Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Days Like This

“Mama said there'll be days like this, days like this my Mama said...” So says a song by the Shirelles way, way back in 1961. About 30 years later, VanMorrison did his own song with a similar line in it. Actually, it wasn't my Mama who said that to me. It may have been my rheumatologist, but more likely it was someone from a Sjogren's Syndrome or autoimmune email list or forum that I subscribe to. After all, we are the ones who really know about 'days like this', and support each other through them. (To be honest, I wouldn't mind having less personal knowledge of 'days like this', but then I probably would be less useful to the readers of this blog).
I went to bed the night before last with all kinds of plans for yesterday, from collecting trash along the creek (it washes down when there is a lot of rain or snow), to working on a personalized Seder (service) for the Jewish holiday of Passover, to vacuuming the downstairs of our cabin (I did the upstairs yesterday). I woke up in the morning with pain along the side and back of my neck, which made holding my head erect difficult. So I took a muscle relaxer, and a headache pill, and I took it easy. Today didn't start out much better, but I am feeling somewhat better now.
'Days like this' are the days when you feel sick, where 'business as usual' just feels way too difficult. If you have chronic pain and/or illness(es), you likely have 'days like this', maybe occasionally, maybe most days. Luckily for me, mine are only occasionally at this point. When I do feel this way, I have learned that it is okay to give myself a day (or 2 or 3) off to take care of myself. I try to eat healthy, to get some exercise (gentle stretches, short, easy walk, outside if possible). I let myself take a nap, which I normally don't do. Yesterday I took a short walk outside. Today I pushed myself to go to the Natatorium ( the name of our city's gym). After 5 minutes walking in the water, with every step feeling like an uphill climb, I gave in. I gave myself permission to stop, and I used the hot-tub instead, the first time I used it in my 2 years of membership. 
It is easy to feel guilty for taking time off, but everyone gets sick sometimes.The key words here are accepting yourself as you are each day, giving yourself permission to focus on your own needs, and being at peace with yourself. The commercial is right: there is a app for that. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself- as soon as I saw the 'a' in 'accepting' and the 'p' in 'permission', I just had to find another 'p' word so I could spell 'app'.)    

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