Pagan Paths

A twisting (and sometimes twisted) exploration of devotion, seership, hearth witchery, and the mysteries of traditional femininity.

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Taking it Back

I had an interesting personal lesson this week that I thought I would share with you all.  (I had a couple, actually, but I’m only going to share one in this post…the second one later on, perhaps.)

One of Odin’s overarching and ongoing themes in our relationship (going on 12 years now) has been “Take care of My wife.” (With “I will provide for your needs, and even some of your wants, if you but let Me” being a close second.)

The reason this is a constant theme with Him is that I don’t take care of myself, really. And I ask quite a lot of myself, and especially of my physical being, considering that I am a person with physical challenges.  I go to an outside job (25 hours per week), I help take care of our household of animals, I keep up a devotional and spirit work practice, and I run a growing business, FiberWytch.  Do I make sure I fit in the activities–such as yoga and meditation–that I KNOW help my physical condition, on a daily basis? Not really. Do I make sure I provide work breaks and days off for myself? Um…maybe.  I do take work breaks (and stretching breaks whenever I need them) but I don’t make sure they’re 15 minutes long, as they have to be according to law at my day job, and I certainly don’t allow myself days when I am freed from any activities whatsoever regarding FiberWytch.  Why not? Because I can only run my business part time (at the most; how much time I can devote to it depends on how I’m feeling that particular day, or week), so I figure my time spent at my day job IS my time off. I guess that makes my day job a better boss of me than I am of myself.

But worst of all, I don’t provide for my needs regarding medical and dental care–and for someone with fibro, cervical arthritis, and IBS, this is a biggie.  I haven’t even been to the dentist in twelve years.  And I’ve been seeing the same doctor for the six years we’ve been living in Eugene–and she isn’t a rheumatologist.  She’s been pretty decent at treating my chronic pain, though not perfect; mostly it was the need to continually reduce my hours at my day job (considering that I’m unable to sit for more than a few hours at a time without extreme discomfort verging into increasing levels of excruciating pain) that made me stick with her.  I knew that my increasingly shorter working hours would eventually render me ineligible for medical insurance through my day job, and I knew that she is adept at finding cheaper prescription options.  And even when she stopped taking my insurance, I kept going to her, knowing that her office visit fees were quite reasonable (but a lot more than I would have been paying, had I gone to a doctor who accepted my insurance). I looked at it as an investment in my future, a future possibly with no or minimal medical insurance in which I would still need to be treated for my conditions.

And then, in June, she dropped the bomb: as of August, she would be closing her private practice in order to run a clinic for underserved (uninsured or underinsured) patients.

It wasn’t a total surprise, since I had always known she had a passion for social activism.  Still, it was quite a slap in the face, considering that I could have, all along, chosen to look for a doctor I could see more inexpensively, one who might have better suited my needs in the moment, but had instead kept going to her, believing quite wrongly that I was investing in my future.

It stung.  I admit, I took it a bit more personally than was warranted.  It was a business decision on her part–but it still hurt.  It seems like no one wants to treat chronic pain patients anymore; aren’t we underserved too?

Habitually (and desperately trying to avoid change) I began to plot ways in which I could continue to see her at her new clinic, even if it meant paying more since I might still be covered by my day job insurance.  I began to hear Odin clearing His throat impatiently in my head.

So, I met with my HR director at my day job, and learned that my FMLA will keep me on the company insurance until September, which gives me plenty of time to find a new doctor who will approve my FMLA extension for the next year.  Odin’s throat-clearings resolved into words: “With everything that you demand of your body and your mind, don’t you deserve the best care available–especially while you can still afford it? Take care of My wife, dammit.”

Ahem.

So, despite the fact that this area is notorious for its doctor shortage, and especially so for rheumatologists who will not treat fibromyalgia, I will be starting a search for a rheumatologist this week.  I’ll call a few doctors each week until I find a suitable one, and make an appointment.  And then I’ll hope for the best.  What I hope for is to find someone who actually cares about me and thinks I’m worth serving.  What I’ll settle for is someone who will redo my blood tests, make sure no auto-immune condition more dire than fibro has reared its ugly head, re-certify my FMLA for another year, and get me on some meds that can manage my pain effectively and not cause horrendous withdrawal symptoms if I’m as much as an hour late in taking them.  (I also need to find a dentist and a gyn, but those can wait; the rheumatologist has to come first.)

I’m Odin’s wife.  It’s time I stopped treating myself as a second-class citizen who can settle for whatever she’s handed by others.  It’s time I stopped being lazy and dismissive when it comes to my own care; after all, I depend on my physical and mental well-being for pretty much everything.  And most of all, it’s time I curbed my invasive little habit of giving away my power to other people.

What about you? Have you found yourself in a situation recently where you realized you’ve been giving away your power for far too long, or cherishing unrealistic expectations of others to your own detriment? If you’ve been doing anything at all similar to the above, then I urge you: take back your power NOW.  Don’t wait, and don’t worry what other people may think.  Take care of yourself first.  I’m sure the gods Who love you are urging no less.

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Wife of Odin, artist, cunning woman, witch. I spin spells and visions amidst the wild wights of the Pacific Northwest, in a household shared with gods, spirits and animals both living and dead. My handcrafted business, Fiberwytch on Etsy, offers ritual cords spun from hand dyed fleece and charged and blessed using traditional methods, handspun yarn, and other arcane goodies to enrich your practice and pamper your soul. My books Odhroerir: Nine Devotional Tales of Odin's Journeys, and Water from the Well and Other Wyrd Tales of Odin and both available on Amazon, and my work has also appeared in Idunna, Hex, and the now-defunct newWitch. I offer rune and Tarot readings by appointment.

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