I get very frustrated at not being able to keep up.
Because I was having such a hard time managing the lack of self-care of my Auntie for tracking cause and effect and Auntie’s activity level and compliance with medicine intake goals, I began a “wellness” log to track what was working and what was not working.
While the first thing she did when she ran away was stop managing her self-care once again, I used it as a tool to provide concrete proof to her failing short-term memory that she COULD do things well, that she could improve her health, and that she could have fun – but that it needed to start with small things, and with overall energy conservation.
The fact that she was able to go from bedridden 23 hours a day, out of her mind on pain pills, not sleeping through the night, and multiple suicide attempts in 2009 and 2010 – to being on her feet and traveling with me in 2011 – shows that perseverance in the form of baby steps pays off.
I get it, tracking one’s symptom’s can be hard for someone living in denial of their reality:
While Auntie is back to being mostly bedridden and suicidal once again, 5 years after she left town, I feel that fact just goes to show you how deadly self-loathing can be to one trying to get well and stay well.
I’ve been through every kind of external ridicule and self-hate from my birth defects and not being perfect. From not being able to keep up. Or from making myself sick trying to keep up and pass for normal when my body – my engine – just can’t cope with what may be considered “normal” factors of life – exercise, stress, healthy food choices, and burning the candle at both ends.
My “engine” is smaller than most, with my breathing capacity being at 2/3rds less than everyone else. While I did a lot with that 33% capacity, now that it’s down to 25%, I’m having to get more creative to keep up than ever before.
Think of me as a car – my 3-cylinder engine is never going to have the same get up and go as a V-8. I can get the job done, but it takes more effort, and the car shows a lot more damage from trying to keep up and pass the sexy V-8 mustang in the lane next to me, than it would if I kept to my own range of speed and abilities.
As I’m going through this battle with COPD, I found myself very angry at the endocrinologist (when trying to manage my exhaustion issues) because she kept on giving me mental health medicines, and dismissing my questions. Gabapentin and Zoloft did zero to decrease my exhaustion and hot flashes + nightly insomnia related to the hot flashes, so why should I take it when it made no difference?
Diabetes or pre-diabetes (or whatever it is that she’s trying to say I have) – is not managed by mental health medicines. It’s certainly not managed by dismissing the patient’s input and calling him or her a liar because you have determined that they are obese and that there’s nothing contributing from peri-menopause or breathing medicines to add to their symptom challenges. It’s all their weight, and they have to stop stuffing their faces.
So, in reaction to this doctor’s lack of empathy / care, I began running a wellness log for myself. I track every bit of food and related calories, carbs and glycemic index that goes into my mouth. Unless I eat less than 1,300 calories a day (which sometimes I do), there is no way I can lose weight. Add into this situation that I have been the same weight for 30+ years, and that COPD in its end stages causes rapid weight loss as the body consumes itself – then you’ll understand why weight loss scares me. Scares the crap out of me. For me, weight loss just signals that I’m that much closer to the end. Thank you very much – I don’t need that pressing on my brain, too. I’m already Stage IV – and I’m dancing as fast as I can to retain whatever quality of life I have left.
Tracking your wins, challenges, triggers, etc., may not be for everyone.
For me, running a wellness log very much helps when I’m beating myself up about all the chores that aren’t getting done at home. Things that used to get done daily are now done every few days or weekly. Weekly chores became more like monthly chores, and monthly chores are lucky to get done quarterly. It’s just how it is for my life. And that’s ok.
I can’t stand anyone monitoring me, an “accountability” factor, but I can find ways to monitor and be accountable to myself, thank you very much. I don’t need to be lectured by well-meaning people who think that they have an instant cure for whatever ails me.
The Wellness Log also allows me to have some control over what’s happening, to give me a tool for self-analysis so that I can hold myself accountable, honestly and in black and white, for what’s working and what’s not.
The best thing in dealing with the endocrinologist was having her read my blood measure glucose meter and tell me that my readings were great (and her being surprised that I was still fat). Clearly, I was somehow managing to “trick” the meter, as I wouldn’t be getting good readings on the meter unless I was cheating. It was that dismissive attitude that convinced me that she needed to be replaced, as nothing I was doing was going to work to satisfy her as my sole problem in life was obesity. Sheesh !
So, at this point, I forget why I started this post. I think it was to recommend the benefits of self-monitoring of triggers, medicine side effects and benefits. But, as can happen, I’ve lost track of my thoughts.
I’m sending this out into blog heaven, and going on with my day. I hope anyone reading this has a good day, too.