Gratitude List (November 21, 2020) #TToT

It’s been forever since I last did a gratitude list. I just checked and it’s been five weeks. These weeks have been incredibly hard. I am really struggling to stay positive. I am going to try to come up with some gratefuls anyway. As usual, I’m joining in with #TToT. I’m typing this post on my iPhone, which I hardly ever do nowadays, so sorry for any typing glitches.

1. My husband! Even with our not living together and only talking on the phone most days, he tells me many times a day that he loves me. I am struggling to feel such a powerful emotion due to my current state of depression, but I’m trying to love him back.

2. My faith. My husband, who I always thought was a strong atheist since leaving theology school, has taken a renewed interest in Christianity and this has encouraged me. Today, he recommended a book called You Are Beloved. I am a very progressive believer, but I’ll definitely give this book a try.

3. My staff. They have been so kind to me despite my challenging behavior.

4. My community psychiatric nurse. She has been very helpful.

5. Pizza. Okay, on to the superficial stuff. My husband and I ordered a delicious pizza today. No, not from Domino’s and I must say this one is better!

6. Cheesecake. Two of my fellow clients had their birthdays this past week and another client got to help the staff make cheesecake.

7. Homemade noodles. That same client made those for us on Monday. He used minced meat instead of chicken, but still it was so delicious.

8. Lots of walking. So far this week, I nearly surpassed my step record from last week. I didn’t get in as many minutes in active heartrate zones, but that’s okay.

9. The ability to write and blog. I am not writing as much as I’d like, but at least I’m still writing.

10. A good night’s sleep last night. And yay for no nightmares that I can remember!

What have you been grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 8, 2020)

Hi all on this sunny Sunday! Okay, it’s past 9PM here and the sun has set already, but it was sunny during the day. I should really have taken a picture.

I just had my last drink for the day. However, the beauty of virtual coffee shares is that people can join in whenever they want. So grab a cup of coffee, green tea or water. I’m pretty sure there are also soft drinks in the fridge, but I rarely drink those now. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up. As usual, I am linking up with #WeekendCoffeeShare.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this whole week, the weather has been beautiful. It was a little chilly some days, but not as cold as you might expect in November. In fact, today, I even took a walk with my husband without my coat on. I did of course wear a fleece vest. It was sunny and almost warm.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I canceled my sister’s visit for this week too. The reason this time is a combination of the stricter COVID-19 management rules and my husband wanting to celebrate his birthday with me this week-end. With respect to the former, for example, my sister could be visiting with her husband and daughter, but three adults are not allowed together outside. This would mean my brother-in-law wouldn’t be able to go on walks with me and my sister. As if the risk of contracting COVID is higher outside than inside.

Also, I wouldn’t be allowed to go to my husband’s after they visited. Or maybe strictly speaking I could, but it’d be against the spirit of the lockdown. My husband felt pressured by me to let my sister and family visit, but eventually it became clear he’d really like to have me over for the week-end to celebrate his birthday. His birthday is on the 12th, by the way. So since my husband’s birthday is more important than a random visit from my family, we’re going to reschedule that sometime after the worst of the lockdown has ended.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I gave my husband an Airfryer for his birthday. He made us both thick fries in it yesterday. Even though I’m pretty sure he didn’t salt mine, or at least not as much as I’d have done, they were still delicious. My husband joked that we’d have vegan fries (duh!) but to make up for it, we would eat real hamburgers. They were great too.

If we were having coffee, lastly, I would tell you that I was in a bit of a crisis this evening again. I got majorly triggered by a staff raising her voice as she commanded me to go to my room. She had intended for me to seek the quiet of my room, because I was rapidly becoming overloaded with all that was going on with the other clients. Her wording that I’m not the only one (I’m pretty sure she didn’t say it that way, but that’s how I interpreted it) triggered me to feel that I wasn’t allowed to feel the way I did and was attention-seeking. This then quickly spiraled out of control. Thankfully in the end, I was able to talk it through with the staff and also write down my feelings. I did take a PRN lorazepam, but that’s totally okay.

What’s been going on with you lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 25, 2020)

It’s already late Sunday evening. I was up real early today, but still didn’t get to blog so far. Today, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. We may still have some coffee, although our official evening coffee break has passed. Otherwise, I can offer you green tea or water. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would share that last week, I bought a new Fitbit Inspire 2. It’s pretty cool to be able to track not just my steps and distance walked, but also my minutes in active heart rate zones. I got more than twice the required number of minutes this week.

That being said, I’m already looking at someday buying myself an Apple Watch. I discovered just a few days after I’d purchased the Fitbit, that there’s a new Apple Watch SE that’s significantly cheaper (or should I say less expensive?) than the regular one. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to buy that one someday.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I had a health check on Tuesday. Like I said, it showed that my blood pressure was somewhat high and of course I’m significantly overweight.

I did find out on Friday that my blood pressure is actually pretty normal when resting, ie. just after waking up. It was 115 over 75 then, but rose to 129 over 91 after I had showered and gotten dressed. I have no clue of the significance of this, but my staff E-mailed my GP about it, as the nurse from the health check-up had recommended.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how frustrated I was when discussing my health check with my husband. He wanted me to go on a diet. I want that too, but it’s hard for me to follow through especially long-term and the staff refuse to enforce a healthy lifestyle.

After a sleepless night and some frustrated discussions with my staff, they talked to the behavior specialist. She recommended we make a food plan together, my staff and me. Then all of us know what I’m supposed to eat and not eat and the staff can redirect me when I want to overeat. So far, it’s going okay’ish. That is, the staff have still occasionally offered me food I’m not supposed to eat at that moment and then I struggled to refuse it. I did eventually talk to the staff about it and try to make up for my bad choices later on. I’ve not yet had a moment when I requested food I wasn’t supposed to eat, which according to my food plan would require the staff to tell me it’s not wise and to offer an alternative.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my husband came by for a quick visit today to take me on a walk. That was fun.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I finally updated my iPhone to iOS 14. I hadn’t expected iOS 14.1, which came out a few days ago, to solve any of the many accessibility bugs the original iOS 14 had come with. After all, the release notes didn’t mention VoiceOver at all. To be sure, I asked on a Dutch VoiceOver users group about it and got a reply from the most critical iPhone user on the list saying that the update had fixed most of the bugs. Practically all other list members had already updated, claiming that most bugs can be circumvened. I didn’t want to take the risk, but I do believe this particular member. So far, it’s all pretty good. I am having a play around with VoiceOver recognition, which describes images. It’s pretty cool so far.

What have you been up to?

Health Check

Yesterday, I had a physical health check-up at the mental health agency. Because of the risks psychiatric medications cause for your health, they are required to do this every year. Oh well, the nurse told me not to expect another check-up until sometime in 2022.

I had to have bloodwork done to check for vitamin levels, cholesterol, glucose, etc. Everything was within the normal range except for my white blood cell count, which was slightly elevated. That’s probably because I had a cold about four weeks ago. At first, I was tempted to say “No” when the nurse asked whether I’d had a cold because of the coronavirus scare that’d cause. It turned out it explained my high white blood cell count though.

There were also two things that were low, which might indicate anemia. My hemoglobin though was normal and I’m not very tired lately. This is probably nothing to worry about.

Thankfully, my cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. were all normal. I know I run a risk of developing type 2 diabetes because of my weight. The nurse didn’t make a big point about my being obese though. She did chehck my blood pressure. My diastolic blood pressure was 93, which is considered hypertensive. My systolic blood pressure was also a bit high, namely 132, but that wasn’t too worrisome.

The nurse recommended we measure my blood pressure a couple of times over the next few days. It was 126 over 99 this morning. The latter number really worried me.

Right now, I feel pretty awful. My husband is also worried. He asked me to really “lose weight and relax”. I told him that both is not likely possible, but I’d try to at least lose weight. He asked me what options the care facility has to force me to go on a diet. Not many, I think. In fact, the staff are less worried than I am. I am likely mostly myself responsible for restricting my diet.

After I explained my and my husband’s concerns to my assigned staff, she did agree to E-mail the dietitian and behavior specialist to see if I can be put on a diet. Then again, if I nag for food, they say they’re more or less required to give in as I’m a voluntary admission. I don’t think that’s entirely true especially with the new Care and Force Act, but I think the staff feel less able to resist someone verbally pestering them for food versus someone who screams for it without actually asking, as they are non-verbal. After all, at least one of my fellow clients is on a diet and the staff flat out refuse to give her food she isn’t supposed to eat.

I feel really torn. On the one hand, I want to believe the nurse from the health check that losing weight shouldn’t be an absolute top priority, because, well, I don’t want to give up chips and sausages on week-ends. On the other hand, I absolutely don’t want to have to add yet another medication to my regimen. I originally said I wanted to avoid blood thinners at all cost. Then I found out blood thinners aren’t the same as blood pressure medication. Still, I want to avoid needing to add a blood pressure medication too, especially since, once on any medication, it’s hard to get off.

Of course, I want to avoid getting a heart attack or other cardiovascular disease for as long as possible. This means I really need to go on a diet. I’ll start with eating bread instead of cereal for breakfast. It’s hard, but I’m going to do it.

Gratitude List (October 17, 2020) #TToT

Hello everyone! I hope you’re doing well. I am feeling okay. I’m not sure I’ll continue with the #Blogtober20 prompts, but I will attempt to publish a post everyday anyway. That’s a way of participating in the challenge too. Today, I am writing a gratitude list. As always, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. I am grateful I am alive. Last week, I was in a major crisis. Though I most likely would’ve survived the attempt at harming myself I was intending on, I am so grateful I didn’t harm myself at all.

2. I am grateful for my staff. They’ve been so nice and helpful lately. They aren’t mental health professionals, but they do a great job of helping me understand why I’m feeling overloaded or anxious.

3. I am grateful that my husband supports me through it all. Like I said last week, I was afraid he’d be frustrated with me for landing in crisis. I am so glad that he didn’t react with irritation at all, even though I’d have understood.

4. I had some delicious treats over the week. On Tuesday, a staff gave us cheesecake for her birthday. There was still some left over on Wednesday too. We also got banana bread then. Then on Friday, we had delicious home-cooked chicken with curry and mayonaise. Today we had homemade chicken and sausage rolls.

5. My mother-in-law visited me on Thursday. We went for a walk and drank a cup of coffee in my room. She also brought me a new bra.

6. I am happy with my new Fitbit Inspire 2. I ordered it on Thursday and it arrived Friday early afternoon. I am loving seeing all my stats in the Fitbit app. For example, yesterday I got 56 minutes in active heartrate zones, all in the fat burning zone of course. I doubt I’ll be able to get into the cardio or peak zone at all.

The tracker itself takes some getting used to, since it has a touch screen, which I can’t see. I keep accidentally turning Do Not Disturb on.

7. I am grateful for relatively good food for dinner. As of last month, I am allowed to choose between a selection of meals for dinner. Before this, I had to turn off foods I didn’t like. This got pretty complicated. For example, I’d say I didn’t like beans because otherwise I’d get them with just potatoes and meat and no sauce. However, turning off beans would turn off chilli too. This led to me occasionally getting just rice, for example. Now I still occasionally get a meal I haven’t picked, but that’s okay too.

8. I am grateful for macrogol. And for apples and other fiber-rich foods. I had been constipated for a bit early in the week, which led to bad bowel cramps. Thankfully, I feel much better now.

9. I am grateful the partial lockdown we’re in right now doesn’t lead to a no-visitors policy in care facilities as of yet. I am grateful I am still allowed to go home to my husband.

10. I am grateful for the ability to be grateful. I started a daily gratitude journal in the app Day One on Wednesday. I did so because I downloaded a free book on gratitude off Amazon and the first exercise is to jot down three things you’re grateful for each evening for a week. It truly helps me so far, as without my gratitude journal to look back on, I may not have been able to get to ten things of thankful.

What have you been grateful for lately?

My All-Time Favorite Food

I was feeling a little down on Sunday, so I checked out the gratitude section of the book Journaling With Lisa Shea. This is really a collection of ten 32-day guided journals and an introduction to journaling. I bought the entire thing for a deal price on Amazon several years ago.

I already covered some topics from this section before, but one I didn’t write about is my favorite food. The prompt asks me to recall what favorite food makes me brim with joy and sigh with delight. It goes on to ask whether I can remember eating it for the first time.

Well, my all-time favorite food has to be Domino’s pizza! I am not 100% sure whether this was the first time I ever had it, but I think it was. It was sometime in late 2010 or early 2011. My husband, then still my fiancé, lived in student accommodation in Kampen, where he studied theology. His studio was real close to the train station, the river IJssel, and several snack corners and fast food restaurants. Including Domino’s.

I can’t remember which pizza I took that first time. It might’ve been during my six months or so of trying to pass as a vegetarian to my fiancé, who was a vegetarian at the time. I might also have taken one of their chicken pizzas. I think I did that. I probably also chose red peppers as an extra topping, as I was and still am a lover of very spicy food.

Nowadays, I almost always choose a chicken kebab pizza, but I think they didn’t have that one back then. I also always look at the new and noteworthy category, because sometimes they have truly delicious pizzas. I particularly remember one called something like Chicken Zanzibar, which had a piri-piri swirl on it. I topped it off with extra red peppers. Since I took a large pizza and didn’t have the monstrous appetite I’d expected, I left my husband a slice. He pretty soon texted me with a list of swear words about how spicy the pizza had been. Even thinking back to that makes me laugh.

My Fall 2020 Bucket List #Blogtober20

Today’s prompt for #Blogtober20 is “Into the Groove”. I don’t really know what to do with that prompt, so instead I’m going to share my fall bucket list. September is usually mild here, but by October, fall weather is truly here. That is, two years ago, we had a day in mid-October when the temperature rose to 27°C. That seems unlikely this year. It’s windy and rainy right now. Fall is here! Let me share my fall bucket list.

1. Play in a pile of fallen leaves. I would really like to do that this year. I used to love the colors of fallen leaves. Now, I can no longer see them, but I can still smell and feel the leaves and hear them rustle.

2. Do a fall-related craft. I have been looking at lots of projects to try. For example, someone in a craft-related Facebook group did a needle-felted pumpkin. I’ve never tried needle felting, but I immediately wondered whether it’d be doable for me. I’ve also seen lots of other fall-related crafts and want to try at least one of them.

3. Prepare some fall-related food. I’d love to try something with pumpkin spice, as I just recently learned what it is and that it doesn’t involve actual pumpkin. I think it’s delicious!

4. Make a fall-themed soap. I think one of my favorite soaping suppliers has a photo contest in November – at least they did in previous years. I never participated, as I won’t win anyway, but I want to try this year. In any case, in previous years, all contestants would get a coupon just for participating. I don’t have fall-themed molds, but of course I could experiment with fall-related ingredients too. Otherwise, I could just participate with a different themed soap, as there is no set theme.

5. Read a thriller or other spooky book. I’ve seen a lot of them on people’s fall TBRs. I’m not a big fan of fantasy, but I do like the occasional thriller.

6. Create a fall-based tablescape. Or do some other fall-themed decorating in my room. I’ve not done tablescapes at all before. I mean, I don’t have a table that isn’t used. However, now I do have the small table that I can use until someone else needs it. It has just my essential oil diffuser on it. I would really like to create some fall-related decor on that table.

What’s on your fall bucket list?

#Blogtober20

Negative

This is probably going to be a quick post. Like I said on Sunday, I was interrupted while blogging by a staff to tell me I and all other clients with cold symptoms were from then on in room-based isolation. We would be tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Thankfully, yesterday morning, the facility’s nurse came to test us. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was okay. I am however pleased to inform you that I, as well as all other clients, tested negative for coronavirus!!!

It was no fun being in room-based isolation. The hardest part, for me, was the fact that staff had to go to each client’s room for individual support rather than combining care activities, so there was effectively less time for each of us. The staff who had come to inform me of the isolation, said I could press the call button as often as needed. Well, press the call button I could, but that didn’t guarantee a staff would have time to come.

Yesterday, I landed in a rather bad crisis. Initially, I had been really upset and crying and screaming. Then one staff came to inform me that she wasn’t wearing protective clothes and the staff who was, would come “in a while”. That’s a rather unclear comment to make to an autistic person. I freaked out and became destructive.

For those asking why that staff wasn’t wearing protective clothes, staff need to change into different protective clothing when visiting each person suspected of coronavirus separately. They also need to leave the protective clothing at the client’s doorstep. After all, suppose my snot gets onto the staff’s protective clothing and they then go help someone who isn’t showing symptoms. Then that person runs extra risk of contracting COVID-19. You see, over half of the clients did not show symptoms.

Thankfully, the staff in protective clothing came about ten minutes later. She was able to comfort me a little.

Today at around 2:15PM, I heard the day activities staff tell another symptomatic client that he was free to leave his room. I thought I heard her say that “all is well again” or something like that, but I didn’t dare hope I was negative too. Well, I was! The first thing the staff asked when telling me everyone had tested negative, was whether I wanted to go for a walk. Of course I did.

We also had French fries at the facility’s cost to celebrate the good outcome. I was almost writing “positive”. It’s a positive outcome indeed that everyone was negative!

Gratitude List (September 18, 2020) #TToT

It’s Friday, yay! It’s the Friday there are no day activities, so I spent most of my morning and part of the afternoon in bed. I’m feeling a bit tired and down in the dumps, so I thought I’d do a gratitude list. As always, I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. The weather. Early in the week, the temperatures reached over 30 degrees Celsius. I loved being able to wear a skirt for what might be one of the last days this year.

2. Going for walks. I reached my step goal of 10K steps a day three times this week.

3. The scenery. I cannot fully enjoy it, of course, as I’m blind, but I do appreciate it.

Scenery

4. Taking pictures with my phone. I, of course, needed some help taking them and still needed to delete several because my finger was showing. However, I loved the ability to do it. I’m still not planning on following the rule of a picture with every post, as that just won’t work for me.

5. The sensory garden. I spent some time in it on Tuesday afternoon. I loved smelling the rosemary. Sadly, the lavender had already stopped flowering. I also loved listening to the little stream of water.

Sensory Garden

6. Wraps. We made those for lunch on Thursday and I loved them. I had three of them. We had them filled with chicken, lettuce, cucumber and red pesto.

7. Soap making, of course. I loved being inspired to make some soaps again and am planning on making more. One of the staff is retiring next week, so I’ll make one for her.

8. My essential oil diffuser. Okay, its buttons are almost stuck, but not completely, so I can still use it. Last night, when I couldn’t sleep, I diffused a store-bought essential oil blend called Sweet Dreams into it. I am already on the lookout for a new diffuser in case this one stops working altogether. I also have been looking at recipes to make my own blends.

9. Special interests. And people who listen to me perseverating about them. My current special interest is, of course, soap making and aromatherapy. I have been loving telling a new staff, who will be replacing the retiring staff, all about how to make soap, lip balm, essential oil blends and such.

10. My husband, of course. It’s our ninth wedding anniversary tomorrow, so how can I not mention him? I saw him over the week-end and will be seeing him again tomorrow.

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 19, 2020)

Hi everyone on this sunny Sunday evening. It isn’t hot or too sunny here, but the sun does shine and it’s warm. Around 22 degrees Celsius. I like it. Today, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. Grab a cup of coffee, tea or your favorite soda. I think the staff also put some water in the fridge to be cool. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would share that the week started off rather rough. Like I wrote on Monday, I was feeling rather overwhelmed. Thankfully, as the week progressed, my mood and general wellbeing got a little better. I still experience some level of pain on a daily basis. Not 100% sure why, but at least right now it’s manageable.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the physical therapy appt I had on Wednesday. The physical therapist noticed I was pretty tense all over. She might give me some exercises and is going to massage my back next week. She also put tape on the inside of my knee, because I overextend it. I have known I do this for nearly 20 years, but thankfully it didn’t cause significant pain until recently.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about all the beautiful jewelry-making supplies I received in the mail yesterday. I had ordered them from a children’s craft supplies store that I didn’t know before. When the things got shipped and yet I didn’t receive them the next day, I checked and it turned out they had to come from England or something. As such, it surprised me that they did get here on Saturday. The best part is a collection of 90 silver-colored charms. They are truly beautiful.

If we were having coffee, I would share that my husband took me to our home for a night yesterday. We got takeout pizza at my favorite pizza chain. I think my husband entered my E-mail address, because I got a lot of advertising in my inbox today. That’s no problem though.

If we were having coffee, lastly, I would tell you excitedly that I rediscovered at least part of my gemstone collection. I had been wanting to order new gemstones about a week ago and had been thinking or had dreamt that I’d left my collection at the student apartment when I moved out of there in 2010. Turns out my husband has two of the four boxes I had at our home. I guess the other two are either at my parents’ or indeed gone.

I loved telling my husband about all the gemstones in the collection. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures and didn’t take the collection with me to the care facility. I might select some stones to bring here.

How have you been?