Saturday, November 28, 2009

Energizer Bunny where are you?

I've always considered myself the energizer bunny type, I keep going, and going, and going. As a child I was the student standing at my desk to do my work, I was constantly being reminded to sit down, but my bottom would quickly forget and pop right out of my seat within minutes. As an adult I would be on the move from early morning until evening. Don't get me wrong, I would enjoy a television program in the late evening to help wind me down, but sitting has always been difficult. When I was forced to sit, my foot or leg would still be on the move.

I remember when I was put in the hospital when I was first diagnosed. My biggest complaint was being stuck in bed. Times a wasting, there's things to get done! When the doctors told me I had POTS, which I had never heard of and surely couldn't pronounce, I was told things would be a bit different. Dependency on medication, and a lifestyle change were in my future. I was told that this disease could go ito remission as quick as it came. I'd have to slow down. In my head I thought OK, I can slow down, I can take my medications, I can do this. I had just finished a Bible study about resting in God. I thought this disease was a good way for me to learn a little something about resting and resting in God, and once I learned my lesson, life would go back to normal. Still wearing my rose colored glasses, and need a reality check.

I left the hospital with the thought that I'd have to slow down a little, and that this would probably go away soon. I had learned very quickly that my idea of slowing down was not the same as my bodies idea of slowing down. I was faced with a flood after I came home from the hospital and reality was about to set in. My refridgerator water filter pipe blew and created a small flood two nights after I came home. The family woke to the sound of water shooting across the kitchen and two inches of water on the floor of the kitchen, dining room and in part of the living room. My children and I began using towels to mop up the water, and as I lifted each water soaked towel it felt like I was carrying two hundred pounds across a football field. My children had school and work the next day, so I sent them to bed and I truly thought I could tackle the flooded house. I didn't last very long, out of breath, heart beating through my chest and the room around me spinning uncontrolably, I thought for sure my children would wake up without a mom. That night my body let me know who was boss, and it wasn't me.

I have been on the move for forty eight years and I still think I'm the energizer bunny, but unfortunately the energizer bunny has hit the wall. Picture your favorite toy as a child remember what it was like as it ran out of energy and would move ever so slowly until it no longer moved at all. Imagine you head for the kitchen cupboard for some new batteries, only to find there are none. Imagine the disappointment you feel because you are now unable to play with your toy until one of your parents goes to the store to buy more batteries. That's me! I start out feeling normal, and within minutes I'm laying on the couch out of breath. Wishing I had more energy, and I'm going to have to wait until my body re-energizes itself, which may take hours or the next day. The disappointment I have that I can't finish the task I started.

This morning I woke up with a hankering to tidy up the garage. So, I took on the task in my typical energizer bunny style, but within minutes my body took over as usual, if it could speak it would probably say "ha ha, you are a couch potato, a COUCH POTATO!" I didn't totally listen to my body and I put a decent dent in the project, but what would have taken a morning to do the whole job, took a morning to do a tenth with a dozen couch and water breaks and the help of my daughter.

I may only have a tenth of the energy I had before POTS, but I still have some enrgy to do the things I want to. I'm still getting use to having the mind set of someone in their thirties, with the stamina of an eight year old and a body that doesn't look eighty, a bit think!

I guess it's time to quit while I'm ahead, my left hand looks like it has been soaking in purple die, and I keep missing the keys on my last three fingers, until the next post, consider all you can do a blessing, because you never know when you're body might consider your brain a joke.

Still inspired,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Chair

By looking at the title, you would think I was writing about the electric chair. Well for me it might as well be, I'm actually referring to a wheelchair, which for me might as well be a death sentence.

Several months ago my doctor wrote me a prescription for a wheelchair. I had made a joke to my doctor about borrowing a practically antique olive green wheelchair from my church that creaked and clanked so loudly that people 100 yards away were aware that I was coming from behind. The doctor said there was no need to borrow a chair, that I could have my very own, yahoo.

The main purpose of the chair was to have it available whenever I need to walk long distances. Lately I poop out just going grocery shopping, so a trip to a warehouse store, the mall or a large campus would quickly send a circle of stars spinning around my head, and at times a medical crew trying to figure out what to do with me.

Some of you may be wondering what the big deal is. Yes, I know I'm not in it permanently. Yes, I know I'm lucky that I only need it for short spurts of time, and yes, I know I'm lucky I don't have cancer! For me the feelings for "the chair" run deep. I have a sister who was born with Cerebral Palsy, and for most of her life she used crutches to get around. But there were times when a wheelchair was needed. My sister often had major surgery on her legs or hips during the summer, and a wheelchair was needed to get her around. Now being the big sis, I had the privilege of pushing her around. I was her care giver during the summer, and being kids we loved going to the mall. It was only about a mile away, and the walk included crossing over a good sized hill with a paved sidewalk in which I would balance on the back posts of her chair and we would fly down the side of the hill. We had a blast on these trips, I was 12 and she was 8 and we would often push through the mall as if we were parting the red sea. People would dodge us in fear of being crashed into, and we had no fear of being chastised, because who was going to get mad at a 12 year old pushing an 8 year old in casts up to her thighs. These are good memories, but I had a roll to play, and I was not the one in the wheelchair.

For me, I've always been the care giver, the pusher of "the chair", my sisters defender, the healthy one. I was given this roll when my sister was born, and proud to have it. I have known from a very young age how fortunate I am to be able to walk, to be able to help, to be healthy. When I was a young child I always thought I would have a child who is handicapped, because I knew how to do that very well. I never dreamed I would ever have a need for a wheelchair. So here I am, and I can't move forward with this issue. I have two choices, get the chair and do the things I enjoy and miss, or don't get the chair and be stuck at home missing the things I enjoy. The sensible part of me knows what to do, but the emotional part of me still can't move forward.

For many who have illnesses, the difficult decisions, that mountain we refuse to climb are different. For some it may be quiting work, asking for help, using a shower chair, not driving or maybe as simple as using a daily pill box. Each decision is based on our past, our experiences and our individual viewpoints, and these decisions cut down to our very core of who we are.

I know for me this decision means giving up some of my independence, it's admitting I'm weak, it's losing one more thing to this disease that has taken so much from me already, and finally it's losing who I believe I am, the roll I was born into. I'm still no closer to filling my prescription, but hopefully I'll get there sooner rather than later.

Still inspired,