Friday, 15 August 2008
Due to a combination of physical illness, mild depression and my general apathy I recently went through a phase - a relatively long phase - where I neglected myself far too much. The consequences, sadly, were not good.
More often than not I wouldn’t bother to get dressed. By the time my feed was finished being pumped into me it was already past noon and as I knew I’d be knackered and heading for bed again by 8 o’clock, there just didn’t seem much point. I’d rarely be going anywhere, anyway.
When I did sleep I didn’t sleep well. Ok, so having 2 ½ litres of fluid pumped into me during the night generally means several trips to the loo anyway, but the fact that I’d allowed my bed to become strewn with magazines, books, writing paper, the remote control, the phone and all sorts of other odds and sods wasn’t helping. Instead of clearing it all away every day, I just crawled into bed as it was. Sometimes I only had about two foot of bed available to sleep in and then wondered why I always felt tired in the morning!
I rarely went outside so, although my bedroom window is kept open, I wasn’t getting either enough fresh air or sunshine. I became seriously lacking in vitamin D and the situation just got worse. It was like a vicious circle.
Eventually I pulled myself together and broke the circle. Nowadays I spend the morning in bed catching up with blogging, chatting with friends online, making telephone calls, paying bills, updating my accounts etc etc. In other words, I try to be productive even though I’m not actually up and about. I could go downstairs with my pump but at the moment I’m just not strong enough to keep carrying it up and down the stairs - it just about all I can muster to get up the stairs without it!
Once I’m unhooked, I have a wash and get dressed. One day, when I can eventually afford to have a shower installed, I’ll shower every ‘morning’ too. For the time being I have to make do with a wash though, and a shower at Richard’s when I’m up to it. Hopefully, the occupational therapist will be able to help me with the cost of installing a shower but I’m not banking on it.
What I eat doesn’t actually make any difference to me as very little nutrition is absorbed into my body (hence being intravenously fed) but it does have a psychological affect, as strange as that may seem. When I’m eating properly, I feel better for it. Gone are the countless biscuits and other sweet things that I’d pack in before (I figured if it didn’t matter, I might just as well enjoy myself) and in their place are more healthy options. I still have to be careful how much fruit and raw veg I eat because my bowel can’t process the fibre but looking back now, I don’t know why I imagine I’d enjoy biscuits and cakes more than fresh, wholesome food! It’s ok now and then, but yukky in large amounts! And then there’s the cost involved! What a waste!
Exercise is another area that I was neglecting. Whereas I was getting along well before the bout of illness that knocked me for six at the beginning of the year, once I got out of hospital I kind of gave up for a while. I knew I’d need to keep pushing myself if I was to build up my muscles again (I could hardly walk from the bedroom to the bathroom at that stage) but it all just felt too difficult.
Nowadays I feel much better about myself. There’s still room for improvement - lots of room - but at least now if somebody turns up unexpected I don’t have to be embarrassed because I’m not dressed or the house looks as if wild dogs have run through it. And if I want to go out, all I need to do is pick up my keys and bag and go.
I get out and about as much as I can and if I’m not going out, I try to get some kind of exercise in the house, either by going up the stairs once more than I really need to or doing little things around the house that I would have once felt too tired to do. The results are starting to show - last time I visited the clinic I’d built up 2cm of extra muscle mass : )
I sit for at least half an hour in the sun every time it shines because I really don’t want to lose the muscle mass I’m gradually building up again though vitamin D deficiency. I may well need another ‘jab’ before winter but for the time being I’m making good use of natural resources.
If you’re also suffering through lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, not getting enough sleep or being indoors too much, remember that if I can do it, you can do it too : )