Wednesday, August 6, 2008


When I came unstuffed it was gradual. I mentioned the dehydration incidents. The first was at The Greenbrier. I took a 5-day cooking program with Anne Willan and others, including Patrick O'Connell of The Inn at Little Washington. It was fantastic. We had full resort privileges, all inclusive. The dining room was fantastic--three times a day. And, there were cooking demos all morning with sampling and wine tasting, pastry making, etc. in the afternoon. There were some special dinners--one where Patrick cooked the meal for all of us that he had demonstrated in the a.m.

It was divine. My cousin, another student, and I power walked every afternoon to try to offset all that we were consuming--an impossibility. [The other student had not come with exercise clothes and the surrounding towns didn't have much, so she walked in her Chanel designer duds. :) You can't keep a good woman down!]

When it was time for my full spa treatment, I came directly in from a mid-day power walk. It was a very warm and sunny day and there was no extra time to get a cool beverage. I did fine until they tried to move me from the hot tub to the showers... I passed out. An abbreviated treatment followed by an afternoon of rest. I did not understand dehydration and how it affects your electrolytes.

The week after coming home I had my first full-blown bout with food poisoning. It was college graduation week for our son and we had events planned and guests coming Thursday - Sunday. On Wednesday I made fresh asparagus risotto with dried mushrooms for dinner. What is it about going forward with food and plans even when things smell bad? Those mushrooms had a strange metallic smell, but I went ahead, tasting one to make sure it was O.K... It tasted bad! But still, I pushed on... There was a plan, after all. By dinner-time I was feeling a bit protective of my husband and daughter and suggested they eat around the mushrooms.

5 hours later I was retching, gagging, puking, up-chucking. I wanted to die. I ached everywhere and fainting was definitely an option--preferably a coma. I was sick all weekend. We did modify the food plans--eating out instead of one sick mama cooking. I didn't eat at all for days. I made it through the weekend, but as I walked alone across the beautiful Midwestern campus of the alma mater of my son, husband, and later my daughter I knew that I had baggage to unpack.

The next week was a huge one for my company--the annual meeting. I was cranky, confused, and just plain mean. Shocking people--this was before my "people pleasing"revelation. O.K., some of the crankiness was warranted, like the event planner trying to get me to wear three name tags at once as I was filling three roles. Come on. I'm not an idiot!

It was time to call the doctor. They explained that I needed lots of Gatorade, not just a few swigs, and rest and more rest.

I began to catalog my emotional state: very stressed; near burnout. Overly critical; overly analytical. Intolerant; impatient; perfectionistic. Somewhat obsessive, and the inevitable need to please.

Physically I was peri-menopause and experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms I refuse to delineate here! Intellectually I had difficulty concentrating; my short-term memory was shot-to-hell. I was easily overwhelmed and had feelings of ineffectiveness.

Yet, I was at a great place in life. My marriage and children were exceptional; I had a supportive husband and family. I had a great job. I was walking 2 to 4 miles per day. My nutrition was very good. My faith in a God who saves and delivers was strong and growing. I was walking daily with Him and seeking to know Him more.
I told a friend, who is a "fixer", that I would like to see a Christian middle-aged married-with-children woman psychologist. Within a few days I had a business card and was on my way to recovery.

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