Time Out

I find myself both mentally and physically drained. I feel the main culprit is the hip surgery because of the stress I was under and in some ways still there. It has been a long road from finding what the cause of severe pain, to the actual diagnosis that my hip needed replacing.

Another factor that is adding to the above factors is that I am weaning off opioid painkillers. For the past week I have my circadian rhythm thrown off. I am not having deep sleep and the sleep I do get is minimum, so I am exhausted during the day and barely functioning.

This leads to the reason of this post. I am going to take a time out from blogging over the summer, but will check in from time to time to catch up on some reading. During this time I will be gathering my notes and relevant posts to start work on a book that I have wanted to write since leaving active ministry.

Also, I am going to recharge by taking in some necessary reading of three new books I have. One is ” Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Understanding the DSM-5 by Ashley L Peterson. Another is a book that was reviewed by Ashley L. Peterson on her blog www.Mentalhealth@home.org, “Blackness Interrupted: Black Psychology Matters” by Nicól Osborne and Tamera Gittens. Then last on the list is a new book written by CNN Prime Time Host, Don Lemon, “This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism “.

So dear reader, this exhausted and drained blogger will be back near the end of August. I hope you will be there when I return!

Stability & Mental Health

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.” Lori Deschene

I was thinking back to what my life was like before I had help. It was always in turmoil, uncertainty, and lots of fear. As I look back I can see where this affected my marriages. What I didn’t have was stability!

My life now is stable, no more roller coaster moods, hair trigger anger, and no more fear of tomorrow. Part of being stable is knowing what my finances are from month to month. It is also that I have put down roots in a neighborhood that is more like myself, senior and loves quiet nights to sleep.

I also give credit to my psychiatrist and the regiment of prescriptions that keep my moods stable. Now, I still get down in the dumps every once in awhile, but no major depression that would require hospitalization..

So dear reader, my feelings are this, for great mental a person truly needs stability!

Perspective & Mental Health

*** This post was inspired by an article written by former Mental Health Nurse, Ashley L. Peterson. The title of that post was, The Role of Values in Acceptance Commitment therapy(ACT) ***

Having surgery for hip replacement has given me some time to think about many things in life that I value. Things such as, walking, feeling the sunshine on my face, visiting with neighbors outside, and even being able to cook my meals once again.

I have been giving a fresh new look at all those things and more. There once was a time where I could walk all over the city to do shopping. I would love to be able to do that again, but putting it in perspective I first have to conquer being able to walk through Walmart to do my shopping.

I love to cook and also bake. I once entered a apple pie and a loaf of fresh bread in our local fair. When the winners of those categories were announced I could hardly believe that I one first prize in both. I would love to bake an apple pie, but putting it in perspective, I will have to wait until I am given the green light to be able to bend down to the level of my oven.

When I was told that I would need a hip replacement I accepted it. For me it couldn’t come fast enough, I kept hoping each day that the phone would ring and that it would be the operating schedule office with a date. Putting that in perspective I just had to take a deep breath and tell myself it will happen when it happens.

I always dreamed of buying a big log style home where I could enjoy sitting at a piano playing to my hearts content. Putting it in perspective I had to accept the fact that I could not have it because of finances. The best I could do was buy my current place on a rent-to-own contract. By the way, I paid it off in just over seven years.

It is easy to get through each day, step by step, moment by moment, by keeping things in perspective. As I finish this, the movie, “What About Bob“, and the quote “baby steps, baby steps” to Bob, the main character played by actor, Tom Hanks.

So dear reader, are you able to keep things in perspective when dealing with your issues in your current life? I and the other readers would love to hear your thoughts about “perspective”!

Therapist – Good Report

This morning I was at my appointment with my therapist, and she was very happy with my progress. She did some measurements to check the length of my legs, a test to see if both hips are aligning properly, and last was to see how my range of motion in my hip. Happy to see that I have full range when kicking out to my side, it was twenty-five degrees.

I now have new exercises that helps my stability, one exercise is practicing standing up from a chair without using my hands. Other ones are for me to have the ability to roll on my sides, which I find great because before the operation I slept on my side. She also encouraged me to practice getting into the tub and standup to see if I can shower that way without the tub bench.

Finally, after I came home and had some rest I took my first walk around part of my neighborhood, although using my wheeled walker. It was a feeling of satisfaction for reaching part of my goals for this summer. Also, was able to stop and visit with two of my neighbors for a good twenty minutes.

My stability using my cane today has greatly improved Getting my own coffee and other things feels so liberating.

So dear reader, once again I am reminded that if you do the hard work, you will see results!

p.s. – I cannot tell you how I feel mentally. I think I reached the clouds combining both of the days!

Good Doctor’s Report

This morning I went to see the surgeon. After waiting an hour I finally was called in only for him to send me for a x-ray.

So, away I go using nothing but my four-legged walker. Once again, more waiting. After the x-ray back to see the surgeon.

He came in and told me he looked at the x-ray and gave me a great report. I can now put as much weight, as is comfortable, on the replaced hip. So, I can go back to using my wheeled walker, but for the most time I walk around my home with just a cane.

I spoke to him about the exercises that I was given by the therapist. I mentioned about the exercise where you simulate making a snow angel. He became upset and told to stop the exercise. His reason, you wouldn’t make those type of moves even with a good hip. So, when I see the therapist tomorrow I am going to ask why the contradiction.

It feels great that I no longer have to see the surgeon and that I have gained some more freedom of movement.

So dear reader, this almost sixty year old guy has just jumped one more hurdle on my way to reaching my goal of walking around outdoors. Well, maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks…lol…chuckles!

A Brief Update

I have not written a post for several days. I have just not much to write about.

My recovery is going great and this week I will find out how well I am doing. I have appointments with the surgeon and the therapist. Also, on the vaccine front I will be having my second dose on Friday morning.

I have had a couple of battles with companies, one was about a return and the other is getting a refund. The former is solved, while the latter is ongoing.

I have been concerned lately over how many sites are starting to require a cell phone number, for which I do not have one. I wonder how many people worldwide would this affect. I have not had a need to own a cell phone and the biggest reason is the cost. For those on a fixed budget that can mean whether you pay rent or the phone company. I have three services from my phone company that cover, landline, internet, and television. For those three I pay much less than the cost of the cell phone.

So dear reader, that are some of my brief thoughts for now!

Escapism? – Mental Health

“Don’t judge me for escaping the stresses and cruelty of the world differently than you do.” ― Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

Back in 2019 I wrote a post, “Distractions Welcome“, for this post I thought I would expand on it.

To keep my mental health stable I like to escape. What I mean by that is this, I find ways to completely unplug myself from everything that resembles life, news, and drama. I disappear into things that will take me out of all stress.

Many years ago there was a story about a man who laughed his way back to health, his name, Norman Cousins.

On the website Laugh Off Life they review Cousins’ novel, “Anatomy of an Illness”, and they write the following;

   In his novel, Anatomy of an Illness, Norman Cousins describes his rigorous recovery from ankylosing spondylitis, a painful collagen illness that rendered him immobile, and at its nadir, nearly incapable of moving his jaw.

In the review they include a quote from Norman;

“Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.”
   -Norman Cousins – Anatomy of an Illness

You can download a free PDF copy of Cousins book here.

My forms of escapism includes, watching old t.v. series, such as, “Hogan’s Heroes”, “Carol Burnett”, cartoons, and even documentaries of space exploration. I also at times watch shows dealing with conspiracies, not that I believe them. My favorite are the ones surrounding the assignation the late, President JFK. Anything that takes me into a world that is indistinguishable from what I am dealing with in my life. All this allows me escape, provoke daydreams, or just a good belly laugh..

So dear reader, how do you use escapism from what you are dealing with? I would love for you to share your ways and also for others to read!

Normal? & Mental Health

A lot of people go through life trying to perform normalcy, and I think you can relate to that. – Rebecca Hall

I have been mulling this over about “normal”. We know the quote, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. My question is this, “is normal in the eye of the beholder”?

Over the past several years my “normal” has seen many variations. Now, after hip replacement it is going through another transformation.

I probably could ask all my neighbors what they think normal is and I would get multiple different answers. Some would say normal to them is a traditional family. Others might say that there family is more of an extended family.

So dear reader, I would like to hear from you about “what is normal for you”? I have a feeling I could see some variants in answers!

Guilty…Feeling Good?

For a moment he felt good about this. A moment or two later he felt bad about feeling good about it. Then he felt good about feeling bad about feeling good about it and satisfied, drove on into the night. Douglas Adams

This may sound far fetched, but lately I have had guilty feelings about feeling so good. Could it be that I forgot what “good” feels like? Did I grow accustomed to always having pain?

I have been doing well in my recovery and the pain is at a bare minimum. Weaning off the pain killers is something I am feeling great about, less addictive drugs in my body.

The therapy exercises are going great and I have been increasing each week the number of reps by ten, now at fifty reps per exercise.

I am not sure what a psychiatrist would say about this feeling of guilt about feeling good. Would they think I need to up my meds, or just push it aside?

So dear reader, do you have guilty feelings about feeling good? If so, how do you handle them? Please share with me and the other readers your thoughts!

Withdrawal Symptoms and Mental Health

“Despite what appears to be a low risk of addiction in naïve, chronic pain patients, it is reasonable to ask how much harm is actually done to patients with chronic pain by withholding opiate analgesics.” ― Howard L. Fields

About a week after I was discharged from the hospital I started having migraine headaches. Usually when they happen it means I have ate something that triggers them. For the life of me I could not think of one single thing that had changed in my diet. I am very careful about processed foods that may contain tree nuts, they are one of my triggers, the other is raw onions.

Then several days ago it dawned on me what might be the possible trigger. Before my discharge the surgeon instructed me to ask my GP to wean me off of the pain killers. The doctor started slow by reducing them by 3mg each week on renewal. This is what I believe is happening in my body.

The last time I came off of opioids it was with Oxycodone and Fentanyl. For that I asked my GP and my psychiatrist to admit me to the mental health ward while being weaned from those opioids. Withdrawals are real, whether it is from prescribed medicines or street drugs like heroin.

I am happy that I am being weaned from the pain killers, but I can sympathize with those who after coming clean fall back to the use of the drugs.

So dear reader, let me ask, have you ever gone through withdrawal symptoms, if so can you describe them for me and other readers?