Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The things you're spoze to do

[image: one of the very first crocuses this year, growing wild in a little cemetery near our house. This is the photo I couldn't put up yesterday. I am using it for wallpaper, and enjoying it. You are welcome to do the same.]

I have been up almost two hours. In that time, I ate a pretty good breakfast of Kashi cereal with dried strawberries in Rice Dream (no milk for the kidney patient), a hot hardboiled egg, a slice of white (sic) bread and real butter. Decaf, added cream. Maybe that's the problem, the decaf. Caffeine does something else to me, which is why the cardiologist doesn't want you to have it - accelerates everything, the brain, the heart. The mouth.

It's Science Times day in the NYTimes, and all they wanted to write about was the health legislation. I read an article about how complicated non-compliance is. Non-compliance is a term doctors use to mean "the patient didn't do what I told them to."

I had been thinking about this recently, as I recalled that when my father had the cerebral hemmorhage that killed him, he was on a blood thinner, coumadin. It is supposed to be regularly checked with a blood draw, and I've always thought he probably wasn't complying. He had a huge regard for doctors, but a stronger desire to not comply with anything, to show he was in charge. And then there was something else going on.

I remembered it the other day, watching a TV show about a doctor who hated the sight of blood - my father hated to get shots. Didn't my mother say he almost fainted when he got a shot? And toward the end of his life, she was torpid with dementia, there was no one to insist and herd him to the doctor. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it had been months since he had his blood drawn. If the doctor was insisting on regular checkups, as he probably would, my father might have gone off the drug rather than show up and admit the truth. The hell with it, he would say, when he made one of these difficult decisions. Non-compliant.

A healthy life, living in a healthy way, living to maximize your vitality and keep your body/mind working smoothly - you can see this as a string of good habits you will never get down. Go to bed on time, meditate every morning, take a walk outside when the weather is nice, as it is right now. I haven't touched on food and drink, and the intricacies of even knowing what you need (maybe caffeine is good for me) and getting it. Then there are the things peculiar to your body. Oil after a shower. Always wear shoes, supportive shoes with insoles. If I set down all the things I'm spoze to do, including the pills I have to take three times a day and then three other times, with meals, I couldn't stand it. My day would be, it seems, a chain of these healthy habits. It makes you want to do none of them, just go out and have a nice hot fudge sundae. And a menthol cigarette, before they make them illegal.

Surely we know by now that whipping yourself is not the way to get something done, at least I do. So I have a question that applies to all this Doing What's Good For You. Since a lot of my readers practice meditation, I'll frame it around that: What do you do when you don't want to sit? Really don't want to. Do you force yourself? and how? I'd love to hear from you.


  1. When I dont want to sit, then I dont. When I want to sit, I really do. But sometimes, I dont. Even if it's good for me :D

  2. Hah! I haven't thought about having a menthol cigarette in a long time!

    One thing I heard from a colleague during some complaints about patients being non-compliant was a question, "Do you like to think of yourself as 'compliant'?" Hell no we don't! Nobody does!

    When I really don't feel like sitting, sometimes I'll just wait until it becomes uncomfortable not to sit, which is pretty much inevitable, and does not take very long anymore. That or do some yoga.

  3. (Unfortunately)I can speak from experience as of late. I haven't been sitting much, like Jomon said, I think it may be catching up to me (ie. getting uncomfortable not to be sitting). Sometimes all I can do is find my meditation where I can. In my yoga, in my dog walk, in my gardening, in my dinner cooking. I am navigating the world of many competing priorities so something always seems to get lost in the shuffle.

    Today I didn't want to sit and it was hard, my compromise? Sit for ten minutes and see how it goes. I do that in yoga too. When I don't feel like going I give myself permission to be a slacker, just show up. And often those days are some of the best. The brain is a funny thing.