C’est La Vie… Such is Life

By Naazish YarKhan

I’d almost given up on being able to get my act together. Each day more or less resembled the other and procrastination had usurped the place of my shadow and followed me everywhere I went. My deadlines for this column came and were missed. Other target dates too arrived and were left to slip by. I saw, first hand, the truth to the saying, ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person.’ Ask someone with too much time on their hands, as I am these days, and apparently procrastination takes care of it. I don’t know what I do online, but I can spend hours on the net, reading into the late hours of the night. My husband, usually, will ask what task I’m avoiding when he sees me like this. How can I tell him I’m neglecting that scholarship for school I meant to apply for, that job I had my eye on, or even the vacuuming? Someone once called it ‘moving furniture’ when your activities don’t build towards a goal and make you feel like you’re simply drifting. My friends put it down to this lousy weather. Is it? I don’t quite know. The rare spot of activity is when I volunteer at Yousuf’s school. I don’t really care to except that Yousuf loves to have me there and it’s a blessing to be able to. As one little boy asked, ‘Why doesn’t my mom help in school? I always ask her but she doesn’t.”

Then my sister called saying she still needed some paperwork from me to submit to the American embassy. She had her interview for her tourist visa in two days. Well that compelled me to get on the ball and I swung into action with all the force of a Jane alongside Tarzan. A flurry of activity filled my day as I compiled and then faxed whatever missing information was needed. That push was all it took because while Naazneen, sadly, did not get her visa approved, I did get my groove back. Talk about spillover and ripple effects. Today, with just a little planning, I was able to bake and drop off a cake for a fund-raiser, attend a meeting, cook for us and my in-laws, make fresh carrot juice in a real juicer (5 minutes) and clean up (25 minutes!), and drop and pick Yousuf from school. I felt so good about these little accomplishments
(vs. dropping Yousuf at school and coming home and getting nothing done) that I even rewarded myself with a visit to my friend and neighbor Ruth’s house for a chat. Usually, if I haven’t been productive, doing anything fun seems less deserved, and therefore less enjoyable. This visit, I’d earned.

Ruth and I were catching up after ages. Winter does that to you. The freezing cold dissuades you from even venturing across the street and our hello’s are contained to when we spot each other pulling into our respective garages, or taking out the garbage. I knew that Ruth’s mother, Mrs. Barnes, had been hospitalized – for years she was taking larger doses of her prescription medication than her doctor had recommended for her Asthma. All those steroids in her system ended up giving her a heart problem and that was why she was hospitalized. Once there, reducing the medication, apparently all too abruptly, left her mother psychotic and hallucinating. After her almost three week stay, Mrs. Barnes has now been discharged from the hospital, the situation fairly under control.

The mental breach was supposed to have healed in five days, but Ruth suspects it may continue for months since there is a pre-disposition to mental ill-health in their family history. Her mother’s personality seemingly altered, “I don’t know who I was talking to,” said Ruth of her most recent, acerbic conversation with her mother. She’s not quite sure if the accusations Mrs. Barnes made comprised an episode of mental ill-health or if it was just her mother being angry and resentful due to the turn in events.

Ruth isn’t in tears but she is visibly distraught. Her sisters and she live in three separate states, and their parents in a fourth state. They aren’t quite prepared to handle this. But then again, how often does bad news come with advance notice? But Ruth agonizes that this was a train wreck she had seen coming for years. She related how often she and her siblings had advised their mother not to over-do the medicines, to stick to the prescribed dosage and how Mrs. Barnes dismissed them as ‘over-reacting’. Ruth’s words leave me thinking. How often have I myself brushed aside my husband’s advice that I exercise? How often has he asked me to have a check up because I run out of breath climbing ten steps or laughing too hard? I think what we don’t realize is this: Maintaining our health is the best gift we can give our loved ones. In this day and age, when we grow ill, we don’t usually die. We become a burden.

But it’s not like I’ve thrown caution to the winds. I bought the juicer specifically because the nutrients in juice are absorbed quicker by our bodies and is good for health. I even use the pulp that’s left behind as fiber and add it to my cooking. Celery, fennel (anise) and cucumbers are good choices to begin juicing since they’re easier to digest. Cabbage juice has one of the most healing nutrients for ulcer repair as it is a huge source of vitamin U.
(I didn’t know there was a vitamin U!) Dark green vegetables, such as spinach, are very nutrient rich. Other veggies worth juicing are asparagus, string beans and cauliflower (including the base), though I haven’t tried any of them. Key is to listen to your body. Make sure it’s not growling and grumbling after you’ve done drinking the juice. I bought a big bag of carrots but learned that carrot juice is full of sugar and adds to insulin levels, as do other fruits, so is better in small dozes, if at all. http://www.mercola.com/nutritionplan/juicing.htm has details.

Two nights ago, I also spent a good deal of time online researching the benefits of raw honey. It’s a panacea for almost every ill from asthma to aiding weight loss. It’s not pasteurized and so retains more of the nutrients than the honey that is processed and sold in bulk. I then called a place or two to find out if they sold raw honey and am going to pick some up. So how does one make sure one’s day is action packed and productive when there isn’t much going on? Does ‘research stuff online’ cut it?

“Why did you cut his hair?” I suddenly hear my husband yelling in the background. Er…he’s not quite thrilled with the trim I gave Yousuf. Well, that’s what you get when mama has time aplenty, (and no coupon in hand, that’ll gives two dollars off at the barber’s.) C’est la vie mon ami.