My Uncommon Day With a Common Cold and Cerebral Palsy
I got sick this past week. Just a cold, but it still wasn’t easy, due in part to my mild cerebral palsy. Over the years, I’ve developed enough to not need much by way of help, and I usually don’t need assistance walking. Just your patience, please! (And that’s more of a curse than a blessing, although that’s a story for another time.) I’m currently in university studying to be an actor. My story begins in acting class, the final class on my busiest days…
4:00 p.m.: At the halfway mark of our class, my stomach starts to churn. We’re in the middle of reading aloud our next project, so I’m seated in a chair. I ignore my discomfort and hope it goes away. It doesn’t. In fact, it gets worse. We’re given two minutes to stretch and I race to the bathroom, where my stomach rebels. Again, I figure I’m fine, and head back up the two flights of stairs to the classroom. I make it halfway before I realize I’m not. I take my seat in class and act like it isn’t a problem, because I have a habit of doing that.
5:00 p.m.: Class has ended. I’m not fine. All that time seated combined with my illness has made me incredibly weak, and my muscles have begun to ache. I use the chair in which I was seated to support me as I walk. Now my classmates take notice, and ask the question I’m all too familiar with: “Are you OK?” This time I’m honest with them. “No. Not really.” I blame it on a bad bit of food and pack up my things to leave.
7:00 p.m.: I cannot eat supper. All I have done since getting home was change my clothes and lie on the couch. Under a blanket, my tense muscles start to spasm, particularly my legs. My legs don’t usually spasm. It hurts more than I can describe. I attempt to distract myself by watching cartoons.
9:00 p.m.: I decide to go to bed if I want a hope of making it to my midterm the next day. As soon as I lie down it is evident: I cannot get comfortable at all. There is no position known to humankind that is in any way forgiving to my aching muscles.
3:00 a.m.: I wake up with a fever, and the pain I’m in is excruciating. My mom is also awake, and she advises me to take some Tylenol and puts a cold cloth on my head. I’ve returned to the living room at this point and watch a re-run of an old show before deciding to return to my bed an hour later to claim what little rest I can get.
7:00 a.m.: I make the decision not to go to my midterm. I email the professor and send my apologies. My fever has broken, but the pain and spasms have not subsided. My entire body aches. I fall asleep on the couch, although again, I can’t get comfortable at all.
12:00 p.m.: I’ve told my Movement group (another class we take is Expressive Movement) that I’ll FaceTime into the meeting we had scheduled today, and that’s what I do. It’s a preliminary discussion of the project we’re starting. While we discuss, I sit at my kitchen table and eat soup (the first meal I’ve had since feeling under the weather). It’s also the first time I’ve been upright for a while. We make jokes, tease each other, and make progress on our project. I actually feel normal.
1:00 p.m.: The meeting is over, and I’m going back to bed. I decide on my bed this time, and again I can’t get comfortable. After a series of adjustments, I fall asleep an hour later.
5:00 p.m.: I was able to sleep deeply and comfortably. I wake content. The pain in my body has relocated to my neck and head. I eat dinner, take a shower, and prepare to return to my regular schedule tomorrow. I’ll be taking it easy the next day, easing my muscles back into my routine!
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock photo by Monkey Business Images.