I wake up and it is another day. I stop to think of that fact and be grateful for it. That is important, very important. It is so easy to get lost and discouraged first thing when you wake up. I have slept maybe two hours. Maybe four. The nights can be long. But I am awake. And I can move. Maybe not always easily or without pain, but I can get myself out of bed. I lie there and think about the struggles ahead of me that day and then I stop to think about what I can offer that day to make it a better day, one with a purpose; for myself or for someone else.
I prioritize in my head what is necessary to do and what is optional. Most of it is optional, it has to be. If there is an appointment I have to be at, the day revolves around getting to that appointment. I get out of bed and take my medications. So many pills in their carefully laid out pill box.
A yellow pill.
A lot of white ones.
It is helpful to be an organized person when it comes to the taking of the pills.
Next priority is drinking as much as possible. The dryness has woken me up throughout the night, despite the humming of the constant humidifier and fumbling with eye drops and mouth moisturizer several times in those wee hours. The concept of too much water does not exist in my mind. My body soaks it up eagerly like it has never seen it before. Now, a bathroom run for me. A bathroom run and fresh water for Molly. I am already having difficulty convincing my arms and legs to work in their proper fashion.
Back to bed to check e-mails and Facebook. I am looking for inspiration. Something that will make me laugh. A kind thought from someone. A status update about something good happening to someone; something to help replace the light and joy that the steroids have taken from my normally even keeled and sunny disposition. I take a cookbook or two back to bed with me to figure out what nourishing meals I can put in my body to help heal it. If the day is all mine and not one that is a slave to doctor's offices or hospitals, I try to figure out how much I can do and again, what the priorities are. The priority might be completing a load of laundry. It might be vacuuming. Whatever it is will have a price, a physical price. I used to feel accomplished when I could go and go for fifteen hours at a time. Now I am grateful if I can manage to get through thirty minutes of activity.
And so it goes. Getting myself showered and dressed used to take forty-five minutes with a good end result. Now it is a two hour production and the goal is a clean body and clean clothes. It's not as hard as last week though. That is a very good thing. I miss being able to do more physical activity. I miss being able to walk my dog and feel the power of my stride underneath my body. I will never take that for granted again. My wish is that no one else reading this ever does either. How much will I get back? Yet to be determined.
I am learning the art of being gentle with myself. I am more aware of the importance of caring for myself in the most basic of ways. The comfort of hot water on my body. The wholeness of fresh green vegetables entering my body. The smell of fresh air. The power of a comforting touch. Things which I never noticed when I was too busy running from one place to the next; from one task to the other.
This illness forces me to be more aware. Every hour, every minute is a reminder of all that is currently not working correctly in my body. Constant thirst. Constant eye irritation and difficulty getting my eyes to adjust. Weakness. A medication of some sort almost every hour. Arms that shake. Side effects from medications. Legs that don't move like they should. Pain. Food that gets stuck in my throat when I swallow. Exhaustion.
I will be more than this.
I am more than this.
Remember to smile.
Remember what is important.
Remember that another morning will come.
And with it, hope as well.
Photo: Courtesy of Google Images