Thursday, September 2, 2010
This Strange Fatigue
My kid asked me today why I just couldn't get up earlier in the day (I typically sleep until 11am or later). He looked at me and asked "you know how you feel weird if you sleep in too much. Can't you just get up earlier?" I wish it were that easy. The fatigue of my illness is so strange. It isn't being tired. Sleep won't fix this. It's more like the battery in the car dying. If it were a matter of just being tired I would be able to sleep and wake up refreshed. Like shutting the car off, fixing the battery and we're good to go again. This is more like being in the middle of the highway and suddenly the headlights start to dim, the dashboard lights start to go dark and you know you are in big big trouble. It is the oddest thing. I'll be going along and I start to notice muscle weakness. My gait slows. I want desperately to sit down. My legs feel heavy and my feet start dragging. I start having dizzy spells. If I push on as when I decide to make dinner sitting on a bar stool so I can reach the stove instead of lying down like I know I should be doing, then I no longer can open lids on jars that aren't brand new. My speech starts to slur. I loose words. I can't concentrate. I loose my place in the recipe even if it is simple. I forget what I'm doing when I'm in the middle of doing it. If I keep going, keep pushing because I just want to feed my family, I get a short temper, I snap at my husband, I get upset easily and end up crying. But I keep pushing and now I can't walk straight. I have to use the counter to hold me up, to keep my balance. I am beyond talking. I can't put sentences together. I can't hold a conversation. I desperately want to lie down and literally not move a muscle. I don't have to sleep. I have to NOT move. Not even twitch. I have to lie very very still. I am done. I loose time when I get like this. I have no idea if I sleep. Time passes unnoticed. I am as still as the dead. Uncounted hours pass and I slowly, very slowly come back to life. First I change position because I finally am able to notice that body parts have fallen asleep. Hands or feet have gone numb. Shoulders or hips ache. I finally have the energy to roll over. Slowly I am able to sit up again. In small bursts at first. A few minutes up and then I have to lie down again or I have already forgotten why I wanted to get up in the first place. Slowly I can sit up for longer or even venture a walk down the hall to the kitchen or bathroom still using the walls for balance. Slowly very slowly I can walk unsupported, fetch my own drinks or a piece of fruit. Slowly I can pay attention to the TV again, watch a show or a movie. Slowly very slowly I can sit at the computer and read emails, read Facebook posts or read the blogs. Slowly I can answer emails, I can type again and hold conversations that make sense. Then, finally I am human again. A fully functional walking, talking human that can think and communicate and feel again. This happens every day.