It sometimes amazes me that staying organized can be so easy at some times and so difficult at others. When we’re on vacation, it doesn’t matter how busy we are or how many items are on our “agenda.” I seem to be able to keep it all straight – though I will admit to having to ask my husband what day it is when we’re on vacation. At least I know, if it’s say Tuesday, what we’re planning to do on Tuesday.
Home is another story. There are three of us to keep track of. Ever since my kids were young and still in school, I have kept a calendar on the wall. Everything goes on that calendar!!! Everything!!! Doctor appointments, meetings, work schedules, birthdays, church activities, haircuts . . . OOPS!
I had a haircut scheduled for Tuesday at noon. I had been looking forward to it for a week because my hair is getting a little shaggy around the edges. But this is a busier week than most of my weeks. It wasn’t until Wednesday morning, when I was drying my hair and thinking about a meeting I have Thursday night that I remembered the Tuesday haircut appointment. OOPS! As soon as I remembered, I called my hairdresser (we still call them that, here; we’re not upscale enough to have stylists) and apologised for being a “forgetful dumb ass.” No problem she said, and we rescheduled for next Tuesday as she asked if I had any pictures of our last vacation. At least someone remembers something!
For me, this week has been busy. Monday: grocery shopping, call and make arrangements for the water slide passes for my godchild’s birthday, laundry, sort beads for Christmas ornaments for church; Tuesday: haircut (oops), more laundry, dishes, make some sample ornaments; Wednesday: visit my in-laws (actually a fun activity), make plans with husband for Thursday; Thursday: work on getting vacation photos ready to be printed, complete form for weight loss center, husband on jury duty – try to figure out how I will know whether he will be home or not before it’s time to leave for the informational meeting at the weight loss center; Friday: my sister’s and our nephew’s birthdays – did we mail the cards out in time?
It would be a walk in the park for some folks: women with children who aren’t adults; people who don’t have fibromyalgia; people who have energy. It’s very difficult when it gets a little busy and the fibromyalgia flares up in some way. This week I have been fighting the fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia. It’s a war that’s never won.
Fibromyalgia fatigue is not like having a long day (or several long days). It isn’t like getting a bad night’s sleep (for a week). There is no reason for it, except that you have fibromyalgia. It also doesn’t feel like anything else you’ve ever felt. The fatigue in fibromyalgia is like having every single bit of energy drained from your muscles. Your mind may be fairly clear, but your body feels like the proverbial “wet dishrag” or “soggy noodle.” It feels like an effort to breathe. Not that you have shortness of breath or the inability to breathe. But it feels like you have to actually think about breathing to get it done; it’s a major effort for something that you usually do without a second thought. You do have the ability to get things done if you can discipline yourself to get started. You can make dinner or wash dishes. But the effort to overcome the inertia in your body seems Herculean. Once you sit or lie down, you feel like you could just drift away and sleep for a year. Sleep doesn’t help. You still feel the same way when you wake up. Sometimes staying awake is nearly impossible. I have been known to stare at this computer screen for periods of time, taking a mini-nap with my eyes open apparently. It’s like going into a state of suspended animation. That’s the point that I usually give in and go lie down.
Nothing really helps it when it gets that bad. Not the fact that my sleep apnea is treated with a CPAP machine and I really do get a good night’s sleep now. Not the medications that I take to keep me more alert (Ritalin). Not exercise (really, the only exercise I can do is walk; with no energy, there’s a lack of motivation). I have had fibromyalgia for over 40 years (since it had no name and “was all in my head”) and the fatigue is the only symptom that I have not yet come up with a good stategy for. I have learned how to ignore pain or work through it or work in spite of it. But the fatigue is another story entirely. The only thing I’ve come up with at this point, after 40 years of “research,” is to yawn, stretch and tell myself to breathe. I hope I keep listening to myself on that last item. I think it’s ironic that some people work so hard to achieve total relaxation for meditation and I have it thrust upon me unwanted at frequently inopportune times.
Today is a little better than earlier in the week. Of course, with the fatigue of fibromyalgia, that’s not really saying much. Kind of like saying “I poured a cup of water into the ocean, so the ocean is now bigger than it was.” It’s all relative. But I will have to disciple myself today because I have a very important meeting at the weight loss center this evening. And maybe a short nap this afternoon. Because if my husband isn’t home from jury duty early enough, I’ll have to drive myself into the city for this meeting. Now that would be an adventure with no energy! I’ll let you know how it goes – if I remember!