I was so stunned when I saw it that my brain sort of shut down, so I ran into my husband’s office to get some independent confirmation. He was deeply involved in his his current computer game and without even checking to see if he was in the middle of a battle or a complicated negotiation I blurted out, “Can you stop right now and come with me?”
“Is it urgent,” he asked, and I said “YES!” Which made him think that I was having some kind of medical emergency, so I quickly amended my request with, “I think my blog just won an award!” Which then unfortunately ratcheted down his perception of the urgency of the situation and he asked, “Well, is it something I can look at here on my computer?” and, unable to bear it any longer I yelled out, “NO! YOU HAVE TO COME LOOK AT IT ON MY COMPUTER SO YOU CAN TELL ME WHETHER OR NOT I’M IMAGINING IT!”
So he did. And I wasn’t. And then, even though my ability to form words was still fairly impaired, I called my parents. But I had a better opening planned this time so as not to scare them, so when my mom answered the phone I yelled, “I! AM! FAMOUS!” And there was much rejoicing in the land.
However: if you know me even a little bit, you will probably not be surprised to learn that even though I’ve gained some notice as someone who can entertainingly write about fibromyalgia, I am still someone who needs constant supervision as I live with fibromyalgia, which explains why, this morning, I was required to undergo The Don’t Be Stupid Today Catechism, as administered by my husband.
This is a process I must frequently undergo as I suffer from a constant disconnect between what’s going on in my body, what’s going on in my life, what my actual capacity is for doing things during the day, and what it takes to recover from activities and what I need to do to take care of myself. Or “Being Sick Amnesia”, for short.
For example, last weekend we went to the mountains to hang out with my in-laws, including my sister-in-law and Super Niece, who is now crawling, and able to sit up on her own. Mr. Cranky Fibro Girl and I made our Olympic debut as babysitters, running the full gamut of experiences from The Thrill Of Victory (feeding! storytime! entertainment!), to The Agony Of Defeat (bedtime! unmitigated disaster!)
Now, even for a regular, healthy person, it’s pretty exhausting to care for an infant. But for someone with a chronic illness it is Super-Quadruply Difficult, with Extra-Bonus Hard Sprinkles on top. So, not surprisingly, all that picking up and performing and interacting and driving triggered a pain flare-up. Plus, I somehow managed to dislocate my jaw so badly that the whole lower side of my face was swollen and inflamed. So yesterday my pain was pretty much at Level 15 all day. (Oh, crap. Speaking of which, I was supposed to take a pain pill like 4 paragraphs ago. Hang on-I’ll be right back.)
This is where the disconnect set in. Because I’m guessing that were you to find yourself in a similar situation you would respond in appropriate ways by taking some pain medicine, putting on your pajamas, and finding something fairly mindless to do while you rested on the couch. I, on the other hand, interpreted my impaired physical state as meaning that this would be a FANTASTIC time to do our weekly grocery shopping and take one of my blouses over to see if it would match the cool necklace I saw last week at Avenue.
It is thanks to this kind of behavior that my husband has learned to give me daily instructions that are excruciatingly detailed and situation-specific, so as not to leave any loopholes for me to wiggle through. So this morning’s routine went like this:
My Husband: “So how many times are you going to go to the grocery store? And how many errands are you going to run?”
Me (getting to be off duty from housework? Not a problem): “Zero.”
My Husband: “And how many times are you going to go to the bookstore?”
Me (sad sigh, since they closed our local Barnes and Noble in June): “Zero.”
My Husband: “And how many times are you going to go look at necklaces?”
Me (holding up a zero with my thumb and forefinger, to reassure him that I’m really getting this): “Zero.”
My Husband: “And how many times are you going to go to the drugstore to look for lipstick?”
Me (oh, man, I can’t believe he remembered that one) (sighing in resignation): “Zero.”
Only then was it safe for him to go to work and leave me alone for the day.
And here’s the thing: it’s not like he’s trying to deprive me of anything or take away my fun. He’s trying to help me feel better and get out of pain. He wants me to be able to do more cool things, like going to the beach with my family and Super Nephew, who apparently has only one speed-“Whirlwind”-as he zooms through his little toddler life.
Now, in my defense, it is very, very hard to deal with physical pain. Especially since, when it gets to about Level 6, you’re so overloaded that your system kind of shorts out and you temporarily lose access to your higher brain functions. So by Level 15 you’ve pretty much lost your mind. In these kinds of situations pretty much the only thing I can do is move around a bit and try whatever I can to get the pain down to a level I can actually bear when I sit down and get quiet. (Although, I suppose there could a difference between “moving around a bit” and “epic shopping excursion”. Whatever.)
Anyway, here we are halfway through this day, and I’ve done really well. Thanks to all our good work this weekend, the house is clean. Dinner’s in the frig. We have clean underwear. And I’ve even been able to do some writing. So I think I can relax, thrown on some jammies and have an Olympics/What Not To Wear/NCIS marathon.
But before I go, I just want to thank all of you, so SO much. To know that people are reading and enjoying me, and that I’m not sending my words out into the dark abyss means more to me than you can ever know. Thank you.