WEST OF THE SOUTH BEACH (Part 3 of 4) in Katy, Texas

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, I left Katy at 4:00 to go to my home in Houston to write my monthly children's story, using my computer. I had 19 calls on my answering machine!

Wednesday, Sept. 14, I awoke at 10:30 and rolled over to get out of my bed. The room rolled with me! It was frightening! If I just turned my head the least bit, the room would spin around. This never happened to me before. "Am I dying?" I asked myself. I eased over to the phone on the bedside table and called Dortha. She leaves her car at a Park-and-Ride near her home and takes the bus to work. I said, "Call a taxi and come to my house. I don't know what's wrong, but I can't get out of bed and I'm afraid to be alone!" She arrived promptly!

I told her I hated to call my doctor because, "He'll probably put me in the hospital and run a lot of tests. I dread that." Finally, about 12:30, the dizziness was not as intense. I walked very carefully into the den. I left a message with Dr. Ware's receptionist. He called at 1:00. I told him I was over my Diverticulitis. I described my dizziness. He mentioned "Vertigo" and said: "No one knows why it happens. There's nothing that can be done. Just hold on to the walls. Get lots of rest. It should be gone in a week or 10 days. If not, we can run some tests to see if there is another problem. But there's no use doing anything now. The first 24-36 hours are difficult to pin down a cause; and usually, tests don't reveal anything. Walk carefully. Plan your falls. Your blood pressure was perfect, ll0/78 last week."

I said, "If you have a minute, I'll tell you what I thought about your $6.25 prescription for Diverticulitis." This got a big laugh from him. He said if he hadn't prescribed the generic brand, it would have cost $60. instead of $6.25. He told me all about this drug which was discovered in 1960. It was very interesting. We had a 25-minute conversation!

When I hung up the phone, Dortha said, "He sounds like a good doctor to have." I agreed. Not many doctors take a personal interest in their patients. Would he have been so kind, if I had angrily complained about the 3-hour wait last week?

Sunday, Sept. 18, we all went to Sunday School and church services at the First Baptist Church of Katy. The church took in about 125 refugees from Hurricane Katrina which destroyed so much of Louisiana on August 29. Dr. Randy White's sermon was very good, and especially enlightening to the hurricane victims. He preached, "Finding Hope in Hopelessness." No matter how bad things are, they can get worse! He told the story of Job which went from good to bad and from bad to worse each day until he lost everything he owned, including his health, in one week (chapters 1 & 2). In the first chapter of Genesis, God finished His creations and said "It was very good." Chapter 3 is not so good when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. In Matthew 1 & 2, Mary is happily planning her wedding,. Even though she was a virgin, she was pregnant! Because there were no rooms in Bethlehem, her Son Jesus was born in a stable. They fled to Egypt because King Herod ordered all babies killed! He told other stories.

Dr. White said, "You'll never take steps of improvement until you see how bad it is. But understand how good things are and how much better they can get. There are happy endings. Job gained double his wealth. Jesus left the riches of Heaven to become a servant on earth with no possessions. In Romans 3:23, we are all sinners. We struggle in sin. Paying for our sins is worse. Jesus took our punishment. Though His forgiveness is available, it is not automatic. We must ask for it. Jesus is ready to forgive (John 11:25,26). He's building mansions (John 14:2).

I left Katy on Sunday evening because I had an appointment with my cardiologist Monday morning. Kathleen fixed a keen green salad and tasty chicken breast for my supper. Cora called that night and said they had the best dessert so far called "Chocolate Cups" and would save mine for me when I come back. I missed the South Beach Oatmeal Pancakes on Monday morning. My sisters all agreed they wouldn't order them from a restaurant menu!

Monday morning, my air-conditioning would not come on in my car. I went to Adolf Hoepfl's Garage. They were very busy. I left my car. One of the mechanics brought me home.

I received really sad news. My great-niece, Jackie Mills Snodgrass, age 22, died suddenly from a seizure in her parent's home in Cleveland, Texas. I cried when my niece Nancy called to tell me about it. Jackie has a baby son 5-months old. Her husband is in the U. S. Army at Ft. Stewart Army Base, Ft. Stewart, Georgia. When he received notice to be deployed two months ago, Jackie and baby Luke left Georgia and came to Cleveland to stay with her parents.

My car didn't get fixed until 5:00 Tuesday evening. I stayed home. I had a lot of "stuff" to do on Wednesday. The whole city was ordered to evacuate because of Hurricane Rita coming in our direction. It was predicted to do as much damage to Houston as Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans! I put a few things up on my dining room table. (The stuffed chickens!) A neighbor disconnected my computer and put the printer up on a card table, in case of flooding.

It is 25 miles from my house to Cora's. I left at 6:30 and arrived at 9:30! This was the worst traffic tie-up in the history of the United States. All roads and freeways were congested with bumper to bumper traffic. People ran out of gas, water and food. Some died in their cars! It was terrible. I traveled 5 MPH in stop-and-go traffic on Clay Road. The freeways were worse.

I was so stressed out by that 3-hour trip, I could not get out of my car for ten minutes before going inside Cora's house. I said, "If I was Hurricane Rita, I wouldn't bother coming to Houston. Everybody's prepared; even leaving town." Sure enough, it took a turn and hit the city of Beaumont, Texas which certainly wasn't prepared. We didn't even get rain or wind in Katy.

Robert came in from Longview to take Kathleen away from the hurricane. They left at 8:00 p.m. and got home at 6:00 a.m. -- 10 hours later! We called Kathleen our "Cinderella" because she was always slaving away in the kitchen. We miss her!

Jackie's funeral was in Cleveland, Texas on Thursday, Sept. 22nd. Jerry and I planned to go, but we couldn't get out of town. All roads were jammed with the evacuation. None of the family on this side from Cleveland could go there. It was so sad. James is leaving baby Luke with Debbie and Wiley (Jackie's parents) until he knows what his future is with the Army.

Cora said, "To make you feel better, I'll give you that Chocolate Cup we saved for you."

"Sounds great!" I was sitting at the breakfast table with my back to the kitchen, so I could not see her. She walked behind me and set this saucer down in front of me. In the center, was a chocolate "cup" no bigger than a thimble -- about the size of your first thumb joint -- filled with a dab of custard inside. It was the smallest "dessert" I ever saw! We all roared with laughter.

Can you imagine the situation: I was expecting an 8-ounce chocolate cup full of vanilla pudding!

The South Beach Diet permitted ONE of these for that night's dessert! I could have eaten eight!

The recipe called for "8 Astor Chocolate Liqueur Cups (available at liquor stores)", and at the end, it says, "serves 8!" That's ONE each! They are filled with one 3-1/2 ounce vanilla-flavored sugar-free vanilla pudding mix topped with lite frozen whipped topping, thawed.

Cora and Kathleen went to a liquor store. The cups, about 1" high and 1" in diameter, came 12 to a box for $6. They asked the clerk how they were used. He said, "People serve them with a shot of liquor inside." When Kathleen prepared them, she couldn't imagine eating just one (a BITE-size dessert!). She broke the rule, and everyone ate three!

Thursday, Sept. 22, I was reading the South Beach Diet Book and made an amazing dis- covery on page 100. I read it to Cora and Elaine: "The South Beach Diet doesn't require you to measure what you eat in ounces, calories or anything else. The meals should be of normal size--Enough to satisfy your hunger, but no more than that!!! We strongly encourage you to eat until you're no longer hungry… People lose anywhere from 8-13 pounds during the first two weeks."

"We've been eating too much! Call Kathleen back. We have to do this over! No wonder we couldn't lose weight. I told y'all it was too much food." Elaine and Cora read the book, but

didn't remember that paragraph! Neither did Kathleen. We had to eat the full menu amount.

How many times have I read in my Bible, "I would not have you ignorant?" God wants us to be well informed. He instructed the writers to give us information we need to know about.

It's important to read the Bible every day. I should have read the South Beach Diet book also.

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