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Posts Tagged ‘health’

A little more than a week ago I came down with a cold.  No big deal, except this cold had fever, chills, nausea, and a bark-like cough.  Maybe it was more than a cold.  I don’t really know.  What I DO know is that it knocked me on my backside and I was down for the count.  As a rule, I don’t get really sick.  I’ll have a sore throat and some nasal discomfort that will last a few days, and I can usually work through it with little aggravation.

Not this.

I couldn’t read.  I couldn’t focus.  I certainly couldn’t drive.  I went to Church last Wednesday and was promptly sent home.  I guess I looked as bad as I felt.

Now, there was a time when I’d have fought tooth and nail to be there.  Not this time.  I was sick, I was tired and I needed rest.  When I realised I had two very capable people who could take the service for me I came home, changed into my pjs and went to bed.  I woke up 9 hours later feeling more like a human being.  But still not well.

I struggled through the rest of the week.  Drinking copious amounts of tea, water, eating toast.  Not really much of an appetite, and I was determined that I would be well enough for Sunday.  And I was.  Barely.

I preached and celebrated both services, but little else.  Thankfully I had licensed lay ministers who made sure the other parts of the service were covered.  It worked well.  And after service we postponed Bible Study, I came home and went to bed.

Monday was a full day, as was today.  Tomorrow is a full day, as is Thursday.  And Friday I’m finally getting my hair cut.

There was a time when I could shake off a cold.  I could fight through it.  Not anymore.  And as I reflect on how weak I still feel, I am horrified that I used to work when I was sick, so sick I would share my sickness so others would be sick.  That’s not good for anyone.

I finally got to the chiropractor and realised it had been two months since my last adjustment.  The intake process took the better part of an hour, and I was finally adjusted.  It was a loud adjustment and I felt much better.  Today I’m sore again, but thankfully I see my chiropractor again Thursday morning.

Now I need to find a registered massage therapist, a family doctor and a dentist and I think my health care team is in place.  One thing at a time.

I think I’m beginning to get the hang of this self-care model.  Look at me go!

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I am less than a week away from two glorious weeks of vacation. And of course, we are in the midst of a horrendous heat wave in the part of the world where I live. So instead of bustling about, I’m sitting in front of a fan, praying for the weather to break.

I’ve got most of the big things in place to be away. I have the bulletins finished, just need to pick up one set from the printer. I have the readings selected and ready to go for the weeks I’m away. I have pastoral calls prepared for this week.

What I’ve not done yet is prepare my clothes, plan the itinerary and start packing. All of these things are fun but I need to get other things done first, including cleaning my house. Ugh. If only the weather would cooperate, so I could get up and do something without dissolving into a puddle, that would be awesome. C’mon Mother Nature, help me out here.

I am looking forward to two weeks of travel, leisure, yoga, stretching, fabulous food and drink, sleep and nature…not necessarily in that order. I have a new journal that I’m taking with me. I’ve not yet started writing in it, and I’m not sure why. But I’ll get there.

So, for the next couple of weeks, blog posts will be non-existent, but I promise to share all kinds of loveliness when I get back.

Can’t wait to get off the treadmill of “busy” for awhile. To redirect my rhythm and finally start to feel better. I am excited to feel better, for what will feel like the first time in a long time. But I can do it. I know I can. I have to.

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I have never had general anaesthetic before.  Pretty amazing given my age (47).  But it’s true.  I am scheduled for surgery on Friday and I’m nervous about it.  Not nervous about the procedure, the surgeon has my complete faith and he knows what he’s doing.  I’m not nervous about dying, because I’ve made my peace with God and am ready for whatever comes my way.  I am nervous about the anaesthetic and my reaction to it.

I’ve been preparing this week by eating a bland diet.  Drinking lots of water and herbal tea.  Detoxing the processed crap from my diet.  Breathing better.  Getting things in order at the Church for Vestry.  Asking a friend and Deacon to take the services for me so I don’t have to worry about presiding service less than 48 hours after surgery.  I’m even staying overnight at a friend’s house for a couple of nights to make sure I have someone with me.  Another friend is moving in to look after the dogs so they are cared for.

The massive anxiety I have been carrying was lessened significantly when I decided not to work on Sunday.  I know it’s our annual meeting and that’s a really big deal, but so is my health.  The work has been done to get everything ready; well, as ready as things can be for this meeting.  We must remember to leave room for the Holy Spirit.

I will be spending some time at the Church this afternoon putting things away as the office is a pigsty right now, sorting things out, finding files, filing them, etc.  And once that is done I will breathe a great sigh of relief.  I have full trust in our Wardens that they will do a fantastic job of Vestry.  I’d like to be there, but I don’t have to be there.  Vestry happened before I came to my current parish and it will happen again when I’m no longer there.

I have done what makes me comfortable.  I have organised as best I can.  The rest I leave in capable hands.  And it will be what it will be.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to refill my water bottle.  🙂

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It seems you cannot turn on social media these days without hearing about the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.  The idea, initially, was two-fold, to raise 1. money and 2. awareness about living with ALS.  It is a degenerative neurological disease in which the body slowly stops working.  It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the famous baseball player who was one of the first people to be diagnosed.

Sufferers of the disease lose control of their body, but never lose control of their mind.  It’s been likened to being buried alive or slowly suffocating in sand.  Not very welcoming images.

The controversy on social media is the perceived water waste for people who are taking part in the challenge.  I have seen lots of videos posted to Facebook and You Tube.  Some are dignified, some are humorous and some are disgusting.  Recently I was challenged to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  This hits very close to home for me.  One of my parishioners died from the disease last fall.  He was in his 70’s when he was diagnosed, which is “late” for diagnosis.  Another of my parishioners is currently battling the disease and she is only in her 50’s.  She has an 13 month old grandson.  Slowly, she is losing control of her body, is now full-time in a wheelchair.  

Her and her husband built a barrier-free house in the same community as her daughter and they are living with the disease. I decided, last Sunday, to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, on the front lawn at the Church by the Church sign.  In collecting from the folks attending church we generated $50 which I will mail to the ALS Society of London.

Folks are getting upset because water is being wasted.  And while that may be a true statement, Canadians and Americans waste an inordinate amount of water every day.  One person participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge will not make a child in Africa die of thirst.  It’s the same concept as not eating our dinner as a child would make a child in Africa go hungry.

I chose the front lawn of the church so the water could be return to the ground, sacred ground at that.  The ice was collected and used a second time for my husband and daughter to participate.  There was very little waste, in my humble opinion.

The other controversy surrounds the funds being pledged and generated.  Every non-profit charity is held to great scrutiny at times like this.  And they should be.  Administration can often make up 40% or more of funds received.  Back in the day when I had a “real job” I worked for three health-charities.  All of them worked on shoestring budgets and were not supported by United Way.  Our Administration stayed at approximately 8% which was considered high.

There will always be people who try to pull a fast one.  They will make a video and not donate.  Or collect money and not send it in.  However, the vast majority of people will send in money, will pledge to send money and follow through.  Standing on a fence built of moral high ground is not a fence that will be strong.  It will blow as the wind does and eventually you’ll be sitting flat on your butt.  A humbling experience indeed.

Do I support the ALS ice bucket challenge?  I do!  I did, and I challenged my brother and sister-in-law.  

Do I understand the cries about wasted water?  To a certain extent, I do.  And that is why we chose to be economical in the amount of water we used and in the location where the water was poured.  I do think there were some videos that were excessive, but I expect it was more about people trying to promote a greater video than to intentionally waste water.

The bottom line for me is that the challenge raises awareness about a disease that has no cure.  If 1,000 people now know about the disease, it was worth the media hype.

So everybody, please calm down.  If you don’t want to participate, then don’t.  But please stop shouting platitudes at those who choose to participate.

Every party has a pooper.

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When I was a little girl I used to stroll. I would hum to myself while playing, usually something I had heard on the radio, or a tune I made up. When I became a teenager I stopped humming and started rushing. I was always in a hurry, I walked quickly or ran wherever I was going. I took up cross-country running because it was a solitary sport. There was no team to worry about, it was me mesmerized by the sound of my feet pounding in rhythm on the hard soil trail. I wasn’t the fastest runner, but likely I was the most focussed.

When I attended University I was a nervous soul, always tapping or twitching, I wasn’t able to stand still. I was continually anxious and it was then that I was first diagnosed as anxious/depressed and given medication, which really didn’t do much. I felt like I was continually playing catch up, continually late. I would joke that I was born 3 days late and had been trying to make up the time since.

In reality I was in a perpetual state of anxiety. I was nervous all the time. I felt like I didn’t add up to anyone’s expectations. I felt like a failure and a fraud and kept waiting for someone to walk in the lecture hall, point at me and say “She is a fraud, she has no right to be here”.

When I graduated with my undergraduate degree and began working, I continued to run at a frantic pace. I would not leave my desk until all the tasks for the day were completed. I would leave myself a note so I would know where to begin the next day. Having to leave a file out and not re-filed would fill me with a sense of dread, of failure. No-one had ever said that everything must be finished, but I believed it to be so. And if I didn’t finish everything, and leave a spotless desk at the end of day, I felt like I had to play catch-up when I started work again the next day.

Eventually I ended up in hospital with the frantic pace that couldn’t be maintained. I realised that I would not finish everything that had to be done; that there would always be something not finished. Some projects would never be finished, and some would have to wait for other information, or for other people to complete. It bothered me, but it didn’t control me.

When I returned to school to begin my MDiv I developed a different work ethic. I would often come to class having not finished the required reading ahead of time. Sometimes my notes would not be complete. I always started projects and essays early so I could finish them in advance of the deadline, but often everything was due at the same time. So I would create artificial deadlines to get things in early.

I began to notice my environment, see the leaves in the trees, hear the birds singing. I still worked as hard, but not as frantic. When I was a Chaplain at our Diocesan Church Camp I would often stop in the middle of my day, go down to the lookout and pray. Or stand in awe at the majesty before me.

As I have entered middle age, I am still as busy as ever. But I find myself, on occasion, arriving on time or a few minutes late. Before, I would always be obscenely early and have to park a distance from where I was going and fret until it was time to go to the appointment/home visit, etc. Now I do my best to leave in time to reach my destination, but if I get held up, I don’t take it as a personal failure.

In the last month or so life has slowed down for me. I am as busy as ever, but I now leave things undone. I leave my desk untidy. And interestingly enough, I’ve started to hum again. Especially when I’m home alone and I’m finishing a task. Also in my car. I’ll hum along to the radio or turn it off and hum while I drive.

I believe I have finally reached that balance. I can leave things unfinished. I can move things on my list to another day, or to someone else. I am comfortable in imperfection. I am getting more and more comfortable with “good enough” as opposed to perfection.

Life is filled with surprises. And while, currently I am still completely exhausted, I am beginning to find the work/life balance.

I’m going to clean the fans before they installed for the summer. It’s a dirty job, but I will hum as I work. All work is God’s work.

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I know that technically, it’s still spring, but there is something about the warming temperatures, the open windows, the new life sprouting all around that makes me think of summer. Usually I have a project that I like to take on – one in the winter and one in the summer. For the last couple of years I have not been able to begin, never mind finish a project.

Lots of reasons, lots of excuses, and still the projects don’t come to fruition.

There is a room in the rectory that is large, has two sets of windows and a plethora of shelves. It also has two doors which close and stay closed, a rarity in 100+ year old houses. I am going to clean out this room, empty the shelves and make this room into a storage room. The reality of this house is that we don’t have a lot of storage. Things are stashed from place to place, but in any sense of order.

My plan is to simplify how I live. I’ve taken a great step with a new low-tech flip phone. It’s not a Smart Phone because I don’t need a Smart Phone. I need a cell phone I can carry with me. I don’t need to check email when I am away from the house or the office. What I need in a cell phone is something I can use as a phone (duh) something I can use to text, keep track of appointments and set an alarm. And my cell phone does these things and more. It gives me an indescribable joy to use. It’s easy. I like that.

I am going to go through all the things I have accumulated over many years and if I don’t really love it or have a reason for it, I’m going to get rid of it. If I like it, but don’t love it and don’t want to be parted from it, I will box it up for one year. If, at the end of that year I haven’t opened the box, it will be given away (or sold).

Same with my books. I have a couple of friends in Seminary who may benefit from the books I no longer need/have use for. What they don’t want will be given to a Christian book store/thrift store that will gladly accept them.

In short, I am downsizing. I am simplifying. I am divesting myself of excess ‘stuff’ in every aspect of my life. Clothing that doesn’t fit or doesn’t suit me. Shoes that are never again going to be worn, or were bought for a specific outfit which I no longer own.

Paper…good LORD, don’t get me started. I still have every university and seminary paper I wrote, along with lecture notes. I will likely keep my thesis and maybe a couple of special essays from my undergrad, but the rest will be shredded or simply recycled. The Seminary stuff, the same. Most of my notes and all of my papers I have stored electronically.

By the fall I will be living a simpler and (hopefully) happier lifestyle.

I will have rid myself of “stuff”. And it will be wonderful.

Who knows, by getting rid of stuff I may find myself losing some unneeded weight? That would be a most definite bonus!

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It seems that since Easter, things are not slowing down, and yet I am.

I am in a state of perpetual exhaustion. I’ve been to the doctor and she has sent me for blood tests. Something is wrong with the blood tests and I have to and get more done. On Monday afternoon I am scheduled to have another mammogram with “bonus” screens, and an ultrasound to follow.

My beloved and I are overdue to see our Marriage Counsellor and I think it will be a good thing for us to do. I am worried about my health and my body is beginning to tell me that I cannot continue at my usual pace.

Tomorrow there is a special vestry meeting at the Church and I was supposed to get some stats together. I have not. And I will deal with the fallout tomorrow. To be honest, I don’t really care what is expected of me tomorrow at the meeting. My Wardens are in charge, I need to be there. And if I get asked about stats, I will tell the truth. They aren’t done…and won’t be for tomorrow.

The month of May is going to be full of engagements. Some will be good, some will be difficult and most I am approaching with dread. What I am is tired. So very tired.

I don’t know how much time I will find to write. I think I hear my bed calling me now…

Until soon…

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