Tag Archives: diagnosis

Well I’ll Be!

Although I live surrounded by neighbors, I don’t necessarily see them every day. In fact, sometimes I won’t see a single soul for maybe even a week. That’s not unusual since I’m retired and most people who live near me are younger and have jobs that keep them away during the day. And I’m the type who almost always has a project or two lined up to keep me busy, many times inside.

Since I live alone, I don’t always have someone to bounce ideas off of unless I use my phone or email, so I’ve become one of those people other people like to make fun of, because I talk to myself. Do any of you ever do that? I honestly don’t know why, but I don’t talk to myself out loud. I whisper, and only when I am alone. How strange is that?

Occasionally, when I’ve been out shopping or whatever, I’ve actually seen and heard people talking out loud to themselves, so I’m assuming I’m probably not THAT unusual, but I have no idea why I whisper. Maybe, my inner-self thinks it’s weird to talk to oneself, so if I whisper no one will notice? But if I’m alone…that doesn’t seem to make sense. I decided it wasn’t that big a deal and not serious enough to be concerned about so I just go about my activities as usual.

Often, my friends and family contact me via email, so I spend a part of each day conversing with them silently. However, my son makes it a point to phone me usually once a week or so. Most of the time these days, when my phone rings,  it’s a political ad, someone trying to sell me something, or someone trying to scam me, so if I don’t recognize the name on my Caller ID, I just ignore calls, and as a result, there may be days when I don’t speak with anyone.

I noticed the last few times my son called, my voice was hoarse and my tone was elevated and he asked if I was okay. I assured him I was fine, but started to be aware of my voice sounding differently. I also noticed I was having a little trouble swallowing and decided, since I had my annual check-up coming up, I’d run this past my doctor, just to make sure all actually was okay.

So, my appointment came and my doctor checked me over and asked if anything was different than before and I told him that I felt well except for the slight difficulty swallowing and hoarse voice. He said it was probably normal, but he’d recommend me going to see an Ears, Nose and Throat doctor, just to make sure. So long story short, I went to the ENT doctor, who did a thorough check and this is what he said, “I think you’re fine. It’s not uncommon for us, as we age, to get dry mouth, which you’ve told me you have, so my recommendation is to drink more fluids when eating. That will take care of the swallowing difficulty. And for the hoarse voice, I suggest you talk out loud to yourself during the day. That will keep your vocal cords warmed up and working for when you do need to say something to someone.”

Well I’ll be! Can you believe that? Have you ever heard of a DOCTOR prescribing talking out loud to yourself as a cure? This has become my favorite story to tell my friends. Hahahahaha!!!! Maybe those people I saw and heard talking to themselves were following their doctor’s orders!


Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland. Join her here each 11th of the month.


Filed under How To, musings


Sometimes I worry that I’m spreading myself too thin. When I actually have time to worry, that is. My life is so full right now that I don’t have the time to get everything done – and yet I keep taking on more. Why? Is this some compulsion I have to see how far I can stretch myself before I finally snap? And how am I to balance it all?

Balance is an elusive concept that reappears in my life upon occasion. Usually when I am too busy to figure out how to incorporate it into my life. Or when it appears in the comment section of a blog post when a reader asks, “How do you balance your writing career with your life?” Good question. Does anyone know the answer?

Even in the best of circumstances, balance can be a tricky concept whether you’re a mother who’s just reentered the workforce, a father who must put in overtime in order to provide a decent living for your family, or a single parent who has to do it all for your family. But when you add health issues to the mix, the situation becomes even dicier.

This is the predicament I currently find myself in. A single parent trying to do everything for my children on my own waylaid by potentially devastating health issues for myself and one of my daughters. Dealing with either of these diagnoses separately would be difficult enough, but coupled together they are more challenging. Perhaps I should explain. In early Spring of 2002, after a maddening round of tests and doctors’ visits, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. A couple of months later, my younger daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and a chronic stomach problem; in May of 2008, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in addition to the bipolar disorder.

With these revelations came a new set of challenges, namely, how to balance my daughter’s medical needs with my own. For me, the first step in that process was acceptance – of the diagnoses, the limitations and restrictions entailed in them, and the acknowledgement that the life I’d dreamed of for my daughter was going to take a different course to fruition. The second step was understanding. To that end, being the research nut that I am, I began to read whatever I could on my condition and my daughter’s – books, magazine articles, testimonials. Information is the key to busting myths and understanding the changes that your life is about to take. What does this have to do with balance?

Everything. Information and understanding are the keys to learning how to balance responsibilities in your life. Sure, I still tend to push myself physically on days when I feel good and think I can still handle things the way I did before I became ill. And when I find myself flat on my back and staring up at the ceiling, I am reminded that I can’t do everything like I used to, that I have limitations and need to adhere to them. When I do, I achieve balance in my life. So how do I do it? I say “No.” This was a hard skill to learn for someone who is a people pleaser and likes to say “yes” to everything, but I had to do it. for my sake and my daughters’ – we are all bonded by blood and commitment, after all, and when I don’t take care of my own needs, I can’t take care of theirs. So I learned to say “no” and to respect my limitations as opposed to testing them. What do you do to maintain balance in your life?

Margay Leah Justice is the author of Nora’s Soul. You can visit her at http://margayleahjustice.com


Filed under writing