Bumbling Through A Blob Day

Dear Audy,

Last night was filled with tumbling and turning amongst the sheets, frequent awakenings and hours of confused and disassociated pain. On these nights my mind is frazzled as it mixes snippets of dreams, from snippets of sleep, with waking worries and concerns. Around 5am I finally managed to crawl out of bed, move my aching shoulders a little, take some painkillers and get a couple of hours of sleep. Unfortunately, for most people in chronic pain, nights like these are the norm. For me, this one was more painful and disrupted that usual and after several turns of the Earth with little sleep, I am feeling exhaustion from my hair follicles to my toenails.

When I awoke near 10am, the engines of construction and landscaping were roaring outside my house. The sound reverberated in my skull, seeming to bounce around my brain, gaining volume as though it were some sort of auditory representation of the physical pain that demanded my attention and burned brightest throughout my shoulders, neck and face. It took close to an hour for me to wake up enough to realise that it was time to get up, whether I felt rested or not. Sometimes the only way to beat a rough night of pain is to get out of bed and bumble through the day, hoping desperately that the next night will be easier. There is always the temptation to stay in bed, however, this can often compound the pain of a body that has lain too long in one place and a mind that has run itself ragged trying to escape.

Dragging myself out of the bedroom, I was blinded by the glare of the daylight as though hungover from a big night of partying. My shoulders ached incredibly and wandering into the bathroom I saw that my face was swollen up like a beach ball, a sight that smashed my weakened spirit as I had to accept that another flare was here. No matter how much I know that they are always coming, it’s always disheartening when they arrive after a period of betterness. I felt beaten, smashed around and angry at the weather for switching back to warm and zapping my energy away. I broke down into sobs as I looked around my home, the dishes in the sink, dust bunnies floating by like tumbleweeds, items out of place and laundry waiting to be folded. It all felt like too much, too much to deal with on top of the pain, too many days of disrupted sleep, too many days of fighting, too much of the same.

After a while, I calmed down. Sobbing doesn’t solve anything, but sometimes it helps to release anguish that has nowhere else to go. Anguish can be awfully hard to extinguish without the ability to take a break from pain. With the crying down to intermittent gasps and sobs, I tackled this feeling of being so frustrated and overwhelmed in the only way I could. I began my day. I made coffee, I heated up the heat pack and wrapped it around my neck, I rested on the couch and engaged my mind with one of my favourite television shows – Dexter. I had been saving up season four to watch on a day just like this one, when doing much more than reclining feels overwhelming.

20100317 Heat Pack Me

With the help of caffeine (currently a necessary evil if I am to function), I forced myself to have breakfast, each movement in the kitchen seeming long, heavy and time consuming. When that was done I forced down my vitamins, because logically I know that I will feel better afterward, even if my body is screaming that it doesn’t want to stand in the kitchen for five minutes.

Rest isn’t always the best way to treat pain. Lessons learned through physiotherapy and feldenkrais sessions have made this clear to me. It’s hard to motivate myself to move when I feel this sore, however even a small amount of loosening up can lessen the pain and so I convinced myself to put on a feldenkrais audio track. The tiny movements were more difficult and painful than usual, meaning I needed to make them even tinier so as not to put extra stress on my body. Feldenkrais uses gentle movements to help wake up natural responses in the brain. The track I am currently working with helps to awaken muscles relating to the eyes and neck. Forty minutes later I could feel the benefit of loosening these areas, however I could also feel the pain of having stirred up my areas of pain, even if ever so slightly. Trying to focus on the release of smoother movement, I am now resting with the heat pack once more.

At 3pm, I have finally managed to complete the activities that many people take for granted as they breeze through them in an hour or less before they leave for a day of work and life in the real world. For me, I have to take pride that I have breakfast in my belly, some exercise done and now even a little writing, no matter how long it has taken me. Blob days like these are the curse of CRPS. I can’t control when the flares hit, I just need to keep trying to do my best to endure them and not lose my focus.

I am proud that I’ve made it this far today, I have not always handled things this well. It’s not easy to pull oneself back on track when the day begins in tears and pain, so I can only be proud that I’ve coped this well, so far and continue to pace activity and rest until the sun drops again and I can once more attempt a glorious escape into the land of nod.

Love & Cuddles (cause I need em)

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  • 3 thoughts on “Bumbling Through A Blob Day

    1. Della

      Good job keeping moving! You speak so many of the thoughts I can’t put into words. Of course there are differences, but the things I relate to are just so profound to read in another person’s words! The dishes in the sink, the dust bunnies, the unfolded laundry… They’re different things that I look around and see, but just as discouraging and embarrassing. I need full time help so that I can do the full time job of keeping myself going, but that doesn’t look likely. I do my best not to give in to the tears that are always hovering just below the surface, because crying makes my eyes too painful. Thanks again for your gift of expression!
      Love and cuddles to you, because you Do need them!

    2. Carol L Beck

      Girl ~ you amaze me!! I am proud of you. I know it hurts, I know it sucks and I know that one day it will get better for us Caf…I want to know that joy of life again, I want it for all of us, I just think that we have to find it right where we are..the bloom where you are planted thing. where you are, in that moment, the moment that you are in , whatever it gives you …you/we try to find peace in it. i just know it is very hard to do but it is something i wish to aspire to…ONE DAY!! love you

    3. Sheryl

      You have described a day in the life of an RSD sufferer so amazingly well. I am going to give this to my family so they can better understand my days that seem so lazy to them. You are such a wonderful writer. Thank you for sharing this with me.

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