Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 6, Issue 17 – December 29, 2013

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I don’t know about you but the December Rollercoaster Ride is almost over, and I am looking forward to a New Year.

Starting on December 12, my Dad was admitted to our local Heart Hospital, for what turned into a 10-day stay. Happily, I can report that my Dad is out of the hospital, and was sent home on Dec 21 – just in time for Christmas. Lately, I have been wondering what these 10 days could represent, and if I could provide us with some simple insight and hope. Can you feel a Top 10 List coming on?! Here it goes…

“Top 10 Things I Learned While Dad was in the Heart Hospital”.

1. Family and Friends are important. Always keep this in mind.

When the Dr said it was time to call the family in, my Dad was lucky to have my mom, three daughters, their husbands, and one grandchild at his side. Each individual had a strength to offer to this situation – sort of like super powers.  Family and Friends are the Super Heroes in our lives. Each one of these people are in your life for a reason.

2. Do not underestimate the power of prayer.

While the fourth daughter was not able to be in South Dakota, she rallied the praying troupes from afar. Her prayers, her team’s prayers, joined by the many people each sister knew, and my parents knew, did a lot of praying for 10 days. That is a lot of good vibes coming in one direction. And it worked.

3. Be thankful for where you live.

As the test results started rolling in for my Dad, it was brutally evident that the trip to the “big city” (with their fancy doctors) may not have turned out so well for my Dad. This really made me think of how lucky I am to live in a town that is one of the major medical hubs in South Dakota. People risk their lives to come to my town, and yet I know people who live here who do not go to doctors (or the right type of doctor) because they just choose not to utilize the facilities here. Now, I realize that there are many reasons why a person would choose not to go to a specialist or a hospital, and I am not looking to start any debates about health care or medical expenses. I just find it really sad that people who are fully capable just choose not to use what is here in our own town.

Every place has something to offer.  If you have a clinic in your community, that is something to be thankful for. If you have a small regional hospital, you have even more to be thankful for. I just did not realize how crazy lucky I am to be so close to so many medical facilities.  We have had to utilize some of them within our own family this year, and it just continues to make me thankful we have this just outside of our doorstep.

4. Humor is good medicine.

Laughing is good for everyone.  I guess that may have been my strength in this 10 journey. I think that the nurses thought my Dad was having a full on party in his room at times when laughter would erupt from the room. (Eventually, they broke the party up and said only a few visitors at a time!) My favorite memory was showing Dad the seahorse imitation that Karen and I had come up with. I did the imitation all the way out to the hallway and the nurses at the station just looked… well… a bit confused, and Karen said, “She’s a sea horse” and I just continued my impression for a few more feet. You could still hear my parents chuckling from the room.

5. When you are sick, you need to rest. Period.

Yeap… guess who got sick. I had a wicked head and chest cold by day 5 or 6. By day 8 my mom had a short flu bug. How my dad got out of the hospital without more than just heart/lung/kidney problems is beyond me.  (Again, see the prayer listing above.) My mom’s dear friend Lani said that it was probably God’s way of slowing some of us down and requiring some rest out of us. Geesh – he had to really lay down the law for some of us, I guess. I was banned from the hospital for a couple of days, which was heartbreaking, but understandable.

Lesson learned from this – get rest, eat well, stay healthy.  You are no good to anyone if you are stuck in your bedroom. Oh, and don’t spread your germs.  Sounds like something we all learned in Kindergarten, doesn’t it?! And to bring up the Super Hero references from above… I am not Wonder Woman.  I have tried, but I am not.  I need rest and food just like everyone else. I also have not found my invisible jet, yet.

6. Make your Grandma Proud – and Keep it Thrifty!  

In the midst of holiday hospital time, my brothers in laws were each sent to my home to wrap Christmas presents. We were all being very hopeful that there was going to be a Christmas at some point, we just had no idea when or how. Out came the tubs of Christmas wrapping goodies. Saved papers, re-issued tissue papers, gift bags, bows and  ribbons of many colors and sizes, and some tubes of wrapping paper that have been in circulation for years. All freely given for several families to wrap from.

Why would my Grandma be so proud?  Well, some of the items came from her stock pile, and just the fact that I have a hoard of Christmas wrapping items would be enough for her to be happy.  My Grandma had quite an “extensive” holiday collection, to put it mildly.  So not only did I make Grandma proud, but we were able to have a delightful Christmas wrapping display and not a dime was spent on it. Oooooo – SO Thrifty! 

7. Sharing is key.

Remember how sharing was a big deal while growing up?  One had to take turns and share at home, at school, etc. I was happy to be able to share so many things with my family over these 10 days. We shared laughs, tears, laundry duties (I discovered that my sisters and I all share the Laundry Nazi Gene passed along from Mom), meals, overnight shifts, day shifts, meal shifts and my one sister shared her beagles.  Charlie and Violet are sincerely missed, although I think they are happy to know that they were not abandoned.

All this sharing leads to good memories – no matter what the situation. Good job sharing, everyone!  One can share all sorts of things – I love the random acts of kindness movement. There is nothing nicer than opening the front door to fresh baked goodies and a smile from a neighbor. Hugs are great things to share. Sharing the gift of time is priceless in my opinion. So, please, remember to share something with someone each day. You are making good memories when you share. Smiles are great items to share, as well as “Thank you”.

8. Holidays are where your family is, and when they are there.

With the unexpected 10-day hospital stay, everyone’s holiday travels were a bit jumbled, to say the least. Our holiday did not go as planned, and the schedule was certainly not adhered to this year. And you know what – it is OK!!  I had my Dad and all of the rest of my family with me this year.  I almost lost two family members this year, and just to get to have and hold them was a blessing in itself.

So, not only during the holiday season, but also year round, enjoy those around you.  Love them. Schedules are nice, but not mandatory. Be flexible. I need to work on being more flexible.  I need to create my life to accept flexibility. I am sure I am not the only one. Flexibility is key to survival, especially when things are not going as planned!

9. Be thankful for the little things.

I was incredibly thankful for all of the little things that were given to me each day.  That my dad was mostly stable, that he had a team of doctors taking care of him, that my family was here to share the tasks at hand. That there was a gorgeous view of sunsets from my Dads window. That the nasty weather held off until my sisters were home (well, mostly – Karen and Jeff still had some dicey weather in Wyoming to drive through). That my parents had the flexibility in their home to bring the bedroom from the 2nd floor to the main floor (no steps for Dad!).

Each day we have things to be thankful for, and to appreciate.  Find those things. Find the small beauties that are just waiting to be discovered. Enjoy each of these little treasures.

10. 25% fixed is better than 90% blocked.

Dad had one artery that was 90% blocked.  They put a stent in it and although that problem was fixed, there are still three more problems that need to be addressed before his heart is fully fixed.

When the road ahead of you seems bleak, 25% fixed is still better than 90% blocked. The math is sound on that one, folks. A hefty statement to end this week’s newsletter, I realize, but I hope that you can find some inspiration in it.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you each have a fantastic day and a better tomorrow!

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