Friday, March 1, 2013

March: In Like A...Crab

March, already?

You wouldn't think it was March when I went to the track this morning, temperatures in the 30s and hurdles frozen in snow on the outer edge. Outdoor track season is about to begin, and the steeplechase pit could be a skating rink.

I'm still bundled up in two or three layers for my track workout. Spring along the Front Range of Colorado is always windy. The wind was coming from the south this morning, making my final 100 meters on each lap an extra effort. That's a good thing, but each time I crossed the finish line, I felt like I was dying.

I got a strong workout in this morning. I mixed it up for interest, and since my race is a week away, I wanted a full workout. I did a 1600, then 3 x 800m, then 4 x 400m. It was strong and consistent, not fast, but fast enough that I got some benefit from it.

Crazy clockwise running lady showed up but she was well-behaved, she stuck to lane 2 for running against traffic while I was using lane 1. She weaved into lane 1 a lot, but not so far that we risked colliding this time. She needs to drink less vodka before she runs, or something...

This week I've limited myself to 10 miles a day on the days I'm not working. I work all weekend, so this is it for my week. A big 40 miles. I don't feel rested yet, but I do feel restless. Ten miles is not enough and I want to go out for more. I'm guessing that is a good thing.

I read an article this morning about two new medications that are in the process of FDA approval. Guess what they treat? Menopause.

Great. Just what we need, is for menopause to be a diagnosis. For all the bitching I do about menopausal weirdness that has taken over my body and mind, I also feel like we need to be less reliant on drugs.

The two drugs mentioned are Gabapentin and an SSRI similar to Paxil. Gabapentin is not new, it's just never been approved for menopause. It's been used for neuropathic pain and seizures. It reduces vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) and paroxetine mesylate works as an antidepressant to reduce anxiety, mood swings, and other types of emotional dysfunction. Both drugs have plenty of potential side effects.

Menopause is a natural state, not a disease. Because our lives are set up the way they are, having to stick to schedules, work commitments, time crunches, and stress make these changes in our bodies problematic. The things menopause does to us conflict with our self-imposed lifestyle. Waking up several times throughout the night because you're burning up and pouring sweat does not mix well with a rigid work schedule, especially when you need to be on top of things mentally for a full 12 to 13 hours.

What we really need everyone to do is slow down. We've brought all this on ourselves. We've allowed our lives to be shaped by the demands of working and living based on a crazy way of existing. We are slaves to the economy we've helped create, and the government we've enabled to work against the people's best interest.

I've been extremely stressed out lately because of things changing at work. It's happening at a time when I'm having to deal with my own body going through changes. The two things combined have led to my feelings of anxiety and insanity. I've been questioning whether I want to stay in nursing and put up with it.

Treating nurses poorly is cyclical. From the time I started nursing school until now, in the space of just 8 years, the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other. First they couldn't do enough to attract nurses, now they can't cut our hours and benefits fast enough. A company that merges with another and rushes through the entire process creates havoc for the employees who are being dragged through it. We suffer and pay a steep price in our work and personal lives as a result, while the highest-ups reap the benefits.

I like what I do for my job, but the way we are being forced to work with fewer nurses to care for higher risk patients, it's a problem. It's not safe for patients, and it's not healthy for nurses, either. I don't know what else I would do, and I'm almost 50. I don't know what else I'd WANT to do.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and realized that a lot of these things I've been worried about, I can let go of them. I don't have to worry about them. I've been crabby and I'm hoping that by the end of this month, I can drop the claws and grow something softer and fuzzier.

I'm giving up crabby for Lent.


giraffy said...

YES. I am befuddled by creating medicine to treat NORMAL HUMAN CONDITIONS.

I'm (a little) jealous of your cold. It's almost 90 here. :-/

Alene Gone Bad said...

I'd gladly trade weather right now. Please send some of that heat to northern Alabama next weekend. You can keep some of it, but 60s would be nice...

Anytime there is a buck to be made off a normal human condition, you can bet Big Pharma will be all over it. On the other hand, things that truly disrupt quality of life, like thyroid disease, get ignored for research & development, because they simply don't produce revenue. Thyroid hormone is cheap to make.

HappyTrails said...

Ahhh, you may have gotten lonely without Crazy Clockwise lady. You will start missing her if she's not there during your workouts. :-)

You are so right in relation to the crazy lives we live. Your story about how the atmosphere/attitudes toward nurses sounds familiar to the social workers I am frequently in contact with. So sad that our culture makes it so difficult and unpleasant to help people. We have certainly lost sight of things that are important in life.

I am reading a book that details the Amish community. It is an objective read, written by 3 respected PHd's, and does give some credence to a simpler lifestyle. Although I can't personally buy into everything Amish, the book has helped me understand their world more clearly and why they do some of the things they do. Simplifying life seems to be a common desire for so many people nowadays - me included - how can we put the brakes on our whirlwind lives when parts of it insist on speeding by, seemingly beyond our control? Not an easy solution, for sure.

Hope your work weekend perks along smoothly! :-)

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Kathleen, those are the things that make you wonder if anyone ever stops to think about where we're going and why we're here. I know there are a lot of people who do, but how do we stop that train?

There are a lot of admirable things about different cultures, even certain religious groups, that would be assets to our mainstream culture if we could somehow implement them: like the Amish, even the Latter Day Saints in how they pool resources to take care of those among them who are in need...

I personally like the ideas espoused by the Take Back Your Time movement, which is almost unheard of here. We work entirely too many hours and we've designed our cities to be a contributor to problems like obesity, pollution, loss of locally-owned and support retail stores. Leisure time is not spent in restorative recreational activities, it's spent on gadgets, sitting on your butt with your neck in a weird position typing on a tiny screen...

I do think it's time for women to take over running the country though, I think we'd have a lot more success at turning things around if we'd drop kick a lot of those old recalcitrant farts out of office in Congress, and work together and move forward.

SteveQ said...

At the risk of menopausal wrath, I have to point out that countries run by women have proven to be as bad or worse than those run by men. It's the Margaret Thatchers of the world who climb to power.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Can't get too much worse than we are now, though, Steve. We need enough women as leaders to represent our half of the population...and some estrogen-deprived ones would be extra fierce. Yeah, I agree we could have been in a world of hurt had Sarah Palin become veep and McCain had croaked...