This week I want to expand upon what it is like to have less time to manage. In part one I explained how having less time to manage makes someone who used to manage their time very well, appear as though they need to go back to school. Today I will address the frustration of not knowing how your body will react when you think you have the strength to tackle some projects or errands.
As I explained in part one, while our responsibilities have not lessened, the amount of time that we have to do them has. I wish I could say that when I am blessed with a “good” day that I am able to cram as much activity in those hours as possible without having my body punish me later, but that would be a lie. Truth is that everything I do pisses my body off. I have accepted that I will never “catch” up. I have learned to be thankful and thrilled even when only crossing one or two items off of my to do list. The thing that most who do not suffer from chronic pain assume is that all of my “good” days are the same. Oh how I wish that were true. The reality is that my good days/hours vary as much as my bad days. I never know which part of my body is going to freak out. A perfect example was Saturday morning. Physically my muscles and bones felt up for running a few errands. With a smile on my face I dashed out the front door. Just as I arrived at my first stop my stomach and intestines began to spasm and cramp. Now this had been going on for days because I over exerted myself a few days earlier, I ate something that I knew I shouldn’t have eaten the day before, and mostly because my abdominal adhesions are just playing a nasty game of tug of war with my insides. While in line I was hit with the horrible realization that this was more than just cramps and spasms, I needed to get to a restroom as quick as possible. Of course all the places that I had planned to hit that day did not offer public restrooms, so I returned home. To be honest even if they did have public restrooms, I probably wouldn’t have used them as I prefer not to suffer through an episode of explosive diarrhea in a public restroom unless it is absolutely unavoidable. Thankfully I made it home and onto the toilet before the explosion hit.
This my friends is what is so frustrating for me. I woke up thrilled to feel physically up to accomplishing a few things, but my insides didn’t want to cooperate. All I can do is try, try, try, and try again. The day before my stomach and intestines were happy, but joint and muscle pain kept me chained to my bed. Every day feels like a game of Russian Roullette. Which muscle, bone, or organ will fail me today?
As you may have figured out, there is no way to actually plan how I will be spending my “good” hours. The best I can do is to pick what is most urgent and hope that I am able to accomplish it. If I am unable to finish the task it just goes back onto my ever growing list until the next time I physically feel ready to tackle it. As if not having enough hours to complete everything that I need to wasn’t enough, having to learn how to pace myself was even more frustrating. Let’s say that today is a “good” day and that I have 5 urgent tasks waiting on my list. If I push myself to do all five I will spend additional and unessary days in excruciationg pain. If I stop at the point that I begin to weaken, I will still pay for it, but my downtime will be less than going past my limit. Yet if I only do what I am truly physically capable of I will be lucky to check 1 or 2 items off my list. I am still dumbfounded by just how exhausting physical pain can be and will do everything in my power to limit the amount of pain that I have to experience.
If I were asked for advice on how to deal with the lack of time or quality hours, I would say this: Listen to your body and accept that you will never catch up! Simple, kinda sad, but to the point.
Wishing you a day filled with gentle hugs, smiles, and a few “good” hours,
Tagged: arthritis, bad day, chronic illness, chronic pain, degenerative disc disease, fibro, fibromyalgia, good day, health, invisible disabilities, mental-health, MS, pain, pain pals, psoriatic arthritis, spoonie, spoonies, time management, wheelchair