Friday, March 31, 2017

Gratitude Journal for March

My friend Toni Bernhard, the author of three best selling books on coping with chronic illness and a columnist for Psychology Today, shares a blog with her daughter Mara, who, many years ago, was a member of the Davis High Jazz Choir with Tom and David.  Or maybe it was with Paul.  Anyway, she was a lovely girl and, from following her posts on Facebook and Instagram, she has grown into a lovely woman and mother.

In their introduction to the blog in 2015, Mara wrote an explanation of who they both are

Facts about Toni: Breast cancer survivor, Sociology major, law professor, married for a long time, obsessed with her dog Scout, artist, has literally crocheted me about 100 scarves, has a left-handed son.

Facts about Mara: Cut my own bangs every week, Political Science major, dance teacher, married for fewer years than Toni but still for a long time, have two cats and a dog but would also like a pig and a goat, own at least 100 scarves, have a left-handed daughter.

Toni also contracted a chronic illness on a trip to Paris in 2001, just 5 months after the birth of her granddaughter.  They assumed it was a virus, but it just never went away.  16 years later she is still sick and the blog was written to answer questions and to share how they have coped with Toni's illness for all these years.
Today, their blog entry was "Our Gratitude List for March  What are You Grateful for?"

There is so much negativity in the world today that it's good to step aside and look at the good in the world.  So here is my gratitude list for March.

1.  Clouds and blossoms
It seems that every year in March, I have an entry about how beautiful the sky is and how gorgeous the blossoms are.  This year was no exception.

The skies around here are sometime so gorgeous I just have to stop and take it all in.  When you add the profusion of blossoms at this time of year, it makes me happy to live in this area. The beauty of nature was enough that I was able to drag my mother out of Atriato go for a drive and out to lunch, and it was a joy to see how much enjoyment she got out of looking at the clouds and the blossoms.

2.  My Mother
While her dementia slowly gets worse and worse, I am grateful that she has not had any major "spells" this month and that she has required no trips to the emergency room.  I am also grateful that since we have put her on full assisted living she seems to be more "settled."  We may discuss the same thing over and over again, but she has not had a serious anxiety attack all month and she is spending more time sitting out in the hall outside the dining room, where she seems to recognize some of the people who pass by.

3.  Caroline
I was nervous about having another young person come to live with us, especially someone who is the daughter of a friend and who would come into all of this chaos, but Caroline has proven to be a lovely young lady who has fit in here beautifully.  She may go home and talk with her friends about the conditions under which she had to live, but she hasn't so much as blinked at anything. 

Additionally, it has been fun having an excuse to go on tourist trips again.  I always enjoyed them during our hosting years and it's nice to have them back again though they are more exhausting than I remember them being 20+ years ago!

4.  Sleep
For some reason I am sleeping these days.  I go to bed around midnight or earlier and, except for the 3 am. waking time, after which I go right back to sleep, I have been sleeping until 7 or so.  This is almost NORMAL.  Whoda thunk?

5. Diclofenac Sodium
I never dreamed that a topical gel could make the difference of night and day to the pain in my back.  Unless I forget to apply it 2x/day, it really helps.  I told my doctor that it's not perfect, but it's about 80% perfect.  I still get occasional back pain, but it is so much less than it has been for years that I can't believe it.

6. Bri and Benny
The advent of Benny and my correspondence with Brianna about Benny's adventures (and her letters about her Gasper's adventures) has been a real joy in my life this month.  I hope we have established something that will continue for as long as she believes in the magic of a stuffed animal having an animate life.

I will do as Toni and Mara have done and toss this back to you.  What have you been grateful in March?

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