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That Hopeful Moment When You Wake Up Feeling Healthier Than Usual

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That heavenly moment between sleeping and waking. The moment when everything is as it should be. Perfect.

Just as your brain is telling your eyes to open, reality comes flooding back and it hits you like a wave, and as each memory from the day before consumes you, threatening to drown you in despair, you realize something is different, and that despair is instantly replaced with euphoria.

You notice that although you feel groggy, you also feel rested. Like you have slept, and that sleep has replenished your energy stores.

You stretch, open your eyes, and wait. Wait for the all-too-familiar bus to sneak up and knock you into a brick wall. But it doesn’t.

Your mind starts to race. Can it be? Can today be the day that your body decides that it no longer hates you? Will you actually be able to get stuff done? Have a shower? Brush your teeth? Cook? The excitement is almost too much to bear. You can take your daughter to school, give her a kiss at the gates. Walk home and feel the sun kiss your shoulders.

You get up, still full of energy and now full of hope. Walk down the stairs and into the living room, to find your partner asleep on the sofa. He has selflessly set up camp down there in order to give you sole use of the bed in the hope that you will get the rest you so desperately need. You hear your daughter stirring upstairs, and just as you’re about to tell her the news that she has been longing for all week, that you are well enough to accompany her, you walk into the kitchen and you change your mind.

The eveidence of this latest bout of malaise surrounds you. There is the meal in the slow cooker that was started the day before but abandonded. The dishwasher, open and half full, it’s remains remaining on the counters. The laundry — clean and dry on the clothes horse and line in the garden, the rubbish bin — full to the brim, begging to be taken out.

The indignant anger starts to bubble. You feel it in the pit of your tummy. Why has nothing been done? Why is nobody helping? Why does nothing get done unless you do it? And then you hear a snore from the living room. From the man on the sofa. The man who is on the sofa for you. The man who has spent the past week as a glorified taxi driver, taking you to and from appointments, the doctors, the hospital, the emergency room, the supermarket, your children to and from school, nursery, their friends’ houses. He has organized their meals, your meals, washed that laundry that is hanging on the line, taken your son to the potty in the middle of the night, watched helplessly as you are prodded, poked, stuck with needles, hooked up to drips, and all the while trying to build a business from the ground up, so you can remain in the house with the dirty dishes and overfilled rubbish bin.

So you take out the rubbish, fill the dishwasher, wash the pots, kiss your daughter good morning, and keep your mouth shut about walking her to school, as she has seen you still in your pajamas and has rightly assumed that you won’t be, and she doesn’t mention it, and your heart fills with love and gratitude for the snoring man on the sofa who has done his best to hold everything together in your demise, and pride and admiration for the brave 7-year-old girl who understands far more than she ever should about your chronic condition.

As you’re folding the laundry, you remember the thing that should have sprung to mind the instant the euphoria hit. Your body is a tricky beggar. You may feel full of energy now, but that doesn’t mean you will in an hour or even 10 minuets. You have a finite amount of juice, and you have no idea when it will be gone or how long it will last. You have a series of choices to make. Have a shower and brush your teeth, or finish the laundry? Make yourself some breakfast or finish the dinner you started last night? Try and do it all really fast thus expending more energy but potentially getting it done, or go slow and steady but risk running out of steam before the jobs are completed? You sit down, as the inner monologue is exhausting, and the second you do, you regret it as the act of standing up will utilize precious energy, thus taking it away from a job already on your list.

The laundry gets folded and put away. A new load makes it into the machine. The ironing will have to wait. What do another few days matter when it’s already been five weeks? The dinner is resumed. You can see the bus approaching, and you are almost against the wall. You make your way upstairs and back to bed. As the bus hits, you regret not brushing your teeth.

Originally published: August 8, 2016
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