I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Preventive medicine

Last Thursday's beautiful hike
Most of my readers know that I am an exercise buff. I really enjoy going out to places like Church Mountain (pictured above) and spending the entire day in wilderness, while challenging myself to go somewhat long distances (this hike was nine miles, which I did most of) and climbing up in elevation. I won't get to visit this glorious place again this year, since within a few weeks it will begin to snow and cover the trails.

Hiking and walking help to keep me fit, along with the classes I take at the Y every week. It's been ten years since I joined the Senior Trailblazers, and I miss as few hikes as possible, rain or shine. You might say I'm addicted. I am also slower than I was, and there are times when I think I might have to start going with the other group, which doesn't go as fast or as far as ours does. But I will miss these dear friends if I'm not with them, so I push myself. Maybe that's not such a good idea, but I know without a doubt that there will come a day, sooner rather than later, that it will happen. It's nice to know I will still be able to get out in the wilderness, even when I can no longer be with the faster hikers.

I got my flu shot yesterday. It was hard to find just the right time to get it, because in the past I've had a day or two of not feeling quite right afterwards, but it's been so many years since I've gotten the flu, I sure don't want it. I remember the last time, maybe twenty years ago now, and I was so sick I wished I could just die and put myself out my misery. I can see why it kills old people and those with compromised immune systems. So I get my shot every year and hope for the best.

The way that vaccines work is interesting. If you aren't aware of how they work, here's a short little reminder (from Vaccine Information website):
Vaccines are made from the same germs (or parts of them) that cause disease. But the germs in vaccines are either killed or weakened so they won’t make you sick. Vaccines containing these weakened or killed germs are introduced into your body, usually by injection. Your immune system reacts to the vaccine in a similar way that it would if it were being invaded by the disease — by making antibodies. The antibodies destroy the vaccine germs just as they would the disease germs — like a training exercise. Then they stay in your body, giving you immunity. If you are ever exposed to the real disease, the antibodies are there to protect you.
There are plenty of controversies surrounding vaccines, which I won't get into here, but some people believe they make you sick. In a way, they do, as is said above, antibodies are created by introducing a weakened strain of the virus into your body. And that's why I usually wait until the weekend to get my shot, since I don't want to miss any of my outdoor activities. I waited until after my Saturday walk, and now it's Sunday, with no real exercise scheduled.

My arm is a little sore, but I don't feel bad, like I have in the past. Every year the experience is different, but I believe in preventive medicine and therefore steel myself for a little discomfort to help keep me well. I am also wanting to get the newest shingles vaccine, which is given in two shots a few months apart, but there is a waiting list of almost a hundred people right now. Maybe when I go in for my wellness visit in January I'll ask my doctor about it. 

I know one person who has had both shots, and she said she didn't feel well for about three days after the first shot and just took it easy. I've read online that the effects can be intense, but I sure don't want to get shingles and am willing to suffer a little now to keep from suffering a lot later on. Today I have signed up to attend a mini-workshop at my yoga studio. It's called "Cultivating Bliss" and will introduce me to Ayurvedic medicine as well as give me some yoga asanas (postures) that will help to keep me well. What is Ayurvedic medicine? I wondered, too, and I found this information from Dr. Weil:
Because Ayurveda emphasizes prevention of disease, individualization of treatment, and the maintaining of balance between body, mind and spirit, the approach can be considered appropriate in most any clinical circumstance and is considered as such in India. In the West, it is seldom used as a primary therapy for critical medical conditions, but rather as a complement to other healing systems. 
Before I signed up, I did ask how much yoga would be included, wondering if I should bring a notebook and that it would be more informational than experiential, but I was assured that we will be doing at least an hour of yoga during the two-and-a-half hours. I was pleased to learn that, although I will definitely take notes.

This past week I was having some difficulty separating myself from the news of the day, and I found myself getting irritable and weepy, unable to keep myself from getting wrapped up in something I have no control over. It doesn't do anybody any good for that to happen, so I picked up a book to take me away from it all. I have found that Liane Moriarty is just the right kind of author for that. This book was one I hadn't heard of before: The Hypnotist's Love Story. What I like about this book is that it took me away and allowed me to get involved in one of those stories where you aren't at all sure how it will turn out, but it ends up with a (sort of) happy ending. I think now I've read every one of her books and enjoyed them all.

I just checked the weather and found that our beautiful sunshine of the past week or so has come to and end. Today will be cloudy and showery, but I'll be inside for the most part, so it won't bother me at all. I rather like this kind of weather, unless it happens on Thursdays. Walking around in the rain for the entire day is not as wonderful, but I do it anyway.

Today, sitting here in my cozy bed with my MacBook Air on my lap, keys clicking away as I write, I am feeling pretty good with only a slightly sore arm where I got the shot yesterday, and hubby happily ensconced next to me (he just woke for a quick trip to the bathroom and we talked for a bit). He'll go back to sleep soon, and before too long I'll be getting up to start my day. I look forward to the coffee shop and hanging out with my friend John. Then I'll come home and do some chores around the house before heading off to the yoga studio for my workshop.

I am hoping that you will find some techniques that will keep you safe and healthy during the coming week. That's what I will be doing, and if there are any super wonderful ideas that I learn today, I'll share them with you next week. Until then, I truly hope that you will be surrounded with love and light, as I hope for myself as well. I wish you all good things until we meet again.


Linda Reeder said...

It's about an hour and a half since you posted. I am up and at the computer after finally getting a good night's sleep. Soon I'll get going - breakfast, PT exercises, either a walk or time on the stationary bike, decorating the house, watching football, cooking a light supper, seriously getting back to monitoring my food intake.

I'm not sure when I'll get the results on the MRI I had yesterday. I became quite uncomfortable during the process, but I shook it off and we had a great visit with our son Jake over brunch. I felt good in my two mile walk later.

I had my flu shot over a week ago, with no reaction. I have had the first of the new shingles vaccines, but no lack of supply is preventing me from getting the second. I had no reaction to that shot either.

As you can see, I believe in preventative medicine too. As far as numbing my mind to the news, I am working on it. Now that the SCOTUS thing is a done deal, I am resigned to being passive about those things over which I have no control. Passive, but not inactive. I just made another donation to the campaign of Dr Kim Shrier. I'll do what I can to take back the house.

So right now my life is about working on me and enjoying the glories of autumn in the PNW, rain or shine.

Thanks for another Sunday morning wake up call. I'll be seeing you on your other blog. Be well.

Carola Bartz said...

What an interesting post! Good that you got the flu shot, I get mine every year as well, but haven't done so this year. My husband and I just talked about it this morning and we will get them this week. I was also thinking to talk with my doctor about the new shingles vaccine when I go in for my physical in December. I had shingles when I was 19 while working in a hospital (!) and I sure don't want to get them again.

The SCOTUS confirmation has angered me and made me sad, scary for the future of my daughter. The anger is still there and really fired me up for the midterms. However, living in CA I already have senators who represent me (one is up for re-election and her challenger is a Democrat as well) and my representative is a good one, too. I feel quite powerless, but at the same time I am grateful that I am surrounded by like-minded people.

Thanks for the good wishes for the new week. We'll need them - this week marks the first anniversary of the devastating wildfires that burnt down entire neighborhoods in my city last October. It will be tough and many people here (including me) feel on the edge.

Rian said...

DJan, years ago (when I was doing Yoga regularly) I took a class Ayurvedic cooking. We used spices I'd never used before, but it was all very good. And our instructor gave us the name of an Ayurvedic doctor. I visited with him and he gave me a checkup, explained the three doshas (body types) and recommended things that supposedly my body type needed. It was pretty much on target... for instance my body does prefer hot over cold (in foods), etc.

As for the flu shot, I too had the flu years ago and just wanted to die... so yes, I now always get the flu shot and hope for the best. So far so good. And we got the old Shingles vaccine back in 2014, but are interested in the new one too. A good friend had Shingles so bad that I think it contributed to her death in 2011.

As for the political news, I just try my best to avoid it. I can only hope that both parties will realize that all this constant fighting is not good for the country...

So this morning I will find comfort in my family and our cats, walking, reading, sculpting, baking, and blogging. These things give me comfort. Hope you too have a wonderful Sunday!

Elephant's Child said...

On the other side of the world I am increasingly stepping away from the news. I can't change it, and it can certainly change my mood (and mind set).

Red said...

You are very active in all parts of your life not just physically.

John's Island said...

We are on the same page when I comes to the depressing news lately. I see that most of those who have left comments above agree. I especially liked Elephant's Child's comment, "I can't change it, and it can certainly change my mood." So true. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the midterms will change the direction of things. As always, you are an inspiration with your hikes and keeping physically fit. Your photo today of the trail near Church Mountain is great! Wow, makes me want to drive up there and do that hike. Thanks for another great post!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I've had a difficult time with the news of late. Anger. Just decided that I need to let myself have the anger and see where it brings me -- to a place where I might do some good to right what is so wrong, I hope. Meantime, I got my flu shot and the first part of the shingles on the same day. Only side effect was a sore arm with the shingles. Small price to pay, in my mind, for those I've seen suffering from the shingles. Will go back to get the other half in December.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I didn't watch the news this week...I did watch the weather looking for some warmth. I didn't find any on the horizon. We are still sad and missing Chance, it will take a long time to get over. We are both crying every day...it is hard. I watch the weather channel and Hallmark or the Cooking Channel... I tried Animal Planet but too many dog stories for us now.
I guess reading the comments people must be upset about Politics again...seems no one is ever happy. Vote and accept the results! :)
I started a new book, by a fellow blogger...it is way different from what I usually read... I won't recommend it until I am done reading it. Paranormal Romance...uffda.
We probably are not done with funerals yet...as some relatives are struggling. I have lots of people to pray for.
I hope you have a good week, enjoy your sunshine, we have not seen the sun in days...it is like we have NOvember weather in October:(

Tabor said...

It is always nice to visit you in the early morning as you review your life and what is ahead. I exercise, but without the determination and grace that you seem to muster. I also have been depressed with the news and wonder if this is how others felt before major changes in their country or before wars.

Galen Pearl said...

I always love your Sunday reflections. Your outdoor photos are always so lovely. How alluring "fitness" is when you are rewarded by experiencing nature's bountiful beauty. This topic has been on my mind lately as I've been reevaluating my own approach to fitness. I have practiced martial arts for years, but in the last couple of years, I have eased back from the more vigorous "external" arts in favor of "internal" martial arts such as tai chi. While I feel very healthy overall, I can tell that my strength and stamina have both ebbed. So last week I had an appointment with a personal trainer to focus on these two aspects. Great experience. We'll see if I stick with it since I generally am not motivated to exercise for the sake of exercise. I prefer context, like martial arts, walking, etc. But I do feel invigorated from the physical effort, so we'll see....

Rita said...

Was an upsetting week with the news. Fingers crossed with the voting in November. I just got my ballot to vote by mail. :)

I have heard of the Ayurvedic approach to well-being but have never studied it. I know there are foods and scents but haven't heard of anything else. That should be an interesting experience.

I know you will keep walking and trekking with your friends. You'll know when it's time to move to a slower group. New friends to meet--and some of the other faster folk will get slower, too. ;)

Arkansas Patti said...

The shingles shot is a good idea, the illness is miserable. As for the flu shot, you all ready know I had a bad reaction. I only had the flu once in my life and if this shot protects me now that my body is weakened, then I will probably do it next year. We require more maintenance as we age but luckily, we usually have the time. Keep doing what you do so well, you inspire the rest of us.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, as Arkansas Patti says in her comment: "keep doing what you do so well,you inspire the rest of us." I think of you often as I try to establish an exercise regime. I can't seem to get motivated to do anything. And I know that my lack of energy comes not only from age but from the fact that I don't get my body in motion enough. I wish I had you as a training mentor! Peace.

Sally Wessely said...

It is a comfort to read your post and see that you are practicing good preventive medicine. The hikes, the workouts, the yoga, the walks, friendships, writing. Those things make for a youthful and healthy lifestyle.

I also go my flu shot a few weeks ago. I have such reactions to everything. My arm was sore for days, and I felt flu like for several days. I actually went to the doctor for a low grade fever and all my other symptoms. The doctor said he thought it was from the flu shot. I am afraid to get the second shingles shot because my arm swelled up something terrible with the first one. On the other hand, I sure don’t want the shingles.

I am doing Pilates on the reformer once a week. It is my part of my new determination to get myself in better shape so that I feel better. It is going well. I hope to include yoga in the coming weeks.

This past week was brutal. I also had to take a break and read some light novel that didn’t make me think. The times we live in are distressful. Hugs.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Preventative meds at our house are mainly herbs, spices and other natural salts or crystals. We do not take flu shots. These days we only seem to keep up our tetanus shots. I feel that a natural approach is working well and helped me through stage three colon cancer. We use Essie’s and MSM and supplements. Buddy had one flu shot years ago but was too ill to repeat it. DE seems to be helping his psoriasis as flare up is low at the moment. You really are very active.