It's his problem, not mine. But where does that get me?

  • I just read (and commented on) a great post by Peter Bregman on the limitations of trying to communicate in difficult interpersonal situations (my words). As I understand it, the gist of his post is that there are limits to what you can accomplish using communication. His example was that of a friend who disappointed him and then became angry when he called him on it in a reasonable manner. His (probably wise) conclusion is that it's sometimes better just to accept that the other person is the way he/she is, and that you won't always be able to change their behavior by talking to them. 
  • As I mentioned in my comment, theoretically (and practically, for the most part), I agree. I definitely agree if I let my closet Buddhist alter-ego speak. :-) I can change myself but not others. But does that mean I have to accept every kind of behavior from someone else?
  • Case in point is a family member of mine. I'll call him Fred. Our relationship (we've known each other since we were babies) has always been up and down. Even the fun moments were tinted with a kind of uneasiness, because the mood could change in a snap. I essentially moved to another state at 17 to go to college, and since that time we haven't had constant contact. We do have sporadic e-mail contact, though, because we're both involved in keeping an eye on a third family member. My experience with Fred is that he has a very short fuse. He takes offense easily. His response is to lash out verbally. (And I'm definitely doing the understatement thing here.) His words are chosen to be sarcastic and hurtful. I've even had him on an e-mail filter so I wouldn't be confronted with his negativity.
    (I should add that my relationship with his wife is fine.)
  • A few years ago I tried the "modern" approach. I did not attack him for "being" a certain way; I told him how his abuse made me feel. His response was that he didn't give a s**t how I felt. About a year after that there was an almost identical situation. I told him again how I felt, said that I understood that he was having a rough time (he was, at that point), but that I would appreciate it if he would answer mails in a way that wouldn't discourage "people" (me) from having a conversation with him. Again, he didn't give a s**t.
  • I can think of a lot of reasons he might be this way. He might be jealous of me. He might have a lot on his plate (he does). He might be afraid he's not going to measure up and is putting on his he-man suit. I have sympathy for all these things, if only because I've felt them myself. 
  • But in this situation it just doesn't do enough for me to realize the problem is his, even if I'm convinced of it (which I am). I do have to deal with him, and I hate the way he treats me. How to deal with that gap? I'm following the comments on Bregman's article, but would love to hear from readers here. How do you deal with similar situations?

The scoop on varicose vein stripping (1)

  • For those of you interested in the whole experience, here's the deal. I went in early (7:30 a.m.), nil by mouth, for the op. Luckily Man could come with me, so that was great. Kind of compensated for the lack of coffee. Blood pressure was checked and I got a bed and a hospital gown. To my surprise, I was allowed to keep my cell phone, which was a lot more convenient than having nurses call people later.
    Around 9:00 the nurse got the call that she could bring me to the OR. Man was allowed to walk part of the way, then we said goodbye and I got wheeled on to the OR. Bed transfer, check of who I was and what I was there for, and got wheeled in. It just kind of flowed over me. I let it happen.
    Veins were drawn on, I got an IV and got put on the heart and blood pressure monitors. Anesthesiologist whipped in, injected some Dormicum, and I sat up to get the epidural. Actually, I think it was a spinal. It was only one injection and there wasn't a catheter. It worked quickly; I could feel my legs getting warm within 30 seconds or so. Got laid back down and they draped the scene. Legs were then numb and I couldn't move them.
    At that point it would take a little more than an hour to do both legs. (I later heard that this surgeon likes to work fast. Also, he had an assistant.) I couldn't see the area directly because of the drape (and didn't want to), but I could look into the OR lamps and vaguely (no contacts in) see what they were doing. The nurse anesthetist was great; she was fun to talk to and at one point she asked whether I wanted to see one of the blood vessels. I said OK and she came back with a clamp with a kind of worm on it with some branchlike vessels. Unfortunately, that was right when my blood pressure started to drop, so I felt like a wuss when I said, "actually I'm not feeling too well." (Turns out that this is pretty normal and is related to either the spinal or tension, or both.) She wasn't worried at all, injected something into the IV and I felt better within a couple of minutes.
    Felt a lot of movement and looked down to see my own feet on the shoulders of a couple of nurses. Really weird. They were putting on the compression bandage. More on that later....
    Got wheeled into the recovery room and was totally bored there because I was awake and not feeling ill, but they keep you there until you can start to move something below the waist. I expected the toes, but in my case it was the stomach muscles. The toes turned out to be the very last things I could move. One of the nurses put on jazz radio for me, which was pretty cool!
    After about an hour, when I could move the stomach muscles, I got picked up and wheeled back to the room. At that point I was allowed to eat and drink (woohoo!) and just had to wait until I could stand up. That took about three hours total from the time I left the OR. Spent the time texting everyone, having some lunch, and napping.
    At about 3:30 p.m. I could stand up, a bit shaky, so I was allowed to call my friend and Man to come and pick me up. (Man doesn't drive, so a friend picked him up and waited while he got me out of the room.) 
  • Recovery: well, this is what I looked like when I came home:

  • And why does it look so weird there on the thighs? Well, apparently I got the trainee bandagers there in the OR. The whole thing started to slide south as soon as I got out of the car to walk into the house. I pulled it up and around and secured it as well as I could with sport tape, but sheesh. I'm an amateur, but I'd think compression bandages are supposed to compress. Which means they should stay on. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • By the next morning it looked like this, and the whole foot part was loose. I almost tripped over it.

    So I cut the foot part off; I was allowed to remove the bandages later anyway.
  • And the further recovery. Well, the first few days you walk around like you're wearing a full diaper. And you are supposed to either walk or put your feet up (as little standing as possible). The pain is controllable with Tylenol/paracetamol. Actually, most of the pain is from the bruises, not really from incisions. (I had the two larger groin incisions, 9 little ones on the right leg, and one little one on the left one.) Now, 10 days later, I'm doing most normal things, but still putting my feet up often and not doing heavy lifting. Have an appointment with the surgeon two weeks after the operation. I notice I'm having some kind of reaction to the dissolvable stitches in the groin, but it looks like that's going OK.
  • Any questions? Feel free!
You can find the 4-week update here.

For the three people who haven't seen it yet...

  • I have fallen in love with this dog. Just look at him! It's another creation by Andrew Grantham, the talking animals guy.

A quiet weekend and app review

  •  Happy Mother's Day to everyone celebrating it! Was pleased that Mom liked the presents I sent: a necklace of beach glass, and two framed photos: one of me and Man and one of me and Border Collie. I live too far away to go and take her to lunch or dinner, as I'd really like to do.
  • I've had a more or less quiet weekend, resting up a bit for the operation day after tomorrow (varicose veins, sigh). I've never had an epidural before. And I hope the recovery time won't be too long.
  • I discovered two apps I've been enjoying using. One is "Perfect Diet Tracker". I actually haven't found anything in the program I'm disappointed with. You can select a type of diet ("diet" in the broadest sense), work with targets, enter your personal data (height, weight, activity level etc.) and, of course, all food items at each meal. As for the food items, there's apparently a large database, but the fantastic thing is that the program does an internet search if the food item you want isn't in the database. And if that doesn't work, you can enter and save the information yourself, using information on the product itself, for example. And there are automatic graphs and charts to play with. You can enter exercise, too, but I haven't worked with that yet because I want to concentrate on the food aspect. The interface is pleasing, modern, just right.
  • The other app is equally fantastic, but fantastic in its simplicity. It's called "DrinkMoreWater". It's a simple interface, just a screen with eight glasses on it and buttons below for 1 small glass, 1 large glass, and two sizes of water bottles (you can use milliliters or ounces). You click on the appropriate button when you've had a drink, and you're rewarded with a nice gurgling sound. :-) You get applause when you've reached 8 glasses (and anything above 8 glasses). A convenient detail is that the icon in the toolbar shows how many glasses you've got left to reach 8 for the day.
  • If you get motivated by charts, graphs, lists, and general geekiness you might want to give these a try!

Hello, fellow kitchen-users!

  • So suddenly last week I got a call from the contractor. "Can we start tomorrow?" Pfff. After waiting almost 4 months they have to start in the week Man and I had (with difficulty) kept free. Well, better get on with it then, we thought.
  • Now it's a couple of days later and it's almost done. Will post pics. The fabulous countertop has been installed, as well as the oven (much fancier than the old one), gas cooker and range hood. The tiles were done today. Tomorrow there'll be some caulking and taking care of other details. At some point the electrical outlets will be done and there'll be a new faucet. Still amazes me how much "damage" a small fire can do. Seem to have a good contractor, which kind of astounds me.
  • And in other news I of course thoroughly enjoyed the Wills-and-Kate-O-Rama. Am more than a little proud that the night before the wedding I had an idea of what she'd look like and it turned out to be almost exactly right. Very interesting. (I thought she looked perfect, by the way.) I wish them all kinds of luck. They'll need it. And I hope they keep finding strength in each other, as they seem to do so far.
  • Also woke up this morning with the idea that someone 'important' had died. That of course turned out to be true, if we can believe the news reports about the attack near Islamabad. Wonder whether I'm learning to listen to my intuition.