Tag: Stress

Out, and In the Clear

Out, and In the Clear

In my efforts to be security conscious when away from my home network I’m using a VPN as I write this. I’m in one of my favourite haunts, a local pub, and while I’m sure nothing will happen (read that I ‘hope’ I don’t get hacked) I felt it prudent to use some safety measures when going online. So far it’s done nothing but frustrate me to no end. I think I’m going to resort to taking my chances with the VPN off. Arghh.

I’m out of the hospital now, have been for almost a week. That was something I hope I never have to experience again. Colon surgery can be a cake-walk I’m sure, but not so much if you ask me. In reality the surgery itself went well, I assume anyway as I was out for all of it. It was the post-op that was not so fun. Between the noisy ward, my discomfort from a bloated belly, sore back, lack of sleep, and general stress related to not wanting to be there, I did not have any fun. Throw in a stomach tube and my visit to the hospital was golden.

Add to that I was discharged on Wed. after a week, later than hoped, and then due to a torn incision I had to be re-admitted via Emerg on Friday, a day and a half after leaving.

On a positive note the second visit was generally much more pleasant. My bloating began to diminish after a day or so and due to crowding in the hospital I was kept in the post-op recovery ward which was much quieter and relaxing (relatively).

As my gut shrank and my bowels began working again my appetite improved, and I actually became ravenous for food. I truly looked forward to the hospital meals, actually enjoyed them if that’s not weird. I’m not a broccoli fan either but when my dinner plate arrived with a healthy dose of it on it I basically inhaled it and almost licked the plate.

I was released again, for the final time, 3 days later on Monday. Thankfully now that I’m home I’ve not looked back and I’m improving daily. I’m thankful for that, and that nothing of note was found in the biopsy.

While I’m glad we’ve had a happy ending it was not an experience I want to revisit again soon.

Chatter and Prattle

Chatter and Prattle

I came to the pub today, Brandt’s to be exact, and filled in my obligatory journal (paper). It’s not so obligatory really, it was just something I started some years ago and want to continue. I enjoy it really and except for the commitment of time I find it therapeutic.

During the process of writing I commented on the ‘sound’ level here in the pub. Between the music, the background chatter, and the prattle (perceived) from patrons I’ve become a bit stressed. That’s probably a good thing for the pub, likely causes guests to drink more.

It does cause me to drink more, hell almost anything causes me to drink more. That’s a joke really, I don’t think I drink that much, but the auditory stimulation does increase my stress.

So, back to the chatter and prattle. To combat the levels of stimulation I’m getting from sound I thought I’d try something a little different today, I brought ear plugs. They’re custom fit units I brought from a previous employer, and are unobtrusive for the most part, but they are visible and as a result I feel a bit like one of those ‘old guys’, you know the ones that complain about music, noise, and almost anything that younger folk like. I’ve become that guy.

I’m probably that guy in any number of ways. I probably don’t even recognize most of the ‘that guy’ symptoms. That’s ok, I’ll live in my own little oblivious life.

So now my own prattle has taken over so it’s likely time to stop. Quit while the going’s good.

I’ve Left But Not Moved

I’ve Left But Not Moved

Our move is underway, at least the portion of it involving packing. We have a tentative sale on our home and the only real impediment is waiting for the buyers to sell their house in Port Coquitlam. As I understand it that should not be a problem, many homes there are selling for over asking.

Perhaps I should clarify. After my last post my wife came home from work saying that one of her co-workers had expressed significant interest in our house. This girl’s boyfriend’s parents were in fact looking for a house like ours, a newer executive type home in the neighbourhood we are in. She and her future sister-in-law came to see the house that night. The girl called her folks and they were very intrigued. To make a long story short the parents flew in, yes flew, the next day and came to see the house. They really liked it, and emphasis on really. An offer was made and we accepted. Now the waiting, and packing, begins.

So far the stress has been well within limits and whether that is due to fact we haven’t gotten so far into the deal or that my time in Counselling and group sessions is paying off. Only time will show which is correct. I’m sure the meds have an additional benefit as well.

The whole process of moving from the initial decision to do so up to and including the actual move is interesting to me. The dynamics of the individuals involved and the whole process is becoming somewhat of a study for me, and perhaps that is partially why I’m not as stressed. Maybe it helps to take my mind off the fact that it actually us that are involved. Stay tuned.

I’ve Left But Not Moved

I’ve Left But Not Moved

Our move is underway, at least the portion of it involving packing. We have a tentative sale on our home and the only real impediment is waiting for the buyers to sell their house in Port Coquitlam. As I understand it that should not be a problem, many homes there are selling for over asking.

Perhaps I should clarify. After my last post my wife came home from work saying that one of her co-workers had expressed significant interest in our house. This girl’s boyfriend’s parents were in fact looking for a house like ours, a newer executive type home in the neighbourhood we are in. She and her future sister-in-law came to see the house that night. The girl called her folks and they were very intrigued. To make a long story short the parents flew in, yes flew, the next day and came to see the house. They really liked it, and emphasis on really. An offer was made and we accepted. Now the waiting, and packing, begins.

So far the stress has been well within limits and whether that is due to fact we haven’t gotten so far into the deal or that my time in Counselling and group sessions is paying off. Only time will show which is correct. I’m sure the meds have an additional benefit as well.

The whole process of moving from the initial decision to do so up to and including the actual move is interesting to me. The dynamics of the individuals involved and the whole process is becoming somewhat of a study for me, and perhaps that is partially why I’m not as stressed. Maybe it helps to take my mind off the fact that it actually us that are involved. Stay tuned.

Away, But Not Gone

Away, But Not Gone

I’ve been away, not gone, just absent from here, and there. I’ve fallen so far off the proverbial blogging wagon it’s almost as if I’ve never been. Kinda disturbing to me really.

I’ve still in relatively good health and still working.My 3 – 6 month stint has turned into 7 months to date. Again I’ve been asked if I’m willing to stay but I’ve always declined. Somewhere along the road I decided if I’m to make an informed decision I need to be informed. To that end I asked for a formal offer. It was good, and I struggled for many days with the decision, which ultimately was no. While the job would have benefits, both financial and to some degree emotional, I felt the negative components of the ’emotional’ aspect outweighed the positive of the ’emotional’. Stress has been building and once again I’ve re-realized that working in the pulp and paper industry in a supervisory capacity is not my bag. I do have some skills in that area but I have not real reason to develop them further, in fact I tend to pull away from those opportunities.

“I yam what I yam and tha’s all what I yam.” — Popeye the Sailor Man”

I ain’t Popeye but I yam still what I yam, good bad or indifferent. I continue to work at believing that.

The Big “C” Caffeine

The Big “C” Caffeine

I’m getting anxious again, it’s not overwhelming but uncomfortable nonetheless.  It’s manageable.  At worst it’s quite a disconcerting feeling, and for those that have real anxiety attacks I can imagine it must be a horrible experience. Mine is more a result, or contributed by, the big “C”.  That would be Coffee with too much Caffeine.

I’ve had these pangs of stress before, see “Coffee, With a Capital C” for some historical perspective, but needless to say my problem is largely self inflicted (I think).  It surprised me today though because I limited myself to just one cup with breakfast.  Now mind you that one cup was made with my stove-top expresso maker so the resulting brew is pretty high test, premium as opposed to regular octane.  And I haven’t used decaf for a while either which would have helped.  It was a delicious cup though, aromatic and full bodied, stimulating on multiple levels.

I think this occasional hyperness is also just part of my nature, and whether it’s just an emotional intensity that’s exacerbated by the big C, or my perceived ADD, or just that I’m just a bit f***ed up, I can’t say for sure.  I do know it’s annoying at best and sometimes a little debilatating.  The situation is complicated because I have soooo many things I want to do, and many of them I try to do at the same time.  Well not really at the SAME time, but during the same time period, such that I seldom ever get any of them completed to my satisfaction.

That should be another clue too, that these tasks are not done to my satisfaction.  I am a bit of a perfectionist and if I’m not happy with something I may abandon it before I get it completed to my standards.  Pisses my wife off for sure.  I thought retirement would help me this, and I still do actually, it’s just a matter of getting my sea legs.  Or so I keep telling myself.

At this point in time some of my ongoing projects are (in no particular order): getting gardens/yard put to bed, welding projects for myself and friends, prepping my project truck (getting it and parts truck into or beside the garage), photography in general, blogging, exercise, webpage improvements, relaxation, etc. etc..  Doesn’t sound too bad does it?

So here I’m going to kill two birds with one stone.  I’m posting a photo, which I’d like to do more frequently, and getting one post out  at the same time.  I’ve not edited the shot as that would only complicate my life further at this time.  I’m trying to get a handle on my interests and time spent on them after-all.  Editing and photo enhancement etc. is certainly on my list, just not today.

I took this shot on the way to Nelson one recent morning when I was taking my wife’s car into the shop.  One of the roads to Nelson passes along the Kootenay Canal, which is where I got the pic.  I thought it looked pretty cool in the morning light, with the mist off the water and some early fall colours.

20121010-WP-DSC_0474-28
Kootenay Canal with morning fog

In addition to taking many more shots now (about 1500 since Aug) I have also endeavored to catalogue not only the new pictures but those I’ve taken over the years.  To that end I acquired LightRoom 4.2 and a bunch  of my time (read that as days) has been eaten up with the learning curve for that software.  Throw in the creation of a web gallery and trying to bring up my own website and you may get a sense of what’s leading to my stress.

When I look at it in the big picture though I realize how fortunate I am to even be able to have these ‘problems’ and while I do whine about things now and then I really am a happy person.  It’s just that I have your ear, and you have to listen, don’t you?

As always, any comments or insights are truly appreciated.  Big ‘C’ over and out.

Dad’s Day

Dad’s Day

Photo 2012-06-17 10 25 57 PMMy uncle posted a photo on Facebook the other day of my Dad and I.   I was being given a haircut by my Dad when I was about 3 or 4 I’d guess.  I certainly don’t remember the day.

I will show my Dad the pic when I see him today.  I’d be curious to see if he has any recollection of the event at all. Something tells me he won’t, but he has surprised me before and may do so again.

It just depends on how lucid he is on any particular day.

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So much Activity, So much Noise

So much Activity, So much Noise

Although I’m looking forward to camping and seeing family this summer I hope the hubbub doesn’t get to me, and there’s a good chance that at some point it will.  The activity and noise will wear on me and I’ll likely withdraw somewhat and retreat to my safe place.

I’m a very private person, some would say reclusive and others may think snobbish or stuck up.  I don’t think I’m either of the latter, I just don’t mind my own company and I’m easily overwhelmed by activity, especially if I feel as if I’m thrust into it.  It’s just the kind of person I am and that has to be ok.  I’ve heard it described as gifted, or over-excitable but whatever the reason the intensity of a group interaction is often stressful, sometimes very much so.

Camping in Pioneer Park

My wife has grown to accept this characteristic of mine and when we family camp we always take our own site rather than sharing a double site or trying to squeeze, with others, into a single.  Frequently we’ll take some private time camping before or after the family camping so we can re-connect and share alone-time together.

I need my space and am much happier when left to read or otherwise bond with myself.  I can write or journal, putter on something like my bike, the trailer or truck, or just have a beer and chill.  It’s the closest thing I can find to Nirvana and I’m perfectly happy being left to my own devices.

The rest of the family also appears to accept it and although I’m not sure how my alone-time is explained to my nieces and nephews it is still respected.  “Uncle” (me) is still asked if he wants to go on bike rides or walks and I will frequently accept.  I still love my family and cherish our relationships.  It just has to be in smaller doses than it may be with other families.

So despite the activity and noise I will adapt, I will enjoy the camping and family time holding to the thought that they won’t always be with us.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that life is short, and fickle.  Enjoy the moments while you can.

Managing your Stress, or Managing your Stress(or)

Managing your Stress, or Managing your Stress(or)

We just got back from Spokane, a city a few hours south of us, where we went for bit of a weekend getaway and some shopping.  Shopping certainly wasn’t at the top of my list, I was more the designated driver, but I did walk through the malls and do a bit of people watching.  I also bought book on writing, and a pair of noise cancelling headphones, 2 pair in fact.  I found the first ones in Radio Shack, basically the first store I looked in, and the second in Costco.  The Costco unit seemed to work better, so I got sucked in and threw them into the cart.  Now I ask you, what am I going to do with 2 pair?  Certainly didn’t save any money, now did I?

I also learned something else on this trip, besides the fact I get sucked in easily, and this may be the most important thing of all.  I learned how I can manage some of my stress, and on the surface it sounds so simple, but will it stand the test of time?

Time.  Time is actually the key, time is the point to this whole exercise. I’ll elaborate.

When we decided to go on the trip my wife asked me “what time to you want to leave?”.  I told her about 10 am (perhaps I never should have said “about”), she replied “ok, wake me at 9 am”.  I did, she got up, did this and that, and by then 10 o’clock came and went and we were bumping into the 11 o’clock hour pretty quickly.

We were finally all packed and moving toward the door when she asked me if I had shut off the computer.  No I replied, “good” she said, “I just want to check something on Google images, it’ll only take 2 seconds”.  Now I love my wife but at that comment I lost it.  “Nothing ever takes you 2 seconds” I said, and probably in volume higher than necessary.  I was so angry, so frustrated that we weren’t keeping to the schedule we agreed to.  I couldn’t speak to her for a couple hours, I still bristle at the thought.  It is a pattern that repeats itself constantly, and I know pouting is not productive.

Anyway, to the point, we arrived in Spokane and I took her to the various stores she wanted to hit.  I waited in the car and read, which is ok, I’ve learned to like doing that for short periods.  I’ve become one of “those husbands”, who wait in the car and read the paper or listen to the radio, except in my case it’s reading self help books.  It’s when we got to the mall(s) that I had my epiphany Now an epiphany is described as “A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization”.  Is that appropriate or what?

So, my wife said, “what time do you want to meet?”  Oh, Oh.  Do you see where I’m going here?  I did. I totally saw the potential for further stress and anger in that simple question.  My answer was: “take as much time as you need, text me when you’re done”.  How’s that for a fast learner?

I used it on 2 separate occasions down there and it worked wonderfully each time, and of course you have to have the time to spare, it won’t work if you have to be somewhere at an allotted time. I just did some window shopping or found a place to wait and didn’t feel the same “watching the clock” stress I’ve felt in the past.  Say what you like but she seldom ever arrived at the designated meeting place at the appointed time so invariably I was waiting anyway, getting more and more frustrated as the minutes passed.  This way I was doing what I wanted (reading) until she was done.  Basically I just bought a book and some coffee, and sat in the bookstore coffee shop and read.  I did do some writing as well so it was all good.

So my challenge now will be to see if this method works in other situations.  I’m pretty pleased in the results on this occasion, less stress for both of us and we came home on a more positive note.  I still have to figure out which headphones to keep and what I’m going to do with the other set but in the big picture that’s small potatoes, because I still have my head.

Mentally tired, Move complete

Mentally tired, Move complete

It has been a long few days, maybe closer to weeks by now since we started moving Dad.  Even the prior days/weeks I have been arranging doctors and trying to get finances and tax info straightened around, closing accounts and setting up new Doctors and Opticians.  It all took place since Friday 9th.  The culmination was over the last 4 days with his move into an Assisted Living facility in Trail.

He seems like he will really like it there, the smell of flowers in the air, the lawns, the friendly staff and maybe the novelty of the move itself.  He was exhausted when I took him home last night to spend his first night in his new abode.  I could see the strain on his face, watched him drag his feet and stumble down the hall, even with the help of his walker.  I don’t want to do this again he told me, I think I want to stay here.  We’ll see I thought, let’s wait until you’ve settled a bit then maybe another move closer to us won’t be such a strain.  Maybe he won’t make it until then, who knows.

On the drive to the coast to pick him up I had some time for some thinking, mostly about my stress level and how I was reacting to the whole event.  I pondered some of the articles and passages of books I’ve read lately, about intensity and what it means.  For me, at that time, intensity meant an infux of sensory data, a berating of my consciousness by the sights and sounds of the drive.  By the thoughts and memories I had of the past few weeks.  The mental drain.  Calgon take me away.

I felt like I was hyperaware of the sounds and noises mostly, lesser so to the visual stimuli.  The din of traffic, the thrum of the tires on the road and the throb of the engine were somewhat draining, that and sometimes the conversation inside the cab overloaded me as well.  I became conscious of “Intensity”, at least my definition at the time.  Was this all because of the past number of days events?  Or was i just more aware of what my body was telling me?  Perhaps a little of both.