Go Ahead-Grieve

I learned these stages in nursing school and every now & then I have to revisit them.  When things don’t go as expected & big crappy things happen, I’m heartened to know my life (and emotions) will follow a known, familiar pattern.  There’s something to be said for comfort & familiarity in the face of adversity.


l-o-n-g sad sigh.....


elisabeth kübler-ross – five stages of grief

Also known as the ‘grief cycle’, it is important to bear in mind that Kübler-Ross did not intend this to be a rigid series of sequential or uniformly timed steps. It’s not a process as such, it’s a model or a framework. There is a subtle difference: a process implies something quite fixed and consistent; a model is less specific – more of a shape or guide. By way of example, people do not always experience all of the five ‘grief cycle’ stages. Some stages might be revisited. Some stages might not be experienced at all. Transition between stages can be more of an ebb and flow, rather than a progression. The five stages are not linear; neither are they equal in their experience. People’s grief, and other reactions to emotional trauma, are as individual as a fingerprint.

In this sense you might wonder what the purpose of the model is if it can vary so much from person to person. An answer is that the model acknowledges there to be an individual pattern of reactive emotional responses which people feel when coming to terms with death, bereavement, and great loss or trauma, etc. The model recognises that people have to pass through their own individual journey of coming to terms with death and bereavement, etc., after which there is generally an acceptance of reality, which then enables the person to cope.

The model is perhaps a way of explaining how and why ‘time heals’, or how ‘life goes on’. And as with any aspect of our own or other people’s emotions, when we know more about what is happening, then dealing with it is usually made a little easier.

Again, while Kübler-Ross’s focus was on death and bereavement, the grief cycle model is a useful perspective for understanding our own and other people’s emotional reaction to personal trauma and change, irrespective of cause.

five stages of grief – elisabeth kübler ross

EKR stage Interpretation
1 – Denial Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defence mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.
2 – Anger

Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.
3 – Bargaining

Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example “Can we still be friends?..” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death.
4 – Depression Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it’s the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the ‘aftermath’ although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
5 – Acceptance Again this stage definitely varies according to the person’s situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.

(Based on the Grief Cycle model first published in On Death & Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1969. Interpretation by Alan Chapman 2006-2009.)


Chronically Helpful Gifts

compliments of Photobucket

‘Tis the season to be thinking about gifts, giving and sharing.  Kudos to Wendy for hosting our Carnival & how appropriate for our topic to be about gifts and giving!

In looking back over past Christmases and remembering the gifts I’ve received, many stand out in my mind.  Some for an assortment of reasons but the ones I’m remembering today are the ones which have me helped most as a chronic.  Truly,  my idea of what constitutes a gift has changed.  A gift used to be about what was spent or about the monetary value of what I wanted.   In my 20’s I would ask my parents to buy things I couldn’t afford for myself, either for myself or the kids.  In my 30’s I would struggle to save enough in order to spend enough, which is so ironic now.  Even all those years ago I was fighting an uphill battle which led to where I am now.  The “magic” year I was forced to see what gifts truly are was the year I turned forty–which is also the year I became a card-carrying chronic.

Since then, some of the “things” I’ve received are priceless.  A few of them are practical & a few are frivolous;  some from others, some are gifts to myself.  During my first chronic Christmas, money was REALLY tight & we didn’t have a Christmas tree.  My friend Cassie gave us a tree, which I still use today.

My Sweetie finds crazy, creative gifts & has a most eclectic sense of giving; he casually piles everything together in a cardboard box & I NEVER know what I’m going to find….. I might pull a jar opener (highly recommend ), a crazy cat lady action figure (really) and a string of beautiful pearls out of the same box.  The whole time he’s sitting there wearing that grin….He always makes me laugh & he doesn’t doubt me, even when he doesn’t understand… Best gifts ever.

My mom helps with practical needs and asks what I could really use.  I love getting practical gifts–it feeds my inner frugalista!  I have everything I need and most of my “wants”.

In the long run–the gifts I appreciate the most are the things we can’t stuff in a box. The gifts of time, honesty, patience, awesome jobs.  My Graceful Agony sisters, friends who understand when I have to cancel, a sweetie who doesn’t chew his arm off to keep from snuggling just ONE MORE MINUTE, supportive family, a warm secure home & a fat, happy dog

Gifts come in all shapes & sizes.  I’m spending this season being aware & grateful….That’s my holiday gift to myself!

Being a Nurse Does NOT Help :-(


say it ain't so!

say it ain't so!



I have to give myself a subcutaneous injection once a week.  Tiny needle, less than 1 ml of fluid & I can use any body part I choose.  Usually, I alternate thighs.  Should be a no-muss, no-fuss, less than a minute event.  Except….It takes me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to do it.  I just can’t understand WHY.  You would think it was a home amputation kit or something!  It usually takes 20 minutes or so for me to work up the nerve.  That’s nuts–I teach people to give themselves injections and I’m not especially tolerant.  Is this boomerang karma biting me in the ass again?  It has definitely changed the way I teach.

Some days I consider going to work & asking a co-worker to give me the shot-but it’s a matter of pride.  Any of them would do it for me though.  I’ve also thought about asking my Sweetie to do it for me, but I prefer to isolate him from my sick-o crap when I can. Goodness knows he wallows in it enough with me.   So….That leaves me and I need to suck it up and do it.

Sometimes the whiny-baby in my head wants to turn it into a pity party but I don’t let that happen.  I have too much to be grateful for to even start that stuff.   Thank God I have medicines which allow me to keep on keeping on!  I’ll keep struggling with it until I get it right, but my hesitation has been (and remains)  a psychological mystery to me….

New Health Problem I’m Happy to Have

Disclaimer:  I am not prejudiced.  I do not base an individual’s worth on his/her BMI (or other personal characteristic or choice).  That is not the intention behind this post.  Any person who chooses to be the way they are & takes responsibility for the consequences–whether it is big or small or pierced or tattooed, religious or political, or whatever–as long as it is an educated choice, is cool with me.  I am referring to those whose perpetual state of denial compels them to cast aspersions toward those who embody what he/she is NOT.  Beauty and diversity only thrive with awareness. Those in denial suck the air out of a room.

The face of REAL FOOD 

What’s the new label??  You know–the name for someone obsessed with eating healthy….ORTHOREXIA.  The more I read about it, the less problem I’m seeing with it.  I can’t imagine how carrying healthy snacks, avoiding bad fats & sugar, and feeling good about making good choices is being classified as a ‘disease process’.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the developer of the term works for McDonald’s Corporate office.  Given the nature of the name, if the “obsession” extends to the point of being unhealthy, it is no longer orthorexia, because orothrexia is the obsession of healthy eating.  Think about it–if it becomes unhealthy–it becomes something else; those who have classified it neglect to note that fact, but it’s true.  They fail to make a distinction between obsessive healthy choices and OCD manifesting itself via food rituals or anorexia.  It’s much easier to garner sensationalism when they’re lumped together–details, details….Orthorexia Nervosa can result in death.  What about the folks who refuse to make healthy choices & keep the junk food companies in business?  You know what??  IT RESULTS IN DEATH. Why is one ok and not the other??  Does anyone agree with me that all they’ve done is give a new title to OCD or anorexia (depending on the circumstances) to make better headlines??

Is it a bad thing if healthy eating becomes an obsession??  We would live better-longer, health care costs would plummet, our over-burdened system could breath, we would drop off the list of heaviest nations, we’d all have gardens and walk more, families would spend time planning & preparing meals together, we would spend time teaching our kids to read labels instead of memorizing lyrics on MTV……STILL waiting for the down side.  Dang, I can’t think of anything more self-destructive than sitting with a group of like-minded friends drinking free-trade green tea, eating strawberries dipped in 70% chocolate….ALL sarcasm intended….There is no disorder in putting ‘self’ first!!  If self isn’t healthy, then self can’t help others.  Don’t believe me–spend a year being UNhealthy, then we can talk.

Tracking nutritional values & cultivating personal discipline is NOT crazy–weighing 400 lbs, eating fast food six days a week (& blaming it on genetics), being treated for 2-3 preventable conditions while thinking of negative things to say about those who put forth the effort to do better is–CRAZY. There-I’ve said it.

On a less abrasive note and for those who are not aware–I have Crohn’s disease, so food & healthy eating are REAL issues in my life.  I don’t absorb nutrients properly so I really need to keep tabs on what I’m putting into my body.  It’s hard to make sure my nutritional needs are met and I was really surprised to find out how far off-base I am….. After tracking for a few weeks, it was apparent I do not consume enough iron, calcium, potassium, vit. D and a few others, to meet my body’s basic needs–even if I weren’t sick.   Given the fact I don’t absorb half of what I consume,  I’m critically deficient most times.  No wonder my hair is thin,  my skin is dry and my nails are brittle–not to mention the mental/mood problems associated with deficiencies.

Should we choose stupid things to fit in? 

What’s my point??  I’m an average middle-aged American female.  If I take my health stuff out of the equation, I am still VERY much lacking nutritionally.   If I am, then so are many, many others.  This results in illness–PREVENTABLE illness.  It’s irresponsible to persist in any behavior which results in a deterioration of health status.  THIS is what  makes me even more determined to make good choices for myself and to educate those around me.  It’s ok to tell me to shut up–but I might not do it.  Geez I hope orthorexia is contagious…

It’s Junior High Stuff, C’mon!


compliments of www.photobucket.com

Pay attention--READ A BOOK~

At work the other day, I read a memo for all nurses: Your required to complete this by blah, blah, blah…

OMG-the person sending out the memo has a MSN degree.  Your.  It should be “you’re” because it is being used as the contraction for “you are”.  Makes me CRAZY!  C’mon people, really.

Today I read (not red) a post on a group I belong to; keep in mind that not one person who responded to the group corrected this:

“What cents do your teens like?”  Mine doesn’t like cents; she only wants money that folds…

SCENTS not CENTS-grade school stuff.  What about ‘to, too & two’?  Example: I have to go drop off boxes at Goodwill.  Too much stuff has piled up and I have no need to keep more than two of anything.  Basic, basic, basic.

Another personal favorite– ‘their, there, and they’re’.  What about ‘personal & personnel’?   Other offenders are see & sea, maybe & may be, stationery & stationary, principal and principle…the list is endless and my frustration is boundless!  I hear many similar things at work when I educate families:  ‘prostate & prostrate’, ‘stats & sats’,  plus tons of others….Some are funny and others are sad.

Our language is complex and beautiful; as citizens we have an obligation to do it justice.  If one doesn’t know, then LOOK IT UP.  Free educational resources are everywhere–OH, there’s another offender–‘know & no’, plus ‘wait & weight’–They’re everywhere!!

Ultimately,  an individual chooses his/her level of awareness but most of the things I’ve pointed out are grade school-level stuff.  Pull your head out of your butt!  I’ve heard some attribute lack of knowledge to “freedom of choice”; I don’t know what insane statement follows because I’m busy walking away.  CHOICE??  Choosing to remain ignorant makes as much sense (not since) as drowning in the rain.  PLEASE folks, really.  Don’t deliberately enter a war of wits unarmed…

To all of my articulate, awesome friends, readers & co-bloggers–LOVE YOU.


A Life in Order..


It's hard work & it ain't no fun, but ya gotta get'er started if you wanna get'er done!

I keep telling myself this yet I seldom get shit done.  Well, NO MORE.  I’ve decided working harder ain’t workin’ well so I’m choosing to work smarter.

This is my second week paying someone to help me clean.  It’s a friend, so I can trust her.  She needs the money & I need the help.  That makes it a win-win situation!

Last week she accomplished a LOT & I’ve been able to keep it up during the week.  She’ll be here today and we’re moving into the living room.  That will be today’s main project.  The area around the sofa is my landing pad and it looks like a dump, so it’s gonna be a bitch getting it in order.  My sicko stuff is there, my work & homework stuff is there.  A few things I can’t identify are also there….

I’m SO grateful to her for doing this for me…..Makes me feel much better..

Worth repeating–I LOVE the Graphics Fairy!

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Erica’s Running Journey

Erica’s Running Journey