This month’s prompts from A Chronic Voice are perfect for me right now. In fact, they overlap in so many ways but I will answer them separately as best I can.
Lately, my pain levels have been reminding me that I am all of my almost 60 years and that I am someone with chronic illness. I love going to the dog park with Miley; however, even with my walker, I am not always safe from the dog play. One day last week I was having a difficult time physically and emotionally.
When I got to the park my emotions were already all over the map from pain and the fact I had to cancel two cake orders because I am just not up to the standing, and concentration they require.
Then two of the dogs started barking and they were at just the right pitch to set off my hearing problem. Many sounds are now registering as pain. And I am talking piercing blows to the head. I decided I had to leave when Hank, one of the park pups, decided he wanted an extra treat from my walker before I left. He repeatedly went between me and the walker until I felt the right wheels leaving the ground. I planted my right leg as hard as I could to stay upright and did something serious to my replaced knee. It is now over a week later and I am still having pain in my leg – whether it is related to the initial jolt or not is hard to say.
As for Hank and I, a couple of treats and cuddles later and we are good friends again! Don’t you wish it was like that in the human world?
I have realized that my pacing skills have been lacking lately. For one thing, having a new puppy who has specific needs on a specific schedule is definitely hard on pacing. Getting my writing in along with the very few household chores I can still do AND getting Miley out for her walks and park time is hard enough to juggle without adding self-care, rest and dealing with extra pain.
Pacing has been one of my top coping skills since learning about it in my various chronic pain programs.
Speaking of the chronic pain management programs, I had a very great example of surrendering last week. I mentioned it in a post on the weekend, Chronic Compromises – When “No” Is A Positive Thing. Basically, I had wanted and tried to attend a leadership training course based on a self-management program I had taken around 2009. Either the group would be full or canceled due to not enough people, the destination was too far away, or I was not well enough to attend. Finally, one of the courses was offered just 10 driving minutes from my new home and I was feeling pretty well physically and emotionally. I made it no problem to the first session, driving myself.
I struggled, however, to stay awake during the full day session, and the next morning knew that I could not drive nor did I have the energy for another full day. The course is set up on two consecutive days two weeks in a row and you have to be in attendance for all four sessions to be accredited. I made the decision right then and there that I wouldn’t finish the program and I probably wouldn’t be able to co-lead the 6-week programs (one 2 1/2 hour session per week). It took actually participating but I was very peaceful and positive in my decision and one week later (day 3 for those still in it) I still do not have any regrets.
All these challenges and triumphs have definitely improved my outlook on life. This morning my Hubby was worried about me as the pain in my legs is getting worse instead of better. I knew he wanted to stay home with me but can’t take any more time off work. He has his own health struggles and was off yesterday. He slept most of the day except to eat and to take Miley for her outings which was much appreciated by me (I am sure more than I can ever tell him). So today I told him that I would love for him to stay home but that like every other day I will push on through. And I mean that with all my heart.
Attitude is everything in all aspects of life; however, I think it is even truer when it comes to chronic illness. My attitude in the past might have been “I will push on through” meaning “I’ll do my best to get through this but I am going to make you feel guilty for the next several days/weeks/months.” Now it is more like “I will push on through” meaning I see what you do every day to get through work AND help me and the least I can do is make your sandwiches and take Miley out a few times.”
I am going in a whole different direction with this one. Wednesday morning we got up at our normal time with Hubby taking Miley out to the park and me letting Monkey out onto the balcony before making their breakfasts. We saw water all over our wood floors in the living area and Hubby went to the air conditioner. Sure enough, the container we have to catch the condensation had overflowed. We worked hard to clean up the mess quickly. Then I went into the kitchen only to find another puddle under our brand new dishwasher (which I am learning to dislike more and more each time I use it).
We cleaned up both puddles and put towels down to catch anything else. Hubby did something to the air-conditioner that would stop all the condensation from draining into the container (with fibro-fog I no longer even try to understand these kinds of things). As for the dishwasher, it seemed like a one-time puddle.
So far since there hasn’t been any more free-flowing water around here – though we may get some rain later today.