The other day, I tripped on my front step. Skinned my left knee, landed with most of my weight on the heels of my palms â€” primarily the right. Nothing’s broken, and there’s no real swelling. However, the joints all hurt, writing or drawing for more than a couple minutes produces twinges in the back of my forearm, turning motions (like twisting a doorknob) give me shooting pains, and lifting things is hard. I’ve been treating myself with OTC painkillers, ice, and rest, and I’m doing better day by day.
Meanwhile, I’m mostly confining myself to the iPad because mousing is painful. Which means I’m not around as much for a bit. I’m checking e-mail, so if you need something, that’s the best way to get in touch. And if I seem quiet for a bit, at least you know why.
Today’s gratitude is easy to point to: I had an appointment for my annual exam, scheduled months ago, and I discovered that in the past 2 weeks, I have dropped 4 pounds, and my systolic (although still high) has dropped 8 points. Which means I’m on the right track, and — who’d’a thunk it? — eating healthy food and exercising really does make a difference.
Also, I am grateful for Sam, who sleeps with dragons (or anything else soft he can get his nose on).
What are you grateful for today?
I had a checkup this morning — a follow-up from my bronchitis last month. The doctor wanted to make certain my asthma was under control under normal circumstances. She was concerned because I’d had two bouts of bronchitis so close together (one in October, one in January), especially as I couldn’t remember being around someone sick that would’ve triggered my own illness. (Well, until a few hours after I got home and remembered that my daughter had been down with the flu — which I told the doctor this morning. She agreed that could easily have triggered it and said she hoped my daughter’s okay now.)
So I did the spirometry.
In case you’ve never done this, they hand you this machine with an attached tube for you to blow into. You take as deep a breath as you can, then blow out as hard and long as you can. Three times, because they need to look at the average. It always leaves me a little light-headed (Yes, I’ve done this test there before to check how I was recovering from previous bouts of bronchitis), and I don’t recommend doing it for fun.
Results came back: I’m normal. Okay, at least my breathing is. Asthma is fine and controlled when I’m not otherwise sick. (And the doctor and I had a chat about exercise and keeping my rescue inhaler with me just in case, too.)
My systolic pressure was high. Both systolic and diastolic were high when first tested. After a few minutes of rest, the diastolic dropped, but the systolic did not.
It’s possible that was stress (I drove in the snow. And there were semis on the road. Yes, I get stressed by this.), or the fact that I shorted myself on sleep this past weekend to meet a deadline. But it’s also possible this is an issue of concern.
So I have an appointment to go back in a month for a blood pressure check.
If it’s still high then, we’ll talk blood tests and EKG and medications and whatever else. Meanwhile, I’m drinking more liquid, cutting back on sodium (switching to unsalted butter and cutting out processed foods mostly), and planning to walk more (when it’s not snowy and the roads aren’t icy). I’ll let you know how it goes.
Meanwhile, I’m grateful that I can breathe and that there’s no need to change my medication right now.
I was trying to figure out what to talk about today, what moved my ungrateful little heart when I’m sick once again. But I have so much to be grateful for!
- Medicine to ease my symptoms
- Insurance and flexible time so I can go to the doctor
- Hot tea to soothe my throat
- Other writers to hang out with online
- The Internet itself
- Good books to read
- Kids who love reading as much as I do
- Good books for them to read
- A dog who loves to cuddle
- Awesome wildlife (See pictures below, taken yesterday)
What are you grateful for today?
Last week, my daughter got sick. At first, just a slight fever, headache, and chills. Wednesday evening, she agreed to just go to bed instead of eating pizza. It seemed fairly mild, so I hoped a good night’s rest would put her to rights.
Not so. Thursday, she still had no appetite, ran warm all day, and put herself down for a nap in the afternoon. I encouraged her to drink, but didn’t force her.
Friday, her temperature spiked (possibly because she’d been under three blankets), and she started vomiting. That seemed to clear things a bit, though, because her temperature started dropping. By Saturday morning, her stomach was only upset because it was so long since she’d eaten.
So I’m grateful for her return to health. What are you grateful for this first Monday of the new year?
So my loving family has once more exposed me to germs that my “reactive airways” took exception to, leaving me battling bronchitis and sinusitis, and all the tiredness and other such issues that go with them. And I poured every bit of focus and energy I had into meeting a work deadline (very interesting book, although I never would’ve picked up a book on phytochemistry at random). Which means I owe you, my loyal readers, an apology because I didn’t blog last week (aside from the serial post that was pre-scheduled), and I didn’t get out the second issue of the newsletter out for September. No, I have no thought of catching up. I’ll just try to do better going forward.
This starts with — I went to the doctor on Friday and got a ton of prescriptions (okay, it only feels that way), and I’m all focused on “Is this one every four hours, every six hours, twice a day, or once a day?” The breathing’s getting better, which means I am able to have two coherent thoughts in a row about something other than “Must meet this deadline.” Thus, modern medicine is once again what I’m grateful for this week. (And the freedom to nap during the day when I need to.)
What are you grateful for this week?
EDIT: Stay tuned Wednesday for a guest post by Julia Knight, whose first book, Swords and Scoundrels, releases tomorrow!
So last year on my birthday, I said I wanted to lose a pound a week. Didn’t happen. In fact,I’m pretty much at exactly the same weight I was last year at this time. I’m grateful I haven’t gained weight, at least. Guess we’ll have to see what this next year brings.
(Not today, though — my younger brother baked me a birthday cake, and I intend to enjoy it!)
Meanwhile, I’ve had a full year with ups and downs, as most years are. I’m a year older, a year more uncertain of my skills, a year more aware of how much I don’t know and never will. May I have many more such years.
One month in, I’m down two pounds total. This is less than the pound per week I was aiming at, but given the holiday dessert eating I’ve been doing (more than I should) and the amount of exercise I’ve been getting (much less than I should), its pretty impressive. This next month, I’m going to start fitting in a ten- to fifteen-minute walk after my first hour of writing and before I dive into e-mail and forums and the like. It’s not a big change, but the goal here is consistency, and small steps that add up to big changes over time.
I just realized I forgot to do my first week check-in on the food and exercise. Boy, this bodes well for the coming year, doesn’t it?
I started out mostly just aiming for the three meals a day, and trying to figure out how much food I needed to eat to not be hungry two hours later but not feel bloated, either. It’s hard when you’re used to grazing.* I did allow myself desserts (leftover birthday cake mostly). I stretched when I thought about it, tried a few yoga positions — and came to the conclusion that I have lost all the core strength I used to have. Not really a surprise, but it gives me somewhere to start.
And the net result of all this effort? Three pounds down. I find it hard to believe such small measures could be so effective, so I’m leaning towards thinking maybe the previous week’s weight was high because of water retention. Either way, though, a positive start.
Of course, I’m thinking of all the holiday baking I’m not doing, too . . .
* The breakfast I’ve found to be most effective so far is 1-1/2 servings of oatmeal, prepared with milk instead of water, with 1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter and 2 tablespoons Nutella stirred in after cooking. Egg-and-cheese sandwich on a whole wheat bagel is also good, but leaves me hungry about an hour earlier unless I also have a banana and a yogurt.
First: if you’re subscribed to the feed, with luck (and guidance from the wonderful folk at TigerTech), it should be working now. Please let me know if it’s not. Now on to the main post:
It’s my birthday, and purple and blue hair to the contrary, I’m not as young as I used to be. (In fact, when I was young, I probably would never have worn such hair, being too afraid of what other people would think.) As we age, our bodies go through lots of changes — and as exciting as it might be to watch my daughter as she works at climbing higher in a tree because she can reach that next branch, or as worrisome as it can be to try to decide whether my son’s upper lip shows signs of darker hair, changes don’t stop when we become adults. We lose flexibility. Muscle tone becomes harder to retain. Weight becomes harder to lose.
This year, I’m trying to do something about that. ( Read the rest of this entry » )
Although I’m calling this “Looking at energy,” I’m actually talking about both energy and health here. Whatever you’re doing with your life, it’s easier if you’re well rested and well fed. We all know this. Our cars don’t run on empty; neither do we. Of course, I’m not going to stop there. ( Read the rest of this entry » )
Those who know me know that walking is a biggie. I touch on this on my About Me page. I had a major accident, and as a result, I had to relearn to walk — more than once. Before my accident, I walked everywhere, and afterward, I remember telling my roommate that I resented her put-upon attitude about having to walk four blocks. I was on bed rest at the time and would have given anything to be able to get up and walk.
Now? I don’t walk as much as I used to. Part of that is because, despite the fact that we’re technically within city limits, we might as well be living in the suburbs for how close we are to anything, and there aren’t a lot of sidewalks between here and, for example, the closest supermarket (both Wegmans and Giant are about 2 miles away on busy streets). It’s not like living in Berkeley and popping over to Andronico’s or Berkeley Bowl. I don’t walk because there’s not a lot of places to walk to.
Part of it, though, is habit. Over the years since my accident — especially the years before I got my ankle straightened and fused — I stopped walking. It was painful, it was difficult, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of point. So even though I now can walk, I still haven’t as much as I used to.
Last year, I worked at running again. Even tried to start up again in December, which is a bad time to try to make a new habit with all the calls on my time. I will run again this year — I probably won’t aim for a half marathon, just another 5k in September, most likely, with the goal to finish in less than half and hour this time (cutting my time in half!). On days when I’m not running, though, and to work up to it, I’m going to walk and remember how grateful I am that I can walk, that I still have my own leg, that this is something I enjoy.
I leave you with this video, and the usual question: what are you grateful for this week?
Your health? Definitely something to be grateful for, and something that only comes up when we’ve been missing it. I’ve been sick with whatever the latest crud is that’s making the rounds: freezing, achey, swollen neck, pressure on the ears, headache, fatigue — general yuck. Which is why I didn’t post yesterday. I was too tired.
Today, though, I can be grateful for the increase in energy and focus, even though I’m not at 100% yet. I’m also grateful that, unlike my daughter, I didn’t wind up vomiting while sick. And I can be grateful that this too will pass, and I will have my health again.
(Now the next question: will I pick up some new form of crud next week at Boskone?)
What are you grateful for this week?
Just thought I’d drop a note in to say I’m doing better this week. Taking most of last week to recover really was a good move. I’ve been running several times, and I’m up to being able to run 30 minutes (not necessarily fast, but that’s okay) at a time. Proofreading has been my focus this week, with some progress made on the book for Moongypsy. I could tell my burnout was fading when I started getting ideas for new stories, and I have one idea for a short story that I’ll probably get written next week.
My big revelation this week has been that everything takes time. It’s something I know and am okay with when gardening — I planted a rhododendron six years ago that finally bloomed this year, and of my two clematis, this is the first year the maroon one has bloomed. (The purple one has been blooming for three years now.) Peonies also take a few years between first planting and blooming, but then they produce profusely every year.
Yet, even though I know I’m getting into better shape, sometimes I get depressed when I look in the mirror and see how far I still have to go. Then there’s writing — from idea to completed project can take seemingly forever.
So it’s good that I can look out at my garden and see that even things that take years to yield results are worth it.
. . . and make someone’s day.
It can be really easy. Send an e-mail to a friend telling them how much something they said recently resonated with you. Buy a treat for your kids. (I stopped at the corner store and got blueberries and black grapes for mine — and the boy just got home and gave me an enormous hug when he saw them.) If you see something that needs doing — do it. Wave to your neighbors. Little things matter.
We all love it when others think of us. I can’t begin to tell you all how much your encouragement earlier this week has meant to me. (I’m still not up to writing, but I’m getting there.) Thank you.
I’ve been really tired of late. Some of it’s good — I’ve had a lot of freelance work on my plate, which keeps me busy. Unfortunately, then I have less time and energy to do my writing, and when I start figuring the time for other things — exercise, family time, cooking, life — well, there’s even less time and energy. So I cut corners. Skipped the exercise because heading out for over half an hour to run, then coming back and stretching out, showering, cooling down, well, all that takes time. Chunks of it.
Today, I read a post Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote back in 2009 as part of her Freelancer’s Survival Guide, Burnout. In it, she lists several symptoms of burnout — exhaustion, irritability, inefficiency, and more. Hmm. Yes, that’s ringing bells.
Okay, to be fair, I figured I was on the edge of burnout. That’s why I took the weekend essentially off, just doing things I enjoy and don’t stress over (mostly — getting kids to bed has to get done, and there often seems to be stress involved). It’s also why I read her post today; I hoped she had some good advice.
Her advice? Sleep, eat right, exercise. And then worry about whether you’re taking on too much. I’m trying to get more sleep; it’s not always easy with a family, but I’m trying. I do need to get back to the exercise that I’ve been slacking on, though. I mostly eat right — except for the chocolate chip cookies I baked this weekend and ate copious amounts of.
One of the stressors I’ve had is feeling like I have to live up to others’ expectations for my writing career. Whether it’s things I disagree with (like writing taking precedence over everything else in my life, including attending my son’s first band concert) or more insidious things like being a writer meaning I should be writing every day, for more hours than I put in, so I get things done faster. And even if I do want to get things done (and some I need to get done, like the book I’m writing for Moongypsy Press), adding that expectation on top of everything else has made it worse.
I’m still trying to write, but I’m trying to not be down on myself about expectations. I want to write because I want to write, because I have these characters in my head whose stories I want to tell, not because it’s one more thing on my to-do list.
I’ll probably be much more upbeat after even a week of better sleep and a couple times of exercise, but this is a good wake-up call that I need to take care of myself, and that includes managing my expectations.
What about you? Have you been pushing yourself too much recently? Or some time in the past? What helps you get back on track?