Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chopping Wood And Carrying Water

Today I was walking home from breakfast with Peter when I got caught in a light spring shower. Instead of putting my head down and making a run for cover, I decided to just enjoy the combination of the mild day, the sun, and the light rain and continue my stroll. I'm glad I did because I spotted these pretty flowers growing beside the footpath and decided to stop in the rain and take a few pics.

Time to stop and smell the flowers, or at least take a photo of them.

The past few weeks have been a bit up and down. Peter's work has been very stressful for him of late, and although we are going great there are times when stress creeps into the relationship. His shift work hasn't helped either as it leaves him struggling with tiredness and a lack of routine. My own sleep has been a bit up and down as well, with my old insomnia problem rearing its unwelcome head again. So just lately we seem to both be struggling with on and off bouts of crushing tiredness. Despite that we've still had some really fun times together, and even on the hardest days a sweet little text exchange will work wonders to lift the spirits.

I also started a new position at work and received confirmation that my contract has been extended until at least 31st March next year, which was fantastic news and means that I can plan a bit for the immediate future. However, for two weeks I was essentially trying to juggle training and starting my new position, with finishing a 5 week stint relieving in another position for someone who was on leave. As understanding as both my bosses were it meant I kept having to shift mental gears (as well as locations) several times during each day and it became surprisingly tiring.

Some days I've had to just "chop wood, carry water" as Peter would say. Just knuckle down and get on with what needs to be done. That may sound unduly negative, because I've also had some great times over the past few weeks; fun nights out with Peter, a friend's spectacular birthday party that I helped organise, dinners and drinks with new friends I've made through Peter, and some quiet nights in cuddling on the sofa. So there have been definite "ups".

Worst of all though I had a bit of a health scare recently too which made me anxious for a while. I found a roughly pea sized lump under my sternum, next to the edge of my ribcage. My forebrain was telling me not to worry and that it was probably just a cyst or something, but the darker recesses of my brain were going holy effing shit. I still have to go and have an ultrasound test done next Tuesday, but my doctor examined it very carefully and pointed out all the signs that say it's a cyst rather than anything worse. So I do feel relieved now that I've seen him, but I'll be much happier after the ultrasound when I have an answer as to exactly what it is. Exhaling a little easier.

(I debated with myself about whether to write about that until I have had the test done, but I figure I should just be upfront about everything that's going on. I really am convinced now that I have seen my doctor that it's nothing serious.)

By the middle of next week I should have positive news on the health front, and from Monday I only have one (enjoyable new) job role to perform. I'm going to work hard at resolving my sleep problems as best I can, including talking to my doctor about maybe even going back on my old treatment regime. So I fully expect this little rollercoaster ride to slow down pretty soon. Until then, time to chop wood and carry water, and smell the flowers along the way.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Taking Care

This weekend marked a couple of minor events that actually represent pretty big achievements for me. One was something I'd been working towards for a while, and the other was something that I had been avoiding for even longer.

Shortly after I started losing weight I decided to ditch my blood pressure and cholesterol medications, so that by the time I got down to my goal weight I could get them both retested and find my new natural levels. I'm still a kilo and a bit from my stated goal, but I decided it as time to get it done.

So I visited my new doctor Doogie John recently (who is both very sweet and about 12 years old, or so it would appear) and had a bunch of tests done. Given my family history I had poor expectations of my cholesterol levels, and even though they were much improved they were still bad enough for me to go back on the medications.

What I was pleased about though was that my blood pressure has gone from high back into the normal range. John was very complimentary, and said that he applauded the changes I had made to be proactive about my health. Frankly it was the pat on the back that I really needed, and I left with a big smile on my face and a sigh of relief. I have terrible family history when it comes to heart disease, and it was the realisation that I needed to try and avoid a similar fate to my father and all of his siblings that was one of the main impetus to start losing weight in the first place.

Secondly, something I have been putting off for a very long time... a visit to the dentist. It might sound like a trivial thing, but it was huge for me. I had very bad experiences as a teenager (4 rear molars pulled by a less than skilled dentist), and so as an adult my relationship to dentistry has been sporadic at best. I'm phobic. So making an appointment for Saturday and actually showing up were a big deal for me.

It wasn't so bad. Best of all my new dentist was very understanding, not at all interested in public shaming, and prone to placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder. I was cleaned, polished, x-rayed, rinsed and swilled, and left with the knowledge that while I have quite a bit more work to be done in the future, I would be ok with that. Yes the cost is daunting, but having just conquered that silly fear was quite a bonus.

So two fears put to bed, and most importantly two steps towards being more proactive about my future health. Two big steps for me.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

5 Things About Wednesday, 5th October: Tumbling Edition

  • In merrie olde England one of the most feared diseases was known as The Falling Sickness. Whilst I certainly don't have that, just lately I do seem to have caught the knack for falling down. Twice in the past few days I've taken a tumble, including falling UP the stairs at work this morning after misjudging a step. I saved the iPod but bashed a few fingertips (and my pride) in the process.
  • Yes I did have a brief and appropriate earworm this morning of I'll Tumble For Ya by Culture Club.
  • What age do you have to be before the word "fall" gains a capital letter? You go from having a fall, to having a Fall. I guess it's maybe less about age and more about consequences?
  • It's only a short week this week, but I'm still celebrating hump day.
  • I'm into the second week of a 5 week job change, relieving for an admin staff member who has gone on leave overseas. It's still technically part of my department, but I'm stationed in a different part of the university, at a different desk. Here's the thing, I hate the desk and chair set-up. Especially the tilt on the chair which some days makes my back a bit groany. So do I a) change everything to suit me and incur the potential gripes of the returning owner (a known curmudgeon), or b) tough it out? Which could be the lesser of the two evils?