It’s a wonderful thing to feel better than you did the day before. The wonders go on when one can look back over several days, weeks, months or even years and note improvements. That is also true even if you aren’t feeling your best. There are relative levels of feeling good, great, or for those less fortunate, to feel less bad.
After dealing with various levels of fatigue for more than a few years, sometimes it feels wonderful to have half the energy I had at times in the not too distant past. Ecstatic. Joyful. I would never have dreamt that I could feel this good while still, well, dealing with fatigue.
About two months ago I acquired a new waste disposal unit to install in the kitchen sink. The old one broke over the winter. As a convenience rather than a necessity, I chose to wait until I felt good enough to do the installation myself and save a few shekels. Sure enough, the day came when there was enough improvement in my fatigue to plan installing the disposal in the very near future.
Since that time it has been one thing after the other. Unplanned events happen and the only thing that one can do is to deal with them. Some I had a degree of control over, others no control. The end result is that the disposal unit is still waiting to be installed and I have many hours of chores that take priority before I can even think of working on the installation.
Most days recently I feel better than I did in the weeks before I was prepared to do this disposal project. When the time becomes available, I will be able to do it. It’s a wonderful thing. Ten years ago I would have had all the chores completed and the disposal installed. Today, I can look forward to installing the disposal sometime in the coming weeks or months, and it’s a wonderful thing.
There is no fortitude involved. I choose to do what I am capable of. That means doing what I can to improve my fatigue issues. The latest puzzle pieces have been trehalose, homemade yogurt, more sunshine and a different approach to exercise. Not the answers in and of themselves but part of the solution. Having gotten to the point that I am at, I’m still dealing with fatigue. And I feel better than I have for much of the last couple years. It’s a wonderful thing.
Snap Peas and Cod with Basmati
Kale and Chicken - A Basic Lunch
Wishing a cloud away
So it don’t rain on me
Can’t stand in the rain
In a puddle by the tree
Wishing a cloud to stay
To keep the sun off me
Can’t walk in the heat
Far from the shade tree
Why don’t the clouds
Pay attention to me
Can’t live my life right
If clouds must be free
Physicians have useful information and skills from schooling and practice that can make a tremendous difference in one’s life. There are many things the medical profession does very well and other things it does adequately. Some various things have not yet reached the stage of adequacy. I have also had many experiences with physicians making medical judgments that reflected poor judgment at best.
As one example, a primary care physician from my past prescribed an ACE inhibitor type of blood pressure medication which I had a bad reaction to. A second variety of the same type was prescribed under the thesis that the different varieties do not always elicit the same reactions, but in my case the reaction was the same. At that time yet a third variety of the same drug class was prescribed but I resisted and we wound up with a different and more suitable medication.
Unfortunately, I could relate many other instances. Some where I maintained control, some where I didn’t. The first couple of instances might best be thought of as learning experiences.
Last month I failed to maintain control for a variety of reasons. The result was about a week of severe short term memory impairment, slow thought and reaction time, and significant added fatigue as side effects of a new prescription. Whether there was poor judgment in the prescription process is debatable, but the person who had the final control and the ability to make an informed decision was me. Had I followed my preferred procedure and researched the medication prior to taking it, there would have been several things that should have led to my refusing the medication. There were also other errors made by the office staff, the physician and by myself regarding prior history communication that could have resulted in the medication not being prescribed, although I view this as only a minor possibility.
Whether or not a particular treatment works for an individual might color their view on how adequately the medical profession handles that particular issue. It would also be nice if the medical process was less prone to errors of judgment and process. In spite of what flaws are in the medical system, I have a degree of awareness of them. I have an ability to protect myself from some types of poor judgment or procedural errors. It is also easy enough to look up the clinical trials data, investigate other treatment possibilities and consider the value of treatment when treatment is optional. Some years ago I did not know these things. It can make a difference. This time I let control slip past me.
It’s time for my daily walk. I best put on my hat and head out the door.
Chicken Fajitas with rice and (lima) beans
Chili Mac with black beans
Everybody has to make hard choices from time to time.
Choices are funny things. We can turn routine choices into difficult choices by looking at them too deeply. We can make a farce of difficult choices by not looking at them deeply enough. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are making a choice or that a choice needs to be made.
I recall from my youth an episode at a restaurant when the family went out to eat one evening. That particular night the meal I wanted came with a choice of soup or salad. For some reason I was not expecting to have that choice, so when the waitress spoke what I heard was “Would you like a Super Salad?”
I was baffled. Looking around to get a clue all I saw were expectant faces. Faces waiting for me to make a decision! The conversation continued something like this:
Me: “What’s that?”
Waitress: “The meal comes with a Super Salad.”
Me: “Okay. I’ll have that.”
Waitress: “What do you want?”
Family Member: “She wants to know if you want a soup or a salad.”
Me: “What kind of soup is it?”
At first I didn’t know I had a choice. It can be disadvantageous not knowing when one has options. In this case it didn’t make much of a difference. After hearing the varieties of soup available I chose to have a salad. With the retrospect of a lifetime of experience I can see other levels of complexity such as possibly substituting tomato wedges, or some other side dish that the restaurant may have had available. Maybe just saying “No soup or salad, thank you!” should have been considered.
All our lives we are offered choices. The normal course of events is to be steered in our decisions. We are often not offered competitive choices. If a competitive choice is offered, often it is in the form of an unattractive comparison. The one thing that can be counted upon is that you usually won’t know all your options without looking for them.
We do it to ourselves, too. Most of our decisions are self-directed. It starts with the routine every morning that is rarely, if ever, varied. That’s a series of decisions. How often do you think about changing a routine? As an example, I find that if I don’t change my routines then I never have enough time. It’s hard to accommodate new things if space is not made for them. Often it is a matter of being a little more efficient.
Not changing or not introducing new things is also a choice. Deciding not to explore other options is a choice. Choices can’t be avoided. Right now, I’m choosing the best way to attack my fatigue issues from an allopathic perspective. New health insurance is making more options affordable. More tests. More chances to view the issue from a more informed basis and thereby make better choices in treatment of any form.
It’s time to make a Super Salad for dinner. I have those several nights a week now. It is nice to have the option.
Since starting the BTD about 6 years ago, I have developed an approach towards cooking that makes the most sense for me. I’m going to use this space to cover all the background and ‘basics’. It will also serve as a reference for my future blogs about cooking.
- Most days I don’t have the energy to use more than 30-40 minutes preparing a meal, many days I don’t have the time. But I’m not overly fond of leftovers! That means the vast majority of things I make are simple and/or don’t require a lot of preparation work. The meals I feature that take more effort should be viewed as the exception rather than the rule. Anything that takes more time than that is something that can be left on the stove or in the oven for extended periods without the need for stirring, turning or otherwise needing attention.
- My personalized diet plan, SWAMI, suggests only a single serving of grain daily. Another reason not to spend a lot of time or energy on baked goods, when whole grains used in meals suit my tastes better. From time to time I will make a batch of cookies or a no crust pie. Other baked goods are very infrequent. I do use rice noodles on occasion.
- Ideally all food is grass-fed, wild, free range, organic and fresh. My world is not ideal, so I use canned or frozen food sometimes and buy some produce that is not organic. When a recipe is given, assume that all foods start out fresh and have been made ready for use by washing, trimming, peeling or other normal preparations.
- Most of the things I make don’t require precise measurements. I treat recipes as guidelines that are open to interpretation. Recipes are there to provide ideas first, and methodology if trying ‘something different.’ The ingredient list may be modified and quantities are only a ballpark suggestion.
- In the spirit of the previous bullet, when I say ‘butter’ or ‘olive oil’ that might be what I use, but someone else might use ghee, some other oil or fat, or even eschew added fats for some recipes. It’s all about ideas.
- I have a few ‘tricks’ that come up frequently. One is using a little extra water. For digestive purposes I like my grains softer and more water is how you get there. Another reason is for leaving foods cooking on the stovetop with less need for checking or stirring. Sometimes that makes a dish ‘wetter’ than one might normally want and that gives rise to another trick – tempering in an egg or two near the end of the cooking period. It’s a way to thicken and makes things a bit ‘richer’ at the same time. Like many people I can use an egg or so per day.
- Presentation is a nice touch. For example, when using peppers choose different colors to make a dish more visually appetizing with a minimum of effort. I don’t always manage to do those type things but they are something to keep in mind.
- I tend to use a curry mix at least once a day when cooking. It’s something that I prepare enough of at one time to last a week or two. You’ll have to figure out your own mix. This is what serves as my base, with occasional additions:
2 parts each of coriander, turmeric, fenugreek and ginger
1 part each of cayenne, cinnamon and clove
That’s about it for the time being. This will get amended later as needed.