Sunday, March 30, 2008

A week in the life of chronic fatigue

I haven't been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, but here's what my life is like:

Last Sunday I had some homework that I felt I really needed to work on, but I just couldn't muster up the mental coherency. I spent the day in my pajamas doing light reading. When it was time to go to bed, I was happy that I didn't have to do the hard work of putting on pajamas or taking out my contact lenses, because that day I had not gotten out of my pajamas or put in my contact lenses.

Monday I went to work and left around 3 for a doctor's appointment. I got home around 5:30 and did a bit of work on my homework. However, I found myself overwhelmingly sleepy, and had trouble concentrating on my homework. Around 7:00 I quit doing my homework, had some dinner, and then just waited around until it was late enough to go to bed. I went to bed at 8:35. I slept through the night.

Tuesday morning I got up around 7:00. I sent an e-mail to the people at work saying I'd be out sick, and went back to bed until 10:00. I watched TV about 10-3, then tried to do my homework. It was hard. Trying to think was like walking through two feet of mud. But I forced myself to do it because the homework was due that day.

Wednesday and Thursday were normal days. I worked through the whole day. After work, I was tired, but did a few t hings, including laundry and light reading.

Friday I had stuff going on at work. I was happy, because I like doing interesting stuff. I was busy at work all morning, with more walking around and talking to people than I usually do. When it was over around 1:30, I was past exhausted. I felt like curling up in a ball and whimpering. But I couldn't do that because I was still supposed to be at work. I did some work in the afternoon, but I certainly wasn't at my peak productivity. Then I went to a dinner that was related to the morning's events. When I got out at 7, I went to the radio station and listened to CD's. I had planned to spend the evening that way because I knew I'd be so tired that if I was home, I'd have a hard time knowing what to do with myself. I got home and went to bed around my usual time. It was hard to fall asleep, because I was so tired. It's like there comes a time when you are tired and you are ready to lie down, but then if you keep going for hours after that, you become beyond tired, and your molecules hurt, and you can't even rest. But I did manage to fall asleep.

Saturday I got up. I got dressed and had breakfast. As soon as I did those things, I went grocery shopping. I went to get it out of the way so I could spend the rest of the day resting. I spent the day doing light reading, napping, and playing a computer game. I knew that I have homework to do, and bills to pay, and tax forms to fill out, but I also knew that I needed to recover from my big day the previous day before I could embark on such things. It really wasn't such a big day yesterday, just a few hours of walking around and talking to people, but that's more than I really can handle.

My goal for each week is to work full-time, do laundry, get groceries, and do homework. That is really a bit much for me, but I usually pull it off more or less. I don't cook and clean much. Those things require standing up. I don't go out at night. Well, once in a while I go to a concert, but I pay the price later and it's not something I would do on a regular basis. I don't engage in physically strenuous activities such as hiking or skiing. I am able to do light exercises such as short walks, yoga, Nia, a little gardening, and some short, slow rollerblading. I can't spend more than an hour a day in the aforementioned light exercises, and that's only on a good day. On a bad day, standing up long enough to take a shower is too much work.

So that is my life, and everyone tells me that I'm not really sick.

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