It’s time to whip out the ‘C’ word as I can avoid it no longer – it’s officially the start of December, the year is drawing to a close, & Christmas is sneaking up. Will whoever stole several months from this year (and even made off with a couple of full years prior, for that matter) please return them at their earliest convenience, thank you.
I didn’t sleep for even a minute all night and the past week has been rather poor on the Zzzs front too, so I’m way past over tired; my brain is mushier than usual and it feels like there’s lemon juice being squeezed into my eyes. With that out of the way and my excuses made for a boring ramble of a post, I’ll get on with it!
I hope you all had a decent December, and have managed to stay as well as possible. I think it’s important at this point to take stock of things, get a little perspective, and start out the month afresh with an idea of how you want it to look. If you celebrate Christmas, it can be a stressful time of the year and dealing with all of that when you’ve got a chronic/invisible illness can make things harder still. Make it a priority to schedule in “me time” to simply rest and recharge.
[ Health Update ]
So, I mentioned before I got the flu and another chest infection in November, the second time for both in 3 months. Long story short, the chest infection was making a third reappearance. I’m now on a short dose of steroids, which are working quite well. I’ve also done in my right rib quite badly from the coughing so that’s been excruciating; a pulled muscle and possibly the lining rubbing the rib explains the internal pain, and the external pain is apparently likely a broken rib. There’s nothing that can be done other than allowing it time to heal itself. Avoiding X-rays currently as the doctor is concerned another will “light you up like a lightbulb”!
The last blood test shows a few recurring deficiencies so I’m dealing with those, and I’ve also got some ‘homework’ to do for the pain management clinic in terms of charting my activity, sleep and rest over a two week period.
Despite being unwell and more in pain than usual, I’m still trying to take some walks when I can, even if it’s in to town to run errands & pick up a few bits, then get a bus home. Don’t underestimate the power of stretching your legs and getting some fresh air, especially if you can take a more scenic route sometimes to escape from life for a few minutes. I even made a friend while walking to the doctors. I swear he was eyeing me up, and perhaps mistook my leg for a tree trunk.
[ Live To Learn ]
Various things haven’t gone to plan over November and I’ve fallen rather behind. One thing I’d wanted to do was make a start on another free course or two from FutureLearn (via the Open University). With added effort and a little strategic planning, I’m hoping to get started and catch up asap.
[ The Dreaded ‘C’ Word ]
I had hoped it would fall on December 32nd this year but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I honestly feel as though I’m fresh out of f*cks to give when it comes to Christmas sometimes.
Uh-oh. I need to quieten my inner Christmas Grinch – he’s a grumpy fellow & I already have too many frown lines, so I need to make a concerted effort to cultivate at least a little merry cheer. I’m sure I’ll feel a little more Christmassy as the month goes on, but my feelings on it have changed back and forth over time so I’m more on the fence these days.
First step – buying some lights for the rather sad looking Christmas tree shoved in the corner as sparkles will surely hide the lopsided branches, while the constant flashes will help induce that drunken feeling even when no alcohol is being consumed. Win-win.
Step two – draw up a Christmas gift ideas sheet. I’ll jot notes of ideas when I’m browsing for the people I need to buy for. On this sheet, I’ve left a space for my brother, my parents, and a box between each of my parents for any combined/household gift ideas. I’ll then write in another colour and tick off what I’ve bought so I can keep track of things. Do you have some kind of gift organisation system in place to prevent panic buying at the last minute this year?
[ Grateful Moments ]
- I’m grateful I got out this week to see an old family friend for coffee, which was lovely! It made for a rare social occasion for me and I revisited my home town where I spent 23 odd years (and I’m also grateful to have left, as it’s now more enjoyable for a short visit & less emotionally charged with negativity after such time away).
- I’m grateful my local community is doing all it can to help and support the homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged this winter and Christmas. I’ve made donations and it’s spurred me to go through a few extra bits for charity shops while I’m at it too.
- I’m grateful to the wonderful nurse that I saw this week. What a stark contrast she was to the nightmare triage nurse a few days earlier! There really are some very unhelpful, even rude and upsetting people in the health care sector. But it’s also true that there are some incredible ones, so I wanted to give her a mention as she restored my faith & did everything she could to help me.
[ Onwards & Upwards ]
My calendar is full of various appointments for this month, some to take my father to and the rest for me; rheumatology, pain management, pernicious anaemia jab, GP, surgical consult etc. I’m hoping to take a trip out next week to mooch around the shops, but it’s hard making plans when you never know how you’re going to feel. It’ll be slow going, with lots of breaks and I probably won’t last for very long before my Duracell bunny batteries run out, but it’ll be an accomplishment of sorts. For December, I’m going to work a little harder at pacing, at setting more reasonable, manageable goals.
Remember, whatever you’re struggling with, we can still take pride and a sense of achievement from the smallest of things, whether that’s having a shower and picking up groceries, or cooking a healthy meal and taking a 5 minute stroll. Keep it simple, listen to your body and what you need, and try to strike a balance between pushing yourself and overdoing things. Life with a chronic/invisible illness can be difficult at the best of times, let alone around the holidays, so go easy on yourself and take things one step at a time.
What’s your December looking like? Are you looking forward to this festively themed time of the year, or do you harbour a hidden Grinch inside too?