Monday, December 5, 2016

Still Climbing the Mountain

Friday morning, I woke up feeling a bit tired, after another night of going to sleep after 4:00 a.m. and waking up around 9:30 a.m.  I spent a quiet morning, relaxing, because I just didn't feel like doing anything much and feeling guilty about it, because I should have been doing stuff, since I had a to do list as long as my arm.   Anyway, I took a hot shower later in the morning and felt better.

My gardener friend came over in the afternoon and he helped me rearrange the furniture (living room sofas, which normally face each other, were arranged in an L-shape; a second coffee table was set up  in front of the smaller sofa, the trolley was brought in from the family room, etc.).  Then, I vacuumed the main part of the house (living room, dining area, family room, hallway, and kitchen; decided the bedrooms could wait until later) and cleaned both bathrooms.  I rested a bit more and debated whether to continue with my list or wait until Saturday when my friend came over to help.  But I decided that I could do a few more things, so that I wouldn't get too tired on Saturday. 

 Friday's To Do List:
- Grocery shop for fresh produce?
- Wash almsgiving dishes* - DONE
- Take out serving dishes, basins used for washing hands, serving spoons, etc.*
- Take out plates, bowls, etc. for guests*
- Final cleaning - dust, vacuum, etc. - living room, dining room, family room - DONE
- Kitchen - counters - DONE
- Clean bathrooms/set out guest towels, etc.- DONE
- Rearrange furniture - sofas, coffee tables, tall round side table (for reliquary), trolley (for plates of offerings), remove blue & white vases near fireplace (so I can set the small sofa in front of the fireplace) - my gardener friend will help with moving the furniture - DONE
- Put cashews to soak (Friday night) - DONE
- Set out items needed for the transfer of merit: teapot, cup, and water basin; fill teapot with water*
- Take out chair covers, table cloths, napkins, etc.; cover chairs, tables*
- Candles/incense sticks & holder; lighter/matches* - DONE
- New bottle of water for blessing; bowl to catch drips when blessed water is poured out* - DONE
- Set out items for washing hands: fresh cake of soap, hand towels, jugs & basins*
- Water the garden

I had washed all the everyday dishes I had used and cleaned the kitchen counters, when I decided to start washing the almsgiving dishes - 6 plates, 6 bowls, 6 basins, etc.  I was in the process of rinsing them when I got a cramp in my right hand, at the base of the thumb.  My thumb was folded against the palm and I had to physically straighten it out with my other hand, but it kept cramping.  I finished rinsing the dishes with my left hand, turned off the music I was listening to while I did the dishes, and headed to the bathroom since I needed to use it.  On the way, I sort of felt myself brushing against the wall in the hallway.  When I got to the bedroom, I sat on the bed because my hand was cramping again and it was painful.  Then, I proceeded to the bathroom.

I must have fainted.  I don't remember falling.

The next thing I knew was my head pressing hard against something.  The pressure of it caused a pain and I opened my eyes and at first, I didn't know what I was looking at.  It took a few seconds to realize I was looking at the bathroom trash can and I was on the floor between the toilet and the bathtub with my head against the edge of the bathtub/shower door.  Apparently I hit my head on the edge of the tub/shower door.  And I was sweating.  And I still needed to use the toilet!

So, I picked myself off the floor, used the toilet, changed my clothes, applied some ice to my forehead (had two big bumps!), said my nightly prayers, texted my daughter to ask if she was still awake (she was) then called her to tell her what had happened.  She wanted me to call the paramedics, but I didn't want to.  Looking back, maybe I should have, but at the time, I didn't want to make a fuss.  Instead, I called my cousin who lives across the street to ask her if she could come over and be with me for a bit because I didn't want to go to sleep right away.   She came over and I checked my blood pressure; it was normal.  My speech wasn't slurred, I was able to read and write, etc.  So, I didn't think I had had a stroke. 

My cousin was with me until 2:00 a.m. and then, I told her to go home and I went to sleep.  I woke up a couple of times, but went back to sleep each time and woke up around 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  Daughter wanted to know if she was to come down, but I told her not to.

I called my clinic, but it being Saturday, they were closed.  I called their message center and they tried to call the clinic, too, and said it was supposed to be open on the first Saturday of the month, but they, too, couldn't get through.  Then I tried to page the radiation oncologist to find out if I should take my last dose of the steroids, but I couldn't reach him, either.  I finally called the regular oncologist's office and left a message for the doctor on call.  He asked if I have been eating and drinking enough; I told him I have been eating, but maybe not drinking as much as I should be.  He said I might have been dehydrated; that I am on some very strong medicines that need a lot of fluid in take to counter act the side effects.  So, I have been trying to drink a lot more fluids.

I called the temple and explained to the monks what had happened and cancelled the almsgiving.  I knew I couldn't do all the work that was involved in my present state of health.  I cried because I was so disappointed.  I had been so keen on having the almsgiving and had planned it in such detail.  But I just couldn't do it, this year.  I also called my friend who was coming to help me, the other friend who was going to cook some of the dishes for me, and my cousins, to let them know that the event was cancelled.

My friend came over, anyway, to check on me.  And one of my cousins and her mother came over, too, with some soup for my lunch, and stayed with me the rest of the day, well into the evening, so I wouldn't be alone.  They wanted to take me to the emergency room, but I didn't think it was necessary.  I knew I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist on Monday afternoon, and thought I would be OK till then.  I had put the cashews to soak on Friday evening, and they had been soaking all day, Saturday, so I asked my cousin to rinse them for me and I put them to boil.  Afterwards, she put them in the fridge, for me.  Once my cousin and aunt left, I got into bed and video chatted a bit with my daughter before going to sleep.

Sunday was another quiet, restful day.  One of the monks came to visit me and brought me lunch!   It was a reverse almsgiving!  I gave him the sweets I had bought for the almsgiving and the monetary donations I had got ready, earlier.  We will consider that as this year's almsgiving, although it was so not what I had planned.

Later in the evening, the friend who was going to help me with the cooking came over and brought me dinner.

Today, I spent a quiet morning.  I had called my gardener friend and asked if he could stop by to water the front garden for me, since I couldn't do it over the weekend and was afraid to do it myself until I had seen the doctor; so he came in the morning and watered the front garden for me.  In the afternoon, I went to my appointment with the radiation oncologist.  I was a bit nervous to drive by myself without being seen by a doctor after my fall, and my cousins couldn't drive me because they needed to be back by a certain time and I wasn't sure how long the doctor's visit would take, so one of the monks from the temple drove me.

The radiation oncologist put in a request for an MRI; we are waiting for insurance to authorize it and then, I will be scheduled, hopefully sometime this week.  The doctor wants to see me again, next week, to go over the MRI results.  On the way home, I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up another medication refill.

Today, I cleaned the litter box, took the trash out, and watered the back garden with the sprinklers.   My cousin and aunt came over to visit me in the evening and my cousin bagged up the boiled cashews to freeze.  I will finish cooking them another day.

I also received a jury duty summons in the mail today!  They want me to report for jury duty on January 3.  I don't know if I am well enough for that, now, after my fall.  Tomorrow, I will call and ask if I can postpone it for a few months until I am better. 

Tomorrow, I will also call my regular clinic and inform them of what happened and see if I need to go in to see a doctor (or the physician assistant).  I also have an appointment with the regular oncologist on Friday.  My radiation oncologist said it was OK for me to drive, so I won't need to ask people for rides to my medical appointments.

I am grateful for:
- I didn't crack my head open when I fell and knocked it against the bathtub/shower door
- I didn't break any bones; I've a bruise on my knee (must have knocked it on the tiled floor) and some aches and pains from the fall, but nothing is broken
- The swelling on my forehead is going down and there doesn't seem to be any bruise
- It wasn't a heart attack
- It wasn't a stroke
- I am still alive
- My cousin coming over in the middle of the night and staying with me until 2:00 a.m.
- My family and friends visiting and bringing me meals
- The monk driving me to my doctor's appointment, today
- My gardener friend coming over to water the garden for me

I guess I did a bit too much, got too stressed and tired.  Need to relax and take it easy.  I am rethinking my plans for the holidays, as well.  I think I will not put up a Christmas tree or do much decorating, if any.  I will probably not make all the jams and marmalade I had been planning to make as gifts, either.  Just going to take it easy and rest.

Just a very short and simple to do list for tomorrow:

Tuesday's to do list:
- Call clinic to see if I need to see a doctor
- Call jury duty to postpone service
- Office work
- Bring trash can in

Hope your weekend was better than mine!


  1. Oh, that's scary and a disappointment that the formal almsgiving was canceled. If I had to guess, I think that lack of sleep along with the major dehydration were the prime culprits in your passing out. However, I'll let your doctors make the final diagnosis. :) Good luck with sorting this all out.

    1. Yes, I was most disappointed that I had to cancel the almsgiving, but the syncope episode, as the doctor called the fainting, was scary. Especially since I am by myself. I am hopeful I can do another almsgiving in the new year; perhaps I will be in better health by then.

  2. Bless,
    As I sit here to type this comment, I fill tears welling up in my eyes.. Even though-- I don't really understand what "Almsgiving " is? I do know it is something very special to you. I know you have done so much work /preparations for it. And it is in memory for your mom. I am so very sorry that you were not able to do it this year and had to cancel. My heart goes out to you.

    I am very thankful that you did not break a bone, have a heart attack/ stroke or any of the other bad things. I am thankful that you had loving family/friends that came and helped you and were with you. I am thankful that you realized that you are not well yet, and not able to do so much work right now. [but know that your heart is breaking too.. sending a big ole hug and prayers to you.]
    Please take it easy.. Just rest when you can.. hugs.

    1. Thank you, Judy. The almsgiving to me is the equivalent of a Thanksgiving meal, or any other special meal such as at Easter or Christmas, but prepared and offered to the Buddhist monks, and shared with family and friends, as well. It is a memorial service as well as the monks would chant blessings and offer merit to the departed. It's my main religious activity for the year. But I need to listen to my body's warnings about the state of my health and take things easy. There is much to be thankful for.

  3. I am so glad you didn't hurt yourself when you fell! I hope it is only a matter of hydration. I'm so sorry you had to cancel your almsgiving. You had put such a lot of hard work into planning it and I know it must be a great disappointment BUT your health is more important. You have to take care of yourself. It sounds like you've got a lot on your plate. I'll be thinking of you and sending a couple of hugs your way!

    Take Care!

    1. Thank you, Sharon. I am planning to take it easy for the next few weeks. I need to concentrate on my health; apparently I wasn't quite as recovered as I thought I was!

  4. Yesterday I read your comment on my blog..."I received a good reminder on Friday night that we need to look after ourselves, as well, while taking care of everyone else." I have been reading your blogs but not commenting I'm afraid. But I came back over here and reread your most recent posts. What did I miss? What reminder had you received? I did notice though that you had not written anything since your winter joy list, and that was troubling.

    Then I see this new message today. OMG. Bless. What a scare. It is small wonder that you didn't want to be left alone. You have such supportive family and friends. Everything seemed to be going so well. You might have become over-confident in your abilities and pushed too hard?? I know you are disappointed in not being able to have the almsgiving, but I think the universe has been trying to send you a message for a while now. It wasn't meant to be this year. How wonderful the monks are thinking of you and helping you out. Now your comment makes complete sense and should be a reminder to all of us. Thank you. Take care of yourself.

    1. Hi Susan, yes, you are right, the universe has been trying to tell me something, hasn't it? Except I didn't want to listen. So I was hit on the head with it! LOL. I guess I had been pushing myself a bit too hard. I thought, since I had finished with my treatments, I was back to normal. Obviously not. Lesson learned: Take care of yourself, don't try to rush around trying to accomplish everything, it's OK to let some things go.

  5. I haven't been commmenting anywhere this past month but I have been keeping up with you. When I didn't see you post this past weekend, I thought to myself "Uh, oh, something must be wrong!". I see that I wasn't wrong, unfortunately.

    Bless, I'm grateful that you weren't hurt in the fall. You must have a bladder of steel (looking on the bright side) since it didn't void when you fainted. Mine would have. When you described the cramping in your hand, I started thinking "stroke?" so I'm glad it doesn't seem that it's what is was. If your medication requires you to drink extra fluids and you haven't, it's probably the cause of the cramping and possibly the fainting, I would think. I hope the MRI comes back "clean".

    Thinking about you, my dear. Take it easy.

    1. A bladder of steel and a very hard head, too! :D Taking it easy, as I gave myself a scare!

      Hope all is well with you. (((Hugs)))

  6. Oh Bless, I am so sorry to hear about your fall and having to cancel the almsgiving. Every time I've read your list of things to do I have secretly thought, that's a lot of work, even for somebody who hasn't just been through what you have. Maybe you've asked just a little bit too much of yourself at the moment, especially with there being a deadline to work to, although I know you've been really looking forward to hosting it.

    I agree, you should keep things as simple as you can over the holidays and make it a time to embrace who you have around you not what you have around you. Plenty of time for all the decorations etc. in years to come and I'm sure your friends and family will understand about the gifts you were thinking of making.

    Please try and postpone your jury service. That is one thing you could definitely do without at the moment. Surely they would understand given the circumstances.

    I am so thankful that you were able to get up and sort yourself out and that you have friends and family to look after you. Please take care of yourself and I will be crossing my fingers for a good MRI result. Sending you prayers and hugs. xx

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. Yes, I overdid things and now I am paying the price! I am going to take things very easy from now on. I've learned my lesson!

  7. Since you're hoping to go back to work full time at the office in January,perhaps it's time to sit down and take a good hard look at your health habits, your schedule and how you're taking care of yourself. If you're going to be going into work full time you need to make sure you're going to bed, going to sleep, and getting up on a regular schedule. With the erratic schedule you've been under I'm wondering if you're taking your medications on a regular basis at the same time everyday and on a full or empty stomach as the medication requires. For example,if you're on a blood pressure medication it needs to be taken at the same time everyday not at 8 one day and 10:30 the next, etc. You need to be removing as much stress as you possibly can so your body can continue healing. There are just lots of things that in the long run just aren't important to get done right now. They can wait till later when you have more energy and when you're back in the swing of things. You also might want to consider how much longer you really want to work in an office. It's nice to pile up a lot of money but if you're not around to use it it's not worth that much and your daughter is fully independent. Nurses do have a way of bringing up unpleasant subjects but I think it's important to consider. I don't think your body ever was going to heal as fast as you expected it to and it hasn't been that long since you started and I think you're still under treatment. The fact that you still have inflammation tells me that you still have a fair amount of healing to do. You've come a long way. Just take care of yourself. Your cell phone WAS in your pocket, wasn't it?

    1. Thank you, Marylynn. You have brought up a lot of important issues I have been thinking about, these last couple of days. I am rethinking a lot of things and will make some decisions based on the findings of the latest tests. Obviously, I can't go on the way I have been going. Thank you, again, Marylynn. I do really appreciate your care and concern.

    2. Thank you, Sri. You are always so gracious when I am so direct. I hope your other posters understand that I'm not trying to be mean. I just want to be of as much concrete help as possible. I'm older than you are (74) and am retired now, but I worked in my own store until I was 70. I gave up a lot to keep working that long, but I kind of had to because I have to live on my Social Security (which is not as hard as you might think if you are debt-free). I'm happy. Take care.

    3. I do appreciate you being direct, Marylynn. I know you speak from experience and I am afraid I have been rather lackadaisical with my schedules, etc. I spoke with my supervisor this morning and we discussed if I'll be able to return to the office as planned in January. She was very understanding. I will ask the doctors what they recommend. I still have a lot of alternatives - I can take more time off if needed. My supervisor doesn't expect me to return to the office full time until I am ready. There is a satellite office, much closer to my home, where I could work, if the commute to downtown is too much. There are options. Again, I do appreciate all your comments and I do take them seriously to heart. Thank you, again, and take care of yourself, too. :)

  8. You are now top of my prayer list.

    As you say, you are still on that mountain. It must be so hard, when you finally thought you were reaching the valley to realise there was still some way to go. Sending massive hugs.

    I am not medically trained in any shape or form, but if you get something like that again please, please, please call a doctor.

    Sending more hugs.


    1. Thank you, Lyssa. The prayers and hugs are most appreciated. I tried to do too much, too soon and the mountain reminded me that I was still climbing! I hope there won't be a next time, but if there is, I will call the paramedics. I didn't want to call on Friday, because I was thinking, if they take me to emergency to be checked out, who will bring me home, afterwards, etc. I didn't want to bother my cousins or friends. I've been scolded roundly for that!

  9. Also, you mentioned stroke. Father had major strokes and also mini strokes or TIAs. His speech wasn't particularly affected, but he got tired and had weakness in his arm. If your physician thinks it is dehydration, then it's probably dehydration, but if you suspect anything else then you need to take urgent action.

    Sending massive hugs x

    1. Lyssa, I am sorry, I didn't see your comment earlier. The MRI was clear and the doctor has referred me to a neurologist, so we are following up to see exactly what is going on. So far, it seems it was dehydration.

  10. Life has a way of getting in the way of our plans, doesn't it? But you have had care and consideration and much love from many directions and your kindness to others is being repaid. I am so glad that you didn't sustain serious injury and that you will have an MRI which I hope will put your mind at rest.

    As for jury duty, I hope that there is no question of you having to do that, as it may be exhausting and stressful even for someone who is 100%. It is hard for a giving person to have to hold back and do more receiving for a change, but I'm sure that so many people will understand about the lack of jam gifts if you can't make them. I write to myself as well when I say "let it all fall into place gently". We try so hard sometimes and yet there are little things we do which count more than we realize.

    Sending you lots of hugs and love,

    1. Thank you, Bushlady. Yes, we make plans and life happens. :) Obviously, I can't continue to carry on as if nothing had happened. Not for some time, if ever. I need to find my new normal and slowing down and cutting back will be a big part of it, from now on, I think.

  11. Just sending hugs and prayers, Bless. You've received great advice and tips and I know you'll now take more time to be kind to yourself. Will also pray for a favorable outcome from your MRI. Glad that you plan to slow down a bit. If you mention your insomnia to your physician perhaps they can prescribe something to help you sleep. Take care, my friend.

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. I have mentioned the insomnia; it is due to the steroids. I have to take two doses of the steroids a day and was advised to take the 2nd dose earlier in the night, rather than later. It seems to help. I am really, really trying to avoid taking any more prescriptions! :)

  12. Oh my goodness, I am so behind on my blog reading. I am so sorry that you fell and hurt yourself so badly. Please take care of you! Praying for you my friend.

    1. Thank you, Debbie. Hope you are feeling well.

  13. I know it was years ago, but reading it, I'm so disappointed about the cancelled almsgiving. I have been going through all the preparation posts with you, waiting for 4 December...
    But thank goodness you did what was right and didn't overstretch yourself at a time when you were still, in reality, recovering and fragile.

    1. Thank you, Lady Ella. Yes, I was very disappointed, but, I couldn't carry through with the almsgiving at the time. Last year, too, I just sent in a donation of money instead of holding an almsgiving at home. It was what I could do under the circumstances.


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