Monthly Archives: April 2015

I wish I could do something

I got another call from the psychiatric nurse yesterday. The one who, out of nowhere, started treating Danny for his depression.

A month or so ago I got a call from the joint that someone had seen him and declared him depressed (duh-uh), and therefore ordered a new antidepressant for him. A bit of sleuthing got me in touch with the psychiatric nurse who had ordered the prescription.

“He’s obviously depressed,” she offered, when we connected.

Again, “duh-un” was all I could think. “Thank you for noticing…and for doing something about it,” was what I said in response.

“He doesn’t shower. He has no personal hygiene. He’s filthy.” These were her declarations, her evidence for his depression. All I could think to that was, “that’s not depression, or not just depression. That’s Danny.” I didn’t say that to her at the time.

So they put him on some new med, and I heard nothing more. Until yesterday when she called to tell me that the first drug apparently wasn’t working (since he still wasn’t showering or letting his toenails be cut or combing his hair) and that they were therefore putting him on a new drug. Some antipsychotic. “Not that I think your father is psychotic,” the nurse offered. “He seems to be in touch with reality. But the first drug didn’t work. He’s still depressed.”

Now, of course he’s depressed. He’s only 72 and half-paralyzed. He’s in an assisted living facility with no one he has anything in common with (or at least no one he’s willing to see if he has anything in common with…maybe because he’s depressed). An assisted living facility where they steam the fish and chips after they fry them, so that they’ll be softer and easier to eat. My father, the ultimate food-snob and twenty-year restaurateur, has found his own hell. Of course he’s depressed.

This time I tried to explain to the nurse that I so appreciated her efforts for my father, and that I hoped almost beyond hope that the meds would kick-in and help him feel better, and that she needed a fuller understanding of my dad. That he never really kept a level of cleanliness that other people keep. That he didn’t shower now because it wasn’t fun to have the facility staff bathe him. And that – whether it started with him or with them – there was no one on the staff with whom he felt comfortable and cared for. Theirs seemed to be a “dislike-dislike” situation.

His not showering, I shared – his too-long toenails; his disheveled, stained clothing; his smoking in his room (again). She looked at these as evidence of his depression. I looked at them as evidence of Danny. He was angry. Perhaps depressed, but also very, very angry. At me. At life. At his situation. At it all.

I shared this with her, and got off the phone and went back to my day. Then I started to sob. Because it is so, so sad.

I wish I could do something to help him.

P.S. He was kind to me on the phone the other day, and responded with “I love you too.” Maybe the meds are kicking in. Or maybe he was just kind. And the magnolia tree picture? It’s his favorite tree and they’re in bloom right now. They make me think of him and smile.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: My Story, , , Tags:

I passed someone again!

I hadn’t been running in months. I had injured my right hamstring, and, needless to say, running had been forbidden by my doctor (and Kyle, my physical therapist).

Until I got permission to start again last week. “Slow and short,” I’d been advised by Kyle. “Slow and short.”

That seemed restrictive to me, but I agreed. I was in his care, after all. Then I laced up my sneakers (it had been so long since I’d run that I forgot to double-tie them!) and headed out. I quickly realized that slow and short was my only option.

I had lost everything, or at least almost everything. I never actually ran fast or long (my longest run to this day is six miles, and my fastest pace for anything three miles and over is probably just over a nine-minute mile), but I’d gotten to the point that I’d felt proud of my speed and distance. Now, not so much. All I could do was plod along and feel like, as my son would say, “poo-poo in a can.”

“Am I slower than I ever used to be?” I questioned. “Even when I first started?” I told my husband and he explained that one loses running ability quickly. More quickly than one would think possible. “But I’m so slow,” I thought, even as I tried to believe what he said.

I tried to have faith. I tried to keep running, and to not beat myself up for being so slow. “I’m not allowed to go faster,” I’d remind myself.

Then I headed out one morning, bright and cheery and eager, until my RunKeeper paced me at over 10:15 per mile. “Seriously Lisa!” I thought. Still I plodded along.

I saw a man a ways in front of me. “I can take him,” I thought. Who cares that he was, it seemed, at least a few years older than me? Who cares that he was maybe (also) nursing an injury? “I think I can take him,” I thought. “Even at this absurdly slow pace, I think I can take him.”

I did. I took him. I smiled and pumped my fists (as much as I could, jogging along). Who cares that he was older and perhaps injured. I wasn’t slowest.

Then I realized that I hadn’t judged him for running slowly. I simply took him as someone I could possibly pass. So, of course, I probably shouldn’t judge myself for running slowly. Even if he was the only person I could pass, unless you count the people heading towards me.

And, of course, running didn’t have to be a competitive sport. I could give myself a break, as I was coming back from an injury. I could actually give myself a break for no reason as well. Just because.

I could give myself a break, in running and in life. I could lower the bar, or gleefully accept (and rejoice) wherever I hit on the bar. I could enjoy the run, even if I went slow for the rest of my life. (And I probably won’t go this slow for the rest of my life.)

And I could be psyched – so psyched – that I passed someone!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , , Tags:

Allow now

I was sitting in a guided meditation earlier today, and Tara Brach reminded me to “allow now.” It’s a good reminder. It still can be such a challenge. I simply don’t pay attention – don’t notice – so many of my nows. And I fight against so many others.

Like now. Now I’m sitting at my desk, as I write this post, on hold with a doctor’s office, trying to resolve billing issues. Billing issues worth a lot of money. That I’ve been trying to resolve for months. My now right now is tension and frustration. I can feel my heart pounding and my anger rising. I want to yell at the less-than-helpful person I’ve been speaking with. I don’t feel like the evolved being I strive to be, and I certainly don’t want to allow this now.

But I breathe through it, and miraculously the woman on the phone believes she can help me and offers to hound the billing department until my situation is handled correctly. I feel my anger fall and hope rise. Is this a better now to allow?

Do I get to choose which nows to accept and which to deny? I don’t think I do. I think the idea is to allow – to accept – all of them.

Since I heard Tara offer “allow now” this afternoon, I’ve been working to allow my nows. To be even more mindful. Even more focused. Even more present. I’m actively feeling the Ugg slippers on my feet. Feeling and acknowledging the caress. I’m noticing the sounds around me – my son playing in the other room, birds singing outside the house, even the noise of the keyboard as I type. I’m becoming more aware of my emotions and doing my best to step back and watch them with a bit of detachment. And then doing my best to not let them overrun me too much if I am hijacked by what’s right in my face.

I’m working to observe the tougher moments and situations, and not let them engulf me. To let them pass through me. I’m striving to embrace the beauty of the beautiful moments, yet not grasp them too tightly. To let them pass through me as well.

I’m aiming to appreciate now – in any way I can. And to allow now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , , , Tags: