Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Vietnam War: A Memory for Today

posted by mpratt

QSL card from South VietnamTucked in a box amid other QSL cards that I found after my father’s death last year is a single, fading reminder of a powerful way to pray today.

If you’re not familiar with what they are, a QSL card is a record sent from one radio ham operator to another that confirms the contact that the two made while operating their radios. The cards are usually postcard-sized and sometimes contain only the pertient information of the contact – the date, radio frequency, call letters of teh ham sending the card, and what antenna was used, for example. Othertimes, a ham  might scribble a note, or use a card with a region-evoking map or picture.

The card that sits on my desk right now, the one in the picture on this blog, confirms contact that my father made with a radio ham in Saigon, South Vietnam, on October 28, 1972. Simply signed “Bob,” the card includes an outline of South Vietnam and the location of Saigon. Nothing especially remarkable there, but I keep going back to the date.

In 1978, my father was avidly pursuing his hobby of operating a ham radio from the safety and comfort of the basement of our home. With war all around, and the future unsure, I wonder what “Bob’s” life was like, then, when he made contact with my father over his radio. Was “Bob’s” ham radio activity a mere hobby, or his determined way of maintaining contact with a world outside, more peaceful, perhaps, more sure?

Less than 3 years after the date on the card, Saigon finally fell. I wonder, did Bob make it out beforehand? Or, did he broadcast to the last, still reaching out?

Today, there are people in other war-torn places, trying to reach out to the world beyond, the world where life is not so punctuated by violence. As I look at this card, I’m reminded that each day, I need to include these anonymous, but precious, people in my prayers, and ask the Lord to keep them safe and hopeful, no matter what. I might not have the equipment or ham radio license my father did, but prayer is mighty powerful – and God hears each of our voices loud and clear!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: How do you describe it, exactly?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicTime often flies by when you’re living, and when you have a chronic illness, time passes sometimes in odd ways. Slowly, in some measure, because living with pain is especially, well, painful, and the more pain you feel, the slower time seems to move (just think of waiting for a med to kick in, for example).

Time also passes quickly, especially when it comes to your external life. I am constantly amazed at how I can go weeks without talking to a particular friend, but it seems like much less time has passed.

When illness isolates us, loneliness can be hard to cope with. But when we emerge from our flare, or are finally able to reach out, again, it can be difficult to deal with, too. Because many people, whom we call friends, have not been with us for that particular siege, and with the passage of time and the seriousness of the episode/flare/illness events, we do change and grow, however subtly.

How, then, do you describe to those you haven’t seen or spoken with in ages, how you really are? How life is for you? What your relationships with them is, now that more time has passed and things haven’t exactly been easy in the interim?

As much as we love our friends and dear family members, illness affords us only so much quality time to devote to individuals while we’re struggling to stay afloat health-wise. I learned long ago that it’s okay not to have as many “close” friends as I once did, because I simply don’t have that much time and energy, as much as I’d want to. So, I bring my closest friends along with  me on my illness journey (and I’m along with them), and for others with whom I’m friendly, and when I “come up for air,” I try to explain briefly, and then move on with the present.

In short, we don’t have to explain to everyone everything that goes on with our illnesses – we’d run out of energy mighty fast if we did! But we should stay close to those with whom we are close, and treasure those dear friendships that sustain us and with whom we can also be a good friend.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: Managing the Munchies

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of voraorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of voraorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I really, really, really like chocolate. Chocolate and almonds. Or, just chocolate.

And yet, I know how bad it can be if I over-indulge. Extra weight on lupus-arthritic joints can add pain on top of pain. So, I try to manage…well…try is the operative word, here.

The same reasons we like to munch on goodies in health can be the same reasons we munch when we’re fighting chronic illness and pain. The sheer pleasure of it, of course, but also for other reasons. For example, perhaps you’ve sailed through a milestone in treatment. Does “celebrate” equal “munch away!”?

Or, you’re in the midst of a terrible flare, and nothing seems to be going right. Does “I’m so hurting…” equal “munch to medicate the sadness?”

Just as we manage other aspects of our lives, managing the munchies is really important. Almost as if we have to be our own “coach,” we can dole out goodies in a healthful way – and run all dietary items by our doctors first – and still placate the little nibbler in all of us.

We can substitute food items for other fun things – a day out, a good book, a trinket, or time with friends.

We can turn our thinking to “only the best for the best,” that is, as beloved children of God, who wants only the best for us, we can commit to good actions and healthful food items as a way of living out our Christian walk.

After speaking with our medical team and verifying what’s okay and what’s not with them, we can find we need not completely deprive ourselves of what we crave. Only, we might have to manage better  - and thus reap the benefits not and moving forward!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: Managing the Usual with the Unusual

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicI’m typing this with a sore arm and a couple of month’s journey – again – to determine “once and for all” the reason why I don’t hold onto iron. For years, I’ve dealt with iron levels that get lower and lower until, finally, I have to have an infusion. And, for years, the reason for this, or, rather, the “usual” reason, is that I must be losing blood from somewhere, enough to account for the loss of ferritin. Only, turns out, I’m not. Turns out, for me, it’s another of those medical anomalies, and a reminder that some patients are, sometimes, more “unusual” than “usual.”

There are labs and there are diagnoses, “usual” proofs of certain conditions and then, well, there can be the “unusual” side of chronic illness. Lab results, for example, with their “normal ranges,” and people whose symptoms defy those ranges, even though the opposite should be true.

I think part of the reason for anomalies in lab reports and clinical manifestations is that, for many illnesses, the learning curve has yet to be fully explored. Some diseases are still not fully understood, and each patient is more like a piece in the overall cloth of medical understanding than a pinpoint on the well-established-in-stone “line.” And this brings an added responsibility on the patient to communicate clearly and help his or her doctors understand his or her particular situation.

After this latest spate of tests, invasive and non, I think the doubt has been lifted and the path is clear: I just don’t absorb iron, and the infusions will be a regular part of my overall healthcare. Not especially pleasant, but I’ll make the best of it, as it will definitively address at least this one component of my health problems. And I’ll be sure to keep all reports and records documenting this so that, if I have to see a new doctor, I can bring him or her on board immediately.

It’s quite an individual thing, this art and science of diagnosis.  Meaning, the patient and his or her doctor have to work very closely together, both understanding that, at times, the picture is quite usual, and other times, even though rare, quite unusual.

Reminds me of the Scripture passage, to paraphrase, that we are, indeed wonderfully and fearfully made!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Previous Posts

Vietnam War: A Memory for Today
Tucked in a box amid other QSL cards that I found after my father's death last year is a single, fading reminder of a powerful way to pray today. If you're not familiar with what they are, a QSL card is a record sent from one radio ham operator to another that confirms the contact that the two ma

posted 2:11:02am Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: How do you describe it, exactly?
Time often flies by when you're living, and when you have a chronic illness, time passes sometimes in odd ways. Slowly, in some measure, because living with pain is especially, well, painful, and the more pain you feel, the slower time seems to move (just think of waiting for a med to kick in, for e

posted 8:25:10pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Managing the Munchies
I really, really, really like chocolate. Chocolate and almonds. Or, just chocolate. And yet, I know how bad it can be if I over-indulge. Extra weight on lupus-arthritic joints

posted 8:10:25pm Jul. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Managing the Usual with the Unusual
I'm typing this with a sore arm and a couple of month's journey - again - to determine "once and for all" the reason why I don't hold onto iron. For years, I've dealt with iron levels that get lower and lower until, finally, I have to have an infusion. And, for years, the reason for this, or, rather

posted 7:44:26pm Jul. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Scripture: Sometimes, I Have to Laugh
I once told someone that I find much humor in the Bible, that I even laughed sometimes, as I read it. She looked at me as if I'd spoken heresy, and mumbled, "I can't imagin

posted 7:30:34pm Jul. 16, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.