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May 17, 2013

My Oy Vey Climb: Morning Prayer

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

morning coffee graphicA few years past, I knew someone who would say, after a work week that was chock full of busyness, that he finally finished his “Oy vey climb.” As I sit here at 8am in the church office, while I can’t say that my week is nearing its completion, it definitely has been an “Oy vey climb” these past several days. These types of weeks are not unexpected in this vocation; sometimes I wish these kinds of weeks would raise a warning flag early in the week so I could be better prepared.

Today, there are a few things on my schedule — I am meeting with someone at 10am, followed by a home visit at 11:30am, and then a hospital run at 1pm. Then it is back to the office to finalize my sermon (why do I have a feeling that my sermon will not get finalized?), work on the digital bulletins for our weekend worship services, finalize this weekend’s prayers, and do a few odds-and-ends around both the church and home offices before I slam the door shut on my Friday around 6pm. Considering that my day really begins at 7am, to say that I only have an 11-hour work day is pretty calming.

Main Pump Being Changed at Church

This morning, the main pump for our heating system at church is going to be changed. A few months ago, we noticed a rather persistent leak coming from the pump. We didn’t change it during the cooler months just in case there was a greater issue with the heating system that would have caused it to go off line for several days. Now that the weather has warmed up considerably following our early-in-the-week 30 degree morning temperatures, we feel pretty confident that if greater repairs are needed, no one is going to complain if the system is shut off.

Repairs begin at around 9:30am.

Food Pantry “Thank you.” Dinner is Tomorrow Night

Have you signed up yet?

Tomorrow evening beginning at 6:00pm, our Food Pantry is sponsoring a special “Thank you.” dinner for all of those who have donated and help support our small, but growing, food pantry here at church. Right now, we have approximately 80 people attending, give or take a few. The cost is free and you can sign up here on the website by clicking here.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night at 6.

Oh! And don’t forget — we have our regular Saturday evening worship service starting one hour before at 5:00pm. Join us for both!

The Walking Band? Check. The $150 Scale? Check. 

Jawbone UPPer doctor’s orders, I picked up one of those “Jawbone UP” bands to monitor my walking and sleeping; it seems to work rather well. I send my doctor the information gleaned from the band everyday; he hasn’t responded to the data as of yet. This week, the $150 total body analyzing scale my doctor “suggested” I purchase arrived. After setting it up and using it for a couple of days, I can really see the incredible usefulness of this machine. I will write more on it after my doctor gives me my first “report.”

But it was this morning when it all hit me. I do not understand why it took me so long to see it. My doctor wants me to use these tools daily, along with food journaling and analyzing how I feel in a diary, to give me a big picture on my health. Adding in regular check ups and blood work and cancer screenings, he is using all of this data to give me a better understanding of where my health is and how far I need to travel to attain more optimal health.

And the only way this can happen is through gathering the data.

Right now, I cannot use my weight as a gauge since I am still recovering from taking medication that included steroids (causing my weight to balloon). But the other tools — heart rate, blood pressure, walking, exercising, what I am eating, how I am eating, etc. — all of it goes together to paint a picture of my current health and allows me and my doctors to make changes to my daily routine to improve all my numbers. The data is the guide. The only way to get the data is to test for it.

While I complain about the cost of these “health tools,” I cannot complain that in my few days of using them, and seeing the daily data myself, I have started to make small changes that impact my numbers. When I saw myself sleeping less and less by looking at the raw sleeping data, I made changes in what I drank (meaning reducing my caffeine intake after the morning hours) and I have been sleeping more. I’ve noticed that in the first few days of using the Jawbone UP, I was walking a lot less that I believed I was walking and was coming nowhere near the step-goals set by my doctors. So each day, I’ve added more walking into my day and each day, my numbers of steps has increased. How has this impacted my heart rate, blood pressure, and other data points? Tiny changes have been seen, but more data through greater use of the tools will show if the changes are long term or just short.

Data. It all comes down to that four-letter word.

Cholesterol testing. Blood work. Cancer screenings. Monitoring my daily numbers. All of it paints a picture of my overall health and gives doctors the opportunity to make changes to my daily routine to improve my health. But the data is needed. I cannot fool myself if I eat something I shouldn’t or sit too much during the day. If my numbers shift in a bad way, then I need to work to change them back. Having the information at my fingertips provides the roadmap to get this done.

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