Thursday, September 17, 2009

More things I learn from animals

I know I have mentioned my animals before, and I will probably do so from time to time, as I find that I can learn much from them.

So, first, a little more about the critters. Dinah is our new cat we adopted last December when she was about 3 months old, which makes her now about 1 year old. She is very sweet and has bonded with everyone in the family, including Sheila our border collie mix. She is very cute and very active, enjoying pouncing on things, catching mice and lizards. She even likes to follow Sheila and me when we go for our evening walks. She hides under cars and in bushes and then jumps out when we're near and pounces on Sheila's tail!

Sheila is an 11-year old Border Collie mix that was a rescue too. She has a very mellow disposition, gentle and very well mannered. She only gets very excited when kids play in the pool, especially when they jump into the pool... She then runs around barking and nipping at them, as though she's trying to keep them from getting in. Perhaps she thinks they will drown? I wish she could tell me. She is a very smart, herding dog, and has her own mind.

Dinah, being a young cat, occasionally will take her pouncing on Sheila a bit too far, I mean a dog can only be sooo patient! The interesting part is that Sheila will snap at Dinah when she's had enough, but not in a hostile or mean way, just a quick little snap which lets Dinah know "hey, enough!" and neither of them takes it "personally".

They have a way of working their relationship without being mean or hostile. They apparently are able to communicate this to each other, even though they are different species! They set boundaries, communicate play time, or just "enjoy" each other as a companion in a quiet coexistance.

So, if two animals, from different species can do this, why can't we? Why is it so hard for us, humans, to express our boundaries with each other without one's feelings being hurt? Or not setting them for fear of rejection? It should be as simple for us as it is for Sheila and Dinah, and yet it isn't. So who's more advanced?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My neck helper

my RA neck help - sock filled w/rice on Twitpic
Ok, so this photo taken with my cell phone camera may not be the greatest, but this is something a wise massage therapist recommended to me long time ago for neck pain, and it's really coming in handy now. It's a tube sock, preferrably brand new (I stole it from my son's pack :-), filled with just plain white rice and tied on the end with a shoe string (you can use any other tie, just make sure it's microwave safe - non-metallic). I stick it into the microwave on high for about 4 minutes to heat up. Mmmm.... feels so good around my neck, helps ease the tightness and pain of both upper neck and shoulders.

I had to use it pretty regularly this past week, as my neck and right shoulder have really acted up!

Monday, September 7, 2009

What makes me smile

My dog Sheila and my new, just 1 year old cat Dinah are a constant source of pure enjoyment and their interractions often make me laugh out loud! They get me out of my head, and remind me to find pure enjoyment in the little things, like a good roll in the grass, is sometimes all you need to make your day! Or just to kick back and lay down next to each other in a quiet companionship... Right before Dinah pounces on Sheila's tail :-)

Friday, September 4, 2009

RA, Healthcare and Marxism/Socialism

As a newly diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis patient, I am even more keenly interested in making sure that people like me, who have so many uncertainties in their lives due to their illness, don't have to worry about whether they will have health care they need whenever they need it.

It really infuriates me when I see and hear people compare the current health care initiative to Socialism and or Marxism. I wonder if the people who make these statements really know what Marxism and Socialism are and if they ever even been to any countries that are governed by Marxist or Socialist ideologies. I was actually born and raised in Communist Poland, so I do have first hand experience of living under a regime that subscribed to the Marxist ideology. Let me tell you about the general conditions of living there as I remember them. I recall that stores had very little quality clothes, so my mom actually made most of my nicer things to wear, and she, my dad, and grandmother would have their work suits and nice winter coats made by a tailor. I remember that for some reason there were always toilet paper shortages, and my mom and I would have to wait in long lines (as in around the entire block) for toilet paper. Other "luxuries" were things like oranges, and other more exotic fruits and vegetables, good alcohol like brandy (vodka was pretty abundant!!), ham and "good" pieces of meat and were nearly impossible to get. My mom had "connections" because being a pediatrician, parents of kids she helped who worked in specialty stores would save some of these "luxury" items for her. I think you get the picture.

But the really scary thing I remember is being warned by my parents and my grandmother not say anything negative about anything regarding the government or how we "got things" or who came over to our house. I remember one time one of my parents' friends suddenly "disappeared" and no one said anything of fear that you may be next.

I also remember the one party elections. People were forced to vote (again, you didn't want to "disappear"), but it was all a joke, as it was a single party system, and there was no opposition! And I also remember these 5-year plans that the government and the propaganda machine would promote to uphold the workers, to keep producing for the betterment of all!!
When I first got to the US, I was amazed by the grocery stores! I have never before seen that much food and that many choices of things (and this 1972)!! And then by department stores and all the clothes!!

So, now, many years after the fall of Communism, when I go back to Poland, things are pretty much same as here with one exception! They kept the socialized health care system! Poland is now a thriving democracy, multi-party system, but they kept the same post service and health care system... And they really know the difference between Marxism/Communism/Socialism and Democracy and Capitalism!So all you who try to scare people by shouting that health care reform with public option is Marxism or Socialism, again, you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!!! STOP IT!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Invisible Awareness Week reminder

Since I am still learning about the way RA affects me in my daily life, I can only share very few experiences so far. One thing I do know already, is the effort I need to make to communicate. For example, I told my husband yesterday about the increase in my joint pain. This morning his first question was whether I was in pain today too. The hard part for me was to say yes to his question today. I hate admitting to having pain! I hate to think that I cause him concern, and my first instinct is to say "Oh, I'm ok..." This is one of the issues of this being invisible, that I have to overcome this reluctance to communicate to let your loved ones know how you are, because you don't want to cause them emotional pain...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Need to remember that grace thing today

On Monday I lowered my Prednisone dose again to 1 pil, and I was ok until today. This morning took me by surprise with the pain in in my neck, wrists, stiff fingers, and achy knees.

This is not a complaint, it's a reminder not to take things for granted. It's a reminder that it's days like these need me to stay in the moment, not rush, and have the grace to accept limitations of that moment. And stopping to think about it and write it down are good ways to do just that.