Friday, February 2, 2007

Hitting the Wall

Some women say that after childbirth they forget all about the pain and that this is nature’s way of making sure you go on and do it again.. Or that the love you feel for your children makes you forget, or you just do because otherwise you would go mad thinking about it. Perhaps it’s just the way I’m wired, but I never forget anything: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful is all imprinted, scratch me and I’ll sing. It is this way with everything, I have extraordinary powers of recall for the way things were and the particulars thereof.

The exception to this is M.E. I stood in the supermarket today and hit the wall. The wire basket on my arm was becoming too full to carry and I knew I couldn’t go outside to get a trolley because that would mean walking up an incline and I fucking couldn’t. Added to which there was a duvet drying in a launderette machine up another incline and how was I going to get the shopping to the car, deal with the duvet and get myself home? It is like a recurring nightmare where you suddenly realise that you have been here before and actually if you try hard you might be able to wake yourself up. Never mind how the situation was sorted – strategies. But still, after all these years, I am taken by surprise. I get myself into situations that I should know from experience will lead to this. I commit to things I shouldn't. I forget about the wall. Perhaps that is in itself a strategy.

Twenty years in and I am surprised by incapacity. This does perhaps contradict what I said before about having come to terms with things as they are. It's the other side of the coin: the crazy expectation that I will "take up my bed and walk", or a knock on the door will come, a tap on the arm that says, you’ve done your time. And sometimes I wake up, it's a new day and I forget to walk the line.

16 comments:

cusp said...

Oh God haven't we all been there ! The old tap on the shoulder: 'who's been silly again and forgotten to remember we're not as we used to be'? There's also the comments from other people who know us well but don't have M.E. and so just don't know what it's like to suddenly crash --- and in public and alone --leaving you feeling like some infantile waif that's lost his/her Mum in the shops and wonders how to get home. Ghastly and scary.

My last really bad 'turn' was when I'd gone to Tesco and suddenly, at the checkout, realised there was virtually nothing left in the reserve tank ( which is more or less non-existant in M.E. anyway). I panicked, prayed, did magic thinking, self bargained and managed to get through the horror of the checkout and into the cold outside(January) air and then rested on the arm of the trolley: a few more steps with the trolley to the car......... with empty trolley to trolley park .... trolley overbalances; I'm leaning on it too hard and, whoops, I overbalance too and rip three finger nails out. I'm left standing in the car park, blood trailing hither and thither and feeling a real burk. Off to Casualty and a week in bed. Lovely !

So, you see I do feel for you....personally I always feel a right schmuck when this sort of thing happens but know I should try and forgive myself.....so if, like me, you feel the urge to curse and swear at the M.E. beast and also to give yourself the odd pinch of self-abuse, desist....try to forgive yourself and put the blame on the wretched shadow that lurks behind and over your shoulder.......

Take care.

Cliched salve ..... 'Tomorrow's another day'

nmj said...

hey signs, i usually take a trolley even for a few things, saves the 'heavy basket' syndrome, though sometimes you feel like an idiot, hope you are not too wrecked for rest of weekend; i am showing off my newly acquired linking skills, you can read my experience of supermarkets
if you wish x

nmj said...

Perhaps it’s just the way I’m wired, but I never forget anything: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful is all imprinted, scratch me and I’ll sing. It is this way with everything, I have extraordinary powers of recall for the way things were and the particulars thereof.

This is a nice description you lay down - I can remember the tiniest detail too, I wonder why, even though my head is a sieve for everyday living . . .

Reading the Signs said...

hi cusp, I think what surprises me is that I continue to be surprised. But I'm pretty good to myself. No blame.


nmj, I know that man you describe, oh yes. Shops, airports, motorways - he is the one I least want to meet.

Impressed by the linking.

nmj said...

I often think how much more energy I would have if I didn't use most of it for grocery shopping, I don't drive (I find it too exhausting & didn't get my licence before ME, though I've had many lessons - I think that is the key, to have passed your test before the illness, though I still don't know how people can do it, I would be a liability on the roads), so I am totally dependent on buses, but luckily I can get door to door quite easily though I have to make frequent small trips cos I just can't carry that much!

Reading the Signs said...

I passed my test by the skin of my teeth after 5 attempts - and only because I switched to automatic (so much easier on the legs). Living in the country makes it easier. Don't like town traffic and won't do motorways.

nmj said...

Yeah, i can see that country driving would be mentally easier, though i would still find driving an automatic physically tiring ( i had many automatic lessons as well as manual!) - & at least living in a city, you don't really need to drive, though there are times i just wish i could drive myself A to B.

Liz said...

Can I please be your personal shopper?! I'd love the job and I'm good company...

Reading the Signs said...

Bin liners and haggis, my dear! Another offer I can't refuse.

nmj said...

. . . actually, i am very lucky to have a Co-op just a few doors away, it's great for basics, i would happily get you some binliners & haggis! though for anything 'sophisticated' i need to go further afield . . .

Reading the Signs said...

I appreciate the thought, nmj. Our co-op doesn't stock anything as exotic.

Maggie said...

Yes, how well I know that oh god i gotta sit NOW feeling.

BTW, did you see the Mail article on Esther Rantzen's daughter's miraculous recovery using the Lightning Process? Back in 2001 she had a miraculous recovery using CBT and GE under the care of Dr Findlay (sp?), also reported in the Mail. Ye gods and little fishes these therapies (though Lightning Process isn't a therapy but a "Training Course") sure know how to part a patient from their money. More rant on my blog if you want to take a look.

Best wishes from Liverpool, and here's hoping you manage the shopping better next time you have to do it!

Reading the Signs said...

maggie, I get nervous every time I come across another miracle cure - because I still get tempted, however hardened I pretend to be. Will go and have a look at your blog directly.

Reading the Signs said...

maggie, can't seem to access your blog - have been told profile not available.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I found you through The Moon Topples and Velo Gubbed Legs, whose blogs are among my favorites.

I loved your description of your impeccable memory as mine is the same. I remember most of the moments of my life beginning at the age of a few days. I have no idea why this is so: For the most part, it serves me no purpose. But that is how it is.

I also have Fibromyalgia, which I believe is a cousin of M.E. I have had it for several years and, like you, am still taken by surprise when my body insists upon limiting me. Since I am determinedly macho, it is a constant struggle between my symptoms and my denial.

I will be crossing the ocean often to read more here.

Reading the Signs said...

thank you, heartsinsanfransisco and hello - I thought I was doing well going back to a few months old but you have beat me. The only other person I have come across who can remember from birth is a fictional one: Oskar in the Tin Drum by Gunter Grass. Yes, it has always surprised me how little most people remember of their early years.
I am interested in the effect of the word "macho" on my perception. I suddenly assumed you must be male. But your picture suggests otherwise. I'll go and visit your site now.