Friday, August 31, 2012

that old familiar routine

There seems to be an increasing amount of times that I begin to feel (unjustifiably) guilty; at the same time I’m perhaps forgetting many incidents about which I perhaps should have felt guilt. The recent feelings of guilt are invariably related to my (chronic) illness; I can’t help but feel that my inability to socialize, or even far too frequently not being able to go out anywhere at all, places an unfair imposition on my beloved OH.

For the past several weeks I seem to have reverted to an older pattern of routine discomfort. Shatteredness is my routine daily state of being; far too frequently my sluggish emergence from the duvet lair necessitates a further rest after the effort of getting dressed. 

My gradual emergence into the new day, from the nocturnal duvet realm, usually takes place between 10.30 and 11.00am. On a good day, after a reviving intake of caffeine, I’ll go up to the garden pond to feed the fish and, stamina permitting, water the tomato plants in the greenhouse. If it’s a really good day I’ll maybe saunter, stout walking stick enabled, to the neighbourhood parade of shops; other times it will simply be back indoors for a rest.

Unfortunately, at present, I lack the concentration or attention span to settle down to read and enjoy any of the seductive volumes that can be found in abundance chez nous. Where once I enjoyed reading, both for pleasure and study purposes, I now impatiently await those rare intervals when a sufficiency of both physical and emotional stamina is available.

A variability in times it takes for sundry muscular, joint, and other aches and searing pains to set in (and drain my stamina reserves) means that my body imposes a need for further laying down rest any time from early to late afternoon. By this time I’ve often had to don wrist and elbow supports to help ease quite severe discomfort in my limbs. When ma belle is at home she easily recognizes when such rest is needed as pallor suddenly sets in.

By 9.00pm, or shortly thereafter, acute tiredness envelops me, and aided by a dose of amitriptylene and some tramadol to ease pain and muscular spasms, I head up the wooden stairs in anticipation (rarely, if ever, fulfilled) of a good nights sleep!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

a little bit forward and a few steps back

 After thirteen hours bed rest, and subsequent slow saunter downstairs and into the kitchen, I boldly strove to prepare a curry for Sunday and at least one subsequent day’s dinner. It turned out to be one of the most satisfactory curries I’ve ever produced from scratch; a subtle balance between heat and flavour (or spice and other ingredients) proved most enjoyable.


After my recent achingly exhausted days, I started to feel as if a modest recovery was in the offing. Before dinner I wandered up to the garden pond to feed the fish and then watered the tomato plants in the greenhouse.


Mid-afternoon a painful ache in my left wrist was swiftly followed by a throbbing pain in the elbow of the same limb. I swiftly strapped up the aching joints to make myself feel  a little more comfortable*. Within ten minutes my lower limbs were afflicted with a dull throbbing ache whilst I simultaneously began to feel dizzily light-headed. By this time my face had, apparently, drained of all colour – an appropriate pallor to accompany an essential lying down to rest.


It wasn’t long before a nausea inducing discomfort in the armpits took its rightful place alongside aching knees and ankles. All that was needed to complete the picture was a recurrence of the abdominal spasms; fortunately this symptom was only mildly represented on this occasion.


The adventure continues.
*unfortunately this didn't preclude a necessary resorting to some heavy duty pain-killers

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pacing can be a Pain


 Since yesterday lunch-time the discomfort has become quite extreme, in fact I don’t know why I try to soften the sentiment by substituting the word discomfort for what has ranged from excruciating pain through agonizing, nausea inducing, aches.  For several days back pains have flared up, presumably related to the herniated disc, to the extent that it has proved virtually impossible to find a comfortable position seated, reclining, or attempting to shuffle about, for considerable periods of time.


For a couple of days my lower limbs have had that achingly rubbery feel that I always used to associate with a bad bout of flu. Cervical and axillary lymph nodes, in neck and armpits, have once again taken on a most disconcerting tenderness, as if striving to draw my attention away from those aches that seem to flit between elbows and wrists. Gosh, as I write this down, it’s just dawning on me what bodily excitements I bear witness to.


Chronic abdominal spasms, and erratic spasms of irritation in the upper digestive tract, make almost perfect companions to the not infrequent chest pains. It’s almost as if some great controller has decided that no part of my torso or limbs should feel lonesome; I must admit that my body’s erratic thermostat, with the dance between overheated and over-chilled clamminess, is beginning to feel absolutely normal.


A couple of weekends ago, I was so proud of my achievement in attending two events

of moderate socializing on consecutive days, but within thirty–six hours payback had well and truly kicked in. On the Monday, after the social weekend, it came as something of a surprise to hear my GP utter those unexpected words, “don’t push yourself”. When it comes to an illness like ME, there couldn’t be any more sensible words of warning. Trouble is, on those rare occasions, when one feels able to manage a modest amount of exertion, it’s not always obvious where the boundaries lie.


Pacing is so vital but, at times, one seems to be set on an almost interminable learning curve.  

Thursday, August 09, 2012

a joyous combination

A wonderful combination of garden, sunshine, and gentle breeze helps lift the spirits. Having fed the goldfish in the pond, and watered the tomato plants (both in the greenhouse and the great outdoors), a sit down on the garden bench, slightly shaded from the sunshine’s full glare, provided a rich reward.

Birds, bees and butterflies, a kind of fluttering congregation, hovered and winged around in close proximity to me. I couldn’t really say whether they were oblivious to, or acceptingly aware of, my presence. I even enjoyed the shadow play on an adjacent wall, an animated conversation between shadow and light.

It was almost as if this simple celebration boosted the efficacy of the preceding dose of tramadol. If only thinking positive thoughts could provide a cure, today I’d be the healthiest creature on planet earth.

Unfortunately, there are too many occasions when even the necessary stamina for true relaxation is in abeyance.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

a lack of progress report

It happened again yesterday, on my way back home from dropping in a repeat prescription request form; I bumped into an acquaintance of mine from my more active days of yore and His (seemingly inevitable) first comment was about how well I looked. I had to admit that I’d had worse days; after all, it’s only on those most welcome better days I get out for even a short gentle stroll.

In the past few weeks all my endeavours to walk down to ‘Open Church’ have been thwarted by a combination of rubber leg syndrome, aching joints, and a disturbingly acute onset lack of stamina. Even the utilization of a good strong back support and sturdy walking stick do little to alleviate these symptoms. At other times the erratic behaviour of a spastic colon and diverticular disease has prevented me from even venturing away from the house.

This afternoon I set off with my beloved to collect my prescription; this time after walking barely a couple of hundred yards, a return home was essential for me. My legs were suddenly heavy, it felt as if my torso was being supported by two loosely wrapped felt tubes stuffed with sodden kapok. Back in the house I collapsed into my chair as aches and pains raged and spasmed through my right hand side pectoral muscles and across my upper abdomen. A sharp gnawing pain in the left armpit and inner upper arm played a nerve jangling counterpoint.

Totally disorientated, my head felt as if it was stuffed with some heavily brocaded fabric. Sudden unprovoked perspiration oozed from my head and torso as I became frightened by the prospect of fear itself.

The order of horizontality was essential to restore my equilibrium!