Doing the Laundry When You Have Chronic Fatigue


“I’ve been sitting here for an hour, trying to summon up enough energy to go downstairs and load the washing machine. Before that, I had taken a nap, but now I need a nap to recover from the first nap.

If I were Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming came along to place a delicate kiss upon my lips, thus waking me from a 100 years of slumber, I would high five his face with my fist and ask why he felt the need to wake me. Will this tiredness never cease?

OK, I’m gonna go and load the washing… right after I take a nap…”

This was from a  Facebook status that I had posted earlier on in the day. Ten minutes after taking that nap, I eventually begun the process of loading the washing machine… but not before pushing the laptop aside and taking yet another nap. After a bit of self berating which included the words, “Get your large derriere off the bed,” I decided to take down and fold the clothes that had been drying on the rack in my room. Yes, I do have an outside washing line, but the upper arm strength needed to reach up and peg bits of materials onto a line takes athletic skill and great prowess. It also means a walk through a garden so overgrown, I fear that I may be attacked by poisonous Amazonian spiders bigger than my face, or trip over a well-concealed dead body. And so I sat gently on the side of my bed and prepared to fold laundry like a boss. And I did… on my back… with my eyes closed…without said laundry being folded.

Thirty minutes had now elapsed and I awoke surrounded by the pink blossom scent of my child’s underpants. Like an origami amateur, I quickly folded the clothes into shapes that could not be defined, gathered up the dirty laundry and proceeded to head downstairs. The journey downstairs felt more like a trek across the Gobi dessert, and instead of walking down 13 steps, I was battling sand storms and sedimentary dunes. Reaching my destination, and by destination, I mean chair, I threw the clothes haphazardly upon it, and then sat on top of the mountain of washables.

Twenty minutes idly passed by. Twenty minutes that could have been utilized by doing something more construction or more productive, but instead, I spent the time dreaming about a man watching me from the not-so-far reaching corners of my attic. And that’s when I spied cheese… lots of cheese. It was everywhere. On the glass table, the DVD shelf, the CD cabinet, the floor and sacrilegiously and almost criminally, on my album covers. It appears that unbeknown to me, my child had gotten himself a side job as a rat catcher. And so I scrapped, and wiped and rued the day he was born, before assembling the Hoover and commencing operation “cheese-grate.”

Now I really did need a nap. A fire breathing dragon had scorched my back or at least that’s what it felt. The fiery tendrils of flames soon licked along my hips and down my thighs, and my ankles and feet had become so swollen, they begun to meld as one. I had cankles. This time the nap only lasted for 10 minutes, but the pain and swelling in my feet made it virtually impossible to walk. My back still burned and I’m sure I felt a couple of already loose discs, slip further down by spine. But on I pushed to the ultimate goal. The kitchen.

At this point, I may have cried a little, just a sniffle, but my tears were soon abated when I saw where the Battle Of Waterloo had really taken place… my kitchen. It was a battlefield. I immediately set about writing my child’s last will and testimony, because a murder was going to take place once he arrived home from school.

Placing the washing on a nearby table, I cleaned to the best of my ability, which is not saying very much. By now I was hunched over like a wizened old crone, the pain no longer allowing me to stand upright. I gave up on the dishes though. To do that would mean balancing on one elbow so that I didn’t collapse, while attempting to wash the dishes with the other.

Finally, the end was in sight. I grabbed the clothes and wincing as I bent down, placed them inside the washing machine, jiggled with the settings and pushed “on.” Mission accomplished. It was only when I had reached the confines of my bed, exhausted beyond belief, and after literally crawling up the stairs because of the immense pain, that I realized I had put the clothes on the wrong cycle. “Never mind,” I thought, “I’ll go and reset it in a minute.” At which point, I promptly took a nap.

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