Today seems like as good a time as any to show folks who are unfamiliar, how chronic illness can exponentially effect our overall health and well being.
A few days ago I shared a scary incident in which I had become so over extended that my body shut down on me. I was unable to move, was very woozy and confused but aware of everything that was going on around me. As I came to, and was able to move somewhat, my body felt like it was made of lead. I was barely able to move for the rest of that day.
Part of the reason that happened was no doubt because I had gotten a mild cold the week before. Now a mild cold for other people can be very serious for me, but it had seemed to have more or less recuperated by that time. There had been a buffer of two days of being relatively cold symptom free. Foolishly I thought this would be enough to be able to put away groceries after a relatively mellow shopping trip. Unfortunately the toddlers decided to “help” which resulted in more running around than I had anticipated. Still it was not so much that it should have caused my body to do anything remotely near that dramatic. It wouldn’t have if I were not chronically ill certainly. But I am chronically ill, so it did.
The next day my cold had come back full force. That’s not uncommon for me if I exert myself “to much” while ill, even after symptoms have mostly passed. I was determined to rest enough to get better. Even though we are in great need of the money I would have made, I didn’t do any work other than caring for my kids.
The next day I felt better. Great!
Normally, I have to sit and rest for a couple hours in the morning, if I transition to abruptly from sleeping and being horizontal to being upright and active it will give me a moderate to severe asthma attack, which will then ruin my whole day’s healing and/or productivity.
But yesterday my two year old had diarrhea first thing in the morning, when I should be reclining. The very moderate rush to get her cleaned up and bathed gave me an asthma attack. While I was finally doing my breathing treatment she had to poop again. By the time I was able to finish my breathing treatment my body was wrecked, shaking, and exhausted. I spent the whole day, yet again deeply exhausted.
Today, it should be no surprise to me, my cold is back again. My lungs ache and wheeze. So yet again I have to take it extra easy, not expending energy on work that would earn us much needed money more directly. Who knows when the universe will align long enough for me to be able to rest enough days in a row to actually break free of this cycle(for now). It could be a week, it could take all winter.
Everything effects me like this, cumulatively and exponentially rather than individually. It’s never just rain or just second hand smoke. It’s never just a cold or just running errands. It is a meandering track through every single thing I have experienced and done in recent history. Each small gesture, action, or activity leaving its mark on me.
A chronic illness brand.