Saturday, September 11, 2010

Slowing down

I've noticed recently that it feels like my body is running out of steam.  Everything is taking me longer.  Everything I do is harder. 
(Sorry for the slight rant)

I drop half of what I pick up.  I can't sit down as long as before.  When I'm sitting down or lying in bed, I have to use my arms to shift myself.  It's not like I feel exhausted after performing a simple task like folding laundry--it's that somehow folding laundry has turned into running a military obstacle course while taking a calculus test.  It makes me feel like an ass.

People ask me what I did with my day.  It's a common question.  What did you do today?  I dread it.  I feel like I'm being scrutinized every time.   I tell them: I checked my email, changed the guinea pig cage, called a couple of doctors' offices to straighten out appointments/prescriptions, did dishes, and made dinner. 

And the response I get most of the time is along the lines of, "Is that all?" 

And here I am feeling like I have just survived being drawn and quartered.  Everything hurts.  And when you have chronic pain, sometimes I'm not sure people understand what it means when you say, I hurt.  You hurt all the time.  This isn't news, right?  No, this is very different.

Say everyone has a baseline of pain.  Healthy people?  Baseline of no pain.  People with chronic pain?  Baseline of X amount of pain.  All day, all the time.  Docs have told me that there isn't much to do about this--that chronic pain is chronic.  Get used it, pretty much.  And I do, enough to continue to have a positive look on life and manage as well as I do.  But I never get used to it enough that I can forget about it or that it goes away.  Or that other or new pain doesn't hurt.  So when I say, I hurt, I mean that the shit that is going on is way above my baseline level and is seriously fucking me up.  But of course, even though I feel this way, I still get the, "Well, what else did you?"

No.  You aren't listening.  I checked my email--given this is the easiest thing I did.  I changed the guinea pig's cage.  This took over an hour not including breaks.  Sure it didn't used to take that long, but that's when I had hands that worked and didn't drop 75% of the old bedding, piggie poop, and new bedding on the floor.  I talked to doctors' offices.  Have you ever dealt with big medical offices?  On hold, transferred, cut off, on hold, on hold, transferred.  No idea how long that took.  I did dishes--again, breaks in between each dish to lay down on the couch.  I made dinner which took over four hours.  It wasn't even like a fancy souffle or something.  I just work slower now.  I have to do a little, go lay down, and then come back to it.  By the end of that, all I could do was eat a little and go lie down for good. 

And when I say I took a break to lie down, please don't think it's like a refreshing 30 minute nap or that I plop down on the couch and go, ahhhh.  This is a lot more like fetal position, slow measured breathing, and a pull it together mantra.

I feel like I'm working my ass off.  It doesn't put me in the mood to get disappointed looks.  (Mind you, the people I interact with on a daily basis and really know me do not have this reaction.  They generally tell me I did too much.)

In short, I am frustrated.  Yes, I realize that most people can do in under two hours what I can do in a day.  Yes, I understand that most people can do these things while working full-time. Yes, I feel pathetic most times all on my own without needing you to point it out for me.  No, I am not being lazy.  I have three chronic, incurable conditions; remember those?  Yes, I'd love to be able to do more with my day.  D'uh.

Do I want someone else to do these things for me so I can just rest my joints?  Hell no!  I plan to work my flat ass as hard as I can work it until it drops.  I don't mean push it until I pass out.  I mean work at a reasonable pace so that by the end of the day I feel that A. I got something accomplished, and B. I feel tired and a little sore, like I worked.  Because ultimately that's what I want to do.  So, why you gotta give me attitude about it, world?


  1. Awesome post!!!
    I was just going to post about the same thing, instead I'll add a link to this.
    Yeah, the whole trying to function like a normal person thing is like doing a triathlon everyday.

    p.s. doing things like a normal person is over-rated anyway.

    Just keep swimming,swimming,swimming xx

  2. Thanks, Flexie. This has been bothering me for a few weeks now as I've been noticing it more and more. Maybe it's cropping up with the change of seasons? It's so annoying when you feel super proud of your accomplishments and someone has to bring you down by saying something like, "Oh I could do that with my hands tied behind my back." Except you practically DID it with your hands tied.
    It's fine--we're doing great. We are cripple-athletes everyday. Secret strongmen in a weird life-carnival.

  3. I went to a birthday party on the weekend. I felt so bad that I couldn't help with anything. I couldn't do the dishes, or pass out the cake... All I could do was be less of a burden on other people. I got up and got my own cup of coffee... Hobbled over to watch the kids on the trampoline. By the end of the day, as a spectator, I was exhausted... I needed 3 percocets to get through the next day (barely).

    I know how you feel.