumstances) enjoyed a relatively disposable income and want for little. Education is available, we are not forced into unwanted working conditions and exploring career options is encouraged. Our entertainment choices are abundant and travel (though more safety orientated) is still an option.

So, we come to this place in which I must ask some questions:

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More than enough stuff

More than enough stuff.

As I looked around my office I noted how many books I acquired over the years that never had a page turned by my finger. I opened my jewelry box to find many costume pieces that have not graced my ears, neck, or wrists in years. The other day, after feeling quite deflated, I engaged in more retail therapy. I came away with an outfit which in the end I knew would take its place in already full closet.

In reaching for Cd’s yesterday, I realized the Cd’s are plentiful but only a few are enjoyed consistently as my lifestyle changed and I know longer spend evenings with the tunes on and the TV off. A few DVDs align my shelf that have never been seen, apparently they were must haves but there they sit. The freezer is overflowing after a trip to Costco. Eventually most of the food will be eaten but some of it will end up in the garbage, a final resting place for the freezer burned.

My Christmas decorations were in several boxes but many items never get used. Tastes have changed, homes are different, creating a feeling in festive times can be daunting. I get bogged down in the details and eventually I put most of it back, thinking next year I will find a way to use it. I rarely do. Our garage holds stuff, stuff that moves around. We try to organize but invariably someone goes in and decides the stuff is in the way as they reach for something else. Once used, an item is rarely returned to its designated place, “we’ll just stuff it there for now, deal with it later.” It gathers dust until the next expedition happens to unearth items.

This Christmas, like all Christmas’s, I find little joy in the commercialization and process of acquiring more stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m appreciative of gift giving but I believe in being realistic, genuine and above all else assess need. More stuff for the sake of buying is meaningless to the giver and receiver.

I will share with you in all honesty, in the latter stages of childhood I remember the thrill of receiving “the stuff” on my list but after the novelty wore off I remember thinking about what I really wanted. What I wanted from people in my life was not something they could buy, it was not something that filled my room or a box, what I needed was to feel safe, respected and heard. No matter how much was put in my pillow case at the foot of my bed (an English tradition) or under the tree, my wishes remained floating about waiting to be granted.

To my amazement all these years later I still reflect on life, Christmas and the receipt of stuff this way. I believe we tell people all year what our heart wants, I believe we do our best as an adult to create love and respect for our own being. The reality is we have more than enough stuff; monetarily it shows but spiritually it is hard to quantify as it lacks true meaning. This is never more put to the test than in the face of disaster, illness or death, it is not what we bought that is first in foremost in our minds.

So, in the quietest of moments, as you lay awake in bed, can you say “Today I received what I wished for, my life is enriched and it didn’t cost a dime.”

(I am adding this song, sent by Pat…see comment below)

All I Really Want for Christmas


The more things change

Recently,the saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” was very apropos. Years can pass by but still in more ways than one, nothing has really changed. It is evident in long standing institutions and in people.

The same attitudes and beliefs that hold an individual back resurface exactly as they have time and time again. Expecting different results but using the exact thinking and speech that has kept them at arms length from so many aspects of life, love and learning. If they go to the right people for support they will be shown the path toward healthy change or better perspective. If they go to the wrong people, all they find is people of like mind who are accustom to the dumping ground for all their own frustration and confusion. Anyone who enjoys the thought of always being right goes there, easier to be around the already converted.

I see this from time to time in myself, friends, family and clients; the struggle for self fulfillment, forward movement and understanding while caught in old thinking. I go to those that have the ability to fully support me, I always get gems of wisdom to work with. When I am with clients I seek to provide the same compassion and genuine support for them. We are much more open to change when treated respectfully.

Institutions can fall squarely in the realm of more things changing but still staying the same. Continuing to talk about ideas and necessary outcomes while employing the same logic that has been messing up the system from the beginning. Small gains by the front line workers are over-shadowed by bureaucratic nonsense. It is no wonder we get frustrated on so many levels when you can see the wheels aren’t moving as fast as they should.

So, where am I going with this deep reflection…no where. Everything is exactly as it is, through your eyes or mine we will see change and interpret it very differently. It only becomes frustrating when you think you have forward progress in personal, world or business situations only to find they still live exactly as they did before. How utterly disappointing!

A busy day

It was Monday today but already I’m tired. As I look towards the coming week I see a “to do” list getting larger and not a lot of mental rest. Whenever that comes about I try to remind myself that it will all get done and I will be the better for making my way through it.

The problem occurs when I wear too many hats in one day, you’ve heard me speak of this before. Today, I worked in the office for half a day, handled calls to determine whether we qualify for a grant due to the untimely demise and replacement of our furnace…happening this week. Confirmed tomorrows crew would be arriving bright and early, moved home office items out of the way to accommodate the new furnace construction which includes cutting a whole in the floor as the furnace is under the house. General clean up, including vacuuming, washed sinks, made bed, two loads of laundry, called my mother to wish a happy birthday (had dinner with her last night to celebrate) set up tonight’s meal, did the dishes, managed to fit in a 30 minute workout and now blogged.

I have substantial amount of homework to do for a course I’m taking which when I saw what this weeks requirements were I felt my face flush. With each thing I switch hats quickly and at the end of the day it doesn’t surprise me that my mind won’t shut off. This is the life I and many others lead  and I don’t see that changing. My time has been managed with lists and great expectations but life isn’t like that. There is always the unforeseeable that has you switching in mid stride. It occurs to me often, “What would it all look like if a camera followed us around, would we look like lab rats in a maze?”

The only time, like many people I’m sure, that I can feel completely relaxed is when I am on a beach somewhere in the tropics…ahhhh…I just took a breath and pictured myself there. Oh, that was just what the doctor ordered, a minute in the surf and sun. Maybe tomorrow I will break out my tanning lotion put it on, just to smell it and dream a little more while wearing my sun hat. That’s a hat I like to wear.

Somewhere tonight the sun sets with a palm tree doing its dance in the wind and I am there in spirit. Cheers.

Andy Rooney’s Reflections

Last night, I sat down as always to watch 60 Minutes, I love that show. In particular is the brief time I get to spend with Andy Rooney. His reflections on life, stated in a very sure and straight forward manner, keep my attention from start to finish.

This is how I see him – His topics are varied but not in the flavour of the day/week but varied in that life is full so pick from the bounty. He can find the irony and the humour in a situation without even cracking a smile or needing to laugh at his own brilliance. His observance of life is so deep sometimes I need to sift through what he said just to reap more of a good thing. Mr. Rooney doesn’t appear to feel the need to conform to anything or anyone, but he is respectful and classy in his nonconformity. He doesn’t need to beat me over the head with his viewpoint like many on TV today, he sets it out there and I can take it or leave it. 99% of the time I gladly take it, as if I have just been to fabulous class on culture, human ethics or something of the like.

His topic this Sunday, was on the US Mail Service dwindling in size despite the rapid growth of America. Operating like any business with cut-backs and restructuring it has and will go through changes. Overall, there are more people who don’t much like change than there are those that can roll with it. I hadn’t much thought about mail and the importance of a letter showing up at your home. Increasingly the email culture has taken over, most of which is similar to junk mail. Mr. Rooney tied in the story with the experience of seeing the mail man/woman coming to your door and how well a handwritten letter makes you feel over an email. He stated, ” He would rather receive a letter any day than an email.” I agree.

I have a very large decorative bag full with cards and letters I have received over the years. The special ones from people who have great meaning in my life. Once in awhile I have pulled them out to see my friends and family from long ago; a pen pal from Australia I had forgotten until seeing the letter, my Grandmother’s letters/cards from England, Aunt’s and Uncles that have long since left my world. What is beautiful in the handwritten letter is not just the words, but I can see their unique hand writing. For those that have past away this becomes particularly meaningful to me, when I touch the page I can almost feel them. How their pen flowed, how they crossed their T’s or signed their name. The time it took to sit and transcribe their thoughts to paper or describe a vision in front of them at that moment, so I could be there.

If I can’t be physically with someone or hearing their voice, their writing is how I connect. The email is rarely a source of that for me. I save very little of them as I can’t feel what I can feel in the written word. It comes off the computer with foreign energy nothing recognizable to the heart despite the well meaning efforts of the one who wrote it. The beauty is missing, no card with a scene or bonded paper they picked out to send, the script has no resemblance to their hand writing, their touch never made it to the page, finger prints non-existent.

I’m with Andy Rooney on this: I would rather a letter in the mail than an email any day….though I know sadly things have changed.


Beautiful People

Today was a day where I was reminded of the beautiful people who have entered my life. There are many people that pass through, some stay close to the heart and others grace us with their presence once in awhile.

There are also people who serve us well and I would like to acknowledge three women who by virtue of their goodness and a love of their work are examples of special personal service.

Leanne provided me with a relaxing facial, a luxury I do not allow very often but as always her kindness, gentle voice, interesting conversation and genuine love of what she does makes me come away with her light radiating around me.

Candice who works to keep my muscles from cutting off breathing and blood flow; allowing me time to enjoy movement that feels natural. I always joke that after I leave her office I’m awake with more flow to the brain, just a little bit smarter. I love my body more every time and I appreciate her humour and expertise.

Darlene, who owns a store in town which I will feature on my site soon, offered to help me find a wrap for a dress. When I couldn’t find what I needed she let me borrow hers. She too, has a personality that when you walk out of her store, you feel like a smile and good energy came with the purchase.

I came home to the knowledge that people that mean the most to me are still out there, but those whom I only see once in awhile for services are equally special.

Life is good – with such people in it. Today, I didn’t sweat the small stuff, instead I bathed in the goodness, memory and beauty of others.

I thank you.