One of the beautiful things about having a blog is that you have a record of where you’ve been what you’ve been thinking about. I know where I am now, and honesty, I’m not exactly thrilled about this place. I’m not entirely certain how I got here or why I’m here, but regardless, here I am.
I’m at a place where I know I need to get my butt in gear (again) and overcome inertia. It’s a familiar place, and in some ways it’s comfortable, but it’s unproductive, and I know it. So what to do?
Well, for one thing I just managed to give myself a quick little motivational pep talk (is that redundant? I don’t care.) by simply reading some old posts. WordPress does this brilliant thing where they take the content of a post and guess at some other posts that might be related. Today, as I was making an edit to yesterday’s post about my physical, I not only noticed the linked articles, but I clicked on one. I’m glad I did.
It took me to a post I wrote when I was in a similar situation to the one I’m in now. I was dealing with all time highs on my medical chart and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Some old, same old, right? Except that I had some good advice for myself. I came to the conclusion that I should treat myself at least as well as I treat my friends. I don’t beat them up for their mistakes. I don’t love them less if they’ve gained a few pounds or missed a couple of doses of medication. I love them anyway, and I support them. I can do that for myself too. I need to. And so do you. We need to be our own best cheerleaders, focusing on the positives and bolstering ourselves up when the going gets tough. Cheerleaders don’t quit when their teams are down, they redouble their efforts to encourage them. Let’s do that for ourselves and each other. Are you ready? Go Team!
I did it. I went to the doctor for my annual physical and I did all the stuff I was supposed to do. Well, actually not ALL, but most of it.
Let me explain. I go to a medical group where there is a huge focus on wellness and preventative care. They have LOTS of different machines and an in-house lab and all sorts of ways to assess your health. That is generally a good thing, but each year for my physical they order all these tests that really don’t change from year to year, and they don’t change what the doctor will tell me. He will tell me what he always tells me, “lose weight and some of these other things will take care of themselves.”
Now you have to understand that I’m generally quite healthy. I know that being an adoptee puts a giant question mark into my medical chart, but in fairness I get a yearly pap, a yearly mammogram, and bloodwork done quarterly. Some of the other tests and procedures are just not medically necessary (so says my health care provider, and I agree). A healthy person doesn’t need a resting metabolic rate test each year, or an annual chest x-ray.
I felt a weight lifted off me, because typically their procedure for a physical lasts about 3 hours, and that doesn’t include the appointment 2 weeks later to discuss all the results. I was in and out in about an hour and a half, including the mammogram, so that wasn’t bad.
I also felt better about it than usual because of my trusty towel. How could a towel help me? Well I decided that I’ve had enough of sticking to the paper that covers the exam table and then shredding it as I scoot down to the edge of the table for the exam. I get shreds of paper all over my backside, and I end up on the vinyl cover of the table itself, which is what the stupid paper cover is supposed to prevent. Enough. This time I brought along a clean towel from my linen closet and placed in on top of the exam table before I sat down. When it came down to scoot there was no sticking or tearing, and my dignity (what was left of it) remained in tact. Next I need a cape.
A cape, you ask? Yes. You see the mammogram lady (who is contracted through a separate company, so she does things a little differently) had these wonderful cotton capes. The design was similar to a Christmas tree skirt, with your head being the tree, of course. It was soft, modest, and easy to move out of the way for the exam. I need to make myself one to replace the paper vest that the doctor’s office provides.
The paper vest is another humiliation that I just don’t need in my life anymore. First off, it doesn’t cover anything on this body, so as I’m waiting for my exam I sit sort of hunched and cowering. Secondly, somehow I managed to split the thing right down the back. Well, it is paper. So now instead of a vest, I have two completely separate pieces of paper around my shoulders covering my sides and little else. Never again. I’m going to make an examination cape and that will solve that.
These types of appointments are uncomfortable enough, without being made worse by the humiliation of being exposed and subjected to conditions that are awkward and unpleasant. With a few small modifications, I can make myself so much more at ease, and hopefully reduce some of the stress that I associate with my yearly exam. What do you do to help put yourself at ease at the doctor’s office?
I have one week left of summer vacation before I head back to school for meetings and planning and classroom setup. One week left to get to the doctor and the dentist. One week left to attend to all the things I was going to do over the summer, but didn’t. One short week.
Maybe instead of focusing on what didn’t get done I should instead take a look at what I have accomplished.
First of all, I managed to have a wonderful vacation that really felt like two vacations, since I was in two separate locations. I spent a good amount of time with my family and I got to see several friends. I walked the beach, I ate s’mores, and I swam in several different pools. I laughed until my cheeks hurt and I explored the area where the Pilgrims landed in the new world. I played mini-golf and I went to the movies and I drank wine and ate salsa with jicima and blueberries. I listened to live music and ate from a food truck and buried my toes in the sand. I saw where the Kennedy’s played football on the lawn and I ate peanut butter cup pancakes and I watched fireworks from the beach. I showed my son my university and goofed off with him in a way that just isn’t possible at home. Maybe that was enough. Maybe I didn’t have to do anything else, but I did.
I took care of my car, which was an unpleasant task, but what can I do? I need a car. I waited out the air conditioner’s coy way of fooling the repair guys, and restored some cool to our indoor space. I cleared out some items that we no longer need or love and donated them to charity. I also started cooking a little bit more, and began relying on going out a little bit less. Of course that means more trips to the grocery store, more meal prep, and more cleaning up. Oh, and laundry. I must have washed a zillion loads of laundry (that’s a lie… I’m actually boycotting laundry because I’m simply not in the mood for it).
If you know me in person and you choked on this heading I apologize. Let me clarify: I was a social butterfly to my way of thinking. I went to a baseball game with my son, I went to a painting party with a couple of friends, and I had a few lunches with friends. It all counts!
I read quite a bit this summer. Some of the books I loved, others I was less enthusiastic about, but I felt good about reading. In reverse order, I read:
The Outsiders by SE Hinton
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
A Dog’s Purpose by W Bruce Cameron
The Noticer by Andy Andrews
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
We Were Liars by E Lockhart
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The bolded titles were the ones that really stood out. They were the ones I most hated to put down and the ones that gave me the most to puzzle over. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the others. I did. In fact I enjoyed them all.
Oh yes, I did four weeks of teaching youth, I can’t forget about that. It was an enjoyable four weeks, and I would definitely do it again, should the opportunity arise. Spending my mornings with kids who enjoy creating stories and narratives is a pleasure. Helping them to refine their ideas and turn them into words on a page is remarkable. Being involved in that story telling process is quite an honor.
I admit it, I slept. I slept in, I took naps, and I went to bed when I felt tired. My body thanks me, but I’m a little bit worried about going back to work. No more nap time!
I’m okay with going back to work. A new school year is always exciting for me. I love meeting my new students and helping them to form a cohesive community of learners. We become a family of sorts, and that’s a beautiful thing. I also love seeing my former students, a few months older, a summer wiser, as they enter the fifth grade. The change in some of them is truly remarkable, and it’s so rewarding to watch those kids as they mature.
Yes, I’m about ready to go back, but before I do I’m going to enjoy one last week of r & r, there’s no need to rush it.