Friday, 28 November 2014

Overstimulation VS Fatigue

The other day I spent some unexpected time with my granddaughter, one of those sick kids kind of days. She had a bad cough, lingering sore throat and I took her to the doctor as her Mom had appointments out of town.

We had a good day, out for lunch after the doctor’s appointment, shopping in Walmart while we waited for her prescription, and home for a movie. It was fun, detailed in my other blog yesterday.

The reality of it all was I was dead tired after she left, but that was normal after a busy day. I went to bed early, had the hockey game on and my book, the heating pad at my back. I fell asleep and was out for a couple of hours then woke wide eyed and busy tailed.

At 4 am I was still awake, got up, played some computer games and went back to bed again. Finally, at about six, I drifted off and slept until after nine, and repeated that pattern until noon. Awake, short sleep, awake.

I should have been tired enough to sleep the night away, instead I had a restless night. It’s such a contradiction, when my eyes are so tired I can barely keep them open, can’t read, and yet when I close my eyes I can’t sleep.

Sometimes I think it’s my body reacting to too much activity, to overstimulation, and it can’t adjust to the quiet time, can’t slow down as it should except by small degrees, hence the nap, wake, nap routine.

Or maybe I need to push through the evening, settle to bed at a more normal time and quit giving in to those 7 pm naps. Whichever way it works, it was a sleepless night and I’ll have to push myself to accomplish anything over the next few days. But it was worth it. The good outweighing the bad.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Pain, Fatigue and now the Weather

It’s bad enough to have to fight a daily battle with pain and fatigue, but with winter I have to consider the weather, too. It’s very disheartening to want to go or do something, only to be put off because of the threat of rain or snow.

I have become such a chicken-shit driver in bad weather. It started a few years ago, along with my extreme nervousness at driving in the dark. As we got deeper into fall and then had the time change, I saw my excursions out being limited, like I had a curfew to be home by sunset.

My lunch dates with my friend and my brother get put on hold, unless it looks clear, and I mean clear like that phrase on the weather report that says “No precipitation expected within the next 24 hours”. And even then it’s a rush to get home or at least close to home before dark.

Right now, we’ve hit a bit of a mild spell and I need to get the last of my Christmas shopping done. The days are counting down, and time is running out.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Over Did and Done

The first challenge of the day was to clean a week’s worth of snow off the windshield of my vehicle. Again, I ask myself why I drive a van, but any worthwhile and valid reason escapes me right now.

After a lot of reaching, pushing and swiping I got the car clear. It’d mild out, just above freezing, so it might have melted, but I had errands.

Two stores, I made it through two stores, and felt proud of myself that I planned ahead, took the flyer with me and got items I wanted at the sale price, offered elsewhere. Bless all the angels for Price Check.

I wasn’t sure I was going to make it out of the 2nd store. The clerk was smiling and friendly, but so slow. I had to ask her to stop jamming everything in the one bag or I’d never be able to lift it. I was leaning over the cart for a reason, taking deep calming breaths, groaning, yes, I groaned out loud, the pain was that bad.

At home I made a decision what could stay in the car, weather wise as it was going to freeze again, and at that point I would gladly have let it be me. Took two trips, the walker loaded down so I had to shove it through the ice and snow on the road, and still the car is full. I admit not all that’s in the car is from today.

So, I’m sitting here, with a cold drink I needed so badly, (why is the air in stores so dry?) with a fig bar for my late breakfast, trying to calm the pain. This will be a grab a book, and a heating pad kind of day, but for now I just want to sit.

I have a bottle of Advil in my bedside table, one in the kitchen cupboard and I see I didn’t think ahead to have one beside my chair. The pain pills will have to wait until I’ve gathered the strength to move.

The skies are a bit grey now, but for a few minutes earlier, the sun was shining and the air had an invigorating snap to it, pleasant for the short time I spent outdoors. It’s not even the end of November and the ground is covered in snow, a sign we’re in for another long winter?

And speaking of winter, all my good thoughts go to everyone in Buffalo, buried under a mammoth snow fall, six feet and with more to come. Take care people.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Heavy Feet

Is anyone out there dreading the coming of winter for the same reason as me...heavy footwear?

Cold, wet weather means boots, and boots are heavy, compared to crocs or sandals. For years I’ve gotten away with a sturdy pair of running shoes in lieu of boots. Since I usually only venture out on plowed roads and shovelled walkways, it worked.

There was the odd time, when I had to clean off my windshield and the area around my car had not been shovelled, that I found myself walking in deeper snow. My running shoes proved inadequate and my feet froze. Last year I found a break in the seal between the sole and the upper shoe. It didn’t affect the appearance of the shoe but it assured every venture out in wet weather I would get a soaker.

So, I’m in the market for a pair of boots and need to find something functional, and light in weight. Heavy boots just add to my fatigue.

And then there’s my winter coat. I bought it years ago when I used to go and stand on the bridge for the Highway of Heroes cavalcade. I liked that it was long and covered me from neck to below my knees. But that coat is so heavy. If I’m out shopping I feel the weight of it and it drags me down. I take it off if I’m shopping where I have a cart, but if the choice is wear it or carry it, I wear it.

Simple little things, not something you’d see on any list of items that affect fatigue, but these are a couple that really do it for me. When I buy the boots I’m going to buy a new coat. My 2nd winter coat is worn, with a broken zipper. I could get away with it on milder days but it doesn’t look like we’re going to have too many mild days this winter. I want a ¾ coat, long enough to cover my back.

We had snow today. Just a light dusting but enough that it stayed on the ground. I think I’d better plan to get some shopping done soon, wouldn’t want to be caught unprepared.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

MS Check List

You remember when you go for an MRI and they hand you that check sheet, the one about metal implants, tattoos, piercings etc.?

Here’s another list, only this one is a list of MS Symptoms. “Do you now or have you ever experienced....”

I could place a check mark beside each one.

Unfortunately, the symptoms don't come one at a time, but in unpredictable combinations. I have to laugh at the last one, "Fatigue is common"....I'd say the fatigue is overwhelming. You can never understand how truly debilitating it is unless you experienced it for yourself. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Shower Fatigue

Feeling well rested after a weekend of early to bed, not so early to rise, and lots of naps. Have to go out tomorrow so today is bath day. Doesn't seem like that should be a big deal, but for me it is.

Gone are the days I can get up, shower, dress and go out. All that activity requires a nap. So I schedule baths and/or showers before bed the night before, which hopefully means instead of a nap, I'll get a good night's sleep.

I also need to do the laundry, so I'm thinking, laundry this morning, nap, bath, early to bed, but I'll still be worn out for tomorrow.

I guess I'll put the laundry off until...maybe Thursday. After being out all day tomorrow I'll have to have a down day Wednesday, the after effects of being busy. Maybe by Thursday I'll be ready to get up and out.

That woman who worked long hours, in a very stressful and responsible job, and raised two kids alone seems like a figment of my imagination. She's gone...poof...nothing left but a shell.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sleep, Sleep and More Sleep

Wow, I’ve actually stayed awake for five hours, first time since Friday. Talk about fatigue, but I do think it was sleep I needed.

Pain was getting me down and I went to bed with my heating pad, early Friday evening. I slept for a couple of hours, and woke, tried to read and slept again. This continued, off and on as I needed the odd bathroom break, until noon on Saturday.

I was playing on the computer, no energy for anything else, and found myself back in bed at three in the afternoon, not coming to until after seven. A quick bite to eat and I was back in bed, reading, only to awaken a few hours later the book clasped in my hand. I turned over and went back to sleep.

Now it’s Sunday and I’ve been up since 8am, but I’m tired and looking fondly at my bed. It’s a relief to know I’ve at least accomplished something. I wrapped some Christmas presents and have written about 2500 words in my current book. But I can feel my brain slowing down, and find it harder to concentrate.

The pain is back, right shoulder and arm, this time, so I think some time with the heating pad is in order.

First I think I should grab some lunch. If the last few days are any indication, I may miss dinner, again. I wonder if Swiss Chalet has home delivery? That sounds as close to a homecooked meal as I’ll get this weekend.

Such is life. Sleep when you can, be as active as possible when the opportunity presents.

Saturday, 8 November 2014


I wrote yesterday about how silly I felt, being housebound and running low on toilet paper. I know it’s not a life or death situation, it’s just another piece of this puzzle that’s managing life.

I know I could have made a call and my daughter or a friend could have dropped some TP off, and we’d have had a good laugh about it. If I got down to desperate times I could have pushed myself to go next door, to ‘borrow’.

It’s the bigger picture. I was in the store, Walmart, where I do most of my shopping, (one stop shopping works for a reason) a few days after the hospital visit, as I needed to get my new prescription filled.

In our Walmart the grocery section runs front to back, on the right side of the store. Books and yarn in the middle, pharmacy, pet supplies and seasonal to the left. I went left, dropped off my prescription, toured through and got the yarn I needed and headed to the produce section.

When the pager signaled my meds were ready. So was I, tired and in pain, I had to cross the store again to pick it up. I never made it to the rear of the store where the toilet paper was located, and forgot all about it in my need to get done and get home.

That’s how I found myself a week later in dire straits. OK, that’s a bit dramatic, but I hate when things don’t get done because of fatigue, or I’ve forgotten something because of brain fog. I’m ignoring some things that need to get done, wasting time with unimportant stuff, and denying that I’m not coping.

And denial is a tough way to go through life.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Toilet Paper, a Necessity

Just sat down with my coffee, before I tackle whatever the day will bring. It must be cold out; I can feel the difference in the air, still have my thermometer set on low.

The strain of doing the bazaar last week took its toll. My back was a wreck and I could barely move the rest of the weekend. Monday and Tuesday were rough, but getting better. It’s amazing how much I’m paying for that moment of weakness. But it will all be worth it if everyone likes their Christmas gifts I purchased from other vendors.

I had to get out, needed some essentials at the store, but waited until Wednesday when I had a meeting to attend. Funny, the meeting was held in the same hall as the bazaar, same uncomfortable chairs.

At any rate, I’m home, contemplating the next few days of writing, crafting and can relax, as I got those necessities. Not to sound dramatic or anything, but...

In pain, unable to walk, for those few days I was home I stressed, watching my basket of toilet paper dwindle down to one single roll. It put a bit of a rush on the going out thing, toilet paper is not something you want to run out of, especially if you take a water pill and pee as frequently as the pill makes me pee.

But now my basket is full, and I can relax and pee with no worries. And pee I will be. After the episode a week ago that ended with my visit to the hospital, I was directed to take the water pill twice daily for a few days, then daily.

My intentions are always good; I did take the Lasix twice a day for a couple of days. Then I had to go out, and I can’t take it unless I’m home and close to the bathroom. So I went without that day and the next few, even though the going out wasn’t the reason.

Should have known better, because over the next few days I was full of fluid again, could see it in my legs and feet, feel it in my breathing. Yesterday, I took it twice as ordered and have taken one already today.

God, I hate being this old dog, too stupid to learn the new tricks.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Turn Back the Clock

On Saturday night we were to turn back the clock, you know that spring forward, fall back part of Daylight Savings Time. I wished I could turn back the day, or maybe even better, the month.

I had a friend ask if I wanted to participate in a bazaar at the local Legion. I had done a series of craft shows a few years ago and found it fun. As I had a collection of hats, mitts and scarves made last winter, and with the cold weather upon us, I said yes, I’d love to take part. I was thinking of getting rid of the accumulated stuff, I thought, but in the back of my mind I think it was a bit of that ‘need to do’ that had me agreeing.

I act, and was almost 100% to the point of acceptance, that this kind of activity is beyond me. I guess I needed that last test to finally, once and for all, be convinced.

It’s not just the long hours of the bazaar, the sitting in hard and uncomfortable chairs with no back support, it’s the preparation, the packing and moving and lifting of boxes of goods to display. I had help loading the car, and unloading, but there’s still a lot of bending and such in getting things unpacked. But we got it done.

The rest of the day was a pleasant, talking with people, having one-to-one time with my granddaughter. But every trip I made to the bathroom I was stiffer, more tired and in more pain. By the time my daughter and son-in-law came to help pack up I was in distress.

I barely made it across the street to the parking lot, and was glad for the few minutes I could sit before I parked at home and had to walk to the door. I spent the rest of the night in bed, loaded up on pain meds and with the heating pad to my back. I never got up, except for a few trips to the bathroom where I leaned heavily on furniture and doorways, until almost noon on Sunday.

That proved to be another lost day as I couldn’t sit for long, and spent most of the day in bed, my heating pad my new best friend. Today has been better. I had to get up to put the garbage out, although I never got it to the curb, but left it about a foot from my door. The maintenance man who collects it for the complex will understand.

Saturday I called my daughter and told her to say it, say that big “I told you so!” I knew she was thinking. I learned my lesson, the hard way, of course, but I won’t be signing up for any bazaars or Christmas fairs, not again.

I have to admit it is hard giving up things I like to do, and sometimes, even with the pain and immobility I’m suffering right now, it was worth it. I kept myself busy last winter when going out was...out of the question, and had quite a pile of crocheted items. I make stuff for friends and family, but let’s be reasonable, how many hats does one person need.

I decided to take a page from GG’s book. GG stands for great grandmother, my daughter-in-law’s grandmother, the GG a designation for her children. She makes hats and mitts throughout the year and donates them to various charities. I think I’ll research and see what charity suits me and make that my winter project this year.
When I’m mobile again I’m going to take the items I had left after the bazaar and donate them to the women’s shelter.

I’ll give in a bit, OK maybe a lot, but I’m not going to give up, not yet.