I went to see my spine doctor today- who is also Dan’s spine doctor. The tech and I joked that the Gaineys are doing our best to keep the UAB Health Systems in business between the two of us. There was no emergency, but I was trying to be proactive and have Dr. Turnley check out some on-going issues I’ve been having with my neck, hip, and low back, a product of too many years spent carrying heavy instruments and equipment, kickboxing, playing clarinet, and lifting my mom. Life.
Dan and I love Dr. Turnley- she is my age, and we always have interesting and funny conversations about the changes that take place with our bodies as we age. As I lamented to her about my latest attempts at trying to lose some weight (which I know will help ease some of my issues), she laughed and told me she’d pretty much decided that we couldn’t eat anything anymore, and that she’d been told by her doctor that even a couple of glasses of wine during the weekend was going to wreak havoc with our weight. We both decided that our mental health was totally worth keeping those calories.
The verdict? My neck issues were caused because I, Mary Poppins, am “too straight”. Ha. Was there every any doubt? My tense muscles are pulling my spine too straight for my neck, so it’s off to physical therapy I go. My tense muscles are also pulling my right hip slightly forward, so more yoga- and I got a shot for a bursa in that hip. That- along with wearing the blue paper clown shorts they made me wear to be examined and X-rayed- made for a fun afternoon. (I did take the opportunity to make the nurses laugh as I paraded to the X-Ray room in true beauty queen style…of which I know nothing about, truth be told, as a dyed in the wool band geek). I tried to get photographic evidence, but it just didn’t work out. The nurses were all, “Umm, be still and don’t breathe while we take this X-Ray.” I was being silly, though, because I happen to believe humor is important no matter what we’re dealing with in life. That was always my mom’s philosophy, and it sure seemed to work for her.
Heavy D cuttin’ the fool, as usual.
We all have ‘stuff’ in our lives. I’m dealing with some physical things right now, but, hey, I am blessed to have great doctors and good insurance, and a loving partner to help me through, just as I help him. I also have a lot of wonderful things going on in my life. So many people aren’t so fortunate, and many, many people are dealing with a heck of a lot worse things than I am. I’m not going to complain- I’m going to find the funny and silly parts and be grateful, leaving the frenzied drama that is so prevalent in today’s world in the dust. I’m also going to work on the things that I can do to be healthier, ‘one day at a time’, as they say (though “they” obviously don’t understand the effects of stress on the appetite of a fifty-five year-old woman…girl gotta eat or girl gets hangry).
The biggest thing it seems I need to face and deal with is – drumroll, please…stress. I am a huge empath, and I take in the frenzied emotions all around me like some ridiculous telepathic sponge. My students being ill, upcoming performances, work duties, the news (gah!), angry people because of the news, the over $7,000 we’ve spent on plumbing issues since Thanksgiving…ooh, my shoulders just went up to my ears, and my stomach is doing flips. This stuff that wakes me up at night worrying how to “fix” everything…remembering that I can’t fix everything. Unfortunately, that ‘not being able to fix it’ has it’s own separate stress that gloms onto me like a barnacle on an old fishing boat.
Small steps. I did Dan’s ninety-minute hot yoga class this evening after a fast-paced day. Instead of listening to television that stressed me out, I put on my Bose noise-cancelling headphones, turned on some good music, and read for a while. I’m working to learn my limits and know when I have to check out for a while to recharge- and not feel guilty about it. That’s not being selfish or living in a bubble; for me that is just good self-care.
I often tell my students, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. Maybe it’s time for the teacher to finally listen to her own advice, and do more yoga. Oh, and I understand that dark chocolate is medicinal…I’ll take some of that, too. Okay, and a glass of wine. Breathe, Gainey, breathe.