Originally published July 24, 2013. I’m working on a few (okay, several) things in my life. One of them is ORFR (Operation Run, Forrest, Run”). M (37) is helping me with that, and so are the nice people at my new PT place (“The Gym”). I am, however, in the walking zone since they haven’t seen me ever before and I do appear to be a walking liability. Key word: walking. Well, I told one of them, it’s probably better that they’re monitoring me on the Alter G since if left to my own devices I’d be doing all sorts of prohibited/unsafe things just to see if I could. It would be like how when I was heartbroken over being discharged from The Place I consoled myself by graduating myself to using the cane. I heard through the grapevine that A (6) was contemplating moving me up from the walker to the quad cane, but he never did. When I left I was like, Since A’s not watching me, I’mma do whatever I want! Enter Leo. (Side note: I have gotten much mouthier since I worked with A. He was largely shielded from my verboseness since my voice was weaker then. Given my hearing loss we probably heard about 80% of what the other person said. As Ruthie pointed out, “It’s okay – you’re even!”) I skipped the quad because I kept kicking it and getting tangled up in it. It took me over a year (and some gait insights from M) to realize that I had kept on kicking my quad (“Cousin It”) and my rollator (“Willow”) bc my gait stance is so amazingly wide if I don’t concentrate on keeping my feet hip-width apart. So it’s good that I’m working on a brisk walking pace first in the Alter G, especially since my gait has gone downhill since I’m away from CMD’s acupuncture magic. Just kidding, it’s not magic – docs have told me the research on acupuncture is really good – it just seems like magic.
The other thing I’m working on is kitchen mobility. I’m so keen on this idea because it is critical to independence. It does cost me something physically – I need to plan to sit down every 5 minutes or so, and even then it’s often still very painful. When I am so absorbed in what I’m doing I don’t sit down when I ought to it’s even worse. But hey, a girl’s gotta eat, and I like to experiment and tell you about it.
Learning how to cook again is actually part of Operation Hospitality. In the circle I grew up in, hospitality is very common. We are always going over to other people’s houses and there is always laughing and almost always food. LOTS of food. I practiced a very simple brand of hospitality in OR when I was on my own. Brunch was always easy to do – standard fare included scones (whole wheat chocolate strawberry, based on Mommy’s recipe – but hers are so much better), strawberries or other fresh fruit, whipped cream, and K’s Impossibly Easy Quiche (a crustless Bisquick pie). I had a lovely brunch once with M, a friend who visited me faithfully in the hospital. These are her hands on my shoulders in the picture with my Gabby! post.
These days we have opened up Chez Tan for hospitable business sometimes. It requires lots of planning on Mommy’s part, but it’s doable bc A) she’s a NINJA, and B) I’m all sorts of medically stable and can ambulate appropriately (most of the time). However, being hospitable at home with Mom and Dad is not my end goal. One day I’d like to be hospitable like I used to be in Oregon. I have broken down this endeavor into some actionable goals. I need to go to bed soon or else I’d make you a ppt slide.
Phase 1: Develop Skills
1. Learn to cook (again). Not that I was really good at it the first time around.
2. Have VCI – concurrent with step 1; see improvement in swallowing health so I can eat more.
Phase 2: Secure Indpependence
3. Recover enough to live independently.
4. Convince Mom and Dad that I am well enough to live independently.
5. Procure housing.
Phase 3: Exhibit Practical Friendship
6. Invite people over; recruit one or 2 of them to carry dishes to/from the table. Or I could get a trolley like Grandma E used to have.
I am still in phase 1: Learn to cook again. But I made great progress last week since I was able to make a meal for the P family, who is visiting for a week! This was a good step since there is no time-pressure – I just had to make things so they were fresh for the delivery date. Presentation was a breeze since there was none – Ai Ai packed things in Tupperware etc. and Timmy carried them. On the menu:
- Roasted Carrot Soup (with sweet peppers and tomato)
- Life Skills Lasagna (with lean ground beef)
- Banana Date & Nut Bars
- Fluffy Nutella and Pretzel Crisp
I was waffling on the protein source and then decided to do LSLasagna with beef – excellent notion! And I made an extra for Ai Ai & family and even my children enjoyed it thoroughly. They initially looked askance at the cauliflower I put in, but they ended up liking it a lot – I just riced it and mixed it with sour cream and a little fresh salsa.
I was tickled pink to be able to prepare food for two families. So I’m on my way! This might take a while, though – I get that. Perhaps your hospitality plan will be more, ummm…attainable in the near future. But I’ll do this even though it’s tough because I’m looking forward to the satisfaction of gathering with friends and sharing a meal. In the meantime I get to enjoy the hospitable efforts of Mommy and my sister as they invite people over and feed them. For me personally, though, it’s often easier to have people over than for me to go out to a restaurant, and I like to see my friends as much as possible so I’m trying to take steps in the direction of hospitableness on my own. This is like writing – the emotional payoff is SO worth it.