Thursday, September 14, 2006

Busy Busy Busy

The other day I was apologizing to a neighbor for not stopping by to see him (he just got out of the hospital) and I actually had the nerve to say that “I was busy.”
“Busy” is relative and it means something different to someone who just got out of the hospital than it does to someone who is working 9-5, going to night school and taking care of a family. And it means something different to me too, somewhere in between the continuum of my recovering neighbor and the school-going-working stiff-nine-to-fiver with kids.

I get up after a few Tylenols and get to the kitchen. Holding on to the counter with one hand, I get a bowl, plate, cup, tea bag, fork, a cup of Egg Beaters and one egg and one piece of non-fat cheese. I lean on the counter with both elbows while the water boils, and the scrambled eggs cook. Carry the whole thing back to bed, the plate stacked on top of the tea mug in one hand, cane in the other.

After breakfast I can usually manage, with the help of the cane and making frequent rest breaks, to walk Tony around the block once. It’s not fun, but it’s fun; I like bumping into other people and other dogs and getting fresh air in the morning. Then I need about one to two hours rest. After that, I might go to the gym, which is easier for me than it sounds. The machines I use support my spine and I’m able to get a good upper body workout and even ride the recumbent stationary bike. I think sometimes people think I’m faking or something, as they see me pumping iron and pedaling away, then hobbling home all slow and bent over. I can do a lot more stuff when I’m sitting, I just can’t stand up or walk.

When I get home, I’m in pain, (not so much from the exercises as the walking and attempted upright movement) so I take something, a few extra Neurontin, or an Ultram. Then I have about an hour or two of rest, food and tea. I usually feel better and a bit “distanced” from the pain, so I might decide to tackle some household project, like a load of laundry. Or emptying and restacking the dishwasher, or running the Swiffer dust mop over the floor, or starting dinner. Or maybe all of the above. These aren’t big chores, you probably do them everyday or at least a few times a week without even thinking about it, maybe while you are also doing something else, like talking on the phone, or feeding your kids, or at the very least, not holding on to the kitchen counter to keep yourself upright. Since I’m not really feeling the pain, and as long as I have the cane or furniture to hold on to, keep going, I say to myself, take advantage of the window of painlessness and get some things done so Tyler doesn’t have to come home to a mess.

Invariably, when the pills wear off, I’m lying in bed later in the evening, barely able to go get any of the dinner I made. Maybe you’d think something you worked so hard for would taste better. It doesn’t. Or maybe it is just the pain medication and my exhaustion by the end of the day that takes my appetite.

That’s pretty much how my days go.

Every once in while, something different, a new challenge, pops up in my schedule. For instance, I had a dermatologist appointment yesterday. Then another day I took the shopping cart (I lean on it like a walker, genius!) to go a block and a half to get dog food. I try to only have one big event like that a day. Sometimes I attempt more than one (in a quest to be truly “busy” and distract myself) and pay for it all the next day with forced bed rest.

Sorry to ramble with such a long post; I’ve gotta go now, cause I really am busy. I’ve gotta go take shower.



Anonymous Mollissima! said...

Hi Ingrid,
I have been having back pain off and on for 20 years. Nothing as serious as what you have, but reading what you wrote really hits home.
I am sending you a virtual gentle hug.
Dog bless,
Molly in Oakland, CA.

11:57 AM  

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