Monday Musings: Keeping away from the “Nega” (as in Negative)

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I am surprised that this is already the second post I’m drafting today, although this gets published ahead. I lay down in bed just a few minutes after midnight Sunday, and I could’ve sworn that I didn’t really get any sleep until I climbed out of bed just before 6am. I guess it was a combination of the long and deep nap I took mid afternoon to early evening, followed by some caffeinated soda for dinner that did me in. What was even more surprising was that I didn’t feel tired at all — I just wanted to stay in bed because it was warm and toasty. It felt like I just lay down to rest, closed my eyes, and let the hours pass by. And when it was time to get up, there I was ready to start the week.

Another cold Monday, it is. I actually quite enjoyed the warmer days last week when I even managed to wear a dress to work. (I kind of cheated by wearing leggings during the commute, with my feet warmly insulated by my winter boots.. still, it’s a brave step when temperatures can dip to below freezing later in the day.) We walked out into just almost freezing temps today — and again, I’m calling out to spring to come running to me. I want to start wearing my transition coats and sweaters… wear more dresses.. wear the heels again and put the winter stuff away.

It’s all in the delivery. One of my colleagues here at work always says that no matter how trivial or difficult a request may be, it’s all in the delivery or how you state it. I had a rather challenging day with a request for a refill of a prescription from my medical provider. I knew that a refill would probably need to come with an appointment — so I requested for one. After a half hour on the phone working with a representative from the practice, I ended up getting an appointment for May with another doctor, and my prescription refill request in the system. I was looking to get a new inhaler as I had discovered the one I had was already past its expiration date. I thought everything was taken care of when I got a call from the practice’s office, and I was told NO, I CANNOT GET A REFILL BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG SINCE I SAW MY MEDICAL PROVIDER. The prescription I was refilling was issued in 2019 for my maintenance medication to treat my asthma symptoms. Between that visit to last year’s three consultations in January, February and April, I had already exhausted the refill for the prescription. But it was NOT true that I had not been seeing the nurse practitioner. And this was NOT for a temporary ailment, but a pre-existing condition that actually made me qualify for all medical exemptions I needed.

She did set me up with a virtual consultation which was earlier NOT available, but not until Thursday or Friday because my medical provider did not do consults except for those days. Still no refill. I could go to urgent care, she told me, (and pay $125 out of pocket which was the minimum for an Urgent care visit under my insurance plan — not that that was any concern of theirs.) And why was I seeing another doctor in May – “YOU MUST CHOOSE A SIDE. YOU CANNOT SEE THIS DOCTOR AND SEE YOUR NURSE PRACTITIONER.” It’s one or the other. Well, the nurse practitioner wasn’t doing in person consultation, and a physical exam, per their own system had to be in person. The only other nurse practitioner was an uber ride away — literally more than a hundred streets uptown — when all the doctors I saw under their hospital network was 6 blocks away from where I worked. ‘YOU MUST CHOOSE A SIDE. SO ARE YOU KEEPING YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH US OR WITH THE DOCTOR? YOU CANNOT DO BOTH!” I said I will keep both, and my nurse practitioner can renew my prescription, and we can discuss my plan of care thereafter. Said in the calmest voice when I realized I had reached my emotional limit. (I told myself, Breathe..)

BlurbBeing the writer that I am, I wrote my nurse practitioner a total of 3 messages due to the character limit, explaining in brief my frustration over what has happened. I find it so disheartening that this Nurse Practitoner Group’s main page actually declares “CARE ABOVE ALL” as its mantra. I don’t think their “ALL” equates to everyone. Let’s see what happens.

So I kept my calm instead of riding on her negativity. I was actually surprised how I managed to retain my composure given that she kept talking over me. And yes, she kept repeating I have to take a side. I think she forgot that there are insurance plans (like mine) that don’t require a primary doctor. That’s why my deductible is higher — I don’t need a referral.

It’s sad because I do like my nurse practitioner. She’s smart and takes the time to listen and explain. Why else would I forego a Pulmonologist when she has ably taken care of me for almost four years now. When a specialist was needed, she patiently explained my situation and made referrals, but I always had the freedom to choose my doctors. In the thick of the pandemic, I consulted with her at least 4 times, and I always felt I knew she was in control even if we did it virtually. Sad indeed that it wasn’t even her who caused me all this aggravation, but someone who was supposed to be helping her take care of me.

Negativity begets negativity. I choose to stay away.

Riding it out

I’ve been trying to catch up with rest today, but it’s difficult to lie still when your body is periodically racked with heavy coughing.  I am also not used to sleeping with my head this high since I cannot lie flat because of the asthma.  All the struggle for air has also exhausted me, so while I am not confined to the bed because of this, I find it such a chore to move around.  I did breakfast and then tried to rest two hours, then hit lunch and now get my break before dinner.  (Since it’s just 1pm, I’m confident I’ll get some shut eye in before I have to return to the kitchen again.)

I hate it when I’m sick because while I’m not sickly, when I do come down with something, I tend to get hit hard.  A simple cold or sore throat can easily be a precursor to asthma which usually takes me a week and a half to ride out.  I’m almost done with the first week and will hopefully get to the “half” instead of a second week.  I’ve been offered a ride to the hospital if needed but I think that’s a little too extreme.  I’ve been worse. I just need to ride this out.  It’s also not like the things I do will get done if I don’t get up.

I feel helpless, though, in the face of all that I had planned for the weekend.  Of course I haven’t picked up my pliers, I haven’t had the chance to do any knitting (a precaution against further aggravating the asthma) although I think I have the right knitting needles now.  The only thing that has moved is my art journalling although that has moved at a literal snail’s pace.

I have been waiting to hear from a friend but who, I guess, has been busy processing things.  I patiently wait.  One thing I’ve learned in recent years is that when some thing is beyond your control, you can either pray or just lay in wait.   Spoken like a true disciple of Fe’s theories of the universe. =)  (I know, pal, the universe is listening.. I just don’t think it’s heard me just yet.)  I try not to do any processing myself because I’m afraid the old impatient me will kick in.  It just makes me wonder how one can put a friendship on hold.  Sometimes, processing takes more than one to do — like I usually process with Fe.. but that’s me and her

I try to take things lightly and just sit back here in bed.  I would normally be already up in arms for not getting a response — but the answers will come in time.  Perhaps the absence of an answer is an answer in itself.  (Although Fe would argue against that.)  I just know I’m exhausted — literally and figuratively.  It’s like constantly drowning and coming up for air.  I really shouldn’t be complaining because I’m used to being ignored.  I remember one time I had written letters endlessly with nary a response until some mischievous room mate picked up the letters and sent me a hair-raising reply that brought my friend to the rescue.  It sounds amusing recounting it now, but relating that to what’s been happening makes my heart sink anew.  I thought I was promised this would not happen again.  But we each have our guilt and grief that we must deal with our own way.  Process, we must.

Sleep would be such a welcome respite from it all.  Endless sleep.  That would help my heart catch up and rest from running after each and every breath.  The dreams would bring me some place where all is well.  And maybe I might meet a little girl there I missed out on meeting in this life — and she might help me touch this heart that needs to know it’s alright to be happy now, that the sins of the past are forgiven, and the promises that have been made can be kept without it being at the expense of others.  I know she would want that heart to move on — and she would say it’s alright to be happy.

I just wish the asthma would go.  I just want to be able to sleep uninterrupted for a change.  I woke up just before 5am this  morning — and I can’t remember now if it was because I couldn’t breathe because of the cold or my chest was congested and I had to cough to clear my airways.  I hate waking up because I gag and retch when I try to cough then.  Nothing left for me to do but just ride it out.

Breathe

I knew it was coming but it hit me hard last night.  The hot-cold-hot-cold weather in the extremes this winter finally caught up with me.  I had to cut my conversation with Fe midway last night as I had a hard time talking.  All the sniffing the past few days have not helped either.  I was feverish as I lay down last night and my throat was killing me.  I simply wrapped my neck in another one of my trusty tubaos, downed some antibiotics, drank a ton of water and slept.  All the walking I had been doing of late during the day has also taken a toll on my lungs.  No matter how good you are at bundling up, the cold air hits it with a punch.  (Memories of braving a cold winter day two years ago when I snapped away at the Rockefeller Christmas tree..)

I have had asthma since I was a baby and have learned to cope with it.  I try not to take any asthma medications unless I literally cannot breathe anymore because of the finger tremors and the adrenalin it infuses my system with.  So I self medicate and deal with the symptoms.  (I know… not good.)  It is during these times when I appreciate each breath I take as precious.

I thought I’d be good today but I ended up walking towards Bryant Park first thing when I realized that I had arrived in the city just minutes after 8am.  No reason to rush to the 41st floor — Boss is travelling.  So I took the camera out and started snapping away, trying to learn how to swing the camera to take panoramic shots and just clicking for graphics for the blog.  I have always enjoyed just shooting pictures randomly and then going over whatever I have in the memory card for later use.  Of course I forgot that temps were under 40 degrees.  I was, after all wearing four layers of clothing (!) along with a silk and a knitted scarf and finally, a hat.

I didn’t get very far because of the cold.   Then after depositing my goods to the 41st floor, I remembered I had to get some throat spray which meant walking out again.  I have started a love affair with the cold winter air — as if I was praying for pneumonia. LOL

I would’ve gone to the bead stores but they were still all closed.  I picked up a few things at the nearest Duane Reade, got my throat spray and I don’t know what possessed me when this bottle of nail polish seemed to call out my name.  Pompeii Purple by OPI.  I don’t normally purchase nail polish because I have quite a stash from Watson’s and Landmark from Manila, but this was just irresistible.  I think it’s my half-lucid brain wandering off — sort of a semi-insane moment brought on by the lack of oxygen thanks to the asthma.  It’s a metallic fuschia pink, actually, so I don’t know where the purple happens to be.  I tend to go for make up or anything to pretty myself up during times when I feel like a much-needed boost in the cheer department.  Looking at my now painted nails as I type away, I’m actually soooo happy I took the bottle.  (Shallow thrills..)

Lunch time was a done deal.  I hied off at 12nn and went straight for my pearl supplier — I can stay in these bead stores forever and just go up and down 6th avenue and 37, 38th and 39th streets and just browse, browse, browse.  My excursion to the stores today were not without purpose, though — my pearl earrings needed some help, and after an hour of browsing and looking, I finally went up to my warm and cozy desk.

I know I tortured my lungs again but I had to keep busy.  It felt liberating to pull myself away from the computer for a change.  I had been sitting in front of it through lunch the last two months.  It was more for my sanity than anything else — hence I’ve been taking these “dates with myself” even if the air is stone cold.  Spring is just around the corner anyway.  Then maybe I’ll actually corner one of these tables in the park for a regular lunch outing when the air is warmer.

We’re getting some rain between today and the weekend.  I guess that’ll limit my strolls around, but I comfort myself with the thought that the park is not going anywhere.  I actually like exploring it when it’s all wet and not so full or near-empty because then, it’s easier to take pictures.  Then, the park is all mine.

I took another deep breath at that thought.  My chest is still heavy with that knot, and now my breathing is more audible but no discernible wheezing yet.  I just feel it inside.  Sometimes the exercise of exerting energy to take air in can be cleansing, too, at least until any accompanying pain reminds me I’m actually toying with my asthma again.

I’m excited to start creating again — if I actually find the energy to take my pliers in hand again and create something tonight, that is.  I haven’t really done that since I arrived from Manila.  (!)  The vacillation is really between creating more and just storing everything away.  The asthma doesn’t help, but with the long weekend up ahead, I might actually get something done.  The pearl dust gets me worried but I’ll live.  I’ve worked with my goodies before when I was in a worse condition.  I just need to keep busy.

I can feel my sinews getting tight again, and my back is heavy.  Have to head home but the eyes are burning.  I guess I just have to remember to breathe..