When I strike up a conversation with someone and it turns to my chronic illnesses, it never fails that they will in the end ask; “What are your limitations?”
I honestly don’t really know how to answer this because I don’t see it as limitations.
So often I will explain like this:
It’s six thirty am and your daughter has just come in the room. She wakes you up. One eye raised.. ” Yes can I help you?”
“I am ready to get up mama.”
“okay” and then it hits. You hurt. Oh no, the flu. Not only do you hurt. You hurt everywhere.On a scale of one to ten you are at a four. Every muscle being used to push you up to a sitting position is screaming. You stretch a bit and at first it helps. Then one of your muscles spasm as you are stretching and now your pain level just went up two points. You are now at a level six in pain. You haven’t even had coffee yet.
Stumble to the pot. Muscles are not happy and your not sure you can count on them. You super focus on the coffee pot to make sure the coffee makes it from the pot to the mug. Right next to the coffee pot is medications. You take some advil to help. So you take your meds and you wait. You sit and sip our coffee and keep half an eye on the daughter. Waiting for medications and coffee to start working. Of course now your daughter is trying to get cereal and serve herself. Lets say today it actually goes from the box to the bowl. Novel idea I know. Fifteen minutes later the dogs are ready for a walk. Crap. That means you have to stand up. That means you have to get dressed. Well get to it. Stand up and think Wow this flu is really kicking my butt today.
Fully dressed you take the dogs and your daughter on a walk. The dogs pull a bit hard in their excitement for a walk. Your muscles let you know loud and clear they are not happy.
Get back to the house. Plop into a chair.
“Mommy play with me. I wanna play tea party.”
Just the thought of getting down on her level makes you groan.
Twenty minutes later she wants to go outside and play. Take the dogs with you and that is fine.
Oh quiet house. Oh sweet peace. You look over to the kitchen. Oh look there are dishes left to be washed.
Getting up requires help from the couch or a nearby chair and lots of groaning and if you are lucky your knees won’t crack. or your ankle.
Standing upright makes everything hurt more. You can do this though. Its just muscle aches. Right? Its just the flu. Five minutes into washing the dishes your lower back hurts so much that you must sit. Someone seriously must be back there stabbing your back. This is not so much the flu.
Finish the dishes and make lunch for your daughter. Oh. You should probably eat something too. You are not really that hungry.
The advil is wearing off and you are climbing the pain scale to seven.
After lunch you realize you started laundry the night before. Time to move it from the washer to the dryer. It seems like a simple task. So why at the end of it are you almost panting and definitely sweating? Its such a little thing but all you can think of is sitting down again. Your arms are telling you loud and clear that if you even attempt to pick up a water bottle, your hands will not hold it. It will fall. This will require bending over to get it. Your back says…oh yeah? you want to do that? I don’t
FINALLY its time to take more advil.
The fatigue is really pulling on you. You would love nothing more than to lay down and perhaps take a nap. THAT is not happening.
Check in on the kid who has been in her room playing. No wait. You don’t really want to know. Lets go take out something for dinner THEN look in on her. That way at least the meat will be defrosting.
You walk into your daughters room to find, every book off the book shelf, my little ponies are shrewn through out the room. *insert the worst case scenario if kid is under five*
Dinner, perhaps should start being cooked now. The thought of standing to cook just makes you want to cry.
Your husband comes home and wouldn’t it be nice if he immediately just took over? Well , about that….. He does need a few minutes to destress a bit and just be home for a minute or two.
Some how you have functioned with pain levels of six to seven maybe you even approached eight at one point.
Dinner is served.
Now the dreaded bedtime routine. Shower and teeth brushing and hair brushing. None of this is really something you can do sitting down. You use the bathtub to clean the kid because you can sit down. Leaning in to actually wash the child however makes your back scream in pain.
Phew bedtime is over. There is not a muscle or a joint that doesn’t hurt. YOu are so tired you could probably fall asleep standing up. Time for some more Advil and change into Pajamas.
You survived. The day is done. The family was fed. The house was taken care of , for the most part. Phew.
Oh one more thing. This is how you will feel for the rest of your life. This day was your baseline on the pain and joint pain. THIS day is what you tend to use to judge what your pain is later on.
Not only do you have to get up tomorrow and do it all over again . You get to feel this way or worse EVERY SINGLE DAY.