Acing The Learning Curve — Because Life Is Like Photography

We develop from the negatives

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Sometimes completely unexpected and new situations arise that involve a lot of re-organizing, learning, and adjusting.

I lost my father-in-law three years ago in November and we were reminiscing about him. He was a wonderful person with a great sense of humor, supremely knowledgeable, and talented. Always fun to spend time with.

I couldn’t help thinking back to that time, years ago, when I was his caregiver for a few months. He was 80 at the time.

We brought him home directly to Bangalore from Chennai, where he lived, following an emergency hospitalization after a massive heart attack. He had collapsed after dental surgery and that triggered it. Without going into the details, here’s what was involved:

  • He was diabetic and his doctor had advised checking his blood sugar twice a day.
  • Insulin shot once a day.
  • Mashed food every couple of hours to maintain the sugar levels.
  • Constant attention as he was very weak and needed help to even get up.

Being under pressure is nothing new — life has trained me well. A long history of caregiving also helped.

But the thing that made me nervous this time was the blood tests and the insulin. Obviously, we couldn’t get the diagnostic lab to send someone every day and do it — too expensive.

I spoke to my local pharmacy and he suggested a glucometer, which would enable us to do the tests at home on our own and also be more economical.

Now, if you are familiar with diabetes, you’ll probably think, “ha!” and I’d be right there, laughing with you.

However, at the time, I was nowhere near that stage. The thought of doing these things every day freaked me out.

Then there was the insulin pen. Apparently simple, when you know how. I didn’t know how.

Added to this was the challenge of juggling work, my son, and all the other routine things that filled my life. Pretty overwhelming!

A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water

I am no exception; I am happy to say. Problems are opportunities to learn. And learn I did. Let me share my experiences of how I tackled this unexpected learning curve with you.

  • As a first step, I polished my already rather shiny sense of humor.
  • A smile became my favorite accessory after I read somewhere that “a smile is the most beautiful curve on a woman’s body”. Because who knew when I would get time to shower.
  • I literally transformed into a professional nurse overnight. I owe my training to past experience and the good Doctor Google, who is always patient with me and tries her best to give me the answers. (yes, Google is a woman. Did you not know?).
  • I sat down with a writing pad and my favorite pen, to list ways to make my life simple. What was my biggest challenge? Food. Coming up with different menus several times a day begged for planning.
  • I made meal plans. For the week. Then for the day. This helped me shop for groceries.
  • As luck would have it, I came across a store that takes orders online and delivers the same day or the next. What is more, I found the veg was cheaper and fresher. Who knew? Lucky me!
  • I already have a decent relationship with my local pharmacies and some grocery stores — so I had those purchases covered. Somewhat.
  • I prepped stuff the day before. I swear prepping greens was the weirdest thing because that had to done right before cooking. Unh!
  • I researched online for the diabetic’s diet and talked to others for practical tips. I found that good food choices are sprouts and greens. Salads make great snacks. Carbs, which means rice, white bread, bakery/fried/oily stuff must be minimal if not zero. Apples, pears, grapes, and oranges are good. No sweets. So I planned and stacked my pressure cooker to ensure I had the dish almost ready with very little to do in terms of cooking after that.
  • I did not cook separately for my father-in-law. I simply adopted the same low carb, high fiber, and salad-rich menu for the whole family. We love salads and fruits anyway.
  • I ensured the whole family ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. Only, FIL’s food was mashed.
  • I delegated duties to my husband and son and they came up like champs as usual. Mostly my son, bless his heart because the husband had a lot of work travel.
  • We watched movies and comedy shows together. Thought I might as well get those endorphins kicking in to speed up my FIL’s recovery.
  • We joked a lot about the blood tests, which would otherwise be painful — what with two-three tries, as it was tough to get it to flow.

Life is like photography. We develop from the negatives

Celebrating the learning curve

Truly, problems are opportunities to learn. And rejoice. So many silver linings. Yup! I looked for them!

Also, we had the added privilege of family time together. As I mentioned earlier, spending time with my FIL was always fun and I am glad we got that.

During this time, our son’s 10th-grade results were announced and we had a full house to celebrate. My FIL was thrilled he was with us at the time.

To keep myself in good cheer,

  • I woke up an hour early every day just to talk to my best friend. Laughter is a great way to begin the day. Especially when followed by bloodshed…um…I meant blood tests.
  • I blogged. I can’t always write in my head and hope others can read it, right? That technology is still in its nascent stage. Although, I strongly believe that best friends come very close. They intuitively know what I am thinking.
  • I played song tag with my friend. I would write a line…and he would answer with the next line.
  • I couldn’t have managed without my sister Vanita Cyril who was always there for me to chat with when I got online, making me laugh and giving me fun advice. And also indulgently listened to my ranting.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain.

We more than danced. It rained cats and dogs and the entire zoo — and we got drenched to our…skin — and yet we were happy.

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time. — Abraham Lincoln


So maybe worrying is like a rocking chair… and doesn’t get you anywhere. But once in a while, worrying in a cozy rocking chair is very soothing especially with a cup of hot coffee and a couple of friends for company.

Ironically, a year later, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. All that I learned looking after my FIL came in handy. In fact, it inspired me to start writing about diabetes.

My living with diabetes series, empowering better diabetes management:

In life, I believe we often stumble when we lack knowledge. Knowledge truly is power. The more we understand, the more ready we are to learn, the better we are able to deal with whatever is thrown our way.

Because this too shall pass. Just as the sun rises every day!

Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles ❤ Did you smile today?

One of the reasons I write is to support underprivileged children. Would you consider buying me a cup of coffee? ☕ You can also use Ko-Fi. Thank you so much!

Enjoy Kaz Rochford’s beautiful story about her mum.




A delightful place to spend some time, feed your soul, be inspired, and laugh a lot.

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Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness, Meditation, Parenting, Health, Travel, Life, Books. Showing my diabetes who’s boss. Visit:

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