10 Things I Haven’t Done In Six Months

Like so many people, Dad and I have made staying at home our new normal. Since mid-March, we’ve been keeping a low profile, and it really wasn’t much different than our pre-pandemic lifestyle. We’ve always been homebodies, so we weren’t too concerned about staying home for a few weeks. We spent March 12th -15th getting appointments out of the way, getting medications refilled, picking up groceries and supplies, etc. We had lunch and drinks at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We didn’t think this would be our last time sitting in a restaurant or that this pandemic would still be going on 6 months later!

It’s been lonely, depressing, and boring. I can’t imagine another 6 months of this! Although we don’t live exciting and adventurous lives, we still miss those little things like going to the grocery store or Walmart when we need something, having lunch out, or seeing friends and family on occasion. It’s funny (not-so-funny) the things you miss when you no longer have them.

The following is a list of things I’ve not done since March.

  1. I’ve not been in a grocery store. We always kept our freezers and cupboards stocked even prior to the pandemic, so we didn’t have a lot to get the last time we were out. Mostly all we needed was a few canned goods and we were set for at least 2 months. Thankfully, we’ve been able to get just about everything we’ve needed online since then.
  2. I’ve not been to Walmart. It was always nice to be able to pop in and pick up my medications, try on a few pair of shoes or sweaters, etc., plus the occasional kitchen or bath item. Now, we either do without or find it online.
  3. I’ve not been inside any public establishment. We’ve only been to liquor store, bank, and pharmacy drive-thru windows. We’ve used only curb-side service at out favorite Mexican restaurant, twice. Oh, and we got gas twice in the car and once for the mower.
  4. I’ve not had a haircut. OMG! I need a haircut. I cut my bangs once myself and I’m about to do it again. My hair hasn’t been this long in years. I prefer it short.
  5. I’ve not been out with a friend. I used to meet up with this friend or that friend for lunch and/or a little shopping. Now, I see only one friend periodically while social distancing outside.
  6. I’ve not worn any make up. I never wore much make up before, but now I wear absolutely none! I stopped wearing eye make up several years ago because I can’t see well enough to put it on anymore. But I still wore a little foundation or BB Cream, and maybe some concealer when I planned on going out. If I was feeling exceptionally brave, I might attempt a little mascara with the use of my 10x magnification mirror, but that was rare!
  7. I’ve not had a doctor’s appointment. I saw my Nurse Practitioner on March 12 to have my medications renewed for another year, and had them transferred to a different pharmacy with a drive-thru window. Thankfully, I’ve not had any issues that need a doctor’s attention. Fingers crossed that neither one of us will have to worry about that for a while.
  8. We’ve not taken the car for a check up. Taking Ol’ Blue in for a check up, tune up, or other ‘procedure’ has been postponed indefinitely. We will be needing new tires very soon though, so I need to be thinking about that!
  9. I’ve not taken my furbabies to the vet. My furbabies were due for their vaccinations in May and I’ve put it off. I don’t think I should put it off much longer. I’m feeling very guilty about not doing it. It’s just so stressful thinking about coming into contact with COVID-19 and bringing it home to Dad.
  10. I’ve not been in anyone else’s home. Ugh. I hate not being able to stop in to see someone if I wanted to. I didn’t do a lot of that before for a few reasons: I can’t walk up/down stairs, I always feel like a bother, and with chronic pain being an issue, I just don’t have the energy. It was still nice to have that choice.

Since the above things are not part of my normal life – at least not for a while – I have to occupy my mind with other things. I try to keep my brain sharp (hahaha, if that’s possible!) by doing word puzzles, brain games, and the like. I’ve started another jigsaw puzzle. I’ve been writing more offline – as in personal self-exploration type, and legacy journaling. I’m considering another online class…just can’t decide which one yet! One thing I really need to do more of, is exercise. That’s a hard one for me because of the pain I’m in. It’s so easy to just say, “Not today, maybe tomorrow.” So, on that note, I will leave to go do some exercise on my Air Walker. I just hope I can walk afterwards.

Have a relaxing, SAFE, and fun Labor Day, my friends!

aunt-debbie

Yes, I Have Changed

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Chronic pain and I have been well acquainted for about a decade now. I’m not happy with that at all. I’d like to kick its sorry ass to the curb.

I try my damnedest to put on a brave face, to smile around others; to not allow pain to ruin my life but I’ve been unsuccessful. Sure, in the beginning, it was easy. In the beginning, the pain wasn’t constant and didn’t reverberate throughout my entire body.

I’m writing this not for sympathy but for understanding. So many people don’t understand what it’s like to live with constant debilitating pain. They don’t know what it’s like to not be able to do the simplest of tasks; the tasks you once did when you were younger or before the pain took over your body. They have no idea how difficult life is for a person with chronic pain.

I’m not lazy. I’m in too much pain to do chores like you. I’m not unsociable. I just can’t put on a brave face or a smile and enjoy someone’s company most days. It’s not that I don’t want to see my friends or family, I’m just in too much pain. Pain is exhausting! I do care, more than you will ever know but most days, I get out of bed and do only what I MUST do, like shower, do a load of laundry, or fix something to eat. I only leave the house to do what MUST be done like pick up groceries, go to the doctor or some other appointment. Once a week Dad likes to go out and eat. I go with him because it’s the only thing HE does or WANTS to do these days. He’s not going to be around forever. He’s going to be 83 years old in February. I want him to do the things he likes to do, even if it kills me.

I just can’t be the person I used to be. Pain has changed me. Chronic pain affects your mental health, changes your moods, behaviors, the way you interact with people, and even your personality. People try to help with their sure-fire remedies but they don’t understand. They think you’re not trying to get better or not doing anything to help yourself. You stop socializing. Family retreats because they can’t help you or don’t know what to say. You become more and more isolated, from friends, loved ones…and LIFE. You’re now saddled with not just pain, but loneliness and sadness. You feel unnecessary. Your life is not what you envisioned it to be. You can’t really see a future for yourself.

I hope that if you know someone who suffers from a chronic illness, that you might be a little more understanding of their situation. Offer to help with chores. Let them know they’re necessary and important to you. Understand that they do care about YOU. Make them laugh with a funny story. Help them feel that they matter. Help them to feel less isolated and lonely.

As I mentioned before, I’m not writing this for sympathy. Writing helps me – like meditation might help someone else. I write to convey a message, or just to get things off my chest. Sometimes, I can connect with others in similar situations and maybe offer moral support. I’m thankful for all those people who help or have helped me in the past, be it moral support or something else.

Chronic Pain and Depression

I’ve been depressed lately. I’ve only spoken to 2 other people about the issues bringing me down and I won’t discuss the details here but there are a few things I do want to say.

No one really understands what a person with chronic pain is going through. They will never understand until they’re the ones suffering from it. It’s debilitating. It’s exhausting. It’s sad, and it’s lonely.

I can’t just make plans to go do something because I don’t know what my pain level is going to be from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next! When it rains or when the barometric pressure rises, I am in more pain than usual.

I don’t want to be sitting at home. I’d like to be working. I’d like to be doing the things I used to do. I’d like to be able to pursue the hobbies and activities I thought I would be pursuing at this time in my life. I’d love to be able to go visit my grandkids, near and far. I’d love to go to the movies, hit the Mall, or go to a Flea Market. I’d love to go to museums, haunted houses, and concerts. Hell, I’d love to just do the simple things we all take for granted when we’re healthy, but these days everything is a painful chore.

I have good days and I have bad days, but let me be clear: Having a good day does not mean I’m pain-free. It just means my pain level is at a more tolerable level. Just because I smile or crack a joke doesn’t mean I’m not in pain. It just means I’m trying to be as close to “normal” as I can be, for appearances. I don’t like people feeling sorry for me and I sure as hell don’t like being the center of attention. So, I try to be “normal” like you.

I’m not lazy. Chronic pain is not an excuse to get out of doing things. I don’t have the energy to go to events like birthday parties, weddings or luncheons. When I do attend a function of any kind, I have to leave early. I just can’t handle hour upon hour of socializing and appearing to be happy. Another consideration is accessibility. Will I be near a restroom or will I have to walk a long distance to get there? Will there be stairs or an upward/downward slant? Will I be able to sit down? Is there a place where I can rest? Will I have to stand in line? There are so many things I have to consider before doing anything.

When you suffer from chronic pain, you also suffer a loss of identity. The things that made you who you are, are gone. I used to be a cross-country backpacker. It was something I hoped I could back into when my kids were grown and out on their own. I can no longer look forward to that. I used to be a great cook. I used to be a small business owner. There are so many things that made me who I am but now I’m having to find a new me. It’s hard to reinvent yourself when you can’t actually do anything anymore.

I hate when people say things like, “I hope you feel better soon,” or “Have you tried x, y, or z?” Seriously? Yes, I’ve tried everything under the sun. Nothing helps. Someone once said to me, “It’s just arthritis.” If this were just arthritis then I could be more active and exercise some of the pain away. If it were just arthritis I could find a simple remedy that would ease my discomfort. But it’s not just arthritis. I have joint damage in my knees. My legs are bowing outward at the knees. This is what makes walking and moving about so difficult, so painful. Then there are the people who, good intentions or not, are very condescending. Calling me “hon” or ‘sweety” when I’m having a bad day is a sure-fire way to get ghosted!

Chronic pain never goes away. Chronic pain causes depression, anxiety, changes in mood, appetite and sleep patterns. It causes loneliness, grief, isolation, and fear. Yes, FEAR. Every day, I have to think about every movement I make, every step I take, for fear of falling or doing too much and making my pain level go up even higher. I fear that I will injure myself and lose the little mobility I have left. Have you ever thought about being stuck in a nursing home? I have.

I’m so sick and tired of being expected to do things. I only go out when I have to go out. I go out for groceries once a week, go to doctor’s appointments, pick up meds, etc. Yes, I go out to lunch once a week, but that trip serves a dual purpose. I normally have other errands that need to be done. People don’t realize that in between those days is rest and recovery.

On top of the daily struggle, the holidays are approaching. The most depressing time of the year for me. I won’t have family and grandkids around. I won’t be able to cook all the delicious yummies I used to make for my family. I can’t wrap gifts easily, so gift bags it is! I can’t decorate or put up my big tree. I won’t be looking forward to any of what the holidays bring.

I’m not writing this for sympathy or attention. I want people to understand what chronic pain is and what it does to a person’s life. It’s crippling. It’s not my cup of tea and I’m pretty sure it’s not yours either.

 

 

 

2:23am

Here I sit at the computer, in the wee morning hours of Monday. I went to bed at 9:30pm Sunday night because I had 3 yummy Kahlua Mudslides and they really kicked my butt. (I should know better than to have more than one of any kind of alcoholic beverage!) After 3 hours of sleep, I was wide awake!

This is the time of the year when I get depressed. I just hate the holidays! I have never been a fanatic about the holidays but when my kids were growing up, I always tried to make it nice for them. It was fun making memories. I looked forward to having a house full of grandkids on the holidays to make even more special memories….but that’s where the depression comes in.

I don’t get to spend the holidays with any of the grandkids. It appears the newest grandbaby will be no exception. I’ve seen him 3 times since he was born, Sept. 1. I know they didn’t want to take him out until he was a bit bigger so I had no problem stopping by to see him. Chronic pain and mobility issues prevented me from stopping by more often. But now, my son and his wife are going here and there, spending time with her family…and here I sit waiting for them to come see me. They have gone out of town, and apparently, I won’t be seeing them on Thanksgiving either. So, it will be just Dad and I, once again.

That’s where the Kahlua Mudslide came in… I’m sick of feeling unnecessary, left out, and unwanted. I know alcohol doesn’t help but on the bright side, as I sit here my pain level is pretty low! Bazinga!

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. Mother TeresaRead more at_ https_www.brainyquote.comquotesmother_teresa_131834_img=2&s

Wish You Were Here….

I really miss you. I wish you were here. I wonder how long it will be before I see you again. It’s lonely here sometimes and I wish I could just talk to you. I wish I could talk to you in person. It would be nice to hear your voice. I can’t just pick up the phone and call you. We communicate but it’s hard being so far, far away from each other. Some day maybe we will be closer, although we will never be closer at heart than we are now. We’ve been through a lot together and will surely be through much more. I’m hoping you know that I’ll always be here for you, as I know you will always be there for me. After all, we are family and will always be. Sisters forever. To the end. In my heart, always. I wish you were here.