Your Helmet Won’t Stop A Speeding Car…

I grew up during as time when the wearing of bicycle helmets wasn’t really a thing. And how could it be? I couldn’t wear a helmet while wearing earphones to my walkman, now could I? This was long before the advent of earbuds but honestly, as long as I was wearing a ball cap to protect my scalp from the sun and I was home before dark, my parents never imposed the wearing of a bike helmet. These days? Depending on the community you live in, the requirement of a bike helmet may be law. But there isn’t a day where I don’t see multiple people cycling in heavy traffic areas without a helmet.

It is what it is. Some people are more apt to follow rules and best practices than others. But the curious thing is, what purpose does a bike helmet serve? If you’re a young child and you happen to topple sideways on your bike, a helmet may save your skull from cracking on the edge of a sidewalk; no question. But whether you’re a child or an adult, you’re helmet won’t save you from any significant incident, such as getting struck by a moving car. This makes one wonder why it’s considered so necessary on most cases. And this post is about all of those little “rules,” not just bicycle helmets.

The reason behind certain rules and regulations isn’t always clear. And more often than not, it can seem unnecessary and perhaps even excessive. Especially if you find yourself on the receiving end of a penalty in relation to any of it. One good example is last week, when I was issued a traffic ticket for performing an “illegal” turn. I won’t get into the specifics of the ticket, other than to say that I definitely performed the alleged action, and the section of legislation does render it unlawful. So I really can’t argue the traffic ticket. But I couldn’t help but feel that I had done nothing wrong or unsafe and that being issued a ticket because of it was rather ridiculous.

The point behind today’s particular rant, is that even though it seemed perfectly safe and acceptable to me, doesn’t mean that it would be to everyone. In most cases, an incident likely occurred that led to that action becoming unlawful. By that logic, it becomes important for people to observe those laws and abide by them. Not only for their own safety, but the safety of others. At the risk of opening my comments section up to a plethora of argumentative points of view, this concept applies to a lot of rules, regulations and laws that are being enacted in response to the current state of the world. Some of them may seem unfair or excessive, but they all have the aim to protect and safeguard the population as a whole.

Most people can’t discern the difference between their “rights” and doing “what’s right.” The two often don’t go hand-in-hand and don’t always apply to one another. And sometimes, we need to abide by certain rules in order for society to continue to function normally. This is the cost of living in a modern society where we live in mass gathering of populated towns and cities. I’m quite certain that if a vehicle clips me while I’m out cycling, my helmet likely won’t do a damn thing to save me. Just like wearing a face mask “may” do nothing for me or the people around me. But I acknowledge two things: the first is that I can still observe my rights as a person while abiding by the rules. The second is that it costs me nothing, which tends to make peoples’ theatrics over most of these issues more than a bit ridiculous. this is why you’ll always see me do both those things, so long as it’s required of me. Food for thought… ☯️

Your Health Starts With You

I was having a conversation about Diabetes and A1C readings with my wife this past weekend, when i started to discuss and bring up many of the other folks I’ve known through my life who have Diabetes. It made me realize that for the most part, almost everyone I know who has either Type-1 or Type-2 Diabetes has failed to take care of themselves to the extent that they’ve caused damage to themselves that can no longer be repaired. It’s made me realize just how involved my care has been and how far my training and efforts have brought me.

After four decades of living with Type-1 Diabetes, I enjoy the pleasure of retaining all my limbs and digits, have a clean nervous system, clear kidneys and have the heart of a horse. In fact, I ran a stress test just a few short years ago and even ran the PARE two years ago in New Brunswick against other candidates half my age. But such health didn’t come naturally or on its own. It took a lot of time, training and effort to maintain this level of health and avoid many of the symptoms and side effects of Diabetes that many of my counterparts have had to suffer through.

Before getting on an insulin pump, a lot of my Diabetes control had to be done by feel. Carb-counting wasn’t something I was familiar with and I still adhered to the concept that sugar was what I needed to avoid. That being said, I worked pretty hard on my physical health, pushing myself and my body until I managed to grow and develop without many of the limitations that Diabetes has brought on others. When I joined the martial arts, it gave me tools and methods to ensure I could continue to maintain my health well into my years, which is a practice I still observe today.

None of that is easy and it would absolutely be simpler to just sit back, take it easy and let my body rest. That would likely feel much better but time and others have proven that such a path is what causes quicker complications and a sooner death; two things I’m trying very hard to avoid. None of this means that I haven’t gone down some difficult steps before. In my youth, before I had full control and say into my treatment, I suffered through comas, vision complications and high A1C’s. But once I took ownership of my therapies and the course of my life, I was able to make a measurable difference. And that’s the key takeaway; Diabetes has no feelings, no emotions and doesn’t care whether one lives or dies. This is why it’s up to the person themselves to take steps to maintain one’s health and ensure a longer and healthier life. ☯️

May As Well Start Weaving A Hand Basket Now…

Poultry is without a doubt one of the most versatile sources of protein a person can consume. You can bake it, fry it and even boil it (I’m not kidding, it eliminates all the fat and almost tastes like a hot dog). You can have it battered and in the form of nuggets, strips, burgers or tossed into a salad or a wrap. Truly, there are endless meal options when chicken is involved. You can also spice and season chicken in SO many different ways, leading to a different meal experience every time you eat it. But can you guess what I’ve NEVER seasoned my chicken with? NyQuil. That’s right, we’re doing this…

Have you heard about this latest “trend?” I always get a kick out of it when one of these total shows of idiocy are referred to as a “trend.” A trend is loosely defined as a general direction in which something, including society, is developing or changing. Doing something enormously stupid can’t, and should not, be referred to as a trend. But I’m getting off track here. As if eating Tide pods and snorting condoms weren’t bad enough, they’ve come out with this new thing called the “NyQuil Chicken Challenge” that appears to be making the rounds on, where else? TikTok.

This challenge involves dropping a couple of chicken breast into a frying pan and marinating it with NyQuil and heating it up. Then you eat the “sleepy chicken” right before bed. It’s become something of a running joke but it seems as though like most of these things, people are jumping into it and trying it out. The FDA came out with a warning against the challenge and many claim that it had very little attention… That is, until the FDA issued its warning.

There’s plenty of blame to go around when something stupid like this comes out but some of the important key points that the FDA mentioned is that “boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs.” You can read the FDA’s post on this here.

I think about how things were in my youth… How by the time we were in our pre-teens, a lot of us had part time jobs, helped our parents and our neighbours and were more concerned with having some free time to play on our original NES system or playing outside than we were with doing a lot of this stupid shit we see nowadays. Oh, I by no means assume we didn’t have our fair share of idiots back in the day. The nice part is that the internet wasn’t there to document and spread all the idiocy so that others could try it.

More now than ever, it appears as though the world is going to hell in a hand basket. In some ways, I get it. Between the pandemic and all the issues with Russia, the younger generation are no doubt trying to find easy and comedic ways to entertain themselves. That’s all well and good but once they all fried their brains with all the household chemicals and boiled medications they’re ingesting, there won’t be much of a world left to be in. Kind of makes me glad I’m not immortal. ☯️

Don’t Get Into A Slump…

Having a routine can be a good thing and can help ensure that there’s some consistency and smoothness to one’s day. If I take myself as an example, I’m comforted by the familiarity of waking up, making my son’s lunch for school, grabbing some cold caffeine and preparing for my day at work. Routines also allow us to save valuable energy as developing some muscle memory almost allows one to operate on auto-pilot, first thing in the morning. If it weren’t for auto-pilot, I’d likely show up to work in pyjamas instead of a suit. But I digress…

As handy as routines can be, it’s also important to recognize that they can bring a certain level of complacency to one’s day. And as we all know, complacency can be harmful, especially if we frame it in regards to something like martial arts. being complacent and set in our routine can be harmful because it could leave you vulnerable in the event of a real-life combat situation. This is why it’s important to throw in something unexpected once in a while.

Breaking one’s routines is also extremely helpful in keeping you from becoming bored with your fitness. If you ALWAYS do the same batch of exercises, every time you work out, you’re more likely to get bored and not WANT to work out. This is especially true in karate, where doing the exact same warm-up for every class will have some of your students’ eyes glazing over in a pinch. By changing things up and incorporating different workouts, it keeps things dynamic and engaging and will help with retaining students.

In my younger years, we would occasionally train outside during the summer. It was a small change and pretty rare but it added a little something. On occasion, I would train while under water. Not my head, mind you… I’m rather fond of breathing. Once in a while, I would train with my bo staff next to a local fountain. All of these things added a touch of flavour to my overall training that kept things interesting and exciting. If all one does is show up to the dojo, train for that class and go home, over and over, chances are you’ll hit a slump and be far more likely to do that whole “temporarily quitting” thing. ☯️

Broaden Your Perspective…

I was once told by my grandfather when I was young that only a fool will try and catch the same fish twice. The idea behind that sentiment was that if the fish managed to get away from you while using a fishing pole, you’d have to change up your approach if you hoped to get a catch. The same concept can be applied to karate. There are about a dozen mainstream styles of karate out there, without including offshoot or amalgamated styles as well as the ones who call themselves karate but really aren’t.

The point is that with all of these different styles, it stands to reason that there will be a number of different perspectives and different ways of doing the same things. Some will call a regular punch a reverse punch, while other styles will call it a back punch. Different names, different angles and different training methods are a key aspect when contemplating the differences between styles and how they train. If I take myself as an example, I spent the better part of three decades training in Uechi Ryu, an Okinawan style of karate that focuses on circular movements paired with short steps, contained movements and the concept that if it’s happening outside the line of your body, you shouldn’t need to block it.

For the past year, I’ve been training with a traditional school of Shotokan, which has been something of a culture shock for me. I use the term “culture shock,” because quite frankly, I don’t know what else to call it. The style focuses on grand movements and crossing long distances with their steps, even in fight situations. This goes against everything I’ve been taught as, it doesn’t make sense to cross ten feet to reach your opponent. If he or she is that far from you, not only can they not strike you but you’ll be unable to strike them. But in the interest of learning and adding to my overall martial arts toolbox, I’ve been taking it in and trying my best to develop.

This concept is not a new one. If we rewind the clock a few hundred years, the original founding masters would often meet and train together, learning from one another, sparring and comparing techniques and methods of fighting. There were no “styles” back then, no separate names for schools, just various people who loved karate, learning and teaching with one another in order to strengthen and improve the overall art. Even now, there’s something to learn from what they did, back then.

In the modern Western world, we hold our styles close to the chest, choosing to believe our way is the best way and shouldn’t be changed. This was certainly reflected in my dojo, where Sensei would not only decline to integrate techniques from other styles but would usually not allow students from other styles to visit and participate in classes. Although students have a tendency to have a bit more of a competitive spirit than they did in Okinawa back then, it didn’t leave much room open for learning something new.

It’s important to have an open mind and be willing to accept that your way isn’t the only way. There can be different ways of doing the same thing and, depending on the situation, it can be useful to do it differently. For example, I’ve spent decades strengthening and hardening my big toes because my style’s front kick include digging that big toe into your opponent. In Shotokan, a front kick is done using the ball of the foot. Both methods will work but one could argue that my method risks breaking the big toe. It’s all about perspective. And one’s perspective should be broadened to at least examine different views and methods. This is how growth is done. Food for thought… ☯️

Tik Tok, Motherf&%ker…

Ah, social media… The cause and solution to all of life’s problems… I remember a time when life was far simpler. Maybe I’m aging myself here, but it’s true. Throughout my childhood, there was no internet, no smart devices and no “big brother” watching everyone’s every move and uploading it, as soon as you fell flat on your face. I’m actually pretty grateful for that last part and like most of my generation, I am eternally grateful that all the stupid things I did in my youth haven’t been documented on YouTube or Facebook.

That being said, the advent of modern internet changed the game in a. Lot of different ways for the world. Besides having the world’s information at one’s fingertips, which is not ALWAYS a good thing, communication with friends near and far became an instant possibility. I remember the days of ICQ… Ah, good ol’ ICQ… This was an instant messenger program that one could use on the computer to “chat” with other ICQ users. Unlike modern messaging apps, you had to know the handle of the person you wanted to add and you both had to be on for the program to be used. The familiar chime of receiving a message still rings in my ears, though…

Then came MSN Messenger… A bit more modernized and tethered to one’s free, web-based email accounts, it had a number of features that previous programs didn’t. With the advent of the smart phone came apps, and all the glorious social media-related bullshit that goes along with it. Although my post today is intended as a bit of a rant against what seems to be an unfortunate trend, it’s also allowing me a brief walk down memory lane, proving that even when discussing something negative, there’s some positive to be found. But I digress…

One of the issues I’ve noticed in recent months is the use of TikTok. Yes, yes, it’s been used for longer than that; that isn’t the point. TikTok was developed less than a decade ago and is a social media platform primarily used for documenting short videos, music clips, memes, you name it! It’s popularity has skyrocketed, with many of my friends trying to encourage me to use it. No, thank you but the app is no different than anything else that gets released and becomes popular. In the years to come, there will likely be something else that gets released. Such is modern life.

The trend I’m referring to, is something I ironically noticed through Facebook. Although mainly there, I’ve also come to realize that various news articles feature this unfortunate trend on news pages, as well. I’m talking about employees and staff recording TikTok videos of themselves doing bad things on the job or ranting against customers, managers, the public… whatever! This surprises me, because we live in a world where once you put something out there, it’s out there. There’s no taking it back.

My question is, what do these folks expect that they’ll do if their current employer sees this? Some of the antics I’ve seen clips of, would certainly be fireable offences. What’s even worse, since it’s now out in the world, if one were to get fired for these clips, how would one avoid having prospective employers see it and refuse to hire them as well? Given that Google and Facebook searches are a pretty common tool when looking to hire someone, it would make sense that searching for such clips would be a logical next step.

Despite my love/hate relationship with social media and its many forms, it’s here to stay with no danger of disappearing. What’s important to bear in mind is that there is n going back when it comes to posting things. Once it hits the internet, it’s up there somewhere, forever. This is why it’s important to be mindful of what one does online and what one posts. It can mean the difference between success and roadblocks. In my time, we had the benefit of telling stories about our rambunctious youth. Nowadays, one’s foolish decisions are out there of all the world to see. Not so great and a hell of a thing to try and explain to one’s grandchildren someday. Food for thought… ☯️

Food For Thought…

I often end my posts with the line in the title, and for good reason. Although my posts are mostly aimed at providing information about Diabetes, martial arts, health & fitness or the Buddha Dharma, I often provide my insight and opinion on various topics, as well. Which is all well and good. But as I often write, one’s opinion is simply that: an opinion. Opinions are particular because they often come unsolicited and unasked but can lead to important information and knowledge that the recipient may not have thought of.

The important thing to remember is that as the provider, if you offer your opinion you should be ready and willing to acknowledge that it may not be well-received or appreciated. If you’re the recipient, you should recognize that your opinion may not always be wanted and may not be recognized, regardless of how informed and knowledgeable you may be on the topic at hand. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when an old friend of mine posted a photo on his timeline that spoke to me. I’m not sure where he got it and no, I won’t be asking because I don’t need to open that door, but here’s the photo…

This meme speak to me. Minus the first and last sentiment… I believe that a fact can still involve emotion, depending on what you’re speaking about. The last sentiment is somewhat particular, because I believe that as a society, we use the term “stupidity” far more liberally than we should. Ignoring facts makes you uninformed, not stupid. Stupidity is repeating a same action over and over and expecting a different result. That, and thinking that your opinion IS fact. Or continuing with the same opinion despite being educated on the facts. But I digress…

Not all of my posts can be in depth and substantial. Sometimes, I just need to share something that speaks to me. Like this meme does. Food for thought…☯️

Facts To Go Up In Smoke…

It’s not exactly a hidden secret that I enjoy an occasional cigar during my downtime. In fact, in recent months I’ve seen my “enjoyment” go from an occasional once or twice a month indulgence to a couple of times a week. Although it doesn’t particularly rank high on the list of things that are good for you, having the ability to sit quietly and enjoy a decent cigar provides a number of mental and relaxation benefits for me, the likes of which I haven’t encountered elsewhere in any easy way. Unlike meditation, sitting with a nice cigar allows for interruptions, such as kids asking questions or performing other tasks.

So where do cigars come from? According to a blog post I recently read, “Historians generally believe that the cigar was invented by the ancient Mayans, who would wrap the tobacco in a palm or a plantain leaf and smoke it.” The post goes on to explain that a Mayan pot from the 10th century has an image depicting a man smoking a cigar. You can check out the blog post here (hopefully the link works). the bottom line is that a cigar is considered a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco, which is usually sealed up at one end.

There are several different blends, sizes and brands of cigar, ranging from a variety of different places across the world. Although most sources will cite specific places and brands as being top quality and the Cadillac of cigars, but I’ve come to realize that for the purposes of relaxing, size, brand and style of cigar is completely up to the user. One doesn’t need to spend an absolute fortune on a cigar in order to enjoy the relaxation that comes from smoking one. For example, my favourite cigar is the Casa Magna Gran Toro cigar from Nicaragua. It retails at $16.99 and is the most expensive end of cigars that I enjoy.

If you’re cheaper than I am, you can usually find comparable examples for about ten dollars. Although that’s only a little cheaper than an average six-pack from your local liquor store, it’s important to bear in mind that unless you’re an unruly teenager striking out against one’s parents, you don’t get drunk more than once a weekend, so the safe bet is you likely wouldn’t be having more than one cigar a weekend. And since it can take well over an hour to properly enjoy a cigar until its end, you’re good to go. Granted, the big difference is there’s less of a stigma against sitting outside during daylight hours smoking a cigar than there would be against sitting outside during daylight hours hammering back a drink. But I digress…

So, what does enjoying a cigar entail? Well, the first step would be to pick one out. There are plenty of sites that will explain to you how to properly pick out a cigar and much like the fact that I wouldn’t presume to explain to you the quality of wine, I won’t try and tell you what cigars you should buy. Although I enjoy both, I’m an expert of neither, so you can look into how to properly pick out a quality cigar on your own. But once you’ve picked your cigar, you’ll likely need to cut the closed end. For this, you’ll need a good single-edged cutter. Trimming the closed end to expose a smooth, flat circle is important because this is where you’ll draw from.

Take it from me and spend the few dollars to purchase a reasonable cigar cutter. I once tried to cut a cigar using a pair of scissors and it did not go well. This is because the pressure of the scissors will cause the outer wrapping to not only buckle and tear but the scissors will likely damage the glue holding the outer binding and your cigar will likely come apart while you’re trying to smoke it. Then, you light the tip, preferably with wooden matches to avoid souring the cigar with a modern lighter. You don’t want to set the cigar in fire. Rather, you want to slowly turn the cigar slowly and allow the tip to burn lightly and evenly.

A cigar is meant to be enjoyed slowly and pleasantly, puffing and taking the smoke into the cheeks and exhaling lightly. You want to avoid inhaling into the lungs, since they’re significantly stronger than cigarettes and will irritate your lungs to no end. And smoking it too quickly will usually cause you to become nauseous and feel sick. A cigar is meant to be slowly enjoyed and savoured. If you want something fast, do shots. That shit is quick. Look at me, encouraging all sorts of vices…

Last but not least, enjoying a cigar is a very particular form of relaxation and is pretty niche, meaning that very few people will usually enjoy along with you. Most certainly, it’s something that’s extremely hard to enjoy around folks who don’t partake of them, as well. Personally, I keep a chair and table inside my garage and enjoy them by myself during the warmer months of the year. Either way, vices are to be enjoyed minimally or sparingly and cigar smoking is no different. ☯️

Let’s Get Corny…

My wife and I like finding activities for the boys to do, on weekends. Normally, we stick to conventional things like going to a play structure, indoor or out, or spending a couple of hours at a swimming pool or splash pad. The weather is slowly turning colder to the point where hanging out at the splash pad is less than ideal and even outdoor play structures are only comfortable during the afternoon when it’s a touch warmer.

This last weekend, we decided to try something a bit different and visited a corn maze. Our initial impression was that the boys had never been, although apparently Nathan has been to one with his uncle at some point (according to him). But we found one just outside Regina and decided it would be an interesting activity for this weekend, The weather was a bit on the cooler side, so we dressed accordingly.

I was pretty taken aback by how full the parking lot was when we arrived on site. They had a grassy parking area that was almost completely full of cars, yet there were no visible lines anywhere. I paid the admission and the first thing we came upon was the bus cut-out pictured above. The boys immediately ran to it to get inside, which was hilarious considering there was. Bouncy house, castle arch and other attractions nearby.

We’d found the maze entrance and made our way inside. It was quaint and reasonably large. Once we were inside, I was surprised by how hot it became. We all started shedding our sweatshirts before we got to the end of it. Although it was kind of cool, I have to confess that besides walking about, there wasn’t much of a draw to it. The boys were given lollipops by some kind of corn princess at the entrance and had they not gotten something sugary, I’m inclined to think they probably would have gotten bored pretty quick.

When we came out, we waited in line for our turn at a hay ride, which took us all around the maze and through a small forested patch. It was pretty cool and I think the boys enjoyed it. The clothing we wore still has some stray hay pieces on it. It was nice to get out into the fresh air and see something new. It was a good experience for the boys and we discussed going back before they close up for the season.

When we were done with the hay ride, the boys wanted to play on this massive thing called a jumping pillow. Basically, it’s a massive, single-piece bouncy-house that’s shaped like an actual pillow. The result of it being one-piece is that the entire thing shakes and moves violently every time ANY of the kids jump. The result is Nathan had loads of fun. My two-year old Alex did NOT. He never managed to get higher than the base, since he couldn’t gain his footing and couldn’t jump.

Despite the occasional attempts of help by his older brother, Alexander just couldn’t make his way up the bouncy pad. I could see that he was getting frustrated. Any attempts at having him get off the pad were met with resistance but I noticed a small kiddie train I could put him on that he’d likely enjoy. He pitched an absolute fit when I took him out of there but I would expect no less. Once he was on the kiddie train and it started driving away, he was fie and enjoying himself.

As is the case with almost every outing we’ve gone on, both boys sulked, cried and argued at our departure, but we had been there for a couple of hours and tried almost everything. It was definitely a good experience for the boys and something different from our usual habits. We’ll definitely be going back and next time we’ll bring cash, since everything inside is cash-based, once you’re past the gate. ☯️

Cowardly, Or Smart?

I think that at some point, we’ve all had someone who has done us wrong in the course of our life. In some cases, the wrong was severe enough to alter the very course of our existence and make us wonder what, if anything, we’d do if we had this person standing in front of us and we had the opportunity to do something. I had such an opportunity, last week. And I found myself contemplating my next move. Several scenarios played out in my head as I calculated potential outcomes and whether they were ultimately worth it or not. Ultimately, I walked away before this person could even see me. Cowardly, or smart?

Picture this: you’re questioned and asked about something that you deny. The questioner tells you it’s done there and they won’t take it further. And then they do. What follows is almost three years of a hellish version of what you recognize as life while you try and put the pieces back together. You walk away and reassemble the pieces to forge a new identity for yourself. You give up who you were; not just a job but the very fabric of your existence and who you saw yourself as. The result is a temporary slip in a world of smoke and alcohol, surviving rather than living. You watch, as the world takes apart the very profession you grew to love and thought defined you.

And all of sudden, out of the blue and on a random day when you were expecting anything but, you see the person who started it all. And this person, the one who crippled your previous career, harmed your family life and endangered the future of your children is just walking along casually, enjoying their day and making the most of some down time. You stand there, frozen, contemplating what you should do next. Should you approach and finally say your peace? Perhaps show that you came out stronger and better than when you went in? I finally snapped out of it, long enough to walk away…

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need this person to know that I’ve carried on. I don’t need them to know that I’ve evolved and have gone on to do better things. I know I have and my family knows I have, and that’s really all I need in order to find my peace. Anger, hatred, bitterness… These are the things that bring further suffering in one’s life and in case some of y”all haven’t been reading my stuff in recent years, the elimination of suffering is kind of my jam. At some point, we need to learnt o let go of the pain and difficulties we’ve faced, especially if we’ve fought our way through and came out better. I often wondered what would happened if I faced this person and now I know. There isn’t a cowardly bone in my body. I simply realize that they aren’t worth my time and thoughts. ☯️

No Rest For The Wickedly Sick…

It’s been something of a difficult week for me, having gotten sick late last week and having whatever evil typhoid infecting my body carry into this weekend. I pride myself on not being the type of guy who does “man flu,” meaning I’m not the type to complain about not feeling well as a general rule. But even I can only take so much and sometimes an illness will put me down just as easily as the next person. It rather sucks, especially since I JUST started karate the week before last and missed all of this week due to illness. Not to mention I have my eye injections, this coming Monday. If I don’t heal up and feel better by Monday, I get to experience the shitty feeling of being sick WHILE getting needles jabbed into my eyes. Ah, life…

It usually seems that no matter the type of illness, one always seems convinced they could handle ANYTHING else. For example, if one has a stomach flu and is throwing up, they’d usually be inclined to say they wished it was anything other than a stomach flu. One gets a sinus cold where one is stuffed up and has difficulty breathing, one will be convinced they’d manage fine if they could just breathe and were sick with ANYTHING else. Illness, not that any version of it is fun, is a bit like always wanting what you can’t have. For me, the biggest pet peeve is being unable to sleep. I can’t sleep worth a damn at the best of times, between Diabetes, PTSD and nightmares. Add coughing into the mix and it’s simply a recipe for poor recovery.

Imagine having a dry, rasping cough and being unable to control when it hits. And no, before everyone jumps to conclusions, it isn’t COVID-19. Not every cough or sinus problem is COVID-19. But all bitterness aside, you feel like shit, you take some meds and nasal spray and lie down gingerly in bed with the hopes of getting some sleep in order to allow your body to recuperate from whatever illness is plaguing you. You just start to slip into a state of sleep when you feel that familiar itch at the back of your throat. You swallow in vain, hoping the minimal saliva will help prevent you from hacking up a lung, but to no avail. You end up hacking and retching, barely able to catch your breath. It only lasts about twenty seconds but the damage is done; you’re now awake and have to work towards trying to sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat and cry.

This has been my reality for the past week. I’ve woken up most mornings this week with dark, sunken and bloodshot eyes. As is the standard definition of ironic, I usually wake at a point where I was soundly asleep and likely could have slept for hours, had I not needed to get up for work. Such is life. I stumbled through my week, getting my work done and running the necessary errands, happy in the fact that I don’t have to operate heavy machinery and even happy that I no longer have to carry a firearm, otherwise I might have a problem. Given that it’s been over a week I should likely get checked. But given the current state of Canada’s health system and wait times, I likely have time to crawl into my grave and pull the dirt on top of myself before I’d see someone and get effective treatment.

So bad has it been that despite the fact I intended to get home from work yesterday evening and enjoy a beer and a cigar to relax at the end of my week, I was outside for fifteen minutes before coming back inside and retreating to my bed. Maybe I’m making it seem dramatic but I want to illustrate that whatever this is, is more than just a casual case of the sniffles. Couple that with the fact that my blood sugars have been all over the place and my meals have been sporadic and there should be plenty to talk about in a month and a half, at my next endocrinologist appointment. But i digress…

The big problem is that sleep is not cumulative. It’d be a lot cooler if it was… (cue Matthew McConaughey voice, if you know, you know!) Imagine having a day off and sleeping for a full 24 hours and not having to sleep for the next three days??? Imagine the productivity and things you’d get done? It’d be cool, but the damage caused by lack of sleep can’t be made up later on. Lack of sleep will cause blood pressure issues, headaches, fluctuating blood sugars and poor concentration and cognitive reflexes. None of that is good when you wander the adult world.

The fact that I’m rambling should tell you just how ill I am. I’m sure I’ll recover. Everyone recovers from illness. Until they don’t. But if I post tomorrow, I guess that means I’m on my way. I make fun, but as I get older I recognize that my body’s ability to recover is becoming less and less effective. Of course, my grandfather lived until his late 90’s, having survived every illness under the stars, including cancer. My father’s spine is slowly degenerating and he’s still fighting like and angry warhorse; emphasis on the angry. I’ll keep y’all posted. ☯️