174) Food & Forgetfulness

October 8, 2007

Homeside Reflections: I took some notes last Saturday for this blog and neglected to post them because of my depressed state about UT losing to OU in Dallas. What a good exciting beginning of an ultimately terrible loss. I got off my machine at El Milagro just as OU picked up a tipped pass in the fourth quarter and it looked to be going quickly downhill. That day I felt really puny anyway and had missed Shayna's early morning soccer game. Probably felt puny from working 15 hours on Friday, flying out to Amarillo to do some work with an agency out there and then getting stalled in Dallas on the way home. It is the norm for even Southwest Airlines to slow down on Friday evenings... so I had a delay in Dallas and didn't get home until 10:15 that night. I had also ended up eating some BAD, high phosphorous stuff in the bar in Amarillo because they didn't have anything that would be healthy for me.

I find that when I am traveling and get hungry, I don't seem to care as much about my special diet... I just take whatever I can get. I do take extra binders with me usually! That airport bar in Amarillo doesn't have chips and salsa (half okay)... only chips and queso (plastic velveeta and ro-tel... really BAD). "Oh well... just a little won't hurt..." I rationalize. At home or in a restaurant with friends and relations, I'd never roll over like that. But, by myself in the airport bar in Amarillo... (sounds like it could be song...). And, of course, who can turn down the free peanuts on SW Airlines? They're such cute little bags of sweetened nuts... I even tried telling myself "You're alergic to nuts" but I didn't believe myself even for a minute. And a minute is about how long it takes to devour the contents of one of those cute little bags.

I spent my blogging time over the weekend working on issue #5 of the El Milagro News; my contribution to the Patient Advisory Committee. As there is more to report, this newsletter business is taking more and more time. Sunday's time was about 4 hours and I missed Shayna's winning her first cross country bike race. I must say, that morning when they tried to get me up to go watch before sunrise... I was rolling over in bed saying, "No! I'm too tired..." and only later wished they had dragged me out. I promised I will watch the next bike race. When I finally got up, I was feeling dragged out, still UT-down, and barely could haul myself to my work computer (publisher) to work on the newsletter.

I Can No Longer Multi-task: I do a great job of thinking about what I’m thinking about… but I’m having a helluva time keeping in mind things I’m not focused on. I used to excuse that by saying, “those things just aren’t important to me…”. This morning Lizzie set my dialysis bag out in the middle of the hall and reminded me to put it in my truck. Here I am driving through the park on the way to the center and it pops into my head that I don’t have it. “Damn!” How does that spontaneous popping happen?

El Milagro: I walk in without my bag, feeling naked. I’m beside John the New Guy today. Rosie gets around to sticking me after I’ve been here about 30 minutes… while I talk to John about getting back in the job market. He shares that he is going crazy not working… he had to quit his high power job when he started dialysis and now that he is adjusted here he wants to get back to work. I can certainly understand that: without work, this would be a real drag. He is thinking about what kind of work he can do. I offer that he could do some volunteer work (tutoring, mentoring) until he finds a job.

I know how to forget things; not how to make them important enough to remember. I used to be better at remembering an unrelated group of things… for years I wrote lists and at work I still do. I am an old time Time Design guy from way back.

I remember important stuff pretty well. I knew this guy when I lived in Waco back in ’82. He was one of those quasi-intellectual self-made men who multi-task quite well. He had grown up in a spiritual commune called the Emissaries of Divine Light. Well, as an adult he moved out on his own and what I always remember is that he kept ONE LIST and it had everything on it: things he had to do today, next week, and next month. Intermixed there on his list were things to buy at the hardware store and the grocery store… things he wanted to remember, books to read, and ideas to ponder. All on ONE list. I thought it was peculiar. I can’t remember his name… but he reminded me of Gyro Gearloose. His list was in a tattered ledger-type book with a rubber band holding his place… and, I recall that he got tons of stuff accomplished.

Back here at El Milagro, I am thinking that I forgot something else… oh yeah. My weight. I recall it slowly when Rosie the Tech asks for it and then wander off in my brain to consider my rationale for remembering or forgetting things. When I forget something I could fret about it, or I can do what I do: happily tell myself, “out of mind…, no more worry.”, trusting that the object of my inquiry will pop back in when I need to remember it. Some people would call that lazy brain and I prefer to call it the Zen approach.

I tell Rosie that I have completed the newsletter and sent it in to be copied. She gets Mario on the phone so we can talk about his completing the Spanish version. She also brings me a blanket and earphones to use for the session and I settle in to viewing the tube. About 5 minutes before I’m done I get attacked by excruciating cramps in both my calves at the same time. Yowzah… that hurts. I struggle to bend my feet up and Rosie comes over and pushes against my feet. She stops the machine and adds some liquid while I try to push my feet against the floor to stop the cramping. Within those 5 minutes it’s over, my BP has dropped to about 90 over 50 and I feel dizzy, drained, and ready to call it a night. Darn! I hate it when that happens. Rosie thinks I’ve probably gained a little weight, making our figuring of how much to take off wrong. “Well okay…. Lets just get it right next time”, I think.

So it goes.

Notes: In at 76.1 and out at 72.8 kgs.
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Angela Soper said...

This is Angela Soper (from almost 20 years ago--yikes!). I was up at UT for a UT field fair (I began a non-profit a year ago in Houston) and saw Lisa (rats, can't remember her name) and had breakfast with Tanya Voss (a lovely woman). You are practically famous at UT, and Middle Earth is still the hot site. It was great to hear about how it has grown and how you have (and continue to) influenced others. You largely shaped the Social Worker I am today, and my agency will hopefully show that in the way we train interns. They both told me about you and your blog and so today, between sessions, I began to read.
I wish I had something profound to say but I don't. I wish you didn't have to go through this, but you sound resolved and courageous, and I wish I could give you my kidney (I have a precancerous bone marrow condition so my blood is tainted and I have lost too much weight)...
Anyway, thank you for sharing your inspiring journey and I wish you the very best.

Jack Nowicki said...

Angela ~ thanks for writing in! I always like hearing from past students and interns. (I try to hide tips for you all in the blog to keep you reading). Jack