Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When Motavational Quotes and Speakers Aren't

"Winners never quit, and quitters never win"

Who hasn't seen that quote. I understand the reasoning behind it. When you are facing adversity, keep going. But is that really good advice?

I recently had a friend put out this quote "97% of the people who quit too soon now work for the 3% who didn't".

This struck a nerve with me. Since when is the ultimate goal of anyone to never step back and see if what they are doing is even the thing they should be doing? Is that "quitting too soon"?

With the recently completed Olympics, we got to celebrate athletes and their abilities for 16 days. It would be interesting to know how many of these athletes have changed the event or specialty they compete in over their careers. Did they "quit too soon"? What if the shot put throwers really wanted to be and worked at being swimmers? Or Gymnasts really desired to be pole vaulters? Did they quit too soon on their dreams?

The reason I post this should be obvious. Not everyone will be successful at whatever they find a passion for, but learning something completely unfamiliar may bring huge success. In the case of athletes, how many hundreds of thousands participate in high school athletics? Reduce that to how many thousands in college and even fewer professionally.

If only they all would not have "quit too soon"!

In the case of people with a chronic illness, their health dictates what they will do. Some will do much, some less. And yet it is important to determine what "less" really is. Is it really less?

My wife works in long term care. There is a debate about quality of life that surfaces from time to time in the care of the elderly. One argument is that when mom or grandma is no longer able to enjoy her life, their life has no value. I find that to be incredibly short sighted. Perhaps their value is in teaching the caregivers and family humility and respect for the elderly. Or patience. Or empathy.

Is that of less value than being out in the world pushing and striving to get ahead?

I've never heard a motivational speaker or seen a motivational quote that says "If you want to get ahead, you need to step back". Maybe they should.

People need to stop what they are doing when what they are doing is getting them nowhere. I believe a familiar quote goes something like this, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results".

Sounds like sometimes quitting too soon is the right thing to do.

If you are a fan of the motivational gurus of today, good for you. Personally, I find their talk pointless drivel. We really all find our drive from within. It is a long life if you have to be constantly pushed and prodded to keep going. At times, yes. Constantly, yikes!

The point of this whole post is that if you are pushing and succeeding, good for you! If you are struggling right now, maybe your purpose is to step back, look at the real purpose in your life, and be as humble and patient and kind as you can to those you depend on. Your purpose might be to benefit them.

And maybe, just maybe, by "quitting too soon" and redirecting your efforts, you will end up being the 1% that advises the 3% that employs the 96% on how to be a better human being rather than just a successful one.

'Til next time


Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I know it caused it, and I can't prove it!

Anyone who has experienced Crisis of Tumarken, aka drop attacks, knows they are likely the most dangerous part of the complex condition of Meniere's disease. I've seen too many photos of broken arms, smashed and bleeding faces, and stories of concussions because of them. I'm also very thankful that my experiences with them have scared the bejeepers out of me and those who have witnessed them, yet have left me virtually unharmed. One minute you are upright, the next you are picking yourself off the ground. Always aware of what happened, yet completely clueless as to what happened.

My history with these started early on with the disease. And often. It usually involved me falling to the right when I first started getting them. Usually I was standing...............on concrete. My poor right shoulder bore the brunt of the blow. Yet I was fortunate to not have any immediate injuries that required medical intervention.

That was in the 1990's.

As time has worn on, I started having bursitis in that shoulder. I would get a deep tissue massage and it would go away for a while. Perhaps I would get bursitis and massage 3 times a year. Then 6. Then massage started getting expensive, and bursitis got more frequent.

Ice and heat. Heat and Ice. Repeatedly.

I really can't tell you how long I have been dealing with this chronic, returning bursitis, but it has been at a minimum 5 years.

I tried stretches. As I mentioned, I used ice and heat and massage. I tried chiropractic. This allowed me to function.

In the last six months the pain kept building and the range of motion kept shrinking. The strength was going away as well. It finally got to the point that trying to change a lightbulb cause burning pain down my arm.

As much as I didn't want to, it was time to check it out. Time for a trip to an orthopedist. They sent me to physical therapy. 3 weeks of that made it hurt worse and my range of motion didn't improve much. We tried a cortisone shot in the shoulder to lessen the pain to allow me to work past the pain points. It never touched it.

After some discussions, we felt the best option was for a scope of the shoulder to fix whatever they found. It is a bit unnerving to go into a surgical procedure with everything from a simple cleanup to rotator cuff repair up to, but not including a shoulder replacement on the table.

That was done 2 weeks ago, and if I were to guess what would be done on the way in to surgery, I would have guessed rotator cuff. I would have been wrong. Instead, I got the best possible outcome, a general cleanup of the shoulder and having them break through a fair amount of scar tissue while I was asleep. No major damage at all.

Now I have to endure more physical therapy, but it at least doesn't hurt near as bad and my range of motion is returning quickly.

Was it the drop attacks and falling on my shoulder so many times starting so many years ago? There is no way to know for sure. All I can do is speculate and use circumstantial evidence: I fell on my right shoulder. I had recurring bursitis in my right shoulder. My right shoulder had a substantial amount of scar tissue and inflammation.

But I can't prove it.

'Til next time


Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Weekend With a Menerian

Having just returned from a weekend wedding for my God daughter, I thought it would be a good idea to share what a weekend (or any 2 days, for that matter) might be like with Meniere's disease.

Friday morning was spent getting packed and ready to go on a 5 to 6 hour drive for the wedding. Yeah, it was a hike. Thankfully my daughter needed some hours for her drivers license. That got me off the hook for driving.

We left home around 1 pm and because of a detour to see the college campus my oldest will be attending, we arrived at our hotel around 8:30 pm. Then it was off to a pre-wedding gathering until 11. I admit I enjoyed a beer. Singular. And I ate the food they had prepared. And it was a late night, getting to bed around 11:30 pm.

Saturday morning I woke up later than usual, but it was a Saturday, and I was on a mini vacation. Who cares what time I got up! After eating the free breakfast, which consisted of 1 waffle and 1 cup of decaf coffee, I returned to my room. Was that fun. It was time to greet the walls. The longer I sat in my room, the worse I felt. Lovely. I just traveled a long way to have a "hello walls" kind of day. The longer I sat, the less I was convinced my breakfast would stay down, or I would stay up. Finally I gave in and crashed in bed. Did I mention that this was my God-daughter's wedding day? And that I had traveled a long distance for it? Yeah, nice. Real nice.

I managed to stay up for 1 1/2 hours before crashing in a Meniere's induced heavy sleep, for 4 hours.

When I did wake up, there was 2 hours before the wedding. The normal headache and exhaustion still was there. It took me 45 minutes to get the energy to shower. I did feel a bit better following, but I wasn't convinced I would make an attempt to go to the wedding at all.

Being one to keep pushing, I went. And to the reception. And the dance.

As the night wore on, I did start to feel better and better. As the dance started, I was sitting right on the edge of the dance floor. The music wasn't loud. The lights weren't bad until............that blasted green one. I have no idea why green bothered. I am assuming I am Superman and the green light was Kryptonite! It was brutal and I removed myself to the back of the hall, then outside, where the brides mother (and very dear friend) asked how I was doing. That is one couple with great empathy for people. It's nice to have those kind of people in your life.

We retired early from the dance and wouldn't you know it, I sat there at 10:30 at night, wide awake and feeling the best I had all day.

The trip home was uneventful and I did all the driving. One particularly bumpy stretch was beginning to mess with my eyes, but we made it through it. For the first time traffic was a bit bothersome as well.

I highly doubt one beer is what did me in on the trip. I've had one before and always limit my intake. Perhaps it was the whole day being off from my usual.

I don't know, and I am not one to dwell on trying to figure it out. To me, that's the fastest way to insanity with this.

But at least I went, I survived, and made my God-daughter very glad I was there.

And Meniere's still sucks.

'Til next time


Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness