Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We apologise for the radio silence

At least it hasn't been the static that was in On The Beach (Nevil Shute - very good, very depressing.  Try his Round The Bend instead for something less bleak).

It has indeed been a time of limitations.  A slide back into chronic fatigue and all the fun stuff that goes with it.  Debilitating lassitude.  Sleeping inordinate amounts.  Thinking (irrationally) that I should not have wished for being sick enough to not work, but well enough to vege out and watch some of the DVD collection.  As it turns out, no DVDs have been watched - it just hit the too hard basket - after all, it does require a certain amount of concentration and that just wasn't on the menu!  Being grateful that Best Beloved was feeding the animals and preparing our meals as well, because even trying to think about what to cook was beyond my abilities.

Socialising has been pretty much off the cards, as have phone calls, so email is a boon.  Getting over the guilt of saying "no, I can't".  Slowly improving but constantly aghast at just how little I could do.  Then my brain finally starting to work again and OH the bliss of being able to read properly again!  It transpires that I am seriously lacking in light and fluffy reading, particularly of the short variety.  Even short stories by PG Wodehouse were not viable for quite some time.

Consequently, the reading list to the right is missing rather a lot of entries - I've mislaid the paper list, will add them as they come to mind.  Must say, it is fascinating to consider what reading reflects about someone and their context (awkward phrasing, will edit if I can come up with the right words).

Cancelled obedience training with Miss Molly - who turned one yesterday.  She really is such a sweet dog and extraordinarily companionable.  We've done lots of afternoon naps together over the last few months.

I still have my sense of humour and the lovely doctors at the clinic that I go to have commented on that.  They have been brilliantly understanding and accepting and that is such a huge thing. As with depression, it is such a relief to have it, this loathed part of my life, validated.  Still have to do the diagnostic rule outs, but at least for this I don't get ask if I'm suicidal.  So strange, the first major bouts of depression I was never asked that and I was suicidal.  The last few, I've not been and I've had that question.  I suppose it's indicative of progress in the broader community, so that is A Good Thing. I'm doing fortnightly appointments and constantly assessing how I'm feeling.  There have been a few bleak episodes when my brain is decidedly impatient with how badly my body is coping and I've felt mentally rumpled and adrift, unable to settle to anything. There's been the odd day where I've actually felt pretty good and wondered if I was malingering - overdid it and had to do a mental slap up the side of the head "NO, you are not!".  By and large though, I know that fretting is just a waste of energy - and since I've got limited amounts of that, I'm not wasting it :)

I'm sort of back at work - incredibly fortunate that most of what I do can be done via a remote connection, so getting some hours in and pacing myself.  Management have been supportive (well, they haven't complained so that definitely counts).  The pacing is difficult and part of the constant assessment - I want to do more, do what I usually can.  But when I've attempted that, it plain hasn't worked, so it's rest, back off, then start up again slowly.  I'm aiming for doing my (doctor) approved hours and then having energy to do a gentle walk with one of the dogs (up the reserve to just past the electricity substation and back - a whole kilometre), prepare dinner and be up for something resembling intelligent conversation with the spouse. And be able to continue doing it.  When I can do that for a fortnight, creep the time up at work a bit more.  The hope is to be back at work full-time in May.  While I'm loving the quiet house, I miss my colleagues, ratbags that they are!

Which for CFS is pretty damn good.  It needs to be said that my experience of CFS is very much at the better end of the spectrum.  For some people it can be completely disabling for years.  I am so lucky that each time I've been able to pull out of it within months.  I have to sleep enough.  I'm positive that eating predominantly fresh, organic food makes a difference - at least for me.  I know I'm vulnerable to these episodes, so I have to manage them (oh good, just like the depression).

I'm going to have to recall the warning signs, figure out how to mitigate those circumstances and come up with a tune that our household can play to...