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When I originally started thinking about writing this blog post, I knew that I would write it about gratitude because it was to be a Thanksgiving blog. What I didn’t realize is that my gratitude would be tested this year.

About a month ago, my husband was on the road (he’s an over-the-road truck driver) when suddenly he had sharp pains on the right side of his chest. That following Monday he went to his general physician. He complained of the pain and he was also spiking temperatures and having night sweats. The doctor told him that was his gall bladder and he gave the impression that he didn’t think that it was so bad that Jeff would need surgery for it. He had ordered some blood work that showed that all things seemed normal although he did have “a bit of an infection” the doctor never ordered any x-rays or antibiotics for the infection.

My husband did not want to get gall bladder surgery, so he used every alternative medicine he could find to cleanse his gallbladder. He’d say he felt better and go back to work for a run and then he’d feel sick again. From what I gather, he never really felt better. He just got used to being sick. He went to see his work’s physician for his DOT physical. They gave him a clean bill of health.

He was Sicker than Anyone Thought

Finally, last Wednesday, I woke up in the morning and heard a strange sound. It was a rapid rattling noise that I had not heard before. It was Jeff’s breathing! I told him. “There is no way that is a gallbladder issue. There is something else really wrong.” He decided to go to the doctor. I told our daughter to expect the worst. He was going to the doctor and would probably end up in the hospital. She needed to be prepared for that. I had to take her to school and to not depend on her Dad to do it for her.

His doctor was not in that day and would not be in the next day either so the staff at his practice told him that he would have to go to urgent care. I was teaching my first class of the day when he texted me that he was being admitted to Cox South for pneumonia.

When I got to the hospital that evening, I found out how bad his situation really was. He was going into surgery the next morning to get tubes put in his lungs. He was on three antibiotics. The surgeon thought he would be in the hospital for five to six days. b

From Bad to Worse

The next day, Thursday, I went to work and his mother sat with him as he waited for his surgery. The doctor had said that his surgery would last two hours. It lasted over three hours. When the doctor called us in, he didn’t give us much hope that he would recover quickly or that he would recover at all. He wasn’t even certain that Jeff was coming off the breathing tube they used in surgery. He had said that they drained one and a half liters of fluid off of his lungs. He said that he was very sick.

My daughter and I went to see him after he went to CVICU that night. His body was cold and clammy. He was pale and still. He was covered in tubes and wires and he really looked bad. The nurse was having difficulty getting his pulse and respirations under control.

In one sense, I was extremely angry with the doctors that had seen him during the month prior to his admission to the hospital. His surgeon said that he had been sick for a very long time and yet those doctors had not picked up the diminished lung sounds when they were supposed to have put their stethoscopes to his chest.  When the doctor saw that he had an infection, he didn’t give him any sort of antibiotics. No one even did an x-ray to rule out pneumonia.

I also felt fear. I was afraid. One of the things that went through my mind was that it was during Thanksgiving week that my eldest brother (a year younger than I) had become sick and then died that Saturday after the holiday. My husband born just a couple of months before than he was.  I was afraid I might end up facing the same situation with my husband. I went home that night and knew that I needed to take the day off because I might have to face making decisions. It wouldn’t be fair to my students if I had to leave in the middle of class.

This may sound strange, but I did feel some gratitude. I was thankful that my mother-in-law had been there while I was working. I was grateful that urgent care was so quick to realize that he had something serious going on. I was grateful that he was at the best hospital in Springfield. I was grateful that his surgeon was thorough and didn’t sugar coat anything.

Miracles Happen

The next morning, about nine hours later, after my daughter gave blood at her school, she and I went to the hospital to see him again. Things had changed dramatically. Though he was obviously on pain medications, he was alert and knew what was going on. The breathing tube had\ been removed. He was able to talk to us. Everyone was amazed by how fast he came around.

We stayed until visiting ours were over and went home, took naps ourselves and returned that evening. He was even doing better. He had a full liquid lunch and then had eaten a regular dinner. He had even walked while we were gone. Barring a major set back, the nurse agreed with me that it was not unreasonable to think that he would probably be going home by Thanksgiving. I saw the surgeon on Saturday night and he told Jeff that he was amazed at how well he was doing after what he saw during surgery. It was, in my opinion, a miracle. ,What a relief!

Previous plans changed. My husband\ and daughter were planning to go to visit her sister’s family in Colorado over the holiday. That obvious wasn’t going to happen. However, my son and his girlfriend from Washington, DC had also planned to visit me during that same holiday. They are still coming and my husband\ and daughter will be part of that too, so it will still be a good day. All the more reason to be grateful.


My daughter when she was in the third grade. she is a natural when it comes to confidence.

My daughter when she was in the third grade. she is a natural when it comes to confidence.

Last post, we talked about what we could do to appear confident. Today, we are going to discuss what we can do to feel more confident.

Walk Faster

When I was in the Navy reserve, I learned a little trick that helped keep me out of trouble even when I didn’t have anything constructive to do. I learned to walk in the halls and not stroll where I wanted to go but walked fast (and carrying a folder with papers in it didn’t hurt anything either.)
Not only did it keep me out of trouble, but it also made me feel energetic and purposeful even though I was walking nowhere. Imagine what walking fast would have done for me if I had actually had somewhere to go.
People who walk fast walk with confidence. They have places to go, people to see and important things to do. Even if they are not in a hurry, walking fast increases self-confidence and makes you feel more important.

Exercise

Along the same lines as walking fast, physical exercise has a huge effect on self-confidence. After I lost weight, I realized how much better I felt. When I was out of shape, I felt insecure, unattractive, and lacked energy. By exercising, I improve my physical appearance, create more energy, and accomplish something positive. With discipline to exercise, I feel better and it creates positive momentum that I am able to build on daily.

Personal Commercial

I wrote a wrote a 60 second speech that highlights my strengths and goals. I recite it in front of the mirror aloud on a daily basis to boost my confidence.In addition, I read over the affirmations that I have been adding to over the past year. If I don’t feel that I have expressed that affirmation in my actions that day, I will focus on that affirmation the following day.

Expressing Gratitude

I try to avoid focusing on what I can’t do and prefer to dwell on what I can do. IN addition, I try to focus on feeling gratitude and expressing it whenever I can. Every night, I write down one or two new things to my gratitude list and read over the entire list and focus on feeling the gratitude. Gratitude helps me focus on what I have rather than what I have not.

Encouraging Others

A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a young man at work and found out that he was also a writer, but he suffered from writer’s block. I gave him a number of suggestions to help him get unstuck.
When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of encouraging others. By encouraging others, you build self confidence. By bringing out the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.

Raise Your Hand and Volunteer

In schools, offices, and public assemblies around the world, people constantly strive to sit at the back of the room and God forbid that they volunteer for anything. Most people prefer the back because they’re afraid of being noticed. This reflects their lack of self confidence. By deciding to raise your hand when something is asked for you to do, you can get over this irrational fear and build your self confidence. You’ll also be more visible to the important people who are involved in your network.

Focus Your Goals On What You Can Do For Others

Too often we get caught up in our own desires. We focus too much on ourselves and not enough on the needs of other people. If you stop thinking about yourself and concentrate on the contribution you’re making to the rest of the world, you won’t worry as much about you own flaws. This will increase self confidence and allow you to contribute with maximum efficiency. The more you contribute to the world the more you’ll be rewarded with personal success and recognition.

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 

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