Grateful for My Health

Hi everyone, how are you? Today, I want to write, but didn’t know at first what to write about. For this reason, I looked at the eBook Journaling with Lisa Shea, which is really a collection of eleven of her eBooks on journaling. In the one about gratitude, one of the prompts asks us what we’re most grateful for with respect to our health.

I often worry that I’m deteriorating. In truth, I may or may not be, but I have the health I have now. Here are some things I am grateful for about my health.

1. My mobility. I know, I know, I want it to be better. I wish I could walk with the stamina and speed that my husband can. Then again, he’s much taller and skinnier than I am and doesn’t have a physical disability. Considering this, I am so grateful I am able to walk over 10K steps most days. When I wrote a post on my old blog several years ago about what optimal health would mean to me, this was one of the things I listed.

2. My energy level. Generally, difficult as I may find it to see, this has improved much over the past several years. Ten years ago, I struggled greatly to even write one blog post a week. I also slept on average ten to twelve hours a night, sometimes more. Now, I rest for about an hour in the afternoon sometimes, but not always. I also don’t need the long nights I apparently needed some years ago.

3. My sleep. I said above that I need less sleep now than I needed some years ago. Part of the reason may be an improved sleep quality. Though my sleep is still disrupted a lot, it’s much less so than it used to be. I used to snore horribly. Either my husband got used to it or I snore a little less now. I think it’s the latter, as I rarely wake up gasping for air now.

4. My mood. I still experience meltdowns and emotional outbursts almost on a daily basis. However, it’s been months since I’ve been depressed. In general, I feel my mood is pretty good overall.

5. My skin health. Many people experience dry skin in the colder months and it isn’t helped by the need to wash your hands like all the time. I, indeed, do have dry and eczema-prone skin sometimes, but haven’t had a flare up of this since last summer. My hands feel remarkably smooth compared to others’.

6. My heart health. It could definitely be better, but it could also be a lot worse. My resting heartrate is within the normal range and so is my resting blood pressure. As regular readers may know, I had a scare related to possible hypertension last October. The doctor reassured me that it’s okay now.

Of course, there are still areas in which I could improve my health, but overall, I’m pretty content.

What are you grateful about with respect to your health?

My Random Musings
loopyloulaura

Also joining in with Grace and Gratitude. This linky really inspired me to write about gratitude.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 13, 2021)

Hi and welcome to another #WeekendCoffeeShare post. I just had my soft drink of Dubbelfrisss and some Pringles for today. However, I can make you a cup of Senseo coffee if you’d like. I can also make you tea. A staff brought me some green tea without additional flavoring earlier this week, which I’m so grateful for. I love this kind of tea! Anyway, let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it’s still pretty white outside here. The below picture was taken on Thursday, but not much of the snow has gone yet. That should change tomorrow, as temps are supposed to rise above zero.

A picture of me in the snow

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m happy to report feeling much better than I was earlier in the week. Like I said yesterday, I had some worrying health symptoms on Monday and Tuesday that were probably attributable to constipation (and possibly some stress too). Like I mentioned, the doctor prescribed me magnesium tablets. I’m feeling much better now. Not yet completely normal, but almost so.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I got a wonderful stuffed bear from my husband as an early Valentine’s Day present today. I gave him an airdry clay heart I’d made.

My husband paid me a quick visit at the care facility on his way back from buying a trailer for his car. The trailer is truly huge for one that’s behind a regular VW car!

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my support coordinator told me that I thankfully no longer need to tell the staff several days in advance when my husband is going to pick me up. The reason they so far required this, is my one-on-one support. However, my coordinator and the manager agreed that it’s possible for them to schedule the staffing regardless. This is a huge relief, as especially with COVID and all, it’s hard to plan ahead.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today, my one-on-one support staff took me to a farm with my care agency where we could see the horses, goats and rabbits. Unfortunately, they were eating, so they didn’t show me much attention. I didn’t take my phone with me, so no pictures. That will have to come next time.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you I’ve done a lot of reading and book hoarding lately. I will have to do another reading wrap-up soon. Let me say for now that I’m totally inspired to read more SciFi. I totally love the escapism!

That being said, I’d also like to moan (probably for the third or fourth time) about the fact that Amazon doesn’t accept payment methods other than credit cards for their digital products. This is really annoying, as I don’t own a credit card. I really wish I could benefit from their Kindle deals, but apparently Amazon doesn’t want me buying anything there. Okay, I could still buy physical products, but what’s the point? We have Bol.com for that, and I want Kindle books! *Whines.* Okay, I can still get the free ones, but well.

What’s going on in your life?

Gratitude List (February 12, 2021) #TToT

Hi all! It’s freezing cold out here, with temperatures dropping to -18°C tonight or so the weather forecast said. I don’t like winter one bit. Even so, I have so much to be grateful for right now. Let me share. As usual, I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. I am so very grateful to be alive. Last Monday night, I started to feel sick and, among other things, experienced chest pain which was unusually severe for me. I can get chest pains when having a panic attack, but this didn’t feel like it. I immediately worried about my heart, since even though I’m far too young especially for a wooman to experience a heart attack, I’m still obese. I felt too scared to press the call button though. Thankfully though, I was able to go to sleep and actually woke up the next morning!

2. I am grateful for my supportive staff, who helped me through my time of feeling out of sorts.

3. I am grateful for a very understanding GP. My staff scheduled a doctor’s appt on Tuesday afternoon because I still wasn’t feeling well. The GP was reassuring without being dismissive.

4. I am grateful for magnesium. The doctor thought, as had I when in my rational mind, that despite the Metamucil, I was still constipated. She switched me to magnesium tablets to be taken twice a day. They are chewable tablets, but thankfully my staff were able to grind them and give them to me in some custard. I’m not sure the magnesium is working yet, but it at least doesn’t make things worse.

5. I am grateful the roads and cycling routes are now snow-free. We had a lot of snow on Sunday and Monday, so there was no point in shoving it. Thankfully though, it stopped snowing by Monday evening.

6. I am grateful I was able to go for some walks today thanks to the snow-free cycling routes. The pavements were still largely covered in snow, but thankfully I live in a quiet neighborhood, so we could walk on the street too.

7. I am grateful for large stroopwafels. These are a kind of waffles filled with butterscotch cream or honey. We usually have the mini ones at the facility and I’m the only one who eats them, because they are a choking hazard to the other residents. Today, we had the large ones.

8. I am grateful for pajamas. A staff, the same one who often brings me stuff (I may’ve mentioned her before), brought me pajamas she no longer wore. I am so grateful, as with these deep freezing temperatures, I’d like to keep warm at night.

9. Speaking of the cold, I’m grateful for central heating that actually works. We had a power outage on Tuesday and this meant the heating was off for the rest of the day and most of Wednesday. I’m so glad it’s back on!

10. I am grateful my husband got through the hectic week at work. He’s a truck driver, so his job was very hard during the snowstorm. I’m so glad I was able to support him and am so grateful he made it home safe each evening.

Really, I could probably go on. I am grateful for cellular Internet (because our WiFi was out during the power outage too). I am grateful for sleep. I am grateful for food. I am grateful today in the European way of writing the date, it’s a palindrome (just had to say that). I am grateful for Day One, my journaling app. I am grateful for the YouVersion Bible app. I am grateful for Jesus. All these could make it onto my gratitude list. Really, I am truly blessed!

What are you grateful for?

2020: The Year in Review

So 2020 is almost over with, thank goodness! Not that it was a totally bad year for me personally, but I really hope 2021 is better for the world at large.

I started the year hoping to settle in at the care facility. I did, but it did take some more accommodating from the staff than I’d expected they would be willing to. In July, for this reason, I was granted the highest care profile for blind people (I had the second-highest until then). I felt very mixed emotions about it. I mean, even though I had originally asked my support coordinator to look at that care profile when applying for my long-term care funding, I do remember her saying I would definitely not qualify. It turned out that I did.

Then in November, after I’d been in some major crises, the staff suggested I sign an official request for extra care hours. I just heard this morning that it got approved. Next week, the staff and manager are going to discuss how to use the extra care and whether new staff will need to be hired.

I hoped to settle in at the day center. That didn’t work out, as the center closed down due to COVID in mid-March. It has since reopened to some of the homes, where clients can utilize a specific room for their home. However, many clients in my home fare better now that we get day activities from the home.

COVID also had its consequences for my marriage. I had just been trying to learn to use public transportation, like I’d hoped I could, when COVID hit the Netherlands and care facilities were closed to visitors. Even though we’re in a second lockdown now, my facility does allow visitors this time around. However, my husband and I agreed it wouldn’t be sensible for me to use public transportation as of now.

As a result of the first lockdown, I didn’t see my husband at all for March, April and most of May. Thankfully, our marriage survived.

Looking back at my hopes for 2020, I see I did pretty well considering the circumstances. I mean, I didn’t settle in at the day center or learn to use public transportation, but like I said above, that’s to blame on COVID.

Health-wise, I didn’t lose weight, but I am much more active now than I was in 2019 and I do eat okay too. I could certainly do better, like I tried for some weeks in late October and early November. I’ll need to activate my water reminder app again too.

With respect to my mental health, I certainly took good care of that. I had had it as a secret wish to lower my Abilify dose, but I never did. However, that’s okay considering I wasn’t doing as great mentally as I expected to be. I hope I did finally find a PRN medication that helps me though.

I also blogged much more regularly in 2020 than in 2019. I didn’t do any other writing projects, mostly because I feel too inadequate.

Lastly, that self-care excuse of a goal I definitely did attain. I love love love essential oils.

How was your 2020?

Early November 2020 Health and Wellness Update

Like I said a couple of weeks ago, I had a physical health check-up at the mental health agency. That wasn’t good. That is, my blood pressure was high and so was my weight. Even though the nurse said I might not have gained any weight compared to the last time I stepped onto the scales, as each scale is different, I was pretty alarmed. So was my husband. He asked whether I could be put on a diet. Well, no-one can force me, but I did agree on a food plan with the staff.

Now we’re a little over two weeks on. I didn’t get my blood pressure taken today, as my GP recommended we wait three months and then check it everyday for a week. I did get weighed in though. And guess what? I lost 1kg compared to the last time I stepped onto this scale in early September and 3kg compared to the health check. Only two more kilograms to go and I’m no longer obese.

Overall, I’m doing okay sticking to the food plan. I eat bread rather than crunchy muesli for breakfast, make sure I eat enough veggies and fruit and drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day. That plus coffee, which contrary to common belief does hydrate the body to an extent, and occasionally green tea. I do usually eat a cookie with each coffee break, while my food plan says I can only have a cookie with my evening coffee. However, each day that I skip a cookie, I’m proud of myself for making a healthy food choice. Same each morning with breakfast, which is a real struggle, as I’m not a bread person.

I also make sure I get in enough physical activity. Last week, I felt really lazy, but, according to my Fitbit, still got more than the recommended 150 weekly minutes in active heartrate zones. This week, so far, I got 341. I broke my personal step count record yesterday by getting in over 16K steps. I don’t go on the elliptical as often as I’d like, but that’s because after walking two to three times a day, my legs are often tired.

In other health-related news, I talked to my CPN from mental health about sleep on Tuesday. I usually get enough sleep, but I have very vivid nightmares most nights. They aren’t your standard monster-chasing-me nightmares. In fact, most revolve around my sense of safety here at the care facility. My CPN may talk to my nurse practitioner about it. She said I might benefit from medication to help with this. Thankfully though, having discussed the issue has already calmed things down a bit.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 25, 2020)

It’s already late Sunday evening. I was up real early today, but still didn’t get to blog so far. Today, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. We may still have some coffee, although our official evening coffee break has passed. Otherwise, I can offer you green tea or water. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would share that last week, I bought a new Fitbit Inspire 2. It’s pretty cool to be able to track not just my steps and distance walked, but also my minutes in active heart rate zones. I got more than twice the required number of minutes this week.

That being said, I’m already looking at someday buying myself an Apple Watch. I discovered just a few days after I’d purchased the Fitbit, that there’s a new Apple Watch SE that’s significantly cheaper (or should I say less expensive?) than the regular one. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to buy that one someday.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I had a health check on Tuesday. Like I said, it showed that my blood pressure was somewhat high and of course I’m significantly overweight.

I did find out on Friday that my blood pressure is actually pretty normal when resting, ie. just after waking up. It was 115 over 75 then, but rose to 129 over 91 after I had showered and gotten dressed. I have no clue of the significance of this, but my staff E-mailed my GP about it, as the nurse from the health check-up had recommended.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how frustrated I was when discussing my health check with my husband. He wanted me to go on a diet. I want that too, but it’s hard for me to follow through especially long-term and the staff refuse to enforce a healthy lifestyle.

After a sleepless night and some frustrated discussions with my staff, they talked to the behavior specialist. She recommended we make a food plan together, my staff and me. Then all of us know what I’m supposed to eat and not eat and the staff can redirect me when I want to overeat. So far, it’s going okay’ish. That is, the staff have still occasionally offered me food I’m not supposed to eat at that moment and then I struggled to refuse it. I did eventually talk to the staff about it and try to make up for my bad choices later on. I’ve not yet had a moment when I requested food I wasn’t supposed to eat, which according to my food plan would require the staff to tell me it’s not wise and to offer an alternative.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my husband came by for a quick visit today to take me on a walk. That was fun.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I finally updated my iPhone to iOS 14. I hadn’t expected iOS 14.1, which came out a few days ago, to solve any of the many accessibility bugs the original iOS 14 had come with. After all, the release notes didn’t mention VoiceOver at all. To be sure, I asked on a Dutch VoiceOver users group about it and got a reply from the most critical iPhone user on the list saying that the update had fixed most of the bugs. Practically all other list members had already updated, claiming that most bugs can be circumvened. I didn’t want to take the risk, but I do believe this particular member. So far, it’s all pretty good. I am having a play around with VoiceOver recognition, which describes images. It’s pretty cool so far.

What have you been up to?

Health Check

Yesterday, I had a physical health check-up at the mental health agency. Because of the risks psychiatric medications cause for your health, they are required to do this every year. Oh well, the nurse told me not to expect another check-up until sometime in 2022.

I had to have bloodwork done to check for vitamin levels, cholesterol, glucose, etc. Everything was within the normal range except for my white blood cell count, which was slightly elevated. That’s probably because I had a cold about four weeks ago. At first, I was tempted to say “No” when the nurse asked whether I’d had a cold because of the coronavirus scare that’d cause. It turned out it explained my high white blood cell count though.

There were also two things that were low, which might indicate anemia. My hemoglobin though was normal and I’m not very tired lately. This is probably nothing to worry about.

Thankfully, my cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. were all normal. I know I run a risk of developing type 2 diabetes because of my weight. The nurse didn’t make a big point about my being obese though. She did chehck my blood pressure. My diastolic blood pressure was 93, which is considered hypertensive. My systolic blood pressure was also a bit high, namely 132, but that wasn’t too worrisome.

The nurse recommended we measure my blood pressure a couple of times over the next few days. It was 126 over 99 this morning. The latter number really worried me.

Right now, I feel pretty awful. My husband is also worried. He asked me to really “lose weight and relax”. I told him that both is not likely possible, but I’d try to at least lose weight. He asked me what options the care facility has to force me to go on a diet. Not many, I think. In fact, the staff are less worried than I am. I am likely mostly myself responsible for restricting my diet.

After I explained my and my husband’s concerns to my assigned staff, she did agree to E-mail the dietitian and behavior specialist to see if I can be put on a diet. Then again, if I nag for food, they say they’re more or less required to give in as I’m a voluntary admission. I don’t think that’s entirely true especially with the new Care and Force Act, but I think the staff feel less able to resist someone verbally pestering them for food versus someone who screams for it without actually asking, as they are non-verbal. After all, at least one of my fellow clients is on a diet and the staff flat out refuse to give her food she isn’t supposed to eat.

I feel really torn. On the one hand, I want to believe the nurse from the health check that losing weight shouldn’t be an absolute top priority, because, well, I don’t want to give up chips and sausages on week-ends. On the other hand, I absolutely don’t want to have to add yet another medication to my regimen. I originally said I wanted to avoid blood thinners at all cost. Then I found out blood thinners aren’t the same as blood pressure medication. Still, I want to avoid needing to add a blood pressure medication too, especially since, once on any medication, it’s hard to get off.

Of course, I want to avoid getting a heart attack or other cardiovascular disease for as long as possible. This means I really need to go on a diet. I’ll start with eating bread instead of cereal for breakfast. It’s hard, but I’m going to do it.

Gratitude List (September 4, 2020) #TToT

Hi all on this fine Friday. How are you doing? I’m a bit tired, but want to write anyway. Today, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) for a gratitude list. It’s been a while. Here goes.

1. Hamburgers! On Saturday, my husband took me to our house and we had hamburgers for dinner. I loved them, even though they’d come from the freezer.

2. Reading. At the beginning of the week, I did a lot of reading and had a lot of fun with it. I slowed down a bit (or a lot) as the week progressed, but am hoping to get some reading done over the week-end.

3. Steptember. I started the charity physical activity event for cerebral palsy on Tuesday. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I got my 10K steps in. I also collected more than twice the money I’d hoped for already.

4. Going to the marketplace. On Wednesday, my staff took me to the marketplace. We bought chicken and fish for lunch and I bought a lot of candy. I particularly loved the chicken!

5. Paracetamol and rest. The next day, I was ill with a low-grade fever, nausea and diarrhea. It’s probably because I ate too much stuff on Wednesday. Thankfully, paracetamol helped some and so did resting.

6. Soothing music and blankets. I’ve been loving relaxing in my bed with a calming music playlist on on Spotify. I’ve also been loving being able to have blankets on my bed again without it being too hot.

7. Talking to my husband. He most likely won’t come by this week-end because of my fever, but I loved talking to him nonetheless.

8. Feeling better both physically and mentally. I’m slightly depressed and tired still, but the sickness has gone and I don’t have a fever anymore. That’s good, because otherwise I may’ve needed to be tested for COVID-19.

9. My staff. A staff I can’t really get along with well, is leaving at the end of the month. She’s going for early retirement, so really I should be happy. I wasn’t at first, because I’d gotten it in my head that she was leaving because of me. Thankfully that’s not the reason. I had a meltdown on Wednesday because of it and this staff tried to comfort me.

10. Okay weather. Yesterday, it was raining all day, but I was ill anyway. The rest of the week has been okay: not too cold or windy and mostly dry.

What have you been grateful for lately?

Gratitude List (June 20, 2020) #TToT

Hi everyone! How are you all doing? I’m a bit tired, but not ready to go to bed yet. Instead, I’m going to write a gratitude list again. As always, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. Sunshine. The weather was really good over the past week. We had some light rain some days, but most days were sunny and warm.

2. An anti-allergy medication. I have bad eczema that itched like hell for some weeks. I finally went to the doctor on Wednesday and got an antihistamine called desloratadine. It didn’t help at all the first few days, or maybe without the medication the itch would’ve been even worse. In any case, now it does seem to help.

3. An antibiotic ointment. One spot, which the doctor initially thought was the result of an insect sting, got inflamed. Thankfully, with some Fucidin applied topically, the inflammation is a lot less now.

4. The night staff. A few nights ago, the itch was so bad and the inflamed spot so painful that I got really scared. I called for the night staff to apply some oily cream to the eczema. She did this, but I remained very scared. Somehow, I had gotten it in my head that I’d get sepsis from this. I pressed the call button again at around 2:30AM. The night staff was so kind and reassuring.

5. Alternatives to bread. I don’t really care for bread for lunch, at least not when topped with the ordinary kind of things you normally put on bread, such as cheese, peanut butter, etc. Thankfully, we had some lettuce left over from making burritos last week, so I had a salad for lunch one day. Another day, I had noodles.

6. Pancakes. Today, two staff came to our home on a voluntary basis just to bake us pancakes. They were so delicious!

7. Reaching my step goal. I reached over 12K steps (my goal being 10K) on three days this week. Today, I didn’t do so well, so I will still need to get some 5K steps tomorrow to break my weekly record of just under 65K steps.

8. The visiting rules at my care facility likely being relaxed as of next week Friday. The announcement will go onto the facility’s COVID-19 page on Monday.

9. My parents offering to visit me. I called my Mom last Sunday and, as we were discussing the visiting rules, my father asked if they could come too. I initially was a bit hesitant and I’m very nervous, but also excited. They will be visiting me next Friday.

Oh, and now I can’t think of a number 10, but whatever. I’m grateful for being able to express my gratitude. Consider that my tenth thankful. Besides, the number is just a suggestion.

What are you grateful for?

Diet and Exercise: A Healthy Lifestyle for Wellness #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my letter D post in the #AtoZChallenge. Usually when looking for inspiration this year, I have looked to The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care by Anna Borges. Today though, no “D” topic inspired me. Besides, I had basically already made up my mind that I was going to write about diet. Then I decided to add exercise to today’s discussion, as I already have an “E” topic in mind.

Having a healthy lifestyle can be hard for most people and it’s especially hard for those of us struggling with mental health issues. When I suffer with major depression, for example, all I feel like is sleeping and eating and I certainly don’t feel like moving. I’m not telling you that you should force yourself to have a healthy lifestyle all the time. That’s not possible for most people and, when you suffer with serious mental health issues, it’s often not a priority. If it takes all your effort to get out of bed, I’m not telling you to exercise.

But generally, it can really be helpful for your wellbeing to mind your diet and physical activity level. I, for one, need to lose weight to get to a healthy BMI. However, that number on a BMI chart or even on the scale isn’t the main reason I try to eat a relatively healthy diet. It makes me feel better mentally if I get enough healthy food in me and don’t overeat. Getting enough veggies is a struggle with the poor quality of food we get here at the care facility, but I do try to eat enough fruit.

Besides nutrition, hydration is important too. I try to make sure I drink at least two liters of fluids a day. This has been harder now that my days are less structured due to the day center being closed, but I really need to get my hydration habit back up. I use an app called Water Reminder, which is free (with a one-time in-app purchase to remove ads and add some additional features).

It also certainly helps me to get moving. Now I must say that I’ve not been majorly depressed in a long time, so moving comes relatively easily to me. I particularly love walking, as regular readers of this blog will know. I also try to go on the elliptical a few times a week.

Do you try to develop or maintain a healthy lifestyle? Does it help with your mental health?