Chronic Illness Never Takes a Day Off…(funny pic)
Following the previous day’s adventures, not surprisingly I woke with a headache. It wasn’t a full blown migraine but the dull ache that you feel when you haven’t slept enough. I know very well what this particular headache signifies. As the day went on I felt fatigue and weakness on top of the headache plus nausea and pounding head pain if I moved too much.
I really wanted to continue helping at my sister’s house with the renovations but I knew that any level of physical exertion was going to push me into a full attack. So I stayed at home, kept all the lights turned off and generally took it easy.
At one point I did go out for a few groceries. I spent about half an hour in the shop before going home. By the time I put the groceries away I felt nauseous and my head was pounding. I had to rest for about an hour before I felt well enough to get up and move again. I managed the remainder of the day doing some small household tasks in between rest breaks. As long as I moved slowly and didn’t do too much at once I was able to get a few things done.
By the evening things had improved somewhat and with a little help from my foodie son I was able to put a nice meal on the table. Fillet steak with sautéed mushrooms, asparagus and creamy garlic sauce with a good Shiraz.
I think the two days give good examples of the choices that I have to make constantly due to migraine. Anyone with a chronic illness could probably tell you a similar story. Like the spoon theory says every choice comes with a cost.
So what drives these choices? Why on Thursday when I felt well did I choose to try and pack as many activities as possible while knowing full well what the likely cost was going to be? For me many of my choices are driven by guilt. I know that its not justified. I know that having migraine is not my fault nor is it something that is really under my control. I still feel the guilt. There are so many ways I fail the people I love every day.
House renovations: my Family are incredible support network. Every time there’s been a crisis in my life my family have rallied to support. This is something I can absolutely rely on. At the moment my sister has a crisis of her own and I feel like I should have space in my life to help. I feel like since I don’t have a job I should be able to spend all of my spare time assisting her with with the renovation project. Unfortunately due to migraine this is just impossible. So on this good day I wanted to achieve as much for her as I possibly could. In one week I have managed to help her for two afternoons. This feels to me like an absolute failure.
Cooking dinner: I have a tendency to express my love using food. If someone feels sad I want to cook for them. If someone feel sick I want to cook for them. If there’s any kind of special occasion I want to host the celebration.
If I don’t put healthy meals in front of my family each day I feel like I have let them down. I feel like I’ve neglected my responsibilities as a mother and partner. In particular at the moment when I have a house full of people I strongly feel that as the person in the household with no job it is my responsibility to put the meal on the table every night. In reality I am able to do this once or twice a week at best. And I feel enormous guilt for this.
Spending time with Logan: Poor Logan. He really does bear the brunt of my illness. The plans that we have to cancel, events he has to attend without me, the times he’s come to pick me up because I am too sick to drive home. He picks up all the little tasks of running a household when I’m too sick to do them. He cooks, he does the washing, he remembers when bins go out, he knows when we are out of milk or cat food or any of another million things that I’m oblivious to because I can’t leave my dark room and I’m unable to think clearly.
He never complains and he’s always kind. He will bring me a cup of tea in bed each morning while I wake up and get ready for the day. He checks on me when I’m in the darkened room and brings me anything I need. He understands when I’m not able to go with him into noisy or brightly lit environments. He’s a good man and I’m lucky to have him.
So of course if there is any possibility that I can spend some time with Logan enjoying the things that he loves then I am going to do that. Because I can do this so rarely and for this I feel guilt.