Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: A Full-time Job

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicI get a little tongue-tied sometimes when people ask me what I do. Not that writing isn’t the first thing that pops into my head. But, I have to think too, of the other job, the other full-time job: managing life with chronic illness.

Of course, it can be a real conversation killer to start answering with, “Well, I juggle doctors’ appointments with tests with going back and forth from physical therapy to the pharmacist.” Or, “Let’s see…I get to the ‘office’ (my medicine cabinet) around 10 AM, if I’m lucky, and then move on to meetings (doc appointments) until around 3…”

Still, thinking of managing life with illness as a “job” can be a very helpful thing, especially if your life is full of other activities and responsibilities. Why?

It’s a lot harder to shirk our illness-related duties if we think of them as tasks that provide us with “live-lihood” – we don’t get paid, but we do reap benefits of, hopefully, better or at least as optimal health as we can have.

Managing illness as a “job” is also helpful when dealing with others, especially people who don’t acknowledge our health responsibilities or who try to take our precious time and energy in spite of the restrictions we might have. What I mean by this is, the “job” of illness allows us to set up “office hours,” and to build health-full boundaries. It also allows us to balance activies with health needs.

Yes, living with illness can be a full-time job. But if we take the “good” from looking upon it as such, we’ll be pros in no time – and stronger for it, too!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Prayer for Missionary Healthcare Workers

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The headlines about the ebola outbreak bring to the forefront how courageous and giving missionary healthcare workers, and all other medical personnel, are, risking their own lives to save others. Although they may be far away from us, we cannot forget them. Here is a prayer for all of them, and the patients they treat so self-lessly:

Oh, Lord, blessed are you who gives life!

And wonderfully gifted are those who work to preserve Your life,

Your children.

Please protect and preserve all the healthcare workers

who toil under harsh conditions and at great risk to themselves.

Bring them hope and strength, even in the darkest moments.

Let your love and comfort bolster them

and flow freely from them

to those who are afflicted.

Bless all those, young and old, in the midst of

disease and despair.

And grace them with soothing, Living Water,

and reviving peace.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

Wear is your best?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Michael Elliott/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Michael Elliott/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Why don’t you wear that lovely ewelry/that dress/those shoes more often?

“Oh, it’s too good to wear everyday. I only save it for special occasions.”

“So, when was the last time you wore it?”

“Oh, it’s been so long, I can’t remember…”

Does this conversation sound familiar? It sure does to me. I’ve heard it again and again, spoken between me, sometimes, and another patient, or overheard in a doctor’s waiting room. Rarely, if ever, do we consciously think of wearing something “good” for something like a medical appointment. It seems so incongruous, so out of place.

Yet, given the amount of time we spend going from doctor to test to doctor and back again, the time that we have for “special occasions” is abbreviated at best, and often, for long stretches, nonexistent. So, we leave our “best” in a drawer or closet, gathering dust but not memories. And soon, we also leave our best smile, our best kind word, our best attitude behind, too.

What’s left?

Well, not exactly our best.

As I wrote in my previous post,”this is the day the Lord has made.” This day, this specific day.  And given it is a day that Our Father in Heaven has gifted us with, think of the difference it would make if we wore our best.

What if we dusted off our best dress, our best smile? What if we used our kindest vocabulary and took along (and used) our most patient attitude?

The depths of the heart are precious reservoirs of love and care and grace. By putting on our best, whenever we face the world, whether at a doc’s office or elsewhere, we put that reservoir to use – and we help make this day better, more blessed, for others, too.

Peace and joy,

Maureen

Writing about chronic illness and pain

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicFrequently, people will tell me that they want to write a book about their experience with chronic illness and pain. When they ask me for advice, I give them a response that’s probably not what they’re expecting. Instead of talking about the market for books, the world of e-publishing, or even the craft of writing, I ask a simple question, “Why do you want to write about your illness/pain?” The reason for this response is easy: Writing a book is not. Easy, that is. It takes a lot of dedication, time, energy, and more than a wish to tell others your story. If that’s all you want to do, you can journal, blog, even Tweet about how you’re your doing on a particular day. There is nothing wrong with this, by the way. In fact, journaling, etc., is a very good way of helping you understand your life with health challenges and, possibly, can inform others, especially your medical team. I ask “Why?” because I want to know if someone who already lives a daily and nightly battle with health challenges is willing and eager to take on another, very significant, challenge. And, I ask “Why?” because, although there are many, many “personal story” books on the market, the best writing on illness and pain extends beyond self and informs, encourages, and inspires others. Writing about pain and illness, at its best, helps others live with their daily struggles. Although personal experiences are important to establishing credibility and context, it’s not so much about “me” as it is about “them.” Yes, it is very, very hard work. But, it is also a wonderful blessing, a grace-filled ministry. If you are one who wishes to write a book about your experience and help others, to be of service, be encouraged. Be diligent about your research and thought. Be true to your heart. Be prayerful each day and night. And be ready for an adventure, a journey, a labor of love. Joy and peace, Maureen

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