I look forward to writing the post that will be titled Diabetes Ends. I was delivered the shock of news last week. I am diabetic. Any doubt I had about the Gig Economy being unhealthy was proved correct, at least for me. The bad news was delivered by someone who created a safe place for me to hear it; and yet, the impact was severe. The good news is that I have a lot of tools available for fixing this fractured lifestyle. Let’s get to work.
Thank you, Molly Fox, a naturopath who began practicing in Langley, within walking distance of several coworks and offices I use. We’ll get back to her in a paragraph or two.
I thought I’d written a post about my return to dealing with doctors. Here’s a synopsis because I can’t find the right link.
Life’s been so busy with working seven days a week and having seven bosses that the story may have rattled around in my brain without finding its way into the blog. Go back about eight years and find that I had a series of bad events with conventional medicine. (That lead to Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland.) The highlight was trying to pass a stress test the day the hospital held a terrorism drill. Evidently, my blood pressure spiked that day. Several other episodes had a similar theme; “We’re going to measure this to see if you’re going to die of that.” After enough repetitions, just hearing the blood pressure cuff inflate would kick off a three-day anxiety attack. Silly? Maybe. But true. Then my Triple Whammy hit. Losing almost everything meant any visit to the doctor was a opening to a bankruptcy, or so I imagined and no doctor dissuaded me. Friends called me for rides to the hospital for emergencies that I knew I couldn’t afford, even with insurance.
But, I knew I had to get back to regular health care. So, I scheduled a meet & greet with the last clinic I’d used, explained the situation, and nervously showed up early. Instead of a simple, informal conversation just to get used to the place again, they launched into the conventional routine stressing the “need” to get their data. I’ll skip the details, but they kicked off the very anxiety attack I was trying to avoid. I was trying to become one of their patients, told them how that could happen, and watched the system (not the people) work exactly against that.
To their practitioners, most medical systems are conventional. I’ve tried a few others and have noticed that the non-mainstream or non-Western ones tend to take a different approach; less bureaucracy, a greater emphasis on health, less expensive, and much more personal. I decided to give Molly a try. Within the first few minutes I felt at ease. She listened to my concerns, filled out a few forms but with a casual manner, and did something I thought was brilliant. Rather than try to find ways to get the vital signs that would ironically make me feel less healthy, she worked with simple things that would be familiar to the old-style family doctor. Evidently, she learned a lot from a stethoscope, the weird little hammer to the knee, and generally examining me without making me uncomfortable or feeling threatened. The conversation was a long list of things that were healthy. Imagine that, a health care professional emphasizing health – with of course the suggestion that I could lose some weight. But I already knew that.
I agreed to return for another test, this time a blood test, which brings us to last week’s news. The good news was that almost everything was fine. As gentle as she was, the one bit of bad news was worse than I thought, though not as bad as it could be. I may be diabetic, but it isn’t to the extent of pricking my finger or giving myself injections. It also can’t be ignored, and I’m not ignoring it. Hence, this post; because such things influence personal finance on both the income and expense side.
Work is probably the main cause of the condition, and is necessary to pay for the cure. Actually, that is incorrect. Working too hard wasn’t as bad as working so hard that I didn’t exercise, meditate, or relax enough. My fitness dropped. My weight climbed. Simple things like bad ergonomics allowed various aches and pains to accumulate. Work is not, however, necessary to pay for the cure; money is. Right now, unless I’ve won the lottery, money comes from work. Until there’s an excess of money, I must maintain about this level of work.
That’s life in the Gig Economy. As I said on Marketplace, working in the Gig Economy is expensive. Here’s a case where I pay for hundreds of dollars per month for insurance, but for far less than that I can find good health care. Those hundreds of dollars going to health insurance come from days of working. If I could swap that money for time to exercise, meditate, and relax, I might not be in this condition. That is an option I am considering, not carrying health insurance so I can be healthy. Then the biggest penalty may be whatever the government imposes.
I took a day to reflect on work, life, health, and anything else that came to mind. (My apologies to those clients whose work was delayed by a day. I think I may have lost one or two because of it.) The news was better than I thought. In general, my work schedule has been full; but the last three months had a perfect storm of rush jobs, reworks from redefined tasks, and the real storm of terrible weather for working out. That was temporary. Spring has returned. Already my work calendar is returning to normal, I’ve identified some adjustments, and found at least three full time island jobs that would be a great improvement. I’ve already applied for the position of Executive Director for the Port of Coupeville, and Communications and Outreach Specialist at Whidbey Camano Land Trust; both are jobs that fit personal passions: sustainable economics and environment.
Regardless of my place in 1099 and W-2 economies, I have to add one more task to my list: me. Exercise; hey, I rode across America, hiked the Cascades, and walked across Scotland. I can do this. Diet: I enjoy cooking, now I get to invent new recipes that avoid gluten, milk, cream, and grains. As one person said, “Sounds like bacon and eggs three times a day.” Intriguing. There may be pills involved. There will definitely be more tests involved. One of my sources of optimism is that there is always change involved. I couldn’t have predicted I’d be in this situation, so I don’t know what comes next. But, as another friend said, “What?! Diabetes!? Haven’t you had enough bad luck? It’s time for something good to happen to you.” I agree.