Meditation

With physical exercise becoming difficult to impossible since the snow and ice have moved into Saskatchewan, I have been spending more time working on my meditation. Mother always said “every cloud has a silver lining”. Meditation has become mine. 🌨️

I have tried meditation over the years. I even tried ‘walking meditation’ this past summer. My attempts were somewhat successful but, since I distract easily, the results have always been less than mind boggling.

Lately, I have been exploring different forms of meditation on You Tube. Most of them have peace and spiritual healing at heart, but I am amazed at the different methods I have come across.

I have come across Himalayan singing bowls, Native chanting and drums, and African voodoo beat (which is neither African nor voodoo). I find all of them deeply relaxing. I also find the pulse of these meditations very therapeutic for my heart and lungs – and even for soothing muscle cramps! 😳

I have found a number of guided meditations that I love. Most of them are infinitely relaxing and I find they do wonders at expanding my conciousness. These guided meditations have brought much healing, love, joy, and peace to my mind, heart, and soul.

This morning, I found a new line of guided meditations. I searched out meditations for long distance healing. I found one by Nicky Sutton called ‘Send Healing Energy Guided Meditation’. It is amazing – I think it is my new favourite. 💖 (If you get a sudden warm and fuzzy feeling, you are welcome – Merry Christmas 🎁)

I find that meditating with You Tube works better for me with ear phones. I am more focussed so the meditations are more effective. Dan ordered me a pair of Bluetooth ear buds for Christmas. They will be another step up in my meditating practice. I can’t wait to get them! 😊

Wishing all a peaceful day. If you need help creating yours – try You Tube meditation videos. A great investment in your health and well-being. 💞

The Ups and Downs of Aging

I have been retired for an entire eight months now, so it is time for another update of how things are going!

Finances – contrary to virtually every column I have ever read on retirement, we did not become destitute the day I retired. Granted, my husband is still working, but I am fairly confident that even when he does retire, we will not end up under a bridge. Maybe these dire warnings in finance columns are not meant for Canadians. We have Old Age Pension and Canada Pension, plus Dan will have a work pension. We have public Medicare and reduced costs for prescriptions, insurance and the like. Plus – working costs a lot of money that us retirees do not shell out. (Like restaurant meals, or take out meals or quick cooking meals, clothing, vehicle expense, aspirin and the like). 😊

Appearance – Inevitably, looks change as we get older. Some fortunate people actually get more attractive and distinguished looking as they age. Some of us get wrinkles, move all of our weight to our waistlines, and look like dandelions that have gone to seed on our bad hair days. I choose to avoid mirrors, wear stretch pants, and feel beautiful, anyway. ☺️

Health – Health can be challenging as we age. Apparently when you hit 65, your warranty runs out and parts start to go. That does not mean you have to believe every advertisement or meme out there. I still have my hearing and my sight is as good (or as bad) as it has ever been. I have only fallen down once and found I couldn’t get up. (That incident involved a bottle of tequila and a hot tub, so whatever🙄). I haven’t started to pee a little when I laugh (phew – that is a relief – cause I laugh quite often since I retired). My joints seem to be holding out – except I pulled something in my left knee the other day and that hurts like hell. Other than my sinuses, lungs, heart, and this knee thing, I think I am doing relatively well. 👍

All in all, retirement is still working for me. I am happier and more content than I have ever been. I love being able to live my life around Dan’s schedule and spend time with him. I love having time to rest and relax – it feels so decadent. 🤗 I love having time to remember the good times that I had in my life. This morning I was going through some Christmas pictures from when my kids were tots. They were so cute and sweet and precious. I miss my little ones, but I am happy that they are all grown up and have their own little ones now. It is funny, we enjoy the time when our kids are small, but we are so busy taking care of them that we do not fully appreciate that time until we have time to cherish our memories of it. Thank goodness for retirement!

Old lady, bad hair day🤣🤣🤣

Breathe Easy

I have spent a lifetime dealing with breathing issues. Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, empyema, COPD, and now bronchiectasis. Acute attacks of any, or all, of the above can be triggered by seasonal colds or flus, air pollutants, stress, or the weather. One condition can lead to another. It is all rather stressful and varies from annoying to totally debilitating at times.

I have found things that are helpful in avoiding flare ups and dealing with them when they inevitably happen. Hopefully, some of these can help someone else (even with a seasonal cold or flu) or if anyone else has any suggestions, I am always open to trying something new.

1. Get active – keep active. I generally find that the worst thing for me is to spend any amount of time laying down. There is almost always something I can do to keep active, especially now that I am retired and away from an 9 to 5 office job!

2. Dress accordingly. I wear loose tops, especially when I am dealing with a severe flare up. I have a lot of camisoles and sweaters – my go to wardrobe!

3. Relax. Different people have different ways to relax. I have a few things that generally help me, depending on the day and time. I will take a walk, meditate (recently I have been spending time listening to ‘singing bowls’ on You Tube and that definitely helps my meditating), read, have a warm bath, or have a glass of red wine. I wouldn’t recommend self medicating with alcohol for any purpose but it definitely helps once in a while. And it is wine 🙂

4. Laugh. Laughing helps a lot. I have a sister who sends me a humorous meme virtually every day. They generally involve flatulence 🤦 and they generally make me laugh. Thank you, Sis – way to keep me breathing.

5. Deep breathing. Recently I saw my specialist and he said while all physical exercise is good for the lungs, deep breathing exercises are particularly useful in maintaining lung function. He advised inhaling through my nose, pursing my lips and exhaling out of one side of my mouth. (This is helpful in releasing all of the air from the pockets in one’s lungs). So I tried it.

Breathe in..
Breathe out…

I showed my husband and he said I should alternate which side of my mouth I exhale out of. So I tried that…

The other side of my face doesn’t work. 🙄

6. Clean, fresh air. This one should be a given but, when you have bills to pay and your career takes you to office work in a construction company, that isn’t always a given. My advise here would be – if you are young, just starting out, and have vulnerable lungs – choose your career accordingly. A dusty, air conditioned office will eventually lead to serious problems.

7. Doctors, specialists, therapists, inhalers – whatever you need – get it and take it. The trick to respiratory conditions is to do everything in your power to control them and to avoid the acute flare-ups that cause permanent damage. On top of prescribed medications, I take a vitamin D supplement. Since I starting taking vitamin D, I seldom get a cold or flu, which is a good thing with my already compromised lungs.

8. When dealing with any health issues, what works for one person does not necessarily work for everyone. However, regardless of what health issues a person has, there are always things that one can do to make the situation better and things to avoid as they will make matters worse. Just keep trying until you figure out which is which for you.

Fresh air, sunshine and nature – breathe it in.

Bronchiectasis

I finally received all of my test results back and saw my specialist last week. Yea, I have bronchiectasis. (Because I couldn’t get something I can pronounce). 🤦

As diseases/conditions go, it isn’t the worst one to get. It is rather miserable since it makes it difficult to breathe, which is never fun (my bronchial tubes are swollen up from scar tissue and the like). It is chronic but can be managed with medication and exercise. I do have to go to the hospital for more testing and I am not thrilled about that. But, it is not fatal – so there is that. 😊

It is rather damp and chilly out today but I had better get out there and get walking. I have to work to get my lung function and blood oxygen level up. 🙄

Have a great day🌞

Lessons Learned

I Walk for Peace

This year, my focus has been on peace.  As things go, my choice of focus for this year has been spot on.  2020 has been a stressful year for many people and for my own reasons, it has definitely been challenging for myself as well.

Challenges aside, I have enjoyed my quest for peace and have learned a few things in the process.

1.  I have spent sixty-four years battling anxiety and one year focusing on peace.    I have learned that I  should have started focussing on peace sixty-five years ago. 🤦

2.  I have learned to make MY peace my priority.   For the better part of my life, my priority has been trying to maintain a peaceful, pleasant cushion around others to try to keep them happy and peaceful.  My reasoning being, if they were happy and peaceful, they were not making my life difficult and stressful.  In my defense,  I had a very high-strung mother.  My first husband was difficult (such an understatement🤣🤣🤣).  My current husband is a really good man but, after number one, complete trust in any man has been difficult for me.   My children were typical, difficult at times children.  Finally,  as an administrative assistant for the better part of my career, it was my job to keep things running smoothly in my work environment.  I drove myself to be the peacekeeper.  Except, my peace was way down the list of my priorities.    I have come to realize that to enable or encourage peace in any situation, one must first be at peace themselves. 🙄

3.  I have learned that peace makes all of  the best things in life possible.   Health and well-being is difficult to impossible when one is constantly stressed.  With peace, health and well-being come naturally.  Happiness is next to impossible when one is stressed and anxious.  With peace, happiness is natural.   Love is difficult to impossible when one is constantly stressed and anxious.  With peace, one is easily more loving and more loveable.  Relationships are healthier and easier.   Prosperity is possible when one is stressed out and anxious – feeling prosperous is difficult at best.  One never feels financially secure when one is anxious and stressed.  You feel you need more and you worry about losing what you have.  You develop poor financial habits or addictions that undermine your efforts to be financially secure.   Peace brings a feeling of security to all aspects of one’s life – including financially.   

4.  Peace is the gift that keeps on giving.  I could, and I intend to,  make my peace my priority going forward in my life.  I believe we are born into this world to evolve – to become better, stronger, and wiser –  as individuals and as a whole.  I  believe peace is the key to evolution – at least to my evolution. 

A Day In The Life Of

Yesterday was a day like any other day. Except, yesterday I went to get the report on my follow up x-rays. They showed no sign of pneumonia. Yay! They did however show signs of COPD. So, I am off for more tests, more doctor appointments, and more medication. The medication will have side effects. I am hopeful that the side effects will be soft manageable hair, improved eyesight, and stronger muscles. I am hopeful, but I am not delusional enough to actually expect such side effects. 🙄

Health Care

More Functional Than Pretty But These Curtains and Tracks are Supplied by
KM Burgess Agencies Ltd.  🙂

This week I made a trip down the rabbit hole into the world of emergency health care. Fortunately, my distress was caused by nothing more than a case of pneumonia and bronchial spasms. After ekg’s, x-rays, blood tests and a treatment of brochial-dilaters, I was on my way with a couple of effective prescriptions and orders to have follow up x-rays next week.

My husband and I are very fortunate that we seldom have any reason to visit our local hospitals. On those rare occasions when we do make one of these visits, it is such an eye opening experience that I decided to share.

1) Say what you will about public healthcare, we have always been really well treated. Our facilities are aged and definitely in need of upgrading, but for the most part, our doctors, nurses, technicians, lab techs and everyone else on staff are amazing. They make the best of anything they have to work with and do a great job keeping up with the tremendous workload that they have to deal with. I cannot imagine how we are blessed to get and keep such amazing people in our little backwoods city hospitals.

2) Regardless of the urgency of our visit (and we have made a few seriously urgent visits), I am overwhelmed by the other patients and their loved ones – especially the ones whose issues are obviously chronic, long term or terminal. We visit this world once every 5 to 10 years. For so many, this is a regular part of their life. These patients, who are in such dire straights are, for the most part,  so patient, kind and grateful. It is incredible to experience such grace under pressure.

3) I have spent a fair amount of time at hospitals with family members – parents, children, and grandchildren. (I am supposed to be there as support, not the main attraction🙄). It blows me away to see this part of life from their side – the side of pain and suffering. I do not think I will ever make a good patient. I am a trainwreck in those places. My previously last visit, I arrived by ambulance with a totally collapsed lung. Within fifteen minutes, I was like “Give me a shot of morphine and I am good to go. Just get me out of here”. Long story short, I went home a month later with nightmares for a year. I am pretty sure there were some staff members (if not all) who were glad to see me gone – especially the head of radiology. In my defence, I had really big bandages taped to my back to protect my drainage tubes and when he whipped them off it hurt – like hell. There are probably still claw mark straight up the wall. 🥺

4) How do hospitals, who are caring for such desperately ill and uncomfortable patients, find a way to destroy every bit of food that comes their way? I was at the hospital for about six hours on Tuesday and had not eaten anything before I got there. Three or four hours in, my husband asked if he could get me a sandwich from the onsite coffee shop as I was feeling pretty weak and shaky. The nurse said she would get me something. Which she did! With all she had to do, getting me something to eat became a priority. I should be grateful. I was grateful. But how the hell do you screw up jello? I realize I was only there for a few hours and was not going to starve with or without jello – but this was not an isolated incident. When I was in the hospital for a month, the only edible food came from the cafeteria or coffee shop. The kitchen sent me a quivering pile of yellow (pudding?) one time that was so hideous I still get nauseous every time I think of it. I may be wrong but it seems to me, sick people would heal faster with say homemade chicken soup. Alas, our hospital dieticians are trained to believe that the road to health is paved with ‘Fish Surprise’ , dry tasteless bread and yellow slime. 🤢.  It just seems so mean to feed that to sick, helpless patients.

5) Finally, hospitals are so strangely unreal with their total absense of real world time and order as we know it. Five minutes becomes five hours and hours become minutes. Orderlies whip in and out to take you places and bring you back, random lab techs pop in unexpectedly to take tubes full of your blood, nurses show up to take your vital signs or stick IV’s in you. There are ongoing announcements, bells and whistles, and random clattering and clanging.  It is so bizarre and far removed from any regular day in the life of.  It is definitely an out of life experience, if not an actual out of body experience.

I am so glad that we have the healthcare that we do in Canada.  I am grateful that we have such dedicated people working in our hospitals – doctors, nurses, administrators, facility management, technicians, volunteers – everyone who devotes their days and nights to operating these facilities and providing their capable and compassionate care.  Finally, I am so grateful that my husband and I seldom have to take advantage of the health care that is provided in these facilities.  We are so blessed to generally have a  reasonable level of health and well-being.   I cannot imagine anyone resenting paying taxes to support this care that  is available to all Canadians who require it.    Especially, those of us who seldom require it.

Shingles Vaccine

Feels A Lot Worse Than It Looks

I, like most parents, made sure my little ones were protected by the vaccines available for them. I have gotten flu and pneumonia vaccines to protect myself. But shingles vaccine, pfft. This weekend I got an education.

Shingles is hell – I would think it would be hell anywhere but I have it across my face and through one eye – which has been found to lead to dementia (Yay). Elderly people with shingles are subject to stroke or heart attach. If I am fortunate, I will just have a rash comparable to having acid poured over my face, stabbing pains in my head (think icepick) and constant nausea for a week or so.

Shingles will not cause shingles but it can cause chicken pox in anyone who has not been vaccinated – because they are too young or were from the pre-chickenpox vaccination days – like my husband and adult chicken pox is terrible.

Bottom line, if you are fifty or over, have had chicken pox, have not gotten the shingles vaccine – get it now. Protect yourself and your loved ones. 💞

Getting Started

With retirement mere months away, it is time to start preparing for this new phase in my life. My original plan was to start by reading a few books by the experts . It turns out that most of the experts writing books on this subject are focused on the financial aspect of retirement. No doubt this is important, but it is not my biggest priority. If I start stressing and obsessing over finances, we will never have the means to feel secure. We are not wealthy but we will keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. We are in a position to manage financially .

What I want to focus on right now is building a new lifestyle, finding who I am at this point in my life, who I want to be and how I want to live this new chapter of my life. I cringe at the thought of spending the next thirty years or so in front of a television set, watching pretend people living pretend lives while my own slips away. Life is precious, life is priceless and I want to live every day of mine to the fullest – especially now that the time is mine to live as I choose.

I want to focus on how to make the most of my life. I want to work on getting into the best shape I can physically and find ways of maintaining my physical wellbeing. I want to focus on keeping my mind strong and stimulated. I want to focus on ways to keep emotionally healthy. I want to focus on finding ways to serve others, to give as long as I am able.

I am anxious to begin this new phase of my life. I know I have much to learn and much to do in order to be as ready as I hope to be. I guess that is how I start.