Monthly Archives: April 2012

What is a tool? That’s what I want to talk about this week. I think of everything around us as a tool. As part of the CHD community I know that technology is definitely a tool. Technology has allowed us access to new surgical techniques and devices that have allowed many of us to live longer more productive lives. Experience is also a tool. Simple trial and error has answered many questions for my generation and the ones that are coming up now. But how about our own personal tools. The ones we can use to make our lives better on a daily basis. For me these sort of fall into two categories. Things that help me physically and those that help me mentally. I think that all of these actually do both but, I tend to compartmentalize and always have. We each have our own personal set of tools that help us cope with life.


The big tool that helps physically is of course to some an eight letter swear word, it’s exercise. For me it’s a lot of walking and some yoga. I try to do one or both everyday. I think that by tiring out the body I sleep much better at night as well as keeping the heart muscle in shape or making it even better. It’s an important tool we should all be using to help us fight our defects. Another one is massage or acupuncture although I don’t know too much about acupuncture I have heard many good things about it. It appears to improve circulation and relax the muscles. I do know a little about massage. My regular hospital offers it as a free service when you’re a patient. I always take advantage of this. It is super relaxing and after wards you feel invigorated and ready to face things. Often it is the only thing, not counting drugs that helps me sleep.


The mental stuff is a little more ethereal. I think that the tools that work are different for each of us. Part of that is due to our personal lives and experiences. For some prayer may help to center them and help to elevate their mood. Others it might be meditation, I fall into this group. I find that meditating really helps me sort of get my head on straight and to see the up side of a situation. Also I find that keeping busy helps. I have a lot of hobbies especially photography. It can take up a lot of time. Not only the actual taking of pictures but the post processing. Keeping your mind busy with things you enjoy is a great tool to help you climb out of a slump. What I’m saying is find something that you enjoy doing and make it a point to do it as often as possible. The last thing that really seems to help mentally is to talk about things that are bothering you. This can be with a professional or a friend either one. I tend to talk to friends about things. It works well for me. I usually know what I’m going to do about a problem already but, getting things out and letting that anger, frustration and fear go is important. Holding it in just causes stress.


I hope that by seeing what tools I use to deal with my life it has helped you to figure out what will work for you in your life.


Losing My Mind?

So here’s the deal. I think I’m losing my mind and I’m not sure what to do about it and I’m not sure I want it to stop. The fact that I think I like it makes me worry even more that I’m truly losing my mind. There’s a couple of things that are happening.

The first is that I seem to be losing my memory and even my train of thought. Anyone that’s ever heard me tell a story will know that I am rarely at a loss for words. In fact often I can see their eyes glaze over as I tend to go off on tangents. Lately I will be in the middle of a conversation and mid sentence lose the next word. It’s there. I know it’s bouncing around inside my skull I just can’t track it down and get it out. It’s frustrating to have to pause and go “uh, um that thing you know what I’m talking about” in the middle of a sentence. Not only does it make me feel stupid not to be able to recall a word but, it extends my already long-winded tale. Shortening stories is something I have worked on in the past, unsuccessfully. What’s worse is forgetting what the hell I’m talking about. I’ll be in mid story and forget which story I’m telling. This seems to delight the people I have trapped into listening to them. I think it gives them an escape route.

Also I’ve tended to do things logically. Step 1, Step 2, Step 3…. I don’t seem to operate that way anymore. I seem to get everything at once. All the information. And then I have a problem getting it all out there or putting it all together into something that makes sense. Here’s the thing though. This new crazy outpouring of information or thoughts seems to have given me something I never had before. At least I felt I never had much of it. That’s creativity. When you do things by plan, step by step it doesn’t leave room for veering off the intended target. Now that I have to assemble this huge jumble of information, I can see that it doesn’t always have just one way that it fits together. So I can see the possibilities as well as the regular old way to do things. Because of this change I’m writing more and it seems to be better material. I hope. My photos seem to be composed better and I’ve even written a song that I like. I’ve written music before, I just wouldn’t say any of it was much good.

The last thing that seems to be happening to me is I’m apparently losing my cool. I grew up watching John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Men are supposed to be cool and calm and collected. They keep their wits about them and wait for the right moment to act. Although I don’t think I left my cool under pressure personality totally behind me. I’ve always kept my head in an emergency. I have lost my every day cool nothing affects me personality. I seem to spend much of my day in perpetual happiness. A sort of calm, life is good, nothing can be better because, I’m alive sort of feeling. I walk around a stupid smile pasted on my face. I’ve always been a pretty happy person in general but, this is different. This is calmer and more relaxed. So I’m cruising along and everything is really good and then out of the blue I just seem to lose it. Especially if it involves one of those moments that makes people go Aww. When I say lose it I’m talking about losing it. My eyes tear up and I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach. That feeling where you know your seconds away from bursting into tears. Not regular that’s sad tears. Full on tears streaking down your face, blowing snot bubbles, total melt down kind of tears. I’ve actually left the bar to avoid this from happening. I grew up in a house where I’m the oldest of three boys. We valued toughness and tenacity, men didn’t cry or whine, they shut up or put up, period. So understanding that, you can see how this new-found compassion?, Sympathy?, Empathy? Or whatever it is, can and is a little irksome to me.

So there you have it. I can’t remember what I’m saying, I don’t do things in a logical ordered manner, I cry at every stupid “touching” commercial but, I’ve gained some creativity and maybe a little insight. Tell me. Am I losing my mind?