Sunday, January 15, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 15

I am looking forward to the return of sailing season and decided to include this photo to remind me of the fun ahead.  Do you recognize this area? The end of the pier just to the left of the sailboat is where Med Ryan sat in Sleepless in Seattle when she was contemplating going to Seattle.  Do you remember that movie?   Dan and I are big fans of Meg Ryan movies.

How is your weekend going? Are you having fun?  I hope you are having enough fun for us too.  There really is only so much fun you can have in a hospital, even one as big as this one.  Dan was joking about wanting me to bring him a cake with file yesterday (so he could break out).  At least his sense of humor is intact.  LOL

Guess where we were on Saturday?  Yup, we were still at Hopkins.  I am spending so much time I am starting to feel like I live here.  It will be very nice to sleep in and be able to stick close to home.  That does sound pleasant doesn’t it?  J

Hopkins is becoming my new home away from home.  As I continue saying as much as we like the staff at Hopkins we are both ready to get out of here.  When the doctors were rounding this morning they told Dan he is one of most patient patients they have ever had.  It was nice of them to let him know that they thought.  The people here are all wonderful; we would just like to see them under different circumstances.  

Do you have any thoughts on the posts so far this month?  You guys have been much more quiet than normal.  Would you like me to add the holistic posts to the blog on a routine basis?  Please let me know by commenting or emailing otherwise when January is finished you won’t be seeing many more holistic posts. I am trying to write what you find useful and the only way I can tell what that is if you tell me.  This is a good lead in to what I am writing about today, what do you want have you asked?  ;-)

Here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how far we have covered during the first 14 days of January:

Day 1 – Defined Success and What is/was Holding Us Back

Day 2 – Determined our Purpose and Looked at Passion

Day 3 – Listed Our Goals for January

Day 4 – Listed the Things We Have Needed to Work on for a While

Day 5 – Looked at Optimism vs. Pessimism and Fear vs. Intuition

Day 6 – Practiced Conscious Eating

Day 7 – Hara Hachi Bu

Day 8 – Taking the Stress Out of Meal Time

Day 9 – Acknowledgments

Day 10 – No Excuses, Do it Anyway

Day 11 – Is it True?

Day 12 – Have You Really Connected With Someone Today?

Day 13 – Motivation is a Decision

Day 14 - Successfully Navigating Dinner at an Unfamiliar Restaurant

Was the post about what to order in restaurants helpful?  If you have any questions about this or any of the other topics that I have written about this month please don’t be shy. Feel free to ask questions. It may take me a few days to get back to you until my life returns to normal but I will do my best to respond in a reasonable timeframe.

What Do You Want, Have You Asked?:

How many times have you thought I would love to take an exercise class or do more cooking but ……. I don’t have time, my family won’t eat healthy or some variation? Women are notorious for taking care of other people while neglecting themselves. Trust me this is something that I know all too well because I fall back into this trap quickly and easily.  It is a bad habit that I think most of us need to be aware of so we can work on it.

When you are trying to making healthy lifestyle changes sometimes you need other people to help you, or at least work with you.  However this also means that you need to ask for what you want otherwise you won’t get it.  For example, let’s say that you want to go for a run in the morning but the kids need their breakfast.  Either the kids need to learn to get their own breakfast or Dad needs to pitch in. Whichever would work better for your family you still need to ask the parties involved for their assistance.  Remember there are many ways to handle any situation. Try to brainstorm all the possible ways you could handle the challenge you are facing then get everyone involved in the decision making.

Asking for what you want works in all areas of life.  Now imagine that you are running around for your family taking care of all their needs and no one ever says thank you.  After a while you are going to feel a little taken advantage of that is normal. But now I ask you, have you asked for what you want? Does anyone in your family know that you would like a little appreciation?  Sure they should know that everyone likes to be appreciated and they should do it without you telling them.  However they obviously aren’t thinking about that or they would have done it already.  My suggestion would be to have a family discussion and to explain what you need.

Dan and I talk all the time about what we need and want.  The great thing about talking about what you want is the other person isn’t trying to read your mind. In the past we weren’t as communicative as we are now nor were we particularly good at mind reading. Talking about what you need is much more effective than having the other person guess.  Dan knows that I need to verbally appreciated in a particular way and I know that he likes it when I pay attention to him. 

Communication is almost always a good thing in any relation.  However I have to caution you that it is possible to tell people what you need and have them react poorly depending on your wording and tone. Just be certain to tell them what you need, not what they aren’t doing.  It may sound like a very subtle distinction but it makes a big difference.  If people feel like you are criticizing them for not doing something they are very liable to not react as well as if you but the blame on yourself.  Telling someone that you need to hear “thanks mom” is very different from saying “you never thank me for all the I do for you.”  Do you see the difference? 

I hope now it makes sense when I say “what do you want, have you asked?” 

Today’s exercises are:

1.       Figure out what you would like to do that you aren’t doing and if there is anything that anyone can do to take a few tasks off your plate so you have more free time.

2.       Brain storm all the ways that you could get assistance that would make your life easier.

3.       Now ask for the help that you need.  Be sure to explain what you are trying to accomplish and how much their help would mean to you. Everyone likes to be appreciated.  J

4.       Are there any other things you need from people and write those down.

a.       This could be more time with your spouse, like a date.

b.      Having your family verbally or physically appreciate (ex. Hugs) all that you do for them.

c.       Someone to run the kids to soccer practice one night a week maybe.  If you need help write it down.

5.       Of the items that you listed in 3 above you have a choice. You can either talk with people and tell them what you need or you can show them. You could initiate dates with your spouse or hug the people you love and tell them how much you appreciate them.  Many times people will respond to you the way you treat them.  Try that and see if it works for you.

6.       If you feel like need something today talk about it.  Tell the other person what you are feeling and what they can do to help.  Just be careful to word it in a way that makes about your need not about what they aren’t doing.

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters – Saturday I was much busier than usual at Hopkins.  How did that happen it isn’t like I was working anything?  Apparently it was much more important for me to socialize than it was for me to be productive.  I am going to cut myself some slack since it was the weekend.

2.       Body Bugg – Forgot to take my bugg off the charger and put it on in the morning before I left.  Oh well, I was being very consistent.  I did remember it on Sunday so that was something.

3.       Date with Dan – We are spending loads of time together but I wouldn’t call it a date.  There will be plenty of time for that soon, once we make a break for it.  LOL

4.        Measuring calorie dense food – I have been nibbling on nuts and seeds at the hospital and adding them to salads.  I think I am consuming about ¼ cup a day which is where I want to be.

5.       Working on my business I spent about a half an hour working on business plans on Saturday. Not a lot of time but I did get a few things accomplished and that is all that matters. Slow but steady wins the race.  ;-)

How are you doing with your goals?  Can you see any progress yet?  I am pleased with what I accomplished so far. I hope you feel the same thing.


Have writing your acknowledgements every day become a habit yet? Have you seen any improvement in your mood or outlook on life?  I hope so!  Here are my acknowledgements:

·         The medical staff has been very complimentary of our diet and attitude about life in general.  It is nice to know that Western medicine is beginning to see the value of holistic practices.  At one point Dan’s blood pressure was up and the doctor was a little concerned.  Dan meditated for a few minutes and his pressure came back down. The doctor told him to keep on meditating.  J  This same doctor was also interested in the fresh green juice that I brought in for Dan (1 bunch kale, 1 bunch celery, 1 English cucumber, handful of parsley, 1 lemon and 1 clove garlic). She likes fresh juice too so we asked if she had been to Liquid Earth at the Belvedere Market and she had not. I think she will be checking that out now. Lauren and I were talking about juicers too, I think she may be getting one soon.  Are you starting to see that we are beginning to fit in here?  Scary isn’t it?  Who knew we would become the model patient and family?  LOL

·         I was very happy when Dan drank the green juice that I brought for him on Saturday. Dan prefers the sweeter juices but I wanted him to have something that was packed with phytonutrients.  I wasn’t certain that he would drink it, but he had at least 2/3’s of the quart I brought in and I had the rest.  He even commented the he knew that he needed the micronutrients.  Go me!

·         I was also proud of myself for bringing food for me into the hospital. I don’t think I could have looked at another veggie sub again. It was nice to have my own food again. BTW the Subway the Hopkins sells a “veggie patty” sub but I couldn’t find any information on what was in the patty online. Do any of you know?  Specifically I am wondering if it has any soy protein isolates because you know what I think of those.  Until I know for sure what is in it I won’t be getting one. That is the same reason I refuse to eat most veggie burgers when we are out, they almost always contain TVP or something similar.  :-P

·         My sweetie was not happy on Saturday so I tried to make a healthier version of this tofu chocolate mousse to cheer him up which only worked a little.  At least he knows how I love him.  He tried the new recipe and said it was okay, not as good as the original.  Of course it wasn’t as good it was the first attempt.  It was however much healthier and I think it showed promise.  I brought a little for Lauren to try and she enjoyed it and said “don’t change a thing”.  You know how much I enjoy sharing the healthy vegan love right?  ;-)

·         We have discovered that if you don’t like your meal options while at Hopkins you can ask for things that aren’t on the menu. You can get peanut butter to put on your bagel with breakfast.  Also you can ask for two salads and add your fresh fruit to that which works well since we don’t use traditional salad dressing. You just need to get a little creative but you can make it work.  Go us!

Random Observations:

I was noticing yesterday that being at Hopkins has almost become normal and I never thought that would happen.  We are starting to recognize people and know them by name.  Isn’t it odd how something that was very foreign less than a week ago has become normal?  I have no idea how we were able to adapt that quickly but even I am surprised by it.  I guess that it is mostly due to the fact that both Dan and I are easy going and try to live in the moment.  I just found this very strange so I wanted to mention it.

I realize that I am bringing this up for the second day in a row but I am still mildly annoyed about the Paula Deen “fiasco”.   Celebrities have such power to do well in the world but when all they seem to want to do is profit it just annoys me.  I can’t help but think of the positive changes she could help people to make that the opportunities that aren’t being taken advantage of.  *ugh*

Dan got a little more rest last night so he is feeling tons better Sunday morning. He asked me to bring him 2 green smoothies (frozen banana, frozen cherries, walnuts, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla and stevia) to the hospital this morning which I did.  I also made some hummus this morning and tabouli and brought those to the hospital as well.  We are both convinced that he will feel much better with a more normal amount of fiber in him.  The hospital diet is so low in fiber and we know isn’t good.

One thing I noticed being in the hospital that struck me was that almost every room that we walk by has the TV on all day long.  We don’t even know how to turn on the TV in Dan’s room and we have been here 6 days now.  Have you ever read any articles about people needing to be mentally distracted and that they use TV, music, alcohol and drugs to do it.  Until this week I didn’t actually put much stock into TV being a real problem. However seeing that most people need it on constantly I understand now why “the experts” are starting to say that it has become a problem.


There is nothing really note worthy to report about our Saturday. The day has been like most of the last week.  To say there isn’t much to do in the hospital is an understatement.

Dan was very cranky on Saturday. He hadn’t gotten much sleep since Sunday (when he was home) and he was not a happy camper.  Those of you who know Dan probably can’t imagine him in a bad mood but trust me he was more than unhappy. I was in the room on Sunday when the doctors were doing rounds and it came up that Dan had not been pleasant the day before.  *yikes*  Yes 5 days of inadequate sleep can do that to a person.  At least they also said that he apologized and that was just before they said he has been the most patient patient that have ever seen. 

However we talked the doctors and nurses yesterday and everyone was going to try to stay out of his room from midnight until 5am so that he could get some rest.  Dan also did quite a bit of walking around before bed so that he would be more tired and would hopefully sleep soundly.  Spoiler alert those tactics seemed to work out well for him.

We have been sharing recipes, restaurant suggestions, food, and websites with people.  I guess the staff isn’t used to having people like us around.  Dan told me he got a hug today from Jennifer the nurse we had the first day we were here. Everyone here seems to be enjoying us much more than I would have expected.  LOL  However I will say it nice to be appreciated.  J

To help you get a better idea of the size of Hopkins I took a few photos of the map of the medical campus.

These are the facts of the new building which opens in a couple months.  See what I mean about this place being huge?  At least I am starting to learn my way around now.  That is one less thing to worry about in all this.  Now I just need to get Dan home!

Happy thoughts:

Have you gotten into the habit of writing your happy thoughts?  I find it helpful to remind myself that often things go well and that I shouldn’t take these things for granted.

·         I was very happy to get a parking spot in the Weinberg garage on Saturday. I snapped a quick picture to show you how desolate it is when I walk to the car late at night.  This picture was taken a little after 11pm and you see no one is around there aren’t many cars either.  It feels much safer being in Weinberg where there is only one way in and out of the garage.  It was also nice that security was just starting to walk the garage as I was heading to my car. I should have asked if they do that on the hour.  If I see them tonight I will definitely ask so I know their routine.

·         I timed myself last night and once I pulled out the garage here at Hopkins I was home in 11 minutes.  We are very fortunate to be that close to one of the best hospitals in the world. I really shouldn’t take that for granted.

·         Dan was able to get 3 good hours of  restful uninterrupted sleep Saturday night and he feels much better today (Sunday).  The dark circles under his eyes are greatly diminished and his mood is much better.  *yay*

·         Sunday is definitely better than Saturday and that is a very good thing. Dan is almost his old self today. I guess he really did just need some sleep. 

·         Given where we are (the hospital) things are going very well.  Dan feels good, and we are hoping that they will let him loose soon.  We have both stopped asking when because we don’t want to be disappointed. However it happens to be tomorrow we won’t be disappointed.  ;-)

Signing Out:

It has been another long not terribly productive day for me.  I did manage to make some hummus and tabouli this morning in addition to green smoothies. But other than that not much is happening in my life. I am spending all my time with Dan at Hopkins.  I am sure my dust bunnies now have dust bunnies. I hope I have vacuum cleaner bags to get up all the cat hair that is accumulating as I type this.  My fur children should be bald based on the cat hair that I clean up.  LOL

Dan wasn’t the only one that slept well yesterday, so did I.  If Luca and Nicco hadn’t had a fight in our bed at 9:45 I have no idea when I would have gotten up.  I must have really needed the rest.  Good thing I had my feline alarm clock huh?

Once I get this posted I am going to spend a little time chatting with my hubby before it is time to head for home.  I hope you are having a good weekend.  Talk with you again tomorrow.


  1. Prayers for you and Dan. I know how stressful it is to have a loved one in the hospital. I am happy to hear that they are so supportive of him being vegan. My current doctor is a vegan, but I have had previous doctors lecture me that the vegan diet is unbalanced. I hope your husband gets out soon and that he can get some good rest.


  2. Hi, Ali, Here's some nutritional info for the veggie patty. It's vegetarian; not vegan.

    I'm so glad to hear that Dan has been able so sleep, and that he's getting better nutrition. I'm praying that you two are able to make a break for it soon.

  3. P.S. Loving the holistic health blog posts!

  4. Hey Ali,
    Haven't been at the computer in the last few days, but I send good, healing vibes your way and prayer for Dan. Big hugs!
    I've enjoyed your new year posts and as always, enjoy the food pictures :)
    I cannot believe the size of the hospital! You could get a really good workout walking from end to end or up all of the stairs! LOL craziness - I am so used to small town Canada lol.
    Take care :)

  5. loving your holistic postings...there is a lot of thinking going on...don't always verbalize it..but trust me it is helpful..I am trying to change habits and it's hard work!!! Thanks for blogging in the midst of all your stressful life right now..hang in will be home soon.. Coco


Related Posts with Thumbnails