Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Illness on the Road Part One

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicVacations can be relaxing, rejuvenating, exciting, and wonderful. But when you have a chronic illness, well, vacations can be something else entirely.

As much as we wish it weren’t so, chronic illness doesn’t take a vacation. No matter how many frequent flyer miles we have, or how terrific it is to see friends and family, our aches, pains, medications, and other health baggage come with us.

As difficult as it might be to travel with an illness, good planning can help make the way a bit easier and a bit less worrisome. Here are some tips:

Talk with your doctor about the trip you’ll be making, and ask what you need to take with you, as well as what you should do should an emergency arise. Today, many docs have contacts in other cities, which can be very helpful if you need immediate, personal assistance. Also, with modern ways to communicate, your doctor might only be a call or a text away.

Make room in your luggage for what you need to take care of your health - Insurance cards, prescriptions, etc. And, make room in your schedule for rest, exercise, and the other activities that help you take care, too.

Communicate with loved ones and family in advance about any restrictions you might have – reducting sun exposure, for example, or not participating in strenuous sports, hiking, or other physical activities. Help them understand you want to spend time with them, but need to manage your health situation carefully.

Pack all of your relaxation techniques and prayers – and put them to use as you navigate highways, airport lines, and other tiring aspects of travel.

Allow yourself to look forward to the trip, even if it does mean extra work. Although illness doesn’t take a vacation, that doesn’t mean you can’t!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Too Soon? Too Late?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIn the aftermath of life crises, loss, or a new diagnosis, people often tell us “take your time.” Indeed, we need time to digest what has happened and how it will affect our lives going forward. But we might also hear, “it’s too soon…” or “don’t you think it’s time you…” and these questions, often spoken from concern and compassion, might jar us.

When is it too soon to pick up life activities? When, for example, is it too soon to begin dating when someone has lost his or her spouse?

When is it “too late” to return to a group, work, or church responsibilities?

How long does the mourning process take?

I think the important word in this question is “process.”

Getting used to a diagnosis, for example, is a process. It takes time to take in all the information we need to understand a new physical challenge, and it certainly takes time to understand all that it means to life ongoing.

Losing a loved one, too, sets us on a path, a process unfolding, as we move along. As such, it is not a smooth road, but rather one that has dips and turns and, yes, u-turns, too. Tears punctuate progress. Memories arise in the moment. It’s certainly not a comfortable, pain-free way to journey. But it’s part of the whole fabric of life and, inevitably, does lead to peace.

Only we know, individually, when it is too soon or too late, but we have to be honest with ourselves as we travel through whatever process we are experiencing. For hanging on, denying, and refusing to live as God wills for us can be present in the process, too, and these can hold us back from accepting, moving ahead, and healing.

Blessings for the day!

Maureen

“Have a great day!”

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicSo, with three major life crises occurring within days of each other, and these having followed on the heels of a major lupus flare and significant medicine changes, I have a totally new perspective on that familiar throw-away line, “Have a great day!”

Right up there with, “Have an awesome day!” and closely related to “Enjoy!”, the underlying sentiment can be, well, like a frustrating splash of cold water. After all, when multiple harsh events have occurred, it’s natural to be skittish, to have an even-slight thought that yet another challenge will come along to add to the heavy load.

Indeed, sometimes, I, or, perhaps you, too, have thought, “Forget ‘great.’ I’ll settle for a calm day, a day when nothing else happens.”

It’s a part of our public culture that we wear the mask of “Have a great day” over the other, less positive emotions that might be below the surface. Much like, “How are you?” “I’m fine. You?” “I’m fine.” It’s almost a rapid-fire protocol before getting to, perhaps, the essence and truth of a conversation.

But, lately, I’ve begun to stand up and wrestle this whole “Have a great day!” phenomenon like never before. Instead of thinking, “If you only knew…” or worrying that the sky will fall as soon as someone invokes the thought of a better time, I’m going to take each “Have a great day!” as permission.

Permission to think positively. Permission to nod and say, “Yes.” Permission to act with assurance that no matter how hard the time up to now has been, there can be greatness, goodness, even awesomeness ahead.

Yes, may you, too, have a great day!

Maureen

Controlling the Uncontrollable

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ah! If only we could control our illness and pain! At least then we might be able to pick and choose the times and days when these awful challenges could stay in the background, corralled, quieted.

But, unfortunately, much like Hans Brinker who tried to stop leaks in the dike by plugging them with his own fingers, even if we are able to bring about some relief, eventually, often, we simple run out of fingers.

It’s been like that with me – three significant and serious events in less than a month. A new and painful diagnosis. A car accident. The death of my father.

I think I “ran out of fingers” ’round about the end of May!

Yet, for all that these things were emotionally and physically draining, and for all that I am still sorting through the many feelings and activities that go along wtih them, I don’t feel as if life has fallen apart or is hurtling out of my control. Why not?

Well, first of all, I might feel deep sorrow, acute pain, utter frustration, but I believe that God is in control. Not that He is “punishing” me or anyone else upon whom sadness has befallen. Rather, as these and other crises happen, God is with and all around me, covering me and the situations and others in them with His love and protection.

Secondly, I understand that as long as I, or anyone else, lives on this earth, there will be problems. We’re human. We’ll rejoice sometimes and suffer pain othertimes.

Third, to the extent that I can do things to forward health, or take care of the responsibilities that come along with problems that arise, I do. But, if there are other things out of my control, well, I’ll lift them up to God and leave them with Him.

Fourth, (and we so often forget this), in the midst of the storm, surrounded by things we cannot control, we so often forget to take care. Yet, it is extremely important that we do. (My Beliefnet Gallery, posted elsewhere, has suggestions for this: “Five Thoughts to Help You Recover from a Really Rough Time.”)

Believe. Understand. Do. Take care.

This we can control. The rest is up to God.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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