Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

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Heavily pregnant with my 1st son, a colleague begged me to cover his shift at another hospital. He was due for an interview and his boss would only release him, if he found a substitute doctor. Most doctors were attending the interview and only my 34 weeks pregnancy kept me away. My husband was out of town and the thought of going into labour in front of the panel was frightening.

He asked how much I would charge him and I laughed.

“Can you pay for the inconvenience of dragging my big abdomen to a hospital I have never been to?”, I asked.

He shook his head.

The hospital was quiet and that day, there were very few patients. I spent most of the day, reading a book. Then the nurse came in to drop a folder. The patient was a pastor who was being managed for Cardiac Arrhythmia. His symptoms were palpitations (awareness of your heart beat), tachycardia (rapid heart beat), chest pain, poor sleep and so on. He had done an ECG and other tests, which showed nothing was wrong.

After several weeks on drugs that should correct his cardiac symptoms, he was no better. Also, his blood pressure was only slightly above normal. I asked him about his church.

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“I was sent to start a new parish in this town”, he replied. “I have to meet a target number of members. In addition, I have a full time job”

“How many members do you have now? “, I asked.

“Not many. We are just trying to win people”

“Do you have a family?”

“Yes, a wife and kids”

“How are you coping? ”

“It’s not been easy. Even tonight, I have an all night prayer meeting. I left work just to see you. After work, I will go for the meeting”

“Are you able to take a nap 1st? How do you have time to prepare a message? ”

“It’s well. I do my best. Sometimes I struggle with sleep at work”

I concluded that Pastor was stressed. His previous diagnosis was based on the fact that he said he could hear his heart beating fast and slept poorly. I felt he had too much on his plate. I made a diagnosis of Peptic ulcer disease and changed his medication. Partly due to other symptoms I discovered he had. Then I called his doctor and informed him.

Many of us are trying to meet unrealistic expectations. Trying to wear designer clothing on a meagre salary. Driving a car we don’t need. Putting our kids in schools with ridiculous fees just because our neighbours did the same. Working so hard that your family cannot remember what you look like. It goes on and on. We must remember to be patient, to pace ourselves. Yes, we must aim high, but we need to remain healthy to get there.

Any goal or ambition that keeps you awake at night, makes you lose appetite, makes you irritable, or speeds up your heart rate, deserves review. Are you in debt? Negotiate for a payment plan you can cope with. Is your job far too hectic? Plan an exit strategy. If leaving the job will reduce your income, start living on a smaller budget to get your family used to it. In the end, the life of a man does not consist of the abundance of his possessions, said Jesus.

One day, I got angry and gave away all my 6 inch heels. Why should I totter from an unrealistic height in the pain sorry, name of fashion? I see ladies suffering cringe- worthy shoes on uneven ground and I pray they don’t fall. If the designers won’t make what you like, boycott them. We must not all wear boob-flashing dresses!

Today, examine your life. Set priorities. Don’t be too busy to pray, spend time with family and friends, or to just read a book. Headaches, back pain, Ulcers, Hypertension, Miscarriages, Infertility,Acne, and many more conditions are stress related. Even with medication, if the stress is not dealt with, you will not get better.

Jesus slept in the boat, attended weddings, ate dinner where the food was great (a la Zaccheus). As we celebrate Easter, remember He died that we may live.Please bite off what you can chew. Cheers and Happy Easter!

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18 thoughts on “Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

    Charles Williams said:
    April 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Happy Easter Doc!

    Lizzieebunoluwa said:
    April 17, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Lol… I couldn’t put it better.
    Well said Dr N.

    niki said:
    April 17, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Wow. Thanks for this timely word. You just described some of the symptoms i have been having. I was beginning to think it was stress related after my doctor just suggested resting. Not that i over work myself but i am making a conscious effort to take care of my physical and emotional well being as i tend to over think alot. Lol

      drnsmusings responded:
      April 18, 2014 at 10:21 am

      One day at a time, love. Cheers

    ABC days of being a mom said:
    April 18, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Thanks for this post and I am SO glad it is coming from a Doctor. Last year, i experienced pains in my knee and hip joints. I decided to start exercises and eating clean. The more weight i dropped, the less sick, less pain and less of anything negative to my body I had. Now i am very fine(some friends have begged me to stop but some do not know what my body went through). I learn so much from write ups like this and I LOVE to share with people especially those who have refused to be faithful stewards of this body God gave us. I learn from Joyce who God specifically told to be on top of fitness and healthy living(She exercises thrice a day and eat as God intended). I am sure if we did as the Lord instructs, we would have less sick people and very few incidents of heart attack and all. Sad to say, we have had in Nigeria many friends, family and church members with the issues you mentioned above. I know a man who recently has lost two friends, one to obesity and the other to stroke(we trace it all to STRESS, bad eating and bad lifestyle). God NEVER, ever intended this our bodies to live in bondage.

      drnsmusings responded:
      April 18, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Unfortunately, so much emotion is attached to being overweight. It’s difficult to talk to people without them taking offence

    preshigwe said:
    April 18, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Thank you Dr N for this,I’ve learnt that life is in phases and men are I. Sizes..Live your phase at a time.

      drnsmusings responded:
      April 18, 2014 at 10:26 am

      Yeah! I mean setting a target of members for someone with a full time job is unrealistic. He should have spoken up

    Fola Daniel Adelesi said:
    April 18, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I can’t come and go and kill myself!

      drnsmusings responded:
      April 18, 2014 at 11:14 am

      That’s just hilarious, Fola! Lol.

    Anonymous Chick said:
    April 20, 2014 at 7:31 am

    I really don’t get why some churches set targets. As Christians we should preach Christ and not church. The Holy Spirit will lead them where they should worship at the end of the day.

    The other day I was discussing about the Sabbath day being a day of rest with my husband. Truth is most workers in church have no rest day. We have changed Sabbath day to working the entire day in church and we consider that rest.

    I love this write up; there should be a balance in everything we do.

      drnsmusings responded:
      April 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      Yes, there should be. Even Jesus slept

    pynk said:
    April 21, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Dr N you have said it all. But I strongly believe we live in an immature culture which celebrates material things, hence unrealistic expectations being set for ourselves.

      drnsmusings responded:
      April 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Well, we have to counter d culture. Hi. Been a while.

    ememesiette said:
    April 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    This here, is truth. There is no use making plans to get to a destination we wont reach in the first place. Sometimes, when we get there, it’s something of a pyrrhic victory.

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