Sunday, October 3, 2010

How do you spell STRESS?

Say what????????? Okay, I know I have gotten off track lately, but I didn't realize how off track until I weighed in last Monday (for the first time since mid-June)...

UP 6.9 lbs. Yes, you read that right. And after losing over 50 lbs. I'll be danged if I'm going to start going backwards and gain it all back. So it is once again time to buckle down and get serious. I'm going to be eating a lot less of...


...and this....

...and this... And a lot more of ...



... more of this,

... and this, so that I can look like this:

Okay, well that might be stretching it. I could eat the healthiest diet ever and workout 23 hours a day and NEVER look like that! Sophia Loren has been quoted as saying, "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti." She has said that she eats pasta every day. Every day! Apparently it goes to all the right places on Sophia...
If I were to eat pasta every day, this is where it would go on me...

Actually, these days I wouldn't even mind looking like Fiona!
I am a stress eater. Stress has been my middle name for a while now, and it's gotten worse over the summer... Stressing over finances, stressing over work, stressing over some personal issues, stressing over things that are out of my control and stressing over things that are in my control (like getting off my rear and getting to those WW weigh-ins!). There aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I am trying to do and a lack of sleep hasn't helped either...

These days, instead of my house looking like this...

... it's looking more like this (okay, slight exaggeration... but only slight)

I worry a lot about my dad, who is now 87; my dad who was always so strong and independent, and who always took care of his family. It is very stressful to be a part of the sandwich generation; to still be worrying about children (even if they are grown), and to also be worrying about an aging parent. I see my dad every day. Ever since he took ill last year, he has not been able to be left alone. So either my sister or myself are with him at all times. And even on the days when dad is not at my house to be watched, he is here for supper...

Ever since dad was ill last year, he has not been able to drive (not his choice). If he had his way, he would still be driving. We have taken his keys and it has not been an easy thing at times. He does not like being told what he can or cannot do, but for his own safety and for the safety of everyone else on the road, there is no way he can ever be allowed to drive again. But he does not understand and/or accept this. He will bring up driving and we will tell him why he can't. The next day he will bring it up again and not remember that we even talked about it the night before. And that is just the tip of the iceberg...

Independence and dignity feel like a thing of the past to him more and more. Other people are calling the shots, "No, you can't drive," "Yes, you do have to go to the doctor," "Yes, no, yes, no..." It is heartbreaking and it can also be very trying at times. I thank God that most of the time dad is resigned to the fact that this is the way it is now, and is very easygoing about everything. But on those occasions where there is no reasoning with him, it can be so difficult, for him, and for us... But mostly for him, and it truly breaks my heart.
I know some of you are going through very similar situations right now. I pray for all of us, that we have the patience and strength to kindly and lovingly deal with the people in our lives who
have had to relinquish so much of their independence. When my dad is having one of his difficult moments, I try to remember the following poem as it truly puts things into perspective:
When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

An Old Lady's Poem

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is missing a stocking or shoe.....
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill....
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten ... with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bride soon at twenty -- my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old woman ... and nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.
I think of the years .... all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer ... see ME!
I wish all of you patience and strength with any trials and tribulations you might be facing. And we must remember to take care of ourselves, something I lost sight of these past few months. So here's to getting back on track, regaining balance in life, and to patience, kindness, love, laughter, and always trying to retain a sense of humor, even when it seems that there is nothing to laugh about!


Unknown said...

Donna I feel for you, it is hard for the elderly to keep their independence, and resign themselves to getting old and being taken care of...
I love the poem, and hope you get back on track and look after yourself.Afterall, if you dont, who will take care of your dad!
I know what you mean with everything getting on top of you, sometimes we need to step back and rethink things through.

Lyn said...

That beautiful poem made me cry!
Your dad looks like such a character, I am sure he is very proud of his two caring girls.
Good luck with the WW and I am sure you will get the weight back down.

A New England Life said...

(((Hugs))) to you Donna. I know it's tough being in the sandwich generation.

When my mom was ill last year and I had to be there at every doctors appointment, help out with every meal, call all the time to see if she was okay or needed anything, and go grocery shopping. It was very stressful, especially considering I have my own teenage girls at home and a husband at work.

Thankfully your sister helps pick up the slack as my brothers never lifted a finger to help my parents. Still, when there is no end in sight, it has to be all that much more exhausting. Does he have a visiting nurse coming in? Or meals on wheels?

When my house is in in chaos I feel the same way inside.


Carol said...

Thank you for sharing what you are going through. My husband and I just moved closer to my parents because they are beginning to need a bit more help now. Not to the point yet of your dad, but definitely heading that way. It's sad to see the changes. My dad is also very independent - and stubborn - so I'm dreading when the time comes to tell him he should not be driving. (Oh, and I'm a stress eater too, so I understand that also.)

miruku said...

Hi Donna,
I thought your post was funny until i read down and all. Feel sorry about your stress. I work in an old folks' centre and i see many old folks everyday. Some feel helplessness and i really feel sorry for them. I hope the love we give to them will make them feel better.

Claudia said...

Oh, Donna, stress does indeed take its toll. I'm a stress eater, too. Both Don and I have been eating too many sweets and with winter coming, we have to be careful. Your devotion to your dad is truly wonderful.I know how hard it must be and share your worries about finances and family. Take care of yourself. You do have to put yourself first or you will be no good to everyone else who needs you.

My thoughts are with you, my friend.
(By the way, I like the new look of the blog.)


La Petite Gallery said...

Oh how I wish you would post menus to lose weight. I have to lose 15 lbs by Dec 1st. I am up alnight thinking what I could eat. I try to have dinner about 4pm.
Great post.


Donna said...

I will be keeping your dad and you in my prayers. It has to be a difficult thing, so see the downward progression and being a constant caretaker.

I love the sound of hope in your last paragraph. You have to have faith that you can get through this difficult time and that you can find the everyday joys that are sometimes difficult to see.

Susan said...

Oh boy, Donna. I can TRULY identify. My Mom was with us the last couple years of her life and it was H-A-R-D. But there is not one moment of regret because I did the very best I could for her, poor little dear.

Keep just loving your Dad. You will never regret one second of time you spend with him.

Also, regarding being a stress eater, you're looking at one! It's SO HARD to change habits of a lifetime. But I've never stopped giving up. I've relapsed, too, and gained MOST of the weight back that I lost but I'm not done. I'll keep working on it until I die. Take care and hope you are having a peaceful Sunday. Susan

Heaven's Walk said...

You poor girl, you. I so feel for you, sweetie. I know how difficult it is to care for an elderly parent. My hubby and I went through that all last year with his 94 y/o mother. But when we look back on that year, we wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world. It was such a treasured time we shared with her. Keep your chin up. I'll be praying for strength and support for you with not only your dad, but your diet too. (I've got 20 to lose....).

Hugs ~ xoxo laurie

Jean Tuthill said...

Hi Donna, it seems like you are back on track. I loved the poem, my Mom is starting to fail, too, so I can understand where you are coming from. I am away from the family, so I'm not able to help, but I do call her a lot and keep in close touch with my siblings. She just had a blood clot in her leg, so that was a real scare. They took care of us for so many years and now it's our turn to return the care of them. Take care, my friend, prayers help, too.

MelMel said...

All so very true, Olly's Grandfather has Parkinsons and dementia, we are trying to help as much as possible, but its so sad, so bewildering for the person who has the difficulties regarding their health, you're so right when you say we should make the most of every day that we are able body.

Anonymous said...

Blessing to you & your father! Taking care of yourself only strengthens what you can do for him. Love the pictures of him with nature. Gorgeous. About your weight loss, we all slip a bit now and then. I know in 30 days I packed on 35lbs taking prednisone. It's been a year trying to get it all off. I'm a few pounds away now. Hardest weight I've ever had to get rid of in my life. Oy. Best of luck with your "buckeling down"! Tammy

*Ulrike* said...

It is so easy to put it on, and so hard to take it off!
Loved the poem, and how true it is. My grandmother turned 93 yesterday, she had 9 children, one passed away, and now she has to watch my father slowly passing. It is hard, I know what you are going through in a way, it is different for all of us. Just remember he loves you for what you are doing, even when they don't show it!
Take Care,

Brenda Pruitt said...

Donna, I cried upon reading the poem. To think that it just went unread until she was tragic. I know you and Claudia are both going through this. I know it must bring oodles of stress that is overwhelming. Hugs to you both.

Catsngrams said...

Donna you are an angel. What a lovely poem. My mother and father are both gone now and there is not a day that does not go by that I wish I had them at my side no matter what. God bless you and your dear dad too.

La Petite Gallery said...

Donna, The Poem was lovely, Thanks for the great comment. I have to lose the weight and for some reason I have been craving sweets. Never before, have I been into sweets. Maybe old age and I am on chantix for the third time to stop smoking. Very hard to eat right all day and blow it on 2 browines.


Christmas-etc... said...

You are such a lovely and honest lady. A real joy to have "met" you! Your truth about your weight, your day, stress everything. The bottom line, life can be hard at times but then, just one look in all those lovely animals of yours (both past and present) and life is good!
Thanks for sharing,
ps My dear Harry dog just past away this summer (you can see a photo of him under personal on my blog)... such a love, but then, aren't they all!

C. said...

Thank you for the Old Lady Poem.

I am now the sole caregiver for my 87 year old Mother.
She is dealing with moderate Alzheimer's Disease.
This poem helped me stop and reflect back to how her life used to be.
This helped me look at her in a new light and realize what a strong woman she was.
As some of the memories of her hardships fade, I gently try to remind her of the joys of her past.
Thank you for helping me see her again.

Southern Lady said...

Oh, Donna, my prayers are with you. I have not yet had to deal with an aging parent, but I know that time will be here before I know it. The poem was beautiful... I think everyone should read it. I am praying for you and your family as you care for your sweet father. Carla

Celia said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you.....I went through the same thing with my is very hard to see the man that took care of you and protected you.....become a man that needs you to take care of him.....and it's hard for him too....I know it was hard for my go from being so independent to needing everyone's help for everything. I lost my Dad two years ago....and I miss him each and every day.