Takin' the Time: Pressing on With Arthritis

Pattye Snyder Health Guide
  • I recently reminded a close friend to click on "the hunger site" daily to help donate for 

    world hunger---you can also click on the same site for rainforest protection, free immunizations for the world's children, literacy, free mammograms and food for animal shelters. She commented that she kept forgetting, and just didn't "have the time.". I understand that people are busy, but my reply to her was, "Do you realize you just spent more time making an excuse than it would have taken to donate (with a click) on ALL six sites?"


    I really don't understand why people, at least the ones I know, always seem to be in a Proverbial, "all-fired" hurry! Doesn't it make you crazy when the driver behind you (in town or on the highway) either rides your bumper, or flies by you irritably so they can beat you to the next red light? Of course, I always think the payback on the highway is a

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    few miles later, when the driver is stopped by the side of the road and having a little chat with a state trooper! Many people just won't, or don't, take the time to listen to their friends, family, or others anymore. My kids are no different than others. They are all happily married, employed , super parents, and great people, but when I've needed or wanted to talk with them about much of anything, they are tooooo busy.


    Recently, after a lot of prayer, I talked to her doctor and my friends, made the tough decision to have my dog put to sleep. She was blind, had become an insulin dependent diabetic, had arthritis in her hips, and recently had begun to have seizures. She was the love of my life for 12 years. She was "there" for me when I was recovering from my stroke 10 years ago. She was "there" after all five orthopedic surgeries on my foot and ankle, and for both hip replacements. She was very much a lapdog and slept with me at night. For those of you who haven't had the joy of such a special relationship, you probably don't understand.


    I KNOW that she is in a better place now and I have a small clipping of her hair to take with me to Africa. She will be buried on "my" mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Somehow I know she would have liked that. As I left the hospital that day, the clouds broke apart and the sun came out for the first time in days. I KNOW there was a reason.


    So, I too, am I at fault at times for not "taking the time." I'm my own worst enemy and I am sure many of you can relate. In attempting to recover from my second hip replacement, I had the doctor's OK to begin my workout regimen, so I jumped in (well, limped in) in full force. A few weeks later, when I was in excruciating pain, my new orthopedist (the other retired shortly after my surgery) discovered that I had a broken femur as well as a severed IT (iliotibial) channel as a result of a glitch in the operating room.


    I'm sure that my compulsive behavior in working out probably didn't help the matter either. When I asked what we could "do," my ortho said "it just takes time!" The reality for me, I've found, is that when I DO take the time, I'm far more effective and efficient. Yesterday, I had a long list of "things" I had to do that day (or so I thought). Instead, I made lemon scones for a favorite elderly friend and spent much of the day shopping for a new living room light fixture for her. It made her day and helped me prioritize.


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    On some days when my osteoarthritis pain is most severe, I've often tried to just push my way through it. That may not injure me further, but it certainly doesn't help me stay on task and be productive. For me, it's far better to change the level of activity, or what I'm trying to do. My checklist for Africa is getting shorter and, ironically, more and more friends are coming out to help with "things" I need done. One friend offered to replace my front and back door locks when I mentioned I was concerned about security while I was gone. A new friend and his wife offered to come out and repair the plaster crack in my kitchen ceiling as well as install a new light fixture at no charge. When I asked how much it would cost, they commented that they wanted to do it as a "service project for God" because they believe in what I am doing (volunteering for three months work in Africa)! I have yet another friend who offered yesterday to spend an afternoon with me placing labels on the backs of some of my matted pictures for sale on my web-site (an incredibly precise and boring job). I have the patience of Job when I'm out photographing and can spend hours on one special shot, but tedious work like that can bring out a side of me that I'm not particularly proud of!


    Much to my disappointment, our fundraising efforts for my work and living expenses have NOT been successful, but I have made a commitment to Cross-Cultural Solutions, as well as the people in the tiny village where I'll be working. I BELIEVE IN MY WORK and, probably most important, I BELIEVE IN ME!!! So Ill be "takin' the time" to heal me physically as much as I can, and "takin' the time" to love others.


    Helen Keller was once quoted as saying "I do not want the peace which passeth understanding; I want the understanding which bringeth peace."


    Please take the time.

Published On: March 24, 2008