It’s been quiet here because there’s really nothing to report. I’ve arrived at a kind of weird plateau. In some ways, I’ve improved dramatically over the past few months, but the fatigue and achiness still dog me. Hopefully, as the weather improves and I can get outside more, that will improve as well.
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.
It’s no secret to those who know me that I am a discontented person. As far back as I can remember, I never recall a time where I was satisfied with anything I’ve done, known, or been involved in. That discontent is what has driven me to pursue education, experiences, and even entire careers.
Knowing that, it then surprises me that my otherwise discontent never seemed to apply to my physical state. For most of my adult life, I’ve accepted weight gain and the creeping malaise of health that goes along with it for what it seemed to me to be: an inevitable sign of aging and poor luck. I’ve even gone so far as to argue against fitness in some absurd justification of being less than what I could be.
Yet, now that I have been laid low by illness, my discontentedness has come into full effect. I am not satisfied with anything. I want to fix it and fix it the best way possible. The issue now is that I’m not quite in a position to act. Ironic, isn’t it?
Nevertheless, I believe my discontentedness will be the thing that drives me forward. As hard as it is proving to be, I will not be satisfied until I master this thing.
I realized last night, as I finished my first vial of Lantus, that it’s been a month since I got out of the hospital. I’ll admit, it seems a lot longer, and I will also admit that I am frustrated to report that, even a month later, I am still recovering from those events.
That I am epically impatient is both well known and an understatement, but the fact is I can’t help but wonder if some of the things I’m experiencing now are in some way permanent or caused by some yet to be diagnosed condition. It’s always bad to borrow trouble, and I’m told I need to be patient, but I can’t help but think about the negatives.
That said, today it will be 60 degrees outside, which means a walk or even two. That’s not a bad way to celebrate a month out, even if it is with misgivings.
One of the things I think we often miss in the course of physical recovery is how important it is to keep the brain engaged as well. It’s amazing to me how fast the brain can get lazy and soft, perhaps even more so than our bodies, and how that lazy, soft brain can hinder physical recovery in ways weakness and pain won’t.
I have been fortunate in my own recovery that I am surrounded by family and friends who will not let me degenerate into a pile of mental goo. Whether it’s people physically close to me asking what I’m working on or friends at a distance taking the time to engage me, I owe a lot to these people for keeping my brain active.
Beyond the social interaction, it’s important for me to keep my brain active with the kinds of things that keep me engaged under more normal circumstances. As such, I keep reading though my attention span still suffers. I play computer games because there are few better ways to keep a wandering mind moving. I’m slowly starting to work on art and writing again, though those things are going to take longer to happen than I thought they would. Eventually, I’ll get back to my tech tinkering.
Overall, what I learn from all of this engagement is that, when my brain is engaged, I actually hurt less and am more likely to commit to the other activities that will make me feel better in the long run. If there was any ever doubt the brain is the master of the body, the reality of what happens when we keep it engaged should put that to rest.
I’ve never been seriously ill before recently, so to say that the long term effects of having been seriously ill have taken me by surprise is an understatement. In the past, I have usually been a fast healer, so despite the severity of my issue, I imagined from the very beginning that I would be back up on my feet in a matter of weeks.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Now, granted, the general trend over the past few weeks has been improvement, but the fact is that, while there have been mostly good days, the bad days stand out in their capacity to knock me on my rear end.
The past couple of days have been bad days, the kind that have taken it all out of me. I’ve gone from grouchy to downright foul as I hurt, ache, and struggle with fatigue. Somewhere in there, I know this is not a permanent state, but the physical and psychological effect of even a temporary setback is large for someone as determined and impatient as I tend to be.
Bad days also serve as a warning. This illness damaged my body, and some part of my illness was the result of a bad combination of willful ignorance and impatience with my body warning me it was not okay. In some ways, I’m glad the bad days happen to remind me I can’t go back to the way I was without the risk of repeating what happened.
In short, then, the bad days will happen, and I have to learn to live with them because they’re now part of the package. It’s not going to be easy, but it is necessary.
Today turned out to be a pretty good day, despite the fact I’m tired and a little sore now.
The day started with my second quality walk in as many days. It was a lot colder this morning than yesterday, so my pace was much faster, resulting in a higher heart rate. Other than some muscle fatigue toward the end, I tolerated it well, and that gives me hope I’ve turned a corner.
This afternoon, I had my second follow-on appointment since I was in the hospital. We went over the results of my blood draw from Friday, and most of my numbers look really good for someone who was so recently sick. There are a couple of things we’re going to keep an eye on, but I don’t have to go back for a month, so that’s a good sign.
Finally, Keba and I wandered around our local Kroger while they filled a new prescription I’m starting to replace an old one. It ended up being a second walk for the day, leaving me tired and sore but contented.
As impatient and restless as I have been about recovering, I’m surprised and pleased with the sudden progress I seem to be making over the past few days. Now, the task is for me to restrain my enthusiasm so as not to overdo it.
For a variety of reasons, I felt better this morning than I have for weeks, so I decided today was the day to go on my longest walk yet. The result was that I was able to walk about a mile, and though I was tired at the end, I managed to complete the entire circuit without stopping or falling over.
This gives me hope for my plan and for the notion that I am actually starting to recover. Now, to not overdo it in my excitement.