Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gateway Drugs

Gateway drugs. At the mention of them, people think of marijuana. And lovers of the drug will defend that it is not. That it doesn't lead to anything else. That they can stop any time. But do they ever? How many people actually stop. I know people from all walks of life and wealth that partake in the "non-addicting" drug.

I'm not here to judge anyone and I'm not advocating the use of it or any drug. Or for that matter, "not" using.
A topic on my mind lately from interacting with my father each day, is how many pills he takes. I know it's not a lot in comparison to other people. Even my own mother took many more medications than Dad will ever take. I used to watch the people line up at the pharmacy to "get their fix" or monthly rations of doctor prescribed drugs. Anyone who's spent time at any hospital or senior living facility will attest to the amount of medication being filtered through the aging intestines that fill those places. Yet, ask any younger person and they will say things like, "I'd rather die than take all those medications every day".

Time always seems to change our minds though. As a chiropractor, my father believes in natural healing. He doesn't believe in maintenance medications. In his mind, all ailments can either be cured or will eventually kill you. My mother fought the doctor's recommendation of using insulin to control her diabetes as long as she could. She believed she could keep it under control using diet and exercise. Only problem was, she loved her ice cream and never in her life did exercise for the sake of exercising.

Back to my father. He had avoided even visiting a medical doctor most his life. He referred to them as quacks that only wanted the kick-backs from the pharmaceutical companies. You see, as a child, his parents had him immunized against things like polio and other diseases of the 1920's. He had a severe reaction at the site of the shot and was close to losing his arm all together. An experimental procedure for transplanting and grafting bone tissue from his leg to his arm managed to save him from the inevitable amputation that was pending. The surgery worked, but he never liked medical doctors again. He also insisted that no child of his would get immunized and go through the things he did as a small child. When his sister's husband introduced him to the fairly new idea of chiropractic medicine, he was intrigued.

My mother was raised in a house filled with Native American remedies and also was very interested in this more natural way of healing.

When my mother eventually needed more care than we could give her, we moved them into assisted living. The veterans administration offers monetary assistance for these types of places but require a doctor's evaluation of both the veteran and spouse. It was at that evaluation that we found that Dad had three leaky heart valves and was in just as much duress as Mom. He wanted to be able to take care of her, so he agreed to taking "vitamins" to help him deal with his heart condition. He's come to the realization that half of the things he takes are in fact medications. Parkinson's and Alzheimer's have contributed to even more medication. And he's grown accustom even to having help around the house to take care of him.

All this led me to wonder. I wondered when it turns from "I'll take a Tylenol for my headache" to daily maintenance medications. I'm starting to think the real "gateway drug" is aspirin. Then they scare us into "Take this every day....... OR DIE!" Next thing you know, we've got a cocktail like nothing we ever enjoyed as a young adult. A cocktail of medication. A cocktail of drugs.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Roku, Hulu and Jump Street

When I sit down to write, I don't like to be bothered.
Over the years that has not been an issue at all. As I confessed recently, it is difficult for me to read and write  because of a slight challenge that I have been gifted with in my life. It really takes all my concentration to read even the shortest of passages. I have been practicing reading quite a bit lately while taking care of my father. I can't seem to get my chromebook or tablet to work on the wi-fi at his house. Plus trying to write when I am constantly having to get up and take care of something, I wouldn't be able to finish a thought of my own. But I have been reading. Filling my head with all sorts of useless information that I will never need.
When I get the chance to retreat to my own home, I am trying to make up for lost time with my husband and dog. Tending to my business has even taken a back seat and sales are starting to show it. I really do need to get back to work soon. To top things off at home, we have my nephew sleeping in our office and hanging around the house whenever he's not at work.
With all these distractions, I feel that I have neglected something that I love and truly miss. Blogging.
So I've taken the chromebook and retreated to the privacy of my room. My faithful dog Pugsley at my feet, he and I are bonding while I type this to you.
In all the madness, I've made the decision to rid myself of cable television. My issue is that the little bit of TV that I watch is cable channels. So after installing a digital antenna  for the local channels, I've gotten myself a Roku. "What's a Roku?" you ask? It is an internet streaming device for television and movies on demand. I will soon be eliminating my DVR but I feel the on demand feature will more than make up for old fashioned recording. There are many free channels available and for a small subscription price, Hulu plus can keep me up to date with most all of my favorite shows, whenever I want. Many new shows and thousands of old television shows and movies. After a few days of fumbling around getting to know it and setting things up, tonight I was flipping through looking for what it all had to offer me when I ran across one of my favorite old shows from the 80's. 21 Jump Street was the show that put Johnny Depp on the radar screen of Hollywood.
It was a delight to watch the very first two episodes. Even my 22 year old nephew sat down long enough to watch most of it. It was fun to revisit the fashions of the time and watch it with a new perspective on life as well. Leading a sheltered life back then, I had no idea what most of the things they were talking about on the show even were. My eyes have been opened now and I see what a relevant show it really was. Honestly, back then, I think I was only staring at Johnny Depp. The plot of the show was irrelevant.
Technology, it intrigues me and scares me all at the same time. But I guess that's what people were saying a hundred years ago about automobiles. I believe this is the direction that television is headed and I want to be at the forefront. I remember in the early 90's having a car phone in my limousines. People said that it would never catch on and was totally unnecessary. To this day, I believe they were right, that they are unnecessary. But oh my! How they have caught on and then some.
I'll let you all know how my relationship with Roku works out. I know that if there was a you tube channel on that thing, I'd never leave the living room.
Now, to all my friends out there still digging through the snow, hang in there! It might not be warm here, but it is above freezing and we'll take it. I'm in negotiations now with Mother Nature to have spring delivered to all my friends as soon as possible.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Little Miracles


This morning, I spent a few minutes playing outside with my dog. With the Spring sun warming the northern hemisphere, the frozen world is finally awakening. The birds are busy building nests, the grass is starting to turn green again – and some of the more eager flowers are already in bloom.
It reminded me of a Buddha quote that a friend sent me years ago:
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
How is a flower a miracle?
Well, think about what it took to make that flower bloom. First, the seed had to get there through whatever means. And then take root and survive. But beyond that, the flower had to evolve into a flower – over millions of years. And it only exists because of a zillion other coincidences – like that this Earth is the right distance away from the sun to support liquid water. Or, that the Earth even formed at all. Or that the universe didn’t expand outward too fast or too slow. Or that the big bang even happened in the first place.
Most miraculous of all, perhaps, is that you’re able to stand there and observe the flower – and that you’re able to contemplate its beauty.
And that’s just a flower. Think of all the miracles in your life. The people with whom you’ve met and connected. The experiences you’ve had. The love you’ve shared.
It’s all miraculous – and, as we’re able to see it all a bit more clearly, it changes everything.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

No Arizona

I've been absent from blogger for a while now and it really is not due to a lack of things to write about. Each day, I am surrounded by reminders that we live in an amazing world that beckons us to come and explore. Explore everything from the far reaches of distant continents to your own corner of the world. Some days I hear the stories of people that were well traveled and other days I hear of the old lady that never left her home town. One 94 year old had never even seen a need for a driver's licence. Her whole life centered around a few square blocks. I enjoy these stories. I love to hear of how others live. One thing that bothers me is when people never take the time to live their own lives. They do everything for someone else or even wait for someone else to do everything for them.

I'm reminded of  a country song by Jamie O'Neal. The story goes like this;
He promised her a new and better life, out in Arizona
Underneath the blue never ending sky, swore that he was gonna
Get things in order, he'd send for her.
When he left her behind, it never crossed her mind,
There is no Arizona.

She got a postcard with no return address, postmarked Tombstone
It said "I don't know where I'm going next but when I do
I'll let you know"
May, June, July she wonders why
She's still waiting, she'll keep waiting

Each day the sun sets into the west
Her heart sinks lower in her chest and
Friends keep asking when she's going
Finally she tells them
Don't you know....
There is no Arizona
No Painted Desert, no Sedona
If there was a Grand Canyon
She could fill it up with the lies he's told her
But they don't exist, those dreams he sold her
She'll wake up and find
There is no Arizona

What am I trying to say?
For this young lady, it doesn't matter if there is an Arizona or not.
For her, it doesn't exist.
She counted on someone else to take her there.
She waited for her life to begin.
Did she neglect her friends in hopes of leaving?
How did that make her friends feel?

We all have our responsibilities and I'm in no way saying that we should ignore those.
At the same time, I have to ask myself if my responsibilities are valid or are they excuses?
Is there something that I should be doing to get to that point in my life where I feel like I am fulfilling my life?

Not that I need to validate my absence. But I consider you all my friends so I'll tell you my reasons.
With the expansion of the business, I have been putting in countless hours promoting and trying to get all the vehicles moving on the road. I've also been spending many of my evenings with my father. We are so fortunate to still have him in our lives and I don't want to regret not spending more time with him. Many days are not so good and it's all he can do to get up and dressed. I'm happy to say that Sunday, the weather was beautiful. Around 50 degrees and sunny. For March in Michigan, we could not waste a day like that. So we loaded Dad into the car and went to the park for a walk. We then headed over to the pool hall where we had his 89th birthday party a couple of months ago and shot a couple of games. Next we headed to my house where he visited with Pugsley and played some cards. He was very alert the whole day, but then slept quite well that night.
All my efforts lately are not wasted and certainly would not be considered an excuse. Although sometimes it seems like I'm spinning my wheels, not getting anywhere, my end goals are always within sight. And I expect to continue to explore this big beautiful world. I ask that those of you that are still with me, hang in there and be prepared to see a whole lot more of the brighter side of the grave.