July 22 – U

363/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Wow, only 3 more gratitude posts left including this one!!  When I started this journey a year ago, I was a little nervous as to if I would have 365 people to thank.  I didn’t want it to come down to posts such as thanking my mailman for the flyers he delivers in that they were the ones that led me on to some awesome deal!! ; )  Early on in these posts, I started hearing from friends that so and so had made “the list”.  I didn’t understand what that was until I was told that it was my “gratitude list”.  That put some pressure on me to say the least as there was now a “list”.  I didn’t want it to be a list and I didn’t want it to be some type of contest.  Then I heard that some people mentioned they were in the 80s and others were in the 200s!  I do have to make it clear that I haven’t had an order as to who I thank and thus whatever number gratitude post it was has no relation to ranking.  Most posts are the night before or a couple of days before.  Yes, I saved my dad for his birthday as I did with my children for theirs, my mom was first because well she is my mom but save for them and the final two gratitude posts, no one had a day or a number.  The list by the end of Sunday is far from complete.  I could thank another 365 people who got me to where I am today and this is what today’s gratitude post is about – to all of the people I didn’t name and there are hundreds of you that have impacted me!  So many former students, co-workers past and present, family members, inlaws, bosses, professors, fellow students, random strangers, neighbours past and present, friends, backhanded gratitudees (bullies and the like), service providers, celebrities etc, etc – just so many people who have made me who I am and to all of you un-named in this past year, you are part of this gratitude journey just because you were not personally mentioned here doesn’t mean you weren’t recognized by me.  To all the new people that will come in to my life, thanking you in advance as some of you will change and influence me in new ways.  Thank you to all of you who came along with me on this 365 day journey as well.  Your encouragement and support has gotten me to this end point.

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July 19 – remedy

360/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Most of you probably don’t know that I have a medical condition (sarcoidosis) which has resulted in a compromised immune system – I get sicker faster and stay sicker longer than most people (I’ve had a cough/chest cold for 11 weeks running as of this moment!).  I am at St Paul’s Hospital two to three times a year (and have been for the last decade) undergoing heart monitoring, breathing tests, CT scans and xrays, in addition to weekly blood work, and daily/weekly ingestion of prednisone or methotrexate coupled with two inhalers.  My respirologist, who I have thanked earlier, is amazing but today’s gratitude post is for the entire provincial healthcare system.  Yes, many of us complain about our medical system but I am not one of those as I am constantly in and out of doctor’s and specialist’s offices, constantly in labs and constantly hooked up to various machines just so some sort of understanding can take place about the condition I have.  Have I gotten better – unfortunately, no – just a bit worse each year but I’m not upset or jaded and one of the those reasons is that my experiences in the medical system have been easy and the people have always been friendly.  The people who do the breathing tests know me by face and joke with me that I am an expert – hence, when I’m scheduled, I get the students working with the veteran on me (happened today).  The secretaries at the various doctor’s ensure that my four appointments at the hospital are all coordinated and are at least in a four hour time period in one day rather than all over the calendar.  Yes, I may have to wait a few extra weeks on occasion, but I can’t and won’t complain.  The techs in the blood lab – already queasy just typing it – know that I hate the sight of blood so they get it done as quick and as fast – or as fast as 8 vials of blood can be removed.  I am still healthy, I can still do all that I want to do but when I do have to spend my time related to my medical conditions in the “system”, I am glad that the system takes care of me well in all aspects!

March 11 – more than just a job

230/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Growing up Indian, we were taught not to tell anyone about what went on in our house. We were told that family matters were to remain private and that no one needs to know about what we were going through. These gratitude posts have been cathartic for me and I don’t mind sharing my truths as I feel that I am only getting stronger and none of it is shameful. Because of this “keep the truth hidden” mentality, my family did not seek out help for my dad’s schizophrenia and I didn’t know about any resources, assistance, or aid that we would have been entitled to. I also did not benefit from any support groups that would have been available to us. In the last few years of my dad’s life and only because of his other health issues (diabetes, dementia, and heart bypasses) was he identified and put into the mental health system (did they forget about his decade or so at Riverview?) – this still shocks me.  A whole world of support was opened up to my mom and dad upon learning of him being in the community and this would have made a substantial difference for all of us growing up. However, I can’t live in the past but I want to thank the two ladies/case workers who were assigned to my dad in the last couple of years of his life – they were amazing. They helped my mom in numerous ways and checked up on her and my dad often and also told us about other resources that we were entitled to (for years had we known). In the last few months of my dad’s life, they gave my mom the additional support she needed outside of family to be able to cope with the inevitable loss that was about to take place given his deteriorating state. These ladies also explained a lot to myself and my sisters about the mental health programs – they were surprised that my mom had taken care of my dad that long in life without any type of provincial assistance. Although we only met them for a short time, their kindness and support was greatly appreciated by our entire family in my dad’s last years. Thank you for all your help.

January 31 – she exemplifies “nice”

191/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I often wonder how I have become friends with people who are a decade or even two decades my junior. I guess it’s personalities that attract friends but I always thought age would be a barrier as I couldn’t see myself in my 30s being friends with someone who was 50. However, this says a lot about the people who I associate with in that they don’t let age define friendship. One of these people is Jennie J. I met her at the gym a couple of years ago during the 4pm classes I regularly attended and we hit it off right away and became part of a group we called the 4pm crew – we consider ourselves as part of the founding members 😉 Jennie is probably a good 15 or more years my junior – in fact I could have taught her in high school but that age difference has not gotten in the way of our friendship. We easily laugh at the same things at the gym – usually me wanting to cheat on a couple of sets. We have become social friends and have hung out with our gym crew several times. We have easy chemistry even if one or the other hasn’t been at the gym for ages, we easily pick up from where we left off. She has been very supportive of me and given me good advice on personal matters and health matters (it’s nice to have a nurse as a friend!!) plus anytime I’m down on Main Street at the brew pubs with buddies which happens to be Jennie’s hood, I always give her a shout and she will make an effort to come out and say hi. One of the nicest people you could ever get to know, I’m so happy for her and her recent engagement. Thanks Jennie for being a good friend and being there physically and in spirit whenever I need you! You are an awesome person!

November 29 (late) – nurse me to health

128/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. So I get this big story on Vancity Buzz about my Gratitude Blog and then I go MIA. Before I explain, let me say that I am going to live up to 365 posts but I will be catching up in the next few days and writing two a day because of the delay and what was the delay? I was hospitalized with 4 broken ribs and a punctured and subsequent collapsed lung. I am back home after 4 days and on the mend. In addition to missing family, teaching and living life, I did long to get back to writing after almost a week away but I’m back. Although not someone who had an impact on me until this past week, I must absolutely thank the wonderful nurses at Richmond General Hospital. I had almost a dozen different nurses take care of me over my four days in the hospital and with perhaps the exception of one, each and every one of them went out of their way to ensure that I was comfortable even though 2 of my 4 days was waiting around in Emergency until they found me a bed. Complications arose and I slipped in and out of a medically induced haze but the nurses reassured me that I would be better bringing me liquids and medication like clockwork (okay, I guess it is clockwork since they have a chart for me but I rarely had to ask).   I was in awe at how hard they worked and were running around from patient to patient and not just going through the routine but had general empathy and cared for the well being of their patients. Yes, there are hundreds and hundreds of people behind the scenes in making a hospital run and yes, it is a job but those nurses on the front line made me feel that I mattered even if it was a simple smile or going out of their way and getting me something to eat when I got lost in the shuffle, it made the physically and mentally painful stay just that much less so. Thank you nurses of BC, I refuse my next blood test in your honour 😉