The Power of the Carrot

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I’m a pretty motivated person when I want to be.

When I was 7 I was told I might be held back a class, away from my friends, because my reading wasn’t very good.  So, I learnt how to read overnight and became one of the best in the class. At 13 my mum told me I could have a cat if I got a good report card. I surprised both my mum and all my teachers and moved up a few sets to deliver my mum the best report card she’d ever seen…from me at least.

A lecturer in university told me I wasn’t astute enough to get a 2:1, so I worked my butt off and got one of those 2:1s to put in his proverbial pipe to smoke and when an ex-boyfriend said that my wanting to become an aerobics instructor was “just another one of my fads…” I qualified within 6 months.

But you see, this motivation always comes from either a carrot presented to me before I decide to beat myself with a stick, or baiting, which in my books is someone waving a carrot in my face telling me I can’t eat it.

Some of you have heard me say that the time before my operation was one of the most focused and effective periods of my life. I was healthy, productive, calm, happy and organised. But then the carrot was; if you chop your boobs off you might get to live longer and spend the rest of your life with your nice boyfriend – PRETTY FAT CARROT!

But how do you draw on the power of the carrot when there really isn’t one, or it’s just buried a bit too deeply?

At the moment my boyfriend and I are applying for our Permanent Residency Visa to give us a few more rights as almost fully fledged citizens of Australia. Better (and cheaper) healthcare provisions, the freedom to work in a café, or simply not work without worrying about getting kicked out of the country, and freedom from worry every time a client gets twitchy feet or cuts their budget. Pretty big carrots, yes, but not massive or immediate, so I have been struggling to harness my inner motivator and get everything I need together to lodge my forms.

However, in the absence of an immediate, pressing or aggressive (cancer related) carrot I’ve decided that what I need to do is pick myself an imaginary carrot.  You may know this as a ‘goal’ or ‘deadline’.  I have until my exchange surgery on September 3rd to sort my shit out and get my forms lodged. It’s not rocket science and I’m really not revealing anything you guys don’t know, but a goal shared is a goal half way reached I reckon.

 

 

 

The Patience of Being a Patient


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I went for a walk today and felt something smeg-like on my arm. I looked at my arm pit and I had a mini freak out that my right drain – the previously well behaved one – had fallen out.

I pegged it back to the ward and no, it hadn’t fallen out, but it had come out a bit from where it should be and has stopped sucking the smeg out of my right breast cavity.

The Dr tried to plug this up but it didn’t seem to work. This would be OK if my drain amounts were low enough not to worry. They weren’t. There are several potential outcomes as a result of smeg-gate:

a)      My body fixes itself and gets rid of this waste by itself and all is well with the world

b)      The fluid builds up in my cavity and they have to drain it with a needle

c)       The fluid builds up in my cavity and they have to go in and drain it with an operation

How will I know which one will happen? I can’t. I simply have to be patient.

None of these things sound too bad, until you get to the potential sub-outcomes of b and c. You see, both b and c increase the risk of infection and if I get and infection, the likely sub outcome is, they have to remove my expanders, I am fully boobless (even more so than now) for some time and I have to come back in and have another, stage 1 operation, and new boobs are quite a way off.

How will I know if this will happen? I don’t. I just have to be patient.

So that’s smeg-gate. Combine this with drain-gate on my left side, which doesn’t seem to be abating…

Me: Hi plastic surgeon. If after 10 days, if my left drain is still going, what happens?

Plastic Surgeon: Nothing

Me: I’m not getting out of here for ages am I?

Plastic Surgeon: I’ll get you out of here within a month

INSERT > EMPTY SILENCE

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The Power of Patience

DalaiLama

For me, the boobs were the easy part, something in my control that involved action. This part however, that I have no control over and as an otherwise healthy and able person, just have to let it take its course, is taking me to limits of my puny patience.

With even more time on my hands I decided to look at the definitions of what it means to be ‘patient’, versus what it means to be ‘a patient’, to see if I can pick up any pointers on how to be better at both.

Patient

Definition 1. Bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness.

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is enduring pain, difficulty, provocation from her annoying drains and smeg and the annoyance of being in hospital with limited calmness.

Patient Verdict: Fail.

Definition 2. Tolerant; understanding: 

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is tolerant to pain but shows very little understanding for the fact that the body will do what the body will do.

Patient Verdict: Fail.

Definition 3. Persevering; constant.

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is constantly persevering (to try and go home).

Patient Verdict: Pass (questionable).

Definition 4. Capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not hasty or impulsive.

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is incapable of calmly awaiting the outcome of drain and smeg-gate. She is hastily trying to behave like a normal person and impulsively crying.

Patient Verdict: Fail.

Being A Patient

Definition 1. One who receives medical attention, care, or treatment.

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is definitely receiving medical attention, care and treatment.

Being a Patient Verdict: Pass.

Definition 2. One who suffers.

……

According to the above I am rubbish at being patient but really good at being a patient. So, with my prognosis unclear and my exit date, within this month, I have decided to seek guidance and motivation from the Dali Lama. He says:

“The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain amount of inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so that we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions.”

Roger that, Dali. What’s another week between friends, eh?

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