Thursday, January 12, 2023

Being Swampwise




 The small gray dog in the large dog bed is my mother's former dog. She now is mine and has joined my two primary dogs. The large black pit bull is content with the small bed. And yes, the small dog bosses her. I'm down to six dogs and both of these females are the boss dogs. The large dog is the real boss. It is funny how they meet up outside and do the dog version of a high five. 

It certainly is a new year and direction in my life. I told my siblings which live with me that none of us are making big decisions for awhile and that includes me. I've been organising some of the closets. We are fully stocked with alcohol gel, rubbing alcohol, peroxide and Gold Bond lotion.  Most of that clutter in the photo has gone to Happy Hour Service Center to use in their group homes. Now why does that part of the room still look so messy?

I've been packing up my mother's clothes. She has a lot of nice stuff. We were huge bargain hounds and stocked. When I retired, I felt ashamed at how many clothes I had bought. Of course all of it was at terrific prices, black slacks and the like. I did give away a great deal. I will be donating many more. We have more than we need. I'm just not ready. Plus my mother wore a smaller size and I have been losing weight. 

I made some boiled cookies over the holidays and it has put a craving on me for more. So I am resisting the urge to make more and hopefully this will lessen my desire to eat them. In a nutshell, this is why I have sworn off sugar before. One thing I know about having Diabetes 2 is that a sign of it being out of whack is craving sweets. In the past I have just eaten what I craved in that I would usually lose my taste for it. But I have a doctor's appointment soon and I have no idea what my A1c number is. 

During November, I had a hectic schedule with my mom in the hospital. I spent the night at the hospital to manage my mother's fears and sometimes the workers waking her up at 3 am to do labs. There was one who suggested I hold my mother down while she drew blood. I declined her offer. 

The young nurse who was in charge asked me why not since my mother had dementia. I said nothing to her. But when I gathered my thoughts, my ideas for the perfect answer would have been "how about gently waking my mother up and gently telling her what you need and instead of  flipping on the lights and grabbing my mother's arm within seconds of entering the room". Like my mother, I am reluctant to give life to harsh thoughts. The next night the same nurse met me in the hallway and told me I could stop any treatment of my mother during the night. I did not tell her my thoughts which were "You are damn right about that." Some thoughts don't take a lot of time.

By December, my mom was in hospice. I told her she never had to go to the hospital again. I was lucky in being able to hire a woman that my mother liked to sit with her during the day so I could tend to the others and have a little break. I have no idea what I ate. I did take most of my meds. Time had a life of it's own. 

From what I have read, carrying the gene for Diabetes 2 has to do with an adaptation for tolerating cold. After being diagnosed, I realised my dad had three siblings who had diabetes. I don't know that I could have totally prevented the disease. My two older brothers have had diabetes and they maintained a normal weight their entire life. I could write a book on what I shoulda, coulda. But not making boiled cookies is a good restart.

The irony is I can easily skip breakfast, pick at the serious food I prepare and love vegetables. Depending on the time of day, I can resist cake and the like. But late at night, bring on the chips or more likely saltine crackers. I feel fortunate that I can afford vegetables to eat. I may get my ducks in a row and start a reasonably sized garden. 

In the beginning I could control my diabetes with not eating and moving more. Now, I go out and work hard, get hot and my blood sugar is high. That is aggravating. I have always liked working in the yard. Oh well, I have been pretty good since the first of the year. Hopefully that will be enough. It is humiliating telling the doctor. Well, I have been irresponsible and took care of my health like a errant teenager. When my sister had a stroke, I ate a pack of peanut m&m candies every night for supper. At the doctors, they bragged on how good my A1c was. Maybe I will get lucky this time.  

2022 was filled with death for me. Many people I knew passed. On January 9th, 2023 Dick Flood who was known by many school children as Okefenokee Joe passed. He was 90 and his leaving made me think of my mother. He entered the VA hospital in Augusta in late November where he stayed until his passing.

I was lucky in getting to know Dick Flood. I knew him on an acquaintance level. I first saw Okefenokee Joe during a school program. I was in my mid-thirties. I remember the story he shared where his worst bite was from a woman. At the time, I thought a woman had actually bit him. Later, I learned it was from a divorce. He had been married several times. He never liked anyone to describe snakes as sneaky. Snakes weren't sneaky, people were.

One thing he always taught children was to be swampwise. This is a program that has been shared on Georgia Public Television. The program has been well watched. And like many creatives, he never made any money off of it. I did notice he had written a book so I ordered it.

This is the link to the video.

Swampwise - Okefenokee Joe


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