Why 'Tedious' Self-Care Is Important for My Health

There are many daily and regular routines that accompany chronic illness. They are essential procedures that can prevent exacerbation of from unpleasant long-term effects. They can be boring, but boring doesn’t mean that these things are unimportant. Perhaps I would better describe these things or routines of self care  as “tedious.” I used to tell my sons as they grew up that being bored was a choice, a choice of your attitude.

Medications that I take for asthma can have a negative impact on my teeth. So that means a specific regime of care for them. I have to floss each day and meticulously clean my teeth. This is just one of lots of boring or tedious tasks that I have to do. I use an electric toothbrush that automatically switches off when I have cleaned my teeth for long enough, otherwise I would take shortcuts. I hate the way flossing causes little white blobs to splatter onto the bathroom mirror, so the mirror needs a daily clean too.

Then there are the regular trips to the dentist. This is a huge financial cost, and a boring way to spend time – but it just has to do done. I wish someone else could sit in that dentists chair for me. I just don’t like it. But it is part of my self-care regime. I am pretty good at procrastinating about this too. It was recommended that I visit the dentist every three months but I have decided to stretch it to every six months.

Diabetes has a long list of daily requirements. I seem to spend much longer in the bathroom nowadays. I need to inspect my feet after my shower. The podiatrist says to do it daily, but I don’t really do this. But, I do make sure that I moisturize my feet every day after my shower. Yes, this is just another boring or tedious task to add to my daily tasks that keeps me in the bathroom for longer.

Then there’s my puffers for chronic asthma. I use a spacer to deliver my medication more effectively. One of them is a yellow powder and it stains the spacer yellow, which has to be rinsed and dried every day. That particular puffer blocks up all the time and it too has to be rinsed and cleaned so it will continue to deliver more medication. It is also staining my teeth a yellowish tinge too, another reason to visit the dentist. Tedious!

As I write this, I am becoming more and more aware of the daily rituals that come with illness.

Many of these really are boring and tedious. I used to record my peak flow every day, three times on an app. I have given up on this. Not that it’s boring, I just am tired of all the monitoring. I record things only when I am having a flare-up now. My asthma is always there so I just can’t be bothered recording it.

It actually has helped me to not write down my peak flow so often. It used to upset me when my breathing wasn’t normal everyday, and when I saw it as a graph. It wasn’t ever normal. So I test it, look at it, take my Ventolin and just get on with the day. This decision to not maintain daily records happened because I have finally accepted that asthma will always be present. It is chronic. The asthma doesn’t really have a cure and isn’t going to go away. My choices regarding activities are based to a large extent on this level.

I seem to have Ventolin puffers stashed everywhere. I have them in the car, in most of my handbags, in my water bottle carrier, in my swimming bag and my husband carries one “just in case.” Having to be organized in this way seems a little anal, but it’s necessary.

“Boring” or “tedious” is much better than “dramatic.”  The days when I have had to go off in an ambulance are scary. Scary for me and scary for my family. I think I actually appreciate the “boringness” when I think about the possible alternatives.

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Thinkstock Image By: Tetyana Kulikova

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