I once heard about a superstition which dictates that whatever you do on New Year’s Day, you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. I’m not generally one to buy into that sort of thought process, but I figured that maybe it couldn’t hurt to indulge the idea this time. It’s not like there are bad consequences for doing so. It was for this reason that I was pretty thrilled that I woke up just before 7:00 this morning. I felt somewhat clear-headed, and I even had a little ambition. I tried to get the house clean the day before, with the idea that if I had to do heavy housework on New Year’s Day, I would be doomed to live in a filthy house that needs that sort of work for the rest of the year. So, it was about silly little things like that.
Not long after I woke up, I took a little pseudoephedrine. I hate to do that, especially in light of my decision to indulge the above superstition, but I figured I could just keep in mind that I’ve been popping large numbers of pills every day for the last year and a half, and smaller numbers for the previous 11 years. This isn’t really anything new. It’s not just the pill popping that I was reluctant to do, though. It’s dangerous to use pseudoephedrine for the long-term, but it is used off-label to promote wakefulness. It was my backup plan for when I really wanted to participate in something, like a vacation or what have you. I made my peace with it, as long as I only use it as needed, for short periods of time only. Besides, I’m already taking medication to increase neurotransmitters in my body (pseudoephedrine increases norepinephrine concentrations by releasing what you have stored in your neurons). I went to see C a few days ago, and she said that neurotransmitters are the best way to treat the neurological pain I was having. She even used the dreaded f-word, “fibromyalgia” to describe what my pain sounded like. She hasn’t officially diagnosed me with that condition, but it often comes with CFS/ME. While I wasn’t surprised to hear her say it, I didn’t want to hear it. Treatment for fibromyalgia is palliative (meant to relieve suffering, but not cure the condition) at best.
Anyway, I decided to spend the day accomplishing things. The feeling of being able to just do what I need to do is the thing I miss the most since getting sick. When I have a good day, I tend to squeeze every bit of productivity out of myself I can. I was determined for this to be that sort of day. I first washed all of the wine glasses from our party the night before. I did a couple of loads of laundry. I fed all the animals. I took a hot bath. I caught up some of my newspaper comics. I should explain that last one – Michael and I are the last newspaper subscribers on the planet. We both love newspaper comics, and there’s nothing like sitting down with the newspaper and reading the good ol’ funny pages. Well, because some days my brain is so foggy, so scrambled that I can’t even read, Michael saves that comic pages for me so that I can get to them when my mind is clearer. As of this morning, I was backed up to the beginning of October. Today, I read the entire month and am now up to November. Still behind, but less so than before. I went through older blog posts today, and learned by this time in 2010, I was behind as far as August. Back then, I had a billion kittens to care for as well. I’m certain this is not coincidental.
By noon, I was tired. I thought about popping another pill, but decided that there was really no way I was going to sleep for more than an hour or two. I had Michael massage my neck and ridiculously painful shoulder, then settled in for the nap. Feeling slightly more refreshed, I rolled over and looked at my clock – it was nearly 10:00pm. My nap was 10 hours long. What a defeat.
I tried not to be too upset about this. I told myself this morning that I was going to focus on the things that I did manage to do, and try not to condemn myself for what I couldn’t do. You see, somehow I still haven’t accepted that I’m truly, honestly sick. I keep trying to convince myself that if I just talk myself into it, I can just magically overcome this whole thing. Maybe I am prone to superstition after all. I mean, this is the behavior that I hate most in others: the tendency to accuse the people who have a chronic disease of not wanting to get over the illness, thus implying the disease is in the sufferer’s head and it is her fault. I do not think this of others who have a chronic condition, but somehow I think it of myself.
I think it will help me to show you some of things I’ve accomplished in the last few months. Much of my knitting has been for Christmas presents, so I haven’t really been willing to post it on the internet. Now that the gifts have been given (mostly, at any rate), I’ll show them to you.
I made these for Dr B. He lives far away now, but since we still talk, I thought it was only a nice thing to do. These are the brioche hat and scarf from Weekend Knitting. The yarn is Berroco Vintage in Mocha and Mushroom (5103, 5104).
I also made the pair of socks I referred to in the previous post for Dr B’s wife, K. She promised me she would get a picture of her wearing them so I could post it online.
I finished a dress I was crocheting for my friend Julie’s baby. This has not been delivered yet because her family is spending Christmas in Denmark. Plus, it’s still missing buttons. The pattern is Dixie Belle, and I used Patons silk bamboo (ivory) and Artfibers Casanova (dark purple).
I sent the “yarn shirt” to Alexis as well. It is bigger on her than Blaine’s sweater is on him, but she’ll be able to wear it forever. She was ecstatic, if the pictures her parents sent me of her opening the present are telling me the truth.
I plan to knit one more small present for Julie, but I don’t want to mention what it is until she receives it. She knew about the dress for her baby. I also have the “puerperium cardigan” (Ravelry link) on the needles for my friend Vickie‘s new baby, and I’ve swatched for the “Color Me” afghan for my friend Jen’s new baby.
There is a catch to the projects on my hooks and needles. I mentioned ridiculous shoulder pain earlier. On New Year’s Eve, the pain in my right arm got really bad, to the point where I was having trouble lifting my arm to give my friend a high-five. I thought it would be just a one day thing, something brought on by the fact that I skipped a dose of the pain medication so I could stay awake (the medication wipes me out – if I take two pills in a day, I can sleep about 18 hours easily). I resumed taking my pain medication as soon as everyone went home, but the pain is still there. I think I’m on track to losing much of the use of my right arm. I’ll know Wednesday whether the decision regarding if and when I have to give up bowling has been made for me. My concern is that this might mean I lose knitting, too. Maybe I can outrun it, get my projects done before my arm gives out. I can do that, right?