Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Either "Feast" or "Famine"?

We all go through stage in our lives that we feel overwhelmed with LIFE! During the holidays, at the start of a new school year, a new job, the birth of a child, kids in sports, and the list of things that make life busy go on and on.
Then, as we grow older, kids grow up, they move out, we possibly work a part time job, or retire, or as myself become too ill to have a job, thus things you would think slow down. Yet, that is so far from the truth. No, we don't have kids in sports, new jobs, new school years, or thing such as that,, but we still have the "bus-i-ness" of life.
With chronic illness that part of business seems to be quite overwhelming in other ways. For me, my "list" of daily or weekly things to do seems longer and longer, while my energy, or lack thereof, may I say, seem to make it even more impossible to finish. You tend to move into doctors visits, making sure your medications are filled properly, insurance claims are taken care of, and your own personal things are handled. We still have bills to pay, we still have groceries to buy, we still have cars to inspect and/or register, taxes to pay, etc. and so forth. So, even if you are growing older, or are dealing with chronic pain and illness, life in any form remains busy in one way or the other.

Also, there comes a time in your life that things that were important, are not so much anymore. Yet, now other things are much more important, and need to be kept up with. When we are young, running around with errands, kids, jobs, and so forth, all too often we feel invincible. So, we may not eat properly, or exercise right. Maybe we don't take medications are we should, take care to guard against the sun, and feel like those things are not that critical. Yet, as you grow into those upper forties, and then into the 50's; NO we are NOT OLD by any means, BUT we feel the years behind us settling into our bones, and how it is effecting us now. We maybe slower than we were, and have to make sure we give ourselves more time for a project for instance. It takes me twice as long to get dressed up as it used to for instance. Two reasons, of course age just slows you down, you also have this "thing" about trying to remain youthful, thus things like skin creams, taking care of your skin, your hair, all of that is much more important than when you were younger. You put on sun block, you use special lotions and creams on your face and skin. You may have to color your hair, or have it cut a special way so it is easier to manage. For me, I have waited now for 15 plus years and got a wild hair to let my hair grow out. Which was really stupid in a way. It takes me so much longer to do anything with it. It requires a great deal more management than when it was short, and believe me, I am truly thinking about having it all chopped off again in order to make my life a little easier. IF my hair is short, it cuts 20 or 30 minutes out of getting dressed time. With it longer, it has to be conditioned more, brushed more, dried, rolled, sprayed and so forth. IF I were not so busy with that, I could have my makeup on, and be out the door much quicker. As it is now, half the time it takes so long to do my hair, by the time it is finished, I am saying to heck with the makeup, I am just running to the market, which I used to NEVER DO. But, you get to this point you know you are either going to have to let something go one way or the other. From pain to energy loss, or lack of energy, you feel like you need to put forth what you have in the things that are really important, for instance GOING to the store! IF you have spent an extra 30 or more getting dressed, then that is just more time you could have have doing something else more important or that you wanted to do.
I find that I am guilt of feeling as if I "procrastinate" more now. Used to, when my mind was made up to do something, it got done. Now, I may have several things going at once, yet I can only put forth effort to one at a time. For instance, if I HAVE to get out and run errands, and go to the store, then I have to put my sights on that, and get that done first. Then, if I get home, and after putting things away, I am still up for it, I can do a few things in the house, or outside that need to be done, or that I want to mess with. Used to something like re-painting my kitchen cabinets would be no big deal. Now, I want to think it is not that daunting of a task, but in reality, with my arms so weak, and this shoulder like it is after being replaced, that is much more of an ordeal than I am trying to make it. Which sucks! None of us want to get to the point we feel we can't do something. Whatever it is, little or big. Used to I was your 'Ultimate DO-IT-YOUR-SELFER."  If it needed to be done, I could and would manage to do it myself in my home. From installing a new water heater, to handing a ceiling fan,  I did it. If I wanted something done, I was the first one out there working on it. I loved being able to do just about anything at the house. It saved money, lots of it at times, it saved time, because I did it when I wanted it done, and I was always proud of redoing my walls, completely remodeling my kitchen, to hanging ceiling fans in every room of my home. Now, many of those things I just have had to admit I can't do. No longer can I hold anything up long enough, to put a ceiling fan in. My arms just won't let me, not this "new shoulder". I will never again have that much strength and endurance to allow myself to do that, and it sucks. I can't get out and hoe, rake, and make an entire flower bed on my own. Hell, I can't even mow my own lawn anymore, and that used to be one thing I loved. That was mowing my lawn. But, there is no way my arms, wrists and hands will let me be shaken around, Besides I just once again l have lost lots of my strength and mobility due to the shoulder replacement, and my neck surgery. It is not worth it to be injured again; although, I admit I miss it terribly. Yard work was always my own "zen". Thus that space has now been "open and raw" where I must find other things I CAN do and feel useful. So, I do my own "indoor" gardening. I have my home full of indoor plants, that require a great deal of care also. So, they help take the "disappointment" of not being able to work outside away, and make me feel worthwhile. I know houseplants are wonderful for the air, environment, plus they make a home beautiful. Then in the Spring and Summer, I set them on my front porch, so they are outside a little, and I tend to them there, thus I can be out for a while, with sunscreen on.
What my point is with this post, is that we move from one realm of life and being busy in one way, thus as we grow older, our lives are still busy, but we slow down and they remain "hectic" in other ways. I have overheard others feel that their elderly parents or relatives are not "useful" as they once were. I have also heard that about those like myself that have chronic illnesses. All of that is just untrue! Each of us serve a special purpose here, and just because others don't acknowledge it, you should always feel it in your own heart. but, that is just not as easy as it seems. When your life is totally flipped upside down, by things such as a chronic illness, or a severe accident, it is very difficult to try and erase what you know, or at least put that memory behind somewhat and begin all over again. It is always much easier to "think" about doing something differently than it is to actually do it.
When it comes to a huge change in your life, making those changes effect everything about you. From the way your feel, you think, from your actions, your thoughts, the way you do things at home or in public, everything changes. You also think about all kinds of things that before you had a chronic illness or before the chronic pain set in, that before never entered your mind. You feel as if you must "plan" for the worst and hope for the best. Even if you are just making a day long trip and will be home by late evening, what you used to now be concerned about, now all changes into different concerns. It is not just about turning off the coffee pot or leaving a light on for the puppies. You must think about your pain or illness, and what medications you may need until you get home. Whether it pain medication of sorts, or other medication, you may have a routine with those meds you must adhere to. Maybe it is what you wear, if you have issues with pain in your legs and feet, or taking shoes to change into or out of when you get to where you are going. It maybe that you need to eat at a certain time, make sure you drink a certain amount of water, tea, etc. For some, even a 2 hour ride means a stop along the way. You can't handle two straight hours in the car without a stop and break to stretch. Sometimes it is things like making sure your have your medication list, your illness list, or like myself I have a medical device, which means I CANNOT have an MRI. OF course you don't expect to "need" one before you get home, but in the case of an accident, you must have something with you that says that you cannot have an MRI, or at least you have something special that they must take into consideration. Some medications require being kept cold. Now usually for a day trip, it is not necessary to worry about that. But, if you are going to be gone for a couple of days, that maybe important, thus you have to make arrangements to keep your medication cold if that is the case. I won't go into all of the details about a long car vacation, etc. That gets way beyond just a few hours in a car. but, just that in itself gives you an idea of other things we must consider before we leave the house. I have a device that controls my implanted pain pump. I have to take that with me to use every twelve hours. Even on a day trip, I will need to use it usually before we get home, at least once. That of course is on top of your usual items of how to dress, what jewelry to wear, do you have everything you need and so forth.

Since this is a long post, that actually began yesterday, I am going to add to it, rather than make a new post this morning. On Facebook, I had written this morning about feeling, "out in left field" I guess you could say. It seems that no matter what kind of thing life brings to me, I never quite feel I have done, said, etc... what life wants me to. I can't seem to feel "fulfilled" with my own self. Even though either it is overwhelm and chaos, or almost bored to tears with the same old thing, I never quite feel I get "life" right. Other people, all around can try and convince me otherwise, but like anyone else, I must feel that within my own self in order to really KNOW that I have done what I think I am here for. I kind of feel as if I have wandered through life, haphazardly, one way, then the other, never really following that true path I was put here to go on. All of us I absolutely think in my soul, have a very solid purpose for being here.For many of us, it is easy" to fall into the pattern of where life has been cut out on the dotted lines for us. for others, and I see it especially in those like myself that once "thought" that pattern was completed and being sewn together, then illness or pain strike, and it seems our "seams" take an entirely different direction within the fibers of life we have sewn together.
Much like a quilt, and I can think of life in that way. Many quilts are very stringent in their patterns. You have a certain amount of this particular piece you need, or pieces in certain colors. They must be sewn together in a certain way or the quilt will never look like it did when you first either saw it in a magazine or online. Or if you had pictured it in your mind one way, thought about and began it; then all of a sudden you bought other material, changed your stitching to a different type of stitch and a different color of thread, and put all of the "new" material and stitches into the "original" that you began. It may be beautiful, but I can guarantee that as beautiful as it s, it surely won't appear to be anything like what you first pictured out. Colors have changed, patterns have changed, stitches are different, and thread is totally new. Thus so is life very much the same when you all of a sudden embark upon a "maiden" voyage of life setting out with one strict way to go, and you take a "short cut", or decide to go around the long way, it will not be as you thought it was. Both of these, the quilt pattern, and your maiden voyage in life can be changed, be enriched, switched, changed, moved, made more difficult, and may not look or feel a thing as it did when you first began it many years before.
We all know that we must deal with changes in life. Whether it is an illness, or a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, buying a new home, selling a home, whatever that change may be, at first it is very different from how you pictured it to be.
But, when you are dealing with a great deal of the "unknown" even more so do those things change in such dramatic ways. What seemed so menial of a change, can turn into a huge ordeal. Yet, we learn to deal with them.
The entire point of it all, is to try your best to "roll" with the changes. Rather than fight them, or try to hold back again that current, you are sometimes far better to allow the waves of life to just flow over you, and often you will see what appeared to be so terrible, could turn out to be even better than what we had planned in the first place.
It remains a very difficult thing to have your entire life uprooted. Like the people in West TX from at one moment, they are eating dinner, to the next, their homes are entirely destroyed. Or those that lost their lives in Boston. Innocently minding their business, running a marathon, and the next they are on the ground, with shrapnel in them, just within a breath's space all of their life they knew, had changed. From the families that lost their children to a senseless shooting, to those that fired on people sitting and watching a movie in a theater, all within the time it takes to blink your eyes, life can forevermore be changed. It takes a drastic toll on those involved, as well as those around. Even us as "strangers" feel the torn tug on their hearts and ours, and the devastation that will be there from the one moment those bullets left those guns to the moment many of those parents take their last breath on this Earth, their lives will never be the same. How could you not question "What might have been?"

Thus so is the way chronic illness and pain takes its toll on your life and those around you. Forevermore, life is never the same.....

This is a post from Facebook on 4/24/2013 that kind of fits into this entire blog post also....

I am so "discombobulated" with life, I am not sure what the hell I want, don't want, want to do, don't want to do, and that goes on and on. It seems when things are a screwed up mess, that we have 50 things going at once, we are running here, there and yonder, I am stressed to the max, all I wish, is that crap would settle back down into a whatever "normal" routine as it should be. Then when things FINALLY settle a little, and I can "see" through the dust of life, then I feel almost bored with the damned everyday, same old routine, day after day, morning after morning, then I see that my life is just one foot in front of the other, I wake up, I deal with the pain, I drink my coffee, feed the dogs, change their paper, come here, and look at the news, the weather, then FB, and email.. and so forth. Nothing really ever changes in my life, I just get "veered" off the same path some for awhile, then it all picks back up into the vicarious cycle that I live in. I live through others I think. I live through my daughter, and all the excitement in her life, or through friends and the things they do, that I don't. I live through everyone else's life that seem a hell of a lot more interesting than mine. Of course when once again the severe pain sets in, or I am not well again, or I have a dozen doctor appointments, etc... then I will wish for things to be BACK to that "normal" boring life I had just weeks before...LOL!!! As the Steve Earle song goes "I Ain't Never Satisfied" and that is the truth for me... it seems whatever, wherever, I never quite feel "satisfied" with my own self. Not my "life" I guess I can say I feel fortunate in many ways in that respect but more about who "I am", what I should do in life, who should I be?, those types of things. I try to find my "way", and right now I feel I am almost at a crossroads, a place where I need to do something, go a different path, make a turn, get out of the middle of the damned road, and find where I am meant to be. And I don't mean in a "physical" state of where I should be? But, in my own inner state of mind and soul... I feel I have either lost some of that, or never really found it...

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