pain revelations . . . and being blessed


It comes in different forms, as different types.  It can be a little.  It can be a lot.  It can be a result or a symptom – maybe even both.  It can change a person’s priorities.  It almost always catches you by surprise.

I consider myself a person in general good health.  Of course I have some aches and pains from time to time but nothing that sends me running to the doctor.  In fact,  I kinda avoid doctors as much as possible.  I tend to doctor myself.  Usually it works like a charm.

A few months ago it was not the case.

The same day I returned from a week-long visit to family and friends I had lunch with my parents.  Shortly after lunch I felt a bit uncomfortable – much like one does after overindulging at meal times. Nothing comes close to the meals our mothers make, right?! It was not the first time I had this feeling and I didn’t think anything of it.

Over the course of a few hours my body doled out pain that ranged from a bit uncomfortable to extremely uncomfortable.  None of my little self-help medications seemed to do the trick.  When the pain got to the stage where it roused me from sleep I decided that it can’t hurt to run my symptoms by someone else before I taking more medication.

Long story short – after talking to my mom and my sister (who also happens to be a nurse) I ended up going to hospital.  Turned out that my appendix was acting up, although I wasn’t diagnosed with appendicitis until the following afternoon.

I must confess that pain has a really strange effect on me.  Or maybe it’s the medication they gave me at the clinic and hospital?  If you’ve ever been around medical people you’ll know that they have a more clinical way of looking at the human body.  That doesn’t mean that we feel the same way.  At least, I find it difficult to objectify my body.  But at some point during that 48 hours I stopped caring about being self-conscious, about enema and all the rest.  I just really needed the pain to go away.

I suffered a little set back after my initial hospital stay.  I was home only a couple of days.  Again after lunch time (weird coincidence?) I got a really bad pain attack.  It was much much worse than the appendicitis attack.  The surgeon suspected infection and I went back to hospital for a longer stay and a very strong dose of antibiotics.

I’m blessedly good as new after a four-week recovery time and were able to return to work.  Having my appendix removed was the only serious operation I had in my forty years and it took me a while to get back into a normal routine.  One probably doesn’t think about it but things like this does have a psychological impact and it is important to take the time to come to grips with it.


a theory: the cause of anger

One expects it to be the big things that cause a person to lose one’s temper or control. Not so! It is the little things that do it, almost every time!

art by:

What are the main causes of friction between people? Morality, ethics, health, money, politics, religion, respect . . . There are too many to name. It is a fact of life that no two people are exactly the same – which makes it doubtful that any two people will have exactly the same values attached to friction-elements or BPRs (a.k.a. Blood pressure rev’ers).

In the general course of life, we focus a lot of attention on the biggest BPRs as they are the most obvious and recognisable. The things we feel the strongest about are also the things we are most up front about – at least, I am. When you talk to / have a conversation with someone, odds are that you will let the other person know, one way or another, about your big BPRs. There is, of course, no guarantee that the other person will pick up on it, but you will put it out there and feel more in control. That’s the key. Control. You are ready, prepared to handle whatever happens next. Odds are that the big BPRs will be avoided, unless the other person feels more or less the same way.

It is easy to forget the small BPRs because those are the ones we manage, right? Think again my friend! The small ones manage us, especially if we don’t pay attention to them. After all, they are only little irritating things that happen on a regular basis, most often when you live or work with other people. So what do we do? We flap an imaginary hand at an imaginary “fly”, silence our objections by ignoring them, all for the sake of working in harmony or to live in peace. Small BPRs remind me of creeper plants. When left to grow unchecked it can become a big, wild, ugly mess.

Now I want to refer to the small BPRs as creepers. And I want to try to manage them before they take over. My new approach, albeit theoretically, to anger management is this:

  • Accept – I am different. I can’t be like anybody else. Everybody can’t be like me and it really is not fair to expect them to be.
  • Take control – identify and recognise those creepers.
  • Speak up – put the small BPRs out there, let people know that there is a problem. It doesn’t have to turn into a debate or argument, just a tactfully worded statement of fact.
  • Maintain control – remember the real value you placed on a specific creeper and decide if it is worth it to get worked up about it.

Edited. Originally published: 07.11.2010

total relaxation shock therapy

It’s happened!  It is so embarrassing, and I still can’t believe it.  For the first time in many, many years I actually forgot a password I use at work.  Me!  The person who secretly (or not) gripes about having to reset passwords when other people forget theirs. Sigh.

I have always been mystified at how it is possible for people to forget the passwords they use on a daily basis.  Whenever I ask this question from them, the answer is “I have been on leave for two weeks.”  Really?! Well, I have been on leave for three weeks at times, and I’d come back with all my passwords ready to flow from my brain to my fingertips as soon as I touched the keyboard.  What everyone failed to explain to me was the hidden meaning behind the words leave and vacation.  Total relaxation!  Um. . . did you just say “duh!”?

What can I say?  I always worried about work while on vacation, never quite able to get rid of “The Nagger”.  “The Nagger” is better known as that scratchy feeling at the back of my mind, with tentacles that somehow find a way to wrap itself around my heart where it applies just enough pressure to ensure discomfort.  It’s a constant reminder that I have to stay alert, never get too comfortable.  Staying home, in close proximity to work (just in case), didn’t help either.  The pattern probably would’ve repeated itself if it wasn’t for the week I went to visit my friend, Lisa, this year. If you haven’t done so already, you can read more about it in my any excuse to visit a friend series of posts.  That was the second week of my three-week vacation.  The week when I was finally able to ignore “The Nagger”, with determination.  I did not think about anything remotely work-related and did not worry about anything . . . at all.  It was bliss.

“The Nagger” made a valiant attempt to return the following Wednesday.  My solution?  Urgent arrangements to visit the Kragga Kamma Game Park (click the name to see more photos), about 75km from home, where my parents and I spent most of the day, Friday.  It was my first visit there, and I wasn’t disappointed. On the way home we also popped in at the Seaview Game and Lion Park.

kragga kamma game park

Now. . .  the first week back at work has past, and I’ve discovered a few things.   Total relaxation is a shock to the system, after the fact:

  • It can cause selective memory dump – like forgetting passwords
  • It can compromise your immune system – I didn’t worry about taking vitamin supplements during my vacation time and within the first couple of days back at work developed early warning symptoms of cold/flu, and an almost migraine.
  • It can cause difficulty with mindset adjustments, and getting back into routines – working as opposed to relaxing

Total relaxation is awesome!  Can’t wait to do it again 🙂