Tag Archives: Stress

Bread and catnip

Because I have Addison’s disease, AKA chronic adrenal failure, it is necessary that I regulate my stress and choose my stressors judiciously. Socializing, travel, noise, and pain are the things hardest on me, but I can control my exposure to three of the four.

Noise is a publicly traded commodity, and there is little I can do about this stressor in my environment. About all I can really do is try to compensate with other calming activity. In the case of excessively barking dogs, which unfortunately is common where we live, but which fortunately is a violation of a county statute, I sometimes resort to calling the sheriff, whose deputies are very responsive, very good at educating dog owners of their responsibilities, and also good at imposing fines on owners who just don’t get it.

Crying babies are different from barking dogs of course, but their vocalizations are just as stressful. All I can do is remove myself from their midst, if possible. If a migraine kicks in, I have something to take for that.

Hyperacusis, or sensitivity to sound, often accompanies Addison’s. A deficiency of cortisol magnifies every kind of stress. People with Addison’s take hydrocortisone to “replace” our excessively low cortisol, but it really isn’t the same as God’s original issue.  The synthetic replacement can’t adjust its level to accommodate our stress levels as does our original cortisol, which modulates to meet the stressful occasion. But the synthetic keeps us from flatlining–a good thing, because cortisol is a hormone necessary to life.

My dear cat can be joyfully entertaining, and she can also be exasperating and stress me into caving to whatever she wants–which is usually to go outside into Effieland, our enclosed garden. But she can’t go out at night, and if she tortures us then, she needs forced cuddling and distractions. Catnip is also a fairly effective antidote to most of her yowling.

Making bread is a pleasant, happy, calm thing I do every week. Gluten intolerance, like noise sensitivity, is chummy with Addison’s. If Effie yowls while I’m making bread, it’s because she knows she’ll score a free safari ticket to Effieland.

I can’t cure my next-door neighbor’s phobia of leaves on his lawn. His gas leaf blower sounds like an XF-84H (I Googled “loudest plane in the world”). Every time a leaf falls, Doug’s on it.

Life is good; Addison’s sucks, but God has made it an instructive limitation.


P1020223My bread ingredients and wonderful tools in array

P1020224For Effie, bug watching has its own rewards–for me, too, because her expressions are so delightful.

P1020226Catnip score!


Filed under Action & Being, Cats, Effie, Health, Photos

… before the taking of a toast and tea

Time for you and time for me,
And time for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
— T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

I find myself inordinately indecisive when I am on an out-of-control control binge. Stores, in particular, make me nuts. Yesterday, for instance, Rosauer’s was not good ground for undertaking a quest for tahini.

It turns out there is a tahini famine in the land. Albertson’s distributor has quit carrying it, and now Safeway’s has, too. So I headed for fancy Rosauer’s, slashing red flags at every turn, desperate for a tin of tahini, one of exactly four sources of protein tolerable to my compromised metabolism.

Rosauer’s parking lot was unusually full for a Thursday morning, and once inside, I was struck by the crowd and the long lines at every checkout station. I checked my watch, verified that it was not Valentine’s Day, and trooped on in my quest for tahini.

I headed for the store’s ridiculously overrated health-food department, Huckleberry’s. No tahini. None in the Asian foods section, either. But they had peppermint oil, something I had been unable to find anywhere else locally, so I headed to the checkout with my little bottle of peppermint oil.

Every shopper’s cart was towering full, but I didn’t notice initially that every cart was towering full specifically of cereal. Every line was backed up at least six shoppers long. The couple behind me, their cart towering full, I now realized, of cereal, had attempted to cut me and my little bottle of peppermint oil off to get ahead in the line. I turned to them and asked, “What’s with Thursday — why is it so crowded today?” “It’s the 13-hour cereal sale! It’s all over Facebook and it was in the paper!” Any sanguinity I may possess is attributable to the fact that I am bereft of these sources of information.

I have never liked Rosauer’s because of its high prices, poorly designed parking, and claustrophobia-unfriendly aisles. But now, I so thoroughly detested the store for promoting havoc and diabetes, that I put the peppermint oil on a nearby shelf, went home, found tahini and peppermint oil on Amazon, and ordered them. Even with shipping, it turned out to be a money-saving move. Amazon is my refuge from a fair amount of trouble.

I have a queer hatred for Facebook, have no Facebook account, and have no desire to Like anything on Facebook, or to adopt Like as a noun. But now Facebook has insinuated itself into my neighborhood pharmacy, which offers a 10% discount on nonpharmacy items to customers who Like the pharmacy’s Facebook site. It’s the sort of pharmacy that stocks no prescriptions but gets them for you in a day or two, but it has probably the best gift and toy selection in the Valley. I let my friend who works there know that I specifically resented paying more for my items because of my anti-Facebook sentiments, but she knew I was just in my control freak mode and that it would pass. Let’s face it, Facebook rules; paleos probably drool in the eyes of Facebook junkies. Of course I can shop elsewhere, and of course I probably won’t.

It doesn’t take that much for me to recover myself from one of these episodes. It’s important for me to reconstitute at home, with nothing else going on. It’s important for me to fortify myself with the word of God. It’s important for me to know that God is my refuge and very present help in trouble. And it’s important for me to accept setbacks and minor slings and arrows with grace, and to appreciate the wondrous gifts I receive for no payment at all, not even a Like.

For instance, um, not to brag, but, my granddaughter’s doctor acclaimed her as “amazing, wonderful, perfect, advanced, and thriving” at yesterday’s checkup. What a thrill to receive my daughter’s report.

The important things in my life are amazing, wonderful, perfect, advanced, and thriving. The residual stuff is just residual stuff. And ultimately, there is time for all of it before the taking of a tahini-slathered rice cake and tea.


Filed under People, Places, & Things