One Comfy Day, coming up!

So you need a day in bed. Preferably one with rain hammering on your window so you will be free of guilt not to go outside. You also need some calm, yet lyrically interesting music, a good movie, exciting book, and some tea that is beyond compare. Look no further, I, Teddy, can arrange it all!

It’s Friday (and if anyone sings that song I’ll become a homicidal maniac)! And we’re all spent. Pie and I both have stomach bugs (guess diseases can be passed over the phone now…) and we can’t be the only ones that need a day in bed.

Step 1: Go to bed. Now. This is non-optional. You’ve been upright for a week now and it’s doing you no good. (By the way, did you know POTS people spend 3 times as much energy standing upright as normal people? It’s like we’re jogging in place at all times, except no ones asking us to become swim suit models). But put some pajama pants on first, preferably flannel. There ya go!

Step 2: You forgot to bring your laptop didn’t you. Utter fail on your part. Now, slide under the covers and put on some perfect music for a fall day. My favorite right now are Bon Iver, but my dear friend is getting me hooked on Angus & Julia Stone. They’re also quite good for a lazy day. But my Bon Iver pandora playlist has exceeded all boundaries (40 hour time limit? pshaw) so I’ve been thieving from my friends’ itunes libraries and have developed quite a good playlist full.

Step 3: But you’re probably feeling guilty right now, about being in bed while it’s sunny and the leaves look so appealingly crunchy. So here’s a guilt-free trick to soothe your frazzled nerves, put on Rainymood off of google and your life will be instantly better. It sounds amazing on top of just about every song, so it’s time to experiment!  http://www.rainymood.com/

Isn’t everything better when you look out your window and all you see is this instead?

Side note, now that RainyMood is on, try it with my favorite song by Bon Iver: Woods. It captures a feeling, a piece of longing tied up in joy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_cePGP6lbU

Step 4: Your mind has been blown by supermegafoxyawesomehot music, but now you need something a little more sustaining. I bring you, a book. I can see the shocked looks on your faces quite clearly through my monitor. Most specifically, a series that will keep you excited for quite a while. I give you, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo!

To be clear, this is not a series that should be read by anyone under seventeen. For everyone over that age level, it is mandatory. I know it was super popular a few years ago, but I didn’t read it. It’s stupid, but if everyone tells me to read it I won’t. I feel like it’s probably mass produced garbage *cough twilight cough* So when my dad told me to read it and that it was already downloaded on my kindle, I gave up. It is a detective/thriller novel, but the mysteries aren’t something we can solve. They’re more like tragedies that are exposed to the light by the protagonist (a journalist in Sweden). The other protagonist is a seriously abused girl who kicks butt in the awesome department. I adore her, she’s not someone you would want to be friends with, but rather someone in your school who you just watch, amazed that she inhabits the same planet.  In Steig Larsson’s first novel they are investigating a girl who has been missing for several decades. It takes over a hundred pages before you get into it, due to some necessary background information, but then you can’t stop. Honest. I read them in a week during midterms, and they really opened my mind to some things I had been ignoring. Small warning, there are several graphic rape scenes in these books. The first especially. The working title of the first was “Men Who Hate Women” and violence is the main theme in all of these. This is not my common fare, but it’s something that everyone should be aware of. Plus it is such an enthralling read, please read it for me.

Step 5: You’re too tired to read any longer (and who could blame you? It’s grown dark and you’ve created a fine bed-nest for yourself). But it’s still too early to go to bed just yet. Now, eat whatever mess you have in the fridge. Now thats out the way, slice up some ginger root for tea and make popcorn in the microwave. Apparently ginger tea is super healthy, but it tastes way too good for that to be true. Douse the tea with honey (want a little tea with all that honey? 😛 ) and climb back to bed. That was exhausting. Now, turn off the music, because you’re about to…

Step 6: Watch The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo! The first movie is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s a dead on interpretation. The second isn’t nearly as good, but worth a view if you have time. The third is much better than the second, but definitely a few hairs short of the first. So, if you’ve read the books (or part of them at any rate) watch the movies. They are on instant play on netflix. If you have read them, watch the first and third movies. They’re totally worth it. The second is useful only if you need the plot. Or you’re SUPER sleepy like I was this week. But then again, isn’t that what this post is about?

Step 7: You probably finished the whole thing didn’t you? It was WAY too good to stop, just like I said. Anyways, shut off your laptop, take your meds, brush your teeth, and go sleep. It’s probably later than you anticipated. Just like this post is longer than I anticipated. So I might head to bed too. *yawn*

Or keep reading. Dunno how you expected to stop in the first place. Guess you have a full night ahead of you, say hi to Micke for me!

Be Well,

Teddy

P.S. g’night!

A Potful of College tools

Hey! It’s college season and some of you are headed off. So bully for you! (Erm, this is Teddy by the way…again)

Last year I headed off to school terrified out of my orthostatic wits. It wasn’t for lack of resources or family support, but it was tough. Before I became ill I had high hopes for college. I wanted to go on the East Coast and attend a top tier school. Didn’t happen. I got in, but I ended up being too sick to fly cross country constantly, plus having POTS in an extreme climate is bad news bears. So I went to a place that is pretty consistent weather-wise and we hoped for the best. Something must have worked because I’m going back for my 2nd year.

A few things to keep in mind in mind before you go:

-College is the best thing for your mental health (fun and intellectual stimulation)

-It’s a jet start for your social life

-Don’t Panic (Anyone notice the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference?)

1. You don’t have to graduate in 4 years. Health stuff can screw it up, no matter how hardworking you are. So don’t sweat it.

2. People will be willing to help you. Believe me. You will be ok.

So before you head off to Hogwarts, there are a few things you should arrange first.

1. Contact the Disability service. POTS is a legitimate physical disability (despite how hard we fight against it) and they’re a great resource. A word of caution, give them unquestionable proof from your doctor, and a list of accomodations that you need. Some good ones are making sure the teachers know about what you have (they have to keep it a secret, and treat you just the same) so if you get sick that they can cut you some slack. The Disabilities service can also get you a room on the first floor near the main campus. It will be a lifesend on sick days and when you can’t deal with stairs.

2. Get a single room. NO this won’t inhibit your social life. NO it isn’t isolating you from others. It is NECESSARY. I fought against mine for all it was worth, but it was the main reason I could finish the year. Plus, a month in (when everyone else is sick of their rommates) they’ll flock to your room. My room didn’t have any floor space during exams because my friends would take it over to study.

Ok, now I know you are furtively looking through Target and websites trying to find sheets for an “extra long” bed. Secret? It’s not any longer. Honest. At least at my school. Get the sheets you want, and not the boring cotton ones you find when you’re at your wits end.

I realized there were a bunch of things like that. Things that you don’t know until you have already made the mistakes. So when a dear friend of mine was going off to college this fall, I compiled a list for her. I’ve expanded it for those of us with POTS, so here it is!  I tried to avoid the obvious things. Something tells me you won’t leave home without a toothbrush. So I know I’m giving you a lot of credit here, but I suspect you can live up to it : )

1. Minimum of 5 posters (nothings is sadder than a white wall)
2. Two microwave safe thermoses.
3. Triscuits/Wheat thins (salty snacks galore!)
4. Two sets of headphones (one always breaks a month in)
5. Ear Plugs (or there will be no sleeping until 2 in the morning in the dorms)
6. Puffs Kleenex with Lotion (colds run rampant)
7. a throw blanket (I got mine at pottery barn and I live in it. This is especially important on sick days where your body is cold intolerant)

8. Extra printers ink
9. Blank CDs (the new college currency)
10. Popcorn
11. Ramen (for those days you can’t make it to the cafeteria)
12. Tacky (for hanging up posters, pictures, syllabuses, etc.)
13. Extra body lotion/make up (it gets used up freakishly fast)
14. Dish soap
15. Utensils and a bowl or two

16. Sponges
17. Laundry bag, detergent, dryer sheets
18. A little black dress (something will always come up and you will need it)
19. Nail polish and nail polish remover
20. Granola bars (you will live off these on mornings with early classes)
21. Peanut butter and/or Nutella
22. A Brita or other water filtration device (the sink water usually tastes terrible)
23. Gatorade powder packets/pedialyte powder packets

24. Medical records for the disability office/university infirmary

 25. A couple novels/Sims 3/gameboy games for your bad days

Well, that is my current list. The rest is really up to your current taste. For example, I keep lots of tea, all my Harry Potter books, and plants in my room. Some people do not feel complete without a closet worth of shoes and a wall of pictures. Just bring what you need (and whatever I tell you to 😛 Have faith in master Teddy, I will not lead you astray!)

Most of all, I wish you luck. Going away is especially difficult for us because of all the care we need. You will be faced with tough problems, like how to tell someone you’re sick and if anyone needs to know. I decided to be very open about it, because then people would stop asking me why I avoided stairs, went to bed early, etc. You have a heart problem, end of story. It’s not a big deal. What IS a big deal is that you’re about to go off on an enormous adventure!

But a post would not be complete without something fun. I can think of nothing more so than decorating a dorm room : ) Pie and I spent the summer going to antique stores and craft stores. We cut up a book of new age-y pictures and made a collage. My dear friend at school and I are having a modge podge day soon to decorate our notebooks. (If you don’t know about modge podge, go get some! It flattens paper into collages and makes them stick together with a shiny glow) I brought some glass jars to put loose leaf tea in and lanterns for night lights. It gives my room a really outdoorsy feel. I found a really cool blog about a stay at home mom that makes nature-y crafts that would look AWESOME in a dorm room. I think I’ll try to wax some maple leaves and hang them up.http://www.5orangepotatoes.com/blog/nature-activities/

A dorm room project I just did was to take a bunch of clothespins and hang up pictures of my friends and family. It always gives me a glad feeling to see my favorite people smiling at me. Plus it makes me look like I’m artistic, which I assure you is not the case!

Be well,

Teddy

Food+Workingout+Exercises = Energy? Say what?

Pie: Hello world (or any awesome person reading this) I must admit I was never really interested in blogs until I watched the movie Julie and Julia. After watching that movie I realized how amazing blogs are, and how they can affect people without being acquainted with them. Also Teddy thought this could be a really cool way to share our ways of dealing with POTS. In this post I want to talk about some of the things that physically make me feel better since Teddy and I have mostly talked about the mental medicine ❤ With POTS it’s very hard to control your symptoms, I still have yet to find the miracle to make it go away. But through hours of research in our own personal high tech lab (….our house!) we have experimented with foods and workouts that truly help.

  1. PEDIALYTE (okay, I know what you must be thinking, this random blogger is recommending baby Gatorade. Crazy wouldn’t you agree?) Pedialyte is a drink with electrolytes (snails and puppy dog tails) with POTS drinking fluids is a must to help with your blood flow (G2 is also good, and is better for you than Gatorade). For some reason pedialyte makes me feel a lot better. I’m not going to go to the extent that after I drink this magical elixir I turn into a superhero with super strength and the power to fly. No, I just feel a bit of my fatigue and dizziness wash away. I normally drink this before I workout, hang out with friends, or when I’m having a plain ol’ bad POTS induced day. They sell it at groceries stores and isn’t hard to find. Oh! Before I go to number two, pedialyte tastes a lot better when mixed with water…(you will be thanking me for warning you about that)
  2. Tea ❤ I adore tea! I love feeling like you have your own personally hearth inside your tummy. Teddy sometimes compares tea to drinking flowers….(she really likes flowers) she has this amazing orchid tea that we drink on special sister days. We just curl up, talk and watch our favorite movies and t.v. shows. Some teas are caffeinated (as I’m sure you know) and I’ve heard that caffeine isn’t great for POTS. I normally try to drink non-caffeinated teas but I’ll admit I do cheat this POTS rule and enjoy peach green tea.
  3. Water. I mentioned earlier the importance of blood flow for us who are…how do I put this…lacking. I drink tons of water! The only problem with this method is if you are like me, and you are cursed with the smallest bladder known to man. Imagine a human water fountain and you will understand where I am going with this. Always bring a water bottle with you wherever you go. I went to the mall today and I drank three bottles full of water. It’s my fuel source (if you don’t count cheese).
  4. SALT. That’s right you heard me! S-A-L-T no wonder my horses lick me. With great salt comes great responsibility (to drink enough water to counteract it). For a person who doesn’t have POTS, having a lot of salt in you’re diet isn’t a good idea. But since we POTS peeps already have a bad heart the doctors are telling us it’s good for us. Eating salty snacks like pretzels, nuts, and cheez-its are really great snacks. My doctors made it clear that I also have to drink lots of water with the amount of salt I take. You can’t just eat the salt 😦 Salt and water help create better blood highways. I don’t know, maybe like well-oiled cars? I know nothing about cars, so if I ever pretend I know anything about cars I am telling you now, I am not to be trusted when it comes to them!
  5. Cardio. Something that has always baffled me is when I went to doctors they told me exercise was one of the best medicines. As a 10 year old who was as tired as an old cat I thought that was a crazy idea! But they were right; cardio is another one of those things that helps. It doesn’t always help but it’s a good feeling to know you have done something productive. It also makes you feel better afterwards. Cardio can be swimming laps, playing tennis, taking a run/jog/fast walk, or running on an elliptical or treadmill. Basically anything that gets your heart rate up for around 20 minutes or more (you start small and add time as you get in better shape) I alternate from tennis and working out on an elliptical. (don’t recommend stair masters or jump-roping it can make you really dizzy)  Before I workout I drink a big cup of water and a big cup of pedialyte. Drinking beforehand makes me feel less out of breath. Teddy and I need to be distracted while we work out on the elliptical so we watch t.v. shows to entertain us. I normally watch shows that I can space out to. Here is a list, Gilmore Girls (<3 this show IS AMAZING), Americas Next Top Model, Ouran Host Club ( a hilarious anime that will steal your heart away within seconds), Project Runway (really cool show!) Endurance (it’s on discovery kids, it’s basically like survivor but with kids), Survivor (bet you didn’t see that one coming), Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad, The Biggest Loser ( It’s nice to see I’m not the only one in pain while working out), Drake and Josh, Degrassi (this show sort of scares me, but in the past week I have been watching it and I think I’ve become a bit…addicted), GLEE ( I love Glee! My parents bought me the first season when I went to the Mayo Clinic and my Dad and I watched it a lot haha ❤ and HE ENJOYED IT!), American Idol, and Hayao Miyazaki films (If you have never seen any of his films you have been deprived.) I think this list could go on and on but I am experiencing a brain fart.
  6. “Brothing” every morning. When Teddy and I wake up we get broth(bullion cubes) and go back to lie down. This is our first intake of salt that we need to start up our day. We lay there for about 15+ minutes. When we are done we do twenty-five arm lifts with 6lb weights, squats, and toe raises. This is how we jumpstart our salt filled day :]
  7. Leg lifts, one thing that is so hard about POTS is when you sit up abruptly you get really dizzy, which makes sit ups really difficult. Teddy and I both gained weight when we first got sick because we were too sick to do….basically anything. With POTS you aren’t supposed to lie down during the day but I still do leg lifts. Leg lifts are when you lie down on your back and hold onto something (bottom of bed, table legs, really anything that is stable) I love leg lifts because they don’t make my head spin and I feel like I am doing something to help get rid of my tummy fat (storage for winter…tomato tomAAto)
  8. Pelvic Curl….I looked up the name and it sounds more like a poke’mon attack then a stretch, wouldn’t you agree? A … pelvic curl is when you lay down on your back and your knees are in an upside-down V shape  -^–o    that’s you! Aren’t you as cute as a button? Then you lift your REER off the ground ( I have no idea how to make a stick figure to look like that… fail XD )
  9. Planks (a gift from the devil) if you are anything like me you probably hate planks. I love the idea that someday I will be this buff woman with abs (but we both know that’s not going to happen until I am really motivated) To do a proper plank you can go into push-up position with your palms on the ground OR with your elbows to the ground. If you do attempt this (I dare you) you will feel it working instantly. This is why I like it, because you can feel it working. Planks can make me a bit lightheaded if I don’t breath enough while I am doing it.

10. Humor, make sure to keep things in your life that make you happy. In our earlier posts we have talked about things that make us happier. It can be as simple as reading a cute book to watching a hilarious youtube video. “Make em’ laugh make em’ laugh! Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh? … You start off by pretending you’re a dancer with grace, you wiggle ’till they’re giggling all over the place.

And then you get a great big custard pie in the face!

Make ’em laugh

make ’em laugh  make ’em laugh” -Singing in the rain ❤

Life is amazing and don’t let POTS take over your life. It’s a part of your life, not your entire life. We have learned to refuse to let it take over. Fight it because we are going to beat this. Teddy and I just want to thank-you saints for reading our blog so far. If you have anything to add to my list of foods and exercises please comment! Share your knowledge! We really appreciate it and hope that we can help in anyway we can to make your POTS trip as enjoyable as possible :] Until we meet again ❤

*Pie*