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Since December, I have battled with fairly persistent insomnia. Falling asleep isn’t my problem. It’s staying asleep.
Usually, I will wake up in the small hours of the morning and stay awake for a few hours. If I’m lucky, I will drift back to sleep around 5 or 6 a.m. If not, I push on until the following night and crash between 9 and 10 p.m. In the past, insomnia occurred in my life when there was great upheaval.
Over the course of the past 6 months, the events which caused upheaval include:
- Internalizing on the debate that began on the Whiteboard
- My mind pinballing on the implications of turning my life 180 degrees
- Post-Warner Bros. and experiencing retirement living
Couple these factors with the coronavirus pandemic and it’s impact on our near-term sailing plans. and it’s no wonder insomnia has been an on-going battle.
Many of you may also be experiencing insomnia. Sleep has become the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic as reported in The Harvard Gazette.
Even before I left Warner Bros., I had outlined my short term goal which was to focus on health and in particular being able to restore healthy sleeping patterns.
Rather than continue taking OTC’s (e.g., Benadryl and melatonin), I decided to seek help. I wanted to find a healthier and sustainable solution. As many of you who cope with insomnia know, addressing the root cause takes time. In the mean time, making little progress in dealing with stressors also can cause stress and compromise sleep.
So at the same time I am working on this, I went to see my acupuncturist, Dr. Lee.
Eastern vs Western
My parents were way ahead of their time. During my childhood in the 1980’s, my parents introduced us to acupuncture among other novelties such as wheat grass juice and solar energy.
My dad was a licensed practitioner of traditional Chinese Medicine. During his schooling, he would practice on my brother and I. We would have to make up symptoms for him to diagnose, and he would use a ballpoint pen to mark where he would place the needles. When I relayed this story to my acupuncturist, Dr. Lee laughed saying his father who is an acupuncturist in South Korea did the same thing to him as well when he was growing up.
Unfortunately, my father’s practice languished as this form of medicine wasn’t a covered benefit. Acupuncture did not make its way into the mainstream until decades later, well into the aughts. Once it became a covered benefit under Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act (enacted in March 2010), the use and practice of acupuncture took off.
Given this background of exploring alternative approaches to living and taking into account eastern medicine and lifestyles, I didn’t have any skepticism toward acupuncture.
We live in a plural society, and I embrace the benefits of all that it entails.
For the most part, I have received acupuncture treatments primarily to boost my immune system and help me recover from the flu. Since December, Dr. Lee has been helping me out with insomnia, and at the same time, has treated me after various accidents.
It must be said that I am a clumsy person. Bruises and scrapes are fairly commonplace, and they occur for the following reasons:
- Active lifestyle - snowboarding, rock climbing, and sailing (boat bruises)
- Tunnel vision - I tend to be focused on a task at hand and unaware of my environment, thus colliding into desks, coffee tables and other hard objects.
- Curiosity - wide interest to try new things, most recently longboarding
1 - Active Lifestyle
At each visit, I provide him with a rundown of my sleeping pattern chronicled in my Bullet Journal. On a few occasions, I will also mention my latest injury.
Dr. Lee may be surprised that a near 50-year old woman engages in these types of activities that would cause injury, but he is also sympathetic and worried. Here is a rundown of what has happened so far this year:
The first accident came as a result of taking a whipper in the climbing gym and my spine took a blow against the harness. The second accident came from the dock debacle detailed in Project Slocum, Part 5, and while I had a few bruises and scrapes, nothing really required treatment. The third came from a longboard accident earlier this week.
In the spirit of maintaining our social distance while still trying to stay active, Andrew and I started to longboard around our neighborhood. Five minutes into the activity, I took a hard fall and landed on my butt. Luckily, I didn’t land on my tailbone. This fall however injured my wrist and compressed my spine, which needed some acupuncture treatment.
So, even though I am near successful in getting back to a healthy sleeping pattern, it seems my continued clumsiness may require additional visits to the acupuncturist.
2 - Tunnel Vision
Andrew is particularly observant and noticing things around him, as well as getting a read on me and my moods. He is always on the look out for me as well when we do things. This complements my lack of awareness. Could be that I am accident-prone, space cadet or have a tendency to be utterly preoccupied in my own thoughts - no matter the reason, bumps and bruises, scrapes and falls, as well as torn ligaments are part and parcel of the life I choose to lead.
3 - Curiosity
As a result this, Dr. Lee tells me I shouldn’t keep putting my body to the test.
But I wonder, why not? What is life for but to live it to its fullest? I realize I am not in my teens or 20’s, however I’m certainly not being reckless. Within the confines of what is reasonable, I say “Carpe diem!”
For fans of the movie Dead Poet’s Society, John Keating played by Robin Williams challenges his students to live life, whispering the legacy of students who came before,
“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your life extraordinary.”
And so I will continue to take calculated risks so I can live a full life. In the process, I may continue to accumulate some minor injuries. It’s a small price to pay… and it could help out local businesses too.
Besides that, we are also supporting other small businesses from A to Z such as:
- Altayebat - Middle Eastern store that has the freshest butchered meat and our favorite place to source lamb, puff pastry, pistachios and brown sugar cubes
- Cortina’s - family-owned pizza and Italian market, which has the best pizza and sandwiches for take-out. Great source for cheeses, in-house pasta and porcini mushrooms which we have ordered in bulk at cost
- International Meat and Deli - this is a family-owned Romanian store where we stock up on our supplies of sausages, in-house smoked bacon, Borsec and Vegeta
- Orange Acupuncture - weekly visits to treat some chronic conditions (insomnia and allergies) with occasional accidents or sports-related injuries. The latest came while learning basic martial arts when I tweaked my back while tumbling on the mat.
- Pollo Fresco LLC - farm fresh chicken and eggs… whenever we have a hankering to make Hainan chicken, we’ll stock up chicken from here
- Sender One - while our climbing gym is closed during this pandemic, we continue to donate to help cover furloughed employees
- Zion Market - small chain of Korean grocery stores that carry marinated bulgogi, beef shorts, and chicken teriyaki. Some locations have a Paris Baguette (where I stock up on cream bread for the absolute best grilled cheese sandwich). Note, this is a great place to source wheat flour for baking when all the major supermarket chains have run out
Project Slocum update
as of May 19, 2020
This post was originally written April 17. Since then, we’ve had more progress and conversations about moving, downsizing and buying a boat. Here is an update on where we stand on our boat purchase.
We revised the purchase agreement and sent it to Bill for review and comment. We also placed our security deposit on RJ Slocum into an escrow account. This marks one pivotal step in becoming a boat owner.
More from this series:
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