It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but that’s mostly because there really hasn’t been anything new to post. Frankly, I’ve been waiting for the doctor’s appointment I had this morning in the hopes it would answer some questions about the lingering effects I’m experiencing.
No such luck.
It turns out that, all things considered, my test results came back great. My blood serum numbers are fine. My triglycerides and lipids are improving. My cholesterol is better than it’s been in years. My thyroid numbers are a-okay.
That seems like good news, and it is, but it doesn’t explain why I’m suffering such significant fatigue that I can’t even walk to the end of my driveway and back without being done for the rest of the day.
Frankly, I think doctor’s tend to ignore the fatigue complaint because everybody has it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real and not affecting someone’s quality of life. I’m not complaining about my specific medical care so much as I am identifying something I think is endemic to modern medicine.
So, as things stand, I’m improving but also not. It’s all well and good for my numbers to have improved, but the fact is that, until I’m not so easily fatigued, I’m not better. How that improvement might come about remains to be seen.
Unfortunately, sometimes we’re awake when we don’t want to be. Insomnia has many and various causes, but for some people the problem is both chronic and enduring.
I’ve struggled with sleep as long as I can remember. For whatever reason, I’m more awake late at night and I tend to hit my stride just about the time everyone else is ready for bed. Being a night owl makes living what most people call a normal life difficult at best.
But the problem is that it’s not just staying up late. My body seems to have an awake switch that, once its turned on, no matter how tired I might otherwise be, I’m awake. There is no real rhyme or reason to that switch. It can stay on for one day, wake me up in the middle of the night, or in my worst circumstances, keep me awake for weeks.
I’ve learned to cope with that kind of insomnia for the most part, but I’ve discovered that it makes recovering from an illness a challenge I did not anticipate facing. Now, in addition to the challenge of being awake at appropriate times, I have to make sure that I am not so fatigued I cause myself further harm.
That said, it is a problem that can be managed. I have to be careful with when and how much caffeine I consume, and I’m discovering that how much, when, and what kind of calories I consume can contribute as well. As with most things, this is a learning experience, and as I learn, I will continue to share what I know with you.
I don’t tend to talk about this much because it’s hard to describe to anyone who doesn’t deal with it, but I have long had trouble keeping my mind on task. This problem is more than simple distractedness or absentmindedness, but I am not making a to claim to any kind of condition to describe it. It’s just always been a part of me, and over the years, I’ve learned various ways to cope with it when it gets bad enough.
One of the ways I’ve learned is a process I call “stimming”. Basically described, when my brain gets most chaotic, sometimes intense investment in focused, mentally taxing activities coupled with liberal use of stimulants helps tame the noise. Yes, I realize this is likely a form of self-medication, but it works and helps things from getting worse (trust me, we don’t want worse than chaos).
The downside of this process is that it can sometimes develop its own destructiveness. Stimming was the reason I started smoking once upon a time (I’ve long since stopped), for example, and counteracting the effects of the stimulants can have its own cost (I was a functional drunk for a while, but that too is now in the past). Then again, in the balance, those sorts of things aren’t much worse than the side effects of the drugs commonly prescribed for conditions like mine, so there’s that.
I’m not bringing this subject up as a recommendation, because I would not wish this sort of thing on anyone. Rather, I bring it up because it can be mastered, and if you’re struggling with similar, I’m someone who understands.
It’s become something of a broken record, I know, but as if trying to recover from a major illness isn’t enough, I managed to pick up a nasty upper respiratory virus last week that laid me low for the week. Today, I can finally say I am back to feeling at least as healthy as I was before the virus, so it’s time to get back to the grind. More will follow.