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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Healthy or Hasty? Living in the zone

My studies are going great. I'm often amazed at how easy it is to keep up with the courses. If I didn't enjoy this, I wouldn't do it, right?
But reality bites me where it counts.
We can not always eat at home. We can not always control this.

I spent 10 years caring for seriously ill people who could not care for themselves. What I found for sustenance at the hospital was caramel machiato's.   What is that? It's a wonderful blend of coffee, small amount of milk and a dash of caramel syrup.  It soothed my stomach, but gave me a slight lift.  And the caramel was just the touch of decadence that made me smile.

Food at the hospital was questionable. Sure they made hot meals and served them from a steam tray. But what the heck was in it and who the heck was serving it with what attitude? Most of the time, I went to a close by grocery store and ate from their deli. Still  -- the amount of salt in these institutional foods is always triple or higher what I normally consume. The foods at my favored deli were better than most, and they convinced me it was fresh from their store.  But it just food. It wasn't food loved with good energy.

Then there were the days when home care created food challenges.  At one point, I asked friends to do some shopping for me since they were coming over anyway.  I couldn't leave my husband alone and this was the best option. We ate what they brought: Boxed Mac and Cheese -- a higher caliber than Kraft, but still laden with salt and long syllable chemically sounding words. Other things that grew in boxes and frozen packaging.

What I learned at that moment was that we needed our friends more than we needed anything else. The people who offered to help, and then did so were supplying us with a needed energy. Call it Primary Food, if you like, but that emotional sustenance brought us back to reality.  We weren't alone.
It was awesome to have such great friends help us out.

Of course we covered their cost.

I reached out and asked for help. I learned that some people rise to help while others judge. And some offer help with no intention of lifting a finger. They just offer and are relieved when they hear: "Thanks, but your friendship is all we need."

There are those people who prove their friendship isn't exactly what I'd call mutual or supportive or even friendly.  After it was  all over, I was visiting a friend who underwent a lengthy illness. I'd said to her that her husband and I had similar challenges.  For whatever reason, this person told me that her husband handled it better than I did.

Why? Because I asked for help? Because I shared with our friends and coworkers what was going on? I regret never saying this to her. I regret not calling her out on such a rude comment. That comment pretty much ended the friendship. I've no clue why she said what she did. It was the third slam in 2 days and I was done.  Live and learn.

I think this post has become more about primary foods while caregiving. We must fill ourselves with the love, support, and nurturing that is essential to living. Isolation while caregiving is as deadly as toxic oysters. Hurtful comments by people you consider friends are as poisonous as canned foods gone bad.

People must play a difficult balancing act when suddenly forced to be a caregiver. One must guard against toxic people as much as one must guard against spoiled foods, chemical foods, and unsanitary kitchens.  Just because it is there doesn't mean it supports your needs.

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