Today was, quite frankly, exhausting. I woke early for an appointment with my Pulmonologist (for those of you unfamiliar with the medical lingo, that’s a lung doctor) and found myself having to rush, something that often throws my morning off. The appointment went well, but afterwards I found myself having to deal with a pharmacy fiasco (more about that later). Then, another appointment with a Naturopath, after which I was planning on dinner with my aunt Sharon and uncle Chris, but after assessing my mood and energy levels I realized that I just wasn’t up to going out. We rescheduled. I could have dropped to sleep in my chair at 6pm.
All of you who have been following along with me regularly can tell that this day has had a much busier schedule than most of the past week. I had been wondering how I would deal with the increased stress that comes with a fuller schedule. Today I saw that I am woefully unprepared to deal with stress when it appears in my life.
The Naturopath said a lot of things that weren’t new to me in the least. However, he did have a couple “diamonds in the rough” so to speak. One of these insightful gems was his intent to “reduce stress on the body by whatever means possible”. He stated that our bodies have a default response to stress: we reduce damaging and inflammatory hormones and chemicals. So while treating the symptom or even the cause of some diseases through western medicine is important, treating the whole body by reducing stress is even more important.
And I ran into a highly stressful situation today that showed me just how unprepared I am, just how out of practice I have become at handling the little twists and turns that life throws my way. Yeah, this is the “pharmacy fiasco” I mentioned earlier.
I won’t go into detail, because that could take me thousands of words just to explain a single phone conversation during this experience, and it took 3 phone calls and 3 in person visits to the pharmacy for me to get everything straightened out.
To simplify, lets just say there was a medication that I must take daily. It is critical to my success at this early stage of recovery and in this early phase of my wellness quest. My Pulmonologist was able to write a prescription for me today but when I tried to fill it, the gremlins in the insurance system struck. I spent one phone call with a pharmacist who literally contradicted herself every 10 seconds, being told “we can only fill part of your prescription,” then “oh, actually we are out of that medication,” to finally, “well the computer says we have some, but I can’t find the bottle.” !!!!
You know what the response in my head was, right? It went something like this: Really?! You can’t find the effing bottle? Your other pharmacist special ordered it for me and told me this morning, four hours ago, that he had plenty to fill my full prescription and now you say you have none? Oh wait, not that you don’t have any, but that you just can’t find any…Well, miss lazy arse, why don’t you get off your butt and go figure out where it is at? Or is it an acceptable situation in your pharmacy for drugs to just go missing?
and on and on and on, ad infinitum. Fortunately for both her and I, my “try not to be mean to people” filter was still functioning, so my reply to her ridiculous waffling was to just say, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
Again, fortunately for us all, my aunt suggested we just drop by again. Once we were there, standing in front of her, the pharmacist searched again for the medication. Guess what? It was sitting in a tray on the counter directly in front of her face the whole time she was on the phone with me.
Here’s my dilemma. And I think this is relevant to everyone because god knows we all deal with ineptitude from time to time. Both with others and ourselves. So here it is: how do I deal with a situation that seems to need me to take control and push things if I want them to work out in my favor without going overboard and collapsing in a fit of panic when it seems like a situation is headed for disaster?
I want two things: to put in the effort needed to ensure that my immediate needs are taken care of, and to not try and force my way on the universe around me. Sometimes these two things seem absolutely irreconcilable. Today was one of those times.
I knew that I had no choice but to follow up, to keep calling, to question, to insist, and essentially to make a hassle of myself until they took action and did what needed to be done. However, doing all that was required made me want to cuss out a generally well meaning pharmacist. I was so rattled by the end of it that I could hardly sit still during my appointment with the Naturopath – I kept pacing, I had to keep the door open because I felt a jolt of extreme claustrophobic panic (something I haven’t felt since I was released from the hospital), and I could barely listen to what the doctor was saying.
So I have got to find a way to do what needs to be done while still retaining some inner calm and harmony. How do I stay harmonized when the world around me is NOT harmonious? How do I transfer the idea of flow that I am learning in my Tai Chi practice toward the rest of my life?
Would that I knew the answer.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite phrases from the AA/NA program: “progress, not perfection.”
Although I don’t know quite how to achieve an inner calm when the world around me is in turmoil, I suspect that by the end of this month I will have made some progress.