A Quick Update

This week has been insanely busy and I have some good news, some sad news and some good news again.

First the good news.

I told you all I was starting swimming lessons/coaching on Monday. I’ve been to two classes now and I have already received some incredibly simple but effective tips from my instructor. I am in a class with one other lady who is also training for a triathlon (her race is actually the same weekend as mine but we’re not doing the same one). I plan on putting together a complete post about the swimming lessons and useful tips next week after the series of classes is over.

That being said, one especially helpful tip has been to breath out of my nose and in through my mouth. I was bubbling air out of mouth underwater and then coming up to take a breath every 3-5 strokes. Breathing air out my nose instead has allowed me to swim for 7-9 strokes before having to take a breath above water. My swim instructor recommended humming underwater so that I wouldn’t have to think about keeping my mouth closed and the nose breathing would naturally resolve itself. Next time you’re out swimming, just try doing that! It has really helped me.

Do you have any helpful tips for increased swimming endurance? Tips you remember from lessons as a kid or something you’ve found on your own?

Now, for some sad news.

My father-in-law was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in late 2006, early 2007. He has approached his diagnosis with alarming positivity and most of the time I’d say you wouldn’t know there was a problem unless it was pointed out to you. He walks slower and with an altered gait and sometimes his speech is hard to understand and he gets tired easily but for the most part he’s gone along just as anyone else would – Parkinson’s having a rather minimal impact on his overall day to day activities.

Until recently. Events have occurred over the past few months that have finally showed Parkinson’s effect on Gary. Parkinson’s is a progressive degenerative disease and while we have all known that his condition would worsen with time, I don’t think any of us have actually chosen to accept that fate. Gary has Parkinson’s but he’s totally fine, I’ve caught myself thinking on numerous occasions.

Over Memorial Weekend we went on a hike with Gary at Timpanogos Caves. I alluded to the fact that something went terribly wrong when I posted my recap but I didn’t go into details. Gary was brought down the mountain by EMTs and Park Rangers – treated in an ambulance for what we thought was a depletion of Dopamine.

We all agreed that Gary needed to rest, needed to really keep track of his medicine and ensure his dopamine levels stayed regular.

And then, it happened again. Gary was rushed to the ER on Monday and spent the day and night there. We thought it was the same thing – thought it was the dopamine. He lost control of his motor functions. Was confused about time and who people were. He was combative and aggressive. He was, quite simply, not Gary.

We’re still trying to figure out what exactly has gone wrong and one of the theories is that his blood pressure medicine is interacting with his dopamine medication – both of which cause a decrease in blood pressure and might actually drop him entirely too low to even function.

I’m not telling you all of this as a sob story or for you to have pity on my father-in-law or our family, as I’m sure that would be the last thing that Gary would want. I’m telling you this because there are things I don’t understand – things that make me feel absolutely useless – things that make me infuriated that life is so incredibly unfair. But Gary just keeps smiling. Cracking jokes with the EMTs once he got his oxygen mask off, joking with me at the hospital that the clothes I brought him must be a signal to “be more active,” making plans for the weekend with the grand kids even as he’s waiting to hear what the heck is going wrong.

He was released from the hospital yesterday late-afternoon and is now staying at our house, resting. Please take a moment to send good vibes his way, say a quick prayer, or whatever it is that you feel comfortable with. Send him love.

You can read more about Parkinson’s Disease here.

And finally, for some happy news to end on (aren’t you glad I saved some happy stuff for the end?)

Today is my last day at the architecture firm. From here on out, I will be working part-time at the design studio, still doing accounting and business management. The rest of my time will be spent here blogging, working on my freelance projects (right now I have a big Thanksgiving project I’m rushing to complete) AND of course I’ll be training for my tri and getting outside as much as I possibly can. Do they have wi-fi along the Wasatch Peaks? I sure hope so.

I have been freelancing for a few months now and had a few things published but it still feels like I’m taking a giant leap of faith into the writing community and I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

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