Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pain & Perspective II

It's been 4 1/2 months since I've been blogging. When I last wrote about this I thought I was back; if not totally well, then better. What I learned was better is not enough. In many ways worse was actually better. When I was worse I could focus solely on getter better. As I healed I returned to regular activity, but I wasn't better. Regular activity left me sore and achey. 10 months later there are still things I can't do. I've resumed driving, but too much leaves me in pain. Long trips are almost unbearable, but no longer unavoidable. My garden is a disaster, with not hope in sight. After five years it was finally at a point where I could control and build it. Next year will be like starting over. Working two days in a row causes me pain. I simply can't sit at a desk that long. Looking at a computer screen, whether at work or at home is a problem. By the end of the day I can't bear to spend more time on the computer, whether email, Facebook, or blogging. Shopping is impossible. I keep trying, but pushing a shopping cart, packing bags, or loading and unloading groceries mean days of painkillers.

There are still adjustments. Mornings are longer and later . I need to do my stretches each morning, but earlier wake up times leave me exhausted. My sleep still isn't what it used to be. For the kids, this meant they were still getting to school late, even on days when I drove them. I've learned to automatically turn by body in bed and slide my legs straight off instead of swinging them down. Two days of swinging my legs causes pain in my right knee (my so-called good knee). I remind myself to change my position often. When cooking, I try to remember to wear crocs and stand on a pad. The floor is simply too hard.

I'd like to think the pain will still go away, but I'm beginning to doubt. I've learned the interconnectedness of my body. I tore cartilage in my right knee. That will never heal; beyond occasional pain it's not debilitating. So, no surgery. I understand and agree. Unfortunately this caused me to walk oddly. That caused the sciatica, which led me to to meds and lack of aerobic exercise, plus (admittedly) some stress eating (more on that later). This led to weight gain, causing more problems with the back and the knee. I've also noticed what I think is arthritis in my big toe. My entire right side now needs replacement.

I've also realized that the worst of it all is exhaustion. It's all I can do to get through a day. I move slower. Tasks take twice the time, and my days are longer. On Shabbat my body shuts down. My body knows, subconsciously, that Shabbat is a day for rest. It's not unusual for me to fall asleep early Friday night, followed by 6-7 hours of sleep on Saturday.

Of course this isn't all, but that is another entry. For now, it's time I took more time for myself, more time to relax, to shut down, to sleep. I need to get back to exercising. I need to revamp my diet, no more grabbing whatever's easy. I have to plan menus making sure the right foods are in the house. Sean and the kids were wonderful, but in the end, if I don't make my meals (at least breakfast and lunch and plan dinner) the are inevitably things I shouldn't eat, leaving me hungry and needy. I need to sleep enough each night, difficult due to pain and the piles of papers and projects that have built up through the past ten months.

Most of all I need to try to put me first. I'll let you know how that goes.

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