Archives for: November 2009
For the one....two...all right, I'll be generous to myself, three that might have missed me, it's been a long absence from here. Unfortunately, I became the unwilling recipient of a nasty illness that took the better part of a year to overcome. One that wreaked complete havoc with me, both mentally and physically. There were many days where it took every ounce of energy I had, to complete the most basic of day to day tasks.
What first seemed to be a simple bout of illness in September 2008, quickly turned into a debilitating one by late November. What I didn't realize until much later, is that I was experiencing what I have termed "sick-cycling". I would become ill, get well, and then become sick again. However, the time that I would be well between each bout was continually decreasing. The day after Thanksgiving, my body finally crashed and burned.
When I went to bed that evening, I felt fine. Within an hour, my heart was pounding furiously, and I felt like I was two degrees from spontaneously combusting. It felt like all of my skin was on fire. This went on for several hours, as I fought to get some rest, having to get up at 4:30 a.m. for work. Finally, I fell asleep around 3 for a brief rest.
I figured that with a few good days of rest, I'd be back to normal. How wrong I would turn out to be. In the midst of my sick-cycling, I had become so weak that I had to stop working out. Weights that were once easily lifted now felt like they were 10x their actual weight. It felt like I was in a mental fog much of the time. I could not move quickly in any fashion, or I would become light-headed. More than a few times, there would be a mind-body disconnect. My mind would want to do something, yet there was a felt delay, before my body would respond to the requested action. Neat on one hand, frustrating on other. No energy, light-headedness and constant mental fog, coupled with a painfully hacking cough, and the inability to keep food down. Sounds like a wonderful recipe of ailments, huh? Not!
Being the stubborn New Englander that I am, I was in no rush to see the doctor. Don't get me wrong, I like my doctor. I just don't like going to the doctor's. However, I ended up having a little help in making my decision to go.
For quite some time, my Better Half had been suggesting that I go see the doctor. And each time, I would tell her that I would give it a couple of weeks, and see if I got better. After awhile, her daughter, Miss M., became involved. I was now being tag-teamed into submission. It didn't take long, trust me. When the two most important women in your life are almost forcefully telling you to "Go to the doctor!", your options become limited. I made the appointment. It was easier to make the appointment, than bear the burden of knowing that they were worrying about me. For some bizarre reason, they love me.
After being prescribed some heavy-duty cough medicine, antibiotics, and an inhaler, I started my way on the road to recovery. However, it was short-lived. By the end of February, I had a relapse, though not as bad. This one I decided to tough out. With this one though, I lost a good chunk of my hearing for several months. Considering that I wasn't throwing up anymore, and no longer had a hacking cough, I figured the trade-off was a good one.
By May, my hearing had slowly started to return, and my energy levels had begun to increase. Mentally, I was still having issues. Though some would say that that's been a life long thing for me. It wasn't until sometime in October that I actually felt "right" again.
Being sick for some 9 months, it was time to play catch up. My house was a mess, my yard was a mess, and I had gained a considerable amount of weight. I was back to the weight that I was when I first started ER4YT. As I told my Better Half after seeing pictures of myself at my niece's graduation, "The current version of me just won't do!". With that exclamation, I dusted off my workout routines, prepared a meal plan, and dove back into weightlifting. Since July, I've lost 15 lbs., and the total amount of weight lifted has slowly but steadily been increasing. For a wedding that my Better Half and I attended in September, she had to take in my shirt three inches. On EACH side! And I'm not done yet.
It's been a helluva year, and it's now time to get back into the game of life. For those that know of my mischievous ways, I've been told in no uncertain terms that I am never allowed to stay home alone again! But that story will have to wait for another time. Right now, it just feels good to be back.
For all of those that are celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday, may you all have a safe trip, and a wonderful gathering of friends and family. May everyone have a wonderful week filled with great health, happiness, and harmony.
Added Note: Hmmm...I was wondering why I was getting some comments in my Inbox this past week. For whatever reason, my Gelotology entry shows a date of November 2009. Even though I wrote it a year ago! Go figure. Maybe the comments are the kick in the butt that I needed to get writing again. So thanks to all for the comments!
No, Ladies and Gentlemen, Gelotology is not the study of gelatin. By a show of hands, how many had that as their first thought? Yeah, I thought so. For those of you that did, here's your quick study for the day. Gelatin is an avoid for A's, B's, and AB's. For us O's, it's a neutral. Now, who remembers the Jell-O jingle, "Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle"? All right, everyone out of Mr. Peabody's WABAC Machine, and back to the present.
Gelotology is the study of laughter, and humor. and their effect on the human body. Laughter has also been studied from both a psychological, and physiological perspective. What I'd like to know is who first presented the idea of doing research on laughter, and who first gave money for the study? That must have made for an interesting study proposal!
With all that has taken place in recent weeks, folks could definitely use a healthy dose of laughter. Political campaigns, the Wall Street meltdown, the mortgage meltdown, hijackings off the African coast, rising food prices, and a whole slew of other happenings.
How we react to the events that go on in, and around our lives, are critical to our physical, and emotional well-being. When we allow the people, objects, or situations around us to dictate our thoughts, emotions, and physical behaviors, we are giving them our energy, our power. Why would we want to waste our energy on someone, or something, that we don't like, or that is out of our control? As Florence Scovel-Shinn noted many years ago, "All stress is self-imposed". We are only affected by that which we allow to affect us. If we are going to allow ourselves to be affected, let it be by laughter, and happiness, not anger, jealousy, or hostility.
As more studies about laughter come to light, the physical and emotional benefits of laughter become evident. With laughter, stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline are reduced. At the same time, healthy hormones such as endorphins, and neurotransmitters are increased. Laughter also provides a physical workout for the abs, diaphragm, and even the heart. So which is more beneficial, having a good laugh, or flipping the guy off that just cut you off in traffic? It's far easier, and better, to laugh at him, than to risk a road-rage incident.
Back in February, I had pretty much given up on the radio, and televised news. Most televised news is doom and gloom. Every once in awhile, they offer an uplifting story, but not nearly often enough. My 700+ album collection just wasn't cutting it on my hour long commute to work anymore, either.
So instead, I started listening to comedy music. Years ago, I used to listen to the Dr. Demento show every Sunday night. It was on past my bedtime, but I would put my head right up against my clock radio, and listen to it at a very low volume. The hard part was stifling my laughter when one of the more funny songs would come on. Imagine my surprise, when I found out that the Dr. Demento show was still on the air. Unfortunately, no one in my area carries the show anymore. However, I did find a radio station in California, KEGR, http://www.kegr.org/ that still plays older shows, and streams them online. So once again, every Sunday night from 10 p.m. to midnight, I'm tuned in to the Dr. Demento show. I'm just not cuddling with the clock radio anymore
I had also found an internet radio station that plays comedy music, called DementiaRadio; http://www.dementiaradio.org This has become my go to station when I'm working twelve hour shifts on the weekends. There are D.J.'s with their own shows, but there are also large blocks of time where songs in their playlist are played randomly. You can even access the playlist, and request songs through their automated d.j.!
Another place that I've begun to hang around is The Mad Music Archive; http://www.themadmusicarchive.com/ One needs to register to listen to their shows, but it is free. After spending some time listening, I've found a whole bunch of new songs to laugh to, and a lot of old songs to laugh to again.
So here's a few YouTube links to some comedy songs, to start you on your way to laughter. Some of the videos are of the artists themselves, and others are videos that people have put together to go with a particular song. Laugh, be happy, and smile. The smile that you share may go a long way in helping to brighten someone elses day.
For all of us 80's children, Buckner & Garcia's Pac-Man Fever; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIhrrk-dmQE
A definite food related video; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmK0bZl4ILM
Redneck love; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiNoUbe7aHo
Another by Kacey Jones; the video is a little off the wall, but the lyrics make up for it. This one's for the women http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW1BDiWMvrc
The Husband Song; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcPMKD8GFkI&feature=related
And, to save the best for last, The Colorectal Surgeon, by Bowser & Blue; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N0w2rORwSc