It’s Been A While

It’s been a while … understatement of the century. I haven’t felt much like doing anything creative these last six months. Too tired, fighting other battles.

Health is a funny thing. When it goes badly, it knocks the tar out of you. Then everything is all right again after a while, sometimes a long while. Living with a chronic illness is a balancing act that requires deftness, perseverence, and tenacity. You learn to live with the fact that it’s never going away. You come to terms with knowing that there are acceptible levels of pain. Really. There are. Somehow, you even find a way to live with the pills, the kidney damage, the weekly injections, the ulcers, and all the other things that go along with the pain. You learn to adapt. It’s really very good for that. You have to become flexible (the irony is not lost on me) or stagnate in a chair living life through a television or computer monitor.

And life goes on. Your meds and lifestyle changes help get you through in a fairly positive way. It’s easy to be cheerful. It’s easy to be happy. It’s easy to smile.

In the back of your mind is the constant monitor, assessing, re-assessing, checking for changes in pain, discomfort that requires a position change, but it’s subconscious it’s so much a part of you. Then, one day, you realise that it’s become conscious at times. Particularly if you’ve been sitting too long or shrug your shoulder in a certain way. So, you start doing the things you know how to do, the extra stretching, the meds you don’t usually take, adapting how you live to account for the new pain. And then, as the months go on with no help in sight (not through lack of trying), every little bit of extra work requires energy you need just to function. And your mood goes to hell so easily at the thought of plans changing, plans that you’d, well, planned for in energy output and ability to cope. And you can’t cope because the very thought of the extra output of energy changed plans will require panics you. So you snap. Then you feel badly because you snapped. That makes you tense, makes your muscles tense and the hip and shoulder become increasingly bad and with it, they take the arthritis.

And life goes on. Your meds and lifestyle changes become absolute necessities to getting through the day. Being cheerful becomes difficult. Being happy becomes tenuous. Being able to smile becomes a dream.

But you soldier through, because that’s what you do. You make the necessary changes to your routine, to your work area, to everything; only, nothing seems to help. And you are mostly alone medically for reasons you don’t understand. And the stress builds. And the workload builds so your days become increasingly difficult so you become rather difficult to be around. And you realise one day that you haven’t worked on your music and you don’t feel like taking pictures, let alone developing them but you do because it’s the one thing you can do that does’t take much more energy. And as for writing … as for writing and singing, expressing what is in you … well, they just stop.

And one day your GP tells you to stay home for a month or so to get your feet under you. So you do.

And you crash; don’t move for days. But he looks after you, doesn’t push, allows. After a while, with the help of sun and carefree days by the sea, you realise you feel lighter. And your spirits rise. You visit the old home turf, reconnect with people you love and who love you. They help you return to your sweetheart, your family, happy, relaxed, in pain but that’s OK because it’s easier to cope with now. You have hope on the medical side as well. You actually feel pretty good. So you decide to make a change. A big change. One that will make it possible for you to live your life in a much less stressful way; one that will allow you to do the work necessary to come back to relative health again; one that will allow you the time and energy to do what you want with your life.

That’s a pretty good proposition. I’m looking forward to it.


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