Category Archives: Health

Breathe Through the Storm

Spring has sprung and the fireflies have arrived.  It feels early.  It’s only been days since the last freeze. . .

I watched one alight on the garden bed beam, and as I peered closer, it flashed wings at me with agitated antennae.  I took the hint and retreated back – and it was gone in that moment.  Absent.

We are in the midst of this storm of no precedence.  The unknown.  Varied in strength and strike and form.

The storm activity has been one of ‘take shelter’ here.  In tornado country we know how to be prepared for a short and harsh duration that may cause a term of duress… but this. . .

Prepare for taking care of family – too many in the scary category to comprehend.

Prepare to be home for extended periods…  write lists, revise lists, check lists.

The theme has been prepare.

Work was deemed essential.  Many hours were spent by the team to set up and roll out that particular preparation.  I and my office mates are nearly full remote now – a jerky transition wrought with change and chaos and frustration – then sprinkled with joy and anticipation from my perspective.  What I have oft longed for is now short term reality.

And so, after so many means of preparing in and around my own realm – I recognize, once I’ve slowed down, that I’ve gone bouncing and careening along this whole storm prep while moving over and through several stages of grief.

My emotions must also have been setting up buttresses of potential realities and … well … here we are.  I imagine you or someone you know has been staging through grief steps as well.

Fireflies have been spotted.  So have asparagus beetles.  I’m awaiting a particular wasp to cart in luggage and set up home base.

It’s been a while since I’ve been ‘present’ here.  I’m surprised to recognize that.  If you’ve been along for the telling, we moved a few years back, leaving established garden spaces behind.  But we’ve been busy here, building new spaces and options… and I had opportunity to .. inhale it ..  breathe it in.  Absorb it.

It’s good – we’re a good building team.

Greens are growing.  Life is abounding here.  Breathing space exists and just in time.

I hope this finds you well.  Recovering, or surviving, or staging the grief steps – no matter where you are, I hope you find well ..  are well, .. will be well.

Peace out.

Disconnected Hebrew

I am trying to reconcile life.  It’s going to get a bit messy in here, I’ll warn you now.

My last post (mere minutes ago) was about those considered essential workers for essential businesses in the good ol’ us of the a.

Feeling betrayed, seething with an underlying resentment.  I now understand why my recovering sorta alcoholic has resumed a pretty high daily dose of his favorite drinky-drink.  Why discussions are less comfortable and so we retreat to our spaces as his buzz wears off, hoping that I’m not falling asleep before we can have a comfortable discussion.

It’s not terrible.  Honestly.  We’re loners, both of us, so we do retreats well in our house.  Then we share space and chat, working through the daily grind, and sharing perspectives, sometimes debating, often agreeing… Good stuff overall.

Back to the point, back to where I was heading with this – divisions.  Resentments.  Differences.

Today, I am looking back.  Reading Exodus (Shemot) and thinking about the history, the story of the Hebrews being released, rescued from bondage by their Almighty, YHVH.

Much to think about there.  Instructions.  Inclusion or exclusion.  Divisions.  Consequences.  Definitions.  Schedules.  New normals.

And I mesh the news that I read this morning, the catch up information I received last night, the things I’ve seen and felt and overheard over the past week.

Churchgoers in my state are pressing against the gathering confines to be able to assemble in large groups on their holy day, my guess is that they are thinking themselves exempt from what may befall them should there be a shared germ amongst them.

I live in a state that is predominantly catastrophe denounced.  Most of the population that I have experienced are treating the current situation as an overblown attempt to control them, and so will not give space to those who are trying to be safe.  Their leader taught them well and they are holding fast to the early sermons from that pulpit.

And so my initial thought is – fine, let them assemble.  Germ in, germ out, populations decreased, so be it.  Because I am a witness to hearing a child two fences over  – who in the midst of playtime with other kids announced “I wanna be Hitler!!!!”

But that was a fleeting thought.  Because who am I to judge, truly?  And the child may grow up and realize the truth of the past and be truly remorseful for childhood play actions.

Who knows?

Here’s the serious part of my ramblings though – if you’re still here to read, and haven’t denounced me as a hate-filled anti-christ.

Quick truth – the same as I am not anti-social, but rather reclusive (assemble, I don’t mind – just don’t expect me to be there).  I am not anti-christ, rather I believe that the worshipped beings are false gods, of no worth or purpose and that only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the True God, Almighty.  One.  But I don’t have any problem with others worshipping their version of god.

So.  Again, the serious part.

Economy is only kept alive by the standard of debt.  An economy will only survive if peoples, companies, entities, feed the debt burden.  That’s economy in a nutshell.

So why is economy so important.  Consider that.

Why is safety not as important as economy.  Consider that.

Why keep the masses in debt and call it the health of the nation?

Barter.  Learn to garden, learn to barter.  Self sustenance.  Back to simpler lives, simpler times.

An extreme period of duress, for certain.  Hard changes, hard truths.  Hard struggles.

Hasn’t it already been hard amidst all the fineries?

Peace out, again.

 

Strangeness and Mind Struggles

Word on the streets is a “new norm”…

Normal redefined.

I pause.

I construct my ideal new norm.

It consists of working remotely, with the ability to step into my own garden two or three times during the workday, to reset my brain.

A bit of respite from the turbulence and chaos and mind-spinning element that work has become.

I am peacefully enchanted by the possibilities…

And then I get shaken with the jolt of reality from my spouse, my dearly beloved.

He shares his nightmare with me – a waking thing, a thought that consumes him.

His new normal is going in to work in a place, a space, an essential business factory environment where the ‘non-essential’ staff has retired to their own safe and comfy little spaces.

He relates that he wanted to solve a problem, where a unit of measure was incorrect in their ordering system, and so the 12 units they were ordering hit their department with a cost of $2400 because one unit in the system equated to one pallet, when in actuality, when he ordered one unit, he received one item, not a pallet.

So, he had the computer open to the issue.  (he’s extremely low-tech, so had no known method to share this information).

He took the laptop and walked to the office of the person who could help him solve the issue.

Abandoned.

A non-essential who retreated.

He was resigned to the fact that he had to continue to deal with a problem that could not be resolved by him.

He had no support.

And so, his nightmare thought – he and the workers alongside him are ‘being fed to the wolves’.

They are the cattle being forced to endure, out there, with no support, bringing in their own germs and attitudes, with no respite except to return home at the end of a long and mentally demoralizing day.

Feeling used – abandoned.  Left to be the slaughter for the safety of the non-essentials.

New Norm.

Fuck no.

Let’s look at the whole picture folks, not just the one we think fits us best.

 

Peace out.

 

Fence Straddling – Coping with Pandemic Concerns

Oft-times I ‘bury my head in the sand’.  I’m not quiet about this – I make no apologies for it.  This is my thing.  I avoid information and futz about in my own world, making pleasant thoughts and activities my norm, keeping out the clutter of (insert paranoia/drama/unknown reality here) what’s happening in the world at large.

It’s a cognitive bias of my own making, and I’m quite aware of that.  It is also conducive to my mental health, as I am overly devout at researching information from multiple online sources once my attention is piqued.  My work over the years has included the thorough research of regulations as they apply to workplaces in order to assist in compliance.  I have some history in this arena – while not a professional, I am experienced.

And so we arrive at the global announcement of pandemic.

Awareness seeped in to my consciousness in early January.  I poked around a bit, just enough to see the initial news reports and rebuffs, the blame and blame shift, and then the acknowledgements.

In February, I began a more thorough approach to my information gathering.  I’ve read news media, government regulations, pubmed reports over several years, and radiology and autopsy reports, genetic structuring, zoonotic diseases, RNA and ACE2 proteins.

I consider myself educated enough for my own satisfaction, but likely missing details for a thorough discourse of the whole situation.

**Strong Disclaimer:  I am not an authority on any medical, political, protocol or other issue **

Thus said, I am straddling the fence on what to say, how to act, shows of empathy, assistance to needy, and generally how to feel about those who I feel are making extreme errors in judgement calls.

So what I’ve decided to address here is the basics, a focus on being a prepared individual in any given circumstance, and how an overarching practice of empathy and sound rationalizations and judgement could be the world’s best approach.

COVID-19

Borders do not define or confine the situation currently in play.

The standard protocols of ‘herd immunity’ are for known virus strains, and this is an unknown – reports show that recovered patients have relapsed and become ill again (some instances, not all).

This virus originated with bats, a specific bat, in a specific area.  But the transfer from bat to (variable) to human was unknown when I last checked.  Similar to MERs or SARs, the bats host the virus and transfer.  How that transfer occurs is also unknown, but it is possible that it is via guano, making a possible case for a fungal virus.  How do you treat fungi in the lungs?  Not easily, and certainly not viably if your lungs are already damaged.

Children do not appear to succumb to the virus.  However, they may be carriers, shedding virus cells while toddling around appearing to be well – or negative for the strain.

Social and Geographic

The media, both social and news, have bordered on the ridiculous in the downplay of attention on the new virus.  Ridicule for preparations, ridicule for regulations, ridicule for responses, ridicule for origination – what does ridicule solve??  When has ridicule been the overall answer to a problem??  Does verbal lashing at people you cannot see face to face make one feel like a better person??

I challenge every person to focus instead on empathy, on a bigger picture than what you feel, or what you think, or what you may be afraid of.  I challenge you to focus on how to wake up every day and resolve to do the best you can today.  On whatever level you need to improve — except improving your tongue-lashing and witty cutting remarks.  Leave those behind and level up, make your voice a mature and informed one.  Make your actions reflect what you might profess as your personal code of ethics, and be the decent human beings we all have the ability to be.

Regulations and Preparations

With national declarations being made, education and self-regulating are a good approach to ensuring your personal comfort.

Seriously, would you rather limit your personal encounters to avoid contracting or spreading the virus (or the flu, since that’s being touted as a more pressing disaster)?  Or would you prefer going about as normal and awaiting the Command to Cease and Desist?  Be aware that the declaration has made such a command an imminent reaction, should the peoples not comply on their own.

With any oncoming storm, any perceived large situation, it is always wise to prepare.  Some people are naturals at this – having been extremely poor, I have been known to take a depression-era styled approach to keeping my family supplied.  I’ve had bare cupboards, bare refrigerator, been on a substandard and college style diet while raising a child.  I know duress.  Those in this situation may run out at an alarm situation and purchase items in abundance and without a cohesive plan.  Have you walked in their shoes?  No? Then shut up about how they act.

Back to prepare – as you are able, continue to purchase a few extra items at each trip to the market.  Get yourself prepared to isolate.  The storm is coming.  Panic will only put you in stress mode, making your immune system more susceptible to anything floating around – you don’t need the flu while you’re preparing for COVID-19.  Be safe, be calm, be logical.  What will you and your family eat?  Don’t purchase what you hate.  There’s no need to spend your bare resources on things that will not be used.  Breathe.  Make a list.  Make a plan.  Do it now and not later.

Think about the people around you, your family members and those unable to access resources.  Make a plan to assist them.  Talk to them and see what they may have already planned.  Communicate and calmly determine what needs to be done and what does not.

There may be a need to isolate and self-care for up to 30 days.  Know your resources, calculate your needs, and plan.

Summary

Be a decent human being

Stop bashing what others think, feel, say and do.  Unity in caring for personal needs should be your focus, not what others are or are not doing.  Accept that we are not all going to think, feel, act the same – but we are all living beings.

Prepare for changes.  Be flexible enough to change some things, to know when you are still under your own self-regulating scope, and when that scope will shift.  Know that the scope may shift.

Breathe.  Find your calm.  There is no need for stress-inducing panic, your body needs to be strong to handle the changes.

Peace out, y’all!

Causal Awareness

I have had depressive bouts for a long time.  In the early years, they would come on as a result of a life situation, or circumstance, or poor decision, and cling to me like a strong sedative for a short duration.  I would loll in the depths of despair for a few days, allowing the emotions to be acknowledged.  Then, I would pick myself up and shake off the dredges – usually finding a positive action to perk me up – and resume.  Don’t worry, be happy.  Happy face on, life goes on.

At some point though, I stopped recognizing the depression, as it would not necessarily be tied to a thing that I could pinpoint, but rather, an accumulation of things that were akin to being in the pot of water, as the fire is started below.  You don’t notice the heat, until it’s reached near boiling point.  These depressive bouts didn’t give me the awareness to acknowledge and feel the pain,  which I had earlier found to be an integral piece in the process of healing.  Rather, these bouts were more like a drug addiction, where the chemical has lost its potency.  I had built up a tolerance to the depression and a deeper state would settle on me before I would become aware.

This last bout, coupled with its added menopausal symptoms, struck a nerve finally.  Likely, it was because I could finally point my finger at a cause and effect.  Estrogen, you bitch!  How could you do this to me?

No matter the reasoning, I now feel that I have the arsenal to effectively combat this bout, and be more aware of any future bouts to stop them before I become mired.

I’ll admit, the emotions do start to roll in, creeping from the edges like fiery smoke, and it’s usually the awareness of an angry edge that raises my alarm.  I’m aware now, that alarm means it’s time to take action – turn up the music, sing it off.  Take a walk, reason out the emotions.  Drink some water, and redirect my attentions to some neutral subject for five minutes.  And suddenly, I’m back.  Me.  The me who finds the positive in life – the upbeat, still reclusive, but happy me.  Not the angry, withdrawn little ogre I’ve been.

So – wordy insight now given you to explain my dilemma, I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me recover and get myself back to stability, sans pharmaceuticals or intense psycho-therapy.

Coloring Therapy
  • Supplements – first three taken daily, with EPO taken once/week (due to effects of blood thinning – I always check counter-indications for any alternative therapy on WebMD):
    • Vitamin B12
    • Fish oil with Vitamin D
    • Grapeseed Extract
    • Evening Primrose oil
  • Topicals – mixed with carrier oil and a few drops  rubbed on top of feet a few days a week:
    • Clary sage
    • Roman chamomile
  • Foods – needed to counter the effects of the estrogen loss
    • Green tea, and occasional Tulsi tea
    • Colorful vegetables:  leafy greens, beets, red cabbage, etc
    • Garlic
    • Turmeric
    • Nuts, seeds, legumes
    • Avocado
    • Wild caught salmon, sardines and mackerel
    • Oils:  EVOO, Flaxseed oil
    • Probiotic yogurt
  • Activities:
    • Reach out to and spend time with friends
    • Exercise at least 3 times a week for 10-30 minutes each
    • Music therapy – something I can do at work, at home, or in the car
    • Art therapy – the picture above is from my adult coloring book – a great way to redirect my attention at home
    • Outdoor time
    • Education – more time with actual pen and ink books and less internet
    • Reduced social media time

These are the things I employed to counter my situation, and it has worked wonderfully.  Being aware is key, I believe.   I had to know exactly what I was dealing with in order to find the balances necessary for me to put into effect.  Then I had to act.

 

Is It Real…

Or is it Menopause?

It was a relief to discover that my red-eyed appearance was not an emotional symptom, but rather simply a case of dry eyes that I ignored to the point where my tissues were constantly inflamed.  Menopause symptom, likely, and easily addressed by adding Omega 3 and using re-wetting or artificial tear drops as needed.  As needed being more often than I remember to administer – but I’ll get there.  Thankfully, my constant red eyelids are now just an unpleasant memory.

Granted, I’ve been more likely to reach a silent overwhelm of emotion these days, particularly when I’m in the presence of my children.  It makes no sense to me, as these are some of the people with whom I draw the most comfort.

watered false nettle

I am rendered nearly speechless, unable to converse comfortably, or sensibly.  Some of it is attributed to tinnitus – there are only so many tones that I can focus on without losing part of what’s being heard.   Partly, it’s that I don’t want to miss a thing, so I nearly miss everything as I try to focus on every conversation at once.  Not as easy a fix – but I’ll be working to find my perfect hearing range so that I can focus to give full-on attention to the conversant in that range.

The part that I can’t change is that I’m full to the brim with love for these people, and am faced with a change in status, for which I have no practice.

watered dawn 2

Change is a constant in life, and I’ve done a damn fine job of handling change in the past (meaning that I didn’t go on a rampage, and I didn’t have a total meltdown).  Change during my earlier years was like drinking water.  I gulped it down and on to the next task I went.

About five years ago I noticed a shift, a grating of tectonic plates sort of shift.  Suddenly, I found myself irritable with too much change or too many compounded changes.  Sure, I could still function well, I could still move on to the next task, but my comfort zone had been impacted, and it unsettled me, irritated me.

Still in the irritable stage, change has been fairly constant, the compounded sort, but I’m functional.

watered daylight

A change in position not aptly prepared for – that sort of change is like a chasm that has opened up beneath me.  I’m not prepared for it, but accept that I must either embrace and learn to roll with it, or tumble along grasping recklessly at strongholds along the way.

Mother-in-law, Step-mother-in-law, Grandma, Step-Grandma – these titles, these changes to my position, have caught me off-guard in comparison with my own head-in-the-clouds, prior-concocted expectations.

Let me broadcast with great joy:  I have the absolute best of the pick when it comes to family.  Our sons were extremely easy to raise, and they chose very well when they chose their mates.  I have daughters-in-law whom I love dearly, and they are the perfect complement to our family.  Our grandchildren are a pure delight, and their parents are doing a great job raising these youngsters.

sunflower detail

My job should be easy, but I’m a perfectionist in the most annoying ways – obsessive about where my everyday use items are situated, persnickety about what I ingest, and particularly overly particular in creating my own expectations.

I want to match expectations that I set long ago.  I want to take bits and pieces from others I’ve observed in these positions and meld them into some fantasy figure, based on very little reality.  Who could possibly have factored in where I or my family would be in our lives when this particular stage of life arrived?

So I emote silly things based on my silly notions, and get myself all tizzy-frazzled for things that no one else can control.

Compound that with the fact that my mother-in-law died during my second year of marriage, creating a void where I could have learned a great deal.  My mentor is absent, that’s my excuse…

hewn

So I’m forging ahead in uncharted territory, with great hope that I won’t injure any relationships, step on anyone’s feelings, or cause any great distress; yet keep in mind my own emotional health and well-being.

Oh, and did I mention I’m menopausal?  😉

Understanding Snowbirds

Each year, another notch of unrest strikes at my aging body.

During the early years of marriage, our primary difference was where our ‘dream’ home was located.  He said humid Texas and I said rocky Colorado.  He loved the moist heat and I loved the dry cold.

As an easy compromise, we remained in Kansas.  Hot humid summers and cold-ass winters.  Neither of us really thrilled about the locale, but staying put is ever so easily accomplished.

Aging, it seems, makes me reconsider – perhaps there’s merit in warmer climates.

As the joints in my fingers squeal little prophetic tunes of ‘if you think this is bad, just you wait’, and my cold ankles send icicles up my spine, I recognize that there will need to be some more compromises made – and quickly!

I’ve discovered that once my ankles become chilled, there is no other body part that I can warm to adjust my core temperature back to comfort.  I simply have to find a method to keep my ankles warm, always.  Similarly, the back of my neck is now a temperature modifying zone.

Where are those leg-warmers of the 80s?  Why didn’t I subscribe to that fashion phase and store a box of them as mementos?

Thankfully, scarves have been quite the recent fashion craze – and as usual, I’ll finally be interested in them once they’re going out of style.  Count on me to be completely off the tracks of fashion sense.  🙂

Seriously though, I’ve recently discovered that quality “short”boots – not the ankle boots, mind you – provide just the sort of heat entrapment necessary for these thermostat ankles, so I’ve stalled the caravan South for a bit.

But I do understand those SnowBirds now.  Does that mean I’m still learning?