Stomach Flu Part 2

Tuesday Daughter arrived home from work with that look that said, “oh, no…I’m getting it.”

And, she was.

And, she did.

Oh my….

Hubby AND Daughter in bed (and in the bathroom) sick with stomach flu.

And, me?

I’m running around with a bottle of bleach spray in one hand and a can of Lysol spray in the other.  And, I’m praying that God is merciful to me and to my family and spares me from becoming ill with this horrid thing. (I’m a terrible impatient patient!)

My hands are so chapped from the frequent washings and hot water kitchen sink contaminated dishes scaldings that they are cracked and bleeding.  What’s that you say? Lotion? No thanks.  I’m afraid the virus will hide under a layer of lotion.

I’ve washed loads and loads of clothes and cleaned and cleaned until my house smells truly wonderful!

My greatest fear is that I will take it to my mother and so I’ve limited my usual daily visits to quick ventures down to her house to take her trashcan to the road or collect her mail. Mostly it’s to touch her even though I don’t dare…touch her with my eyes and my ever so brief presence.

I miss my mom.  Miss watching Dr. Phil with her every day while we sip on coffee and nibble on Rice Crispy treats.

Hubby is on the mend and I think Daughter will be in a day or so.  Now, if only God will provide protection for me from the dread vomiting / diarrhea / fever / aches / headache bug.  Incubation is from 4 to 48 hours.  And, those who have had it can continue to shed virus for two weeks after fever is gone.  How will I know when it’s safe for me to relax my vigilance?

Wow…maybe I’ll get to spend time with my mom by my birthday.  Maybe this bug will pass me by and pass on out of my house and be gone.  I pray it does.

Stay well, all!  And, if the bug bites you, take it easy and give your body time to rest.  Rest is important to healing.

Stomach Flu

It doesn’t matter what name you call it, viral gastroenteritis is a nasty bug that does nasty things.

Hubby was hit hard by it Sunday afternoon.

(I’m writing this on Monday and it won’t post until Wednesday.  So, if you find there is no post here on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday you will know that I, too, succumbed to it.)

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen Hubby as sick as he was yesterday and last night.  This morning he has begun to run a low grade fever and is (thankfully) able to tolerate a little cold orange Gatorade.

There is only one thing I can say that can help prevent you from coming down with this nasty illness.  WASH YOUR HANDS.

Wash your hands often.  If you can’t wash them, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.

Stay well. Stay healthy.  And, if you are ill, please take care not to pass on your crud to others.

WASH YOUR HANDS!  Please!

And, take a peek at these tips for dealing with stomach flu.

February 25th

Today is the 56th day of the year.

How did that happen?

I’m certain I’ve lived every one of those 56 days…but I can’t account for many….

14 days of the 56 were spent out of state and most of them are a blur.  I feel like I’m missing half of this month and in reality, I guess I am.  The first half was spent in SC.  The second half was spent at home trying to get caught up.

And, here we are three days away from the beginning of the third month of the year.

How, exactly, did that happen?

Have there truly been 56 sun rises so far this year?

Apparently so.

I took a peek at my list of things I want to accomplish this year. I’d better get a move on if I’m going to get some things done.

Spring is just around the corner and time is marching on.  It will take every dry, sunny day between now and planting time to get things ready.

And, after Spring come Summer and I have a long list of things I need done in the garage before hot weather arrives.

I need life to slow down and the days to lengthen.  I need to cull some superfluous activities and involvements and focus on what’s important…to me.

What’s important to you?  Is it hard to focus on yourself and do what’s important to YOU? It is for me.  Perhaps it’s part ,personality, part gender, part maternal, part expectations, part training…. We’re taught to think first of others and their needs and desires and to think last of our own.

But, Jesus clearly said we are to love others as we love ourselves.

I have to take good care of me in order to take good care of you.

Refocus. Redirect. Realign. Priorities – that’s where my energy needs to be focused.

What are my priorities right now on this, the 56th day of the year?

I have 309 days left in this year (it’s not a Leap Year) and a long list of to dos to get done if I want to welcome 2015 differently than I welcomed 2014.

You have the same number of days left in this year as I.

Where will your focus be?

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

I don’t know about where you live, but here in the South, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are a part of our past, present and (I hope) future.

My favorite doughnut is Krispy Kreme (fondly referred to as KK Donuts). Doesn’t matter what flavor.  If it’s a KK donut, it’s gonna be good!

Now, if given a choice I do have my preferences.

  • Plain Glazed
  • Chocolate Iced Glazed
  • Raspberry Filled
  • Maple Iced Glazed
  • Cinnamon Bun

And, yes…in that order.

KK Donuts are best when they are still warm…freshly made.  Yum.  They melt in your mouth!

They are also good when they are stone cold and hard as a rock. Dunk that stale rascal in a cup of hot coffee and oh my…talk about good!

I’ve NEVER thrown away a KK donut – unless someone unrelated to me had eaten from it and rejected it.  And, even then I’ve been known to cut off the bite marks and pop it into my mouth.

Oh yeah…I love KK donuts!

But, alas, I don’t eat them anymore. Gluten is not a friend of mine and KK Donuts are made from wheat flour.

I’ll admit.  I cried when I realized I couldn’t eat KK Donuts anymore. And, on more than one occasion I’ve taken a small bite of one…just for the taste…to remember the joy of eating, tasting, savoring…. But, I didn’t swallow…couldn’t swallow it…had to spit it out…. Sad.

Even though I can’t eat them, I still enjoy them.  My family loves them.  We have a Krispy Kreme Doughnut within walking distance of our house (about 2 miles) and we drop in with an occasional free doughnut coupon to redeem.

When the “HOT Light” is on you know the doughnuts are cooking and all you need to do is ask for a hot one.  An employee will take a special device and hook a hot one from the roller and slip it into a box for you.

Saturday morning, Hubby and I slipped into KK Donut to redeem two Valentine’s Day free doughnut coupons.  (Before Valentine’s Day if you purchase a dozen doughnuts you receive 12 free doughnuts Valentine’s Day cards. Mom received 2 dozen for Valentine’s Day and passed a couple our way.)

The Hot Light was on and the aroma of warm doughnuts mingled with the fragrance of KK coffee.

What could be better on a cool Saturday morning than to linger over fresh KK donuts with a hot cup of black coffee and the one you love most?

I suppose some could say that it would be better to be able to enjoy eating them myself – but in all truth it brings me greater enjoyment to smell them, to remember past joys involving them (adult and childhood memories and celebrations) and to watch others enjoy them.

Have you ever watched people eat something they really enjoy? It’s as much fun as eating one yourself.  Well…almost.

KK Donuts and I go way back. And, if I have anything to do with it, KK Donuts and I will have a long and enduring future together.

A word to the wise – better watch your Chocolate Iced Glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnut.  I’ve been known to lick the chocolate off…it’s gluten-free…yum!

National Cherry Pie Day

I missed it – Thursday, February 20, 2014 was National Cherry Pie Day!

How could I have missed it? (Actually, I’d never heard of it until I clicked on Krispy Kreme Doughnut’s and saw mention of it.)

Mom’s cherry pie is my absolute favorite pie. (So is her apple pie and chocolate meringue pie and pecan/pecan-free pie, and lemon meringue pie, and….)

A quick google reveals many National Holidays here in the US.  Just about every day of the year has a special designation.

Yesterday was National Cook a Sweet Potato Day.  Today is National Banana Bread Day.  Tomorrow is National Tortilla Chip Day.  You get the picture.

In honor of National Cherry Pie Day (had I know about it at the time) I would have shared Mom’s secret family recipe for Cherry Pie.  Alas…the day slipped past me and so did the opportunity….

In keeping with the spirit of this day, here’s a delicious Banana Bread recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes.  Be sure to visit the link and check out the comments.  Loads of ideas for add ins and combinations.  Delicious!

Happy National Banana Bread Day!

Banana Bread Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes one loaf.

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Method

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Certificate of Death

Here in the US, two forms are needed to for her citizens to navigate life’s roads (legally).

A certificate attesting to the fact that your birth was live and actually occurred is necessary. Gotta have it for just about everything, it seems.

A certificate proving that you’ve died is necessary, too. Your affairs can’t be closed out and your cases closed until your loved ones/business partners have that little paper in hand.

Before our granddaughter left the hospital last year, information was gathered from her mother and doctor that would be placed on her birth certificate.  This piece of paper will be shown to countless people and agencies over her lifetime and is necessary for her to receive her US tracking number (aka Social Security Number, or SSN)

After my dad’s death in 2012, Mom had to wait several days to attend to his affairs and place everything fully in her name.  Her word alone was not enough.  A legal document was required – a Certificate of Death. Hubby’s mom recently received his dad’s death certificate and can now begin the chore of closing out his affairs and beginning anew with her own.

One would think that a legal document attesting to the fact that a baby has been born would be accurate – usually they are.  However, with Hubby’s dad his birth certificate revealed his REAL name.  Apparently his mother named him one thing (on the birth certificate) and his grandmother later overruled his mother and changed it.  David was originally James (if memory serves me well).

And, one would think that a legal document that attests to the fact that a person has died would be accurate – but they often are not. It’s been reported that 1/2 of doctors interviewed said they had placed or instructed others to place inaccurate information on death certificates and that 1/3 of death certificates contain errors.

My dad’s cause of death was listed as renal failure caused by a heart attack.  Hubby’s dad’s cause of death was listed as Alzheimer’s.  While Alzheimer’s was a factor that contributed to his inability to swallow, it was not the cause of death.  Hubby and I were present and know what caused his death. And, now we wonder if there is some sort of coverup afoot to protect the hospital.

With government issued forms it often takes an act of congress, a miracle from God, and a lengthy process to get errors changed.  And, with a death certificate amending the cause of death is rarely accomplished.

Click on the link for more on Death Certificate Facts.

What will I give up for Lent?

I’ve a little less than 2 weeks to make up my mind as to whether or not I will acknowledge the Lenten season this year. (3/5 to 4/17)

And, if I decide to embrace Lent (as I did last year by giving up something), I will need to determine the answer to the question: What will I give up for Lent?

My first and only experience with Lent broke me of my life long ketchup habit…addiction. I still, a year later, cannot stand the taste or smell of ketchup.

With that experience in mind I take a different attitude toward Lent this year.  I’ll admit – the levity with which I entered into Lent last year has given way to a seriousness…almost a fear.

Giving up ketchup for Lent changed me.  The me that was is no more…there’s no going back.  And, this…after I took a glib approach to it.

I’ve been told that with Lent one can take on a discipline for 40 days if they opt not to give up something for those 40 days.  My life is uber full right now.  To take on one more thing, I would have to give up something.

No, it would be best for me to give up something – but what?

My time away during Hubby’s dad’s illness, death and burial (and the ice storm that followed) taught me several things about myself. Some are good.  Some…not so good.

My time away also influenced me to be the best me I can be.  I’m not responsible for how anyone else acts or what anyone else does or doesn’t do. I’m responsible for myself…what I say, do, think….

I want to be the best me I can be.  And, I know that within my own self I’m powerless to be my best.  I need to plug into God’s power through Jesus and live leaning fully on Him as I follow in His Way.

What one thing can I give up that will open the door to change…real change, not just in habits and taste, but in identity and activity?

What can I give up that will revolutionize who I am?

Several things come to mind…things I discovered about myself while away those 14 days.  I wonder…if I follow them back far enough and search deep enough…will the root of these things be one common thing?

Do I have what it takes to give up just one of these things? (Or…the root of the things…if there is a common root.)  I don’t know…haven’t found the strength or resolve to do so yet.  Can I do so in His strength over a 40 days time frame? I know God can empower me…will give me strength.  I just don’t know that my faith is strong enough or my resolve great enough to do this.

Lent this year, should I choose to embrace it, will be a true time of testing and preparation. By Easter I should emerge born anew.  They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. What will 40 days do to me?

I’ve 11 days to pray about and give thought to my decision concerning Lent 2014.

What will you do about Lent this year?  If you were to keep Lent, what would you give up? Or, what discipline would you take on?  And, how would you expect to be changed by the experience?

Spring-like

This week has been a welcome break. Warm, Spring-like weather has awakened the gardener in me and I’ve spent as much time outside as possible.

Tuesday I began the task of pulling aside the cardboard and turning over the damp soil under it.  As I did so, I pulled out roots and grass and broke up clumps.

Wiggly worms of all sizes were exposed to light as the cardboard came off.  I imagined them blinking their non-existent eyes as their world suddenly went from darkness to sunlit.

In some places the cardboard and newspaper was little more than compost. This I incorporated into the soil – a welcome amendment.

The cardboard that resisted the touch of earth, rain and the nibble of earthworms became a walkway between rows – the ground underneath will not be turned until the garden is prepped for next season.

Three hours I worked in the warm sun.  The dirt, cool and sweet smelling, yielded itself easily to the touch and pull of the garden fork. My right hand became my work hand as she busied herself plucking grass and roots from the damp overturned soil.  Before long she was dirt encrusted and heavy.

My old work shoes (yes, I still have them) became heavy from the load of dirt the soles carried. Three times I took them off and knocked the dirt from them.

As I worked, I felt muscles come alive that had grown stiff and shriveled. Alive – that’s how I felt…what I felt.

After three hours of work, I stepped back and surveyed my garden.  11/12’s of it was still covered with untouched cardboard. A 12 x 12 plot had been dug and a cardboard path marked its center.

A fat robin sat atop the fence and eyed the freshly turned soil.  I admonished her to leave my earthworms alone (I’d carefully covered each with soil) and that she was to eat only “bad” bugs. She hopped from her perch and plucked a grub from the soil and gulped it down.

I’ve a lot yet to do. Perhaps I bit off more than I can chew with the size of this backyard garden.

No, this is the middle of February. There’s plenty of time (if sunny days outnumber rainy and occasional warm days thaw the ground). I can do this.

I know God will give me the strength and the ability.

After all, His eye is on the Robin and I know He watches me.

Twenty-One Days

Twenty-One Days

January 29, 2014 through February 18, 2014

Tim Hutchinson

Yesterday, I realized that it had been twenty-one days since my father’s doctor called me a second time and informed me that someone at the hospital had ignored direct orders not to feed my father by mouth. Doing so would cause my father to develop pneumonia and his kidneys to fail and finally lead to his death and going home to be with Jesus.

Earlier that day the doctor had called. He was enthused with how well my father was doing and was going to send him back to the Nursing Home where he hoped my father would remember how to swallow once he was back in his ‘home environment’ there. The doctor hoped once there they would quite possibly be able to remove the feeding tube soon in the future.

I proceeded to get ready to go to work encouraged that things were looking good for my father.

Then, everything changed with that second telephone call. Dad’s doctor, who was almost in tears, explained to the best of his ability what had happened, which by the way, was none of his doing. My father would have pneumonia by the next day, and by the time my wife, Suzan and I got there, four days later, he was in Stage Five Kidney failure with little hope of recovery.

A lot has changed since that day, twenty-one days ago…3 weeks ago today. Change certainly occurred in my mother’s life, not to mention what changed in the lives of my brother and sister, and my life, too.

Have you noticed how that time just seems to fly by?  It’s like we blink and it’s another day before we know it. We blinked and twenty-one days passed by. A lot happened.

Six days into these twenty-one days, my mother, knowing that there was virtually no hope of Dad’s kidneys working again and not wanting my father to suffer any longer and realizing that if he could speak he would want not to go back the misery he had at the Nursing Home, decided with my sister and myself, to let Dad die and go on home to Heaven to be with Jesus.

Quite possibly, up to this point in my life, having to tell Dad’s nurse, Heather Tanner, what my mother and our family had decided, was the hardest moment of my life. I will always be grateful for her comforting hug as I broke down and cried and for the compassion she showed our family and the wonderful care she gave to my father in the hospital.

Eleven days into the twenty-one days, my father died and went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Not long after Dad’s home going, I wrote on Facebook:

“My father, Rev. David E. Hutchinson, at 8:23 a.m. Eastern time, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His home going was peaceful. He took a breath, exhaled, and inhaled this world’s air one last time and woke up at home in heaven.”

I can honestly say that I felt no sadness at that moment. There was calmness in the room when Dad crossed over into Heaven. At that moment, I just felt happy for Dad and sad for Mom and my sister and brother. Yet, for me, I found it almost amazing as I watched Dad go to Heaven.

Then, just seven short days ago, fourteen days into the twenty-one days, we tried as best we could to give Dad the ‘happy’ funeral he wanted. I think we succeeded. We cried and laughed and celebrated to the best of our ability, his life.

The Psalmist said that “we live our lives as a tale that is told.”  We simply told the ‘tale’ of Dad’s life spent loving and serving Jesus Christ to the best of his ability.

Still, how do you celebrate the death of one you loved so much?  With grateful hearts, trusting God to give you the strength you need at the very moment you need it.

In our case, we knew that the body was just the shell. Dad wasn’t in it anymore. He was home in Heaven and because that was the case, we knew that one day we could go home to be with him.

So, we were strengthened and comforted.

Yes, it hurts like crazy. However, in our grief and in our tears, that show up so unexpectedly, we are clinging to God, trusting Him to give us what we need to make it through these difficult days.

Now, even though I couldn’t exactly say I was having fun during these last twenty-one days or that they were filled with happiness, I can say that during these twenty-one days God has provided me with everything I needed to make it though those stressful twenty-days of sorrow and heartache.

Maybe, that is what changed in me during these twenty-one days:  I learned to trust and lean on God to give me what I needed to make it through today and tomorrow. I found God to be good and totally trustworthy. I found I could depend on Him to provide me with what I needed each day.

Twenty-one amazing days filled with God’s goodness and love and provision.

(Guest post by Hubby.)

What will I make of it?

Today.

I have a choice.

I can lean hard into the possibilities that this day presents and work as opportunity allows.

Or, I can sit back, take it easy, rest body and mind, put things off until another day and hope for the best.

In truth, my mind and body need recovery time.  There was much emotional/mental and physical hardship that occurred while away from home.  For 14 days there was a constant demand for output and little opportunity to regroup, to rest…to recover.

Sleep is what my body and mind crave.  But, after sleeping 8 hours I wake exhausted. My body halts between bedroom door and hallway, uncertain whether to move forward or fall back. My mind feels like lukewarm gray mush that struggles to remember what’s said and what I intend to do next.

Hubby struggles as well. His grief compounds and accents his mental and physical fatigue.

The mind must heal and the body must recover if life is to be forward facing and energies focused on what’s next.

Forward facing with focus on what comes next is imperative. There are still hard decisions to be made and much work to be done to close out what was and open doors to the possibilities that lie ahead.

Possibilities.

I have a choice.

Opportunity.

I have today.

What will I make of it?

Will I listen to my body and mind? They beg to shut down and rest.

No.  I will take both outside into the sunlight and I will take the garden fork in hand and work the soil…breaking it up…turning it over…opening the door to possibilities….

All winter I’ve looked forward to the day when the weather would permit me to begin work on the garden I’ll have in my own backyard. Cardboard has covered half the yard for many months now and most of the grass beneath it has died.

Today. I will embrace it…all of it.  And, I will work my body until she aches and can do no more.  And, as my body works my mind can rest and take time to regroup and recover.

Today abounds in possibilities and opportunities.

What will you make of it?