Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Living out my defiant teens in my forties

When I look back at my teen years, I believe that I was every parents dream child. I worked hard at school, did my chores at home, went to church, followed the rules, no drinking, no drugs, I wasn't promiscuous, and there wasn't a defiant bone in my body. Now many of you may be thinking poor thing, she missed out on all the fun, but reality is, I had a blast, and didn't believe I was missing out on anything. My life seems to have followed that path with the exception of my marrying my former husband LOL. I was always a straight and narrow, don't wander off the path kind of gal.

Now I'm in my late forties, quickly approaching fifty, and I've noticed that rebellion has turned its ugly head in my direction. Dysautonomia compares to a hard nosed parent or an overbearing husband. Dysautonomia has too many restrictions and rules to follow. Too many don'ts and the do list is no fun. My body feels like I'm always "in the time out chair", or "the old ball and chain". Just about everything I do has restrictions, and is often very frustrating.

There are days when I'm just tired of following the restrictions dysautonomia has placed on my body. Sometimes I just need to do what I want to do, and pay the price just because it's worth it. Even if the price may be a trip to the emergency room or a day in bed. Well on Monday I had one of my rebellious days. And before your imagination starts wandering, I didn't go out drinking or carousing, or chasing after loose men (I still haven't taken the trip to "that" wild side yet). I just had to prune my peach tree. I'm sure I've disappointed a few of you, but there's just something about hard work, pruning, and proving to my former husband that I can still keep up the house. Truly the husband issue just plays a small part in this.

The reason pruning the tree is so difficult is that many of my dysautonomia symptoms make it practically impossible. I can't hold my hands over my head for more than a minute so lifting pruning sheers to cut branches is a bit of a challenge to begin with. Getting up on a ladder can make me dizzy and tachy. Tilting my head back to see which branch to cut causes dizziness, migraines and a variety of other symptoms. I have no arm strength, so squeezing the pruning sheers is nearly impossible, and finally, bending over to throw away the branches makes me dizzy. I'm sure many of you are wondering why I would want to put my body through this kind of torture, and all I can say is "I don't know, I just want to!" I guess it's the same reason that my kindergartners have for cutting large chunks of hair from their heads or smelling vomit that has just been covered with sorb-it. It doesn't make sense, but they do it anyway.

So on Monday I went out to my back yard with pruning sheers in my hands and a plan to limit myself to trimming two to three branches at a time. So I begin pruning branch number one, I can barely balance the pruning sheers over my head, but I manage to lop off my first branch, no dizziness and no damage done, and a small victory dance in my head. Off to branch number two, I struggle to get the pruning sheers over my head, and can barely squeeze them closed, branch number two falls, but I can barely move fast enough to step aside to keep the branch from hitting me. Now I know I should stop at this point, but I never stop when I should, and to be honest I knew this before I started and just lied to myself about having a plan, just to say I had one. I now attempt to cut branch number three, my arms are shaking, but I do manage to hook a branch between the sheers, and I'm jubilant at the success of this small feat. I attempt to squeeze the pruning sheers, but all strength has left my arms. I'm determined to cut the third branch, so I come up with a brilliant idea, I use my head "literally". I put my forehead against one of the lopping poles, and grab the other with both hands. I then push the handle of the pruning sheers toward my head, and snap, the branch is cut and begins to fall. I am now totally exhausted the branch is falling, too dizzy to move I just duck my head and hope that when the branch falls it doesn't hurt too badly. I smile at the craziness of this experience and chuckle because I feel I'm in the middle of one of Lucille Ball's episodes of "I Love Lucy". I've escaped my hard headed pruning adventure without a scratch. Now again you would think I should give up at this point, but no, the success of the last cut has given me a bit of an adrenaline rush (another wonderful but usually inconvenient symptom of dysautonomia), I take advantage of the rare timing of this usually inconvenient symptom and attempt another branch. Branch number four is exactly like branch number three except this time I'm left without the adrenaline rush and I'm totally wiped out. I finally listen to my body, I have no choice at this point, and I head for the house, my wonderful body lets me know that I'm now going to pay for that brief amount of defiant behavior. I manage to make it to the door just as my world around me begins to swim and dance and mock me by saying I hope it was worth it. I sit down before I actually pass out, I lean my head against the back door, close my eyes, feel my heart racing through my chest, I'm gasping for breath, my head begins to throb, and I think to myself, "yes, it was definitely worth it!"

My body did pay for my brief moment of defiance, but to be honest I'm looking forward to my next adventure.

Truly inspired,


  1. I have visions of you pouting and stamping your feet saying "I want to"!!. Go you and your branch cutting efforts. 4 is an impressive number.

    Defiance is exhilarating. I swept my whole path the other day. Shaking, nauseous, dizzy, but triumphant.

    Viva la revolution!!!

    Michelle :)

  2. Hey! You did better than I did the last time I tried to trim hedges for my grandparents (eric's, but I call them mine!). It was before I was diagnosed, but I was still defiant even then, although at the time I blamed my tiredness, nausea, headspinning, beating heart (make that wildly beating heart) and everything else to just have 2 small Anyway I climbed up a step ladder to reach the top of this particulr bush and had the electric hedge trimmers stretched out in front of my swiping away those stray extensions of the bush. Next I know I'm laying on the ground with a twisted ankle, get this, LAYING IN AN ANT BED!!! I refused to tell anyone I blacked out, told them all I tripped and fell... after all, can't get scolded by the husband!!! lol Once I was diagnosed though and they began witnessing the black outs I got brave enough to tell on myself... albeit it was almost 2 years later!!! lol Way to go on getting those limbs girl! You're the Dys butt kicker this week :) lol

  3. Teens today are far from teens before. I remember my years when I was a teenager; I always follow what my parents tell me to do because I know it is good for me. But today, come on they can’t even follow simple instructions! They nag all the time even though they are not doing anything else.