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It's important to be silly, to be serious, to be strong, to be frail...for what is life if we only shared a mask?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In Sickness and In Health

First week of March and there was the promise of spring in the air. I was looking forward to attending SXSW and mingling with all the cool folks whose tweets lit up the twitterstream.  I was fine...happy.

So the pain that hit me last weekend didn't make any sense. Like most folks out there, I don't like pain but I am also stubborn when it comes to medication. I would rather let the pain simmer like a rich stew on the burner before doing something about it. It is almost like this dialogue I have in my head. Is it hurting? Must you fix it? Can't it go away on its own? Of course, you are probably shaking your head right now and thinking what the heck is wrong with you, woman. Just take an Advil and get it over with. Well I did, when I couldn't stand anymore. There is also another funny thing about our bodies and pain. We find the best position to take to deal with the pain. I found that the best position is curling in a fetal position.

The alarm goes off at 6 am on Monday so another wonderful school and work week can kick into high gear. You know the drill, get the breakfast, holler "wake up" three times and then yell WAKE UP NOW or ELSE, check off all the little details till the kids board the bus. That morning I couldn't go vertical and I think uh oh... I call the clinic and say I need to see my doctor. Something is getting ready to burst.

I love these clinics. You walk in stooped and ashen and you sit in a waiting room and look around. Everyone there would rather be somewhere else. Everyone there is thinking I would give anything to be healthy. Everyone there is waiting to take a test and get the results. Everyone there wants a quick fix. Just like me.

There is in sickness, a new found humility. Suddenly you are aware that this body of yours, this exquisite, intricate well oiled machine that you take for granted everyday is prone to age. As you wait you promise yourself that you will take better care of yourself. You will exercise more, eat better and worry less.

Without going TMI here, the doctor orders a few tests, throws words out like biopsy and cyst, talks about surgery on Thursday or Friday and I sadly kiss SXSW goodbye. Fast forward Friday, I am talking to a pleasant nurse who has just moved to Austin and a cheerful anaesthetist who has lived in Austin for 26 years. I am told I will be woozy after the medication has worn off and not to sign any legal document for 24 hours. So before I am wheeled out, I make a pact with my maker. I pray that I will turn over a new leaf and take better care of my body and spirit.

All goes well thankfully and we come home as I am drifting in and out of a deep sleep.

To net it out, life does happen. Sickness happens and mostly without warning. However, I do believe that some ailments can be prevented through an increased awareness of the correlation between the physical ailment and the emotional state. To treat the illness you have to look at both symptoms. When I need a sanity check, I dip into Louise Hay's bestseller, You can heal yourself. Here is a sample on some ailments and the associated emotional blockage. 

Anxiety: Not trusting the flow and the process of life.
Back problems
--Lower Fear of money. Lack of financial support
--Middle Guilt. Stuck in all that stuff back there. "Get off my back"
--Upper Lack of emotional support. Feeling unloved. Holding back love.

Callouses: Hardened concepts and ideas. Fear solidified.
Fever: Anger. Burning up
Laryngitis: So mad you can't speak. Fear of speaking up. Resentment of authority
Stomach problems: Dread and fear of the new. Inability to assimilate the new.
As I write this, I am trying to figure out my symptoms so it can stay away and not come back another day.  I also remember proudly telling my manager, I didn't take any sick leave last year.  I may not have taken sick leave but I do remember feeling run down when December came along.  Now, I tend to think that sick leave should not be used when you fall sick rather when you feel like you might fall sick if you don't stop and take a break.  It could be that one day of rest could avoid a weakened state resulting in a week of bed rest. 

Me, I can't wait to get off these painkillers and out of bed and go for a long long walk. That Austin sun, those blue skies and the hint of Spring cannot be enjoyed indoors.  As for SXSW, I guess 2011 might just be my year.

"It's no coincidence that four of the six letters in health are "heal." ~Ed Northstrum