That’s how you know things are getting bad.
I’m a morning person- please don’t throw rocks at me (lol)- and I’m usually up by 6:30 in the morning sometimes I’ll sleep in until 7 am without my alarm. But I usually have my eyes open by 4 am when the Mister goes to the gym. Then, I doze off till 5 am when he gets home and hits the shower and again when he leaves. Finally, at about 6:30, I’m pretty much awake mentally and just trying to convince my body that it’s wakey-wakey time.
I know instantly it’s going to be bad when I just want to lay there, despite the hungry biting from my cat, encouraging me to get out of bed and dispense his food. Trust me, these aren’t gentle, little love nips. He bites with serious intent and leaves bruises as evidence of my failings. I know it’s going to be bad when I’d rather lay there like a chew-toy for my cat, rather than face the day.
Since I have to get up, the first thing I do is assess my ability to move versus the pain I feel. There’s generally a groan or two involved and inevitably a snap-crackle-pop for my listening pleasure. I can’t decide if it’s worse to feel the snapping and popping or hear them- at this point both are horrid.
My body will generally feel like some kind of war was waged upon it while I slept. Courtesy of tossing, turning, tossing turning some more and a 16lb cat who likes to sleep by me, on top of me or really, wherever His Highness can get comfortable. My muscles will be sore and achy, my joints will be warm, swollen and throbbing and 9 times out of 10, I have a raging headache. Sometimes this is due to chronic migraine and sometimes my hypertension. There are days when my Crohn’s is acting up. I wake up and before I can even put anything into my mouth that could offend my gut, my tummy is already throwing a fit; I’m running to the bathroom and I’m nauseous.
There are days when I know it’s bad because my chronic illness and chronic pain decide to team up and flare together. These are probably the worst days. There’s no way to describe how defeated one feels when upon opening your eyes you are immediately assaulted by an arsenal of symptoms. All the chronic pain and all the chronic illness symptoms seem to have descended upon your body in the ultimate attack and there’s nothing you wish more than but to have a do-over switch and wake up again feeling refreshed. Instead, you feel as though you just experienced the Running of the Bulls over your entire body, twice.
It starts with not wanting to get out of bed but chances are, you have to. Life doesn’t stop when you have chronic illness/pain and you have to move through life going to work and taking care of those dependent upon you. It’s not easy and I’ve laid in bed countless times wishing I could just stay there. I’m infinitely grateful that I do not have a job outside my home and I could stay in bed if I needed to. My kids are all adults and while the youngest still doesn’t drive (a work in progress), I do have to pick her up and take her to work but I could enlist one of my other kids to pick her up if I had to. Not everyone is as lucky as I am and I wish people realized the kind of effort it takes to pull yourself together and do everything you need to while feeling like you’re on death’s doorstep.
It starts with not wanting to get out of bed. Those symptoms that you dread. The flare from hell. You try to get out of bed, mustering all the will and energy it takes and you flop back down closing your eyes as the pain sears through your body. “Not today.” You say quietly, to no one but the shadows in the corner of your bedroom. I’ve been there too. There are some days where you just can’t do it. Where the battle that has been raging day in and day out finally takes its toll and you surrender with the white flag, submitting to the comfort of your bed and allowing your body to rest. It is not defeat. You may have lost this battle, but not the war and it’s not over. You’ll take time to recover and you will be back on your feet. Resting and doing what your body needs is not a sign of defeat. Even in wars soldiers retreat, but they regroup and they come back fighting.