pain revelations . . . and being blessed

Pain.

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.

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driving down south

Sometimes, you need to get away.  Just away.  It’s the only way to relax, to leave some worries behind.  This seems to be true for me at least.

My great friend Lisa (Notes from Africa) invited me to visit in the Southern Cape for a few days.  It was exactly what I needed.  Craziness was about to set in at the office during the next few weeks what with the implementation of a new business solution looming at the end of the month.

While packing and organizing things before I set off,  I dreaded the idea of having to cancel the trip if anything really urgent cropped up at work.  It was only when I left the town, where I work, in my rearview mirror that my spirits started to lift and I could let my excitement fly!

Yay! a change of scenery

I left home around 4:30am, before the sun got high.  It was already warm, and very bright out just over an hour later.  There is a two-minute time difference between the shot above and the one below.

a little mist floating between young trees in the early morning

And so begun another memorable weekend.  Stay tuned for more! 😉

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: creagan-an-fhithich.deviantart.com

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

budget-boogie

For as far back as I can remember my family had to work its way around a budget.   It’s unavoidable for the majority of the world’s population.  It’s one of those things that can depress a person and make you want to sit under a tree and pull at your hair.  It can drive you to a very dark place, a feeling of hopelessness, or even worthlessness.  It’s something that can make you short-tempered and unhappy.  It’s a pain.  Money can make you forget that there are actually people who are worse off than you, because all your focus goes into keeping your own head, and that of your family’s, above water.

Right, before I bore you to tears I have to thank Sarah, from Sarsm’s Blog, who left a comment on my coffee post a week or so ago. Her “Wouldn’t it be nice is someone asked “What’s your budget?” first.”  helped provide the sticky for the thoughts, on related matters, that’s been doing the boot-scootin-boogie in my head for the past month.

I always thought that growing up knowing one has to turn a cent five ways before spending it, would automatically make me a whiz at managing my finances.  How difficult can it be? When you earn your own money it is not so easy.  That is another sweet life-lesson learned the hard way.  Now it isn’t someone else who decides how to spend the money, it’s you.  You are responsible for remembering to keep money aside to pay the bills.  You have to deal with the consequences of a forgotten bill.

I think the pressure is much worse when you have a family to take care of.  You’re aware, all the time, that they need things other than food, and peer pressure finds its way from the child back to you.  You may have to tell a child that he/she can’t have the nicest, the best item in the store. You begin to understand the sick feeling your parents felt when they had to tell you the same thing.  Pressure, pressure, pressure.

So what is a budget really?  For me, it’s a method of finding a way to live within my means.  It’s a way to distinguish between the things I want and the things I really need.

Is there shame in having a budget?  Of course not!  It’s realistic.  In my books it’s actually an accomplishment.  I certainly earned the right to my budget and I’m proud of it.  How come then are we still sensitive about it?  Because people, or self, equate money with esteem?  Or  is it that we see money as something intensely personal?

I’ve noticed in myself different feelings.  When I’m living within my budget I’m happy – happy to go for a meal with a friend, happy to treat a friend who may not be able to afford it.  When I can’t stretch my budget, or the budget doesn’t allow for  any luxuries, I’m less happy, even insecure / more sensitive about the money-issue.   I don’t want to mention that I have a budget problem, afraid that the other  person will think that I’m asking for financial help.

Since I became better at the budget-boogie,  I often find myself wondering.  How do I help a friend / family member to enjoy something with me without having them feel bad about, offended by, it?  My personal compass is not a good guide in these type of situations as I’m really not good at being on the receiving end of kind gestures.  It’s a quandary.

what a lovely big bag of no worries 😉

With the continued hike in fuel prices here in South Africa we’ll have to rethink, and rework, our budgets in the coming months.

my tribal philosophy

Lisa wrote a very interesting post, titled “Building your own tribe”, which in turn links to another very interesting post by Mark Schaefer. If you haven’t done so already, please visit her blog to read it, and the linked post, to see how it relates to this post. You might also want to revisit a previous post of mine “to like, or not to like”.

There are at least a couple of questions in blog-world, in terms of blogging, that never get old. Why? Because the answers very seldom stay exactly the same over an extended period of time as we forge our way, and continue to grow, in the ever expanding world of blogging. I think these questions are also very healthy to ask oneself from time to time – to get back to the root of your blog, so to speak. Ever noticed how easy it is to lose focus, to be overwhelmed by the excitement of growing stats and a reader following? Hey, we’re only human (such a handy excuse/reason 😉 ) Having people read our blogs is exciting! There’s no denying that.

I started blogging in a very tentative, please-don’t-notice-me, kind of way. At the same time I was secretly hoping that others will read my words. I guess you can say I had a constant feeling of excitement-dread, somewhere between my stomach and head, whenever I published a post. Lucky for me I had one reader, who is a good friend, when I started out. She’s still hanging in there with me, helping me with advice, encouragement, and posts that makes a person think.  By the way, I think that it is very important to have such a support system  when one voluntarily makes oneself vulnerable, like we bloggers do.

I’ve been blogging for nine months now, and I have only a handful of readers. I like it that way. I like thinking that the people who visit with me is doing so because they really want to. Having people continue to read my stuff just out of courtesy because I read, commented or liked, something they wrote is not something I aspire to. There’s no joy in that for either party. And let’s face it, not everything I write is going to be of interest to a large number of people. This little fact would give me sleepless nights, ulcers and who knows what else – IF I was competing for a Miss World Blogger award!

Another plus of slow growth, for me, is that I keep pace with my blog.  It isn’t running out from under me.  There is no need for me to  constantly struggle with the juggle – the “juggle” being work, family, blogging,  moderating comments, reading blogs, and my other hobbies.  I’ve seen a lot of advice on blogging where it is recommended to have a fixed schedule for posts, or to post regularly.  My personal decision is to not put too much pressure on myself to deliver on an assumption of what it is my readers expect of me.

“I really believe that if I write good, authentic posts about things I’m really interested in, somebody will want to read them . . .”

I couldn’t agree with you more, Lisa!  It’s important to stay true to who we are, and let everything else build from there.  If we enjoy what we do,  what we write about, chances are there is at least one other person in the Universe who will enjoy it with us.

And one is an excellent number to start building a tribe on!