I started this journey almost 35 years ago. It has had several ups-and-downs, but you have always been there through them all, waiting patiently in the background for me to see you. I caught glimpses of you every once in a while, but never really recognized exactly how you fit into the picture. We were kind of like distant relatives at a family reunion; you looked familiar and I had heard alot about you, but had never really gotten to know you personally.
Something changed inside me a few days ago when I realized not only that you were there, but I understood for the first time what it feels like to know that I am loved unconditionally. To recognize that you not only love, but that you are love was a powerful discovery. I can feel a wave of peace flow through me just by thinking about it. Peace that comes from knowing I don’t have to question your existence anymore. Peace that comes from knowing you’ll always be there when I need you.
There are some who might call me crazy or delusional, but I don’t care. I know what I feel inside and I know that it brings me comfort.
I am grateful to you for being patient enough to let me figure this out on my own. I’m sure you often felt like I needed a wake-up call, but you probably just sat back, smiled and thought, “He’ll get it eventually.”
Thanks for never giving up on me. I intend to return the favor.
I might be the world’s worst hypochondriac. Every pain, every twitch, every ache is something serious, something so terribly dire that I am sure to meet an untimely death. I’m not sure how I got to be this phobic, but I am sure the internet has added to my problems. It is far to easy to google a common symptom and find all kinds of horrific diseases associated with it. It’s also easy for me to read a news story about something terrible and then begin worrying that I have the same affliction.
Case in point. When Natasha Richardson fell, hit her head, and subsequently died several days ago, the press were on the story 24-7. It was impossible to access a news page online without seeing stories about how minor head injuries can prove fatal, or how doctors refer to the condition as “talk and die” because patients often experience no symptoms for hours before deteriorating quickly.
Fast forward a few days. I’m out in the yard removing some branches that had fallen during our winter storm and one of the larger branches hits me in the side of the head. Not real hard, but enough to give me a headache. And right over my ear, which is where the news story had pointed out as the most dangerous spot to get hit. I panicked.
I wondered if I should go to the emergency room, but felt like I was probably overreacting. I went inside and laid in the recliner, trying to calm myself down but distressing over the possibility that I might be dead in an hour. Honey noticed that I had stopped talking, so he inquired what was wrong. I filled him in, knowing how crazy I sounded as I explained – something he was quick to confirm. An hour later, after realizing I was probably not going to die of a hematoma, I relaxed a little.
The internet isn’t all bad, though. I helped me figure out what was wrong when I had appendicitis and has helped me research many of the issues that I’ve discussed with my doctor – like high cholesterol. I think it has even helped me figure out another health problem that I’ve been having recently (real, not imagined).
Yesterday morning, my screaming bladder forced me out of bed around 4am. I had been drinking alot of water the evening before, thinking that the headaches I had been suffering daily for the last couple of weeks might be related to dehydration. As I stood over the toilet, I started feeling terribly weak and lightheaded. Then my hearing started going out. This, of course, caused panic and made my heart start racing. I quickly stumbled back to bed, where I laid for several minutes before my hearing returned to normal and my heart stopped pounding.
I figured this was related to some other symptoms that I’ve been having lately. I often get a rush to the head when I stand up after sitting for a long time, so much so that I can hear my heart beating in my ears and feel like I’m going to pass out. My headaches have been terrible, usually right along the back of my neck and top of my shoulders. I bent over to get something out a cabinet the other night and saw flashes of light for several moments after standing back up.
So, true to form, yesterday I turned to Dr. Google to find out what might be causing these problems. I suspected high blood pressure, but was surprised to learn that low blood pressure is normally the culprit in these situations. Apparently, in some people, the blood flow isn’t that great when seated or lying down, so changing positions causes the blood that has pooled in the lower extremities to be quickly forced into the upper body. This causes lightheadedness, headaches in the exact locations I mentioned earlier, and sometimes fainting while urinating.
The causes can be varied, but the two that stood out to me where dehydration and malnutrition. I already know that I don’t drink enough fluids. Two or three sodas each day just isn’t cutting it, and my diet usually varies somewhere between chocolate and hamburgers.
So, once again, I’ve decided that I have got to make some changes. I was already on the right path with the increased water intake, but I figure that I need to eat better and start taking a multivitamin. Hey, I know I’ve talked about this diet thing before, so I understand if you aren’t buying it.
Anyway, how funny/ironic is it that a self-diagnosed hypochondriac might also have self-diagnosed orthostatic hypotension? I’m pretty sure I don’t need medication for the latter, but am no longer so sure about the former.
I have a cork board hanging beside my desk at work that is covered with photos of friends, family, places I’ve been on vacation, and my partner. It has pictures of my parents, my sister and I when we were very young children, photos of the children that she went on to have, and even little sayings that have spoken to me over the years.
“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” – Ghandi
“The person willing to give up freedom for security deserves neither.” – A modern take on Benjamin Franklin’s quote.
“Where governments fear the people, you have liberty. When the people fear the government, you have tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
I also included a lyric from a song by American-Indian artist, Jana, which always reminds me of exactly why I’m at work.
So be aware of all the things you want
Prepare to pay for what you need
Nothing in the world is free to take
That’s the price of life we have to pay.
There’s even a slip of paper that I got out of a fortune cookie that says, “Stop searching forever. Happiness is right next to you.” And, yes, I was sitting right next to Honey when I opened it.
I recently printed the verses from 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 and posted them on the wall beside the board, as a constant reminder of the importance of love.
I think that’s the main reason I enjoy this picture board so much; when I’m stressed out or just tired and ready to go home, I can glance over to see all the faces and places that represent love to me. And then, in some strange way, I realize that I am already home.
We managed to replace two interior doors last night, which was a miracle considering that neither of us had ever hung one. Removing the old doors was a delicate process, since we didn’t want to destroy the surrounding painted walls. The absolute worst part of hanging a door is shimming it to get the sides perfectly level – not an easy accomplishment in an almost 40-year-old house.
I can now envision just how much this update is going to change the look of our home and it spurs me on!
I mentioned earlier that we are planning on replacing all the doors and trim in our house to get rid of the stained and varnished wood that goes with absolutely nothing. After procrastinating for a few weeks, we finally borrowed Dad’s truck yesterday afternoon and headed for Lowes. Much to our surprise, the doors that were previously over $70 had been reduced to $55. We had great fun picking out regular doors, bifold doors for a couple of closets, and hardware.
So, basically, my entire 2008 tax refund has went back into the marketplace and is probably now lining the pockets of some overpaid, overbonused executive. Oh, well. At least my molding will look better with my paint colors.