Young woman is doing morning stretching in bed, rear view

Today I Wasn't Chronically Ill


Today, I got up out of bed feeling refreshed and full of energy. It had been a long time since I felt this good! I made the bed, let the dog out and jumped in the shower. Surely, I must’ve been dreaming. But, I wasn’t. I knew I had a list of things a mile long I needed to get done. A list that included things from yesterday and the day before that I’d been too sick to do. Today would be the day I’d finally get caught up. I was positively giddy!

I got out my planner and took a long look at the day ahead. Normally I alternate physical work with rest, but not today. I wanted to get everything done and then some. I quickly cleaned our master bathroom, and after I’d made sure the dog had plenty of water and a treat, I set off for a morning of errands.

As I was pulling into the parking lot at Target, I was surprised at how crowded it already was. The disabled places were all taken, but I didn’t mind because I was feeling so good that I’d just park further back in the lot. After all, God knows I could use some exercise. I really wasn’t expecting to find any of the electric carts available, but there were several. But, because I was feeling so well, I wouldn’t need one today. Yay me! I could feel the adrenaline running through my veins as I walked through the store. I looked at the new summer handbags and clothing, wandered through the makeup aisles and ended up back in the grocery section. I was having so much fun! Was my foot starting to get numb? Naw, it had to be my imagination. Today was too good of a day for that. After a half hour of more looking around, I finally ended up in the housewares section where I picked up the ironing board that I’d come to get.

Before I headed home, I stopped by the grocery to get a few things. I needed to pick up my medicine from the in-store pharmacy, so while I was there, I’d get a little shopping done. I was going to stick to my list and hurry in and out as fast as I could. However, on the way into the store, I ran into an old family friend that I hadn’t seen in months. He’s an older man who recently lost his daughter. We must have stood there talking for ten or fifteen minutes. I could feel the blood begin to pool in my feet. My legs were so heavy and tired. But, I couldn’t tear myself away from him. I knew he was hurting and it felt good to feel as if I could be helping someone. After we had wrapped up our conversation, I started shopping. I finally made my way to the pharmacy where I had to stand in line for about 10 more minutes. After getting my meds, I hurried to the front of the store. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait in line for very long. I quickly put my things in my car and headed home.

The 10-minute ride home gave me a bit of a rest and recharge. When I pulled into the driveway, I realized my oldest daughter was home; it would be great to see her again. She helped me put the groceries away, and we chatted for a bit. After she had left, I was headed to take a nap, but then I’d remembered the ironing board I’d bought. I had to get some ironing done. So, I set the new board up and fired up my iron. My arms were a bit sore, but I could do this! Today, I wasn’t chronically ill!

Only, I was still chronically ill; I just didn’t want to be. Ignoring my many symptoms didn’t make them magically go away. And, I didn’t follow my usual activity plan of alternating rest with activity. From my first thoughts of the day about how much I’d be able to accomplish to ignoring my body’s signals of blood pooling, weakness, and pain, I’d completely blown it. I was so mad at myself for breaking what has to be the first rule of chronic illness: Listen to your body. And, while listening to your body, really listen to what your mind is telling you. I so wanted to have an average day of being a middle-aged woman just going about a regular day like everyone else. I’d wanted it so badly that I’d convinced myself that I could do anything. Obviously, that’s not the case.

I know I will pay for today dearly. I didn’t even have that much fun. Next time, if I’m going to ignore my illness, I’d at least like to have a bit more fun. Anyone up for some hula?

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

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