"Quality of life"......a gift that just keeps on giving.

The 2020 Holidays are over. What was your favorite gift? Was one of your gifts what I call a “quality of life” gift? Was it a new special pillow that made you sleep better? Perhaps you were given something that made your life a little easier like new shoes with a softer sole. Or maybe your family gave you a Mayo gift like the Pain course or a Habit workshop?

It’s never too late to think of and thank yourself for your endurance, generosity, and kindness to yourself. And these may be things that you have never mentioned because you didn’t want to be a burden or a nuisance or appear to be selfish.

I went crazy this year and got three of my quality of life gifts. I’ll share them with you and hope you realize how very important they were and are to me.

1. My MFR therapist began to feel that one session a week was not sufficient. So, we set up a six week trial of 2 sessions per week. The difference in tolerance was amazing. I didn’t have to endure increasing discomfort for 7 days….just 3. And so….gift #1. When I let my family know they found a way to help with the additional cost called a “stocking stuffer”.

2. For over a year I have been noticing more and more pain in my hip. Several years ago, I had an injection which was done poorly and so I wasn’t too excited about trying again. This time I had a chat with myself. “Why, Chris, are you going through increasing pain when there is a solution?” So I gathered my strong determination, had the injection, and am just jumping for joy. And my insurance covered it. Great…..another quality of life gift received and appreciated.

3. My 2021 quality of life gift brigade begins tomorrow when I have my preliminary appointment to fix my arthritic thumb. I can no longer open a jar or turn a key in the door lock. Seven years ago I had anchovy surgery on the left thumb. It is perfect. Now, why have I let the other one reach such a painful stage? I really don’t like surgery but this one is relatively doable and I won’t need too much help at home.

So Happy Holidays to me.
And thank you friends and family who shouted encouragement and helped support my wishes for a few things that just needed to get done.

What items would qualify for your quality of life? Let’s all share and help each other develop our 2021 list of can dos and must-dos.

Be happy and content in 2021.
Chris

@tim1028

I plan to continue to work on diet and fitness and joined an online fitness program. Results in 2020 were nothing short of impressive. In 2021, I hope to continue with the progress I've made. Healthy eating by following a heart friendly diet has been on my plate since 2020 as well.

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@tim1028, Great job in 2020 …. as you say "nothing short of impressive." Remember Tim, this is a request for you to gift yourself with a quality of life reward for your efforts. Congratulations and stay in touch with us….we want to cheer you along.

Thanks for sharing and connecting with all of us on this amazing and unique journey…….

May you be safe and protected,
Chris

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@lacy2

..just noticed the weighted cover – i tried one out my daughter bought several years ago and really liked it – but in those days, and I know its a no no, but my dog used to sleep on end of bed and I didnt want her on it etc… (76 lbs) anyway ended up buying an electric-heated mattress cover which has worked out very well except when I turn it up a bit too high, fall asleep and wake up roasting! Like you, I like to feel warm , but breath in cooler air… glad you liked the quilt you bought… great self-gift. I have a lazyboy recliner in living room with electric controls but hasnt worked properly for months …thing is it works fine when repairman here, and soon as he leaves, or days later, I am semi reclining and it wont work and I have to crawl out of it. Repairman doesn't know why… husband home and just shakes the chair and it works, but when alone I don't want to get stuck and it was expensive! Ugh… We no longer do gifts as children are adults and no grandchildren; also my nephew in UK passed away Christmas Day 2013, Mum Jan.17 2014, and well it's just not the same. Love that your cats have a nice view of the outside, sounds like you live in a very serine home…. have a good sleep!! J,S.

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I agree that heat works well at night, @lacy2. I have a rather large heating pad that shuts off automatically when it gets too hot. That also helps with sleep.

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@hopeful33250

I agree that heat works well at night, @lacy2. I have a rather large heating pad that shuts off automatically when it gets too hot. That also helps with sleep.

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Teresa, I tried the heating pad, got a large one for bed and/or recliner. It's helpful for a short time, gets too hot too soon and I'm roasting! Also, only can use that kind of thing in cold weather! I don't do well with heat or hot weather….then why do I live in Florida????Don't do well in cold weather, either. Both are painful for me, so Northern Florida is pretty good, I guess. I stay indoors in AC most of the time.

I'm thrilled the heavy blanket/quilt is a good thing for me. I sleep much better and w/less pain.

Blessings, Elizabeth

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@lacy2

..just noticed the weighted cover – i tried one out my daughter bought several years ago and really liked it – but in those days, and I know its a no no, but my dog used to sleep on end of bed and I didnt want her on it etc… (76 lbs) anyway ended up buying an electric-heated mattress cover which has worked out very well except when I turn it up a bit too high, fall asleep and wake up roasting! Like you, I like to feel warm , but breath in cooler air… glad you liked the quilt you bought… great self-gift. I have a lazyboy recliner in living room with electric controls but hasnt worked properly for months …thing is it works fine when repairman here, and soon as he leaves, or days later, I am semi reclining and it wont work and I have to crawl out of it. Repairman doesn't know why… husband home and just shakes the chair and it works, but when alone I don't want to get stuck and it was expensive! Ugh… We no longer do gifts as children are adults and no grandchildren; also my nephew in UK passed away Christmas Day 2013, Mum Jan.17 2014, and well it's just not the same. Love that your cats have a nice view of the outside, sounds like you live in a very serine home…. have a good sleep!! J,S.

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Teresa, what's really funny is the kitty….she truly loves this new addition to the bed. She has some fun, too, so far with no damage to the cover! She seems to realize something is under the cloth, they must move around a bit or whatever. She suddenly perks up, begins chasing the 'beads' in the patches! It's play or hunting or something she's having a ball! I love it so long as no damage.

I'm still fighting this crazy infection. Feeling like mush right now. Think I'll 'crawl' to the recliner, put my poor feet up and have some hot tea. Sounds goos. Catch you later. Blessings. Elizabeth

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@ess77

Teresa, I gave myself a 'heavy, weighted' coverlet. Weird, eh? I thought so, too, but it intrigued me.

Supposedly the extra weight provided by tiny glass beads sewn into the 'quilt', in between several thin layers, helps reduce pain. So, I got one and guess what??? it does help!!! 15 pounds of firm weight. Hugs me. I feel comforted and much of the stress leaves my muscles. Interestingly, I love it!

It keeps my body extra warm, too, so I had to remove a couple of quilts. I sleep in cool room w/ceiling fan on year round. Helps me breath. So, now, I keep the fan on low or off! I stay toasty and the kitty is thrilled!!!

Never been so happy…because, I got her a couple of really nice gifts for Christmas. I ordered from Chewy.com 2 kitty towers, made with real wood, pre-assembled. Most have to be put together…HA! Very heavy, covered with thick, dark gray carpet w/scratching posts. They have 2 large beds and a house. She's in heaven. Loves her Killy Tower.

Often, when I'm in my recliner in the bedroom-I know that's a 'no,no' say the experts, but I enjoy it since I stay upstairs on days I can't handle the stairs well. She gets on the top shelf and watches the world go by out my bedroom window, looking at squirrels and birds in the live oak tree, watching the world, enjoying the sun. She's a happy cat! The other is in her kitty room with the litter. Also, looking out the window at the trees, deck and plants and feeders….And, one is downstairs in my den.

So she has lots of special high spots to watch the world and snooze..

These were our gifts this year. You know, I loved it! I don't get gifts anymore, so I treat myself. This year I actually enjoyed the process….pulled me out of a worsening slump….shopping does that. Oh, also got a new mattress, FOR ME! Ohhhhh, it's heaven. Good choice, too.

Well, off to bed. Blessings to all. Elizabeth

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@ess77 I just love your description of sitting in the recliner and the cats watching you and the birds. Sounds very soothing. I’ve tried sitting in a recliner chair but my small dog insists that he must sit there, too, and there just isn’t room! I’m sitting on the sort of comfortable sofa now with the dog squished up next to me. Luckily he’s only 15 pounds, but a very heavy 15 pounds!

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@becsbuddy

@ess77 I just love your description of sitting in the recliner and the cats watching you and the birds. Sounds very soothing. I’ve tried sitting in a recliner chair but my small dog insists that he must sit there, too, and there just isn’t room! I’m sitting on the sort of comfortable sofa now with the dog squished up next to me. Luckily he’s only 15 pounds, but a very heavy 15 pounds!

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Good afternoon I have a question. How do I get out of these forums? The reason I ask is I am getting emails all day long to much to deal with. Any help would be appreciated

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I agree you have to start undubscibing from each thread, like depression, skin, and so on.

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@ess77

Teresa, what's really funny is the kitty….she truly loves this new addition to the bed. She has some fun, too, so far with no damage to the cover! She seems to realize something is under the cloth, they must move around a bit or whatever. She suddenly perks up, begins chasing the 'beads' in the patches! It's play or hunting or something she's having a ball! I love it so long as no damage.

I'm still fighting this crazy infection. Feeling like mush right now. Think I'll 'crawl' to the recliner, put my poor feet up and have some hot tea. Sounds goos. Catch you later. Blessings. Elizabeth

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Hi there, @ess77. Elizabeth, I like the way you jump right in to a discussion as if your had been part of the discussion for months and knew everyone. Now you are tackling a crazy infection and I am nursing two very itchy arms. Let's check-in later and see if they are gone. Let me know…..as soon as the healing begins.

May you be safe and protected. Chris

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@suzanne2

For me 2021 seems to have dropped in with a bang! All in one day. I visit the cardiologist and leave with a monitor I have to wear for two weeks. I go to the Pain Clinic and find my shoulder issue needs to be addressed by an orthopedic surgeon. I leave the Clinic with nothing for my high level of pain! I go back there on Thursday for trigger point injections for Fibromyalgia and Monday I visit the surgeon. I come home with the same amount of pain I left with this morning, nothing to take for it and face another night of little sleep. Sometimes you can't seem to get ahead!

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Whew! What a long list of irritations along with some high pain levels and no respite. I am surprised that your shoulder pain hasn't been addressed. You are deserving of so much more. Did you request something so that pain will sit up and take notice. Perhaps your "quality of life" gift is yet to be unwrapped.

May you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
Chris

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What a wonderful post, @artscaping! So happy to read the three "quality of life" gifts you've given yourself and your courage in taking them on! Way to go!

What you wrote about: "It’s never too late to think of and thank yourself for your endurance, generosity, and kindness to yourself." is such a timely statement because these uncertain times have required personal changes and adjustments that really can and have challenged our coping skills. Your statement brought this home to me the other day during a conversation with my daughter.

I was telling her how stunned and happy I was in asking my doc to refill some daily meds and doc replied she'd just put me on the Covid vaccine list. Hadn't even considered asking for that! Two days later, I was given 1st Moderna!

My daughter, who is much less effusive than I, (sometimes I have to remind her to "gush more" …laughing, replied: "I am glad because you are so deserving! You've taken great precautions, remained upbeat with sense of humor in place, and encouraged our family through some scary times this past year" Pure Gold those comments!!!!!

With my little family out-of-state and 15 mos since we last visited person-to-person, Zoom visits with them made a huge quality of life improvement for me.

Another real biggie for me was setting the self-challenge for 2020 of taking 3 walks/week and specifying which days. Accomplishing this deeply bolstered my self-discipline feathers because I'd stopped regular walks after the loss of my dog and there were days when I had to push myself out the door.

By far, the single best and happiest occurrence this past year for my little family and myself was their adoption of two hypo allergenic kittens. Imagine waiting 60 yrs as my hyperallergic sil did to finally be able to have 4-legged furry babies! The photos and Zoom times of him and family with Oscar and Ivan
are beyond fetching!

My self-challenge for 2021 needed a back-up in case I couldn't do the primary one of reteaching myself to knit. With arthritis in my hand, I wasn't sure if I could manipulate the needles so thot' a "no added sugar or salt" day/week would be good. Happily after at least 25 yrs I've begun my first new knitting project. While I've restricted sugar and salt consumption for some time, I found the first day of "no added sugar" much, much harder than that of salt.

Perhaps the single most important quality of life effect of this past year was realizing that due to my contentment in being at home more than most and not suffering the anger and anxiety expressed by others I know about city mandates restricting/closing facilities, I do not feel the stress or dismay so many voice.

Thanks, Chris, for prompting an opportunity to take stock of quality of life impacts and to the forum for having a safe place to recount them. Wishing all continued strength and hope in this brand new year!

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@lacy2

Years ago what I wanted was a magic wand; but then I thought, if I had one I wouldn't know what to wish for. Also, do I use the wand on others who are worse off first, hoping there will be enough magic left in the want for me? It was interesting reading your gift/wish list for quality of life "presents." I dont know what MFR means but that was a good idea to have extra sessions…. will you let us know if you plan to continue the twice a week? It seems to me as soon as I put the phone down after my weekly chat with therapist , something happens and as you say , then have a long wait to talk about it… well its only 7 days but x 24 hours a day. Glad to read your hip injection was successful … too bad the first one was done poorly, you were brave to try it again. And thirdly some surgery again…. with such a positive outlook. The more I read people's life experiences (have only been a member for a few days) the more I realize I am not the only one suffering. Well, of course, I knew that…. but have put myself in a corner where I started to think everyone else was feeling OK….yet knowing they really weren't… how mixed up my mind has been. I doubt very much my attitude will go full circle and I will be as positive as you, but hearing of your success and self-help was encouraging. Thank you.

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Hi, @lacy2, One of the best things about first discovering these great Mayo Connect forums for me was truly realizing I wasn't alone and that many were dealing with far more serious chronic health issues than my own.

Kidney disease prompted my joining but the comfort, encouragement and new knowledge shared by others in numerous groups make this one of the best things I could have done for myself. Adding another welcome to you and hope you'll explore other forums and post regularly.

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@hopeful33250

Hello All,

What a great discussion on Quality of Life Gifts. This year I purchased for myself an adjustable bed. It is not the more expensive sleep number bed, but just a frame that lifts the head and/or the bottom of the mattress. It was more affordable than the more expensive model but helps me get a better night's sleep. I've always had a problem with either coughing or leg cramps at night and this has solved both problems whenever they occur.

Also, for Christmas, I ordered a Zentangle beginner book and I'm going to try my hand (no pun intended) at this craft. Wish me well because I don't consider myself a very creative or crafting person.

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@hopeful33250, So glad your new adjustable bed is providing you with better sleep! I also bought a diff. brand a few yrs ago and it has greatly improved my quality of sleep as well! No more leg cramps and improved breathing, yes!

Teresa, hope you'll keep us posted on how the new Zentangle craft works for you. I was able to re-teach myself the basic knitting stitches after a 25 yr hiatus and like you do not consider myself very crafty.

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