Last week, I had my annual physical. As I’m put in an exam room, the nurse always asks me questions. This time, she asked one she hasn’t asked before. Have I felt down or depressed during the last two weeks? Normally, I would say no. But this time I said yes, I actually have.
As a result, she asked me to fill out a questionnaire asking more specific questions. I noticed later the clipboard with the questionnaire was hanging from the wall. My guess is, a lot of people are answering this question the same way I did. But I know mine is not just COVID related, although that is even starting to get to me.
My doctor clearly didn’t think it was a big deal, as she didn’t say anything. She knows how my year has been.
I did recently have about a month where I just didn’t feel like myself. It coincided with a period of time when my head wasn’t feeling quite right. I even had a few minor spells. I wouldn’t call them vertigo, but my head felt weird and I had to lay down until I felt better. Nothing like the vertigo I’ve experienced in the past, so I’m thankful for that at least.
I suppose it’s normal that when you don’t feel well physically, your mental state is affected. This stuff with vertigo has always made me depressed because it messes with my life. It makes me feel that I have no control over how I’m going to feel every day, and I hate to waste a single day!!
What’s funny is, I think I figured out the cause. The day this all started I had stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things on my way home from an appointment. I decided to buy a bag of Reisens, the chocolate covered caramels. My dad loves them and we buy them for him, but I thought they sounded good. I ate a few that afternoon and bam, that evening I had the weird feeling and had to go to bed for a couple of hours.
Over the next four weeks, I continued to eat the Reisens. Tim even bought another bag!! And I still felt icky with the blahs and a foggy head. Finally, one day I made the connection. I think the Reisens were causing my problem. I don’t know if it was too much sugar, too much caffeine, or something else. I stopped eating them and we took what we had left to my dad. I’ve been fine since.
I knew my diet could play a big role in how I feel but I’ve never identified anything so specific. I’ve been working hard to cut down on my sugar intake, so maybe this was too much of a shock to my system? Who knows.
I also keep wondering if it’s all mental and thinking that was the problem was enough to make it go away. Strange how our minds work at times.
My annual physical
I also wondered if some of it was due to my upcoming physical. I don’t normally worry about that, and I didn’t think I was. I always have my lab work done ahead of my appointment, so my doctor and I can discuss the results in person, instead of through a letter after my appointment. With their online portal, I now see the results before she does.
I was excited for her to see I’ve lost some weight since I was last there – 11 pounds. For years, I’ve been battling high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Now, those are the areas where I come out well.
These days, I have to worry about Stage 2 chronic kidney disease, osteopenia, and glucose. If I look at my lab results, I freak out a little. Meeting with her always reassures me. And even though I know that, I’m always just a little nervous.
She says Stage 2 chronic kidney disease doesn’t mean anything. I take a diuretic for my blood pressure and vertigo, which over time, affects the kidneys. But I had an ultrasound a year ago and my kidneys are normal. She says everyone “my age” will start to see some kidney disease. My creatinine levels have been high for a while and we’re managing things. I drink tons of water so I don’t know how I could possibly drink any more!!
Same with osteopenia. My calcium levels are high enough and after having a bone density screening a year ago, my fracture probability is less than 1%. Again, it’s common at my age. I sure don’t like hearing things about “my age”.
And the glucose? I know I need to cut back on the sugar. I’m trying!! She said to just watch the carbs but my levels are fine. I want to believe her but I also know this isn’t something to mess with. I need to try harder.
Facing my mortality
I have to admit, all these issues with my parents has forced me to think about my own age and how I’ll eventually be dealing with the same things. It seems like they were fine and over night, they were old. Is that how it happens?
I know I’m on the downside of my life, but I also think I have many more good years. But it’s not easy when I see my dad struggle, to not think about where my life’s headed.
I need to make sure I don’t spend the rest of my life thinking about my age. There are so many things yet to enjoy. I’m hoping this is also a result of COVID, since we’ve been so restricted.
Things are looking up
Yes, this has been a rough year. I think some of my issues could be due to the fact we aren’t traveling to Florida this year. This will be the first year in thirty I haven’t spent at least a week there this time of year. We not only canceled our two month trip, but the week long trip we scheduled at the time we canceled the long one.
I’m happy to say, this past week, I’ve been feeling so much better, both physically and mentally. I actually have some things to look forward to, which always helps.
Friday and Saturday I’ll be participating in another virtual Stamp Joy. I’ve been looking forward to this for two months since it was announced and I signed up. I have my studio all organized and ready to go.
Tim bought Doobie Brothers concert tickets for the last night of the Iowa State Fair. I can’t remember when our last concert was, but I know at least two were canceled this past year.
My book club soon might be able to meet in person again. We expect to all be fully vaccinated by the end of April.
Tim and I have each had our first vaccine shot. I think this makes me the happiest as it’s a sign we’ll be able to resume some of our normal activities. Maybe even dinner out for my birthday?
We’re spending Easter with my family and going to church in person later that day. We had to make a reservation as they’re limiting the numbers but it will be our first time there in over a year.
My cousins from Louisiana are coming in mid-May. We haven’t seen them for what must be over 45 years. I think my mom’s passing finally motivated them to make the trip. I’m so excited to see them.
Fortunately, the blahs don’t usually last long. We’re all subject to them from time to time. What we’ve all endured this past year is definitely a good excuse.
Excuse or not, my goal is to stay as physically healthy as I can and continue to occupy my mind with positive thoughts!! That’s all any of us can do, right?