Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

As Flu Season Accelerates

posted by mpratt

This year’s flu season is already shaping up to be scary. It’s early, virulent, and rapidly overwhelming many U.S. hospitals and doctors’ offices.

One of the things that makes this time of year very worrisome is the thought of adding a severe case of the flu to all the other health challenges lupus, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other patients have. Getting sicker when you’re already sick poses a number of health concerns, some of which can be life-threatening. When someone lives with a chronic (and expensive) illness, heaping flu upon other conditions brings extra expense – and saps precious, rare energy.  It can cause complications, both related to the flu and related to the other illnesses someone has. As I know with lupus, it can take much longer to get over a case of the flu than the average recovery time, and lupus can flare worse, too, raising further difficulties.

During this season, it might seem to healthier people as if some of us with chronic illness are “retreating,” being alarmist, or exaggerating the problem that flu poses. We might avoid crowded places such as malls, theaters, or even church, opt to eat in more often than eating out, or avoid a coworker who is ill. If we do venture out, we might decline to shake hands, hug others in greeting, or distance ourselves from a friend’s children. I’ve been known to beat a very hasty retreat from an elevator or store when I perceive that someone nearby seems ill.  I also remind friends and others that, if I arrive somewhere and someone is ill, I will leave (and I tell them that it’d be wonderful if they’d let me know in advance, so I don’t even go out). I don’t mean to be rude, just need to be prudent.

These and other precautions are not exactly convenient, nor are they enjoyable. But chronic illness is not convenient or enjoyable, either.  And sometimes, being kind to others starts with ourselves and doing all we can to to take care of the precious bodies and lives we’re given. Avoiding the flu altogether might not be possible, but learning some advocacy tools will be valuable far beyond this current flu season.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Birthday coming up? Don’t worry, be you!

posted by mpratt

Aging can be problematic for many people, but especially for those of us whose health conditions sometimes make us feel as if we’ve aged way beyond our years.  Nothing like arthritis in your 20s, or a heart attack in your 30s to make you feel as if you’ve joined the ranks of senior citizens way before 65! And, yet, even if you do feel old beyond your years, people might tell you that you “look too young to be so sick,” thus multiplying your confusion and frustration. Or, in my case, by accident I’m sure, some might peg you as way older than you really are…and you’ll face a decision point: worry that it might be true, or look upon the “oops” with amusement. Two examples:

Years ago, when I was digging into my first “real” job, I received an AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) membership card. The anomaly struck me as so funny that I pinned it to my cork bulletin board for all the world to see. I certainly didn’t feel ready to retire, and I sure didn’t feel old. But I did like the smile that the little card brought each time I saw it; those “golden years” sure seemed far off, someone’s data base notwithstanding.

That card is still in my possession, pinned to another cork board in my current workspace. It shows its age, having turned from white to yellow, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it? And, alongside it will soon be pinned another piece of mail that I recently received. This one, an advertisement, invites me to go “on a wonderful, sentimental journey back in time” to 1942 (!), apparently a year that the folks putting together this mailing seem to think I really enjoyed. Did I?!

The point of this is that, throughout life, some will think and say (or mail you something) that you look younger or older than your numerical age. But appearances and numbers have nothing to do with outlook on life, approach to adversity, enthusiasm for what you are doing, and friends, family, and others with whom you surround yourself.  In fact, the number of birthdays we celebrate have nothing to do with who we are as people (except, perhaps, in ushering us into the realm of eligibility for ‘senior’ discounts). After all, in Scipture, we’re told that God knows each of us by name from before we are born, not that he’s tracking each of our birthdates on some celestial calendar.

Each birthday I have brings with it a sense of accomplishment, too. It might not have been easy, or pretty, to live through another 365 days, but I (and you) met the challenge! I say we wear those years with a large dollop of pride and profound thanks!

Don’t worry, be you!

Now, would someone please tell me what was so wonderful about 1942?

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

 

Cleaning Out the Medicine Cabinet? Think of the Environment!

posted by mpratt

 

Image courtesy of SimonHowden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our world is a precious, God-given gift.  Thinking (and being) green when we clean out fhe medicine cabinet is one of the ways that we who live with chronic pain and illness can participate in environmentally conscious activities.  How?  By disposing of old or expired medications through recycling and/or collection programs sponsored by local governments, pharmacies, hospitals, or other venues.  This ensures that old/expired meds will be responsibly handled and isolated from precious water and land resources.You can find out about available programs in your community by contacting your local health department, pharmacy,  or hospital.  Making the effort to take expired meds to a drop-off is a wonderful way to join others in protecting our environment – and to helping us feel we’re not so isolated, too!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Feel Like You’re Failing Because of Your Pain or Illness?

posted by mpratt

Today’s the “day after” my iron infusion and I’m at a very low ebb. Achy, headachy, slow…and wouldn’t you know that, when I got back from the long day yesterday, I had numerous emails and voicemails awaiting me. Things to do, people to call back…Have I responded to them? Honestly, eventually, I will. But for now, I’m turning my very minimal energy to writing this in the hope that this example in my life might help others who, because of their own chronic illness or pain, might feel like they’re failing because health challenges stand in the way of being fully responsive and productive…or even a little responsive and productive.

In my years of living with the flare ups of illness, I’ve had many experiences of being interrupted in mid-task, mid-day, or even mid-sentence. Sometimes, I’ve had to cancel activities completely. Sometimes, I’ve returned calls and emails days after receiving them. And, I used to feel like a complete failure.

Now, however, I understand that these interruptions are not failures, but all a part of life with a serious illness and pain.  And, I’ve learned to explain this to others, especially the need to rest and prioritize so that the little, precious energy that I have on a given day will be put to its best use.  The limitations placed upon me by illness are not easy to live with, but they just are. But stressing because I feel bad about feeling bad is, well, just heaping pain upon pain, which is something I choose not to do.

Yes, today’s a slow day. A rest day. And a day God gives. Come to think of it, He rested, too, didn’t He, on the seventh day? (Genesis 2:1-2) Wise, indeed!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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