Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Carrying on when you're in pain: entrepreneurialism, healthcare and pain

It's summertime, which means one thing for me:  pain and misery.  With lupus, UV light exposure is a deal breaker.  Sunshine is my enemy ... for reals.  Combine that with a major change in weather, which always affects my health (thank you, lupus), and I'm kinda miserable right now.

It hits me every afternoon.  I had to stop knitting about an hour ago because my joints (all of them! fingers to toes!) were hurting so much.  Motrin's not touching it and I may need to resort to a warm shower pretty soon here, the pain is so intense today.


I don't share this for sympathy, truly.  I share it because (a) this is my reality and (b) it raises a crucial question that all entrepreuners have to deal with.

How do you carry on when you're in pain?  And I mean physical, spiritual, psychological, any kind of pain?

For me, I've started the habit of breaking up my day.  Knit for 30 minutes, go do something else for 15 minutes, etc.  I may need to start lying down in the afternoon, which is a little annoying, but if it helps, I won't complain!

If I need to blow off a day, I do so (but I'm working on several deadlines right now, which makes it tougher).

I'm trying to take better care of myself, both with what I eat (more water, fiber, veggies, fruit), what I put into my brain (listening to calming jazz and opera, not watching TV that much these days, starting to read fiction again), what I do (I spend a few minutes every morning and evening in my backyard garden, I'm also trying to exercise despite the pain, thanks to my recumbent exercise bike).

What do you do when you're in spiritual or psychological pain?  I think that's where your social network comes in handy, particularly family and closest friends.  You need outlets, that's for sure!  I have friends who close their shops during this time, and that's the absolute right decision for them (I would likely do the same, depending on circumstances).

Many entrepreneurs, particularly those who are one woman or man shops, don't have health insurance, or have very limited insurance.  My old job had fabulous benefits, including a mental health benefit.  If I were in need of a mental health benefit now, I would be in trouble.  Whether you're in short term pain (broken leg) or long term (chronic disease), health insurance is a huge problem in this country, regardless of whether you're an entrepreneur or someone who works fulltime for a company that isn't able to afford benefits for its employees (we'll see how all of this plays out with the new healthcare bill).

I don't have answers, but thought the questions worthy of discussion and would love to hear your thoughts!

Hope you're enjoying the sunshine - get an extra dose on my behalf!

Images:  Sail away with me, by Susannah TuckerWild air by The Wheatfield


Sharon said...

Brenda, what a huge bummer to be debilitated by sunshine!

You must consider moving to the Pacific Northwest, because what I remember from living in the Bay Area--there is a LOT of sun there. In fact, one of the reasons I moved north, in addition to the smog and the traffic, was that there was just too much sun and concrete.

I survive with my small business by working half time at a professional job that includes benefits for working 20 or more hours per week. Although it really cuts into my productive time, it provides a tremendous fallback position.

I'm hoping to grow the business to the point where I can hire someone to do some of the admin work for me. I've also thought about a college business major for an intern. Have you used interns?

Do you think you can find interns from a culinary institute to come and cook dinner?

Lan said...

Hi Brenda,

I am so sorry to hear about how lupus has affected your life. I have horrible cold urticaria so I understand your pain and frustration except during the winter (and certain types of cold in the summer - it's hard to explain). But like you said you work your life around it to make things better and if not better some day's at least livable.

I am interested in seeing what happens with health care in the States as well. I am not a political guru and to each his own but as someone who grew up under the poverty line in my province (Ontario, Canada) I would have had peanuts with regard to health care if we didn't have health care covered here by our taxes. I compare it to the dentist which was only affordable every few years unless it was an emergency. It's an imperfect system and I like everyone else I hate taxes - but when you need it it's there. And when you can afford to go elsewhere some people do.

Feel better and I love Sharon's idea about interns! I wish I had an intern. We lost our student assistants due to funding at work and it's the pits.

Brenda said...

Haha, Sharon! I love to cook myself - I'd be so sad to give that up. :D

I would LOVE to live in the Pacific NW! I've dreamed of Portland or Seattle or similar for years. I don't want to live too far away from my folks, though, who won't consider the same (they live in Northern California, but in the Central Valley - talk about SUN and HEAT - yikes!). I tell you though, after this week, the Pacific NW may be a necessity, not just a hopeful dream. This is not fun!

You might check into a virtual assistant! I'm doing so right now - someone who can make a lot of phone calls, research, paperwork, etc. for me. Wouldn't that be fab?

I haven't used interns, in part because there are a lot of rules and regulations about compensation that makes them slightly less useful for me. I may as well hire an assistant, virtual or other, you know?

I love all of your points - thank you!

Brenda said...

Hi Lan!

That doesn't sound like much fun - I'm so sorry! We do get to deal with what life deals us, though, as you say. :)

Fingers crossed that our new healthcare plan will actually work! I understand it works fairly well in Canada, though you all have to wait very long for things like an MRI? If you have insurance here, you can get any diagnostic test very quickly (depending on where you live), but things may change with this new plan!

Thanks for your great comments!!! :)

wzgirl said...

Hugs, Brend. Now I know why you embrace Autumn - and here I thought it was primarily for the butternut squash! Haha! Hugs, you, hugs and warm-soothing showers! xo

Brenda said...

Mmmmm, butternut squash ....

I love Autumn for SO many reason, Wendy! And it's true that one of them is the end of summer! :D

Sharon said...

Brenda--that's a hot idea! I have imaginary assistants like Amelie (the perfectionist) and Tink and Tank (the two circus midgets), but have not thought about a virtual one. Timothy Ferriss raves about virtuals in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. (He's not a knit designer!)

Are you thinking of the outsourcing variety? Will you share some of your research in a blog post?

It would be cool to have someone else do research, spend hours of time sourcing materials, and enter inventory from invoices into the computer. If you ship them your yarn purchases could they ball wind it for you and send it back do you think?

Brenda said...

I agree all around, Sharon! Got the idea from Ferriss' book as well! Yes, indeed, I'll share whatever I learn ... now I just need time to spend on it. :P