Getting My Breath Back

handmade greeting cards, collage art

The transition from hacking bed-lump to fully engaged routine-aphile is a long, slow process.  There comes a point about two weeks into a typical bout of bronchitis where I lose all good humor and go limp with despair.  The “I’ll never get well—I’m cursed with putrid lungs—Kill me now” kind of despair.  All my clothes are sweat through, all my dishes dirty in the sink, and all I want from the grocery store is junk that makes me even more comatose.  I’m convinced everyone I know has forgotten I even exist.  Even the cats slink away from me and hide in the closet.  It’s not a pretty picture.  The pity-pot is glued to my ass.

But I knew that phase was coming and watched for it.  I knew the chances were good that being sick would trigger bipolar symptoms, which just compounds the fun.  I’ve noticed fluttery spasms of anxiety and waves of depression that drift like clouds across the sun.  They catch me up short, a completely different experience than the sick-too-long slump.  But, so far, I’ve been able to just breathe through all these mental discomforts.  As soon as I could, I drove out to the little lake south of town and walked in the warm October sun.  Everything looks better with that jewel-blue sky above and the golden slant of light blazing against the wildflowers.

This week I returned to my water aerobics class.  The water welcomed me back, as did the folks in class, and even though I’m slow and still hacking, I’m not nearly as weak as I thought I’d be.  Then, I sat at the HyVee cafe with my Starbucks skinny latte and wrote.  The brain is rusty, and I’m exhausted when I go home, but pulling part of my routine back on feels right, necessary, and as cozy as pulling on my winter fleece.

We all carry unfortunate baggage.  I happen to have asthma, allergies and bipolar disorder.  They cause disruption.  I can guard against infection and monitor my thoughts, but they will still show up.  The only real defense I have is in how I respond to their effects.  Health lies in how I push against my old reactions and chose something else.  Something positive.  Something loving.  Recovery depends on unloading as much weight from those bags as possible.

So, tomorrow (my birthday!), I’ll greet my friends in the water.  I’ll climb into my truck, plug in my earbuds, and head for Des Moines where good coffee, a good movie, and time with my meditation buddies will fill my creative well.  The baggage is still there, but I’m carrying it a little easier these days.

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21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. radiatingblossom
    Oct 16, 2013 @ 00:26:22

    Yes…we all carry unfortunate baggage. I appreciate the fact that you write Sandy Sue…and that you spread light through your words. Happy Birthday! 🙂

    Reply

  2. bpnana
    Oct 16, 2013 @ 02:11:13

    Happy Birthday, Sandy!! You described so vividly what I’ve been going through, as well. You’re making great progress, and you’re an inspiration to me. I have asthma, as well. It was in remission for years, then came back with a vengeance along with the bronchitis . Had to use the inhaler today, after taking a walk. I hope I can get to my Tai Chi class this Friday. I miss being out and about. And I’m also feeling all the swings, the ups and downs, and navigating as best I can.
    It’s so nice to hear you are doing better. Have a wonderful birthday, filled with love, joy, and wonderful memories in the making.! Love & Blessings Nana xx
    P.S. Pinterest is my new addiction. It’s amazing.
    Happy Birthday again lovely lady. Hope you’ll share some of the highlights of this day of days.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Oct 16, 2013 @ 22:43:53

      Pinterest is just happy-making, isn’t it?
      I’ve heard tell that all lung-sensitive folk are suffering this season. Something about the concentration of allergens, plus weather, plus climate change. We are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. Great.

      Reply

      • bpnana
        Oct 16, 2013 @ 22:55:51

        So true! Hope your birthday was a good one! Did you get out and about? Yes, Pinterest is a God-send! But I’m a full blown addict. Oh well, could be worse things. I’m just making up for all the years I swore off magazines. And yes, it’s been a really awful season for us upper resp sufferers. We just have to keep our spirits up! Hope we both feel better soon!!

  3. David Kanigan
    Oct 16, 2013 @ 03:04:17

    Loved it (your post not your suffering).

    Reply

  4. Marie Astra
    Oct 16, 2013 @ 07:21:04

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better! Your message about recovery is something I needed to hear right now. Choosing the positive. Being grateful. Thank you!

    Reply

  5. Marie Astra
    Oct 16, 2013 @ 07:21:42

    Oh, and Happy Birthday!! 😀

    Reply

  6. Littlesundog
    Oct 16, 2013 @ 07:38:41

    Oh, I’m so glad you’re feeling better! I love the artwork for today… the healing hues of nature. Have a wonderful birthday tomorrow!!

    Reply

  7. Brenda Knowles
    Oct 16, 2013 @ 08:33:54

    Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. ~Aldous Huxley. I know the quicksand of self-pity and anxiety. May the sunshine and friendships lighten your load.:)

    Reply

  8. Kathryn McCullough
    Oct 16, 2013 @ 08:44:54

    SO sorry to hear that the symptoms are resurfacing. Hang in there. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    Reply

  9. pegoleg
    Oct 18, 2013 @ 10:17:56

    Happy belated birthday, Sandy!

    I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better, but sorry you have these spells. My brother-in-law developed all kinds of breathing issues in his 50s and now, just a whiff of cigarette smoke sends him into a spasm of coughing. It’s got to be scary not to be able to breathe.

    Reply

  10. Hope Happens
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 19:46:47

    Happy belated birthday to you. xoxo

    Monica

    Reply

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