Testing and worry

I hate medical tests! I don’t care if they are simple or not. The thing is they are finding out if there is something wrong with you. Apprehension is the name of the game. There is also the thing that the medical community can be so slow on reporting the results. You sweat and worry only to find out there was nothing. I may do this worse than others since I am a nurse. However, testing is done and I will more on from there. These were routine and I can check it off my list.

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Medicine is certainly not set up to help anxiety. Some tests require extensive time for results and that can’t be helped but for others there must be a better way. It is hard to watch someone who had tests for recurrent cancer have to wait a week to find out the results. The people doing most things like MRI’s and CT’s have instant results. The delay is getting it read by a physician and reporting the results to the ordering physician and then to the patient. Surely we can find a way to streamline this process.

waiting for test

 

Maybe they will report the results in my autopsy.

 

 

 

 

My daughter goes to a clinic that does Mammograms, Bone Density Studies, X-rays, etc all in the clinic. You have those done and then see the physician who ordered them right after. What a great system. We need more of this! I think I will move to where she is!

 

A “holy” task

I'm having trouble breathing.

 

Today I have been down. When I worked in the garden the other day I carried around a sprayer that was quite heavy. It was slung on my right shoulder and now I have a pulled muscle next to my shoulder blade in the back. The strange thing is it has caused some anxiety since I can’t breathe deeply.

This minor problem has made me appreciate what it must feel like to not be able to breathe properly. It is scary. I know that I can breathe just fine but a deep breath hurts. That make you want to take deep breaths.

Everyone has their physical problems. Some more than others but each of us has some part of our body that is weak. There is so much research that shows that even our mental health is physically connected. I wonder when everyone will realize that we are whole people and that our physical, mental and spiritual health is linked Medicine has grown in such a way that doctors know mostly about their own area. It is nice to see some practitioners using a holistic approach to treatment.

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We all must take care of our whole selves. It is a “holy” task.

Finding pleasure

bakerI have been cooking a lot lately. Mostly desserts. I have given a great deal of stuff away as we don’t need to be eating everything I make. I have been baking bread for years but am trying to hone my skill and make some different things. Some successes …some just so so. No real failures but I was not thrilled with them.

There is something creative about cooking. Most of my life was spent cooking for a family. Now there is just my husband and I most of the time I am not energized by our dinner menu. Nobody’s fault but mine. Breads and desserts are more fun.

I think this cooking has been therapeutic for me. It is better than just house and yard tending although some of that has suffered from my time in the kitchen. Oh well, it will still be there.. no genie will be coming to clean.

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Finding things that give you pleasure are important for maintaining physical and mental health. Being creative makes me feel good and that is a big plus. You may not find it in a job but find it where you can. Take the time to fit it in. Your demeanor will improve and life will just be better.

A raccoon tale

yard work2This was yard work day. I do have someone who comes once in a while and helps now. For years I have done it all myself. It is nice to have periodic help since there is so much to do. I get out early in the morning and enjoy the sounds and smell of the yard and, when tide is low, the smell of the salt marsh.

Today we had an unusual occurrence. There was a raccoon on the dock….in the daylight. Raccoons are nocturnal so having one out in the daytime is concerning. I recently noticed that something was climbing on the porch posts to get to the birdseed. I thought it was a squirrel but it left muddy footprints everywhere. That would be unusual for a squirrel

raccoonA few nights ago just before full dawn one of our dogs was on the porch barking like crazy.  It woke me up and I went to the porch to see a raccoon climbing higher to get away from the dog. I have never known raccoons to go after bird seed. It made me wonder if the raccoon was starving.

Today he/she showed up on the dock and we were worried about rabies. We have a good bit of that around here. We didn’t want to harm the raccoon so my husband called animal control and they came and captured him/her. They said they will check for rabies and if ok will release in a better place.

I hate seeing animals in distress. This turned out in the best way it could.

Keep fighting

I have been fighting IBSD for several days now. I am on the medication that helped last time. There is two weeks worth to take. I hope it works again. The last 7-8 months have been the best I have had in years. It is wonderful when something actually works.

If it doesn’t then back to the doctor again to see if there is anything else.

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It is so frustrating to have to plan trips and clothing around your physical status but I will keep on doing it as the alternative is to not do anything.

Mental_Disorder_Silhouette2Chronic problems can bite us in the $@#$&**. Aggravating and depressing. I have been free from this (for me) for such a long time that I had hoped it would be a new pattern. Now I have to backtrack and remember how I dealt with it. Life always brings new challenges and asks us to manage them. Here arise the coping skills that I had managed to put in the back of my mind. A stupid thing to do. There are some that I have faithfully continued so at least I am not starting totally over. However, I will increase the concentration on them.

Don’t we all wish that we could wave a magic wand and make ti go away? That is the lazy way out and won’t work. Controlling our thoughts and emotions requires work and energy. The trouble is that when we are down we don’t have a lot of either. We have to drag ourselves up and make do.

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I have done that today and will push myself. I will eat better….I have been really bad lately…exercise….get out doors…meet friends….meditate and anything else that helps. I am determined that I will not be beat by this challenge.

As the Bipolar Writer says:  Keep Fighting!

We are connected to the earth

In coastal Georgia, where I live, we have 7-8 ft tides. There is nowhere else along the southern coast where there is such a fluctuation. It is because of the westward dip in the coast. Today we had extremely high tides. I have not heard how high but such tides cause some coastal flooding on roads that are extremely low. It is not unusual for this to happen on a full moon and at this time of the year.

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When the tide is so high that we can only see a little marsh grass peeking out across Turner’s Creek we know it is well above normal.

Tide has an ebb and flow. It is related to motion of the earth. As human beings we also have an ebb and flow. The fluids within the cells in our bodies actually respond to the cycles of the moon and the motion of the tides.

Years ago my youngest daughter wrote a paper about the moon, tides and the increase/decrease of episodes of crisis in those with mental illness. She studied the admissions to psychiatric units and correlated it with moon and tide phases. it was a small study and not really enough to prove the relationship but there was an increase in admissions related to certain moon phases.

Nurses have forever said that hospital admissions, births and accidents have that same relationship although statistically it never shows up that way. As a neonatal nurse we usually saw more babies with problems at a full moon.

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I do wonder if we kept track of the times we ourselves have difficulty with mental health flare ups we would see some correlation. It would be interesting to know. It would help us to better understand the cycles of crisis and plan to be ahead of the curve.

 

 

Hit over the head

hit over the headMy grandmother used to say that sometimes God will knock you down to make you think. Sometimes we have to be hit over the head to see the obvious. With alcoholics or those addicted to drugs it is often reaching what is considered the bottom that wakes them to reality.

Just rolling along each day we can get into a routine that pushes aside any idea that something may be wrong. We are like ostriches hiding our heads in the sand. It takes a major event to change things.

In the 1980’s I was working hard and paying little attention to my health. My IBSD was so out of control that I ended up with ulcerative colitis. I spent the next three weeks in the hospital getting my health and my life back under control. I had plenty of time to think about how I ended up in that condition. I learned a valuable lesson.

pay attentionPay attention to what is going on both in your life and with you health. Putting off see a physician or mental health professional is not an option. Pull your head out of the sand and take stock of reality. I can save you being hit over the head by God.

Are we too clean?

It is interesting where our search for complete cleanliness has led us. We have gone too far. Doctors are now recommending that we stop using antibacterial soap except in places where it is really needed. We have created a society of people who are actually to clean.

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I grew up with a grandmother who was born in the 19th century. One of her adages was “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Turns our she was on target. A recent article by a British physician who has studied childhood leukemia for the last 30 years has come to the conclusion that our immune system has to be kick started by, you guessed it, infection. He has found that lack of push to the immune system linked with several other factors is what is increasing the number of children diagnosed with this disease.

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This is no fly by night physician but a newly knighted doctor named Mel Greaves.  If you would like to read the article you can find it at

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/30/children-leukaemia-mel-greaves-microbes-protection-against-disease?CMP=share_btn_link

It is an eye opener. I suppose that my great grandson, who is in day care and exposed to everything, may be safe from this dread childhood disease. At least I hope that there is some benefit from being exposed at an early age.

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God willing, this physician and those who work with him will continue to explore this lead and find a way to stop the increase in this disease.

 

I can’t hear but I don’t care

What-I-Cant-Hear-You-Jude-Samson-Culture-Transgender-UniverseIt is sad to watch people whose hearing in declining and who won’t do anything about it. When with friends you can see them sitting without joining in on the conversation. They can’t hear others but they are unwilling to get hearing aids. Unfortunately, I can see this in my group of friends. I am not sure why hearing aids are an anathema to them. They don’t realize that not hearing well isolates them from others.

I know that the cost of hearing aids has been a factor but recently tech companies have realized that the cost was being controlled by those in the business. Technology has grown to the point that it is possible to create decent hearing aids that work for most people. Before the cost was exorbitant but now it is possible to get help for a reasonable price.

help want toThe most recent studies have shown that not hearing well leads to a decline in mental acuity, withdrawal from social activities, and a decline in overall health. I still don’t understand why some seem to find using this simple tool as unimaginable. I don’t know what would be the trigger to undo this thinking but I wish I knew what it is. Discussing the impact with them (as a nurse) doesn’t seem to get through.

 

Why this kind of thinking?

What can be done?

Any ideas?

Wholeness: mind + body = wellness

feeling-sick

Today has been up and down. I realize I ran myself into the ground planning, traveling, cleaning etc to get ready for my husband’s surgery at Mayo. My immune system was bottomed out. So, after getting a cold while at Mayo, I ended up with a sinus infection and on antibiotics. I am someone who seldom gets sick and to say it unsettles me is an understatement.

I am worse than the parents of the children I saw when I worked for a group of pediatricians. The child would be put on antibiotics and the parent would call later that day saying he/she isn’t well yet. (completely true) I have been given an excellent treatment and I want to be well yesterday!

Feeling down and sick is not fun. I am not sure which is at the top but I guess it doesn’t matter.

There are so many people suffering with physical illness and coping beyond amazing. There are so many with mental illness who are also suffering and coping. My oldest daughter worked at a children’s hospital in a unit called “Adolescent Med-Psych.” That unit cared for teens who were having mental problems because of their physical problems or the reverse. They handled teens with diabetes who didn’t care for themselves, and anorexics with who had created physical problems from their diet. Some patients had severe mental illness that had led to physical problems. I don’t know how she worked there. The anguish of both teen and family must have been horrible. She loved her work.

Many of us don’t take care of ourselves. We let our emotional problems cause physical symptoms. Conversely, we can’t cope with the physical problems and let them move over into emotional problems.

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I think the coping skills for the two things are similar. We are whole. We are not a separate thing. Our minds and our bodies and forever connected. To flourish we need to care for both. The things that we do for our mental health help out physical health. We know that meditation, mindfulness, and managing stress have a powerful affect on our bodies. Keeping up with needed physical exams is also critical.

We need to continue to learn and use coping skills that work for us. Not everyone is the same. Keep testing and trying different things until you find what works for you. It will pay off in big benefits in the long run.