Whenever my husband gets a week off from work for vacation, it’s always a fun time, filled with anticipation. He doesn’t really care what we do, he’s just so happy to be not working. We both look forward to time spent together. We don’t take trips, mainly because of the expense and the time constraints. A week is such a short time, and we don’t want the hustle and bustle of trying to squeeze in so much activity and travel in 7 short days. So we make it spontaneous, maybe planning a day trip to an antique shop or mall an hour away, or just hit some of the stores around the area…. or just hang out at home. It’s pretty laid back and that’s the way we like it.
Always, though….I can count on much more activity than I’m used to. And that always spells FLARE-UP for me. Once the vacation begins, I am usually okay…at first. I take my pain meds as usual, and as long as I wasn’t already in a flare up to begin with, I can usually start the vacation time out able to go and do and see. But as the week progresses and I have been doing lots of stuff on my feet every day, all day, and sometimes into the night….trouble ensues. Always.
Today is Thursday, Day 4 of hubby’s vacation. My feet are screaming and my body feels black, blue and purple, like a giant bruise. The fatigue is extreme and I find myself wanting to just go into the bedroom and close the door. Too much sensory input along with too much activity are causing the pain signals to shoot up high into the stratosphere. I am in trouble. It’s only Thursday…3 more days to go before hubby returns to work.
I already told him tonight that I think that’s going to be it for me this week. We had planned to visit the flooring center tomorrow (we are getting ready for some new flooring for our kitchen, bathroom and entry), but I seriously doubt my body will allow me to push the envelope any further. Although I am a pro at pushing through pain, even I know when I have surpassed the extension of the boundaries and begin entering the Gates of Pain Hell. It’s a Place to be feared, and I am approaching those Gates right now.
My husband is very understanding and knows that when I say I’ve had enough and can’t go any further, then that’s the way it is. He knows how hard I push myself, how far beyond my limits I extend myself on a daily basis. He tries to warn me when I seem to have gotten caught up in a “moment”….he reminds me to slow down, because I am so used to pushing through the pain when I’m absorbed in something that I don’t even realize the danger I’m in. Over the years I have become so accustomed to excruciating pain that sometimes it doesn’t even faze me. (people don’t understand that, and I don’t expect them to. It’s really only something that people with many years of pain under their belt can comprehend) So when I eventually get to the point of no return, it means the vacation is over, even if he still isn’t back to work yet.
Thankfully, he doesn’t complain and doesn’t push me. Like I said, he is happy to just be at home and not having to go in to work…..he enjoys just hanging around the house, watching television, puttering in the yard or reading a book. He is perfectly happy with whatever the agenda ends up being, and I am lucky for that.
So….as I wind down from the past 4 days, I again contemplate my illness and what it has done to my life. It has robbed me of a lot of my spontaneity, stolen my freedom, and put me in a sort of prison….only allowing me out on “parole” once in awhile. The rest of the time I obey the Boss and do what it allows me to do. I rebel all the time, but the Boss always, always finds me and and tosses me back into jail. I have learned after all these many years, that there is no use crying or fighting it. I just have to realize that no matter what, there is always a price to pay. A price to pay for having fun, for vacations, for life.
Most of the time, now, I am willing to pay the price so I can have a somewhat normal life. When I say “normal” that means something much different to me than it does to someone without chronic illness. “Normal life” now means to me, a life where even despite the often excruciating pain, I have a job, I do laundry, I clean the house, I run errands, I go shopping, I care for my cats and my husband and myself. It’s very different from the “normal life” of someone without chronic illness…. because of that constant companion tagging along 24/7….that aggravating, annoying, irritating, maddening, buzzing, screaming pain…..that I have to struggle to ignore in order to complete my tasks, do what needs to be done, and just live.
I know there is no bartering, no wiggle room, no compromise where this is concerned. Paying the price is part of the deal. Either I pay the price or I can’t play the game. So I pay.
And so I sit here in my chair, typing this out and even though I am now paying the price, and probably will be for at least the next few days, I just want to say…..we had a great four days. 🙂