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Jill

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No Screaming Banshees Allowed

I woke up this morning and thought “I can’t wait for this week to be over.” I immediately started thinking about everything I need to get done and where I need to be at what time and trying not to be mad at myself for things I didn’t know…

Okay, let me back up a bit. This week is the last week of volleyball with tonight being Senior Night. Until 9:00 last night, I had no details about what we needed to do, what time we needed to be at the gym, what would be expected of us…I had no info and neither did my Volleyball Player and having no info makes me a little anxious. I finally texted another Senior Mom to ask if she had heard anything and she hadn’t, but she had a call in to the coach. A little while later she texted me back and told me what time to be at the gym and oh yeah, Senior Parents are supposed to decorate the locker room today (Monday).

Son of biscuit eater.

Granted, I should have done some asking around last week but I’ve been preoccupied with some extended family stuff and other things. And honestly, I have never been, nor will I ever be, THAT classroom mom who has her shit together and thinks ahead about things like decorating or getting (or God forbid, making) cute little gift for all the Seniors. Luckily, one of the other Senior Moms is that mom (and I thank God for her every day!)  and is going to decorate today, so it will get done but I’m so frustrated that none of what is expected was communicated to us. Is this common knowledge that I “should” have known about? And how would anyone be expected to know if they’ve never had a Senior in a sport before??? I’m so frustrated right now. I am going to get my Senior some flowers, but is there anything else I’m supposed to know? I guess it’s too late now anyway.  :/

Tomorrow is the Volleyball Player’s 18th birthday, but they have an away game tomorrow night, so we are going to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday. I’m running through all the things that I need to get for her tomorrow and Wednesday and all the errands I need to run, then on Thursday, they have the Regionals tournament which I will have to help provide snacks for (along with a table and a cooler). I guess I could do cute little gifts for the other Seniors then? That might be an idea…

Anyway, all of that to say: this is a busy week with a lot going on, so I need to make sure I make time to do the things that will save my sanity. Which feels counter-intuitive because my Emotion Mind is screaming “PUT EVERYONE ELSE FIRST!!! YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR SELF CARE!!!” to which I say “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP YES I DO!!” I have made an appointment on Wednesday to get my hair cut (these are some bad hair times, friends. My hair needs an intervention), I am going to somehow squeeze in a trip to the gym if only to sit in the massage chair for 20 minutes, I am going to make sure I drink a lot of water, eat some nutritious foods (I’ve already got a meal plan for the week with all the groceries bought. Vegetable beef stew is in the crockpot as we speak), get some movement in  – that might mean I walk laps in my office if nothing else, and my BFF and I are trying to make an overnight girls trip happen this weekend (<—this is the main thing keeping me going – I am really looking forward to this).

Even though this is going to be a busy week I have to make myself a priority, otherwise by Friday I will be a cranky screaming banshee and nobody wants that. Least of all me.

 

Talking and coffee and words

I had to come to work an hour early this morning because my boss was going to be gone for an appointment and I had to open the door for the internal auditor who is here this week. Normally when I come in at 8:00, my boss and I have an understanding that we don’t speak for at least the first 15 minutes because he is not much of a talker anyway and I am not a morning person. He understands that he should not approach me until I’ve had at least one cup of coffee. We have an agreement. It works.

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Well. Apparently Internal Auditor did not get that memo because OMG SO MUCH TALKING. People who initiate conversations at 6:45 a.m. obviously don’t know how to read a room. Dude, I do not care about the weather in Florida. I do not care that your 5’3″ girlfriend gained 8 pounds – apparently she went from 104 pounds to 112 pounds – and you can really see every pound on her (I gave him an earful on how at 112 pounds, she is still on the low end of the BMI scale for her height), and I don’t care that you are supposed to be on a no-carb diet but those donuts at the convenience store were calling your name. If you want me to pretend to care, then at least give me 15 minutes to get some caffeine in my system. I’ve already spoken more words in the last hour and a half than I usually speak all day. Having conversations is hard so early in the morning. I’m exhausted.

In other more caffeinated news, I’ve taken up an obscure little hobby that I’m certain no one knows about yet*: hand-lettering. I started playing around with it on Labor Day weekend and since then I’ve been practicing nearly every day. I really enjoy it because the movements are slow and methodical, and it can become almost meditative in a sense. However, the more I look for resources on the internet (practice sheets, styles, courses, etc.) the more overwhelmed I get because, good gravy, is there anyone NOT doing this? There are so many Instagram accounts and Facebook pages and websites devoted to this that it is very easy to go down the rabbit hole and never resurface again. I finally just had to stop looking and just stick to practicing the alphabet. I’ll work my way up to the fancy stuff later. Maybe someday when I feel like my writing isn’t shaky, and I can figure out spacing, and my lettering doesn’t look it was done by a 3 year old, I’ll post some of it here on my blog. Any of my readers out there have any experience with hand-lettering? Any tips or advice you care to offer a novice?

I think that’s enough words for today – spoken and written. I’m tired.

tired

source

*sarcasm. I honestly had no idea that this hand-lettering thing was such a…THING now. It’s crazy how many websites there are devoted to this stuff. 

 

https://amzn.to/2Ox9rox

 

Cull of the Wild

Remember my post where I was totally crabby about social media? Well I’m happy to report that I went through my Instagram and Facebook and UNFOLLOWED a bunch of people and/or pages that were messing with my zen vibe. I totally deleted Snapchat off my phone because I just find it irritating. I also deleted Pinterest because I just don’t look at it anymore – I don’t like the layout now and it doesn’t seem as intuitive as it used to when it first came out. I don’t have Twitter on my phone either because I feel sort of “meh” about it and I rarely check it. So FB and IG are the main ones that I took a fine-tooth comb to.

What a difference!!

Perusing IG is now a pleasure because my feed is now filled with baby animals, gorgeous scenery, funny webcomics, and actual people I actually know in my actual life. Facebook…will always be Facebook but I decreased the number of popular pages I follow and sought out actual people who I haven’t heard from in awhile. I think that’s the difference for me – filling my feeds with friends instead of randos who think they’re famous. Except for that one news chick who does funny posts from her car – I love her. I feel a kindred spirit with her. She made the cut.

I noticed at my local library a book on the New Release shelf that I was tempted to read but I decided to save it for another day because I was already checking out 2 other books. It was called:

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier.

Wow. Delete ALL social media accounts??? That is awfully tempting except who would validate all my choices and my very existence??? I’m kidding! I’m just kidding. But yeah… I wonder if I would be happier or at least more content (and probably more productive) if I didn’t automatically pull my phone out and open up a social media site whenever I have a few minutes to spare. I often wish social media had never become a “thing”, along with wishing phones had never become smart. Yes it was exciting, and cool, and innovative when smart phones first appeared on the market, but has it improved our lives enough to counter balance all the not-so-good side effects of having a mini computer in our pockets or purses all the time now? I can see myself going off on a tangent here – that’s a post for another day.

Anyway, I do feel better since I culled the nonsense from my social media. Gone are the people and posts that annoyed me, made me anxious, or made me feel bad about myself. I need to remind myself to do this at least once a year, because as I change so do my social media needs. When I first started really working on myself (my body image, my self-esteem, etc) I needed pages that were radically body positive or preached self compassion, now I find that I don’t need those messages as much so I unfollowed some of those sites (I kept a couple for good measure though). So if you haven’t gone through your social media accounts lately, I highly recommend taking a critical eye to the pages/people you follow and getting rid of any that bring you anything less than a pleasant feeling. Social media should make you want to be more social…not less.

 

 

 

 

 

Help for Back to School Woes, Alternatively Titled: Jill Goes Shopping on Amazon.

Well, here we are. Another summer in the books and school activities already in full swing. My kids start school tomorrow but they’ve been having practices and games for weeks now, so as much as I tried to deny the month of August, I’m afraid it is here to stay. To celebrate (bemoan?) the start of a Shiny New School Year, I decided to list some things that might help ease the pain a bit. If you have a student or know of one, email this post to them, or if you’ve been out of school for awhile, feel free to keep these ideas for yourself and pretend you’ve got a clean slate going forward. (Side note: Back to School time is a great time to start again – take up that project you’ve been putting off, go buy yourself some new clothes, go to an office supply store and ooh and aah at all the nifty organizing gadgets. Make this a time for new beginnings if you wish.)

If you’re going to have a successful year, you need to get organized. If you want to really crush it and don’t like keeping your life in a phone calendar, and prefer old school planners, I’ve seen this one in a few different places on social media lately and it looks pretty good. The Panda Planner claims to be the “best daily calendar and gratitude journal to increase productivity, time management, and happiness.” Wow. That’s a pretty hefty claim. This is an undated 3-6  month calendar that lets your review your morning and evening, lists your priorities, and helps you break down your projects and goals into manageable chunks.
I think it would be super helpful if you have a lot going on and really need to drill down into certain aspects of your day – and if you wanted to spend some time really reflecting on how you use your time.

Next up, and in relation to getting organized, you might be in the market for a new desk on which to do your studying (or pretending to study, whichever the case may be). This is a desk my middle-schooler has picked out in anticipation of getting her own room when her older brother moves out of the house in a couple of months (God willing).

It’s kinda cute, isn’t it? If it were me, I’d want some drawers because I like to hoard office supplies, but if you’re going for a minimalist look, I think this would suffice. Oh, and here’s the chair she picked out to go with it:


She has this whole white-grey-rose gold aesthetic look going lately. (Sister is going to have to get herself a job to afford the lifestyle she wants, is all I’m saying.) Actually, these pieces aren’t terribly expensiveand would make a nice-looking set if you’re in the market for such things.

Here’s something I thought was very cool and handy for those mornings when you just can’t decide if you should wear that new scarf or not. The Amazon app has a feature for Prime members called Outfit Compare that lets you take a photo of 2 different looks, and send them to a fashion consultant who will tell you which look is better for you. For example, let’s say you got some cute new skinny jeans and you can’t decide if you should wear a flow-y tunic or a form fitting tank top with them…take the pics, send them through the app, and soon your fashion consultant will tell you which one looks better on you. I haven’t used this feature yet, but I think it’s a great idea because sometimes your BFF might have forgotten to charge her phone and you’re stuck in a dressing room trying to find the right suit to wear to an interview and you’ll be in that dressing room FOR-FREAKING-EVER trying to decide and you’ll be all sweaty and frustrated and you don’t understand WHY she doesn’t text you back already…Anyway, with this feature, you’ll have your answer…well I don’t know how long it takes to get an answer, but probably a lot faster than your BFF with her dead phone will take.

My high-schooler has talked about meal prepping her school lunches this year. She has declared that she is DONE with cafeteria food and wants to bring her lunch every day, so I thought about ordering this set and this set

          

for her to use. And who am I kidding? I would use them too because I bring my lunch to work every day anyway and I deserve nice glass wear too!! And now that I think about it, I could really use a new lunch tote (I started to say lunch box, but I’m not in 5th grade anymore and do kids bring lunch boxes anymore???) (Random bit of info: I had a Charlies Angels lunch box when I was a kid. Not a plastic one, a real metal one because that’s all we had back in the 70s/80s and we were happy to have them!!)

So let’s look for a cool lunch b…tote, shall we? (Click on the pictures for prices)

This one is kinda cool:

Oooh, I like this one:

Oh my gosh this one is adorable!!

Seriously, some of these look like handbags that I would carry instead of a carrier for a sandwich!

In the mood for something a little more groovy? Here’s ya tote!

KATE SPADE LUNCH TOTE!! *swoon*

Whoa…check this one out…this is almost too pretty for a pbj sandwich:

I think I really like that square striped tote with the flower the best. Might just have to order that for m’self.

And since I was on Amazon Back to School page, I noticed they have a deal where your teen can get their own log in, shop for what they want, and get it approved by you via text message. This means they can do their own Back to School shopping while you sit in your favorite chair, sipping your favorite beverage, and feeling so happy that you no longer have to remember the Pythagorean theorem because you are an adult who already did her time in school. Here’s where you can get more info. 

Well okay then! This turned into kind of a long post but I hope you found it helpful and maybe found something you could treat yo’self with *coughKateSpadeLunchTotecough*, even if you aren’t in school.

Just for fun: Tell me in the comments what was your favorite thing about Back to School OR tell me what kind of lunch box you had when you were a kid. 🙂

 

Amazon links are affiliate links

Things on social media that annoy me right now

I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, so I’m kinda cranky and I thought it would be a good day to talk about the things that are annoying me. I feel like maybe I’ve done a post like this before but I don’t care – these are the things on my mind and I’m gonna talk about them. And because I’m feeling tired and lazy, I’m going to list them in bullet form. (I’d like to thank several different accounts on social media for the inspiration for this post. No, I’m not naming which ones.)

  • When you try to tell a joke, but someone thinks you’re serious. This just happened to a friend of mine on IG today. She posted this really clever photo with an obvious joke in it and someone was all “well here’s what I think you should do…” Not everything is a problem for you to solve, Brenda! Here’s a dollar, go buy yourself a sense of humor.
  • You can’t just be a little bit into something, you have to be completely consumed by it. (I feel like maybe I have talked about this before, or at least it’s something I’ve considered writing about) If you like to read, you can’t just read a book once a month, nooooo, you have to have a whole freaking bookshelf of books you’ve bought but haven’t read or you have so many books that you don’t have room for a sofa or a coffee table…you apparently must have a problem staying out of bookstores. Or if you like coffee then ERMAHGERD you must always have tons of coffee t-shirts telling everyone how much you love coffee and your kitchen must be decorated in coffee paraphernalia and you must always have a coffee cup in your hand! Jeez Louise, can we just calm down a little bit the fanaticism? Like what you like, but don’t feel like you have to BECOME that thing. Sheesh.

 

  • The trend that seems to glorify hating your kids. “Haha! My kids are such assholes, they’ve totally wrecked my body and my life and I can’t even pee without those little jerks banging on the doors!” “I just want to drink wine and forget that I have kids, haha!” “Oh man my kids are the worst – can’t wait until they move away and I never have to see them again!” I mean, I get it, kids are tough and those years when they are little are REALLY TOUGH but if you don’t like being around your kids – it’s probably your own fault and I’m sure you aren’t the only one who doesn’t want to be around them. It’s going to be great for their self-esteem when they get old enough to read your posts on their own someday. And yes I realize these people most likely don’t really think their kids are jerks and are just joking but man, I get tired of seeing this over and over on social media. Also, being annoyed with your kids once in a while is normal – making a whole “thing” of it, however, is not.
  • (This one is going to tick someone off, I can just feel it) Youngish women who cuss. A lot. “I like to say the F word and all the other cuss words a lot because I’m a Badass woman who can do whatever she wants so I’m going to throw a bunch of cuss words into all my posts so you’ll be impressed with me and think I’m cool!” Oh Jiminy Crickets…this is the equivalent of  wearing sunglasses inside…at night. No one thinks you’re super cool because of your creative use of the F word. And please, if one more of these people links to that post that says people who cuss a lot are smarter than people who don’t, or people who cuss have bigger vocabularies..I’m going to have a meltdown (this is also sort of related to my second bullet point – okay we get it, you like to cuss, calm down). I will admit that I throw some saucy words around too occasionally (see bullet point above), but I don’t do it in every single post on social media or in every conversation. If that’s your shtick…well good luck and Godspeed; I won’t be following your account anymore.
crankyoldlady

Me today. And most days.  (I don’t know who to credit this photo to) 

Let’s see what else is annoying me…Oh yeah. This has nothing to do with social media but:

  • When the recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour but I accidentally leave out 1 cup of flour and my cookies don’t turn out right. That really burns my biscuits ( or cookies, in this case) because I haven’t had homemade cookies in a really long time and I was really looking forward to it. I mean, I can still eat them, but they’re just not the same.

So what we’ve learned here today is that 1) I need to go through and cull some of my social media feeds, 2) I really need to get a good night’s sleep tonight, and 3) I should always make sure I’m following the recipe.

Do you find that you suddenly get annoyed with things on social media? Have you ever messed up a recipe so bad, but you ate the food anyway? Do tell!!

 

the ghost in the bleachers

Last night was the first volleyball game of my daughter’s senior year in high school. We’re not going to discuss how this year will fly by or how busy it’s going to be or how much money I’m will sink into things because senior year = expensive…no we’re not going to talk about any of that today because I enjoy living in denial. I like pretending that my girl is still two years old and sticking her feet in my face while giggling hysterically. I prefer to disregard any and all notions that this time next year she will not be living in my house. Ignorance is bliss, y’all.

January 07-07

This little sweetheart is now a 17-year-old killer on the court. 

What we are going to talk about is the fact that no less than three people – parents of some of the girls on the team – came up to me last night and asked which player I belonged to.

What the what???

My daughter has been playing volleyball since 7th grade. My husband and I have been to nearly every home game, sometimes together, sometimes only one of us, but for the most part I have been sitting in those same bleachers with those same parents all this time. My daughter is captain of the team this year – all the parents know who she is – but apparently they thought she was an orphan or something because each of these 3 parents who I talked to (separately, at different times during the game) had no idea who I was. They were so surprised when I said I was her mom.

I mean COME ON. Really?

Maybe I should be working as a spy because I seem to blend in seamlessly with the background. I could drop a briefcase full of important spy documents in the middle of Times Square and NO ONE WOULD NOTICE ME. Apparently.

I could be a private eye and solve mysteries because I could be in the same room while the guilty party monologues to their henchmen and I would never be noticed BECAUSE I AM INVISIBLE. Apparently.

I’m going to go hang out at a bank and follow the VP around and when he goes to unlock the vault, I’ll waltz right in and take a couple of bills and no one will remember BECAUSE I AM COMPLETELY FORGETTABLE. Apparently.

I mean, really. Am I so vanilla, so bland, so unnoticeable that these parents really had no idea who I was? Not that I expect everyone should know me and be my biggest fan, but when I’ve been sitting 6 feet away from them in the same bleachers for 5 years, I’d at least expect them to know whose mom I am (I’m not one of those quiet parents either – I cheer. Loudly. A lot.)

But honestly, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and it happens more than I’d like to admit. Every once in a while I’ll run into a friend of a friend I’ve spent time with or someone I am a casual acquaintance with and at some point in the conversation they’ll say “I’m sorry, but I can’t remember your name…” Or they’ll look right through me as if they’ve never seen me before when I see them in the store and smile.  Once I saw my neighbor’s mother at the airport. This is a woman I have spent time with and have had many conversations with. When I saw her, I gave her a hug and we talked about where I was going and where she was going and ten minutes into the conversation she says “I’m sorry, who are you again?” Oy. That was awkward.  For whatever reason, people don’t remember me. I don’t make enough of an impression to last beyond a few minutes.

 

I’m not super bothered by this – I was kind of amused by it last night really – but it just makes me wonder what is it about me that is so unremarkable, and should I do something with this knowledge? Is it a call to action to change my appearance into something that will strike a chord ? Is it a prompting to be more confident and outspoken when I meet people so they’ll remember me? Or should I just delight in my anonymity and be thankful I blend in with the wallpaper?

I guess if I’m going to be an international spy and solve mysteries, I should keep a low profile, right? So maybe it’s better this way.

 

 

It is not August.

Nope. It’s not August. It’s June 20-something-th and we are smack dab in the early-middle of summer with puhlenty of time to go before the craziness of back-to-school begins.

pair of red and white low top sneakers

Photo by Mateusz Dach on Pexels.com

Please do not mess with my delirium. It’s so nice and denial-y here.

I am not ready. I am not ready for the rodeo that is the beginning of another school year. We took our summer vacation in the middle of July and once we got back it felt like summer was already over. My two youngest kids have activities and practices that start at the end of July and from there it’s just GO GO GO until the middle of next May. I know that someday I will miss all of this hustle and bustle, but what I really want to hang onto are the lazy days of summer with my kids. I want more late evening swims, more sitting and talking on the patio, more going to the movies on a Tuesday night, more chasing fireflies in the front yard…just more of all that. I’m not ready to run at a full gallop, I just want to trot along for a little while longer.

animal silhouette horizon horse

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

This is going to be an interesting year. My oldest is thinking about moving out and getting his own place (he’s 21, it’s time). He’s taking a year off from college to figure out if he wants to continue with his major or do something different. He was going to a small, local university (that’s why he still lives at home) but he felt like he was missing out on the college experience and he felt like he wasn’t learning what he needed to be learning. He’s got some big decisions to make. My middle daughter will be a senior in high school – a year that goes by really fast and tends to be really expensive. She’s so ready to be done with high school and I’m excited for her to go to college and meet new people and have new experiences. My youngest is starting 8th grade – the middle-est of the middle school years – and is a cheerleader and has more makeup and fashion sense than I’ll ever have in my whole life. So if everything goes according to plan, two of my kids will be moved out by this time next year and I’ll only have one baby bird still in my nest. I’m not sure how to feel about that.

bird egg single abandoned

Photo by nastya on Pexels.com

I just want summertime to last a little while longer. Just a little longer.

 

 

 

Hey Girl Hey!

What’s up? I’ve been sitting here at my computer for the last TWO FREAKING HOURS redesigning my blog. It needed a fresh new look, ya know? But here it is, nearly 20 minutes after my bedtime and I still need to load the dishwasher, set the coffeemaker, and get the clothes out of the dryer and yet, what am I doing? Posting on my fancy new blog. Kinda like how when you buy a new top and you want to wear it right away so you just rip off the tags and put it on and wear it without washing it first. Is that gross? My husband thinks that’s kinda gross but I figure, it’s new…so…it’s fiiiiine!

Anyway, just wanted to take my new layout for a spin to see how it looks. I might work out some more kinks tomorrow when I’m a little more rested, because now it’s a full half hour after my bedtime and I still have to do all of the above chores PLUS brush my teeth and take off my makeup.

*sigh*

I’m going to be ticked off at myself in the morning. Oh well, I’ll get over it.

Later taters.

Help me help you by telling me what to write.

My body and my brain are confused. With 4th of July being smack dab in the middle of the week, it creates a weird flow to the days. Tuesday felt like Friday, and today feels like a Monday, but it’s actually Thursday. When I had the day off yesterday, my body/brain felt like it was Saturday and couldn’t understand why I wanted it to go to bed at 10:00 last night. What a weird week. :/

Thanks to all of you who were so kind to send nice thoughts about my dad. He’s doing better – going to physical therapy a couple of times a week and he can now walk without the cane and his left hand is working a little better now. I don’t think he’ll ever be 100%, but he’s so lucky to be as well off as he is.

So you may have noticed my irregular posting lately (i.e. the last couple of years) and I think it’s because I just don’t know what to post. When I was writing about weight loss (or my lack thereof) it was easy – write about food, what not to eat, what I ate that I shouldn’t have eaten, what exercise I did, what exercise I didn’t do that I probably should have, weigh-ins, workouts, and whatnot… it felt easy and effortless. But now, I don’t know what to write about – I have no theme. When I wrote about self care and self esteem, it seemed as if no one was really interested in that – I heard a lot of crickets during that time in the way of feedback. And I feel like there are so many others out there who write about that stuff WAY better than I do, so I’ll just leave it up to them.

I mean, I can keep coming here once or twice a week and just opening my blog and writing whatever comes to mind, OR you can help me come up with some topics. Is there anything YOU think I should write about? Are there topics that you think “huh, I sure wish Jill would write about this, I’d love to get her take on it”? or should I just stick to plunking down my thoughts whenever the mood strikes (which apparently is only about once or twice a month). What say you? If you want to suggest a topic, my only request is that it not be political in any way, shape, or form. I do not do the political stuff AT ALL. There is so much of that out there right now by lots of folks who are more articulate than I, and really,  I just want my little corner of the internet to be a nice place to visit.

So here are a few topic ideas I’ve been rolling around in my head:

  • The Greatest Decade of Them All: The Eighties. All of my teenage years were in the 1980s so I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to those ten years. From toys to fashion – I was there and lived it (as did most of you since my demographic seems to be women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s).
  • Bad at Makeup: Wherein I might do a video (a la the young Youtubers of today) that shows how completely inept I am when it comes to applying makeup. Seriously guys, I’m just not good at it, but it might good for a laugh.
  • Plus size fashion: I buy clothes and show them to you. Wow! So innovative and original!!!
  • Veggie of the week: I pick something from my Harvest Bag and show you how I prepared it.
  • Book Club/Podcast review: I talk about what I’m reading and/or listening to
  • Healthy Living: what I’m doing now vs what I used to do (I’m slowly but surely putting forth more effort in this category), or things I’m learning to do better, etc.
  • Stuff about marriage and parenting teens, maybe? I don’t feel like there are as many resources about how to take care of your marriage in the later years, or how to parent teens and young adults. Not that I’m an expert, but maybe it would open a dialogue here and we can learn from each other.

So what do you think? Are you interested in reading about any of these topics/all of these topics/none of these topics? If you answered “none”, then what do you suggest? Seriously, I’m open to any reasonable suggestion.

Okay wow – 747 words already! How did I do that? Anyway, please chime in below in the comments and let me know what you want to see here at the ‘Pear. I don’t want to stop writing, but I’m having terrible writers block. Help me help myself!

C-Writer_s_Block_1024x1024

Maybe I just need vodka?  (source)

 

 

Know the signs of stroke. But also know the signs that might not be a stroke, but are probably (definitely) a stroke.

Well.

These last 2 weeks have been stressful and exhausting and frustrating, to say the least.

Early in the morning on June 2, I got a call from my mom saying that she thought my 79 year old Dad had a stroke. He had fallen that morning while working outside and was dizzy and having trouble walking. I took the news very well – I was very calm and dignified and stoic. (That is a total lie – I lost it and started crying hysterically. My husband had to take over things like dialing the phone and driving because I was FREAKING OUT.) We drove to my mom’s house, picked her up, then drove to the hospital where the ambulance had just delivered my dad to the ER.

The EMT who arrived at my parents’ house first, checked for signs of a stroke – had my Dad raise both arms (he did), had him answer basic questions (he passed, all without slurred speech), had him do basic fine motor skills test (he was able to count to 4 while touching his thumb to the tips of all four fingers on the same hand)…they determined that he probably had not had a stroke, he was most likely dehydrated.

At the hospital, they did labs and took his blood pressure and monitored his heart – all came back good (well his blood pressure was a little high, but not alarmingly so). They gave him 3 bags of fluids and he seemed to improve. I think he was still feeling a little dizzy, but he didn’t say so then. They agreed he was probably just dehydrated, and Dad said he was feeling better, so they sent him home with orders to follow up with his primary care physician. WHEW! Okay, cool. We can deal with dehydration. No problem!

But later that day, he wasn’t really any better. And the next day he was much, much worse.

Turns out, he’d had dizzy spells and fallen twice before in the previous week, but those  were minor compared to Saturday’s spell.

At that point we knew we weren’t dealing with just dehydration.

Fast forward 10 days later and we finally get an MRI which confirmed that he had 3 mini strokes and one larger one caused by a clogged blood vessel in the pons area of the brain.

So all those dizzy spells he was having were actually strokes. It played out like this: he would get dizzy, fall, have trouble walking for a bit, then it would all clear up and he would be fine. That last one though, he got really dizzy, passed out and fell, and then he stayed dizzy for quite a while. His speech didn’t get very slurry until later that Saturday night and into the next day. It was almost like a slow progressing stroke, if that’s such a thing.

His face never drooped on one side, he never lost complete feeling on one side of his body (his left hand and leg are just a little weaker than his right), he didn’t have a severe headache, he had no loss of vision in one eye, he was never confused…I mean those are the symptoms, right?

I take a CPR/First Aid course every year for work and those are the signs we’re told to look for. My dad didn’t really have any of the obvious signs but you would think that a hospital ER would know to look for this, right? Not necessarily:

Another alarming finding from the study was that across all ethnic and age groups on average, if you use an ER of a nonteaching hospital—that is, a hospital that is not connected to a medical college—you face rather high odds of having a stroke missed: 45%. And, worse, if you are in a low-volume ER—meaning one that doesn’t see very many patients compared with other hospitals—the odds of being misdiagnosed increase to 57%! The take-home message here is that, if at all possible, use a busy university hospital when you need to get to an ER.

(Source: David E. Newman-Toker, MD PhD, associate professor, department of neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. His study appeared in the journal Diagnosis.Date: June 30, 2014 Publication: Bottom Line Health)

The hospital we went to is in a very small town – it is definitely not a university teaching hospital and it is very low-volume.

So here’s the symptom that should have tipped us off: he got dizzy for a few minutes.

Um, what?

That’s right. Plain ol’ Dizziness. Out of the blue, unexplained dizziness was the only sign of the first mini stroke. He had been outside, looking up at something, and he got dizzy and fell. The dizziness went away after a few minutes, so he didn’t really think much of it, in fact, he didn’t even tell my mom about it until a week later, when he got dizzy and fell the second time. The next day though, when the dizziness came back again, it didn’t go away for several days.

That’s not to say that every time you get dizzy, it means you are having a stroke. But if it comes on suddenly and out of the blue (not as in if you were laying on the couch for 3 hours then stood up suddenly – that’s different) and you are at risk for a stroke, then call 911 and tell them to take you to the nearest university teaching hospital (if that’s a possibility).

My dad spent a couple of days in the hospital and is now on blood pressure medication, a blood thinner, a statin for cholesterol, and an aspirin, and will start physical therapy this week to help improve the weakness on his left side, his walking, and his speech. He has a good chance to make a full recovery if he does what he is supposed to –  I think he will because it really scared him. And the rest of us too.

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My Dad. 

 

 

 

 

 

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