Things I’ve Learned About Love

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

Recently I had a setback in my life which involved a repeat surgery on my right knee to resolve and infection that had set in.    This left me with 2 months at home, which is a long time to think and contemplate life in general.  Things once again were put into perspective and I found myself placing life and people back in their proper places.  Along my 2 month journey I realized just what a good husband is, and just how wonderful a respectful strong marriage can be.  This is a second marriage for both of us and we often discuss how the mistakes we made in our first marriages have  allowed us to build a firm foundation. I was married for 27 years and had 4 wonderful children.  My ex-husband and I just could no longer band together to fight off the challenges that the world threw at us.  You just drift apart and realize you are just 2 people living in the same house. I challenged myself this last 2 months to keep a running list of things that I have learned since remarrying a year ago.  I know many people who are struggling in their marriages/relationships and perhaps it’s never to late to learn from an others mistake.

These are the 9 p0ints that I realize that will help make a marriage succeed.

     1.  PICK YOUR BATTLES:  I used to think that if I won an argument then I was the winner.  WOW…there are no winners in an argument, especially one that escalates to name calling or violence.  One of you has to remain calm when the other one is fired up.  Take a walk, go into another room, just get away from each other. Take at least 15 minutes to calm down.  Is what you are arguing about really important?  Does it really matter if you win?

     2.  DO NOT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.  Trust me, there is bigger “stuff” that will come into your life and you need that soulmate to be your back up person.

     3.   BITE YOUR TONGUE!  Go ahead BITE IT….bite it until it hurts if you have to.  Don’t let those angry bitter words come out of your mouth. Sometimes words hurt so bad that you think being hit would hurt less.  Although I can not imagine being struck by another person, I know it happens, and either spouse can be the one swinging.  Come on, it can’t make you feel good, so try to stop and get help. Please……

     4.  DO THING TOGETHER.  Try to go out on a ‘date.”  When your kids are young they become your whole life and then they grow up and you look at your spouse and don’t remember how to be a couple again.  I have learned to share his love of guns, he has learned to share my love for different kinds of music. ( although I will probably never be a fan of TV cattle/bull auctions and curling)

     5.  BE A TEAM.  Support that person you married.  Life is so much better when you come home from a bad day at work and they will allow you to vent (but not too much because nobody loves a Debbie or Donnie Downer)  We have said that no matter how bad the day is once we walk into the house we know it will be a refuge.  A place to share the good and the bad, the worries and the achievements.  Often times you can’t do anything but listen, because they really don’t want your advise, they just need to share.

     6.  BUILD A BOND.  The two of you will have memories that no one else has, and you will have challenges that others may not have.  One has to be strong when the other is weak, and men…it’s ok to be weak.  A loving mate will step up to the plate and be your rock.

     7.  DON’T BE THE ONLY ONE GIVING.  If you find that you are the only one of the team that’s giving then you need to be open and tell him or her how you feel.  This is the way it should go: I do nice things for you and you do nice things for me.  Kind of like what we learned in kindergarten?  Nothing will kill a persons soul faster than giving and never receiving.

     8.  SAY: “I love you” and REALLY MEAN IT.  Look them in the eye and say it.  Say it often!  Can a spouse every get tired of hearing that they are loved?   Tell them how nice they look, even when it may be a stretch.  There have been times this past 2 months that I have looked like a train wreck and always have been made to feel like the most beautiful gal in the world.  This is something that I will always remember.

     9.  TRY not to say anything to humiliate your spouse.  And for heavens sake don’t say something and then say “I was just joking or I didn’t mean it”  Respect, respect, and respect. I can’t imagine ever saying anything to embarrass my husband, especially in public.  ITS UGLY and it makes you look ugly.

There are advantages to second marriages, your kids are grown, you both have hopefully learned from your past mistakes and are willing to correct them, and you usually you are better off financially.  Those days of scrimping to pay medical bills, groceries, school expenses, etc are usually gone.  Perhaps if I had followed those simple 9 steps years ago things would be different now, but I took the leap of faith and knew I would be emotionally healthier alone.  As for my second marriage, I can’t even explain the feeling of security, friendship and love that I have found.  My soul has come alive again and with the help of God and my husband there is nothing I can not do or handle.  My wish is that all couples (whether in their first or second marriage) can find this special gift at some point in their lives. ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

SMASHED POTATOES.

I try to find the bags of small potatoes in the produce section.  If you can find the ones in a microwavable bag that’s even better.  They come in all kinds of varieties, so choose the ones that appeal to you.

  Microwave or boil potatoes until just fork tender.  Don’t overcook.

Place potatoes on a baking sheet  (I always put parchment paper down first)

Gently press down  to smash each potato (I use the flat bottom of a glass)

Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, garlic, chopped green onions, (there is no right or wrong, use what tastes good to you)

Bake about 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the potatoes are lightly browned.

They are so sweet and excellent as a side dish.

Often we will use a big cookie sheet and add cauliflower florets, baby carrots, thinly sliced  peppers, or whatever is in the fridge.  Just drizzle with olive oil and season to taste.  Bake along with the potatoes.

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Ok Simple Simon…I’m Done Playing Your Silly Game

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

With Simple Simon breathing down my neck I make my next move and visit the surgeon who will take care of me now.  I am aware that there are 2 procedures that I am now facing. One is where he will cut open my knee and clean up the infection by cutting away any infected tissue, repairing, and then flushing out my knee with copious amounts of fluid.  The second scenario is that he will take out the 7 month old hardware, place a spacer in there and then reopen the knee in 6 weeks and place in new hardware.  With either scenario I will be on IV antibiotics for 4-6 weeks.  Now at this point I am very discouraged because this time around I know what’s coming.  I know how difficult and trying the recovery will be, and the thought of IV therapy almost puts me in a whole other state of panic.  So 3 days after my ER visit my husband and I are sitting in the exam room waiting for my sentencing.  The surgeon arrives and begins….lab work shows that my infection is strep in nature (the same strep that is on our skin), the culture shows that this bug is susceptible to all antibiotics (which means theoretically the infection will respond well to any antibiotics),  he will need to perform surgery as soon as we can schedule it, and I will need to be on IV antibiotic for 4-6 weeks, then oral antibiotics for an unknown amount of time.  At this point the strong woman that is usually inside my soul is now broken down and is replaced with a hopeless and desperate soul.  I begin to break down and then I see my husbands face and realize I’m not in this alone so I take a deep breath and brace myself.  At that point we schedule surgery for the following Monday.

The surgery is performed and I am pleased that the pain is not as intense as the initial knee replacement. He had to cut away inflamed tissue, replaced the loose prosthesis in my tibia, and placed a larger spacer because he had to cut away some of the bone.  At this point bone samples are sent to pathology and hopefully a repeat surgery will not be needed. This time the main objective is not physical therapy,  but creating a plan to clear up this infection.  I am seen by a specialist who will take over my antibiotic treatment both in the hospital and at home.  On day 3 they insert a PICC line and on day 4  I am sent home to begin recovery.  Home health is scheduled, the toilet seat is replaced with a raised seat , the CPM machine is in place on the bed in the spare bedroom, and the ice packs are ready in the freezer, and the extra pillows are put into the recliner to avoid too much pain from getting into a standing position.  After arriving home we realize we left the walker in the hospital room, but I realize that I really don’t even need it.

My first visit with the home health nurse was stressful to say the least.  I am supposed to give myself the antibiotics 3 times a day, as equally spaced out as possible (give or take an hour either way) and I chose 6am, 2pm and 10pm.  Unfortunately the nurse made her visit at 10am so my first dose will be done without her supervision.  She gives me directions, which I write down, and she assures me that in a week this will be “easy as pie.”  At 2pm I followed my written instruction and successfully gave myself the first dose.  The scary thing is that this catheter is inside my body 43 inches and is resting right outside my heart, and being a nurse a million scenarios are going through my mind.  One thing I have come to realize is that you can be a nurse by profession but once you are the patient or the patients loved one, your knowledge will either help or hinder you.  The physical therapist visits 2 times a week and I reach my goals of a 120 degree bend and zero when the leg is stretched out, by the end of week 4.

It has now been 5 weeks and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The depression that hit me like a ton a bricks is leaving, I can once again lift my leg into the shower, lift it into the bed, put on my shoes and socks, and am almost pain free except when I go from a sitting to standing position.  I can walk up stairs foot over foot and can go down the same way if I have 2 rails to hold onto.  I can do the IV therapy in my sleep, and the old toilet seat is back in place.  I have stored the walker in the basement and have less than 1 week left of house arrest, when I can return to the job I love and have missed for almost 2 months.  I have found out that my very supportive husband knows how to step up to the plate! He has wrapped my arm before each shower so the PICC line does not get wet, has put on my shoes and socks as if I was 2 years old, held me when I needed to cry, and helped me clean up when the antibiotic wreaked havoc on my stomach and I would lose my meals. I will never forget the night he made me laugh out loud and he just smiled and said “It’s so good to hear you laugh again honey!”  I realize that with every challenge that God has given me he has placed the people in my life to help me through this difficult time. I also realize that the list of these wonderful people is long and priceless, from our Pastor and his wife, to the friends that have sent cards, visited, sent words of encouragement,  and my wonderful husband and children.

So Simple Simon, I have taken back all of the bunny hops, and lost steps I have taken backwards and this train is now moving forward.  It is my hope that this will be my last game I play in awhile! ♥

 

FOOD FOR THE BODY

Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles

1 Large can cream of chicken soup

1 Large can chicken broth

3-4 boneless chicken breasts

1 stick of butter

Place all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until the chicken is done.

Shred the chicken and place back into the broth

Season with salt, pepper, garlic power, onion powder (the list is endless, up to you)

Turn up to HIGH and add enough of the Amish style noodles (thicker ones) to the point they are covered by the broth, and cook for 1 hour.

After an hour stir and enjoy.

I know I’ve included this one in the past, but it is so yummy and easy that I wanted to share it again!