There’s so much goodness found in the mountains, streams, lakes, and forests of the Pacific Northwest. Along with that goodness is the kindness that oozes out of every beautiful sight we behold:
- the sweet and varied songs of the birds that are hidden from sight, but not by hearing;
- the welcome shade provided by trees that have been around longer than my timespan on this earth and that will remain long after I’m gone;
- the flowers and berries, both common and unique, that serve to add color to the landscape, thus softening the feel of the dirt, rocks, and rooty trails that receive our eager feet;
- the top of the mountain vistas – what my husband and I call the payoff – that await our sweaty, achy, bodies, making us forget the out of breath effort it took to get there; and
- the people we meet along the way who love hiking as much as we do.
At yesterday’s vista view, we met a young man who with his wife, moved to Seattle from Utah. Just three weeks into his Washington State experience Matt is in love with what our state has to offer. His wife’s job is what prompted their move: she is in her medical residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She has the overnight shift so Matt is taking advantage of her daytime sleep schedule to explore the new place in which he lives.
Matt is a microbiologist who is putting off looking for a job for a few weeks while he acquaints himself with his new home. We recommended he enjoy the best weather the Seattle area has to offer before getting anywhere near a laboratory. We also told him we felt certain he would have no problem finding work in his field given the renowned medical community in the area. We had a simply delightful conversation with this man who, after I mentioned my family’s history with Alzheimer’s, offered the promising breakthrough just discovered regarding a virus that might contribute to the disease.
Whether Baby Boomers like ourselves, young children, or everyone in between, the hiking community just seems to give off kindness vibes – a kindness that provides lasting benefits for these late-in-life hike enthusiasts. I know this has been a far different Kindness Fridays to which you may be accustomed, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless.
Living one day at a time is a good philosophy to uphold regardless of what’s going on in one’s life. I would extend that sentiment to say, “Live each day one moment at a time.” It’s good to plan, set goals, even write a bucket list, but doing so addresses the future, not the present.
When I was admitted to a local hospital for hip replacement surgery, I knew that would be one step toward many that I would accomplish to attain complete recovery. I had no idea what accomplishments I would be able to celebrate or in what order they would appear, I simply knew I would eventually be able to move beyond my physical restrictions.
I was right.
Walker. Yep, I held onto this piece of durable medical equipment (DME) like it was my lifeline…because it was. I learned how to use it while still in the hospital and once I got home I outfitted my own walker with a multi-pocketed pouch wherein I stored necessary items: water bottle, iPhone, iPad, tissues, snacks, so that wherever I landed, I was set. Two weeks post surgery I was able to retire the walker. What a lovely step in the right direction.
Cane. Using my Hurrycane is liberating – I say is, not was, because it’s still attached to my person as a means of transportation. Today, November 6th, marks one month since my surgery and I am still nowhere near ready to retire this piece of equipment because I still need the support it provides. I’ve even learned how to use it as a pick-up-something-I-dropped-aid, as long as the dropped item is thicker than a piece of paper or bigger than the Vitamin D3 capsules I take every day but sometimes end up on the floor. I drop things often enough that my husband simply follows my trail of items to discern where I’ve been lately.
Raised toilet seat. I know, there’s a visual all of you would prefer not to have, but early on in my recovery, it was a requirement that meant the difference between responding successfully to my most base urges, or…not, and that visual would have been far worse to contemplate. Fortunately, it served me well and I retired it three weeks post-surgery.
Medications. Okay, this is a tricky one. I abhor having to take medications, whether over-the-counter or prescribed, but when your leg is sliced into, requiring major manipulations by the surgeon and his jolly helpers – not to mention sawing off sections of a bone that I would no longer need – a person is going to have lingering pain issues that need to be addressed, and this person sure does. I am a very slow healer; an 80-year old can have the same surgery as me and return to yoga or square dancing classes a mere two weeks after receiving their bionic hip. Not so, I.
So here I am, wishing I was further along in my rehabilitation but refusing to compare myself to others who appear to be better off post-surgery than I am. I can smile throughout my day and sleep well at night knowing I have one of the most effective rehabilitation tools a person could hope for: my husband. Jerry supports me physically and he supports me emotionally, the latter of which has been almost more important than the former. He recently held me in his arms on the couch while I bawled into his neck, saturating it and his t-shirt with my tears. On that particular day, I was tired of hurting. To be sure, pain is very taxing on one’s body and emotions – there is no separation between the two – so if my body is having a hard time, so is my psyche.
Is that a lose/lose situation? It can be, but if I remember to live one day or one moment at a time, I’ll be less inclined to allow fear and frustration to take root. Fear is based on the future: what if I never get better? what if the surgery didn’t work? what if I am never able to be as active as I want to be? what if I never stop hurting? All future-based.
When living in the moment I can celebrate my ability to:
- climb the stairs in my house two at a time instead of one;
- walk to the end of my driveway to retrieve the mail;
- get in and out of bed without assistance;
- bathe with very little assistance;
- dress myself;
- do more tasks in the kitchen than I was able to do four weeks ago; and
- hold my grandson and give him a multitude of smooches while he sits on my lap.
Regardless of how long it takes for me to get back to “normal” that time will come and when it does it’ll be right on time. In the interim, I’m going to acknowledge each moment as precious and not concern myself with that which has yet to occur.
I am reblogging the attached article about Christina Britton Conroy’s book that truly appears to be one all of us Baby Boomers need to add to our bookshelves. Personally, it has been a delight to be one of the AlzAuthors’ newest members. I am in such good company. Coming December 20th, you’ll be able to view my introduction as a member of this enriching group of authors.
Saturday, August 26th, 3 pm
I am excited about my next author event which will take place at Book Tree in Kirkland, Washington.
Book Tree is a fabulous, quaint, neighborhood bookstore that truly excels at bringing the community together.
Here’s the content of their website’s About section:
BookTree is a vibrant gathering place for the exchange of ideas, and discussion of books and the literary arts. It is a place where all are welcome to continue their journey, expand their knowledge, feed their interests and further their education through books and literature. It is a place for families to find and enjoy the best of current literature. A place where our customers can hear local and traveling writers, authors and poets present their work.
BookTree is one of the few remaining independent bookstores on the Eastside that will be an important part of our city’s identity. It will be successful because of the generous support of our community who values a stand-alone retail bookstore.
BookTree is owned by 2 people who are passionate about the inherent value of books, reading, writing, listening and sharing diverse ideas, and viewpoints.
I hope to see you on the 26th!
Another author, Rebecca Howie, who interviewed me on July 16th, provides this wonderful peek into the world that Matthew Brockmeyer has created in his novel. I hope you’ll investigate what he’s up to!
My nieces and nephews will get a kick out of this one: 17 trees are saved by every ton of existing paper that is recycled. That means if we pulped every Harry Potter book we wouldn’t be able to see the sky for foliage.
And here’s a comic sure to bring a chuckle:
You might not expect to find kindness lurking in an international airport. Airports are notoriously me-focused with tempers creeping higher and higher as we navigate airport check-in, TSA, and every-seat-full airplanes.
My husband and I experienced a kindness that worked very much in our favor on our return flight from Las Vegas to Seattle earlier this week. In the pre-boarding area – Gate E15 – the Alaska Airlines employee kept encouraging passengers to check their large roller suitcases at the gate to allow for more space for everyone in the airplane. Those bags could be checked at the gate for no charge whatsoever (usually it’s $25 per bag).
I observed those who took Alaska up on their offer but many did not. I understand how difficult it is to part with one’s belongings. There might be something in that roller suitcase a person might need during the two and a quarter hour flight. (I’ve yet to see someone yank their roller bag out of the overhead during a flight however. Once it’s there, it is there to stay until the plane comes to a stop at the jetway, then people, like meercats, jump out of their seat, pop open the overhead bin, and are good and ready to steamroll themselves down the aisle out of the plane … even at the sacrifice of other’s toes.)
My husband and I have one carry-on each: a backpack. Our conservative manner of traveling paid off at McCarran International Airport. Instead of announcing rows – starting at the back of the plane – for passengers to start boarding, the Alaska agent said, “Anyone without a roller bag; anyone with a carry-on that fits under the seat in front of them may now board the plane.” And there you have it: a kindness was extended to us that might not have been a kindness to the remainder of the passengers with their roller bags but it was a kindness nonetheless.
It was a kindness of which we were able to take advantage; a kindness that rewarded us for traveling light.