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Pick-Me-Up: Good-bye May, 2012!  Dr. Bing Laments and Rejoices

May, 2012 hasn’t only been bad for the world stock market.

After my heart attack in May of ’05 it was difficult for a number of months to have any empathy for some of my clients and their problems.  I’d be tempted to think, “You think you have it bad…I almost died” and the fleeting thought would be there dangling, but I’d slogger on.  It didn’t help that my heart literally hurt when couples would get a little too feisty.  That’s when I sought help from my counselor buddy, Craig Butterfield, and he gave me some pointers on feistiness in therapy and now my tolerance level is about zero for clients arguing in my office.  You have three choices: 1) calm down; 2) one person leave and I meet with each alone for awhile until everyone is cooled off; 3) get fired from being my client (don’t worry I’d refer you to Craig Butterfield).

This May I’m having another spat of bad luck, except I don’t believe in bad luck.  But I do believe in spats and the spat gods are pounding me hard.  It began two weeks ago Monday when my wife set me up with a sleep doctor in her office because of all the things about me, my sleep habits are the weirdest.  To me it’s normal because I’ve been doing it so long.  Here’s my old pattern:

-come home from work at 9:15 PM (Monday through Thursday)

-go to bed at 9:30 or 10

-wake up at 1 or 2 or 3 am

-write a blog, practice guitar for an hour, hour and a half, maybe 2

-go to bed for another hour or 2 or so

-take a 10 minute nap once or twice later in the day

-not feel tired

-drink 2-3 cans of Mellow Yellow or Mountain Dew (Oh, man, I love that stuff)

-put on weight

-get high blood pressure again…even though it was under wraps just 6 months ago

Writing these blogs has been rather fun and enjoyable and it’s helped me think things through better and helped my business.  I recently took up guitar again after a 15 year hiatus and it’s been a real blessing in my life.  My kids bought me a new guitar for my 60th BD in November and it’s a thorough joy to play and my church started “venue” worship service only with piano and acoustic guitar and I’ve been playing for that service, meeting some new people and sensing the hand of God’s blessing on my shoulder all at the same time.

Because my wife is a heart nurse and I have “heart issues” in more ways than one she thought my sleep patterns needed assessing, she set me up with my new sleep doctor.  He sees my sleep patterns and tells me I not only have sleep apnea (Sorry, I didn’t mention that.  Yeah.  That’s why my blood pressure was doing better.  I’ve been on a CPAP machine a couple of years because I wake up 42 times a minute or some such, without it.  To put it bluntly, I’m overweight and my fat is closing off my windpipe.  Yeah, I’m a mess.) and sleep insomnia.   He doesn’t tell me what sleep insomnia is (He assumes I know) or what it does (I’m guessing it’s why I’m putting on weight and my blood pressure is going up again.  It’s also instrumental in causing diabetes, depression and psychosis.  Yeah, the latter would be like crazy, you know.), he just gets out a piece of paper and starts listing all the things I need to change today.  Right now.  He’s expecting me to do them.  No question.  I could learn from this guy.  I’m waaaaay too soft on my clients:

-no naps.  Take a walk if tired.

-no writing or guitar in middle of the night.  It’s too busy.  You want boring.  Read boring book.  Watch boring TV.  Keep lights on low.  Stay up only 1/2 hour.  Go back to bed.

-come home from work earlier to calm down before bedtime

-no caffeine after twelve noon

-no going back to bed once you are up

And the list goes on and on.  Just like that he takes away from me:  guitar, writing, naps and (essentially) Mellow Yellow and Mountain Dew!  Are you kidding me?  These are like 4 of my favorite things.  Plus, my income is going to take a hit because if I don’t take 7 o’clock appointments that will really downsize the number of clients I can take!  He said it would take two months to notice a difference in my sleep patterns.  AHHHHH!  Could it get any worse than that?

So, a week ago Monday, I took him up on it.  Hey, I don’t like the weight gain and the high blood pressure and, as my oldest son said, we want you around a while. Okay. I did the doctor better, though.  I sore off Mellow Yellow and Mountain Dew altogether, not just after 12 noon.  I discontinued 7 PM appointments (Sorry.  For some clients that’s a godsend, but for me it was leading me to an early grave.).  No naps.  I took 3 walks a couple of days.  A walk instead of a nap?  Who’d a thought?

But look, since a week ago Monday, I’ve been tired, tired, tired.

And I haven’t written.  I only played guitar once.   I’m thinking I’m going to be a mess.

But this was only the birth pains.

On Thursday I get a call from my sister that my dad was found slumped over a chair and they rushed him to the hospital and they were checking him out as we spoke.  By Friday we found out he’d had a spike in his diabetes, a heart attack and a stroke.  Meanwhile, he was caring for my mom, who has Alzheimer’s or some such and we had to get her into a place to care for her.  By Saturday, we are putting her into a nursing home against her will (to put it mildly!) and trying to console dad who is now struggling with memory loss with the stroke and all and we’re trying to go through their house and find their bills and pick up the place and then on Monday I have a deposition regarding a former client and I call my lawyer what to do and he doesn’t call me back and I go into it feeling I was going to get hung and I got hung and one of the lawyers said she was going to charge me with contempt of court and I call my lawyer and he doesn’t call me back and the next day I go to get a biopsy on my prostate to see if I have prostate cancer cuz my PSA spiked and the biopsy hurts like the dickens and wiped me out for the day and the next, too, and it turns out I have some spots on my prostate the doctor said “I don’t like, but it could just be an infection,” and to call on Friday after 9 am to find out if I have cancer or not.

So if you think you’ve had a bad go….

But, then again, maybe it’s not so bad…

All these are blessings in disguise.  Really.

-Eventually the tiredness will go away and (hopefully) I’ll sleep through the night.  The last two nights I slept 7.5 hours!  7.5 hours?  And last 5-6 nights all the way through.  No way.  Rested even.  Weird.  Naps and Mellow Yellow were ruining my life?  It almost makes me mad.

-I’m starting to not feel as tired during the day.

-I’m losing weight with no Mellow Yellow and no Mountain Dew and all the walks.  Another 10 pounds and I bet my blood pressure will relax.

-I’m a little more upbeat emotionally, even though I’m going through all this other stuff.

-I’ll find my groove.  Look.  I’m back blogging.  Not at 3 AM but at 5 AM.  Hey, what’s an hour or two?  I can practice guitar then too, maybe.  We’ll see.  It’s not just playing guitar.  It’s a worship time, you know.  Singing praises and hymns to God making melody in my heart.

-My mom and dad are safe now.  We’ve worried over a year that my mom needed to be in a nursing home for her own safety.  She needs care 24/7 and none of us kids have the wherewithal to help with that.  Dad wouldn’t hear of her going into a nursing home.  Somehow that all worked out.

-Just last night Dad appeared to be getting his memory back.  It was like he awoke from a dream.

-And clients?  I’ll guess they’ll have to see me during the day more.  If not, we’ll have to budget wiser.  We’ll figure it out.  We always do.  That’s what married couples do, right?  Figure out their problems?

-My lawyer had emailed me back.  Somehow that will all work out.

-Oh.  And I don’t have cancer.  Whew!  Not yet anyway.  And if I did?  The Lord knows the end from the beginning.  I’m not to worried about it.  I was supposed to call Friday and find out the results.  I forgot.  I didn’t even call til the following Tuesday.  Sooner or later something like that’s gonna happen.  I’m ready.  I can handle it…cuz I know who holds tomorrow.

It’s crazy.  All this bad stuff turns out to be good in some way.

I’ve often wondered how David could go from despair to joy in such a short time.  In Psalm 13, in  just 6 short verses he goes from “How, long, O LORD?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” in verses 1 and 2 and in verse 6 he writes: “I will sing to the LORD for he has been good to me.”

How does he do that?  Maybe it’s despair and joy at the same time?  Or joy in the despair?  Or maybe it’s not even despair?  Maybe it’s just joy in whatever?

And now, after 60 years, I think I’m finally getting it.

But, look.  I’m still looking forward to June and putting May behind me!

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Hey, Dr. Bing blogs about marriage and problems and how to overcome all of that, but once in awhile he has an upbeat blog about keeping our eyes on God through all we go through.  He’s had a number of these blogs.  To see a list of them click here.

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Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

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