Bucket List – Items #1-20

So it’s been a little while since I last looked at my bucket list but I’m delighted to say that I am getting closer to accomplishing some of the items on my list. As it last stood, just over a month ago, I had 18 items:

  1. At least once a month, taking appropriate precautions, get out and do something social
  2. To be a bridesmaid
  3. To visit New Zealand
  4. To live on the ocean
  5. To own a Class B motor-home (Roadtrek ideally)
  6. Waist length hair
  7. Day-trip to Frankenmuth & Bronners
  8. Reschedule & enjoy my belated 45th birthday vacation
  9. Acceptance of RADS diagnosis and limitations that places on my life
  10. Despite RADS diagnosis, work on improving the quality of my life and work at getting back to work
  11. year long road trip following 70 degree (21 C) weather throughout the contiguous United States.
  12. Lose steroid wait and return to a healthy weight
  13. Get out walking, locally and a little further afield on walking trails and then snowshoeing as determined by the weather
  14. Visit Harrison Hot Springs in BC
  15. Go indoor skydiving
  16. Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
  17. Go on a picnic
  18. At least once a day, do something creative

With the help of a fantastic friend and some amazing staff at local facilities I have been able to keep up my plan to do something social once a month. Unfortunately, it takes a great deal of effort, increases my risk of allergen exposure greatly and I pay for it afterwards for several days in recovering from the impact of just being in a space with other people and their scents. However, on balance it’s great to be able to resume somewhat of a normal life for an hour here and there.

So I’m achieving #1. Items 9 and 10 are also moving forwards. The details have yet to be worked out but a plan is being developed that will allow me to return to work, initially just part-time, as of next week though I will be working from home. Unfortunately the minimal social activities that I have undertaken have demonstrated that I can’t manage the impact of scents very well physically and that the allergen/anaphylaxis risk is too high to return to my actual workplace. However, I am delighted that my employer is working with me to accommodate my disabilities.

Losing my steroid weight is a very slow work in progress but with sticking to a regular routine and eating regularly I have turned the corner and started to lose a little of the weight. I start a respiratory rehab program next week, again with a great deal of precautions in place, that should also help me take off the weight.

Unfortunately, the weather has been so changeable and I’ve been so reactive that I haven’t been able to get out and walk yet. But I will! So item 13 is a work in progress.

The last item that I’ve managed to start progressing is item 18. Each and every day I try to make sure that I do something creative, even if it’s as simple as colouring in an adult colouring book.

So what comes next? Looking at my bucket list I still have a lot of items that depend on my regaining my health and reducing my allergies. That’s looking less likely but I’m not giving up hope yet. However, I think that in order to be able to see progress I need to add my next items in categories that I can do from home.

Years ago I used to make a lot of my own clothes and in fact made several formal evening gowns for myself and others. While I can’t see a need for formal wear anytime soon I do still have drawers full of fabric and patterns and think that it’s time that I start dressmaking again. Just because I’m at home most of the time doesn’t mean that I need to spend all my time in leggings and sweatpants! Though to be fair, if I made them for myself it would probably be cheaper and a better fit than buying online. So item #19 is to resume dressmaking.

The last item for now is to work with Kai and Molly on Rally Obedience. I can’t trial in normal obedience because I can’t hear the commands being called out and I’m not fluent enough in ASL to use an interpreter. However, in Rally Obedience there are stations with signs telling you what to do with your dog at each point. Kai’s obedience as a service dog is incredible. However, for more formal obedience he is somewhat unstructured and tends to always position himself to be able to see my face. So I’d like to teach him better positioning with alternate commands simply as a brain exercise for both of us. Molly will join in for some training but given her age, often works best as the distraction for Kai!

I don’t know if we’ll actually compete but it’s actually a possibility as the CARO trial is held outside at the local KOA campground each August so as long as I can control seasonal allergies I may be able to attend and participate in it. If we do compete it will be for fun. Kai’s service dog training will always come first so if he alerts during a trial that will always be the priority, even if we fail the trial. However, with over 40 commands to work on it will help keep both of us active and hopefully, I’ll be able to get out in my garden to practice once the weather improves. If not, my basement will suffice.

So there we have it, 20 items on my new bucket list. As before, the ones in italics are the ones that I’m accomplishing or making progress towards.

  1. At least once a month, taking appropriate precautions, get out and do something social
  2. To be a bridesmaid
  3. To visit New Zealand
  4. To live on the ocean
  5. To own a Class B motor-home (Roadtrek ideally)
  6. Waist length hair
  7. Day-trip to Frankenmuth & Bronners
  8. Reschedule & enjoy my belated 45th birthday vacation
  9. Acceptance of RADS diagnosis and limitations that places on my life
  10. Despite RADS diagnosis, work on improving the quality of my life and work at getting back to work
  11. year long road trip following 70 degree (21 C) weather throughout the contiguous United States.
  12. Lose steroid weight and return to a healthy weight
  13. Get out walking, locally and a little further afield on walking trails and then snowshoeing as determined by the weather
  14. Visit Harrison Hot Springs in BC
  15. Go indoor skydiving
  16. Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
  17. Go on a picnic
  18. At least once a day, do something creative
  19. Resume dress-making
  20. Train Kai in Rally Obedience

How’s your bucket list coming along?

Updated Bucket List – Items #1-18

Last time I reviewed my new Bucket List I had 17 items and little progress towards any of them. However, I’m now delighted to report that I can cross off one item and have made significant progress towards three others:

  1. Coffee with a friend in our local Starbucks
  2. To be a bridesmaid
  3. To visit New Zealand
  4. To live on the ocean
  5. To own a Class B motor-home (Roadtrek ideally)
  6. Waist length hair
  7. Day-trip to Frankenmuth & Bronners
  8. Reschedule & enjoy my belated 45th birthday vacation
  9. Acceptance of RADS diagnosis and limitations that places on my life
  10. Despite RADS diagnosis, work on improving the quality of my life and work at getting back to work.
  11. year long road trip following 70 degree (21 C) weather throughout the contiguous United States.
  12. Lose steroid weight and return to a healthy weight
  13. Get out walking, locally and a little further afield on walking trails and then snowshoeing as determined by the weather
  14. Visit Harrison Hot Springs in BC
  15. Go indoor skydiving
  16. Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
  17. Go on a picnic

Yesterday, with a great deal of help from my friend I was able to cross off #1. In fact we went a step further and didn’t just meet for coffee in Starbucks but we actually met for coffee in a small local mall. Thankfully, it doesn’t have a juice/smoothie vendor and the food court is small enough that between us we could keep an eye out for potential concerns.

On arriving at the Mall we had a quick review of how to give me an Epi Pen (just in case) and then had a small wander around the mall. My first time doing so in about 6 months. Unfortunately, the cleaning machine was out, and in use, for part of the mall and that scent was too strong for me to manage so I didn’t make it to the book store. However, we did have coffee! The cleaner in the food court very kindly agreed to clean the bathrooms while we did, rather than washing the floors and tables down, at that time. It seems that the cleaning services in the Mall all use a citrus/strong scented solution for washing the floors.

Kai alerted a couple of times that I needed to use my inhalers and ultimately that we needed to leave, due to scents and my reactions. I’m so proud of him.

Funnily enough having decided to make this alert extremely obvious while we were in the hospital (jumping on, & pawing at, my head literally) he remembered how to do it more subtly, but still insistently, yesterday. If I didn’t know better I’d think it was deliberate on his part as a few patients had commented on not seeing him working, not realising that his usual alerts are very subtle and not obvious unless you’re looking for them. He can’t really have decided to show off, can he?

I am so thankful to have a friend who was willing to ensure that she was completely safe (unscented) to be with me, and to then look out and advocate for me. Unfortunately I can’t often advocate for myself as I can’t get close enough to the scent to ask the person concerned if they’d help me out.

So #1 is completed! Though it will definitely stay as a goal to meet on a regular basis.

I’ve also made good progress towards items 9 & 10 (Acceptance of RADS diagnosis and limitations that places on my life & Despite RADS diagnosis, work on improving the quality of my life and work at getting back to work.)

It’s a fine balance. Much as it was great to get out of the house, and meet for coffee yesterday it took a lot of courage to do so and I needed a lot of help to make it safe enough.

It’s all about living in this moment.

In this moment there isn’t a citrus fruit or product in my vicinity so I enjoy it. I need to be cautious and take appropriate precautions but I’m not going to give up on life just because I know what could kill me & how likely that is. I could still get hit by that proverbial meteor!!

Oddly enough I’ve also made some progress towards items 6 & 12 (Waist length hair & Lose steroid weight and return to a healthy weight).  I realised how much longer my hair has grown over the past year when I braided it for the first time in a while during my hospital stay and the braid came quite a lot further down my back. My hair is still very fine and my entire braid thinner than most people’s bangs…. but it’s growing!

Also, despite eating hospital food I actually lost some weight in the hospital. I’ve still got a long way to go to get back to a healthy weight , after the impact of the steroids, but I’m finally not going up every day!

So given my recent success in meeting item 1 I’m going to replace it with a new item. At least once a month, taking appropriate precautions, get out and do something social.

I’m also adding a new item to my list. At least once a day, do something creative. That could be as simple as writing this Blog or colouring. Alternatively it could enable my trying out a new craft, or one that I haven’t done in a while, or can’t do as well as I used to so rarely do anymore. It could be writing a poem, a story or exercising my somewhat limited artistic talents. It could also be cooking a meal or baking something that’s a little more complicated than taking it out of the box! Just because I’m only cooking for me it doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve to cook an interesting meal for myself.

So here’s my updated list. The items in italics are those that I’ve made good progress towards!

  1. At least once a month, taking appropriate precautions, get out and do something social
  2. To be a bridesmaid
  3. To visit New Zealand
  4. To live on the ocean
  5. To own a Class B motor-home (Roadtrek ideally)
  6. Waist length hair
  7. Day-trip to Frankenmuth & Bronners
  8. Reschedule & enjoy my belated 45th birthday vacation
  9. Acceptance of RADS diagnosis and limitations that places on my life
  10. Despite RADS diagnosis, work on improving the quality of my life and work at getting back to work
  11. year long road trip following 70 degree (21 C) weather throughout the contiguous United States.
  12. Lose steroid weight and return to a healthy weight
  13. Get out walking, locally and a little further afield on walking trails and then snowshoeing as determined by the weather
  14. Visit Harrison Hot Springs in BC
  15. Go indoor skydiving
  16. Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
  17. Go on a picnic
  18. At least once a day, do something creative

How’s your Bucket List coming on?

NB. Please note that Epi Pen’s come in cases. So to use one you need to take it out of the case first. Then it’s…

Blue to the Sky, Orange to the thigh

Which means take the blue cap off and make sure that end is towards the sky, swing the pen and ‘stab’ the person with the orange end on the outside, fleshly part of their thigh (through their clothes) and count for 3 seconds. Call for an ambulance and paramedic service.

If there is a delay in getting emergency services you may need to give a second pen. Most people with severe allergies, and known anaphylaxis reactions, will carry several of them on them. I also carry inhalers and liquid Benadryl which can also help buy me some time.

The Epi Pen needle is on a spring within the orange section and the blue cap releases the safety catch for it. You are never exposed to the needle. So it’s completely safe for you to give to somebody else if they need you to.

Left brain vs right brain

A very good friend recently sent me a gift package to help cheer me up in my isolation. Having heard me complain about getting pretty bored with Netflix she very kindly, and thoughtfully, took the time to send me something that I could do, in my current situation.

A book, workbook, and set of pencils entitled “Drawing on the right side of the brain“. There is a website that accompanies the materials as well.

It is commonly understood that the left side of our brain is concentrated on analytical skills. Being rational, objective, symbols, maths and order.

The right side is concerned with instinctive skills such as art, emotion, imagination, memory, creativity and music.

There are a number of tests that you can do to help identify which side of your brain dominates your thinking. Invariably when I take these tests I tend slightly towards the left brain, the analyst but I’m almost even. Most recently my results were as follows:

Left brain 56% : 44% Right brain

The first exercise in the workbook was to draw a self-portrait. This had to be done before any instruction. It’s to help the ‘artist’ see how they improve.

Personally, I sure hope that the subject (me) looks a whole lot better by the time I get to repeat the exercise too.

Anyway, for those that are interested in my progress, I plan to post my attempts once in a while. So here is my first attempt at drawing anything since I was 17!

IMG_8842The photograph that I was working from for the self-portrait (3rd Sep 2016)

IMG_8840

Exercise One – Self-portrait (Pre-instruction) 3rd Sep 2016

I can really only improve from here!!

While I might be almost evenly right/left brained it certainly doesn’t look like drawing is a strong skill of mine right now!

I’m looking forward to seeing how a self-instruction course helps me improve, or not!

Regardless, learning to draw makes a very welcome change to Netflix!

Oh and for those who aren’t aware; I don’t usually look quite so much like an alien as I do right now.

I’ve been off work for several months with extreme breathing problems and I’m currently very bloated and swollen from steroids and inactivity.

So to serve my own vanity I’m going to post a picture of me before this illness really took over my life too!

IMG_6593
Kai (my service dog) and me (Early June 2016)