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Acing The Learning Curve And Collecting Smiles

by Vidya Sury June 9, 2013 29 comments
Learning Curve Rains

Dealing with life’s learning curve, I simply haven’t had the time to actually write a post, although there’s a lot going on in my life and … head. I haven’t been online as much as I’d like. The last month brought a completely unexpected and new situation that involved a lot of re-organizing, learning and adjusting. I am so grateful I was able to ride that learning curve comfortably. And yes. Everyone smiled.

Cruising Along the Learning Curve

I became caregiver to my 80-year old father in law who was brought home directly to Bangalore from Chennai, following an emergency hospitalization. He collapsed after dental surgery removing all his teeth and that upset his system. Without going into the details, here’s what was involved:

  • He is diabetic, so two blood tests a day
  • An insulin shot once a day
  • Mashed food every couple of hours to maintain the sugar levels
  • Constant attention as he was very weak.

Being under pressure is nothing new – life has trained me well. A long history of caregiving also helped. But the thing that made me nervous this time was the blood tests and the insulin. Obviously we couldn’t get the diagnostic lab to send someone every day and do it – too expensive. Then I spoke to my local pharmacy and he suggested Accu Chek. Now if you are familiar with this, you’ll probably think, “ha!” and I’d be right there, laughing with you. However, three weeks ago, I was far from that stage. The thought of doing it every day freaked me out. Then there was the insulin pen. Apparently simple, when you know how. I didn’t know how. Added to this was the challenge of juggling work and all the other routine things that fill my life.

Learning Curve Strong

A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water

I am no exception, I am happy to say. Problems are opportunities to learn. And learn I did. Let me share my experiences of how I tackled the learning curve with you.

How I tackled this unexpected learning curve

  • As a first step I polished my already rather shiny sense of humor
  • A smile became my favorite accessory after I read somewhere that “a smile is the most beautiful curve on a woman’s body”
  • I literally transformed into a professional nurse overnight. I owe my training to Dr.Google.
  • I sat down with a writing pad and my favorite pen, with the intention of listing ways to make my life simple. What was my biggest challenge? Food. Coming up with different menus several times a day begged for planning.
  • I made meal plans. For the week. Then for the day. This helped me shop groceries.
  • As luck would have it, I came across a store that takes orders online and delivers the same day or the next. What is more, I found the veg was cheaper and fresher. Who knew?
  • I already have a decent relationship with my local pharmacies and other stores – so I had myself covered. Somewhat.
  • I prepped stuff the previous day. I swear prepping greens was the weirdest thing.
  • I researched online for the diabetic’s diet and talked to others for practical tips. I found that good food choices are sprouts and greens. Salads make great snacks. Carbs, which means rice, white bread, bakery/fried/oily stuff must be minimum, if not zero. Apples, pears, grapes and oranges are good. No sweets. So I planned and stacked my pressure cooker to ensure I had the dish almost ready with very little to do in terms of cooking after that.
  • I did not cook separately for him. I simply adopted the same low carb, high fiber, salad rich menu for the whole family. We love salads and fruits any way.
  • I ensured the whole family ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Only, FIL’s food was mashed.
  • I delegated duties to Sury and Vidur and they came up like champs as usual. Mostly Vidur, bless his heart, because Sury has been out of town a lot.
  • We watched movies and comedy shows together. Thought I might as well get those endorphins kicking in to speed up my FIL’s recovery.
  • We joked a lot about the blood tests, which would otherwise be painful – what with two-three tries, as it was tough to get it to flow.

“Life is like photography. We develop from the negatives”

Life's Learning Curve

Celebrating the learning curve

Truly, problems are opportunities to learn. And rejoice. So many silver linings. Yup! I looked for them!
During this time, as you know, Vidur’s 10th grade results were announced and we had a full house to celebrate.

  • I had a day’s break that let me attend the Indiblogger meet last Sunday – which I thoroughly enjoyed.
    Spent some wonderful moments with Vidur, marveling at how he’s growing up, how much he knows, and enjoying his company. He gives such good advice sometimes and can be such a calming influence.
  • I woke up an hour early every day just to talk to my best friend, sharing soul giggles and keep myself sane. Laughter is a great way to begin the day. Especially when followed by bloodshed….um…I meant blood tests.
  • In an insane moment, I went and signed up for the June #FMSPhotoADay challenge – where we post a photo in response to a prompt every day in June. I am participating via my other blog Coffee With Mi. I figured it needed some love. I can’t always write in my head and hope others can read it, right? That technology is still in its nascent stage. Although, I strongly believe that best friends come very close. They intuitively know what I am thinking.
  • I played song tag with my friend. I would write a line…and he would answer with the next line.
    I wouldn’t have managed without Vanita – The Strategic Mama (what an apt name!) who was there for me to chat with when I got online, making me laugh and giving me fun advice.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain.

Learning Curve Rains

We did. We more than danced. It rained cats and dogs and the entire zoo – and we got drenched to our…..skin. And then Vidur got the ‘flu.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”
Abraham Lincoln


So maybe worrying is like a rocking chair… but once in a while, worrying in a cozy rocking chair is very soothing especially with a cup of flavored tea and a couple of friends for company.

This too shall pass, eh? Yes!

Here’s a series of photos I clicked on the way back from Vidur’s school:

So adorable. These puppies tried their bestest to get out of the enclosure. Managed to get them back in and into safety.

 Learning Curve Ahead

Learning Curve Two

Learning Curve Out

Learning Curve Dogs

Now let’s visit Unknown Mami, who hosts this wonderful meme

Unknown Mami

Dear Friends,

What learning curve have you experienced recently that made a big difference in your life?

Learning Curve Rain


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Sulekha (@sulekkha) June 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Your post is so beautiful and positive.I admire your courage and generous nature, hats off to you.

Vidya Sury June 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Thanks Sulekha! It has been a solid learning experience. After I consciously allowed the initial tension to evaporate, things didn’t look so bad. Just takes a small shift in perspective. 🙂

Smitha June 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Such a positive post! You are such an exemplary person! So many people would have only found reasons to be unhappy at having to add to their work, while you handled it so well, and not just that learnt and taught us a lesson too!
Smitha recently posted…The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Betsy/Zen Mama June 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm

What a great attitude you have! Will you Father in law be with you permanently now? I love the quotes and the posters you made. You’re an amazing person!!
Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…That Other Four Letter Word

Leovi June 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm Reply
preetilata June 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm

I will repeat for may be nth time now that there is so much to learn from you and so lively your whole blog is.

The post had me in tears. Happy tears.

Vi, can i hug you?
preetilata recently posted…आख़िर क्यों लिखती हूँ

preetilata June 9, 2013 at 11:08 pm

And all my prayers and best wishes for your Father-in-law. May he gets well soon.
preetilata recently posted…आख़िर क्यों लिखती हूँ

Laurie June 10, 2013 at 12:56 am

That’s it, Vidya… you’ve GOT this!! Eating well, doing what you can and taking things in stride…. sometimes “you gotta do what you gotta do” and you are doing it well.
I love all of your quotes. You have a great way of looking at it all. Keep it up, we’ll be here to help!! Laurie
Laurie recently posted…Explaining it from “The Ground Up” with Earthing: Part 2

Emily June 10, 2013 at 1:29 am

Thank you for your inspirational post! I love the teabag quote, I couldn’t agree more!
Emily recently posted…Sundays In My City: Little Italy

Mary Stephenson June 10, 2013 at 2:05 am

Hi Vidya

Oh my, you have been very busy. How nice that you are such a wonderful caregiver. Have never lived around our aging parents so was never in a position to be caregivers. They are all gone now, but were very lucky to have family around them when it was needed.

Life can definitely tax demands on your time and sometimes it would just be nice to escape, but it seems like you have found many ways to find balance. Yes, Google is a wonderful source of information when no one else seems to have answers for us.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Mary Stephenson recently posted…Timing Is Everything

Star Traci June 10, 2013 at 4:44 am

Lovely post! I, too, have been making changes at home that have affected my online time but have improved my home life.
I love the tea bag quote. It is one that I live by. How fortunate your FIL is to have you to care for him in such a tough time. I will pray for his health and your strength. You have such a beautiful heart and I wish you well with all you do.
Have a great week!
Star Traci recently posted…Sundays in My City #64 — School’s Out for Summer!

Julie Barrett June 10, 2013 at 5:27 am

Vidya!! Sending you lots of love 🙂 We have had one heck of a run here, too – it all began in May. How you stay so cheerful is beyond me but I am admiring you from all the way over here – you are a wonder (wonder woman??)!
Julie Barrett recently posted…What Kind Of Spirit Guides Do You Have? Joy Guides, Runners and Finder Guides

Keetha June 10, 2013 at 5:30 am

The thene here of trials msking us stronger and better is so true. I wii, however confess that I NEVER volunteer for the trials.
Keetha recently posted…Sleeper in My City

Sebastian Aiden Daniels June 10, 2013 at 5:48 am

I am glad that you are maintaining your positivity through this trying ordeal. Many people would complain and complain, but not you : D. Comedy shows are a great way to keep things light and pump those endorphins.

I send positive thoughts your way and your father in law’s way Vidya.

richmiraclefiles June 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Hi Vidya
Thats a really great post.
most of all i like the firebrand image i gather of you, generated through your sheer hard work.
Thanks for the inspiration of”why me ,try me”
richmiraclefiles recently posted…Humour and Laughter Have Life Transforming Potency

Kaarina Dillabough June 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm

You amaze me my friend: always finding that silver lining and dancing in the rain. Which, by the way, is coming down in buckets here today. But it makes the trees and grass a vibrant green, and fills the air with a scent that can only be described as fresh and invigorating. Wishing you well, each and every day. Hugs and love, Kaarina
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted…Broken pieces

Pixie June 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Such a positive and beautiful post!!
I hope your FIL is feeling better now.

My learning curve has lasted a year! And I learnt patience during this time… 🙂
Pixie recently posted…100 Words on Saturday – Beautiful Eyes

Nathalie June 10, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Wow Vidya… what a tough month for you. May has been rough here, too, with the loss of my father. You’ve given me inspiration to keep smiling and keep going, so thank you for that. Big hugs to you and I know your father in law will continue to improve with your wonderful care!
Nathalie recently posted…Aligning with Your Desires: It’s Not About the Money

Elle June 10, 2013 at 9:54 pm

What grace and compassion under fire Vidya. I think you’ve become my new hero…here you are still smiling through what for most of us would have been a really, really trying time.

Your family are so blessed by you and heartfelt thoughts of healing and wellness are winging their way to you father in law.

Elle recently posted…5 Awesome Quotes That Work In Everyday Life

Roshni June 11, 2013 at 1:17 am

I appreciate how tough and daunting the situation must have initially looked to you, dear Vidya, but you have come through with flying colours!! kudos to you!
Roshni recently posted…Tales of my father

sune June 11, 2013 at 7:45 am

Dear Vidya,

I am speechless for your inner beauty and deep love pouring from the Heart..You are a wonder..showing that inner strength and clarity and love in such a beautiful way..Thank you..!

Victor Schueller June 11, 2013 at 8:15 am

Thanks for sharing your story Vidya. Through it all, it sounds like you aced your learning curve for sure! You sure learned a lot about not only the things you had to deal with, but about life too! I love the quotes throughout as well! 🙂 Nicely done!
Victor Schueller recently posted…Loving, Bonding, and Healing with Tami | VictorSchueller.com

Koyel June 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

so lovely! its raining cats and dogs in Mumbai and i was feeling so low. didt want to work at all but your post just lifted me from the blues. there’s plenty of things to learn from it. thanks for such a post. 🙂 keep writing and smiling.

Michelle Wallace June 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

You have a wonderful energy. It shines through in your words!
Dr. Google is indispensable… 🙂 and I love the tea bag quote… priceless!
I’m sending you hugs all the way across the blogosphere————-
Michelle Wallace recently posted…Celebrate: Flash Mob 2013

Wendy Merron June 12, 2013 at 7:49 am

Vidya, I love reading about your experiences. Your optimism and ability to calmly handle such a difficult situation is inspiring.

Your father in law is lucky to have you in his life.

You are truly a lovely being.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Ruchira June 12, 2013 at 11:25 am

Care giving is never easy and most of the times the care givers turn more irritable than their patients ! I admire your patience and your strength ! Only when we are faced with difficult situations do we get to know our true strength !

B k chowla June 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

You seem to be a very determined person.Good
B k chowla recently posted…RAMAYANA

Unknown Mami July 22, 2013 at 7:38 am

I really needed to read this today. You’ve done so well. I want that necklace with the quote about women being like tea.
Unknown Mami recently posted…Purple Boots (Sundays In My City)

Vidya Sury July 22, 2013 at 8:29 am

Claudya, you’ve no idea how much you inspire me.

I would love to make that necklace for you. The only issue is sending it. 🙁

But I’ve made a note. I’ll find a way.

Hugs, Vidya
Vidya Sury recently posted…Raining Haiku


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