I have a guilty pleasure when it comes to television… True crime shows! I find them fascinating for one simple reason. As Mark Twain said, “truth is stranger than fiction.” Watching these shows, I realize just how very true that is. I could not possibly make up some of the stories I’ve seen profiled on these shows. (Maybe all that proves is I should stick to being a nurse and not a novelist.) At work I also get to see this statement proved correct. A few coworkers and I were recently discussing the fact that if the general public was told some of the stories about what we see and do and hear in a shift, they would think we were making it up. Things patients do and say are sometimes almost unbelievable, and probably wouldn’t be believed by the general public. There happen to be some pretty significant laws in place to protect patient privacy that prevent us from sharing these stories, but trust me when I say these stories are sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, and always interesting. Just one more thing I love about being a nurse! There is truly never a dull moment.
Oliver meows like he’s going to visit an executioner when I have to take him to the vet… or to the groomer. But every single vet or groomer visit, they tell me what a well behaved cat he is for them. Once his vet called him her best behaved patient all day. The office vet tech tells me “We love him here.” What’s puzzling about that is he is NOT as well behaved at home. Nope. Recently I had to give him a pill a day for a month. I lived with scratches on my hands and forearms for a month straight. Try to trim his claws? He cries and fights and acts like I’m trying to torture him. So why, exactly, is he so well behaved for others? At his last vet visit, his vet and I discussed that. My theory is that it’s similar to the concept that toddlers will act up for mom and dad more so than for other people caring for them because mom and dad are “safe.” (I know that’s a huge generalization, but let’s just go with it…) They can act up and know that mom and dad will still love them. Could he know I offer him safety and he can act up with me and I’ll still love him? Or am I giving a cat far too much credit? Hard to know for sure, of course, but his vet thought I might be onto something.
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I’ve recently started taking piano lessons. How I came to start them is a story in itself. I was just having a casual conversation with a friend who is a musician. I mentioned that one instrument I’ve always wanted to learn to play is the piano. I said maybe someday I’ll treat myself to lessons. The friend responded with the questions “Why someday? What are you waiting for?” I didn’t have a good answer, so… Here I am taking lessons! But what I really meant to discuss in this post is my piano tutor. He’s a very effective teacher for two key reasons. First of all, he’s very patient. But the other reason is that he gives a very good blend of positive reinforcement and specific constructive criticism. He gives a very even mix of the two. For every compliment, I get told a very clear area to work on improving. It is just such a pleasure to learn from someone who is so effective at teaching. Given the fact I found this tutor by answering an ad on craigslist, I really lucked out.
So, it’s been 7 months now since my diagnosis. And boy, has my life changed. But for the better. Absolutely for the better. I’m healthier and stronger feeling than I’ve been in years. I’m down to a weight I haven’t been in eight years, at least. I can’t seem to stop bragging to my friends and family about my weight loss. I’ve lost 40 lbs and am only 2 lbs away from my BMI going down from the “obese” category to the “overweight” category. I do still have about 30 to 35 more lbs to lose, but since I’m already over halfway there the rest is all downhill from here. That does not mean I’m getting complacent at all. I’m eating better than ever and doing great with my regular exercise. In fact, this week I increased my number of workouts from 4 days to 5. I whine a bit (ok, a lot) and drag my feet about working out, but I’m always so glad when I do it… It just feels so good afterwards! Sure, my main reason for doing it is to make those insulin receptors more sensitive and help control my blood sugar. But the fact I’m losing a decent amount of weight while I’m at it is certainly a nice bonus. My blood sugars have been in great control and at my last doctor’s appointment she even let me cut back my oral diabetic med from twice a day to once. I’m feeling pretty confident right now about my health, my body, and my ability to stay on top of this disease. That doesn’t mean I’m going to get lazy about it. I know I need to work hard every minute of every day to stay on top of it. But I’m feeling like it is doable. I can do this! I may not want to, but I can. And it turns out that this nasty disease has actually been a blessing in disguise. Without it, who knows when I would have found the motivation I needed to make the lifestyle changes I needed to.
If it’s possible to have a perfect day, today has been one. In so many ways and on so many levels. Where to start? I went hiking this morning up a butte near my house. It’s about 2,500 feet high and really beautiful. A year .. and 35 lbs… ago I attempted this butte and made it halfway up before I had turn around and come back down because I was too short of breath to continue. Today I went 3/4 of the way up before I chickened out and turned around and came back down because the trail was too muddy. It’s a very steep trail. But 3/4 of the way up I wasn’t short of breath at all! What an improvement over a year ago. And then the sun continued to shine instead of the rain starting which had been forecasted. And I found some new sweats that are ridiculously soft and comfortable. And I’ve been eating good food choices all day … which has kept my blood sugar absolutely perfect all day long. This evening I’m going to hang out with my oldest niece. That should be a fabulous way to end a perfect day. I’m just feeling so happy and healthy today that I wanted to share that. :)
So, several people at work who see me frequently have mentioned I really look like I’ve lost a lot of weight. Always nice to hear, of course. And a few weeks ago I did go buy some new scrubs for work in 2 sizes smaller than I was wearing. That felt amazing. I called my mom as I was walking out of the store and I was giggling in delight as I told her about it. The last time I weighed myself a few days ago I’m down 33 pounds since my initial diagnosis of diabetes on November 3rd… so in not quite 5 months. I’m only 4′ 10″ so that 33 pounds really does make a difference. I went through my closet this evening and realized that practically none of my clothes fit me anymore! Except for the scrubs I bought for work recently, all of my clothes are TOO BIG! It feels absolutely wonderful to see the weight loss in real terms. Since I see myself in the mirror every day, it’s hard to see it come off slowly. But now that it’s enough to notice and to have my clothes not fit, it feels terrific! I’m even considering having my picture re-taken for my name badge at work… I have about another 30 pounds to lose so I don’t want to go spend a lot of money on clothes that aren’t going to fit me in another 5 months or so. So I’m thinking over the next few days off work I will go make the rounds of second-hand stores in town. I expect to have to dig through a lot of stuff I would never wear but I should be able to find some great deals, too. This is fun! And it’s amazing how good I feel. My energy level is better than ever and I feel healthy and am sleeping well and just feel good. I like this feeling and plan to keep doing the right things to keep feeling this way. I’m feeling very motivated at the moment. :)
This is my sweet Oliver boy doing what he does best… sneaking a nap on my bed. :) He seems to think it’s as comfortable as I do.
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There are several (and I do mean SEVERAL) wild turkeys in my back yard… and neighborhood. They don’t seem to be scared of anything. The other day I was out walking and came across this trio of turkeys meandering across the street. I had to laugh and grab a few shots of them. Enjoy!
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This handsome boy is Oliver. I adopted him a few months ago. He was rescued as a very tiny kitten by a nice family who had several other critters in the house. He apparently never did learn to get along with the other cats in the household, so his humans thought it better for all the cats involved for him to come to a home where he’s the only cat. He’s a sweet boy and I love him. But he definitely exhibits typical cat behavior. One minute he’s cuddling and purring on my lap and the next he’s racing around the house like a mad man for no apparent reason. You know, typical cat stuff.
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I received an interesting and exciting e-mail today. I have been invited to go along to either Guatemala or Chile this coming fall on a mission trip. There were two co-leaders for the team on my last trip to Guatemala in October. They are each separately leading teams at about the same time this year and I’ve been invited to join either one of them. I definitely want to go, but need to give some thought to which team I’d rather join. On the one hand, I have been to Guatemala three times now and fallen in love with the country and the people and the culture. But on the other hand, I have been there three times already and it might be a nice change to visit a different country this time and see a different culture. And I did have a slightly better rapport with one of the team leaders than the other… but I admired and respected both of them and I’m confident I’d have a wonderful experience with either one. So that’s not really a factor in my decision. I suppose I’ll get started doing some research into which country might be the safer of the two to visit. But I’m not sure it will be a big enough difference in the two to sway my decision. This may end up being a difficult decision to make. But I’m blessed to be in a position where I have a decision like this to make. :)