Monday, September 24, 2012
Quieting The Soul
I walked to the mailbox today to retrieve Saturday's mail. A task that I avoided on Saturday because my new rule at the moment is to not retrieve the mail during off hours. That means no trips to the mailbox at times when I cannot call someone and address whatever crisis has plagued my poor innocent mailbox and subsequently my peace of mind. This includes Saturdays and anytime after 4pm. Otherwise the bad news just sits in my head and bothers me until I can take care of it. I was never like this before, but lately there have been so many letters and issues that need my attention and require so many hours of time on the phone that it has been the best plan I could come up with.
Sure enough, my mailbox was plagued today. After learning that my health insurance was reinstated last Thursday by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, I got an official letter in the mailbox this morning stating that I had until November 9th to get the situation with Social Security straightened out and get Blue Cross and Blue Shield a letter stating that Medicare Part B was in the Social Security system. (Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Me). I have the Part B but nobody can tell me why it is not saying so in the system. Blue Cross and Blue Shield did not mention this deadline to me in our conversation last Thursday. If I don't have the letter to them by November 9th, I am responsible for all medical expenses incurred since July 1st. I have one word for that.
I have had one medical issue after another since July 1st. Doctor's visits, medications, physical therapy, xrays, an MRI, mammogram, large amounts of blood work, the list goes on and on. My Sjogren's has been difficult to get under control for several months, there have been some eye related issues due to the Sjogren's, my asthma recently made a guest appearance, and a torn tendon was discovered due to a fall months ago that by this point, has not healed properly and has landed me in a brace and physical therapy in the hopes of avoiding surgery. So since July 1st, that is a LOT of money.
Now being a relatively intelligent person, I knew that at some point, Blue Cross would need proof of the Part B and that is fair enough. It may seem like six weeks is enough time, but considering what I have been dealing with since July 1st, it is safe to say I have sufficient reason to doubt that Social Security will have this issue resolved by that deadline. Now, for me, there is even more of a sense of urgency which means that the three-four hours per day I was spending dealing with this situation will probably continue.
This health insurance situation is one issue. There are more. Several more significant life issues that have just all collided at a time where I feel like I am a human version of The Perfect Storm. I guess the details are not as important as the result and the result has been that my mind and my soul has been consumed by a general state of chaos and anxiety. Not that "Oh, I am nervous" kind of anxiety but the heart racing, filled with dread, I don't want to face the day type of anxiety.
I realized today that I have let this happen to me despite my best efforts to do "all the right things" meaning exercising, eating well, and meditating. You know, what the professionals call "stress management". The problem is that I am so caught up in the storm that I have lost sight of the shore. I have let the chaos of other people and other situations, many of which are out of my control, affect my health and my well being. The one thing that IS in my control: how I react to these situations; but I cannot seem to get a handle on them as well as I typically would.
As I was driving home from an appointment today, I took note of how beautiful it was outside with the car windows down. Fall is my favorite time of year and so far, I have had one day where I have been able to enjoy the cool crisp weather outside so far this season. We have a great yard; probably my favorite yard out of all the places I have lived. Most people would find that comment surprising since we live on a busy state road where the speed limit is 45 or 50 mph and most people do about 60 mph. But our house is set back from the street. Then there are the train tracks which are literally so close, maybe you could see the conductor waving to you if you peeked between the trees. Everything else however is nature; plenty of trees, birds, and flowers.
When I got home I decided to take my dog Molly out to the backyard and just sit. No books. No computer. Just her and I. We have these chairs hung out in our backyard called sky chairs which are suspended from a rafter and it had been far too long since I had sat in one. I love them. They are especially good if you have joint issues, well at least for me, because there are no hard pressure points when you sit in them. Molly, who never in her life has ever just sat quietly in the backyard without needing to be reprimanded for trying to take off into the woods, sat there quietly sniffing the air.
It is amazing how our dog companions know what we need when we need it most.
Molly and I sat there for quite a long time. I remembered why fall was my favorite time of year and why I need to spend more time outdoors even on those days when I am not well.
I felt the comfort of the sky chair enveloping my very worn out body.
The chaos in my head was replaced by the sound of the wind through the trees and the tinkling of the wind chimes.
The negative thoughts of worry were replaced by the sound of the birds singing their sounds of beauty.
I physically felt the anxiety leave my body.
Everywhere around me there was beauty and calmness.
Before today, I had not stopped long enough to allow myself to see it.
My soul had been looking for a rest. A rest from the storm. Hopefully it will continue to find these moments of rest so that eventually, it will find its way back to the shore.