Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Importance of Taking Time

I have a client with lumbar disc troubles. She sees a physical therapist once a week, has a therapeutic massage every other week, dutifully goes to yoga and also dutifully goes to work every day in spite of the incredible pain she's in.

When her little dog developed disc problems, the vet said "Restrict his movement, let him rest until it heals." My client said, "Why does my dog get to rest but I have to keep working?"

She makes a good point. Once upon a time, taking time to recover from illness and injury was emphasized. Folks who had money would take months to rest and recover, but not any more. These days the only thing that matters is how fast we can get back to our routines. I find this so bizarre. And we wonder why there are so many immune system problems in our population. For heaven's sake.

Speaking of systemic disfunctions, I have awakened from my Alice in Wonderland cold to the news that our financial system has collapsed. The Washington Post headline this morning says Congress "balks" in the face of a $700 billion bailout that Paulson and GW Bush say is urgent.

Balks? From what I've seen on the news, members of Congress are asking a lot of questions, trying to understand what's going on and what needs to be done. I remember how quick they were to send the U.S. to war after 9/11, a Very Big Mistake. I'm so glad they're taking a little bit of time to think about this before going ahead. It's a crisis like nothing that has ever happened. It's important to take time to ask questions and consider carefully before moving ahead.

The client with the disc problems works for Congress. No chance she'll have any time this week (and for many weeks) for physical therapy, massage, or yoga. She, like many hundreds of others, will be working day and night, trying to figure out how best to address what's happening. Her lumbar spine will come out the worse for it all, needless to say.

I wish my client and all her colleagues the best of luck in navigating their way through this. May the force be with them!

THANKS to my sister Deborah for pointing me towards NPR's Fresh Air interview from Tuesday. Thank God for my sister and for Terri Gross! It's the Financial Crisis for Dummies, a.k.a. privatizing gains, socializing loss! YIKES!


deborah said...

Fresh Air did an intervew yesterday with the NYTimes writer for Wall Street, the clarity with which the "crisis" was spelled out for me was amazing.

I suggest you audio stream the interview--worth you time!

Love and more love,

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you! I will.

tut-tut said...

You make excellent connections in this post. There needs to be some accounting in this mess; if there can be a minimum wage mandated, why not a maximum? Who in the world is so valuable that they can command the kinds of salaries these top dogs are pulling in--not to mention their golden parachutes to glide them away when the screw up?

Anyway, remember all those novels when the heroine had to take a long, ocean voyage to recoup? Maybe we all need one.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah!!

Ross said...

As they say, it's a dogs life :)

it's not suprising more people are getting ill as their immune systems weaken from not properly resting etc. In the long term, taking no rest doesn't make a person any more productive.

Adrianne said...

After reading this post, I feel luckier than ever for the opportunity that I've had to pause for a year. If I'm able to land a job on Capitol Hill that involves trying to find a reasoned and principled solution to the financial mess, at least I'll be well-rested going in. (: )

willow said...

Yes, whatever happened to those days when people would take a few months to recover? Very good point in connection with our country. Scary days these.

Anonymous said...

Part of the reason I think we don't get months to recover anymore is that nowadays hospitals boot patients out as soon as they possibly can to save money. So I guess you would need a rationale that you don't need to be in the hospital because you don't need that much time to recover.
Five years ago I went back to work the week following a three day hospitalization with a collapsed lung. The CT surgeon overseeing my care told me it was okay to go back to work the next day because my lung was reinflated. I kid you not. Of course, I struggled through the next few months with extreme fatigue until another doctor said "Of course you feel that way - do you realize how sick you were?"


Ernest de Cugnac said...

yes, move slowly Congress. Governments like to "help" but seldom do.

Steve said...

I'll listen to that Fresh Air interview. I'm so upset about this "bailout," which is basically using OUR tax money to refund the massive profits that Wall Street fat cats paid themselves over the past five years. Anyway, don't get me started on that...

You are so right that Congress needs to move slowly, unlike in the run-up to Iraq. It's a comparison I've heard frequently.

playfulinnc said...

I feel that many of these physical and fiscal problems are tied to the culture of ignoring WHAT IS.

If stress/injury/debt is connected to struggling against what is, then of course no one would want to take the time to recover/ necessary steps to get out of it.

Ah, life will MAKE you look at it at some point. My hope for the world is that they see it before it gets debilitating.

But, then again, in crisis, there is the opportunity to change.


mouse (aka kimy) said...

I was so impressed with yesterday's fresh air - thanks for helping spread the road - I do hope others listen to gretchen's analysis - talk about spot on!! and brilliant!

Squirrel said...

Beautiful gates and walkways -esp like the shadow cast in the 2nd pic.