26 February, 2011

Update

Still in the hospital. Still in ICU. Have been here most of the day every day since we've been here. Grandpa is still cognizant, but is exponentially more tired than that first day we spent with him. His doctor told us they have done all that they are able to do for him, so he will be moved to palliative care sometime this afternoon. They stopped giving him one of his medications, which is what, I believe, lead to the increased fatigue. His blood pressure is very low, and he is still relying on the oxygen for respiration. He has been experiencing some anxiety, especially in the evenings, so has been receiving percoset and morphine most nights. He is still getting a great many visitors, which he likes, so long as we don't pester him too much. I have to leave tomorrow morning to make it back to NC for a continuing education class on Sunday, and client appointments during this week. Then I hope to come back on Friday. It will be very hard for me to leave his side, but emotions are running pretty high here, so it will be a nice rest for me to have some alone time. Everyone (myself included) is trying to help in any way we can (whether it's actually helpful for us to do so or not), and we are all trying to stay cheerful. Our family isn't really one that talks about our feelings very openly. That's always been difficult for me as I am one who really needs to discuss those things. I guess that's one reason I excused myself to come write this blog entry.

On the plus side, I have been able to contribute to my grandfather's comfort at least a little. I did help with the first in-bed face-shaving experiment ... though, my cousin fired me and took over that job. But I have been able to help alleviate some discomfort with some light massage work to grandpa's back, neck, shoulders and feet. I can't really do much for his legs due to his excessive edema (swelling), but I was able to help him move them up and down a little since they are too heavy for him to lift on his own. I was glad to be able to do that for him. And it's been really nice to have this time to spend with him while he is still awake and aware. I am not sure how many of those days are left. We don't really know what will happen next. I just hope that grandpa will have as much dignity and as little pain as possible whatever happens.

Thanks for reading, and allowing me to just hash some of this stuff out a little. I hope that it makes sense. My brain is a little fuzzy with all this emotional load swirling and twirling about inside. And yesterday was the 8 year anniversary of my grandma's death, so it was especially difficult. Please keep sending any good vibes that you can spare. Namaste.

23 February, 2011

Family Matters

Yesterday my family and I had to unexpectedly drop everything and travel to Kentucky.

My grandfather just recently had a surgery to implant a pacemaker, and was in the process of recovering when his cardiorespiratory cavity filled with fluid, causing his kidneys to fail, which caused his heart to go wonky. My uncle called my mother telling her we better get to the hospital while we could, because they didn't think my grandfather was going to be with us much longer. So, grieving and rushed, we threw some things in bags, canceled all appointments for the day, found last minute pet care and were on our way in our two car caravan.

Once en route, we got the somewhat heartening news that the doctors had managed to jump start grandpa's heart, as well as regulate his kidney function. That definitely made the drive a little less stressful. We got in last night around 10:00pm or so, and went directly to the hospital. We were able to go visit him in the ICU. My uncle was still there. My grandfather was doing better, and was even awake and able to talk with us, but he is still in pretty critical condition. We only stayed about an hour so as not to tire him out too much.

This morning, after breakfast, we came back over, and have been here ever since. Grandpa's still holding his own today. He's very swollen, and is on oxygen and who knows what medications, but he's cognizant and is able to carry on conversations with us. I honestly don't know how he has the energy to entertain our motley crew in his state. We all, as good Southerners, are trying to help him so much that we are likely just keeping him from getting some much needed rest. He's sleeping right now, though. I stayed in the room with him while the rest of the gang went down to the cafeteria. (I brought my lunch.) So, I sat here reading my PT book, and when I got too sleepy to do that, I got out the laptop and started typing this.

Mom came in for a few moments, but with no helpful chores to do for her sleeping dad, found herself staring at the machine that runs the vital statistics. Any blink, beep or change in the numbers was causing her to freak out, so she decided she would go wait with the others in the waiting lounge.

The pastor of grandpa's church just came in, and while I'm sure he meant well, he roused my grandpa from his rest, which I think is pretty crummy. They are carrying on a conversation now. So, I guess I will wrap this up and join in the chatter.

If you have any spare mojo or good healing vibes that you can send our way, we would be most appreciative. Thanks, in advance. I'll let you know what happens as I learn more.

20 February, 2011

Pins and Needles and Bodies in Motion

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful! 76 degrees and sunny! I am so ready for full-time Spring. I had a great day. After teaching my yoga class at the YMCA, I stayed to do my toning and stretching workouts. Then I went to the East Campus (Duke) loop for a jog in the delicious weather. As I was getting in the car following the jog, I received a voice mail from the acupuncturist's office letting me know that there was a cancelation. I would not have to wait another two weeks for my appointment, after all! So, I went home, tidied myself up, ran a few errands, and arrived at the acupuncturist's office. I hadn't realized it until I called to make the appointment, but I hadn't been to see her since 2007. Crazy. It was so wonderful to be back there. Toby Helmstetter is my acupuncturist. She is one of the founders of Triangle Acupuncture Clinic. She is brilliant ... a true healer. And she's really approachable and down to earth, so it's very easy for me to open up to her about things that might be going on in my body. I absolutely adore her. (If you are looking for an acupuncturist in the Triangle (NC) area, you should definitely contact her. She has offices in Chapel Hill and Cary. www.triangleacupunctureclinic.com) My appointment was lovely, as always. Toby was so supportive of the life changes I'm making, and she even commented on how my spirit seemed totally changed (in a positive way). We did a treatment to help support the detoxifying process that my body is undergoing, with some added points for opening the sinuses and sense orifices and points for nurturing and aiding in transformational processes. It felt great. It's always so relaxing for me to receive acupuncture work.

After my appointment I was supposed to go to my friend's house for a girl's night. I drove out to Durham, and knocked on the door, only to discover that she was sick and had canceled. (Apparently, she sent an email earlier in the day, but I hadn't been home to check my email.) So, I drove back home, had my dinner, did some personal training studying, and went to bed pretty early.

OH! That reminds me: Toby said that my lucid dreaming is likely part of my detoxification process, which makes sense considering I've been dreaming a lot about past people and events, and breaking away from those. Although, last night, among the dream of being in school with some of the girls from my [actual] high school experience, James Franco made a cameo appearance. It was dreamy (pun not intended). Unfortunately, his cameo was a little more fleeting than I would have liked. But, at least he showed up at all! That was certainly a pleasant treat. Mr. Franco, should you ever read this: You are welcome in my dreams ANYTIME!

That's all to report for now. I'm off to do more studying. I've gotten a little bit behind, and plan to spend today doing lots of catch up. Hope you enjoy your Saturday!

17 February, 2011

Sell Out

Oh, in case some of you are wondering why there are ads on my blog now, it's because I'm selling out a little to try to pimp myself out more. Just a way to increase traffic and create some potential revenue. Please forgive ...

Here's The Video!

video

Once again, I'd like to remind you to please not make any harsh judgments on the poor quality of this video. Think of it as the rough cut ... the VERY rushed spur-of-the-moment rough cut. (Ms. Lowe: I'm talking to you ... please don't judge my abilities on this one example!) And, as always, I appreciate any comments/feedback. Enjoy!

Fitness, Progress, and Video

Well, I don't know where you are, but here it has been getting a little warmer during the days. It's a delicious little teaser for Spring. Friday is forecasted to be 74 degrees! Woo Hoo!

So, February has turned out to be a deceptively busy month for me. I'm not sure why, but there seems to be a lot of kinetic energy abounding ... though it does seem to be pretty disorganized energy for all its busyness. After FINALLY recovering from all my bed-confining illnesses, I have been able to get back to the gym (and, occasionally, outside!) for my workouts. I actually missed doing them during my convalescence. Who'd have guessed? I even have a pretty steady routine down now. I'm going at least every other day, and including toning work, cardio and stretching with each session. I try to throw in a little sauna time when I can, too. Good stuff.

I've also been continuing to change my dietary habits. This has always been an area of big challenge for me. I love food. I love sugar. I love bacon. I am a snacky style eater. In fact, I graze ... all day long. At least, that's been my tendency in the past. Now, I am trying to cut severely cut sugar from my diet. I am only eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. I am eating these in five small meals a day. (Well, I must confess that my last meal of the day can become a little drawn out still, but I'm working on it.) Then, the way I manage to stay sane through all of this change, is by following Jackie Warner's plan of eating cheat meals on the weekend. I get one meal on Saturday and one meal on Sunday where I can consume what I want. It's when I can embrace all of those long-loved goodies that I say "no" to all week. Which usually means that it's when I get to have chocolate and booze. And sometimes bacon. Yum. Now I want chocolate, booze, and bacon. And it's only Wednesday. Bummer.

All this new physical activity, coupled with my new dietary habits, have my body shifting and contorting into a detoxing machine. It's all very necessary, and very good, but it's not always enjoyable for myself or others. I'm producing excess ear wax, so my ears feel plugged up and sometimes filled with sloshy water. That makes hearing and balancing fun. My skin in breaking out in these little tiny bumps. They aren't terribly noticeable to the casual observer, thank goodness, but I notice them. Then there's the sweating and the smelly aftereffects of the sweating ... which often happens even if I haven't been hot or doing a lot of movement. My body seems to be performing its own kind of exorcism. I'm glad it's happening, but I'll be glad when it's over, too. And if I happen to be around you sometime soon, I'm sorry if I am a sweaty, smelly, bumpy, ear waxy mess. (And for you delicate types out there, I apologize for the graphic update, but that's just how I roll.)

On the more personal side, I have been reflecting more on my attachments to my material possessions. I'm finding myself more and more eager to part with more of my 'stuff'. (Of course, that will happen next month as I sort through my storage units.) I have been having a great many strange and vivid dreams. Some even about people from my past trying to bury me alive ... which seems like it would be really scary, but wasn't so much in my dream. I'm thinking it's some sort of image play on my rebirthing myself into a new woman and making peace with my past and such. I have been reflecting a lot on my inner experience versus my outer reality. I have always had a very rich inner life, and looking back, I am realizing just how ridiculously incongruous my inner understanding of myself has been when compared to the way I have been perceived by the outside world. Yes, it's very heavy stuff, but I am sitting with it for now. As it marinates and percolates, I suspect some great wisdom will leak out of the vapors.

I'm going to have to leave soon to make my dinner date, but I'll give you the briefest of updates on some progress I've made lately: I mailed off my tax returns today. I also mailed out my passport renewal application. I am more than halfway through the personal trainer study guide book. And I even managed to make a little video of Rosy the Argosy for you all to see what she looks like. Please forgive the terrible quality of the video. First of all, I don't really know what I'm doing with video (YET!), and secondly, I was in a hurry, so it's a rush job ... a quick and dirty tour, if you will. Let me know what you think!

And, lastly, I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Joseph Campbell: "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us!"

Happy Day!

PS: Am having difficulty getting video on here. Will work on this and post when I can. :(

07 February, 2011

Sick Days, Studies, and Shoot 'Em Ups

Well, the plans are progressing along nicely. It's been a challenging past couple weeks, but all is still in good shape. The biggest unexpected challenge was the illness that landed me in bed for an entire week last week. I haven't been in such a state in years! In fact, I cannot even remember a time when I was rendered useless for so long at once. But, I feel like it was necessary, in some way, to release the demons lurking within. It's as if I'm continually rebirthing in preparation for this next new phase of my life. It may be difficult, but it feels so very worth it and so very exactly as it should be. I did manage to get all my tax information to my accountant by my stipulated deadline. That was good. And I'm getting enough of a refund to take care of most of my estimated taxes for the coming year, so that all worked out quite nicely. (And a big shout out to my amazing accountant! Woo Hoo!) I'm now working on the studying and preparing for my personal training certification test. I am happy to do it, and I always enjoy learning about the body and its many amazing mechanisms, but I do rue the fact that this book I have to study is so poorly written. And so much of the information I have to learn is really unnecessary and tedious, which makes it hard for me to get excited about my studies. Oh well. I will do them anyway, and, if I stay on track, it will all be over by month's end. It will be nice to get that test behind me, and to be able to start getting some real experience with this new aspect of bodywork before my travels begin.

One really fun thing that happened recently was the handgun class that my dad and sister and I took this past Friday night. We first had the introductory safety and informational lecture regarding handguns. This was interesting in itself. But, it got really fun after the lecture when we all went into the shooting range to practice firing the guns. We got to practice with a variety of 9 millimeters and revolvers (including a 357 magnum and a sweet little 38 special, which I especially liked.) I had such a great time, and was happy to discover that I am a pretty decent shot with a handgun. I felt just like Lara Croft, but without the skin tight outfit, perfectly coiffed hair and cutting edge techie toys. I hope to get out to the firing range again soon to do some more practicing. (If any of you are interested in joining me, just let me know. I'd love some company!)

Spending so much time in bed lately has allowed me to start doing some research on my travel plans. I am still only in the beginning stages of planning, but it already is making the plan seem so much more real. I can now really start to see things coming together. It's as if it is no longer a remote fantasy, but is cementing into a definite reality. And the more planning I do, the less opportunity I will have to chicken out. I am also trying to arrange my travels with the idea of getting some professional training along the way. Already I have found a great massage school in Chiang Mai, Thailand that specializes in teaching Nuad Boran (Thai massage). They teach in English, and are accredited by the NCBTMB, which means that the hours of training will count toward my licensure requirements. I've also found a couple of places within walking distance of the school where I could stay on a monthly basis for a very affordable price. Things are really starting to take shape. Next, I'm going to try to find a good massage school in Bali where I can learn traditional Balinese healing techniques. Then more research after that to try to figure out the best months to go to each of the places I'd like to visit. (This, of course, leads to an almost never-ending list of places I want to visit, and quandaries of how many I should try to see this first trip, or if this first trip will even have a finite destination at all.) So, if you have any recommendations of places you think I should definitely see on this trip - especially places around the area of Micronesia, then I would love to hear about them. I'm also planning to do research on special events or celebrations or landmarks that would be worth seeing while I'm journeying. I'm having a sneaking suspicion that I may just end up like Rita Golden Gelman, the famous Female Nomad. I mean, really, who needs a home with so much world to explore?

On a final note ... I would be so happy to share my travels with friends. If any of you would like to arrange to share a certain leg of my travels with me at any time, please let me know. I am hoping to make a general plan of where I'd like to go, with the firm expectation that I will throw that plan to the wind the moment an interesting alternative arises. A meet up with a sister or fellow traveler would definitely qualify on this count. So .. hollah if you wanna meet up and explore somewhere together!

Well, that's all I have time for tonight. More to come soon, I hope. Have a very pleasant evening!