Health issues and the drive to have fun, dammit!

So, we recently went through another bout of health scares here in the Ravenson household.  What a great way to pull my head out of my ass and put everything RIGHT back into perspective.

Long story long:

I went to the ER for chest pains and trouble breathing.  It’s not really new, I’ve been having chest pain for about a year now.  The breathing trouble IS new however, and it freaked me out.  I had an EKG, blood tests, and a chest Xray and all checked out fine.  I was told to schedule a stress test, which costs $8000-$10,000 with a $1000 deposit.  Thanks, but I’m poor and uninsured, so if there’s something wrong I’ll just die tragically thankyouverymuch.

My snazzy outfit.

While I was there, waiting to be discharged, Bear had what can only be described as ‘an episode’.  It’s happened a few times.  He got the cold sweats, got dizzy (room-spinning dizzy), and began throwing up.

Since we were there, I asked the nurse if she could take his blood pressure.  She said she’d need to check him in first, and since he’s had all the heart issues, we both thought that was a capital idea.  So they checked him in.

They ran the same EKG, blood tests, chest Xray, etc.  They didn’t come back OK, but that’s to be expected.  He has 4 stents from a previous heart attack.  So we found that his heart function is about 40%, which we knew already.  (Believe it or not, NORMAL heart function is only about 60-70%.)  The doctor was concerned with the damage to the heart muscle that was still present, and they decided to keep him overnight for observation.

I stayed with him.  My chest hurt, I felt like shit, but I wanted to be there regardless.  He’s my Bear, after all.

While we were there, he mostly slept while I mostly brooded, wrote, and brooded some more.  It occurred to me that we just aren’t those people who are going to live long, healthy lives.  We aren’t going to make it to 80.  We aren’t going to spend our golden years rocking on our front porch.  Chances are, the Bear will die earlier than most other people.  My dad passed at 57, and his mom passed in her early 50’s (54 I think), so it’s not unprecedented.  I’ve also had health troubles my entire life between the leg perthes, surgeries, adenomyosis, more surgeries, and now fibromyalgia and costochondritis.  While none of these will kill me, my quality of life just isn’t what it should be.  There’s always this pervasive background pain and the worry that it brings.  So, when the Bear is gone, I’ll likely choose to follow him.

I realize that’s all kind of sad, but it is what it is.  These are the lives we’ve been given.  On the plus side, it means that we need to have fun while we can.  I want to start making some more money so that we can travel.  I need to get him to New Zealand at some point, and dammit, I want to get to make my Scotland/England/Wales trip before I’m too hurty to enjoy it.  I also want to get my novel edited and published, so at least I can say that I’ve put something of myself out there.

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On that note, a few days after we left the hospital, we had a chance to go to the county fair.  We got to see cows and goats and chickens, and we ate a shit tonne of fried foods.  Granted, that’s probably just hastening the inevitable, but it was also part of enjoying the experience.

Nighttime view

Can't remember which ride this was

fewds.

Cow.

Sometime next week, we’ll be making our annual pilgrimage to the apple orchards in Ellijay, GA.  We usually have a great time moseying up through the mountains, and we’re hoping to bring back enough cider to ferment and enough apples to make apple butter for Yule gifts.

Life is fucking short.  We WILL enjoy ourselves.

Ways to be nicer to myself

Lately I’ve been feeling some pain.  I’m not sure exactly what it is, and I don’t have insurance so finding out will be tough.  I need to get to one of the community clinics here near home, but there are so many hoops to jump through, that the idea just stresses me out.

And I know that stress is part of my problem.  The more stressed I am, the more I hurt.  So for now, I’m trying to come up with ways to do some self-healing, keeping in mind that I WILL actually get to a doctor at some point.

It’s affecting my life more and more, and it needs to go away.

I did a week-long smoothie fast the week before Ostara as a general cleansing/life reset.  It was lovely, and it actually DID help me feel better.  I had some energy problems (I was trying to wean myself off of Coke Zero too, and the headaches were HORRIBLE), and I got pretty sick of smoothies.  But I actually felt lighter, healthier, and just better.  I want more of that.

During that time, we went to a friend’s house, and she’s on a mostly raw food diet right now.  We sampled some of her snacks and WOW.  I could do that.  Not all the time, but now and again.  I was shocked and pleasantly surprised.

I’ve also been reconnecting with my spirituality, getting interested in crystal grids, and talking to other pagans.  It’s been lovely.

Seven Chakras

Seven Chakras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s my partial list of ways to be nicer to myself.

  • Meditate more.
  • Leave Fetlife, and spend that time/energy on writing, spirituality, my family, something that feeds me rather than drains me.
  • Organize myself, including putting together a day planner.
  • Get my YouTube channel going.  I really feel the call to express myself this way now.
  • Set up a crystal grid for creativity, and one for abundance.
  • Finish Altar of Change (I’m close).
  • Read more.
  • Try to do vegetarian at least one day/week.
  • Smoothies for breakfast MOST mornings.
  • Finish the kyphi, and maybe a few other incenses to sell.
  • Sleep enough.
  • Start hiking.
  • YOGA!

This list will grow as I come up with other things.

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I also have a new Pinterest that I’m playing on.  You can find it at http://pinterest.com/amieravenson/.  It’s really just a way for me to gather some thoughts, and there may be some character sketches there.  There’s definitely a lot of lovely Pagan imagery.  🙂

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Pain and Tiwaz

Good news: I found my runes while looking through my old herb collection!
Bad news:  All of my herbs are waaaayyy too old and stale to use for anything.  They all smell like dust.

Good news: I found a great supplier who sells the herbs I need cheap on Ebay!
Bad news: I spent my last $20 getting some things I needed for a Samhain incense.  Should have been more responsible.

Bad news: Spent last night in the ER.  😦  Have been having some serious back pain, which escalated in a major way last night.  I was also having trouble breathing.  I was scared that I was having a heart attack.  Everyone else is doing it, I thought it was my turn.  😦
Good news:  They Xrayed my chest, and heart and lungs look good!  Also got an ultrasound, and my gallbladder and liver look good as well.  I was really nervous about 3 of those 4 things in particular.  My heart, for obvious reasons, my lungs because of all the lung cancer in my family, and my liver because that’s where the majority of the pain is centered.

Bad news: Still no idea where the pain is coming from then.  It’s mostly centered around my right rib cage, but my entire back is pretty fucked up as well.  I’m a little worried it might be something chronic.
Good news:  I pocketed a vial of my own blood that was just sitting there when I was released.  It’s going on the Samhain altar.

Good news: I’m making a Samhain altar.
Bad news: I don’t know where all my stuff is so I’m having to buy more.  I really should organize one day.

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This pain thing really has me in a weird headspace.  I’m kind of feeling like this is my karmic lesson for this lifecycle.  My great skill is endurance.  I endure pain and stress.  It’s pretty much the thing that I’m best at.

I’ve had chronic pain from my hip for most of my life.  I had a hip replacement and a hysterectomy when I was 31, and that alleviated most of my pain.  It was such a huge, welcome relief.  I hardly knew what to do with myself for those years that I felt good.

But it’s creeping back up on me.  Part of it is that I have a somewhat physical job.  I could handle it if it wasn’t for my hip, and the way my body/skeletal/muscular system was twisted (straightened, actually, but I was so used to being twisted from my bad hip that the straightening fucked everything up).  I sometimes feel OK, just a slight ache, and sometimes I feel like I’m being stabbed.  There also isn’t a single morning that I wake up where I’m not in pain.  It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way, but it goes a long way to robbing me of any joie de vivre I might otherwise be able to summon in the morning.

I’m just..  Tired.  Very, very tired.  All I want to do is sleep and hide from pain.  There isn’t a great way to do that and make a living.  If I move around too much (like at work), I hurt.  If I sit around here at the house, I hurt.  I can take ibuprofen and feel somewhat better, but if I took the dosage I need as often as I need it, my stomach would be a bleeding mess.  I’m going to switch to Naproxen and see if that doesn’t do the trick.

So, I just keep doing what I have to do.  I have to work to pay bills, etc.

Why am I bringing this up here, on my writing blog?  Because it’s yet another excuse for why I haven’t been writing.  You would think that writing would be just the thing to get me through all of this, but I find that I don’t have joy for much these days, except for Bear.  I’m going to try to power through, but it just is what it is.

Also, reading back at previous entries, I’m noticing a trend.  I come here to make excuses for why I’m not writing.  Maybe if I was a bit easier on myself, the stress wouldn’t compound like it does.  Because I’m 100% sure the stress is just making things worse.

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Anyways, enough whining.

As I was digging through my herbs, I found my runes!  I have been looking for them ever since I moved to this house, and I was SO happy to find them.  However, the paper I’d printed with the meanings wasn’t there.  That’s fine, I’ll make a new one.

Today I pulled Tiwaz.

Tiwaz

Tiwaz

According to this website;

Tiwaz:    This is the Rune of faith, truth, trust, loyalty and devotion, summed up by the old word “troth.”  You can expect justice, especially if you base your actions on well thought out plans.  The path to enlightenment may lead through self-sacrifice.  If you have dark corners, clean them out now.    If you need help to cleanse the corners, seek an expert.  Only then can the harvest ripen.  If you evidence “troth,” you can expect it in return.  This Rune may signify a scientist, philosopher or scholar.

Hopefully soon, I’ll dig out my tarot cards as well.

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I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately.  If you’d like to see my favorites, check me out over there at http://www.youtube.com/user/AmieRavenson

One of the things that really strikes me about some of these videos is the materialism of Wiccans and Pagans.  We do like to have our specific herbs/candles/oils/etc.  I’m guilty of this myself.  However, I definitely believe that you should be able to build an altar in your mind, and do a ritual with nothing more than your imagination.

I may make a video on that topic.  It’s one of those ‘maybe someday’ projects.  Along with a description of the difference between Wiccans and Pagans and why I don’t tend to call myself Wiccan.  *shrug*