Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Pain: Own It, Then Put It in Perspective

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

Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Oh, how we wish we could just throw it away! Pains great and small, banish them to outer space and never take them back again. Yes, how we wish…but then, there’s how we feel and how we live. Pain still is. Not something we can jettison, but something we live with, whether it increases or decreases. Chronic pain means it’s with us for a long duration. So, I’ve decided, for my life, two things: It’s here, it’s not going away, so I’ll own it. But, I’ll also put it in a broader perspective. I have my pain, but I also have my life, of which pain is only a part. Sometimes a big part. Sometimes a small part. Of late, it’s been a greater part. But it’s not everything. If this seems simplistic, or naive, or even silly, well, I don’t think so. Some of the most important things we can do for the wellbeing of our spirits and emotional health are very simple (not simplistic). And one of them is to keep a good, balanced view of the totality of living. If we allow ourselves to be consumed by pain and crowd out the other things that we are and do, we become like a garden choked by weeds. But if we prune and tend, we can have a garden that can blossom and bloom, despite the weeds that will perpetually visit, but not overwhelm the good growth within. Blessings for the day, Maureen

Chronic Illness: The Next Generation

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicOne of the most significant ways that our life with illness affects others is in providing guidance and influence over the next generation of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I didn’t consider this aspect of my “vocation.” I was, as many newly diagnosed people are, focused on my life, my illness, and my “little corner” of the world.

But, as days and years have passed, I’ve become more curious about how those younger are “coming up,” and how they are being molded by societal and individual attitudes. For example when we hear about how unfair and unjust the medical profession is, and how doctors and others are “in it for the money” and not for patient welfare, how does that influence young people to want to dedicate long, hard years of study to the medical profession? Does it inspire them? Encourage them? Or, deter them?

When “quick fixes” for medical problems are advertised so widely and loudly, what kind of influence does that have on young people when they experience the illness of a loved one, or their own illness, that lingers, draws on, and is chronically painful? Are they able to find determination to live well and in faith anyway? Or, do they become angry, disillusioned, and turn away from God’s hope and love?

Parental guidance is primary and vital in all ways, including helping children form healthy attitudes toward health. But, even if we’re on the outside, we can be part of the formation.

Several times, I’ve been asked to speak to groups of young people about what it’s like to live with a chronic illness, and how others can help. Through these workshops, I’ve learned that children naturally want to help. They have few biases about other people. They are naturally curious, too. As they get older, they form more personal ideas about the world, but they are still open, seeking. I try to remember this whenever I interact with young people, no matter how tired I am.

The future of healthcare resides, in great part, in laboratories and healthcare companies that develop and deliver care. But it lies in greater part with the people who will work in offices and hospitals and actually be the instruments of care. The more we help form, teach, and encourage those younger, the better off this world will be!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: When the Same Old Gets Old

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLiving and coping with a long-term illness often calls for establishing a routine. Meds have to be taken at certain times and with or without food or in certain combinations.  Symptoms need close monitoring. So much sleep. So much exercise. For many of us, illness is a full-time job, and the hours can be overwhelming.

And, the routines can get old. Very old.

We cannot deviate much from the treatments and habits that help keep us going and moving. So how, then, can we cope with the “same old”-ness of this life with chronic health conditions?

Sometimes, the slightest difference can perk up the day. Music we haven’t listened to in a long while. A book that’s been on our list to read for ages. An herb or spice added to food, or provebially added to our routine. These can help energize and uplift.

Getting back in contact with a friend can be a nice boost. Learning about something completely different from our usual circle of interest is a great way to bring variety into our lives.

Praying differently is a good way to visit God with newness of eyes, ears and heart.

Sometimes, we might feel pent up and hemmed in by our illnesses. Stunted. Imprisoned. But, even the smallest change in our lives can reap great benefits. We can banish boredom. Invite hope and humor.  We can keep growing, and in so doing, reach beyond illness and be more fully alive.

Feeling like the “same old” is getting old?

Take charge! What’s new?

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: Dare to Be You!

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most of us who live with chronic illness become very creative when it comes to coping. Perhaps we have an “alter ego,” in the shape of a stuffed teddy bear or other inanimate object, and vent our frustrations on it instead of our loved ones. Or, perhaps we have a favorite color and “trick out” our canes, walkers, or sun protective clothing accordingly. Maybe your voice mail greeting is your “creative turf,” or perhaps, like me, you enjoy wearing different colors and styles of wigs depending on your mood.

These and other coping mechanisms might seem odd to others, but we know that they help us through our days (especially our really bad days), and thus we can go about our days and nights with better moods.

But, sometimes, as we cope, we might get odd looks. Sideways glances. Or, head shakes and the dreaded, “Really?!” We know what these folks are thinking. “Is he/she cracking up?” “Is it too much for him/her?” “Doesn’t he/she realize how serious the situation is?”

I will admit that we need to take our illnesses seriously. But we also cannot let our health conditions rob us of what makes us uniquely us – and we cannot allow any amount of skepticism take away the spirit and humor that helps us, indeed, that often sustains us. We can and should express ourselves, let our imaginations soar, and plumb the depths of the creativity and other wonderful qualities that make us who we are.

So, don’t worry about standing out in a crowd. Dare to be you. I’ll dare to be me.

Who knows? Together, and individually, we just might start a trend!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

 

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