Tag Archives: being healthy

Miss Smartypants Bites The Dust

So for some reason I’ve been putting off writing this blog. I could plead fatigue. I could plead that my worries are so small in the face of all the disasters around us that I’m embarrassed to focus on me. But I realize most of it is avoidance and denial.

Our mother always said: Pride comes before a fall. This can be a crippling refrain if it plays constantly on your brain’s radio dial. But in the story I’m about to tell, it plays a big part. I let my ego take control and it all got out of hand.

I was so proud of myself at the beginning of May. Here was my mindset: Seventy-one years old and close to being in the best shape of my life!! Walking four to five miles a day, working out, doing yoga, eating well (well, mostly well), and in fantastic health. Working on my memoir, writing short stories, writing my blog! And I only needed 6 hours or less of sleep a night! Others around me might be aging, but not me!! I was like good wine. (Muscato fine vintage.)

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Then on May 25th, I got a sore throat. But because of allergies, I often get a sore throat and then it goes away. Or if I get a cold, I easily get over it. Positive thinking and meditation helped with that. I even wrote a funny blog about how sick I felt. But after a month, it wasn’t so funny. I made it to the important things like my grandson’s high school graduation, but I’d have to rest all day. My brain was a little fuzzy—I’d mean to say kitten but I’d say cotton. Even though I couldn’t manage to go to a manicure appointment (that should have told me how sick I was) I managed to finish a memoir piece about being sexually harassed when I taught school in the Sixties.

And I did start to get better. “I can tell I’m turning the corner,” I’d say to people when they asked if I’d gone to the doctor. “Look at Rachel Maddow. She had this thing too and it knocked her out of work for over a week.”

But then I started to get worse. I began to feel like a vintage wreck.

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“You’re still coughing?” my son said at the beginning of July when they returned from their trip to Thailand. “What did the doctor say?”

Well, unfortunately my doctor was away on a trip also. And it was a holiday weekend. I found out a month later that no one had really read the results of my chest X-ray to see the pneumonia and other issues. So I kept going like the little engine that could barely get up the hill. I thought I should be done with a cold so I started walking three miles. Yeah, not so smart.

After two months I went to Seattle. My daughter took one look at me and called her doctor. We went first thing the next morning: her doctor diagnosed walking pneumonia and I got on an antibiotic. It probably would have been better if she had said I had lying down pneumonia or stop what you’re doing pneumonia because I thought I could still walk around. Me, who thinks I’m so smart, just didn’t hear the message that I needed a lot of rest.

I guess my hearing is non-existent when I’m supposed to be listening to my body. I always push myself beyond my limits so was I going to quit now? No, not me. I went to Canada as planned and to the Bruno Mars concert. IMG_1719

 

I didn’t cancel plans with friends in Seattle though I was having trouble breathing, especially in the smoke filled air. I couldn’t really talk because it made me cough, but I went to a party and tried.

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I could go on and on, and I did. When we got back home, I finally shut down.

 

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So now we’re past the third month. I am better. I am. I’m trying to do less while keeping up with must get done. I prioritize better.

I’m not good at staying in bed. I get antsy. Fortunately, I’ve kept busy at home with little projects. Researching sponges was fun!

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Yes, I did become addicted to Facebook and the news.

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I found Facebook to be similar to leafing through magazines in the old days when you were sick. Oh, and shopping online!

I always try to learn from my experiences. This time I’ve learned that I’m an idiot. My husband is happy with that thought, and the fact that I’m no longer giving him advice on how he should follow doctor’s orders. The blind can’t tell others how to see.

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Okay, there’s more to this story, but I’m tired. I think I might listen to the doctor’s advice and go rest. He did go to medical school, after all.

 

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Here’s to Your Health!

imagesOne of the things that is so easy to take for granted is good health. We don’t appreciate it when we feel healthy—we don’t even notice. This past six weeks has been an eye opener for me. I went into my knee surgery with a blithe arrogance. I’d worked on keeping my quads strong before the surgery and knew that I would follow the doctor’s and physical therapist’s advice to the letter. There’d be no problems, I was sure of it.

What’s that expression? Woman plans and God laughs. Yep, all my plans went up in smoke.

I hadn’t had as much as a cold for four years before I was hit with a tough virus in November.

“Did you have a flu shot?” our daughter asked.

“I don’t believe in them, “ I said after I’d worked through a coughing spell.

“I never get sick.”

I don’t believe in antibiotics either, but I ended up with walking pneumonia that time so I had no choice. Then I coughed so hard I threw my back out—painful.

Fast forward to March. Surgery went super and my knee was healing well. Then we flew to Seattle. I was careful, using a cane to negotiate rain-slicked streets. We loved seeing our grandson play his trumpet in a concert and visited with family. My husband and I both had headaches the last day, but didn’t think much of it.

The morning we left, our headaches had moved to body aches, but we thought it was just the rain making us achy. We thought we were so tired because of jet lag. We thought our sore throats were allergy related. We were wrong—we were both sick and getting sicker.

“Well,” our daughter said when I told her, “at least you had the flu shot, so it won’t be as bad as November.”

I didn’t answer right away. It was that role reversal thing—I felt like I was the kid and she was the mother whose I advice I hadn’t followed.

“Actually, we didn’t get the shots. We thought we didn’t need them,” I said. “And I’m sure it’s just a cold.”

Even though we were on the phone, I could sense my daughter rolling her eyes.

After a few days of fevers, chills, cough and excessive nose blowing, we called the doctor.

“It’s a virus going around. Cancel everything for the next two or three weeks at least. If you start to feel better and go out, you risk getting a relapse,” he said.

What? Two or three weeks? That seemed crazy. How could that be? Even though I developed laryngitis, I still taught my class—then I was in bed for three days. My husband tried playing golf, but lasted only nine holes. And then was in bed for three days.

But I didn’t give up planning. Our children and grandchildren were coming for Spring Break and I made a list of all the things we were going to do—the Living Desert, the air museum, the art museum, the water park…Ha, Ha, Ha!!! I didn’t leave the house.

Then I coughed so hard, I threw my back out again. This time, my back went into spasm. It felt like my back was being torn apart if I moved the wrong way–I was deathly afraid of coughing or sneezing. No exaggeration. I was in a constant state of fear. No matter how I tried to relax, I was gripped with apprehension. None of my stress reduction methods worked. I was afraid to lie down in bed because I wasn’t sure how I was going to get up. I couldn’t turn over without a spasm contracting my lower back. I had to crawl off the bed on my stomach and then grip the bedside dresser to work my way to standing.

This morning I woke up and tried moving from my back to my side. Easy-squeezy! For the fun of it, I reversed the move and it worked! I realized that before I’d believed this was a basic entitlement in life—that you could move freely and comfortably in bed. Now, I know not to take it for granted.

Nor will I take feeling healthy for granted. I know this month has been just a window into the lives of so many who are suffering ill health. I am so appreciative to becoming out of my own little hell.

As for my knee? It became the step-child. Physical Therapy wouldn’t see me while I had a fever, and then they couldn’t work with my knee while my back was in spasm. So, basically, my plans to be perfect got blown out of the water. Ha, Ha, Ha!!!

Do you think I can learn something from all this?

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