The thing about having a chronic condition is that you invariably have to redefine normal. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. By making a new normal, you’re more likely to work within your limitations and not exacerbate your health problems.
The problem is that the new normal becomes, well, normal. Which means that when you feel even lower than that, things are pretty bad.
I’ve gotten used to a lot. A whole lot. Standing for too long making my legs weak. Toting a five-gallon jug for a minute or less making my arms useless for a couple of hours. Needing Tim to open bottles or break pills because, by nighttime, most of my hand strength is gone. Having to do only two or three errands, lest I be too tired to leave the house the next day or two.
These are limitations that I’ve grown to expect and, more importantly, respect. I work within them, and my body and I coexist peacefully. Usually.
You see, even when you shrink your activity level down to a tiny circle in the Venn diagram of life, sometimes you’re still just screwed.
Sometimes I wake up extra tired for no reason. Good night’s sleep? Check. Low levels of activity the day before? Check. Leave the house? Not happenin’.
And I guess, up to a point, even those blips have become part of my normal. I’ve had to accept that these anomalies are par for the course. A stupid course filled with sand traps and water hazards and probably an alligator.
So, yeah. Peace, serenity, whatever.
But once in awhile you get random, severe flare-ups. Like Tuesday.
On Tuesday, I exercised for 10 minutes. Not a new routine or ridiculously strenuous, and I even laid down immediately afterward.
But my legs freaked out for the rest of the night.
My legs refused to straighten all the way, and they felt shaky and weak. My feet didn’t pick up, but instead just shuffled along the ground. (I could lift them with a lot of concentration, but the “steps” were just plop-up/plop-down.)
I was pretty sure my ass was going to call for an impromptu meeting with the (tile) floor. So I ended up bracing myself against walls and counters. And really, really regretting all the water I’d had that day.
Look, I’ve done 40-minute standing Pilates workouts — which is just variations on tightening your abs while doing squats — and this never happened. I did wince when I sat down. Or stood up. Or laughed very hard. But definitely no shuffle-lurching my way around.
So I have no clue what brought this on. I guess it’s a reminder that, in the end, we’re all at the mercy of our bodies.
It’s been over 15 years since I was pronounced “cured” of the actual illness, but clearly my body still has surprises in store. (If only it had pulled this while I was at the neurologist’s office.)
What kind of random stuff has your body thrown at you?