I had intended to write about my dysphoria, which is fairly bad right now or my complex relationship to the concept of motherhood. However, I am developing a cold so that is what is currently occupying my mind. The other topics I’d planned will have to wait for right now.
It bears mentioning that it is only a mild stuffy nose I am coming down with and yet I am terrified. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that since I have become chronically ill even the smallest things can tear me down, put me out of commission for a very long time.
Of course I do everything I can to prevent that, my fear and avoidance of potential germs has become a constant looming aspect of my life. I also do my best to protect my immune system and to help my body quickly defeat any illness I do pick up, by taking proper care of my body.
Unfortunately respiratory illnesses are my weakness. Still colds and flus are an eventuality i can not entirely avoid in this world.
The first thing that happens, before I even start to get symptoms of the cold itself, is that my asthma gets worse. Lower oxygen levels makes it feel as if the air is being slowly sucked out of my lungs. So I need to breathing treatments more often, which are over all less effective. Then comes the fatigue, a combination of the lower oxygen levels and the medicine itself causing a bone deep inescapable fatigue.
Yesterday I was near tears because I simply could not sit on the edge of the tub and hold the hair dryer for the two to four minutes I needed to.
A cold that lasts a day or two for most people can last a couple weeks as my fatigued body tries to heal. I am more likely to get secondary illnesses when I am in a flare, which adds more energy and wellness drain to my already strained system. So an even longer time that I am more susceptible to other illnesses, weak, deeply exhausted, and extremely easily over taxed. If I do catch a second illness in that two weeks or have a severe asthma attack, double my recovery and vulnerability time from two weeks to a month.
If I am limited when I am “well”, it gets even worse when I am in a flare, unable to do virtually anything other than keep the kids safe and fed. It is perhaps inevitable that I would struggle with depression and anxiety during this time. Spiraling slowly out from my illness, feelings of inadequacy can permeate everything in my life, no matter how much love, help, and support I have.
How can I be enough when I can barely be at all?
So here I am on the precipice of my inevitable autumn health decline. It is already starting, one week before my birthday even. I don’t have the luxury of illness. However, I don’t have a choice either, so I will do my best to keep balancing essential self care, working to make the money we desperately need, and the needs of my kids, house, and loved ones. I know I will make it through, I always do.
But I am already so very tired.