Let’s talk about the weather!
I know, I know – the weather is that cliched boring topic that comes up when a conversation has reached a dead end. Other times it is a useful topic to divert to when attempting to avoid awkward subject matter. When you have nothing interesting to share about your own life, you can always comment on the weather. If you are having a hard time finding something in common with someone, why not talk about the common weather you are experiencing? Talking about the weather is safe. Unlike a pointless conversation about weather, I actually have a point here!
Before I continue, I would just like to note that as a topic of conversation, I think weather has a worse reputation than it deserves and I am always happy to discuss the sun or, as is more common on the west coast, the various forms of water falling from the sky.
So it’s spring! Here in Port Moody it happens to be a very spring-worthy day with blue sky, sunshine and a gentle breeze. Ideally, the start of spring brings days of nicer weather, warmer temperatures, longer hours of daylight, new growth, and the anticipation of summer. After a long, cold winter, it’s a welcome change.
This year, I found the first day of spring rather symbolic of my life right now. The last few years have been hard, but the past fall and winter were particularly challenging. The miserable weather was right in line with my miserable mood. I couldn’t go to school, I couldn’t teach dance and I could barely leave my bed. I lived appointment to appointment, procedure to procedure. And now? Things are starting to change! Slowly but surely, I am getting stronger and healthier. I have more energy and more brain power. The brain power thing is quite exciting! When I park my car, I can actually remember where I parked it without having to search the whole parking lot. I can actually follow conversations without tuning out after a few minutes due to mental exhaustion. I can read a book that requires some actual interpretation, as opposed to books where I know how it will end within the first few pages.
All of this is exciting! As things are brightening up outside, my health is brightening up, too.
But it’s also frustrating. Now that I am starting to feel like a human being again, I don’t want to still deal with a chronic illness. In the next 8 days I have a doctor’s appointment, a home health appointment and a tube change. My body has been so de-conditioned that I am left with aching joints at the end of the day. My days are scheduled around taking medications, flushing my tube, and hooking up to feeds. My granulation tissue is a constant problem, my feeding pump alarms almost nightly, and I feel like I am constantly fixing/adjusting/replacing my tube’s dressing. (Despite how it sounds, by ‘tube’s dressing’ I am referring to tape, gauze and the works, not a selection of miniature outfits to dress my tube in every day. If that were the case, though, today would be day for purple polka-dots!)
Essentially, I would like to just be all better. I would like to skip all this in-between business and skip the daily maintenance that comes with having a chronic condition.
When I stop to think about it, though, that’s not what spring is all about. Spring actually requires a lot of diligence and hard work. Students are preparing for finals and teachers are revving up to finish the year. Vacations are in the tedious stages of planning. Gardens need weeding, grass needs aerating, and bulbs need planting. Plus we’re all familiar with the term ‘spring cleaning’ and seeing as how it often gets post-poned into summer, fall, or perhaps even until the following spring, I think we all know that it’s not an exciting event (confession: I love spring cleaning).
But the promise of summer keeps us going! The seasons don’t jump from winter to summer. We don’t get to enjoy evenings on the deck, picnics on the beach and gardens full of flowers without putting in a little extra work during spring.
Nothing in life comes without a little work first. My brother is off to South America in May, but not before he finishes his degree in civil engineering in April. My sister and brother-in-law are off to Mauritius in August for their honeymoon, but not before they spent the first year of their marriage saving up. ‘Spring’ is hard work. Depending on the challenge or the goal, it might last a few weeks or it might last a few years.
And so it is with my health. I can’t just go from sick to healthy without putting in the work. My last winter lasted several years so I can’t say how long it will be until my summer comes around. I still have hope, though. Hope is what keeps me going. Hope is what holds winter back from settling in again. Spring is hard work, but summer is worth it!
And I have no doubt that health is worth it, too! I also have no doubt that I am not the only one struggling right now with a health issue, whether it be a chronic illness, chronic pain, a mental health struggle, sticking to an exercise regime, eating better, adjusting to a new disability, managing stress…whatever it may be. Wherever you are and whatever is going on in your life, I hope you’ll join me in remembering the promise of summer, the promise of better days ahead.
It’s a sunny day and a great day to take a step, just one step, towards that warmer weather. So, I’m going to go flush my tube and put silver nitrate on my granulation tissue.