Archives for February 2010

Don’t Look Back . . .

I don’t know if it’s a personality quirk, a survival mechanism, or a symptom of the fact that I spend so much time living in my head, but wherever I go, there I am and I just accept the parameters of it. I’m insensitive to being uncomfortable.

Sometimes, J comes home from work and complains that the house is freezing, and I suddenly realize I can barely feel my fingers and my teeth are actually chattering, but it hasn’t occurred to me to turn up the heat or put on an extra sweater.

When I’m sick, I have a hard time recognizing that I’m sick – I’ll carry on like everything is fine until I get completely frustrated with myself for being sluggish and spacey. Once I’ve recognized that I’m sick, I have a hard time remembering that sickness passes and I will feel better again someday in the not so distant future. I just accept it as my state of being, and for some reason, my default setting is to see my state of being as static.

Because of this, I have a tendency to be hesitant when it comes to change, but then completely able to embrace a new situation when it appears. I hate leaving home when I have to travel, but I love being away once I’m gone. I’ll stress to no end about getting everything together to go on a backpacking trip, but once we’re out in the middle of the woods, I can’t seem to remember why indoor plumbing ever seemed all that important, or why we bother with houses when tents work just fine.

Sometimes having a high tolerance for discomfort comes in super handy. It’s good to be adaptable. It’s good to be able to just accept what’s being thrown in my direction. It’s good to not always expect things to be easy or comfortable, and I think a lot of where I am now comes from the fact that I have the ability to put my head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other, regardless of the circumstances.

But sometimes, it’s just dumb. Like when an old Ithaca friend, who just-so-happens to be a physical therapist practicing in Rochester, notices my Facebook status update about having a migraine, suggests I come see her at her practice, and over the course of 3 visits we determine that I’ve had a major knot in my neck for YEARS, without even noticing that I had significant neck pain.

Years! And I’m not exaggerating. I had a herniated disk in my back several years ago, and in nursing that injury, apparently, I started going crooked. Even though my back is completely healed, my neck and shoulders were messed up from compensating. But in the healing process, I just got used to that being my default state, and adjusted to those parameters.

When my PT took my history, we discovered that the migraines started just after the back injury. I’ve never had good posture (it’s always helpful when your PT can go home and find old photos of you slouching around your dorm to prove her point), but the disk injury made it worse, and started some kind of encapsulated something in my neck that lead to me getting migraines A LOT.

After my first visit, I started making an effort to be more aware of my movement and how I feel in everyday situations. I even realized that I’d stopped parking in spaces I needed to back out of when I could avoid it – because I’d lost some range of motion in my neck and looking over my left shoulder was uncomfortable.

Three visits, and a few weeks of daily exercises and stretches, and I have full range of motion in my neck again. When a migraine starts, I can get it to fade away with a few stretches. And my posture has improved SO much that I actually feel taller.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to stop every once in awhile to take a beat and think about myself. I’m making a commitment to allow myself comfort. I’m determined to learn how to preserve my adaptability, while I become more conscious of my ability to change the things I want to change. I’m excited about this new luxury of self-awareness and the sense of empowerment it brings. Plus, my clothes look much better on me when I stand up straight. Bonus.

How about you? Do you notice when you’re uncomfortable, or are you more of a bite the bullet and get on with it kind of person? What do you want to change?

I Suck At Sleeping

I’ve never been a good sleeper. It is not one of my special talents. Dog snoring and husband sleep talking (and once sleep truck driving) doesn’t help that much either.

A few months ago, in the middle of the night, J nudged me awake, laughed and said, “That’s so typical of night,” in his sleep talking voice.

“You’re sleeping!” I said, hoping to fall asleep again before I shifted into wide awake.

“But it’s so typical of night,” he said.

“No, it’s not!” I said. “Go back to sleep!”

“It’s not? It’s not typical of night?” He was annoyed. “It’s NOT typical of night?”

“Fine,” I said. “It’s so typical of night!”

And with that, J was instantly asleep again, and I was past the point of no return on being awake. The next morning when I asked, he had no idea what he could have been talking about.

Sunday night, J woke up at 1:45 with a foot cramp. Or at least he was dreaming he had a foot cramp, I’m not sure if it was real. For some reason, in my just awake haze, I thought he was pulling his toenail off and started freaking out that he was hurting himself. He was merely rubbing his foot, and was back to sleep in seconds.

At 1:50, I remembered that I left a switch on in the basement, and got up to turn it off. An old wall fan that I’ve never turned on in the entire time we’ve lived in this house was on, which was kind of creepy. I turned it off.

1:55 – lay in bed wondering if that fan had some kind of connection to the nearby furnace.

2:00 – still wondering. Start to worry the house might explode (I’m completely irrational when I wake up in the middle of the night, which adds to the fun) because the fan could be a critical part of the heating system, and maybe it should have stayed on.

2:10 – start to fall asleep. Argo making smacking noises with his mouth in his sleep. Decide he’s thirsty and wake him up to give him some water. He wags his tail while he’s drinking, but is still so sleepy that I have to direct him back to his dog bed. It’s really cute.

2:30 – almost asleep, but awake enough to hear the cat puke (she’s fine, she just pukes a lot). Decide to clean it up in the AM.

2:31 – realize Argo was also awake enough to hear the cat puke and will clean it up himself if I don’t get to it first. Get up and clean it.

2:35 – back in bed. Cat pukes again, this time while running into the living room to puke on the rug. Get up and chase puking cat around the living room.

2:40 – back in bed. Decide the fan could have been connected to the switch. Get up to check my theory. It’s not connected. Freaked out all over again that the fan was on.

3:00 – back in bed, almost asleep. Stella starts sleep barking. A lot. Waking her up is usually a bad idea, so I wait it out, and finally fall asleep again at some point after that.

And, of course, J slept through all of this. When I told him about it the next morning, he barely even remembered the foot cramp. “Of course,” I said. “That’s so typical of night.”

Things that make me happy

I think I’ve got a little case of the winters. We had a little thaw out time and I jogged outside with the dogs and got to leave the house without six layers of clothing and it was awesome. Then it got crazy cold and we got more snow. That little reminder of what life is like in other seasons made it all the harder to go back to winter.

So, instead of bumming you out with a long list of little nitpicky things that have been getting on my sunlight-deprived nerves, I’m going to give you a list of things that have been making me smile.

My dogs having a blast playing together in the back yard. They LOVE the snow, and it makes me less crabby about it.

Succulents. I am a notorious plant killer, but these guys are quite hardy. I also think it’s hysterical that even our plants have dog hair on them.

And my aloe plant is sprouting little plants. I cannot even explain how nice it is to see a little green around the house.

Finding the time to read a book that made me laugh and cry and want to write love letters to all my friends.

That after 10 years of ignoring it, the cat has finally decided she loves her kitty condo. She also decided that she liked me for about five whole minutes today.

The pen and ink set J got me for Christmas. I love that I can refill it and that as long as I don’t lose it, I could have this pen forever and ever.

The little Sasquatch on the recycled paper notebook I got for my to do list.

The frosted pink sake bottle from a really good bottle of sake (that didn’t taste at all pink).

Finally taking the time to get my roots done and my hair cut. And also the fact that I’m totally incapable of taking my picture in the mirror.

What’s been making you smile?