Archives for category: health

I’m sipping the last of my second cup of coffee. It’s a Friday; I might have a third, later. I’m in pain, mostly managing it. I’ve felt the tiniest bit “under the weather” since yesterday, as if fighting off a head cold. I feel… tired. Bone-deep fatigue unrelieved by a good night’s sleep. Rested – still tired. I struggle to fully engage routine tasks. I don’t feel wholly alert. I struggle to resist distractions.

I find myself becoming annoyed with myself over my “lack of motivation” at the end of what has been a ridiculously busy work week. My inner dialogue begins to become aggressive and adversarial, and a tad “punishing” and disrespectful. I could take time to try to sort out where all that garbage and mess comes from… or I can take the break I so clearly need, and do a good job of that, instead. I mean, clearly I learned this self-abusive unproductive bullshit somewhere, but those sorts of ugly relationship dynamics are not a regular part of my everyday life now. I can just “let all that go”, and make a point to willfully treat myself with more kindness and understanding. To embrace my own “Big 5″ relationship values – even in my relationship with myself.

I’ve got a long weekend coming up. I feel my shoulders relax when I think about spending time in the studio painting. As I imagine the moment, and anticipate the feeling of “treating myself” to that creative time, I feel my shoulders relax, and a smile begin at the edge of my mouth. I imagine hiking my new favorite local trail, again, and doing some sketches there, and returning to canvas and paint at home. I imagine sleeping in, and waking slowly. I imagine waffles for brunch, and little breakfast sausages, piping hot, fat crackling and popping in the pan. I imagine putting my feet up with a new book, and sipping a glass of sherry as twilight becomes nightfall. I imagine spending quiet time with my Traveling Partner, and long leisure hours discussing one plan or project or another. Rest and art and love seem like good things to spend the weekend on…

…I straighten my posture, and look over this spreadsheet, feeling just a bit less beat down, and ready to finish this week… One more way to begin again. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee, lukewarm, no longer “fresh”. I find myself in a “work with what you’ve got” sort of place this morning. What I’ve got is a sink full of dirty dishes, and aquarium with an overgrowth of green hair algae, and a massive fucking headache. I mean, just being real; I ate the food that those dishes had supported. The aquarium with the algae? Mine, and I chose the placement in the room when we moved in, which has too much light for the aquarium, and as a result I have a common nuisance that is algal blooms. The headache? Okay, so, sure… it’s “mine”, and obviously I did not choose or created it by intent, but making a big deal out of it when I have had this same fucking headache (worsening somewhat over time, but yeah, same headache) since… 2014, seems pointless.

…Giving credit where it’s due though, this headache has done a first rate job of sticking around, and slowly developing a more precise location and greater likelihood of moment-to-moment continuation without relief… 2014? Fucking hell. 6 years with this fucking headache. Now that’s a fucking headache. I do find myself just a bit impressed by that, in an irritated, resigned way. I mean… if headaches had a culture of their own, surely this headache would be receiving accolades from peers, and doing the talk show circuit about its success? lol

Most moments are just moments. We create the context and significance.

Still. Here is where I am. Now is the moment I’ve got to work with. So. Moving past “it is what it is” (and it is), and reaching for one new beginning after another (and appropriate pain relief steps, however futile seeming)… I’ve either got to yield to this shitty experience, or let it go and do something else… or find a different alternative. Verbs. Choices. My results vary.

I sip my coffee. Now cold. The darkness of the room is mocked by the appearance of the morning sun, through the window shade. The whir and hum of the computer is dimmed by headphones I’m wearing, although I’m not listening to anything that requires them. I mean, besides the whir and hum of the computer, itself. I sigh out loud. One moment of many, and there is an entire day still ahead and things that want to get done. Those dishes for starters. The aquarium maintenance. Ordinary tasks, life to live – headache or not. I’ll work off some of my irritation with some exercise (Beat Saber? A walk?), and by getting some chores done. I’ll have another cup of coffee, and exchange pleasant words with my Traveling Partner.

I find myself wondering, for a moment, how more primitive humans dealt with things like massive chronic headaches? Did they feel cursed? Possessed? Did they lash out at others? What did primitive human beings know about “self-care”? Was that something they were at all concerned with? “Survival” and “good self-care” seem pretty far apart on the spectrum of things people are concerned with…

I smile when I nudge myself to consider recent lovely moments. My Traveling Partner’s birthday was lovely. I’m grateful for the joy we share. I think of a recent busy work day, and a wee dish of unexpected ice cream delivered during a meeting. I reflect on conversations shared with my partner. Goals. Expectations. Thoughts about future projects and quality of life improvements. The routine matters of living and loving. The delight of an unexpected nap, together, side by side on the recliner sofa.

…Fuck this headache! It is too small a part of my experience to get to call the shots on this day.

I finish my cold coffee, and begin again. πŸ™‚

I woke too early this morning, got up to pee, went back to bed to grab a few more minutes of precious sleep. So tired. Ready for it. I laid down, instantly comfortable, and started to drift off…

…The world seemed to spin madly off its axis unexpectedly. Vertigo. Fuck. How bad would it be this time? I held on to the edge of the bed (no idea why it reliably seems this should help, it doesn’t, really), hoping it might just clear up right quick and perhaps I’d still sleep… No such luck. I rolled ever-so-carefully onto my back, reminding myself continuously in my head that the spinning isn’t real. I reminded myself to remain calm. To breathe through it. To let things settle down, patiently. This makes about half a dozen serious vertigo “events” I’ve experienced since the first one, which was, as I recall, back in 2014? 2015? Before I moved into my own place. After menopause, but before the headache came. It doesn’t matter in the moment that I’m enduring the vertigo, just gives my mind something to play with while I wait it out… like a string, offered to a cat. I remind myself to follow up with my GP that the vertigo is still “a thing”.

Best I can figure, with what I know, I most likely slept in one posture for too long, that may have pressed my neck “too bent” in one specific direction (in this case, tilted away from my left side toward my right, as I slept) and when I laid back down (on the other side, head bent in the other direction)… vertigo. It remains sufficiently rare that I count and make note of every occurrence. It’s problematic mostly because, from my own perspective, it is scary as fuck. It passes, though.

I moved on with the morning. Greeted my Traveling Partner. Made coffee. Read the news, briefly (long enough to be certain I didn’t find anything word actually reading waiting for me). Then face getting on with the work day ahead of me.

When I sat down at my desk, I leaned left (and tilted my head, also left) to turn on my laptop – vertigo. Fucking hell. I sit upright. Posture very correct. Very still. Breathing. Waiting. Holding the edge of my desk. When it passes, I go back to sipping coffee and start the work day.

It’s worth noting that I’ve recently been trying to get back to working on fitness goals. I enjoy playing Beat Saber in VR for some of my exercise – super fun. I started getting back into that over the weekend after some months away from it (the move, then time just got away from me). It’s rather taxing on my neck, and seems the likely cause of this recurrence of my vertigo. I find myself bothered that it has become “my vertigo”… a thing I deal with often enough to consider it a thing I deal with. Fuck.

Well… damn. I guess it amounts to another opportunity to practice healthy practices. To take better care of the woman in the mirror. To take my fitness needs seriously, but also approach them with consideration and care. To be patient with myself. To be thorough about taking note of changes in my health generally. Adult shit.

The day has begun in earnest. The sky is gray, the day chilly. My arthritis pain is noteworthy, but I am distracted by my concern over the vertigo, and overlook it for now. I need more coffee. There is a long holiday weekend ahead, and it’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Rainy weather has returned to the Pacific northwest. I’m okay with it – I like the rain. It’s pure unfortunate coincidence that my arthritis pain flares up in wet weather. Also, right before wet weather. Also, when the weather isn’t entirely certain whether it wants to be wet or dry, or chilly, or cold… I mean, it’s not much of an exaggeration to admit that my pain subsides most notably in very hot, dry weather in hot, dry climates… and that’s not even “for sure”. I can’t count on it.

Rainy autumn days aren’t even rare or surprising around here.

I can at least count on change. Change is. I hurt right now, and I see the sun peaking out from behind morning rain clouds. Well, okay… so… this moment is painful, but the next one? It’s not a given, and I don’t know. Allowing room for uncertainty, in this instance, is supremely helpful. Rain or not, and whether or not I am in pain, I’ve got a life to live.

Perhaps a walk later?

I started out for a walk yesterday. The rain took a sudden turn for the worse and the tickle became a downpour that wasn’t well-suited to long walks. I shrugged it off and returned home. I glance at the time, and at the sunshine filling the studio, for now, with warmth and light. Maybe the sunshine will still be around later this afternoon?

I take a breath, and relax. I stretch, and get up from my chair and move around some. I take a moment to recall whether I’ve already taken anything for my pain today…? Maybe it’s time. The day continues, as days tend to do.

It’s time to begin again.

The evening light trickles into the studio through small gaps in the semi-sheer fabric blinds, along the sides, and through small holes for the strings. I’m sipping water, thinking about making dinner, and considering the election – and Giftmas. The winter holiday season is so close at hand. So is the election. (Although, to be fair, I live in Oregon, and I voted last week. Done.)

My perspective on some elements of the winter holidays may have changed just a bit with the move into our own home… I find myself pleasantly disposed towards lawn ornaments, and outdoor lights. lol It’s been… literally never, that I could realistically consider anything fanciful or elaborate for outdoor holiday lights or decor. One downside of apartment living was that the lawn and exterior details simply aren’t part of the rental, in my limited experience. So… none of that, then. Or… if at all, quite likely very little.

I found myself stalled in a big box hardware store the other day, gazing wide-eyed at… lawn ornaments. Yep. Giftmas has already arrived in retail purgatory, and it is lit. LOL

…Or…I could wait for actual deer to stray onto the front lawn. It’s a thing they do. πŸ™‚

The point though, to my musings this afternoon, as the sun drops low, isn’t about the actual lawn ornaments, or their cost, or whether it is too soon for holiday dΓ©cor to dominate my thoughts… or even the upcoming election, which is already wholly irrelevant to me for now, having already voted; it’s about the change of perspective. The altered point of view. The fact of it – and also how little it really took to find myself experiencing a change in thinking.

In this particular instance, I did not seek or manufacture my change of thinking. My point of view has been altered quite literally because my point of view is altered; I moved. What I see outside my windows each day is different. The door I see as I walk up to the front door is a different door, opening onto a different way of experiencing my life. New context. New environment. New challenges. Change is. It hasn’t all been effortless joy, fun times, or relaxed – or relaxing. The light switches are not where I expect them to be. (Some of the challenges are frankly quite silly, and very individual.) There has been a lot of work. A lot of upheaval – which is difficult even when I welcome it. I’ve grown, and sometimes in ways I did not expect, and wasn’t looking for (and did not know I would be a better version of myself thereby).

Lawn ornaments.

…Weird way to take note of growth and change…

…You know, I very nearly don’t have a container garden now, too… Had I mentioned that? Yeah… the deck is lovely as it is, without the clutter of a lot of pots, and the spiders and dirt and work that go with them… I had to get super real with myself; I’m only up for a certain amount of work, generally, and I have often fallen way behind on caring for my container garden. With the move I had some decisions to make. I do love that forest view. …And… I’ve also got a nice bit of front yard that is pleading with me to put in the effort there, creating a lovely cottage garden suited to my taste. I probably don’t have the sustained strength and purposefulness to garden both in the front and on the deck. I decided to leave the lovely view of the forest beyond the deck uninterrupted by potted roses… the roses, at long last, can put down roots, too. That gives me so much joy… and a reason to think about lawn ornaments with the future in mind.

…I still don’t know where the roses will each go… it needs more thought.

I finish off my water, and the sun sinks a bit lower. It’s time to begin again.