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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Thoughtful Gifts for Someone You Know with Chronic Illness

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of voraorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of voraorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

resisted the recent spate of “Christmas in July” store and on-line promotions, but there is no doubt that time is flying by and it will soon be holiday season. We each probably have more than one person on our holiday list who is difficult to shop for. The person who has everything. The person who says, “I don’t need anything.”

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The person with a chronic illness.

Ah, he or she can be extremely difficult, not because of pickiness or requests that go far beyond our budget or other resources. No, the difficulty tends to be more sensitive than that and goes beyond the typical, “You should get someone a gift that you yourself would want to have.”

A person with a chronic illness might have limitations on his or her diet, lifestyle, mobility, or other aspect and we might hesitate to give “regular” gifts because we simply don’t know what he or she can truly enjoy and/or use.

Some gifts might strike emotional chords that cause dissonance rather than celestial music. A nicely framed picture of a pleasant shared outing in the past might stir up memories that are difficult to reconcile with the way a chronic illness patient’s life has “turned out” because of health challenges.

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Little doodads and knick-knacks are well-meaning, but might only clutter limited space and serve no real purpose and/or convey no real sense of understanding current needs and feelings.

So, how do you know what to give?

Here are some ideas:

Offer your time. Especially if someone is mobility impaired or has difficulty hearing or seeing, an offer of time and assistance can be very welcome! Think of couching your gift of time in a pretty card or fashion your own “gift certificate” to be “redeemed” when the person especially  needs your help.

Make a donation. Give a charitable contribution to the particular organization that is championing your ill loved one’s health cause. Ask the patient what group or organization will make the most of your contribution.

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Appeal to the funny bone. When we truly know someone, we get to know the sense of humor that he or she thrives on – and derives much support and light when times are tough. Appeal to your loved one’s funny bone – and give the gift of blessed laughter.

Ask. People with special health needs know what they need and your loved one probably has a “wish list” of things that would make his or her life easier, or at least a bit more comfortable. Don’t hesitate to ask what would be an appropriate gift, and stick to that list as you go shopping.

Above all, give your love. Listen to your friend or family member who struggles with health. Be willing to be the shoulder for crying on – and the partner in praise!

Happy holidays!

Maureen

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World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pope Francis has announced today, September 1, as the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation,” and by doing so has highlighted one of the most important issues of our time and for time to come. Truly, the more seriously we take our stewardship of this world and the people and all other beings that dwell upon it, the better our present and future will be – and the more reflective of God’s love.

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There are many ways to pray. Set prayers, of course, that have already been written, and prayers stemming from the words in our hearts and on our lips. But even more crucial are the prayers we “utter” through our actions. That is the focus I will strive to have today, and I encourage others to do so, too. Each step we take to “care for creation,” each action that respects life, cherishes God’s world, and forwards goodness and tender reverence for His creation is a mighty powerful prayer!

Peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: Stranger Intrusion – the Good and the Bad

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicDuring these very hot days of August, I decided to try something different to keep myself sun-protected, but a bit cooler than when I wear wigs under my broad-brimmed hats. I purchased a long and sheer scarf, folded it into a triangle, tied the two ends together above the middle point, and fashioned a side-knot that, when combined with the hat, looked surprisingly stylish (if I do say so).  The other surprising thing about my new “look” was the immediate reaction of others. People I did not know made a point of telling me they liked the scarf/hat combo, and a couple of women confided that they, too, were swelting from wearing wigs and would give my fashion statement a try! Anyone who is chronically ill and has experienced appearance changes will appreciate how encouraging such statements were – and how welcomed! My thanks to all who chimed in; I appreciate the feedback.

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There is another kind of feedback, however, that I also experienced recently that was off-putting. Decked out in my sun-protective armor, I was coming out of a store and approaching my car when a strange man followed me and came up to my car with me.

“I see you’re protecting yourself from the sun,” he said.

“Yes,” I replied.”

“Well, do you make sure to get your vitamin D levels checked?”

Oh, dear.

Compliments are one thing, but discussing my lab tests with a total stranger on the street is quite another! And, I said so, in what was, I hope, a kindly way.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t talk about my health issues with strangers.”

He didn’t seem offended.

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“Well, I just had to bring it up…”

Really?

Yes, there’s good and bad when strangers feel inclined to opine. On the one hand, it does truly help to get those unexpected remarks from strangers, especially if we’re trying out a new “look.”

But on the other hand, standing in the street to talk about our lab tests, or being told we should be doing something different (which has also happened to me more than once) is truly inappropriate.  And please, to those who do this, don’t take offense if we who are in the proverbial trenches decline to engage in the conversation!

Peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness and Pain: Sisters, Please Read This!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author Picf you have just been diagnosed with a serious chronic illness, or if you have been living with one for a long time, I just want to take time out to just say something, sister-to-sister:  Please do not be angry with yourself if you find that you simply cannot do it all, like you think you used to be able to do! Instead, take good care – of yourself and your loved ones. Be kind to yourself, and let your Spirit catch those tears and transform them into comfort and calm as you rest more each day in God’s love and support.

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Why do I write this?

Because I often heard, before and after lupus, that “women should be able to do it all,” or “as a woman, there’s no reason why you can’t have it all.” Usually, the “all” referred to having a career, satisfying relationships, children, a home, and probably even a small business venture on the side. But in life, rarely is it possible to “have it all” or “do it all” to the satisfaction of everyone and each endeavor. And, when you have a chronic illness, well, all “alls” are often even farther out of reach.

Having an illness brings more stress to a life that’s probably already laden with it. And having an illness brings to our bodies and hearts a vulnerability that is extermely sensitive to the onslaught of doctors, meds, tests, flares, and changes in appearance and abilities. Instead of striving (and straining) for “doing/having it all,” we often have trouble just getting the basics done without feeling fatigued or, at the extreme end of it, wiped out. I have witnessed many woman become even more ill when they try to merely add a chronic illness on top of the myriad other responsibilities that they already have. And I’ve witnessed this, and the frustration and disappointment, in my own life, too.

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Yes, we fight against the illnesses that constrain us. Yes, we have deep dreams and things we would like to accomplish. But within these emotions, goals, dreams and realities, we have precious lives, we love precious people, and we serve a wonderful God!

Sister, we do not have to “do it all,” as our society would so frequently encourage or dictate. But that which we do, with our God-given treasure of talents, energy,  and love, that, yes, that, will be enough.

Joy and peace,

Maureen

 

 

Previous Posts

Thoughtful Gifts for Someone You Know with Chronic Illness
resisted the recent spate of "Christmas in July" store and on-line promotions, but there is no doubt that time is flying by ...

posted 1:19:09am Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
Pope Francis has announced today, September 1, as the "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation," and by doing so ...

posted 1:10:39am Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Stranger Intrusion - the Good and the Bad
During these very hot days of August, I decided to try something different to keep myself sun-protected, but a bit cooler than when I wear wigs under my broad-brimmed hats. I purchased a long and sheer scarf, folded it into a triangle, tied the ...

posted 8:38:11pm Aug. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness and Pain: Sisters, Please Read This!
f you have just been diagnosed with a serious chronic illness, or if you have been living with one for a long time, I just want to take time out to just say something, sister-to-sister:  Please do not be angry with yourself if you find that you ...

posted 8:32:25pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Do You Wonder? And, Why It Matters
The clouds in the sky. A flash of lightning. A baby's giggle. A "common" cold. When you see or hear these things, do you disect them scientifically? Or, do you wonder? What are the things in your life that you try to analyze? What are ...

posted 7:23:11pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

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