Monday, June 19, 2006



  1. Possessing good health.
  2. Conducive to good health; healthful.
  3. Indicative of sound, rational thinking or frame of mind.
  4. Sizable; considerable.

1. Some days, it feels like I am falling apart at the seams. Epsom salts and pedicures don't do much for improperly fused bones in your feet. Between Jason and I, we've covered many multitudes of ridiculous diseases, including but not limited to mono (which is how we met), herpes zoster (just in time for our wedding), appendicitis, vitamin deficiencies requiring needles the size of my thigh, and unforgettably, a 2-year on-going ordeal involving my back and a "relatively simple" procedure that has now become ludicrous in its dogged pervasiveness. But all of these things amount to mere annoyances in the grand scheme of things.

These days we tend to look back on our hospital stays as good stories. How many couples can say that they've seen each other's insides? We know we're lucky. Youth and health are easy to take for granted when you have them, but neither can last forever.

2. It's one thing to be healthy; it's another to stay that way. And when life gets chaotic, all too often the first thing to be sacrificed is the healthy lifestyle.

I'll be the first to admit that Jason and I indulge ourselves: bottles of wine, restaurants with friends, chocolate-covered delicacies by candlelight. When we have people over for dinner, I get crackin in the kitchen, which usually results in at least one person wondering how Jason eats this way every night without putting on the pounds.

Here's our deep, dark secret: we don't eat that way every night. That's how we treat guests, and ourselves, but it is a treat. When I bake, we might nibble and sample a bit, but the bulk of it always gets sent away, either to the soup kitchen, or the residence where I volunteer, or to Jason's work where many of his colleagues are deprived of home-made anything. Most nights our meals are vegetable-heavy (I can't help it, I'm addicted). It helps that I like to cook, that way we don't do take-out very often, although on nights when we've both been out late and neither of us feels like working in the kitchen, I admit it's mighty tempting to settle for a Big Mac.

That's why tomorrow, on my treasured day off, I will be slicing and dicing in the kitchen so that we have some good meals prepared in advance.

We need to have fuel because we're busy people. Physical therapy is still hard work for me, but it's paying off: when I chase Jason up the side of a bluff, I can manage a few shouts of triumph before giving in to the urge to find breath, fast. We hike, and we walk, and we swim, and we laugh about how terribly we play tennis.

But the one area where we could stand some definite improvement is in the sleep department, which is where I think a lot of people suffer. We do need good sleep to stay healthy. It's astonishing how quickly your immune system is compromised when you're not well-rested. Unfortunately, insomnia doesn't really care whether I've had my 8 hours, and selfish pig that I am, I don't always care that Jason has, because I want company, dammit!

I've been trying to be better about that. I try to let him sleep. I try to sleep myself, but the fact that I've read 69 books in the 6 months so far of this year probably is a good indication that I've had a lot of extra time on my hands. Obviously, I would have no probably reaching the 100-book quota for 2006, but thus far it looks like Jason, who is actually trying to meet this challenge, is having a bit of trouble. I've explained to him the benefits of having those extra 8 hours a day (the ones he keeps wasting on sleep), but he turns right around and lectures me about consequences (consequence #1 - cranky bitchiness).

3. The other side of health is the mental side.

Mental is right.

For me, finding good head space is often as easy as taking a break from the computer and working on my projects in the park for a couple of hours, just me, a notepad, a pencil, and some SPF 874.

Jason likes a nice backrub in bed (okay, honestly, who doesn't like that? anyone?). Sometimes life starts zooming past us, and we have to make the concerted effort to pause. It's not easy, but who are we if we aren't putting ourselves first?

4. Healthy? I think so, yes. I mean, I'm definitely chubbier than I should be. I gained weight after my back surgery, and then continued to gain after the next one and the next one, and though I've stopped gaining, I'm not losing because of the medication I'm on. But according to my physical therapist "underneath all that fat, you're in the best shape of your life!"

Erm, was that a compliment? You gotta love this guy's enthusiasm, eh? Especially at 8am, believe me. Good stuff. Just 8 more, you say? Well fuck you!

So I try not to be depressed by the number on the scale. I feel good, I look good. Jason claims he's barely noticed any weight gain at all (men are such awful liars). And when it comes right down to it, weight and health are not synonyms anyway.

Health is a choice, and it's not always the easiest one to make. But I love the life I lead, and I love my husband, and I'd like to enjoy both for many moons to come. And with that in mind, the choice is easy.

But that doesn't mean I'll deny myself a healthy slice of chocolate cake tonight...after all, I do deserve it.

So tell me, what neat-o things are you doing to stay healthy, in any sense of the word?

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