I was feeling so much better for my hot weather induced slow down that I got overconfident on Tuesday and did two strenuous (by my standards) activities in one morning. A classic ME/CFS mistake – you feel a bit better and think you can do normal things. Like going to the shops and library AND hoovering the carpets in the space of three hours.

I had no premonition that I was being unwise. The day was somewhat cooler than previous days and I enjoyed going out in the car for the first time since the heatwave began. I could have left the hoovering until later, but I felt OK and wanted to get it out of the way. I was more than a little bit pleased to be feeling so well. The thought of repercussions didn’t cross my mind.

My plan for Wednesday was to have a shower and wash my hair before the letting agent arrived to do the regular inspection and then have the rest of the day to get on with my drawing exercises. What actually happened was that I woke up feeling as though I’d been trampled by herd of wildebeest. Every joint and muscle was sore and I had that old familiar toxic ‘flu feeling.

I did the basic necessities to prepare for the letting agent and summoned up enough energy to put on a display of being a normal person while he was here. Then I went back to bed to recover from my exertions with the hoover. I still feel yuk today, though the pain has gone and I’m “just” very low on energy.

Was it the hoovering? I don’t really know. Maybe I would have been ill yesterday even if I hadn’t done it. Or if I hadn’t gone out as well. Or if I’d rested after going out and before doing the hoovering… I can’t know and it doesn’t really matter, but it was yet another reminder that careful slow pacing and lots of rest are essential for me.

It’s a bugger though – believe it or not I really enjoyed that bit of vigorous housework. I’m not in the least bit sporty, but I used to love hard physical work – digging the garden, doing weights at the gym, swimming lengths, long brisk walks, helping a friend move house – and the feeling of well-being that comes afterwards. I really miss that.

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9 Responses to Oops!

  1. I still haven’t learnt that lesson properly…makes me feel like an idiot! I have to follow a “one day on one day off” rule. So if one day is very ‘busy’, ie: I wash my hair AND have a bath in the same day. (Gasp) The following day must just be mostly sitting, or napping in bed. If I actually manage to leave the house I can do ONE thing – not pop to the library then the post office or whatever. Then i need to have about a week following that major excursion to recover. If theres been conversation involved, like meeting a friend for lunch, it takes about two weeks to rebuild my energy to the point where I can prepare a salad or something without feeling like I’m about to collapse. But it takes so much adrenaline to do most things that if i can rev myself up to the point of actually leaving the house or whatever, i get zero warning about when I’m reaching my limit. Plus, like you, I’m usually so happy I’m managing to do something, that I get carried away…then paybacks a bitch 😦
    Its weird getting no warning – like i don’t know i need to eat until i suddenly feel like I’m going to collapse. I swear I’m ruled by time now more than i was when i was teaching. Pacing, pacing, pacing – its the Pain Management Program mantra.
    Acting normal is exhausting too – sorry you had to cope with that whilst feeling so grim. I hadn’t really registered that ME/CFS has such bad pain too, no idea why I haven’t, its viral (like I’m sure Fibro is) and those flu-like symptoms are the pits.
    Hope you can rebuild your spoons more swiftly than usual…hey I can dream πŸ˜‰

    (It wont let me tick the follow up comment box…wonder will it let me post this…)

    • Thanks Sand – I’m doing OK as long as I stick to sedentary activities. I think I’m “lucky” that my pain is intermittent – it must be dreadful for you Fibro types who have it constantly.

  2. 2nd try! It sounds like a lot in 3 hours. I’m realising – from overdoing it with the gardening on Sunday, even though I had lots of rest breaks – that it is also the intensity of activities that matter. Hoovering is definitely up there for me as a proper workout. I know what you mean about enjoying that physical labour, I felt the same hacking down the bramble. I too used to do weights at the gym, etc. Mind you, I don’t remember ever feeling that hoovering was a good thing!

    • It wasn’t so much that I enjoyed hoovering as such, more that I enjoyed working up a sweat doing a vigorous activity – it just happened to be housework πŸ™‚ Yes, you are right – intensity of activity matters too. I usually limit gardening to 20-30 minutes at a time and no more than two sessions a day (morning and evening), but sometimes I get carried away…

  3. Intensity of activity – an excellent point you clever ladies πŸ™‚
    Physical OR mental – if its both its a total killer.
    Thus – gardening is more tiring than dusting, a conversation is more tiring than sitting and doing a repetitive task.
    I find that sitting upright exhausts me quicker than being in a recliner and laying flat in bed is the lowest on the energy draining scale.
    Though being in the recliner and wrestling with a tech problem can be twice as exhausting as sitting upright and sorting out my pills for the week or washing my hair.
    Im starting to try to think of my brain and body like an electrical appliance to see if i can fathom out how much ’battery’ power various tasks take…of course if sleep is especially bad then the quality of the power in the battery is that much poorer (and there’s less), and the quicker it seems to discharge that power and the longer it takes to recharge. Does any of this make sense to you guys?
    I need a new battery, this one has clearly gone through too many recharge cycles…

    Re 24/7 pain – i genuinely find the fatigue harder to deal with than the pain…and i know most fibro peeps feel the same.

    • Interesting point about pain vs fatigue Sand – it reminded me of a time when I tore a muscle in my shoulder. I noticed that although it was excruciatingly painful it didn’t fog my mind like migraine does and I was able to carry on at work without too much difficulty. That pain also responded well to ibuprofen whereas after a certain point nothing touches a migraine, I just have to wait it out.

      Regarding energy levels – these days I prefer to say that I’m low on energy rather than tired as I think there’s a fundamental difference between how I feel and normal healthy tiredness. It’s ages since I looked at it, but Donna Eden’s book Energy Medicine has a lot of interesting ideas and suggestions. I’m think somewhere she talks about what happens when our energy well runs dry – she compares it to an old fashioned water pump which can’t work if it’s not fully primed.

  4. Tamara Epps says:

    I am glad I’m not the only one to fall into this trap of doing as much as I physically can because I ‘feel well-ish’; it’s just so hard to stop and rest when you’re still feeling like you can do more. Hopefully with a bit of practice we’ll finally get it right. Hope you are able to recover fairly quickly.

    • Thanks Tamara. You certainly aren’t the only one! πŸ™‚

      • Nope def not the only one. Pacing is one of the main things they cover on pain management programmes…i know all the theory but I’m still rather bad at putting it into practice. I live in hope that we’ll all figure out a way to get it right…
        Excellent distinction – low on energy not tired. Thanks πŸ™‚

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