Trying to find a way to keep moving is essential for extending my quality of life. However, learning to compromise with the very real endurance challenges I’m facing is essential for my survival.
I slept about 3 hours total from Tuesday night into Wednesday. It is a rare day where the nap I took in mid-afternoon to get through the physicality of the day backfired (probably due to the xopenex I’d taken), but it happens, and so I was wide awake for most of the night.
Trying to do my disability claim for the state before bedtime didn’t help (the instructions on the form were contradictory for processing the document. I especially enjoyed the part where it allowed me to accept or reject automated changes it recommened, and the only successful answer was “accept”), but I’d procrastinated long enough and was determined to submit the form that day. So, it was especially entertaining to see the online form tell me I couldn’t submit the document until the ninth (9th) day out of work – especially after their own agents, when I met with them in person, said I could complete the form up to five (5) days before departure.
Ah, bureaucracy. And ‘automation’ of the b.s.
Ain’t nothing going to get done without a whole lotta headscratching !
So, I got up yesterday – after a scant 3 hours of sleep – to head to my local YMCA class for an hour of cool pool, active aerobic swimming. Then running around to help a senior friend without wheels come up with options to address pending homelessness after receiving an eviction notice from her landlord/former friend. I thought we’d managed to find a decently priced apartment in Morgan Hill (she gets $1,800 each month in retirement, and her rent would be $925) but they had a pet limitation of one (1) animal, and I’d missed that in the fine print.
I know if she ends up homeless there’s nothing I can do, as my own apartment has a “no dogs” policy, but I just can’t seem to leave her to fend for herself.
She’s showing great improvement in initiative since she got on the dexadrine stimulant following our afternoon spent at the emergency room a couple of weekends back, but she can still use help with mobility since she remains on crutches, and getting to appointments via bus is exhausting. Her totalled car has been towed away after more than ninety (90) days of harping by her landlord / friend, but she’s been lax about following up on any apartment / senior-discounted and blessed wait list for finding a new place. She’s scaring me, and I know my worries aren’t her concern, and aren’t going to change anything.
However, I got her to the senior center and ensured she set an appointment for a case manager (not available until the 20th!), got her to apply for “Outreach” to save on high cost taxi bills since her knee still needs replacing, and found out she qualifies for meals on wheels or the snap program as she’s also been skipping meals in an effort to save money. It’s going to be challenging for her, as she’s a vegetarian due to ethics, but they offer a couple vegetarian options each week and it’s better than going hungry. Skipping meals and scrimping on food is not a good choice when one is not making a lot sense, mentally, but that’s not a battle I’m going to win. She’s going to thrive or not at her own pace, and I need to manage my boundaries as it’s all I can do to care for myself given my own changing circumstances. I can but try on both counts.
At any rate, yesterday was disturbing but also enlightening. So many confirmations about things being dicier than I knew for this friend, and I was wiped out by 2pm, xopenex or not. But, she still wanted lunch, and I had one more place to try before taking her home and then heading to the Roomie’s for “Survivor”.
My next big mistake yesterday was my own damn fault. I’m too competitive for my own limitations, and I refused to give in to the exhaustion. I was thrilled to have lemon chicken (hold the lemon) and white rice with soy sauce for lunch about 4:30pm, and I didn’t think for a moment about the tiredness that I usually feel after eating chinese food. I had cookies and gum in the car to help keep me awake while driving, right? Stupid, stupid, stupid !
Bulling my way through things is not a solution when I’m behind the wheel of a car, and especially not when there’s someone else in the car with me. But, I’m a crabby New Englander (my birthplace is Massachusetts), and our culturally ingrained bad habit is to “never say ‘die'” when challenged. In my right mind, I have no problem drawing a logical line and quitting. However, when the automatically competitive spirit kicks in, I’m running on auto-pilot and likely to do something stupid as I try and bull my way through (whatever). I should know better, but old habits die hard.
So, after lunch, it’s now 5pm and I have to get my friend across the valley in rush hour traffic. She wants an ice cream, and I nap in the car for 15 minutes while waiting for her return. I should have let her eat her ice cream while I napped a little longer, but she said the magic words to whip me into action, “Are you okay?” when she returned to the car to see me napping.
Instant adrenaline rush, to spur my guilty conscious for being tired in the daytime into action. Stupid, stupid, stupid !
So, off we went to use the back roads to get across the valley floor (a traffic jam nightmare at the best of times), and I now know that I should have been smarter to keep napping until she finshed her huge ice cream vs. being spurred into action, as I hit a median curb very firmly with my right front wheel (probably 10-15 mph impact speed), and scared us both. Accident # 4. (Yes, I’m keeping track).
One of the reasons I’m no longer working is due to 3 accidents within a period of a year (2 within a week of each other). While I will swear to my dying day that only 1 was my fault, I was blamed for one, the other driver was blamed for one, and the accident that I knew was my fault I denied knowing anything about and blamed on a hit and run driver. Yes, I’m scared at my lack of endurance, and wonder if my exhaustion played a part in all three accidents, but I’m also still driving with my Doc’s blessing. He and the Roomie know the truth. The insurance company does not. Crazy but true.
Yesterday, was clearly a lack of good judgement, so it’s now time to limit my excursions to 2-3 hours max (in the hope I’ll be able to pull off into a parking lot and nap until I snap out of it), which I can’t seem to do with someone else in the car.
I don’t want to hurt anyone or lose my license (yesterday I was very lucky in that there was (so far) no visible damage to the car or its surroundings), so it’s time for new rules for myself since I clearly can’t be trusted to exercise good judgement when reacting to a weakness challenge, as something as simple as, “you ok?” represents to the reptilian part of my brain. Sheesh !
Anyway… I tell you all that to tell you this. No YMCA this morning.
If my day goes well after a morning spent kicking around (I’m going back to bed once I take my meds and have breakfast, now that my arm is killing me from typing and I’ve gotten the kinks out of my back), we’ll see if I make it to the Y for the evening fitness class, and make it to the Roomie’s for Project Runway.
I’m on disability for a reason, and it would behoove me to remember that sooner rather than later… A day of rest isn’t going to kill me, but another day spent running on empty just might. Finger’s crossed that I remember and ACCEPT the lesson I’m supposed to be teaching myself to slow down before another something stupid happens.
Artist Credit: “Swimming Fish” from Free Wallpaper World