Monday, March 29, 2010

Ayurveda; Heal Yourself

Saturday I went to my yoga studio early to catch a certain teacher but found that her class was cancelled and replaced with a workshop. It was going to cost me more money so I was thinking I would come back later but the owner was sitting at the front desk and she swayed me. She said, "wherever you end up is where you're supposed to be." I smiled and decided she was right.
I was supremely worried that this was going to delve into hippie nonsense bullshit space cadet crap but it wasn't that way at all. In fact I felt enlightened after about 20 minutes. I learned a little about Ayurveda: the study/knowledge of life, and the different body types: Vata: air, Pitta: fire, and Kapha: water. Everyone has all three but everyone also has more of one and it translates to your body composition, diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Essentially this study is linked to holistic medicine and learning how to heal yourself.
For a really pitiful description, I will just highlight a couple things that stuck with me:

Vata people: spacy, imaginative, restless, fearful, passionate, worrisome, often dissatisfied, tend to be thin and wiry, are prone to stomach aches

Pitta people: driven, over-achievers, focused, irritable, judgemental, articulate, strong, medium to muscular, often have high stress

Kapha people: lazy, sleepy, hungry, loving, compassionate, loyal, heavy, prone to depression

So, if you're mostly vata you need to ground down on planet earth more often. Do strengthening and toning exercises, not jumping around or too much cardio. Don't eat foods with high acidity.

If you're pitta you need to chill out more. Skip that afternoon run and spend more time stretching and doing boring breathing exercises. Don't eat too much spicy food or have too much caffeine. Get into your head more and avoid so much outside world.

Kaphas need to do more cardio of any type or just walk and spend time with people. Get out of your head and into the world. Avoid sweets in favor of heart healthy snacks every 4 hours.

Ok you're reading this thinking that it's all common sense and what is the point? Everyone already knows how to heal themselves they just would rather eat ice cream in front of the tv or destroy their knees in the daily run. These concepts helped me a lot because I've been dealing with extreme stress related stomach aches for the last week. I usually reach for the tums, rolaids, mylanta, maalox, alka seltzer, etc. The doctor last week said that I am in danger of an ulcer and could potentially have acid reflux already. She said I could take the over the counter prevacid OR I could eat plain yogurt every single day. I eat a lot of yogurt already and knew it was good for digestion but I didn't think of it as medicine.

The instructor of this workshop talked about how he has acid reflux. It means that his pitta is out of balance and fire is building up in the stomach. If he cools down his fire with cucumber, watermelon, and less acid producing foods the pain goes away and no prescription is necessary.

I went home feeling happy and relaxed. When I got there I saw a few cigarette butts in the ashtray, a pamphlet on the side effects of a drug, and a paper with various doctor's phone numbers on it. This only meant one thing. I frantically called Mom and found out that yes they had to take Grandma back to the hospital. The drug cocktail they gave her after her surgery gave her a dangerous reaction and there was swelling around the heart.

The funny thing about Grandma is that she thinks doctors are gods. They are the upper echelon of society and anything they say is right. I asked her the other day if she is sure she needs to take the prevacid, xanax, flonase, lipitor, sleeping pill, and aspirin along with all the new drugs they gave her for this procedure. She said yes and that she has to take so many of each per day. She totally didn't get the concept that she could have tried something other than all these drugs to help her. Her doctor is also an older gentleman that might retire soon. I don't think it ever occurred to him to have her try a macrobiotic diet or something along those lines. Due to my pressuring she asked him about acupuncture and he assured her that it will only help for a couple days but then the pain will come back so there is no point. Take celebrex instead.

My mom has become amazingly enlightened through this experience. She joked the other day about how it's strange that the media and education and families spend so much time focusing on keeping kids off drugs and the hazards of drinking and driving, but we really have no idea what kind of drugs our elderly are on while they are driving around or when they are alone at home. The harm that comes from all of this is somehow completely acceptable.

It turned out that one of the pain killers the surgeon prescribed wasn't right for someone with a weak heart. After being hooked up to an IV for the last two days and having a blood transfusion yesterday she is still in the hospital. It looks like it's all going to be ok but questions remain. Grandma is in the hands of science now and despite studies saying that these other combinations of pills should be ok, we really don't know if her body will take it.

Eat yogurt everyday people. It's a start.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Year One

Today marks the one year anniversary of writing this blog. It's obvious that the road was a misleading one that proceeded forward. I am proud to finally have a body of work out there in the world, even though when reading the old ones I see a million spelling and grammatical errors. Yes I know there their and they're, as well as then and than. So it goes.

Tomorrow my grandma has surgery. It's relatively minor but she has not slept a wink in at least a week now. My mother has also suffered bouts of extreme anxiety regarding the decision to go through with it, because maybe they should have tried something else first? But here we are and the decision was made a while ago. Thoughts of having to give her ailing mother shots in the legs to prevent blood clots is driving her mad. Potato chips are being eaten by the thousands. The kitchen is clouded with cigarette smoke and somehow both the pantry and refrigerator are empty. (a near impossibility in this house)

Instead of cooking something to celebrate my first year of writing these musings, I went to a diner with Grandma and my uncle. She needed to get out of the house and keep her mind occupied with other things. Of course those other things turned out to be me and they wanted to know why I hadn't studied pharmaceutical science but what can you do. This is what Xanax is for.

We were running out of things to talk about after covering my work, how I felt about my work, what I could be doing instead of my work and so on. I humored them, but eventually turned the subject to that which is always my savior in this family: food. With Passover coming up there is a dish that I would like to make for real and not just write about it: gefilte fish. I wouldn't say that it is something I like to eat, but it was definitely something that Grandma likes to eat and she hasn't made it since I was little.

The feesh in Shikago is disgust. Ve no get good feesh here like ve use to. I no make gefilte in long time. I no make grilled whitefeesh. I no make noting feesh.

We could try Whole Foods.

Expensive. And they no organic shmorganic anyvay. They liars. Debils. Just vanna your money. I never shop there. I buy apples 88 cents at the Costco. Very goood. You know how much Whole Food vanna for apples? My god.

I want to try and learn how to make gefilte though. There must be somewhere that I can order fish from once. We could try it.

Maybe. Ve use get whitefeesh from Minnesota and now we get frozen from Indoneejia. What is that? Minnesota is neighbor. You know where Minnesota feesh go? They go Sveden and to Evrope.

Really? Where did you hear that?

I vatch. Food Network.

There must be somewhere that we can order good fish Grandma. Do you want me to order something from the Pike Market?

No! You crazy talking. All that money and you no know vhat you get. I have to see feesh. I need it a whole one. Ve skin ourselves.


Vhat is gross? You gross.

What kind of fish goes into the gefilte anyway?

Whitefeesh, Nordern Pike, and another I no know how say in English. But you can make it just two. Is not vorth it. Von't taste right anymore.

But Grandma, we have fancy restaurants all over this city, they must get their fish from a good source. Those type of fish have got to come from the Great Lakes.

You kidding me? No one know vhat they serving us. Is frozen poison.

This is an interesting problem we've run into. I would like to learn how to make stuff that is in her brain but she is convinced that we don't have the means to make it. In addition, I wanted to make her something special after she goes through yet another awful ordeal but I don't know how. It would be amazing if I could sweep her away to Greece where I know there is incredibly fish of every variety. I'd like to take her back in time to Lithuania before her sister died and watch their hands work on dough together. I'd like her to have hot peppers on an Italian beef sandwich without worrying about the ulcer. I'd like more than anything to find a way for her to sleep better at night. Lunch at a diner will somehow have to do.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Last night I dreamed that I adopted a baby dolphin which was miniature in size.

It lived in my bathtub and liked to spend the day laying under the spout having cool water slowly make its way everywhere.

My mother suggested I feed it plastic forks which it seemed to like very much.

I went into the kitchen for too long to make cannoli and was worried that I hadn't heard a splash in a while.

When I got back to the bathroom the dolphin was sleeping underwater and I was scared for a second but it opened its eyes and winked at me.

Every time I pet the dolphin or rubbed its back it let out a loud squawk and I would smile and want to hear it again.

The bathtub wouldn't be enough room for my dolphin but it would have to do for now because I can't afford anything else.

I have to figure out what else it eats and if it wants the pastry.

The wind is shaking my window and I wake up remembering the poem, My Mother is a Fish.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Last Weekend

I leave the bar and walk down the street to the subway into the stairway and touch my card to the reader and notice the rails next to the stairs are blue but I don't want blue I want red but proceed down anyway and no really it's the blue line how the hell did I do this shit so I go back up into the world and sure enough it's Dearborn and not State so I walk one block East and wonder who gets lost in a square then go down to the right subway and spend another $.25 just because I am stupid this evening and I wait and then red comes and it's a long way to Howard so lucky the ipod is charged and the train is packed and I don't notice the time until I am at Howard waiting for the purple and realize it's almost midnight and I have to get home somehow and it's way too late to walk alone so I have to get a cab and I don't have any cash left damnit am I really turning 31 Sunday and then it's Saturday morning and I woke up as my yoga class was starting and then my parents inform me that the dinner reservations were for tonight and not Sunday so I have to cancel the group outing I planned for The Tasting Room in the west loop ok I'll go there another day so I eat French food which I am not all that familiar with and am confused by the so called "lobster" that was supposed to be somewhere on the plate but really was charred and chopped into tiny tiny bits and unrecognizable with the pasta and small dollop of cream sauce in the corner of the plate it's not bad enough to turn away but it's not good and my parents offer me wine but amazingly I don't drink any because I don't want to make it all too expensive I suggested that we all share a dessert but we couldn't agree on one so we tried a few and they were ok too sweet although I do love poached pears above cake and pastry and decided to make some myself and then it got too late in the day for visiting Grandma and I worry that she is mad that I haven't seen her much in the last two weeks because I've been down and I have a hard time hiding it in front of her so I see her on Sunday and she doesn't say Happy Birthday instead she asked me if she did something to make me angry and she grills me for not spending enough time with her but I wanted to have lunch with her today and she blew me off for grocery shopping but I didn't know so I cancelled meeting my friend for lunch and I was upset but she was too and we didn't resolve it but tried to have conversation anyway and she is frightened about her upcoming surgery and she wanted to ask me about why I am angry at my office but I don't want to talk about it right before I left she says ok so Happy Birthday and hands me a card and I cry when I leave the house because I just can't make everyone happy I just can't so I go to an Oscar party at a friend's house and I relax and joke around and I thank goodness for my friends.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How It Happened

The ugly anteater says to the fuzzy bunny, "you are disobedient and rebellious." The fuzzy bunny wants to know why but the anteater was backed up by the big fat frog. The big fat frog says she didn't do anything but was the one who destroyed the project in the first place and was trying to blame the fuzzy bunny! So the fuzzy bunny knowing she didn't do anything wrong went to the teacher hippopotamus who had a brown paper bag full of fried food on her desk. The teacher hippopotamus says "it was never a blessing for you to come here. you made a secret deal with the director giraffe to get here in the first place. you might have to find yourself a new classroom by March 19." The grease kept making new designs on the paper bag as she spoke and she was eyeing it so fuzzy bunny went to talk to director giraffe. "But I didn't do anything wrong! I don't understand!" Director giraffe says not to worry and that it isn't her fault. In the meantime fuzzy bunny can't sit next to her schoolmates anymore and was shuffled to a new section without any of the cool supplies she worked with before. The new animals in this section are mean to fuzzy bunny and ignore her and refuse to answer questions unless the ugly anteater is there. Fuzzy bunny tried to stick up for herself again but it was no use. Several school mice and bears asked her what happened and why she was moved but fuzzy bunny felt unable to say anything. She canceled a group outing she arranged after school for Friday. She forgot to eat anything today. Fuzzy bunny does not know what to do now.