Friday, February 22, 2013

Parenting and Expectations

A few days ago I was watching Steve Harvey's talk show and a mother had written into the show saying that she needed a break from her household duties because she's the one that does ALL of the housework and chores. (Everything from cooking to cleaning to laundry and even cleaning her children's bedrooms.)

This woman's philosophy is that "if you want something done right you have to do it yourself." On one hand I kind of understand that feeling because I know I'm a very particular person and I like things done a certain way and when you're asking other people to do things for you, you have to accept the fact that there's a good chance they're going to do things differently than you would. It's important to remember that when it comes to being part of a family or when you live with someone, everyone has to do their share.

Anyway, this woman lives with her husband and three daughters (whose ages are 10, 15 and 17). Steve Harvey gave the mother a "day off" and sent her to a spa, leaving her husband and daughters to clean the house, do the laundry and bake cupcakes for a school project. These kids made such a fuss about having to clean their own bedrooms (which I found appalling because every kid should be responsible for cleaning their own room!). These kids didn't know the first thing about easy cleaning jobs and simple cooking. (The cooking portion of the task was especially sad because none of the girls–or even the dad–knew anything about measurements or basic cooking skills.)

I was completely aghast at the situation and wanted to tell the mother that she's spoiling her kids and is doing them a huge disservice by not expecting them to help out around the house. She's also really missing out on some great teaching opportunities. Doesn't she know the philosophy that says, "if you give a man a fish he eats for a day, but if you teach a man to fish he'll eat for life" (or however the saying goes). How does this mother expect her girls to grow up to become responsible adults if she doesn't teach them and expect more out of them?!

I always had to do chores when I was a kid, and although I didn't really enjoy doing them at the time, I'm SO GLAD that my parents expected that out of me! Seeing this family's situation just reaffirmed to me what a good job my parents did raising me. I'm so glad that they had such high expectations for me, and I'm especially grateful for a mother that taught me how to do things.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Movie Date

Last Saturday Chandra and I went to the movies. It had seemed like forever since we'd been to the movies, so we decided to see two. The first movie we saw was Beautiful Creatures. I thought this movie looked kind of strange and if it had solely been up to me I probably would've waited to see it until it came out on DVD, but Chandra thought it looked good, so we went to see it.

I wasn't aware, but this movie is based off of a series of books. I'd never heard of these books before, but they are of the teen fantasy genre and have witches, curses and forbidden love. I had a hard time staying awake during the movie, so I'll have to see it again when it comes out on DVD. The movie was only fair in my opinion, but it was still enjoyable. Heather's rating: 6.5/10 stars
The second movie we saw was Safe Haven, which is also based off of a book (written by Nicholas Sparks). I've read a few of Nicholas Sparks' books before, and I'm not a fan. They're all basically the same type of story, and if you've read one, you've read them all. Even though I don't enjoy the books, I usually enjoy the movies made out of the books. The male lead in this movie was played by Josh Duhamel, and I'm a big fan of his. This movie was definitely predictable, but I still liked it. Heather's rating: 8/10 stars

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

I absolutely adore boxed chocolates and have ever since I was a little girl. When my oldest sister Miriam went off to college in Springfield, Missouri, my parents would occasionally stop at the Russell Stover outlet store that they would pass on the way to/from dropping her off. When they would come home with a box (or two) of chocolates it was so fun looking over the chocolates and deciding which one to pick. I'm grown up and I STILL love assorted chocolates just as much as I did when I was a little girl. (So long as they are quality chocolates; some of the cheap ones aren't so good and really aren't worth the calories.)

Chandra and I went shopping earlier this week to the mall to run some errands. We always enter the mall at Sears because that's the easiest entrance to get in with my wheelchair. As we passed through the store we saw a huge, heart-shaped box of Russell Stover assorted chocolates. We stopped to look at it since it was so large. 74 assorted chocolates  (2 lbs. 10 oz.) for $29! We joked that we should get it, but put it back and went on our way.

That evening Chandra mentioned the big box of chocolates and said that she wished we had gotten them, and I told her that I'd been thinking the same thing! I bought some shirts while we were at Sears and I tried them on when I got home. I didn't like the way they fit, so Chandra took them back to the mall to return for me the next day. We both agreed that the chocolates were just too tempting to pass up, so Chandra came home with them.

It's kind of ironic that I so willingly gave her the go-ahead to get the chocolates since I strictly forbade everyone from getting me any valentines that were edible since I didn't want/need anything around to tempt me since I try hard to watch my weight. But I couldn't resist getting this huge box of chocolates since their so much fun. Whenever we get boxes of assorted chocolates (which isn't very often) my mom and I will share them. One of us will choose a chocolate and bite into it, and then share the other half with the other person. We think it's more fun that way.

This morning Mom, Chandra and I broke open our large box of chocolates, took a few pictures and then started eating them. We each took a bite, and then passed it around so each of us could taste it.

(I had Mom hold the box up to give context as to how large the box actually is. Also pictured is the Valentine from Mom to me: lip gloss, a pack of gum and a card. (Just a small token to let me know that she loves me.)
I just love Valentine's Day so much, even though I don't have a "romantic" Valentine. I'm not gonna lie; it would be nice if I did, but I don't, so I just use it as a day to express my love and appreciation to my family and friends.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Watch the Toes!

Before I was paralyzed I would've never thought that paralyzed people can feel sensation, much less feel pain. But now that I'm paralyzed I know otherwise. Not all paralyzed people loose sensation below their level of injury; it depends on whether their injury is classified as "complete" or "incomplete." (To learn more about the difference between complete and incomplete injuries, click here for a clear, concise explanation that's short and factual.)
My spinal cord injury is incomplete, so that means I still have sensation, even though I can't move. Being able to feel is really a catch-22. On one hand it's nice to be able to feel so that I know when something is hurting me/bothering me so that I can ask someone to readjust/reposition my body, but on the other hand that means I'm able to feel pain. Oh, the pain! I think most people would be surprised to know how much pain I'm actually in on a daily basis. I'm definitely the kind of person to "suffer in silence" and I don't really complain (too often).

The pain I feel is hard to explain to others that have never experienced it. It's nerve pain that I feel in my hands, butt (or bottom, if you'd like a more ladylike term!), lower legs and feet. The pain burns, tingles, feels like pins and needles, etc. and is the worst in my feet/toes (probably since they stick out and get bumped more easily). Oh, how I HATE having my toes bumpted/touched/grazed! Sometimes when I know my feet are going to be touched (like with my pants when I'm getting dressed, or with a blanket when someone covers/uncovers me and the blanket rubs against my toes). I swear, sometimes it seems like I can actually feel the zinging pain surging up my legs before I'm even touched! (I always joke that I need to invent steel toed socks!)

My pain has been steadily increasing over the years that I've been paralyzed, so that means I've slowly been increasingly the dosage of the medication that I take for my pain. When I saw my doctor recently (actually, it was the physician assistant that works at the doctor's office), I asked her if it was possible for me to increase my pain medication since my pain has been getting so much worse. The PA said that perhaps my body is becoming acclimated to the drug I'm on (Neurontin), so she put me on something new (Lyrica). I tried that for two weeks and my pain hadn't gotten any better (and was maybe even slightly worse) so I had my mom call the doctor's office to see if I could either increase that medication or try something else. My doctor prescribed another medication (Nortriptyline) and I started taking it the next day. Like all drugs, it has some side effects, things like dry mouth, sleepiness, mental fogginess/lack of focus, increased appetite, a craving for sweets and weight gain. (Grrreat… that's just the kind of side effect a person that can't exercise needs!)

I didn't really notice an increase in appetite or a craving for sweets (well, I pretty much always have a craving for sweets because I love them so dearly!) but it really wasn't any worse than usual. I really noticed that the drug made my mouth dry, though, and it definitely made me tired! I took the 'trip' (as I called it) with my bedtime pills, as prescribed (at 10 PM}. I was leery of taking this drug because I didn't want it to make me fall asleep right away since I stay up until 1 or 2 AM every night. (This is when I get my best work done on my computer.) I thought it was worth a try, so I decided to give it a go. It didn't make me fall asleep any earlier than usual, so I thought I might not have to worry about the sleepiness side effect.

The next day was a different story, however. That's when the sleepiness hit and I could not stay awake. I slept so much that day, even though I was sitting in my recliner, with my laptop in front of me and my headset on, I got absolutely nothing accomplished on my computer! I felt like my day was a complete waste and I didn't perk back up until about 7 PM the day after taking the 'trip'… just in time for another dose! The next day was the exact same thing; I slept the day away. By that point I hadn't really noticed any positive difference in my pain level; in fact, one of the days my pain was much worse and my body hurt the entire day. By the third day I'd had enough, so I asked my mom to call my doctor to see if I could go off the 'trip.' My doctor said that she wanted me to stick with it for an entire week to see if my body would acclimate to the drug. I begrudgingly complied and hoped that I would get used to it.

Long story short, I didn't. I was so sleepy and unable to focus or get anything done, so I had my mom call my doctor again yesterday morning. I told her that the Nortriptyline hadn't helped, and I that I wanted to go back to the Lyrica, My doctor said that that was fine, so that's where I'm at now. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," so I knew it was worth a try. Unfortunately, it was all in vain and I wasn't able to find any additional relief from my pain.

People often ask me how I'm able to carry on with life (and so cheerfully) when I'm in so much pain every day. The answer is twofold. One, pain is relative and things can always be worse. Keeping this in mind really helps give me perspective and makes bearing pain easier. Two, knowing that if Christ could suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane and be crucified to atone for my sins and bear my burdens, then I can certainly handle my pain with a smile on my face since I know it's nothing compared to what Christ experienced. This sentiment might seem trite or downright ridiculous to some people (especially if they don't have a belief in God and  Jesus Christ), but that's the way I look at things, and it makes all the difference.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Father of the Bride"

When I was a little kid one of my favorite movies was Father of the Bride. I've probably seen this movie a few dozen times and I have all of the best parts memorized. I've always known that the 1991 version with Steve Martin was a remake, but I didn't know anything about the original. I put the original 1950 version with Spencer Tracy on my "movies to watch" list since I've been on a classic movie kick this past year. 
On Christmas day I took a little break from all of the craziness and escaped to my room for a little quiet time in the afternoon. Chandra and Sharon came with me and we turned on the original Father of the Bride. It was hilarious! Lots of times remakes really aren't a thing like the original, but the 1991 version was very similar to the original, and there were a lot of the exact same lines/scenarios. Nothing is ever top Steve Martin's Father of the Bride, in my opinion, since that's what I grew up loving, but I thoroughly enjoyed the original.
Elizabeth Taylor as the bride in the original movie:
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