In an effort to take better care of myself and in response to the state of clergy health, I scheduled visits with my (new) primary care physician and ob/gyn. The visit with my PCP, a wonderful Nigerian woman, went very well. She took her time, asked great questions, and really listened to me. At the end of my visit, she gave me a clean bill of health, save my blood tests. She promised to give me a call when the results were in from the lab.
That was last week Thursday.
Fast forward to today.
I got up early, watched my hubby get ready for work (tee hee), and then made my way out the door for a walk. This morning I wanted to walk with ease, so I left my fanny pack (don't laugh, at least it is Armani) and my phone at home. Some forty-five minutes later I returned to the house and saw the red light blinking on my Blackberry. Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. There were a few text messages and a missed call from a number I did not recognize. Thankfully this person left a voicemail.
You have one new message.
Hi Donna. This is Dr. Nelson. Your blood work came back and I wanted to discuss the results with you.
Gasp. Discuss the results. For what? What could she possibly have to say? I am healthy, right?
See when hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol run in your family, well, you get a little nervous about discussing results of blood work. Add to that the high fat/high carbohydrate foods I've been eating since graduation coupled with the minimal body movement and you get full fledged anxiety.
Well, this sure put a damper on my morning.
See, upon returning from my walk, I was going to have a light breakfast and then spend some time in prayer. I was all set to bathe in God's presence when I became flooded with fear.
Ok, Donna. You're a big girl. Just take it to the Lord in prayer. What was that song you prayed yesterday, "What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry. Everything to God in prayer." Well, blood work counts as everything, so lay it at God's feet and then call Dr. Nelson.
But, but, what if I am overreacting? Worse yet, what if it is really bad. Maybe you should call her and find out the results so you know exactly how to pray.
Good morning, this is Donna. I am returning a call from Dr. Nelson.
Blah, blah, blah. Can you hold?
Sure, I'll hold.
The line wasn't the only thing being held. What I didn't say to the receptionist is that I was holding my breath, too.
Hi Donna. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Your blood work results came in.
Still holding breath.
Everything looks good.
Your sugar is good! No issues with diabetes. Your cholesterol is great. Your liver and kidney functions are good. Thyroid is good.
Notice a pattern here.
I am concerned...
Hold on. Pattern shift. Concerned? About what? You said everything was good!
...about your levels of Vitamin D. Normal is 30. Your levels are at 27.
I did tell her about my seasonal depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is closely linked with a Vitamin D deficiency. Among other things, light therapy is one of the treatments for SAD.
Dr. Nelson, can I get Vitamin D supplements?
Sure, but the best way to increase your Vitamin D level is to spend thirty minutes in the sun, daily.
Excellent! I planned to go to lay out by the pool later.
We both chuckled.
That's great! Just make sure you get out in the sun. You probably won't need a supplement, but if you do, they sell them over the counter in liquid form.
Thank you. blah. blah, blah...
After I hung up the phone, I prayed. I was thankful for God's mercies which are new every morning!I was thankful that the results were positive. I was thankful that where I did have an issue that it could be easily remedied. I was thankful for last winter, one where I walked outside, at least four days each week, for an hour or so, soaking in the sun. I was thankful that I didn't have any crying bouts or major issues with my depression last year. But I was also thankful for God's reminder that if I am to have a good winter this year, one free from the blues, that I would need to begin preparing now.
So, in preparation for the coming winter, as I store up my Vitamin D, I spent three and a half hours at the pool! I lounged. I read. I prepared for next Sunday's sermon. I swam laps. But through it all, I soaked in the rays of the sun as I bathed in the grace of God.
And just in case you are worried, I slathered on my sunscreen. We all know that black don't crack, but that doesn't stop it from burning.
(check out this recent article in the NY Times about the current state of clergy health http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/nyregion/02burnout.html)