June 15, 2022
A short recap of a weird past year (health-wise). For context: I have spent most of the pandemic at home—a nice change, surprisingly, after 35 years on the road. Travel, like teaching, exposed me to all sorts of bugs, and it was a rare year that wasn’t interrupted (at least once, often far more often) with sinus infections, bronchitis, or some other generic airplane-itis.
One of the nicest things about being home is that since my last work-trip in 2019, I’ve barely sneezed! It’s been a wonderful reprieve.
But… suddenly these other things started happening. Last June, I woke up to find that most of my hair had fallen out. Within a couple weeks, I was completely bald. Went to more than a half-dozen specialists where I got little more than sympathy and shrugs. Nobody had a clue, although a rheumatologist did suggest that it might be related to what was (I thought) a well-managed thyroid issue that I’ve had since I was a kid.
Thyroid is tricky and seems to be the thread running through the past year. Although my hair has mostly come back (actually kind of cute on a good day), I ended up in the ER for 3 days last month with a scary reaction that I believe was a strong allergic reaction to one of the thyroid meds.*
I discovered that gasping out “shortness of breath” and “irregular heartbeat” gets a LOT of attention in an ER and though I was there for 3 days, once I was off the one thyroid med, I was fine. For the past month my heart-related numbers have been stable and after 3 days in atrial fibrillation (A-fib), my new favorite 3-little-words are now “Normal Sinus Rhythm.”
I was celebrating the return of my energy and getting back to some healthy routines when I stood up on a leg that had fallen asleep and in another “first,” my foot did not cooperate. Rolled and twisted under me, and it was back to the ER, this time with a couple fractures. While the bones are thankfully lined up for natural (non-surgical) healing as long as I stay off my feet for the next 2 months, I suspect that this will be my view for much of that stretch.
The foot thing happened 2 days before the 1-year anniversary of my hair loss, so I’m looking at this latest event as the closure of a circle and (hopefully) the end of these weird medical adventures for a while!
Thyroid numbers look good, if a bit low, and we’re slowly making changes. I also have some follow-up appointments with cardiology specialists, but I am hoping that won’t be a part of my life now that the symptoms are gone with the offending thyroid med. I’m in a boot all summer, but convinced that once this comes off, I can resume what was starting to look like a normal and fun retirement.
* I suspect this has been going on for a while. I’ve been complaining about getting winded with very little exertion and kept getting chest X-rays to rule out potential effects Covid exposure. (I did not have any reason to suspect I had had the virus, thankfully, but sure, check again…) The X-rays were clear, but even a short walk up in Open Space knocked me out. I look forward to being able to walk—and dance—again after all this has healed!!
The Silver Lining: What to do when you have a LOT of time to sit.
Well, my website needed a good bit of attention. There have been so many changes in my work, which I’ve detailed in other places throughout the site including more recent blogs, and the site had not caught up.
The first version of this site launched in 1997, with a major focus on generating speaking work. I updated the “Services” to de-emphasize anything that would lead back to life on the road, and decided to condense the biographical data down to a few pages. I haven’t missed the travel as much as I expected, but I sometimes miss working with live audiences (and still feel like I have a lot to say)!
My intention was to shift the focus of the site to providing content, information and ideas that could help and enrich visitors.
The big decision was whether to fund the web host for another three years, but with more than 400 articles, excerpts, interviews, handouts, podcasts, templates, and tips, that seemed like a no-brainer. I don’t have a lot of energy for marketing, and being off the road (with so many books going out of print in the past few years), drawing people to my site is going to be a challenge. I’m just not quite ready to let this one go yet, though.
So… I learned how to revise and reorganize the menus and I actually went through every single post and page here to build in some consistency, add some internal links, revise some of the writing, add a few thoughts. My main goal was to make sure that the directories for educators, parents, and everybody else included complete lists to direct people to the relevant content under each heading. (You can find this array by scrolling down the home page, or get to each section from “Articles & Podcasts” in the menu bar at the top of each page.)
Of course there’s some overlap because some posts apply to more than one topic, but things should be easier to find now. And, as I’ve been doing some digital housekeeping, going through some old backup drives and labeling thousands of files, I’ve come across files from older versions of the site that have some good stuff that never made it onto this site.
I’ve added 15 posts in the past week or so, all good content, with more to come. A page or two a day is a nice way to spend my time. Plus, going through all the old posts and blogs has given me a rather moving overview of my career and life.
© 2022, Dr. Jane Bluestein
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