Coffee and Therapy

I have to laugh.  I’m watching Biggest Loser on tv.  The best-looking fat people in the country are competing against each other to lose weight.  There’s a big challenge on tonight.  They are going to walk up an escalator until they all drop.  Some of them just put their heads down and keep going.  They walk until their legs turn to rubber.  A young girl holds off three monster buff guys for a long while, eventually has to drop back.  I’m cheering for her.  This is television, but it’s life, too. 


I have a therapist that I see every three months for a half hour.  That’s long enough to catch up, renew my antidepressant prescription, and make a teeny plan.  In the past I’ve had in-depth therapy.  Life events coupled with a genetic tendency make it essential to deal with my depression and not ignore it.  I’ve taken antidepressant medication for 20 years.  It isn’t important whether it’s a manifestation of the lupus (lupus does cause psychiatric illness).  It just matters that it stays under control, that I function without the additional fatigue, hopelessness, and sadness.  None of those are part of my basic personality, but they can take control when the chemicals aren’t balanced right.  Optimism and the discernment to see what I can do, what steps I can take in the current situation, are part of my survival package.  If I couldn’t identify something positive that I could use to push myself forward, I would be lost in the craziness of this disease.   


This is the third winter that I have found myself climbing out of the black hole after a long, tedious flare.  Two years ago the flare culminated in clotting off all the superficial veins in my left arm from the wrist to the shoulder.  Last year it was all orthopedics, horrible sacroiliac joints and hips and feet.  This year the flare was the most extensive and severe of all, requiring more prednisone than I’ve seen in the course of the disease.  I don’t know why it cycles this way, but I’ve begun to expect that September to December will be rough, with the late winter and spring spent digging myself out again.  Spring and summer has meant a drastic change, with me being able to walk more than a mile in my neighborhood and travel and be quite active. 

Every time I find myself here, I start from where I am and pick out something I can do.  Right now I can dance with Ellen (1 to 2 minutes at a time) and by myself, so I’ve got a Cardioke dvd on order.  I can use my little mini-cycler for 2 minutes at a time.  They call it a “motorized cycle exerciser” but it’s a set of pedals you put in front of a chair:’ve just started to incorporate these into my day.  In addition, I can do an upper body workout with 3 kg weights.  I can’t do all of these all the time, but I fit them in where I can.  Right now I find that the least workout makes me very tired, so I’m also fitting in naps when needed. My sacroiliac joints can tolerate a little walking now, so I’ve begun to do some short errands.  Today I went to the post office and one section of my grocery store.  My feet are very tender after the little walking but that’s to be expected.  They are the last hold-out of flaring, the last place that I can still feel inflammatory symptoms.  Come on B-cells, there’s still a few of you that need to breathe your last breath! 

Holy moley, I’ve talked about this for 600 words and I was intending to talk about my coffee!  I have a Senseo single cup coffee maker that uses pods, and I order pods in bulk so I can get free shipping and good prices.  I’ve managed lately to get my coffee cost down 25 cents a cup (that’s like ancient times!).  Anyway, I try to order some variety, so there are six brands on my counter right now.  Today I looked at them all to see if they were Fair Trade certified.  That means the coffee grower (usually some poor family in a developing country) gets paid a decent rate for his coffee beans, enough to raise his family and contribute to his community.  Only one was marked on the box.  I looked them up on line, and found that one more was certified, and two more come from companies that have some (but not all) Fair Trade coffees.  I wrote the last two to ask about their policies. 

To me, this is an issue of conscience.  I don’t have the right to short-change someone for their products or services.  I don’t even have the right to be ignorant.  Now that I know about Fair Trade certification, I must choose products that meet those standards.   I started thinking about this when I read an article about Burger King refusing to serve Fair Trade coffee.  Further reading led me to an article that convinced me of the improvements this could make in people’s lives.  You can click on the link in the parentheses.  (This is a story about gourmet coffee and genocide. It takes place in Rwanda … | Food monthly | The Observer

Okay, we’re getting into fever time.  I’m going to set this hot appliance down and have a nice drink of fizzy water. 



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