Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Learned My Lesson(s)

I have bad habits, some worse than others and some that are made worse by others. My worst, in terms of health – I smoke cigarettes, I drink coffee, and I have poor eating habits. In other words, if I’m rushing towards a deadline or am involved in a project, I’ll smoke cigarettes and drink coffee, and won’t eat properly. Careful attention to nutrition could help mitigate the affects of the smoking, as well as the matter of sleeping less than I should… and, of course, better nutrition would increase energy levels, etc. I know these things logically, and I use that knowledge in planning the children’s meals, but I do neglect myself frequently.

Well… I just went through a hellacious health event. I lost a filling a while back. The tooth wasn’t hurting and I did plan to have it fixed. However, there were a few things that I needed first. And then a few more… like a generator and refrigerator, which I have now. I’d planned to get 550 gallon water tank and a 60 watt solar set up (to complement the one my brother in AK recently sent, so that we can run the satellite modem and the routers without the generator and its gas), and then make the 160 mile round trip, pass through the ‘friendly’ local border patrol station, and get the tooth fixed.

I’ve been working hard and eating poorly, always in a rush, skipping breakfast – as I have for decades – as that morning blast of caffeine makes me forget that I should be hungry, maybe nibbling at something I can hold in my hand and eat as I write during the day, and having dinner with the kids in the evening, eating lightly if I am deadline stressed or drank too much coffee that day to really be all that hungry… i.e., that late afternoon cup to give me the energy to deal with the evening stuff – making dinner, etc.

My tooth started bothering me. I did the usual things, salt, over the counter pain relievers… and decided to move that tooth repair up on the list of financial priorities. Just a few more articles in this set to write, then I’ll get paid and fix the tooth…and then there was a dramatic increase in the level of pain, which made writing almost impossible. As if that wasn’t bad enough, all of a sudden my face swelled up to my eyebrow with a raging infection.

As a single parent and freelance writer, receiving no child support and never on welfare, I’ve waited to deal with a tooth before and I’ve dealt with the occasional tooth flare-up during that waiting period. I’ve even written about managing it. However, this infection went insane, a ravaging invader raging at breakneck speed, bent on pure pain and chaos production.

Just before my tooth flared, I noticed that I had two cuts, more like scratches or nicks, on my hand that also got badly infected, like something I haven’t seen since I got blood poisoning as a child (that’s what they call that red line that comes out of an infected cut and starts moving towards the heart… don’t know the real name, if that’s not what it’s really called). On my hand? In and out of wash water all the time? I never get an infected cut there, it’s not even logical. On my foot maybe, though rare, but my hand?

I am usually ridiculously healthy, all things considered. So, with multiple unusual infections striking at once, I think that I had an immune system failure due to poor nutrition. I've been particularly focused, time stressed, caffeine fueled, eating without tasting and without appetite during recent times... Now that I have got some hardcore anti-biotics from the dentist and some oh so welcome pain pills, the infection is receding, the pain decreasing, and the swelling is going down. And, I learned my lesson. Root canal, immediately, number one priority. The other stuff is just gonna have to wait. Much more attention to my own diet and nutrition. Deadlines, housework, projects… they’ll still be there after I’m done eating.

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