Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Best Therapy for Depression

Music and laughter - both good therapies, legal, free, and without those unintended consequences we call "side effects."

I see it's been a week since I posted. I was right, the rash is shingles. So it hasn't been a great week. Even doctors agree that shingles is very painful. You'd think plenty of legal oxycodone sounds great, but opiates have disadvantages; notably, they shut down your GI tract. So not just stomach pain, anorexia and and indigestion, but the kind of constipation that can turn into an impacted bowel if you don't bring a whole arsenal of treatments to bear on it.

And then there's the demotivation of opiates and of illness. Yesterday I tackled the heap by my bed - everything I'd worn all last week, on top of everything I'd worn the four days before the rash presented, a stage called the prodrome, in which I felt sick and weird. And household laundry undone.

When this hit I was optimistically planning a life.  I was (am) doing PT for the broken arm, and had just driven two short drives, getting ready to be independent again. Getting back strength and range of motion in the arm has been slow and very painful, and isn't over.

And yes, Christmas day I got a cold. I wasn't over that really when the shingles hit - no one ever seems to get clear of this cold this year - but I took a leap and joined the church choir. Singing in harmony with others felt challenging and terrific. Then the shingles hit.

So I lost ground in my general fitness program and in PT. All sorts of things around the house are a mess; haven't taken Christmas down. Who cares?

This is not so special.  This is old age. I'm not the luckiest 69-year-old around, but I do live in middle-class America with decent financial stability and good insurance, so maybe this is old age at its best, unless you're the Queen of England's doggie.  I had a transplant last year (and had just begun to feel recovered from that), which means I take immune-suppressives, so it is likely this will take months to pass.

This is that present moment we talk about.  Reality.  Growing old means your parts wear down, regardless of how sunny your disposition. Every one of them.  I find I keep thinking of another song that goes -
Dance if you want to dance, sing if you want to sing.
Nobody ever knows what tomorrow may bring . . .
 Can't find it on YouTube or Googles, but I remember it, don't I?


  1. that song is ringing a bell for me, Jeanne, somewhere deep in the pit of my brain.

    Listen, you are an amazing woman. If I were in your shoes, with the arm, transplant and SHINGLES, don't you think my whole blog would be WAA WAA WAAAA???

    I hope that shingles mess will clear up soon!

  2. Your attitude is admirable and inspirational in the face of pain and illness. Stay strong and mindful! Namaste.

  3. Thank you so much Karen and Matt. I have bad hours and days, and usually you see a hole in the blog then.