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Window shopping and holding court.

May 28, 2012

When I was in nursing school, one of my instructors told us about a concept she called “window shopping.”  When people who have breathing problems walk down the street, they might stop now and then to look at a store window, allowing themselves a moment or two to catch their breath without calling attention to themselves.  I got it in theory, but only recently came to true understanding.

The window shopping concept can apply to anyone with limited stamina or difficulty getting around.  People with heart problems, lung disease, chronic pain, severe fatigue may use this strategy.  I find myself when I’m out walking pausing to look at interesting birds or flowers, especially if I’m going uphill.  Going up the stairs I stop to look down from the landing.  It has become automatic. I hardly think about it anymore.  Because of my angina I have to be extremely careful about how I exert myself.

Talking to a friend today, we talked about times when our symptoms require us to get in bed and rest.  I was resisting this necessity today because I was enjoying visiting with my sister and her 4 year old son.  The problem was, the energy I was expending having an animated and enjoyable conversation was causing my chest to ache more and more.  Enough nitro to kill a normal person was barely keeping it in check.  In the end I had to face the fact I had to rest or I could end up in the hospital (again).  My friend encouraged my to invite my sister and nephew to join me in the bed to continue our visit.  She calls this “holding court.”

It just hadn’t occurred to me to ask my family to join me while I rested.  I was relieved.  So we headed to the bedroom and my nephew brought some toys.  He sat beside me and showed me the all the things he could do with his Hot Wheels Pizza Racetrack.  I had no idea it had so many functions. (If you get a chance, you should really check it out.  Bring a kid to explain it!)   When he grew bored of playing with us we sent him out to play with his uncle.  Then my sister and I whiled away the time googling various species of fish to see what they looked like.  All fairly low energy activity.  I reminded myself to keep my voice down and avoid gesturing.  Holding court was a pretty good idea.

These are just a couple of ways I cope with my symptoms.  Everybody finds ways to manage.  I truly understand the window shopping now.  I look forward to holding court again sometime instead of trying to keep up when I just can’t.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2012 9:39 am

    Hi Friends! One of the coolest things about “Holding Court” is that instead of constantly trying to please those around me, I get to request pleasantry from THEM. It is a great opportunity to declare my needs and my desire to keep up social contact, ON MY OWN TERMS.
    I don’t know about everyone else with chronic concerns, but it seems that I spend and inordinate amount of time and effort trying to keep up, to do what everyone else is doing, and to do what ever it is as well as they do “it”. By defining my boundaries (at last!) I get to feel some sense of self worth and get to have some focused love.
    We all deserve to Hold Court.
    P.S. It helps to have a queen or king-sized bed!
    LOVE,
    frykwoman

  2. June 1, 2012 3:54 pm

    Excellent post! We have an oversized “chair and a half” with a large ottoman, and it’s perfect for when my daughter and I want to spend time together (but I’m not feeling up to doing much). We read, I go to YouTube and find her cool videos from the 80s that are appropriate for her age, etc. I really enjoy those times when we just hang out.

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