Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting healthy, and loving that spring is here!

In the past five weeks, I've been spending alot of time on my own - this has benefits - allowing me time to think, and read, and walk outdoors.
I have been sick with the bug, commonly known as c. difficle, which can overtake one's gastrointestinal tract, as the result of taking certain antibiotics. After three visits to the emergency department of my hospital, I met a wonderful specialist, who put me on a new medication, and admitted me to the hospital for several days. I am so grateful for him and the amazing nurses who cared for me, and got me back on my feet to being better.

I've been off work since then until we can be sure I don't pose a risk to passing the bug onto anyone else.

So, what does one do, once beginning to feel healthy, but  needing to keep alone - to try  using the time in a meaningful way?

My son, Paul , noticed I was feeling down for a couple of days after first coming home - I had started reading some information about this medical condition on Google, and alot of it was quite negative. Paul and I chatted about this casually in the car, one day, and we both agreed that there is a possibility, that most of the people who might choose to post on these sites, are those who are having more difficulties and adverse experiences with the treatment - that there well may be more people who have been successfully treated, but they tend not to write about this. And as well, Paul tactfully pointed out that a negative mood may prevent one from recovering - that those with a more positive frame of mind would possibly recover more quickly.

So, that afternoon, I decided that walking outdoors every day, and really breathing would be a good first step. I would hold positive thoughts such as trust in the doctor, and the treatment, belief in my body's ability to bounce back - at least this would be more uplifting then dwelling on possible failure.

I started to watch one movie an evening -  and I began to watch movies I owned, and knew would be uplifting or distracting - Mama Mia!, which has so much to like in it - the scenery, the music, the comedy - Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth.The next evening was Apollo 13, which I have always liked for the story; all around amazing acting - Tom Hanks; and the historical significance. I haven't watched a movie every evening, but those first few days, I found watching got my mind off me.

I AM a reader, and as Paul is too, he next suggested I read Always Looking Up, by Michael J. Fox - and this certainly did help me - just reading of what this funny, down to earth man has overcome, and overcomes every day, and how he's worked for his cause, and his beautiful family, as well as his reflections on faith and hope.I enjoy biographies and autobiographies always, and always enjoy when photos are included, and there are some lovely pictures of Michael's family.

I feel a connection to this actor, as Paul, my son watched, Family Ties reruns every day after school, before I got home from work, and I always felt he was getting a healthy dose of humour, and it certainly wouldn't hurt him to watch it. (He also would watch The Cosby Show.) Further, Michael's character, Alex P. Keaton, from Family Ties, always brought to mind for me my youger brother, Jeff, who seemed to have been cut of the same cloth in his adolescence.

 Michael  grew up in Canada, in a relatively large family, and seems to have kept close to his roots, and family. I feel he is a  genuinely good person, and a family man, and that is very refreshing.

Next, once my appetite returned, I began to think about how I eat, I've started to experiment with soy milk,
and preparing healthy vegetarian meals.When I first came home, I read this book thoroughly from cover to cover.A good friend, Geraldine Hartman created this lovely book - and there are many temping recipes, I plan to try.

Last evening I made from this book, Traditional Irish Potato Soup, and Savory cheddar Cheese Muffins - and they turned out good! Although, I'm choosing not to eat meat, I'm eating eggs, and cheese, as well as fish, and seafood, as I'm not sure if I have the knowledge yet, to be sure I can cover all the bases, without, these sources of protein.

I purchased this cookbook from Geraldine last year for myself, as well as one for a friend, and I'm so glad that I did. Just reading her recipes, and looking at the attractive photographs of the dishes, really helped me to get an appetite back.

Her book, Not Just for Vegetarians - Delicious Homestyle Cooking, the Meatless Way, can be ordered over at her blog, Veggie's, Yarns, and Tails. Go over and visit, and I know you'll enjoy your experience!

Being at home most of the day, has allowed me to get to know the cats much better than I think I had before.What do Herbert and Arthur do all day?

Here is an interesting shot - Herbert was staring intently at the computer screen, as a c.d. was playing along with a slide show. Yes, Mr. Chedder - Herbert seems to have been grooving to the music of Matt Dusk.When I attempted to get a picture of Herb staring straight at the screen, in total concentration, he objected, and turned to glare at me. He soon jumped down, and pretended to have nothing to do with the music at all.

I received this c.d. as a birthday gift, this past week (my birthday is abit earlier in April), and I am thoroughly enjoying his music. My favourites are On the Street Where You Live, (a tune from My Fair Lady), and More. This very young singer has a very accomplished style in the Big Band tradition, which makes him very unique, and he's definitely made this music his own as well. I've been listening to this, and have found myself dancing in the kitchen, and singing along, which has to be good for my health!!

Now, back to what the cats seem to do all day - they like to wake up at 4:00 A.M., and have breakfast, and then once they've eaten, and I can't return to sleep, and so have started my day, they then curl up on my bed, or the couch, and have a long nap.At least the sun is up, and the birds are singing.

Later, the cats might move from one comfortable place to another and nap.

Herbert likes to come and lay on my right arm if I am typing on the computer.

And they engage in very interesting varieties of play. Body language is used very skillfully by both, and it is quite mesmerizing to watch.

Herbert is quite often the instigator - here he is standing in an invitation - "Ready to play - tough guy?"

Here it is easy to see Herberts greater size to Arthur.

First point of contact, and Arthur is no pushover.

More posturing here by Herbert, and Arthur seems to follow the way of judo, to play from a point of weakness. He certainly has no fear of his older, quite benign companion.

Here, Herbert has noticed that I am pointing the camera at him. Shortly after, the two went their separate ways.

I have enjoyed writing and sharing here once again. Really, I felt it might be a good outlet for me - lately I think I may have been wearing my son down, with all my opinions and observations on this and that.

So, I believe I may find myself posting here now and then. If you choose to read along that will be a bonus for me!

I have been following along with many blogs, and just in the past few days, have begun to comment, and really, it is a joy, to follow others, and feel connected to the amazing, creative, and talented world of so many bloggers.

. There is so much to enjoy, and experience in our world. Let's hope and believe in our fellow human beings, and ourselves, to find solutions and resolutions that will heal our earth, and especially to find peaceful solutions in  the troubled  countries of our planet.

This is Paul's coffee mug.The design and slogan is based on a poster used by the British Ministry of Information, during WWII.  It somehow fits with my son's personal philosophy. He has been a stalwart  in the past 5 weeks, while at the same time writing exams, and finishing the last semester of his teaching degree.
The kindness of friends; the love of my son; the love of my cats; :) the use of inspirational reading; the entertainment of movies; fresh air, and walking; listening to good music, and dancing and singing along; and good food; and the skilled medical intervention of a wonderful doctor- have added up to a renewed sense of well being, and health.

I know that I am one of the fortunate ones, to live in North America with peace, and access to clean water, ample food; and fine medical care. I plan to try to give back as soon as possible - I know that there are several organizations which provide funding for simple kinds of medical care in the developing world, such as anti-diarrhea medicines, and tablets for water purification, and as well programs which build wells for clean water - so this I believe will be one thing I can do to give back for my good fortune, and to people who don't have the access to what I do living in North America. It's a small thing, but still a start

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead, and thanks for reading here!


Teri Casper said...

Brenda, your delightful post has absolutely made my day! It's as though you have been renewed and refreshed.
Between Paul's wisdom and support and the cat's love you are a new person. I am so thrilled for you!!!!!!!

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Thanks for reading here!
Thank you for your kind comment!!!

BTW, I am editing this post to take out my reference to the movie "Somewhere". I absolutely would not recommend it - with Elle Fanning in it, I presumed it would have been a family, feel good movie, but it was horrible, in my view - boring at the best, and quite obscene, in the sections without this young girl, and I stopped watching it after 15 minutes.Really 15 minutes too long.

Wishing you a great Sunday, and week ahead!

Anyways, to

Geraldine said...

Thanks for the kind words about my cookbook Brenda. I'm so glad you've been inspired to try some new recipes. Eating well is a big part of getting better, so true.

It's great to read a post from you again. You've certainly had your ups and downs in the past few weeks. I'm sorry for all the health issues you've been through but so glad you are on the mend. And also, that your time off has been restful and rejuventating.

We had a good LOL, watching Herbert listen to Matt Dusk. Mr. Cheddar was rather impressed too. He also appreciated what you said about his first book review.

Re: vacuuming cats! Yes, I know several cats who like to be "hosed" I've even seen it. It's rather funny and I don't think it's harmful or anything like that, if done gently and the cats like it. Maybe you can share a pic or short video sometime when you do that with your kitties.

Have a wonderful week and keep getting better, G

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Hi, there, Geraldine!
I'm glad the Chedster enjoyed the pic of Herbert grooving to Matt Dusk, I was totally surprised as he sure did seem to be taking it all in, although he was miffed with my interest in his private moment. :)

Yes, my vacuum is really quite gentle, and as I use the small brush attachment, it also counts for brushing - I've tried it against my own arm, and it is just very harmless. I was taken off guard as my dogs, hated the sound of the vacuum, and Rocky, my Sheltie always bolted as far away as he could get from me vacuuming - either upstairs or downstairs.

Then, Herb is an extremely placid animal, and never has showed alarm about anything really. I don't know how he kept this quality - as a lost cat in the rural area near Pilot Butte, he must have had to keep his wits about him to stay safe. I wish he could talk, and tell me his stories.

Many thanks for reading and your kind wishes!
Wishing you a wonderful week - I hope the snow which is forecast for eastern Canada doesn't make it's way to you, or me in the west. :)

Anonymous said...

Brenda, so sorry to hear that you have been ill. And glad to hear you are on the mend. There is some sort intestinal virus in the area, that has put some down for weeks. I am wondering if it is the same thing.

It sounds like you have mapped yourself out a good plan for living. While I am not a vegetarian, we do eat earless several days of the week. I have used soy milk for the past 20 years, and will never go back to regular milk.

Enjoy your walks, and please write often.

The Boston Lady said...

First Happy Belated Birthday (which you did not mention when you wished me a Happy Bday)! I am so glad to see you pop back up on my blog roll! But happier that you are recovering with renewed spirit and determination. Your son, Paul, is right, I think. Those who post online in regards to health issues are usually people who are not in good shape and are desparate. I have found that the Mayo Clinic website is a sound place to look up health issues without the attached drama.

So, we all know, that's what goes on all day with the furkids, but you actually have tangible proof! My animals are just the same in regards to the camera, when it is pointed at them, they immediately stop said, cute, funny, weird, unique behavior and look at me. Frustrating. I think you need to work on your camouflage skills, Brenda, like the Planet Earth people. Blend in. But cats, they are too smart for that.

I love Mama Mia and what a great movie to make you feel good. I also always turn to Notting Hill and Bridget Jones Diary when I need a pick me up.

MJF. Parkinson's. My mom. Have read both his books. Lucky Man is also good. It talks about when he was first diagnosed - you've probably read it... Christopher Reeves auto is also very good and inspiring.

Methinks my daughter will dig this singer along with me. Will check him out on itunes - would you compare him to Michael Buble? (Another Canadian, I might add - you all are so talented!)

Yay for being back and for reading my looooooong comment. Look at my sidebar for another movie idea - it will be out on video/netflix soon and it was lovely.


Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Hi, there, Sandy,
Thanks for reading here.Sorry to hear about the intestinal virus in your area.
It sure is a possibility. C difficle is actually a bacterial infection, instead of a virus, and is often caused by taking an antibiotic - one which doesn't only target a specific bacteria, or infection - but is sort of general. I first got c. diff, in 2010, after being prescribed the antibiotic Clindamycin for an abscessed tooth. When I went to the hospital with uncontrollable diarrhea the first two questions I was asked were, "Had I travelled out of the country recently?" ; and "Had I taken an antibiotic recently, specifically Clindamycin?"
This worries me that doctors prescribe this, especially to people of a certain age, but there are also lots of studies showing that Clindamycin can help in many cases, and that not everyone is at risk for c. diff. It seems a person also has to have a certain genetic predisposition for it.

This time in 2012, I also took an antibiotic twice in two months for two different things - in hindsight I think I should have tried a different doctor, and not gone along with this. Within 4 weeks I had c. diff again.
I hope this might explain - people with c. diff can pass it on to others, and the other person may not have any symptoms until some time in the future being put on an antibiotic, and then the symptoms will appear.

There are two or three tests which are down to diagnose the c. diff bug, as well as colonoscopy.

I think if a person is experience symptoms - especially uncontrollable diarrhea, it would be a good idea to go to an informed dr. or emergency dept of a major hospital, to check things out. There are two antibiotics which are used to treat this, and really a person can't get well without this - I was not responding to the most common treatment, and so was put on the more rarely used one, which is reserved for c. diff which is resistant to the first.

I'm working at changing the way I eat after talking to the hospital dietician, as since having c. diff - I have now developed Inflammatory Bowl Disease, which is a lifetime thing - and diet is a big part of keeping well. She didn't siggest vegetariarn diet, that's my own thought, but she also felt that would be okay as well.

Thanks for sharing about the soya, it gives me hope that I might be on the right path.

I think many of us today, eat less meat than people used, to and it really seems to make sense.

I hope that you had a great day there.
It was just lovely here, after being cool and rainy all week. The temp was 16 C. and the skies were clear and sunny. A good day for a walk, to celebrate Earth Day!
Thanks again for reading and leaving your comment!!

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Hi, Ann!
Thanks for visiting here. I love long comments, and as you probably have noticed like to write long ones my self. :)
I haven't read Lucky Man, but just put it on my Kindle wish list to remind me. There is a slightly newer book of his out, which is supposed to be much slimmer, and meant as good reading especially for high school graduates. I actually think I will order it in paper to give to my son as something extra for a grad present since he's just completed his degree. It's called, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future".

I was so sorry to hear about your Mom's PD.

I think you and your daughter will really enjoy Matt Dusk, yes I think he has a similar style to Michael Bubl;e - I actually haven't had listened to much of Buble's music, but as soon as paul heard Matt Dusk, he compared him to Buble.

I'll check out your latest movie review, as I always find i nteresting new ideas for books, and movies over at TBL.

Hmm, I wonder if I could hone my camouflage skills - but as you say cats are really smart, and quick to leave the scene, as soon as the camera comes out. :)
Wishing you a good week.

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Geraldine, I wanted to just add a comment here. Thanks so much for your supportiveness to me this past several weeks. Thanks for reading my e-mails, and always responding with caring words, and good suggestions.
True to form, you have gone out of your way to be a friend.
Hugs, Brenda

Geraldine said...

Have a good week Brenda. I'm glad I've helped in any way that I can. Sometimes a card, or just the right email or a phone call...comes at the time I need it most. I was glad what you mentioned about the card I sent recently. I don't send a lot of paper cards but that one seemed so perfect.

To H and A, you guys rock. Mr. Cheddar is so pleased you liked his first ever book review. And yes, many more reviews to come from the fab Chedster! A contest for cat lovers coming up in the future too.

Hugs, G

Mr. Cheddar said...

I thought it was time I pawed-in and shared my own comment, Ms. Brenda. I so loathe when Meowmie speaks for me!!!

H and A, sooooo good to see you again. And what good choices music wise you've shown dearest Herbert. Matt Dusk is one cool dude, much like we are, right!

Do keep up the 4 AM wake-up calls there. I usually start around 6AM here but may have to revise that schedule now that I've heard how early you start to work on Ms. Brenda. You can never have enough fun waking them up, can you?

Well, I'm off to hint for some greenies. Meowmie is finally getting off the computer for the day, now that I've commendered the keyboard in my big furry paws!!!

The Chedster, Headbonks to all!!!

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Hi, Chedster!
Great to hear from you!
Yes, we like to get an early start to our day, and really, it's good for B too.
She just needs to remember to get to sleep early, let's say 8 or 9 p.m., if she feels she need more beauty sleep.

We don't want to recommend this in your household - you know the saying "If it's not broke, don't fix it" - we just wouldn't want to be responsible for any human grumpiness at your home - moderation is maybe the way to go, hey! maybe just try 5:30 first, and slooowly work your way to an earlier wakie time for your Meowmie. Heehee!
Herb and Art

P.S. Arthur hasn't shown any interest In Matt's music.
Between you and me, he's not quite sophista - cat - ed enough for this genre of music.

Ahh, dear Ched,
Thanks for dropping by!
It's always nice to hear from you!