Friday, January 30, 2009

Seeking Balance

Seek balance.
Balance emotions with reason.
Combine detachment with doing our part.
Balance giving and receiving.
Alternate work with play, business, and personal activities.
Balance tending to our spiritual needs with tending to our other needs.
Juggle responsibilities to others with responsibility to ourselves.
Balance caring about others with caring for ourselves.
Whenever possible, let's be good to others, but be good to ourselves.
Some of us have to make up for lost time.

Melody Beattie from "The Language of Letting Go"

The 8 biggest fat loss myths -#3


Many people truly believe that nothing ever works for them and they're physically incapable of getting leaner. After rare genetic anomalies are ruled out and thyroid disorders are diagnosed and treated, could genetics, metabolism, age, hormones, or anything else really be enough to make you resistant to a low-calorie diet?

Many studies have tested this myth. What has been found out is that people generally underreport the amount of calories they are actually ingesting. On average, in many studies, it has been learned that people can underreport caloric intakes of over 1,000 calories per day! This has been referred to as "selective underreporting". Subjects seemed to get "amnesia" about eating specific foods such as fats and sweets. Even health professionals are not immune. In a 1999 study by the Journal of Nutrition, "Underreporting of Habitual Food Intake in Highly Motivated Lean Women", a group of registered dietitians underestimated their daily caloric intake by an average of 16 percent.

The bottom line: almost all of us are terrible at guessing our caloric intake.


Natalie Grant is one of my favorite Christian Music artists. Her song "Held", is one of the most touching songs I have ever heard. I don't know if she wrote the song from her own experience or of someone she knows well. It is about a mother who's child died just two months after their birth. To me, it also pertains to any situation that we are going through where we feel that we need God's supportive love and care when we feel the pain of a loss all around us and over us.


(excerpt) This is what it means; to be held
How it feels; when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved; and to know
that the promise is when everything fell;
We'd be held.

Update: Through some additional research on the internet, I have learned that this song was written after Natalie Grant and her husband lost their son at 2 months of age.


"We don't see things as they ARE; we see things as WE are" Anais Nin

Thursday, January 29, 2009

(More) Quaker prose

A Lesson

My cat teaches me
the bliss
of a square of sunlight
on the floor

Christopher B. Fowler
Friends Journal, February, 2009

When Jesus came

He found me in the laundry
Sorting mounds of clothes,
And mentioned homeless families
Of His that froze.

He watched me clearing table
Discarding untouched food,
Till thoughts of starving multitudes
Muted our mood.

He heard me loathing clutter
I found no time to file,
And mentioned places clogged with waste,
Mile upon mile.

Then He showed me compassion
In manger, cross, and tomb,
Breathing my desserts of despair,
To glorious bloom.

Charles Waugaman
Friends Journal, February, 2009

2009 Friends Publishing Corporation. Reprinted with permission. To

The 8 biggest body fat myths-#2


This myth has been disproved time after time in a variety of tightly controlled experimental research trials. Believe it or not, the reverse is actually true!

Men and women with a large body mass index actually burn more calories because their resting metabolic rate is directly linked to their total body mass and their lean body mass. Simply stated, large people burn more calories than small people. Furthermore, the energy cost of moving around a very large body is greater than the energy cost of moving a light body. Any person who doubts this should strap on a sixty-pound weighted vest or backpack, go for an uphill hike, and then judge for himself.

As you lose weight, your calorie requirements go down in proportion to your body mass. If you keep eating the same for your smaller body as you did for your larger body, your calorie deficit shrinks as you lose weight. This not only explains in part the "slow metabolism" myth, but it also helps explain weight-loss plateaus and weight regain.

Dr. Crew's Fat Loss Challenge- Update week #1

OK, nine days have come and gone and I am doing well on the program. I weighed in this morning at 8.2 pounds less than 9 days ago! I am not really concerned about the weight, but, it is certainly good to see the number go down. What's more important, to me, is how I am feeling and how my body looks.

My clothes are looser on me. Clearly, this is apparent. I feel great and I am very motivated to be accountable to this blog and to myself.

I am eating at least 4 fresh fruits a day and at least 3 servings of vegetables. I am drinking a lot of water, eating 4-6 meals per day filled with healthy protein sources and high quality dense carbohydrates mostly from fruits and vegetables. I have had no sugar as well.

So far, so good! I'll keep all of you abreast of my commitment to this 100 day endeavor. Please join me in this challenge. I can be reached at (631) 880-2531. Dr. Crew

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


It has been 2 weeks since my Father's death. I have had time now to collect my thoughts and meditate on my feelings and insights surrounding his death, wake, and funeral service.

I will never forget, for as long as I live, the last six weeks of my Father's life. It was such a warm and wonderful time for me even as he lay dying in Mather Hospital. We shared a closeness and love that neither of us had experienced while we were both alive. I actually miss going to the hospital each day to see him just to feel that closeness and intimacy with my Dad. We held hands and even when there were no words between us, we could just make eye contact and I could feel his love for me. It was such an honor for me to be there with him each day as he spent his last few weeks in this world. He looked for me every day and would often ask the hospital staff, "where is my son?" Each day, I was right there with him.

My relationship with my Father was wrought with strife and great difficulty. He was different with me than he was with anyone else I ever saw him with. It is so interesting to me that he had this exact relationship with my Grandfather and I can clearly remember their huge arguments and fights from my childhood. They, like my Father and I, were able to share intimacy at the end of my Grandfather's life. How odd. My Father had issues with me. He hated that I didn't depend upon him as my siblings did. He disliked my liberal and libertarian views of politics. He could not stand my disagreeing with him and challenging him on the way he spoke to me or what he believed in. There were very few topics he and I could discuss as we were so diametrically different on almost every subject. He had very little tolerance for other's views, but ZERO tolerance for mine. Somehow, as he lay dying, he realized all of this was just bullshit. He and I were able to get to the bottom line of our love for each other. I always heard from so many people how proud my Father was of me and what I have accomplished. I wish I had heard that from his lips. So, to me, even though I never heard these words, I know he is so very proud of what he and I were able to accomplish together even though it was just the last six weeks of his life.

At his wake, I met so many people who did not know the side of my Father that I knew all too well. I left it that way for them. I wondered how it could be that so many people saw him so very differently than I did. Certainly, they had never seen or even heard of his darker side, but they knew him fairly well and loved him and enjoyed him so much. I used to believe that my Father's "other life", as I used to call it, was one big fake that he perpetrated on others. But, I now see that I was wrong. I believe now that this other part of his personality was just as real as the one I had experienced. It is just that, for some very, very sad reason, he was not able to let me see this part of himself. I truly believe that he subconsciously replicated our relationship into the one he had with his own Father. Whatever the reason, we had our six weeks. Six weeks that I will cherish forever.

I am proud of him. I am proud of myself. I am proud of my sisters and my Mom who have pulled together like never before. I will spend more time with them and enjoy my relationship with them even more now.

The 8 biggest body fat myths-#1


The cause of excess body fat is a positive energy balance, meaning you take in more energy(calories) than you burn. This is not a theory, it is scientific fact, and you can locate references stating so in every nutritional biochemistry and exercise science textbook ever published, as well as thousands of exercise science, nutrition, and obesity journal papers, which have all been through scrupulous peer review.

Many people still deny the law of calorie balance in the face of scientific evidence. Some proponents of low-carbohydrate diets are especially notorious for this. They believe that as long as you cut enough carbs, you can eat as much as you want. I assure you, if you have a maintenance level of 2,000 calories and ingest 4,000 calories of protein and fat(with no carbs), you will gain fat. A lot. Fast. Like the law of gravity, the law of energy balance keeps on working whether you believe it or not.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Resveratrol and Wine

It is now been proven that resveratrol a substance naturally found in wine and grape varietals can help to lengthen your life. It is been found to improve the functioning of our glands, cells, and organs.

Finally, I can feel very positive about my glass of Pinot Noir! It has been found to slow down the aging process and improve one's overall health. More information can be found at or

Starbucks RED campaign

Attention all of you fellow "buckers"! For the entire year of 2009 you can use your Starbucks RED gift card and Starbucks will donate 5 cents to the World Global Fund each time you use your card. You can find out more by going to the website This is the fund started by Bono, my favorite artist, to fight and treat the spread of AIDS in Africa. GET INVOLVED!

Guilt vs. Shame

Many people are under the mistaken assumption that the terms guilt and shame and interchangeable. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Guilt is what we feel when we have been convicted of doing something we know was not correct at the time. We have done something that we feel is inconsistent with who we wish to be and now feel appropriate feelings of guilt about our actions. It sets in motion the healthy pattern of accepting what we did that has fallen short of who we want to be and make amends to others, ourselves, or to God. This feeling of guilt must also be followed by forgiveness of ourselves and a pledge to do better. We then need to work towards letting it go.

Shame, on the other hand, is NOT a healthy response to us doing something wrong. Shame is something we carry around with us long after the guilt subsides. It is an unhealthy response to us acknowledging a poor decision. It lingers. Instead of seeing ourselves as a good person who made a mistake, shame's message is that we are NOT a good person because of what we have done. There is no process of acceptance leading to amends leading to forgiveness of self. Shame hangs over us like a dark and smoke-filled cloud causing depression and poor self esteem. It has often been called by therapists, "the gift that keeps on giving."

We learn how to shame ourselves from parents or other adults who shamed us when we made mistakes or acted foolishly or selfishly. Messages were sent that we are a "bad" person rather than someone who made a poor choice. I hear parents even in my office telling their children that they were "bad boys" or "bad girls". Sometimes parents don't even have to use these terms directly. The message is clear that what you did was shameful and perhaps you are even unlovable at the moment that they are angry with the child. So many adult children have learned and then replicated the fact that they are unable to feel love and anger towards a person simultaneously. The message is the same one they have heard in their childhood..."You are not worthy of love at this moment because of what you did." So, they repeat this same mantra in their own heads when they are convicted of a mistake or poor decision.

We need to rid ourselves of ALL shame. Guilt is a natural and healthy response. We need to then accept responsibility for our actions and forgive ourselves. SHAME teaches us continued negativity towards ourselves. We need to realize we most likely have had enough of that already. Life is so much easier when we put down the heavy bag of bricks we carry on our backs filled with shame.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Roots and Wings

I often listen to Contemporary Christian Music on my Sirius radio in my car. I heard a song the other day called "Find Your Wings" by Mark Harris. I was moved by this song. I quickly went to the web to locate the lyrics. He wrote this song for his children.

My favorite parts of the song are these:
"I pray that God will fill your heart with dreams; and that faith gives you the courage to dare to do great things. I'm here for you whatever this life brings; so let my love give you roots; and help you find your wings."

"It's not living if you don't reach for the sky; I'll have tears as you take off; but I'll cheer as you fly."

So often in my practice I see parents who do not provide the essential "roots" and "wings" for their children. They sometimes hold on when the child is attempting to "fly" fearing their own abandonment and fearing the "empty nest syndrome." Other times, parents do not provide the unconditional love that we all need to make these "flight attempts", by fostering dependency or promoting fear in their children. We all need to navigate our own lives.

It is so very true that a child who feels loved and supported and is offered a safe place to land when they are provided with encouragement to truly "fly" can do great things. I believe these are the greatest gifts a parent can provide for their child; ROOTS and WINGS.

Often, a parent provides one without the other. Roots are provided, but not wings leading the child to fear the outside world and fearful of going out on their own seeing the world as a place that will cause them harm. Others are provided with wings without roots and are sent out on their own without the abilities to take care of themselves and not feeling the loving support of their caregivers. They may feel unlovable and possess poor self esteem not believing in their own ability to be responsible for their own destiny and to adjust to the situations that life brings their way.


I read a very different interpretation of what it is to sacrifice something.

Sacrifice= resisting smaller and easier sources of immediate gratification knowing that we are working towards a greater goal.

Wow. This blew me away. So simple, yet so very powerful. So often we think in terms of deprivation when it comes to sacrifice. We think of what we cannot eat and feel deprived and angry that we don't eat it. In relationships, we may desire to be right in a situation and lose sight of the greater goal of a lasting and loving relationship. This is also true for any goal we have identified as something we want to achieve. We can not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of settling for smaller and easy sources of immediate gratification and risk our accomplishing our larger goal.

Setting our sights on the big picture rather than on something directly in front of us is difficult. It is always worth the time and energy to move towards the bigger prize and develop positive self esteem and self control in the process.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Certification course dates set

The Suffolk Institute for Hypnotherapy is announcing two new dates for the full day certification for Clinical Hypnotherapy. These are: Friday, February 6th, 2009 and Friday, February 27th, 2009.

Both of these seminars will begin at 7:30am and end at 6pm.

Contact Dr. Crew at 880-2531 for information/registration or go to the SIH website and you can register there.(

Both of these seminars will be taught by Dr. Crew who is a certified instrctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy with The American Board of Clinical Hypnotherapy.

The difference between DOGS and CATS

My friend and fellow therapist, Scott Burzon, told me a funny and truly interesting riddle about the differences between a dog and a cat. Being a true animal lover, these stories and riddles always interest me.

The dog says to his owner, "You feed me, pet me, love me, and care for me- you must be GOD."
The cat says to his owner, "You feed me, pet me, love me, and care for me- I must be GOD."

Insight and Awareness from Pain (For GR)

I often tell patients that when one commits to the true intention of doing therapy with a qualified and skillful therapist who truly cares, life will never be the same again. It's actually quite impossible that things CAN be the same as when you begin this process. The process of psychotherapy is not for the meek or those looking for an easy way out. Those who continue to work in therapy are the bravest souls of all.

Often it is a struggle for me to resist my desire to rescue someone I am working with and relieve them from painful feelings and often difficult new awarenesses that arise through our work together. I consistently need to remind myself that through emotional pain and feelings of being overwhelmed true growth occurs. In fact, I believe that none of us truly grows when life is easy and non-challenging. It is only through these difficult and very uncomfortable insights that we develop the skills we need to move past old schemas and outdated ways of thinking and viewing the world that no longer fit who we are.

No one can truly rescue someone from this process. In this process, we are forging new ego strengths and abilities that need to be developed. Those old outdated ways of seeing the world will no longer provide relief as they have been exposed for what they always were.

We can never prevent anyone from leaving us or choosing to move on. This is always their choice and true love is the freedom of knowing this and still giving our heart to another. We cannot lose ourselves in the effort to prevent someone from abandoning us. We are only to be ourselves and know that we are enough just as we are. Trying to make someone constantly feel happy with us or love us will always result in a loss of self respect and self esteem. Anyway, it's really just an illusion. People can always leave us when and if they wish to. We cannot control this. If we think we can we are clearly deluding ourselves. We need to be the best US we can be; nothing more, nothing less. Either this will be what that person seeks or it will not be.

From pain and emotional distress will come clear understanding and insight born from awareness and openness for change and growth. I always see my role as an unconditional supporter and my office as a consistently safe place to process feelings without judgement or rejection. I never take lightly the awesome responsibility of being involved in this process. What a true priviledge. What a wonderful opportunity to provide compassion and be present as other beings grow and evolve.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


"Once you have seen the face of GOD, you see that same face on everyone you meet" Sogyal Rinpoche

Knowing GOD is the source of compassion in our lives. We realize that our separation from others is artificial. We are neither separate from others nor from the truth. It is our own egotism that leads us to define ourselves as individuals. In fact, a direct experience of GOD is a direct experience of the utter universality of life. If we allow it to change our way of thinking, we will comprehend our essential oneness with all things.

Body Fat Loss update #1

As promised, I will update my progress each and every Thursday. OK, so far so good. I realize it has just been two days since I initiated this program, but I am doing well. The weekend will be telling in regards to my intentions and commitment. I am determined to achieve my goal for body fat loss.

I know that what I weigh is not as significant as how much fat I lose, but after just 2 days on program I have lost almost 6 lbs.! I realize it's just water, but it feels good to see the number go down. I have 98 days to go as I have promised myself and will be accountable to this blog.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"The Body Fat Solution" by Tom Venuto

Great book. I truly recommend it. Tom Venuto is an experienced fitness expert and former award winning body builder who just happens to be extremely intelligent and pragmatic in his approach to fat loss. His website is amazing. His new site is

I am following this model of fat loss in my Dr. Crew's fat loss challenge.

The Theory of Opposites

I don't know exactly where I read it, but I was introduced to the Theory of Opposites in undergraduate studies. I think it was in a Philosophy class. I really don't even know if it indeed is called the Theory of Opposites. (Hey, if you know this theory please clue me in!)

The theory is that one needs to fully experience something in order to appreciate its opposite. For example, one can really appreciate food and sustenance only when one has experienced extreme hunger. One can only truly experience and comprehend love only when one has experienced being hated by another. One can only appreciate one's health when one has experienced illness.

I believe that this theory has so much truth involved in it. It helps me to realize and understand difficult times in my own life. Subsequently, these difficult times lead to times of contentment and I can then only fully appreciate these times of contentment. I often think that if life were just a series of wonderful experiences it may be terrific for awhile, but then, these times would lose their relevance after a while having nothing to compare them to. This truth helps me to appreciate ALL things that come my way naturally and organically.

Life, I believe, is a succession of wonderment, joy, pain, and acceptance. It's all just perfect as it is. Even the pain. It's bitter and sweet, storms and silence, yin and yang. I think we get overwhelmed when we have the mistaken belief that it's not supposed to be the way it is.

I know that when things go well for a while they will soon become painful again. When things in life are so very painful I wait upon the foul weather to clear and I can appreciate the sun and warmth of life. I believe it's all about non-attachment to things being a certain way that we would like them to be. We can be fully awake and experience each beautiful moment just as it is.

No matter what is happening in our lives at the moment, God is there. His promise is that it will never be more than we can bear. I rest in this promise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dr. Crew's fat loss challenge

I was thinking about my Father's poor health and his subsequent death. I think one of the reasons that my Father died so early and had so many health concerns was his poor eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle. I have decided that I am going to make sure that I do my best to eat better and to do all I can to live a high quality life. I believe this will be a fitting tribute to my Father.

I am initiating a program of fat loss and healthy eating beginning today and I invite all of you to join me in this endeavor. I will be accountable to this blog and honestly report my nutritional progress and fat loss each week.

Over the holidays and then with my Father being in the hospital, I have not been eating the way I know is the most healthy for me. I will now change this pattern drastically with this program. I will be adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet along with lean protein sources while cutting out sugar and preservatives. I will consciously eat 4-6 smaller meals per day and drink more water. I will continue to exercise regularly.

Please leave your comments and join with me in an effort to complete a 100 day program of eating for a higher quality of life. Leave your name on this blog or call me to coordinate our efforts together (880-2531). Our target date for this program will be May 1, 2009.(100 days)

Each Thursday, I will inform all blog readers of my progress on this program and I will be accountable to seeing this effort through. JOIN ME!

Thank you to all

My sincere thanks for all the e mails, calls, and attendance at my Dad's wake and funeral service. I truly appreciate all your kindness and support.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dad's wake today and tomorrow

Today many family members are driving and flying in to my Dad's wake this afternoon and tomorrow. Once again the wake will be held at:
Giove Funeral Home
1000 Middle Country Road(Route 25)
Selden, New York
Sat./Sun. 2-4pm and 7-9:30pm (January 17/18, 2009)
(631) 732-1800

All are welcome.

My Father's funeral service will be Monday, January 19th.

New graduates of S.I.H.

I am proud to announce that the following students have completed the coursework and are on their way to becoming certified Clinical Hypnotherapists with the American Board of Clinical Hypnotherapy. They are:
1) Annemarie Carangelo, LCSW
2)Scott Burzon, LCSW
3) Gregg Lewis
4) John Roarty
5)Lea Keating, LMT
6)Peter O'Herron, LCSW
7) Maria Padberg, LCSW
8) Theresa Dettinger, R.N.

Congratulations on your hard work and tremendous efforts. These students will have to complete their final examination and then sit for their practical. Good luck in your studying and practicing for your practical.

The Suffolk Institute for Hypnotherapy will be having another seminar with a scheduled date of February 6th, 2009. This date may change as needed. Please contact Dr. Crew for information or registration can be done on line by visiting

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Be Careful

I came across a poem I thought was wonderful. The author is unknown.

Be Careful
Be careful of your THOUGHTS; they will become your WORDS
Be careful of your WORDS; they will become your ACTIONS
Be careful of your ACTIONS; they will become your HABITS
Be careful of your HABITS; they will become your CHARACTER
Be careful of your CHARACTER; it will become your DESTINY


The Buddha listed seven reasons for us to let our anger go:
1)Anger makes us ugly. If, when we get angry, we look in the mirror, we will do something to look more beautiful. This short verse can help us practice:"knowing that anger makes us ugly, I smile instead. I return to myself, and meditate on LOVE"
2) Anger makes us suffer. We double up in pain "like a shrimp being roasted."
3) We are unable to develop or to flourish.
4) We fail to prosper materially or spiritually. We lose whatever riches or happiness we had.
5) We become known only for our anger.
6) We lose our friends as they fear being blown apart by the bomb inside of us.
7) We become a hungry ghost, unable to take part in a fresh joyful life.

It is snowing this morning. It is just so beautiful. It cleanses all pain and suffering as it makes everything white and clean.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Inward Reflections

So many of you that are my friends, patients, clients, students, and readers of this blog are concerned about how I am doing emotionally so I thought I would share what I am experiencing and observing. This will be a very personal blog entry. It has not been my practice to share so intimately regarding my feelings, but in this case I feel it is appropriate.

Being a devoted meditation practitioner and observer of myself, I am taking notice of many interesting awarenesses. I have been so caught up with taking care of my Father in the hospital and my family as well. I have done a good job of taking care of myself throughout this process as well. I had found it beneficial to see patients throughout the 6 week ordeal while Dad was in the hospital. I found I was able to be fully available to my patients, students, and clients. Now, after his death, I am taking the time to look inside at what I am experiencing.

Now that my Father has died I am finding it more difficult to concentrate and get things done. I am noticing that I have less energy and tire quite easily. Even my workouts at the gym have been more difficult to complete. Being the kind of person that I am, this bothers me as I am always one to accomplish as much as I can each day. I once again have to respect the grieving process and be gentle with myself as I emotionally heal. Sometimes, I feel a growing sadness developing within me. It is not a feeling I am familiar with.

Yesterday I was walking to Starbucks and I became aware that I am fatherless. I don't really know why this awareness came to me. I don't know what it means exactly. It's a feeling of being alone in the world I remember from being on my own at age 15. My Father and I have the same given name and now I am the only William Lauterbach in the world.

I can feel myself doing some classic bargaining techniques. Sometimes, I think of when I'll go up to the hospital and then again realize he's gone and I don't have to fit this into my schedule any longer. It's silly how we do these things. I know it's just part of the adjustment towards acceptance.

I find there are times when I want to be alone with my thoughts. It is at this time that I cry. I pray a lot and find peace in silence as any Quaker enjoys. I find that I am relishing the 6 weeks that my Father was in the hospital. So much healing had taken place. Without getting into details, suffice it to say that Dad and I had a very difficult relationship. For so many years, I tried as best I could to have a relationship with him that was close, but because of who he was it was not possible. Maybe it was also due to who I am that it was not quite possible either. So many times he was abusive and intentionally hurtful to me and I would never stand for it. I would tell him how I felt and confronted him on his words and actions. This always led to him not speaking to me and not allowing me over to my parents' home. He could be such a child sometimes with his adult version temper tantrums and lack of any self control. Over the last 5 or 6 years, I gave up on trying to have a relationship with my Father. When I would see him, I would keep our conversations to a minimum and to simply speak with him about things he would not become easily upset over. This was not ever easy as so many things about him and I upset him. I would say that we were polar opposites in almost every way. In March of this year, my Father and I were speaking on the phone and he disagreed with the way I chose to handle a particular situation. As was his tendency, he became verbally abusive and I told him if he continued to do so I would hang up the phone. This enraged him and he became even more abusive so I did what I said I would do and hung up the phone. Up until a week before he went into the hospital, whenever I would call my parents' home he would hang up the phone when he saw I was calling. This was an example of how immature he could be. So, him and I hadn't spoken for over 9 months when he went into the hospital just 6 weeks ago.

A friend of mine lost his Mother months ago. At the wake, all of her children were speaking kindly of what a wonderful Mother she was and their beautiful memories of her. I was listening to them all speak and I told Michael that it makes me so sad that when my Father dies I won't be able to say anything positive about our relationship. It was a very sad revelation to me that this was indeed true. Now, I CAN say positive things about my relationship with my Father.

My Father and I had a wonderful healing over the past 6 weeks. He was so sweet and kind to me. He wanted him and I to be close even if it was on his deathbed. I can say he taught me a very valuable thing. HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO DIE. He was taking care of all of us as we took care of him right up until the end of his life. He made sure that my Mom was OK with his death. He made sure that financially my Mom was OK. He made sure that all of his children were emotionally prepared for his death. He let go of all grudges and regrets and made peace with all others and within himself. He faced his illness and death with courage and acceptance. He only spoke of his death when he felt my Mom and sisters were prepared to do so. He endured painful procedures with grace and dignity. He showed LOVE to all. This I can admire. This I can only wish to emulate.

I will miss my Father. In many ways, I see that we were a lot alike. I possess his strength and courage. I care for all those in my life that I love. I am sometimes as stubborn as he was. I am always one to speak my mind when I feel something just as he always did. I provide for those I love and depend upon me.

As I was watching my Father die on Monday night in his bed, I was aware of how much I look like him. I really never took notice of this before. I began to think of what I need to do to make sure that I live longer than his 73 years. I will make sure that I take even better care of myself and continue to tell those I love how much they mean to me and not wait until I am dying to do so.

I don't know how so many people endure this deep pain and hurt when they lose a parent or someone they love without having a partner in life as I do. I am so grateful for my Michael and all of my dear friends. Thank you all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Information regarding Dad's wake and services

Here is the information. Please know that all are invited and honored guests. I would be more than happy if you decided to attend his wake. So, here are the details:

Giove Funeral Home 1000 Middle Country Road Selden, NY 11784
Saturday and Sunday, January 17/18th, 2009
Wake and visiting hours: 2-4pm and 7pm-9:30pm both days

Thank you all so very much from the depths of my heart. Even if you did not know my Father, I would appreciate your attendance and support for myself and for my family.


DAD'S DEATH this morning

My Father died this morning just after 2am at Mather Hospital. I just received the call from the RN on his unit. We were expecting his death soon after he wanted his medications turned off other than his pain meds.

I thank all of you for your kindness, support and love you have shown me. I will blog all of the information regarding his wake and funeral services later on today.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dad now on Palliative care only

Dad is now awaiting hospice tomorrow morning. He is no longer getting blood pressure medications, and is no longer receiving dialysis treatments. They have him on round the clock morphine through his PICC line as well as a trans dermal analgesic. The biggest problem we have now is that he is bleeding out and they are not sure where the blood is deriving from. After a long discussion this morning between my Mom and Dad they both agreed to turn off his blood pressure medications and stop all medications with the exception of the pain meds.

Everyone is coming today to see my Father and to say their last goodbyes. I do not believe he will be alive much longer. I even doubt that he will make it to hospice tomorrow.

With the GI bleeding and the lack of his BP medications, I believe he will drift off to sleep quite peacefully.

I am doing OK. I am there for all members of my family. I have been speaking with my Michael all day today for emotional support. Now,we are just waiting for him to die.

I continue to hold his hand and speak to him when he is awake. He knows everything that is going on all around him.

MOM -and Dad's impending death

I am very concerned about my Mother. I spoke with her last evening and she is once again doubting herself and what my Father is deciding to do. She is clearly bargaining once again. There is also an element of shock still going on with her. They have been married for over 52 years and I don't know how she will deal with my Father's death.

I continue to reassure her that this is HIS decision and that she did not decide this for him. She tends to feel that perhaps we are pressuring him into this decision. I told her that if she feels that if she wants him to fight on then she needs to tell him this so they are communicating effectively about this. Of course, then she says that is a selfish thing to say to him. I assure her it's not selfish - it's honest and real. I'll see what she states to him this morning when I meet with both Mom and dad at his hospital bedside. If he decides to fight on, WE FIGHT ON.

I am also very concerned about my youngest sister, Janice. She is having an especially difficult time processing all of this. We always have joked that she was my Father's favorite, but there are elements of this joking that are based in truth. She is the youngest of us and he certainly considered her his "baby."

I will be there for all of my family members during this ordeal. I continue to take good care of myself and surround myself with those who love me and support me. What in the world would I ever do without my Michael? I just can't fathom dealing with all of this without him by my side. I rely on the Lord and place all within His hands. Through Him, I remain strong.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Late night DAD update-now on hospice care

Dad has decided to go onto comfort care only. He will halt dialysis and his medications that keep his blood pressure high enough for him to survive. In his words, he has "had enough, put me out to pasture."

It was a very emotional scene at his bedside this evening with my Mom and my two sisters along with Mike there all around his bed. I went to see him as both his medical doctor and nephrologist are not giving him much hope. My Mom wanted me to speak with him. He was clear regarding his intentions but was very fearful of dying. I promised him I would make sure that he will not suffer any pain. I told him to "think of Jesus and to make sure his relationship with God was in good shape." He agreed.

The other day he and I were together in his room and as I was getting ready to go home he became upset and didn't wish for me to leave. I stayed a while longer and when I finally did leave I again told him I loved him. He told me he loves me too. That was just so wonderful to hear. He had told me this just one other time in his life, but this was when he was heavily medicated after his quadruple bypass and valve replacement surgery. This time he was non-medicated and it was different.

There was some discussion of my Mom having him come home to die, but it was extremely clear that she cannot emotionally handle this possibility; so I didn't offer this option to my Dad. If he had asked me about it I would have explained to him that Mom was very certain that this was more than she can handle. He didn't ask me about this option.

My Dad and I will meet tomorrow morning with my Mother to make sure that he is wanting to stop fighting and to die there at the hospital. We will sign all necessary paperwork then.

It was interesting that my Father told us all that he wanted to be cremated. We had a honest discussion of this. He also indicated which funeral home he wished to be laid out in as well. This will make things easier on my Mom.

So, what am I feeling... Well, I am so grateful for the time that I have enjoyed with my Dad over the last few weeks. He has been just so incredibly sweet to me. He indicted how appreciative he is that I have been so involved in his care and been there for him and my family. I have done all I can. I will blog more of how I am dealing with all of this. For now, I have to get things done and take care of myself.

Friday, January 9, 2009

DAD Friday morning 1/09

I went to see my Father yesterday. He is actually responding well to the antibiotic therapy. The charge nurse as well as his nephrologist informed me that they are very happy with his progress. He is no longer on oxygen, and he looks more like himself; which may be the problem now.

My Father is still stating that he wants to die. I believe he is very depressed and he is fearful that even if he recovers from this infection that he may not ever be able to resume the kind of life he would like. He may even be bed-bound, and I don't know if he will be able to adjust well to this way of living. He is a very stubborn and hard-headed person. Yesterday he was extremely angry and quite abrupt with all of us. This is the Father I mostly remember and am used to. He was not a whole lot of fun to be with yesterday. I can't even imagine what he may be going through emotionally and physically.

I believe that he can use this anger and stubbornness to channel towards his possible rehabilitation. It is interesting to me that he may actually recover despite his own intentions.

My Mom is ambivalent regarding his new attitude and change in his health status. He was quite rude to her yesterday, but she is a very understanding and patient person. I continue to be available emotionally for my Dad and family. His condition is improved, but he continues to be gravely ill and his health status could change again at any time.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nargajuna on LOVE

"When we desire all beings to be happy, there arises in us the INTENTION to love. This intention to love enters our feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness; and it becomes manifested in all our actions, speech, and all other mental activities. Events that are neither mental or physical arising after that are in accord with love and can in themselves be called love, as love is their root. These events determine our future actions, and they are directed by our WILL, which is now suffused with love. Will is the energy that drives our actions and our speech. The same is true with regard to the arising of compassion, joy, and equanimity."


Update on Dad Thurs. 1/08

Very rough day yesterday. Unfortunately, I was not able to get up to the hospital to see my Father yesterday due to my schedule and his 3 hour long dialysis treatment. My Mom and sister Joanne were there to see him. They say he was very verbal asking them to let him die. My Mom said he was looking her right in the eye and asking her to "let him go." This is so difficult as Dad is confused at times, and it is not known whether or not he is aware of the most recent discovery of his bowel infection and new antibiotic treatment.

My Mom and I spoke on the phone and she was an emotional mess doubting herself and asking me what she should do. I had to tell her that it just isn't time to stop being aggressive with this current regimen of treatments as we have just learned of the origin of the bowel infection and are aggressively going after it with antibiotics. I reminded her that he has only had 2 days of antibiotic therapy to fight this "C-Diff" bacteria and we need to continue this treatment for at least 10 days and then we can make a decision as to moving towards non-aggressive care and comfort care for Dad. She felt a bit better and regained her composure.

Later that evening, my Dad's doctor called my Mom and informed her that he is progressively getting worse and to be prepared for his death. My Mom called me again extremely upset. I was furious that his doctor spoke with her like this. From now on, he will call me with anything he needs to say. I reminded my Mom once again as to the fact that he isn't telling her anything she didn't already know and that he is an alarmist type of person. I spoke with the charge nurse on the CCU unit and he informed me that at this time Dad was stable, yet critical. He stated that he is no different than yesterday.

We are all quite aware that my Father is close to death. This new antibiotic regimen must be continued for the 10 days minimum. At that point, if he is no better or even worse, we will all make a decision regarding hospice care and speak with him about "letting go." This antibiotic regimen is probably our last hope. It will either work or not work, but we have to wait for the outcome and the full course of therapy. She agreed.

This is so unbelievably painful. I know I am strong and can take care of myself through all of this. I know that my family relies on me for emotional strength and information. I will continue to take care of myself and my family and my Dad. With God's assistance, I am able.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Olfactory Power

The sense of smell is the sense we possess that is most closely aligned to memory. We have all had the experience of recalling memories in very vivid ways simply by noticing a certain smell or fragrance. We become aware of the smell and instantly we recall a person or a memory so clearly without even engaging our conscious mind.

Smells and fragrances can also be associated with negative memories or events in our lives that were quite difficult or even painful. We need to become more aware of how memories of these events are often triggered by our olfactory sensors.

I can remember when I was a medical social worker in a skilled nursing facility I was interviewing a new patient and for some reason I was finding myself tearing up and feeling sad. The patient was wondering what was going on (and so was I!) I thought of what could be going on that this involuntary response was occurring with me. She didn't look like anyone I knew. Then, it hit me. It was her smell! She was wearing a very soft scent of powder that my Grandmother used to wear from Avon. The fragrance immediately caused me to miss my Grandmother who had died just a year before.

Fragrances and smells, and yes sometimes ODORS, can be used in Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy sessions to utilize the olfactory sense we all possess to assist one to bring about changes in their thought patterns or behaviors. This is done by associating the smell with a pleasant or unpleasant experience while in trance. This is only done with permission of a patient or client. I have found it to be so incredibly effective in my work. It doesn't even have to be an actual odor or smell. The subconcious mind creates the "smell" as if it were actually sensing the smell from one's nose!

Those of you who have come to my office are aware of how I use aromas and scents in my waiting room and treatment room. Many times I have had a patient tell me "as soon as I walk in this waiting room I feel good." I often find out later it's due to their subconsciously or consciously being aware of the aromas and fragrances I use to enhance the psychotherapy or hypnotherapy experience and process; or, in some situations, the process of having to wait in the waiting room for their appointment to begin or for the session to be finished for someone they are with.

I have been told many times that between the soft peaceful music, aromas, and good magazines in the waiting room that people look forward to sitting in the waiting room!

Machines to stay away from at the gym/Part 4

OK. Last one. This one is a tricky one. It is the HAMSTRING CURL from a prone position. It is NOT NECESSARILY a problem machine, but it CAN be. Here is the problem with this one.

Many lying down hamstring curl machines are designed in a way which the user has to bring the bar up to curl the weight causing severe strain to the back of the knees as well as the lower back. If one can arrange the particular machine to begin the motion from a plane where the weight is already above the beginning position it MAY be safe to use this machine. The other, and certainly the most pragmatic, way to use this machine is to have another person RAISE the bar pad (which is on one's back of calf) manually so that the motion of each repetition does not injure the knee or lower back. This assistance needs to be done at each beginning and ending of every set.

Later models of this machine are now allowing the user to set the bar at a position where the range will not drop below a safe position so this problem is alleviated.

DAD short update

I am just updating all of you who are so concerned and have been following this blog regarding my Father's grave condition.

He is unchanged at this time. He continues to receive hemodialysis and is sometimes verbal; other times not. He is no better or worse. He is now receiving Vancomycin as an antibiotic to treat his "C-Diff" infection.

It is good to be able to blog about Dad's condition. It is cathartic as well as functional as it saves me time to return all the phone calls about his present and latest condition.

I thank all of you for your care and concern for me as well as for my family. It is so very much appreciated.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Post Holiday Blues

It is common that many people experience dysphoria and sadness after the holidays. There is often so much excitement and anticipation with the holidays that often there follows feelings of emptiness and despair. Many describe that the holidays weren't so wonderful as they had anticipated they would be. Others compare the recent holidays to other holidays they remember. These memories often are romanticized and embellished. What is almost always a problem is that so many times we lose sight of the moment when we reminisce and dwell on past holidays. We can get caught up with languishing in negative self talk and ineffectively comparing holiday memories. We may become more aware of those we love who have died or relationships that have ended.

The weather is cold and the days are shorter. Many of us go to work in the darkness and arrive at home in the darkness. There are no big holidays until Spring and many are prone to seasonal affective depression. There are less "signs of life" in our environment to remind us of the beauty of life. Sometimes, we can find ourselves in a morbid or negative frame of mind.

We need to concentrate our efforts in the here and now. The time we have now is in our hands. Waking up a bit earlier, if possible, can assist with moods. Getting outside on lunch breaks and on non working days can be beneficial. Exercise and winter sports have proven effective for others. A lightbox, a professional tool which is incredibly similar to natural sunlight, is a solution for many others. Fragrances, aromatherapy, and music all have proven to be helpful for many people.

I find that a brisk walk in the afternoon is helpful as well as opening up the window shades and allowing as much natural sunlight in my office beneficial in positively affecting my mood. I find it enjoyable to use this time of the year to be more reflective and to enjoy toasty nights around the fireplace with those I love and enjoy spending time with. I find these months quieter and I have more opportunity to be places where there are less crowds and noise.

Lastly, it is often helpful to remind ourselves that there is a cycle to life. It is the cold which makes us appreciate and enjoy the warmer days. It is the darker days which lead us to truly appreciate the long sunny days ahead of us in the coming months. It is the bareness of trees and the landscape which gives us the chance to become more aware of the beauty of Spring and Summer. A shift in perspective is sometimes all it takes to change our viewpoint. WE are ALWAYS in control of what we choose to dwell on.

Dr. Crew is available for treatment of Seasonal Affective depression and post holiday "blues." Light therapy is available as well as post holiday psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. Appointments can be made by calling 880-2531.

DAD- new information

It is been identified that my Father is suffering from a very severe bowel infection commonly called "C-DIFF". He is currently being treated by IV with antibiotics to attempt to eliminate this infection. This infection can be fatal. I am so glad we now have a diagnosis to what it causing him so much illness. There is now a protocol as they know what this is.

When visiting him we all have to wear gloves and gowns.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Update on DAD

I just got back from the hospital. Dad almost died this morning as his blood pressure dropped under 40 and he was again unresponsive. When I got to the hospital he was a bit better, but I thought he might die while I was waiting for my Mother to get there. He is presently a bit more stable. He is verbal at times, but is so weak it is difficult to hear him. His BP is currently 84.

It has been a very trying weekend. Dad had to have his dialysis port changed as it was indicated that the port in one of his femoral arteries was not working well. That day(Saturday) he had two dialysis treatments. He was found to be receiving too many pain injections which was making him lethargic and disoriented. They used Narcon to reverse the analgesic medications. After that, he became more verbal. He began indicating that he wanted to die asking all of us to"let him go". My Mom talked him into continuing dialysis treatments and he was moved to CCU to monitor him more closely. His BUN is now down to 70 with the more efficient dialysis port.

He has a severe stomach infection which, so far, is not responding to anti-biotic treatment. They believe he may have sepsis as well. He is in periodic pain, but they are not wanting to begin pain medications as he had so much trouble with them previously. My Mom is experiencing so much pain watching all of this and is constantly doubting herself wavering between letting him go onto a hospice program and continuing treatments. She is very emotionally fragile and has now named me an agent on his health care proxy. I am trying to prepare her gently for his death.

I continue to go and see Dad as often as I can. I continue to hold his hand and give him water on a sponge lollipop as the continuous oxygen dries out his mouth and lips. He was verbal for a while yesterday and told me "this is a terrible way to die." He at times is alert and more oriented making his needs known. At other times he is confused calling me by my nephew's name and thinking it was 1965. The doctors are still indicating there is a slight chance that he will get better and are not yet recommending moving to comfort care only. He is now being fed intravenously through his PICC line.

I rely on Mike and my dear friends who comfort me and help to care for me. Lea has proven to be a wonderful friend to me and I have received so many words of encouragement and best wishes from so many people. It means a lot to me. My dear friend Ken visited my Dad on Saturday and I was so appreciative of his being there for me. I take care of myself and know that I must remain strong for my family and for myself. I did not go to jury duty this morning and called there to indicate what was going on with my Dad. I now need to get a note from his nephrologist to excuse me from jury service. Ridiculous.

Dad has been at the hospital now for 4 weeks. He is not showing any signs that he is improving at all. I cannot even imagine what he is feeling. I wonder if this is indeed a losing battle. It seems so.

I know this may sound weird, but I find myself just wishing he would get well or die. I know how painful this is to my Father. It is so very painful for us as well. It is certainly so very painful to me to see him like this and to watch my family get pulled through this emotional ringer day after day. I pray that God intervenes in His time.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

DAD Update

My Father is now essentially non-verbal. He is showing signs of dying that I remember so well from being a medical social worker at hospice care and home care agencies. He is very restless, picking at the sheets, and wanting to take off his oxygen mask and nasal gastric tube. He seems to be alert at times, but cannot always make his needs known. Today he is due for yet another dialysis treatment which would be his fourth in five days. The doctor states that his BUN levels have come down a bit due to the dialysis, but not significantly. (BUN levels should be between 10-25, my Dad's are now at 148.)

I spoke with my Mother yesterday at the hospital about what I am seeing in terms of possible s/s of dying. My Mom was very upset, but she agreed today to sign a partial DNR order to prevent my Dad from being placed on a ventilator. She states that he never wanted to be kept alive by machines, but wanted to receive CPR if his heart stopped. I am going to call his nephrologist today to receive his prognosis although I am quite certain as to what I am seeing as I watch him.

Today, after his dialysis, Dad will begin receiving liquid nutrition through his PICC line.

I continue to hold his hand, give him water when he requests it on his lips, and be with my family around his bedside. I continue to hold out hope that the dialysis will promote some miracle, but I am resigned to his death. I hate to see him this way. This is going on for so long.

What's even more annoying is that I have jury service beginning on Monday which I have tried to get out of but no one cares. I am going to go down there Monday and explain the situation with my Dad dying and my desire to be there as he dies and also to be with my Mom and family. I just pray that someone there will evidence some compassion and empathy and allow me to go and be there for my Father in his last moments. This is so important to me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Machines to stay away from at the gym/part 3

SMITH RACK This is the system found in almost every gym which allows you to squat, work shoulders and do chest presses. It is a sort of a cage-like apparatus with a bar which you can use to lock in at different levels by opening up a hinge that locks the bar into place. It is sometimes called the Smith machine.

The biggest problem with this apparatus is that it completely locks the user into its arc and plane during the execution of the exercise. This is ESPECIALLY dangerous when using the rack as a squat rack. Also, when one is completing overhead shoulder presses or chest presses it will do the same causing strain on the rotators.

A much better alternative for squats would be using a non locked in rack where the bar is placed on the rack in a way that it can freely move in different directions. In this manner, the user can create their own unique arc and trajectory when completing each set. Similarly, when working pectorals and deltoids it is far more effective and safer to use pulley machines or free weight such as barbells or dumbbells.

Dad Update

I have been spending much of my days at Mather Hospital visiting with my Father. He has had two dialysis treatments and is scheduled to have another one today. He is unable to verbalize much and when he does it is often difficult to comprehend what he is stating. He is on constant pain medication and continual oxygen. He spends much of his days sleeping at this point. It is unknown whether this lethargy is due to the dialysis treatments as he has had two treatments in two days or if this present condition is due to disease process. He has a nasal gastric tube inserted into his nose going into his stomach to drain all toxins and poisons from his stomach out of his body as his kidneys are no longer functioning on their own.

While I am with him I hold his hand and when he wakes up I give him ice chips and water for his mouth and lips with a sponge as the continuous oxygen dries out his mouth and lips. He often wakes up and looks me directly in the eyes and smiles at me and I know he is glad to see me. He is able to verbalize his needs and does not appear confused at all. It is a wonderful experience for me to spend time with him. He is sweet and kind and peaceful. I look upon him with such love and compassion and I enjoy our time together. Yesterday he was trying to say something to me and I could hardly hear him at first. I got real close to him and I heard him say "I'm sorry" to me. I asked him "For what"? He tried to reply, but he was very weak. I think he may have said "for everything". It really doesn't matter. I have already forgiven him for it all. This is the very first time my Father has ever told me he is sorry for anything.

On the down side, my Mom received a call from a vascular surgeon who stated that his carotid artery is 90% closed. This in addition to his having a severe stomach infection caused by his having an illius as well as the leaky valves in his heart. On the positive side, his nephrologist states that his levels are better in terms of his kidney functioning due to the dialysis.

I am concerned about my Mom and sisters.

I continue to rest upon God in this situation and ask him to heal my Daddy.