My mother was fat, though she lost weight shortly before she died. My father, by contrast, was always thin and muscular. Yes, he drank like the Navy seaman he’d been and smoked 1-2 packs a day, but he was strong and healthy. He gained some weight when he retired and quit smoking, but not much. Heck, he’s lost some in the last few years. Why?
He wasn’t exercising as much. Turns out he’s anemic. Why? Bleeding from a cancerous tumor. Oh, and he has some short-term memory problems, which means he shouldn’t live alone.
I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in hospitals and nursing homes and doctor’s offices lately. I keep expecting to hear “Oh, and you should lose weight because ___________” …. but I’m not.
Maybe it’s because I’m not the one who’s sick.
Maybe it’s because the main risk factor for his cancer is smoking, not weight.
Maybe it’s because I don’t have a history of drinking, and he does.
I can say it’s been interesting dealing with the medical profession in a situation where it’s not about my weight.
I can also say this sort of experience can help focus on what’s important to me. I’ve alluded in the past to not having the world’s best relationship with my parents, but I’m also not willing to just walk away. Making the time to deal with this has been challenging. It’s also made me focus on organizing my life to help me stay sane enough to do what needs doing — priorities like
- The man of the house.
- Close friends.
- Eating regularly.
These are things that help me stay sane and to have the energy to deal with the other stuff. (Yes, there’s a reason I’ve been posting about managing stress lately.) Even so, it’s still been getting me down. About 2 months ago I saw my ARNP with “Hi, here’s what’s going on.” We determined that yes, I’m having insomnia, anxiety, and depression symptoms. She started me on ambien (to help me sleep) and celexa (for depression and anxiety). The ambien helped almost immediately; the celexa, as is usual for SSRIs, took longer to kick in. I am feeling more able to cope now, which is good.
Has this changed my priorities or my sense of what’s important? Yes. And no. As is common when I’m stressed, I’m more focused on self-care; this has all narrowed my focus, often to just “what tasks I need to get done today” and “what I need (to take of myself) so I CAN get through today.” But the things that I most want to do, and that I find most rewarding, haven’t changed.
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