Update! On Merry & The Day Everything Became Crystal Clear
Last Fall, I wrote a story that was one of our most-read blog posts ever.
About how I adopted a lady who never sees the light of day. Because when she was in her 30’s, her health crashed.
My tennis teammate, Susan, had told me that she met a woman in a care facility in Orem, Utah. And that this woman with multiple sclerosis, Merry, wanted to show Susan one of her most prized possessions–a dog-eared, highlighted copy of my 12 Steps to Whole Foods course manual.
Only Merry can’t cook.
Now, at 63, with her long braided hair, and her unlined, Scandinavian skin that looks astonishingly like she’s 30 years old–
–she lives her entire life indoors. But she’s also in a care facility, and a wheelchair.
Merry tried valiantly to live independently, until a year ago, when her landlady broke a rib trying to help Merry up off the floor.
Merry had also unwittingly started a fire, because she cannot react quickly when something goes wrong, cooking for herself.
Since she has no children, no living parents, and no spouse, Merry is quite alone, except for minimal government assistance and the care of her LDS (Mormon) ministers.
I wanted to give you an update. Due to my travel schedule and preparing to move an hour away, I haven’t been to see Merry as much as I should.
But when I do visit, she shows me disappearing age spots, and tells me how much her lifelong digestive issues have improved—thanks to the twice-weekly delivery of green smoothies we have been sending, the past 8 months since we met.
(Partnering with the amazing Roxberry and owners Mark and Holly Jackman, who deliver me no-fruit, fresh-pressed green juices when I feel like I have more money than time to make it! If you live in Utah County, you can get deliveries, too.)
Merry tells me how she begs the cafeteria management for gluten free food, for more vegetables, for less meat and juice and sugar.
It’s a one-size-fits-all, rather depressing situation, the nutrition provided in care facilities, hospitals, and schools.
The most interesting development, recently, for Merry, is that at my last visit, she mentioned that she has backaches from her bed. Somehow, I’d never taken a close look at her mattress. The bed in her shared room is always neatly made, with photos and stuffed animals arranged on it, as if no one sleeps on it.
So I had to lift the bedspread up. What I discovered is that her mattress is about 2” thick, an old bed provided by the budget-conscious care facility, that has probably been slept in, for many years, by many other patients.
Merry’s not a complainer. But her world is very, very small. She said, “I sink into this bed and it’s very comfortable at first. Till morning, when it’s hard to get out of, and my back hurts every day.”
I went home and told intelliBED, who makes my bed (which was actually developed in hospitals, to prevent bedsores), all about Merry. I linked the owners to my original blog post about her.
I said to Bob Rasmussen and Jason Payne, “Hey, your beds last forever, so if you have a used twin mattress, and are in Orem delivering, I would love to get Merry a better mattress. I’d pay for it.”
They wrote me back and said, “We don’t want to give her a used bed. We want to give her a bed that serves her well, for the rest of her life.”
I was mind blown by this generosity, and so very excited for Merry.
These beds aren’t just the most comfortable, supported bed I’ve ever owned, but they also have no toxic off-gassing, which is a problem with virtually all other beds out there made primarily of polyurethane foam.
Beds and pillows made of synthetic materials, especially polyurethane near your face, off-gas volatile organic compounds for many years, which your body cannot eliminate easily, and cause cancer. You’re breathing these fumes for the one-third of your life you spend in bed. (Toxicity while you sleep is something most of us don’t think about!)
The photos are attached, of the day that Merry got the best gift she’s received in many years.
If you’d like to send Merry a gift or a letter–some of you asked, when I published the original blog post about her–
–here’s her address. (Send it to Merry, but I’ll leave her last name off this post to protect her privacy–but she’s the only one there with this name):
Orchard Park Post-Acute Rehab
740 300 E
Orem, UT 84057
I have asked Merry what she thinks led to her neurodegenerative condition. When she was a teenager, she developed a phobia of drinking water, or anything that would “slosh” in her stomach. Perhaps she had a sensory issue, since anything in her stomach annoyed her.
She went years with little or no hydration, and she wouldn’t eat anything, most days—except for home-baked cookies she would bake after school and binge on.
She remembers in P.E. class, in high school, that her right arm and leg would go limp. My guess is that while the disease did not sideline her, for another 20 years, this was the beginning of the destruction of her myelin sheath that protects her nervous system.
Please drink enough water and fluids. Please educate your children that what they eat in childhood builds strong bones, tissues, muscles, and a brain and nervous system that they need, to serve them for life.
Sometimes we don’t realize when our children are self-sabotaging. Watch them and don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as whether they eliminate feces the length of their elbow to their wrist every day. Is it soft, and does it float? It’s unique to American culture that we don’t talk about these things. They matter.
Find out how much water your children drink. Is it clean water? These are such basic issues, but Merry was getting terrible nutrition, and very little hydration, for decades.
We’re responsible for our children’s health until they are 18, and providing healthy food, as well as having lots of meaningful conversations about health, is part of the job. I wouldn’t blame Merry’s parents, but telling you Merry’s story is a great opportunity to think about conversations that seem very basic and logical, but are also neglected by many of us in our parenting.
(I talked to my youngest son about hydration and its role in his academic and athletic performance, and elimination, too, the day I met Merry and she told me her story. I think I took some of these issues for granted in my own parenting. Tennyson acted embarrassed and grossed out by the conversation–and that’s okay. Many cultures of the world discuss elimination regularly and it has no embarrassing or taboo charge.)
My “drip method” of talking about nutrition and health has led to my adult children, now 18 to 25 and living away from home, often reaching out for information and ideas. The older they get, the more interested they are in making meaningful commitments to their own health.
Please avoid neurotoxic ingredients in your food. Here’s a short blog post about why this is so important, and a free download of a printable card containing these ingredients to avoid.
You can tuck it into your wallet, so that when you shop, you avoid food additives known to do irreversible damage to your nervous system.
Most health issues, caught early, are reversible. Myelin sheath regeneration has never been accomplished by Western medicine, though fasting has been shown to rebuild it, which is exciting! Consider water fasting, or “fasting mimicking” (600-800 calories a day of plant-based, whole foods nutrition) a few days a month.
I would love for all of us to stop using commercial deodorants containing aluminum, and stop buying foods with known neurotoxins like aspartame and monosodium glutamate. This will go a long way toward decreasing our “toxic load” and keeping our energetic, electrical, and neurological systems healthy and protected.
We should also turn off our wi-fi, especially while we sleep, and minimize exposure to electromagnetic frequencies. Here’s our EMF Action Plan, another free gift, to clean up energetic pollution in your home and work environment.
Even though I’ve just moved to Park City an hour from Merry’s care facility, I’ll continue to watch out for her and make sure she’s okay.
Thank you for adopting or looking out for those who cannot provide for themselves. And for reading my blog and caring about our mission to help everyone learn to make small, easy changes to be healthier.
Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.