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Tests can be testing don’t you find? Presented in a variety of ways each one of us faces tests in one form or another. We may find that our reaction to some of these is different at various times. Do we sometimes get “testy” (grouchy) during tests & other times find that we can take a “water off a duck’s back” approach? There are so many variables each time don’t you agree?
For today, let’s share some time thinking about the physical tests that come our way & the parallel reactions. Living with one or many 365’s provides oodles of experiences with medical tests for instance. Oh the deli line type take a number feeling that is so often involved in attending medical appointments or tests can be trying. Time is not going to go by any faster whether I decide to get “testy” or choose to take the appointment in stride. The bigger challenge I find though is when I walk into an environment with other people while squeezed in like sardines & the tension in the room is screaming. The choice still remains within me of not falling prey to buying into the tension in the room. Recently I watched a brief interview on tv of Dr. Von Hildebrand describing the social tendency for negativity to act in no time to infect groups of people in any given environment. She shared that unfortunately the same is not true of positivity with the same level of ease. Each one of us has likely only too often witnessed situations where we have gone into an environment where there are moaners & groaners or worse people tearing other people down verbally with evident elevated levels of enjoyment. At times we have to work pretty hard at positivity becoming contagious. The alternative I have found is to detach myself from any given outcome when I enter a room where you can feel the negativity in the air like a virus. Basically all this means is that I just decide not to let myself catch the negativity & just be myself & if another person comes away feeling more optimistic than that is a bonus. This has been a work in progress for me over the years because my natural tendency has been to try to cheer others up. Some people I have learned don’t necessarily want to be cheered up & I have learned to read those cues & not beat my head against the wall but rather just live by example versus talking someone into what may be a happier existence for them. Each person gets to decide whether he or she wants to remain in an existence of misery or hope. Our individual situations can really stink at times because life sometimes throws some pretty punishing blows. It is inspirational beyond description to me when I have come across people who have lived through huge battles & challenges & yet choose to live with hope, compassion, care of others, and love. I have & have had many beautiful people like this in my life. This past Monday morning I lost another Dear Heart to the cruelty of cancer. My friend was 3 years older than me & she was so sick while she battled cancer especially during the past 6 months. Most people were unaware of her health battle because she always had the hugest smile on her face, was soft spoken & always asked everyone around her how they were doing & then really listened for the response. She was a listener & a peace maker & a shining example of love in action. She helped others in ways that most people will never hear about because she loved because that was what her whole life was about. She did it all quietly. Her faith remained stronger than words could say. Others often watch us as we go through life’s battles. I have had people say to me that they wonder why my faith grows stronger with growing 365’s. People have asked me some big faith questions & they were easy to answer I found. My friend’s love lives on in each person’s life that she touched. In the past 2 years I have had to say goodbye to many friends who have lost the cruel battle of cancer. The love of each friend remains as strong & present as ever. The only final thing to say about cancer is please let there be a cure.
An example that quickly comes to mind when I think about negatively contagious environments is the blood lab in my area. There are 2 that I go to. One is especially a downer environment. This is the lab that I found myself at out of necessity this past week. Could it be my imagination or is the room smaller each time I go there? It does not seem to matter what time of the day you go there, the room is completely full & the line up is well out the door & out into the hallway. People are squeezed in like sardines & it feels like some sort of humid, scorching temperature gone bad. On this visit, there was a person that seemed to be almost hacking up a lung almost continuously which felt disconcerting. It is possible that the individual needed a lab test done immediately so had to come there hacking cold & all. It just kind of left you with the impression that you could come away even sicker than when you arrived at the lab due to the what seemed like total lack of fresh air intake. The more time that went by, the grumpier the environment became & the sound of exasperation was available in surround sound. The lab waiting room felt like one of the circle’s of Dante’s Inferno. We will circle back to yesterday’s lab appointment in a couple of minutes while I fill in the why of what got me there.
For 2 solid weeks I have been having brutal abdominal pains. I am no stranger to abdominal pains as I have experienced these from time to time over the past 5 years. Your gut though can have a gut feeling that something is different & this was the case. It was a different kind of pain in a different area of the general tummy area. What the heck now I thought to myself as I kept a stiff upper lip for a couple of weeks along with a heating pad hoping that the pains would take a hike. Last week I came down with a big time sore throat on top of that & my blood sugars went berserk. Sky high blood sugars can be a sign of sickness that is happening somewhere in my body. Since the high blood sugars were consistent & without reason for day after day I wondered if I had come down with strep throat again. It was a dozy of a sore throat & the thing I learned about step throat from last year is that it was not just going to go away on its own plus in my case it also leads to other 365 challenges. Reluctantly I decided after 4 days of having pain with each swallow that I would drive over to a walk in clinic & get the rapid strep swab. Thankfully the test came back negative. The doctor though said to me that although it tends to be a childhood illness that I had many symptoms of mono. I never would have imagined that however as I have shared so many times I have heard the words, “that is usually a childhood illness” so many times & been in the outlier group in terms of those diagnoses countless times. The doctor at the walk in did say that there was no reason to find out if I have mono or not since from a medical perspective nothing is usually done for the patient other than telling the patient to get rest & refrain from contact sports & heavy lifting. He jokingly said, “So no rugby for you.” I did appreciate that wee laugh. The abdominal pains just kept getting worse & it took a lot of discipline on my part not to “google” what this may or may not be. Instead I decided that it was time for me to make an appointment with my family doctor & spill the beans on what was going on to see what is going on with this body of mine. Right away I was given 2 medical requisition forms…one for an ultrasound & the other for blood work. I am still very much a wuss when it comes to having to get blood work done & remembered that I was scheduled for blood work for A1C next week so I asked the doctor’s office if I could wait until next week to get both sets of blood work done at the same time. I received a quick “no” understandably. My creative brain went to work during the drive home from the doctor’s office. It occurred to me in light speed that I could move my A1C test up by a week & that way I could have the blood work done in one visit versus 2. The medical building that I had the ultrasound appointment scheduled for the next day conveniently has a blood lab right across the hall there. It is the blood lab though that I tend to try to avoid because it is always jam packed & it is usually an especially grumpy environment as I described earlier. I decided that the potential grumpiness & being a sardine for most of the morning would be worth it to have that “one stop shop” medical testing & get it over with feeling. I thought I was pretty clever to arrive 90 minutes ahead of my ultrasound appointment so that I could easily get the blood work done first. The best laid plans though sometimes just don’t go as smoothly as hoped for. I got my deli line number for blood work & amalgamated myself into the clan of fellow sardines with my book & the attitude of remaining in the mood that I had arrived with of cheerfulness. I think I landed on a neutral zone of attitude by the time the morning was over. 85 minutes went by. Each of us had been told in the line up that the wait would be 45 minutes. I had to get back into the long line to get my health card back so that I could race across the hall to the ultrasound clinic for my scheduled appointment still awaiting the blood test. The lab tech told me that was a pity because I would be called in the next 10 minutes. So much for clever & so much for smooth however I refused to get grumpy about it. This was not convenient but certainly not one of life’s mountains. It will not surprise you to hear that once I went across the hall for my other test that I ended up waiting in the waiting room there for about 15-20 minutes. Bummer I thought to myself because if I could have registered at the ultrasound lab & then returned to the blood lab then the waiting could have at least been productive. Both offices needed my health card at the same time so alas I needed to remain in the new waiting room. On a very positive note it was a spacious area with non humid scorching temperatures. I had a great book with me so that makes a nice difference too so I just hunkered down & enjoyed reading in comfort. After that test I went back across the hall & within minutes was back in the lineup for the blood work. When my turn arrived I noticed that the 2 requisition forms had diminished into 1. I have learned to advocate for myself & let the super nice lab tech know that I had handed in 2 forms. They had been separated by accident so it was a very good thing that I told her otherwise my clever plan of getting all the blood work done in 1 appointment would have been foiled. I will admit without hesitation that would have put me in a bad mood even with my determination to stay cheerful. Almost 3 hours after first arriving at the blood lab, the tests were finally done & I could leave to have breakfast since I had to fast for all the tests. It was after lunch time by this time & my blood sugars had gone even more berserk. Thank goodness for Angus so that I could begin the insulin corrections which ended up taking about 6 hours to get back into any semblance of range.
Adding in a light aside, whenever I have to go for a bunch of medical appointments or a Dear Heart has the bunch of medical appointments I will usually say, “don’t forget the Air Miles card” because I think we should get Air Miles reward points for attending medical appointments. That would be a bonus, right? Since we don’t get the reward miles, I decided to stop at a Canadian mainstay as a rare treat, Tim Horton’s aka “Timmy’s.” The reward would be a dark coffee. The bonus came in the form of chatting it up with a lady that I did not know over hockey. We had a really great chat about a zillion things but how cool is it that it all just started over hockey, eh, in Tim Horton’s of all places. She is also a Montreal fan so that was a neat bonus. While waiting for test results, I don’t need to become “testy” or crusty or grumpy but instead I get to look forward to lots more great hockey eh.
My heart’s hope for you is that when you find yourself being tested by the medical tests & appointments that you have something to look forward to afterwards. Maybe for you it is hockey too!
It absolutely crushes my heart to find out after writing this story that My Heart’s Twin, My Number 1 Type 1 Battle Buddy (Cheryl) has been taken far too soon. Thankfully, every single time we spoke in any way we always told one another that we loved each other. In the next 2-3 weeks I will be sharing a profoundly special story of my friend, Cheryl with you. We met because we both had type 1 diabetes yet diabetes never gets the last word ever...the last word goes to love every single time. Although I have begun writing Cheryl's beautiful story, it is the most difficult writing I have ever experienced...it is gut wrenching because I have lost one of my Dearest friends. Next Monday’s story sharing is “False Negative” which is about the results of the medical tests I had recently. May everyone be as gentle, encouraging, caring, loving & brave as Cheryl & tell all your loved ones that you love them every time you see them or talk to them. None of us know if it is the last time we will get that chance before heaven comes. I love you Cheryl & miss you beyond words. xo