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Theory

Testing the theory: things will look better after taking a break

We seem to live in a world where “Fake news” is thrown around to discredit something someone doesn’t “like”.  I see all too often that belief seems to count as much or more than science or facts.   “Theory” is an inflammatory word.   I suspect that’s because there are a lot of people who “believe” they understand what it means and don’t want to be told they are mistaken.

It doesn’t help that the word has a specific usage in scientific lingo and a much broader usage in the English language.  When someone says, “In theory….” it’s clear there is speculation involved.  There is not a great confidence between what is “supposed” to happen and what seems “likely” to happen.  When a scientist talks about, “The theory….” it pretty much means that in all the time that theory has existed it’s been the best explanation of all the facts available and that so far nothing has come up to contradict it.

When we talk about education theory or theory in a philosophical setting what we’re really doing is talking about belief.  We really want something to be true so we create a theory and then test it in practice.  But people being people, we don’t want to change our beliefs, so when things don’t work we change the parameters of the test.   No wonder everyone is confused.

In science when a fact shows up that disproves the theory, the theory gets changed so that it explains ALL the facts.  It’s a very different mindset.

So, although I’m still taking tests and they still come back “normal” there are some theories.

Testing Karina’s theory: you need a little more sass

I have speculated, for much of my life, that the place my back goes out puts stress on the nerves that impact my digestion.  The converse also applies, when my digestion is aggravated it “stresses” my back.  I’ve seen this happen time and again and when I can break that feedback loop things do seem to improve.  I think it’s the explanation that best fits the facts as I see them.

My chiropractor is on board with this theory.  He did an x-ray series and can point to places where it’s likely there is some stress on the nerves.  Unfortunately, in order to be “clinical” the nerves have to be pretty much pinched off, which thankfully they are not.  The radiologist makes some remarks about odd curves and twists but concludes basically “normal” (I’m sure there’s a for a woman of my age in there somewhere.)  We’re hoping a chiropractic radiologist will be a little more specific and can talk insurance into paying for more frequent adjustments.

Likewise the other tests come back “normal” but when the bariatric PA looks at them she sees potential for issues.  So I’ll take another test and then the entire bariatric group will put their heads together and see if indeed the PA’s observations explain the problem.  If her theory holds then they will decide if there is anything they might recommend doing about it.

It may be that I just had a bad turn of what has been a chronic problem and that treatment is to do what I’ve been doing all along.  I might have some bad spells and may need a little more intense intervention – pain meds, more frequent adjustments, possibly another round of physical therapy – to get through those acute moments.

That certainly sounds a lot better than the other possibilities that have been floating around in my head!   Thank you all for your concern and good wishes.

Juxtaposition

Remember when I started volunteering at Gilda's? And a walk to the clubhouse was from the parking lot!

Remember when I started volunteering at Gilda’s? And a walk to the clubhouse was from the parking lot!

I spent several days last week out sick with a summer cold.  You know the kind you tell yourself is allergies until you can no longer deny you’re miserable through and through.  As I’ve just past the two-year anniversary of my bariatric surgery, this was another opportunity to really notice how much has changed.

For starters, yes I was sick enough to not go to Gilda’s club.  People dealing with cancer are often immune suppressed.  They didn’t need to be exposed to whatever I was carrying.  The decision to “tough it out” or not was a no brainer.  What that meant is that I was taking care of myself from the beginning of the cold, rather than waiting until it totally knocked me on my ass to acknowledge it.

Remember when a "day on the boat" meant the next day in bed recovering?

Remember when a “day on the boat” meant the next day in bed recovering?

Then there’s the odd thing that happens with bariatric surgery and stomach flu.  My whole body felt like I should be laying on the bathroom floor.  But I wasn’t.  In fact I never got that kind of sick.  The physiology just doesn’t work that way anymore.  What an odd feeling, especially for someone whose history is that once I got started I didn’t stop.   No sore abdominal muscles.  No cramps.  No dehydration.  No shear exhaustion from all that effort.   More energy to apply to feeling better.

And most importantly there are all the things I did manage to get done last week.   Orion got dressed, bathed, on and off the bus and fed regularly.  Time cards got delivered, groceries were bought.  I had my allergy shots.  Orion had injections as well, and a tune up of his wheelchair and AFO’s.  We had lunch and a visit with friends.  I found time to do dinner with a friend.  I had coffee with another, along with a walk to and tour Gilda’s Club – several blocks down the hill, and back up again.

There was laundry that got done, including bedding from our camping trip.  There was a night the power went out, and all the clocks are set back where they belong.  There was no “recovering” from our road trip to South Dakota.  There is no feeling that I need another week to “catch up”.

How much nicer when the bench is for the photo op, not because you can't walk another step without catching your breath?

How much nicer when the bench is for the photo op, not because you can’t walk another step without catching your breath?

Two years ago, last week would have looked like a “super mom” week.  It would have taken me almost week to recover from a schedule like that in my “best health”.  I couldn’t have imagined doing all that right after returning from a road trip camping with Orion, even without the summer cold!

People still ask me if I have any regrets for making the decision to have by-pass surgery.  It hasn’t been all roses, but if I look at what I can do now that I couldn’t dream of doing then all I can feel is grateful.

Stepping Out

I has occurred to me that I am the queen of excuses. 

I had a friend who made a distinction between excuses and reasons.  Reasons are real problems.  Obstacles that have a way around them if we are willing to look.  Excuses are the stories we tell ourselves to avoid looking for solutions.

There was a reason I struggled with last weeks posting.  Anyone who read it can see that.  But I didn’t use an excuse to avoid making the attempt.  That’s writing.  I’ve been working on my self talk about my writing.  I started the blog on purpose, stepping out and being accountable about my writing.

Look what it’s gotten me!  I have been writing once a week since August on the blog.  I’ve made quite a few new on-line friends reading and commenting on their blogs.  I’ve got a book at the publishers.  Yes, occasionally I may produce a blog like last weeks.  Generally though I’m a writer.

crocus peeking color

Now it’s time to take on some exercise and health projects.  I’ve got long and deep excuses for not exercising, not taking care of myself and generally being a sedentary kind of gal.  I’ve been thinking about doing something about this for a long while.  I recognized on my trip to California that I’m not doing myself any favors.

My most recent, consistent excuse has been the weather.  It’s scary to walk outside on the snow and ice, especially when you’ve spent the last 2 years in physical therapy from your last set of falls.   Has anybody noticed me commenting on our unseasonable weather?  We haven’t had snow and ice for almost a month.  It’s time to step out.

I’ve enlisted Orion to help me.  He’s not really keen on exercise either, but if I set him on his way out the door he’s game for anything.  The nice thing about walking with Orion is that I move slower.  When I walk with him I can go farther than when I walk on my own.

Orion says his wheelchair is built for speed.

The first time I made him take a walk with me I packed a chair on the back of his wheelchair, just in case.  One of my fears is that I’ll get out and not be able to get back.  Turns out I made it a lot further than I thought I could!  In part because we went slowly, but also just because I had that reassurance that I could stop if I needed to.

Getting out the door for a walk is pleasant, but it’s not always easy.  The pollen count is high, the days are busy and sometimes there really isn’t time.  On the other hand when we do go out I sleep better, feel better and eat a lot less.  I even went out by myself when Orion was at his Dad’s on Sunday!

The third thing that really needs to happen is stepping out socially.  It’s been two years since I kicked out my last husband and it’s time to come out of the cave.  Because I have Orion in tow, this does get to be a little complicated.  Often it’s just easier to stay home than to pack everything up and then deal with accessibility issues in a strange place.  However, it needs to happen.

Waiting for the music to start

We had the opportunity to go to a CD release party last weekend.  The venue was convenient and accessible.  The crowd were mostly people we know and who adore Orion.  It was going to be after dinner so maybe we could avoid eating the junk food.  We had a blast!  Orion is still talking about it to anyone who will listen.  It was great to catch up with some of the folks we haven’t seen for months.  The music was good too.

I’ve also signed us up for a couple of “meet-ups”.  Local groups with a common interest.  The one’s I signed up for are a tour of a local Hindu Temple and a discussion of Islamic women in art.  Orion has a strong interest in East Indian culture (he speaks Hindi and Urdu).  I have a strong interest in religion in culture.  These meet-ups seemed like a good match for both of us.

Great time to be "Stepping Out!"

So I’m stepping out.  I may have Orion in tow, but he’s a fun and enthusiastic companion.  How are you challenging yourself in the next months?

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