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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Not Until December!

The last few evenings, I've been served a fair amount of stick from my husband, brother and sister-in-law, for commencing and immersing myself in my Christmas present buying, wrapping and list making.
Besides the fact that I am the biggest fan of Christmas, (much to the annoyance of my scrooge of a husband), there is more to my being a little premature with my festivities, than simply my love for all things yuletide!
The fact is that I have learned over the last few years, that any strenuous physical activity, ( and by strenuous for me, I mean sitting upright in my wheelchair for longer than an hour or two), will invariably result in me being confined to my house, or worse still my bed ,for hours, days, and even weeks as a result- thus eating into time that 'normal' people may anticipate doing a little last minute Christmas shopping, attending Christmas drinks and basically conforming to the obligatory running around like festive headless chickens, ( which surely at this time of year should more aptly be referred to as headless turkeys)!
The festive season being the whirlwind of social activity and commercially induced expectations that it has so become over the years, means that I will almost certainly attend a social or familial outing/gathering and end up enjoying myself a little too much and consequently staying that crucial and fatal hour too long and consequently render myself confined to my bed for a period of time that may then prevent me from attending other festive frolicks.
Life with a disability and chronic pain in particular, makes running and keeping a social calendar extremely difficult, as you never know when pain will prevent you from doing things. Therefore, my quest to be organised and have important presents bought and wrapped and under the consol table, ( the nearest fit until there is a tree to put them under!), is in the hope that I can restrict the amount of times that I have to take a rain check/ bail out / or give my apologies for having to let down my friends and family in whatever activity we had planned as I will have hopefully paced myself adequately by starting Christmas preparations in mid-November..
Whichever of the above phrases you want to use- they all mean the same thing- that I am disappointed that I can not attend the event in question, as well as being devastated that I am living in a perpetual cycle of letting those around me down!
With my therapist/shrink/ counsellor lady, I am currently working on the art of pacing, in the hope that I will find that equilibrium of living, that will enable me to get the most from life, in order that I can give the most back.
Each time I let down my Mum, best friend, God daughter, brother, cousin, old colleague or aunt- it always feels like there's a knot tightening in my stomach.  I HATE letting people down.
People are wonderful creatures and they have an amazing capacity for empathy and understanding, but I have been hurt incredibly once before by an extremely close friend of mine, who at one of my most poorly times, when I was attached to my bed by catheters, nebuliser tubes and a month old spinal surgery scar- stated  that she felt our friendship was-  '..a little one sided', at that point in time.
The sad thing was that at the time, all of my relationships were one sided.
I couldn't go and see people- as I was imprisoned in my bed;
I couldn't talk to people- as I was suffering with pneumonia and could barely breathe,
and I could barely confer or interact in any way with those at my bedside- as my morphine levels were crippling any cognitive function.
My marriage, family relations and friendships were all one sided at the time as that was all I could give and the last few years have seen at times only a little improvement on the described scene at my bedside.
Ever since this one simple sentence scarred itself upon my heart, I have feared a repeat episode of it from another friend every time that I have had to cancel an appointment with friends or family.
It is most certainly not that I doubt the love of my loved ones, it is more that I understand that we are all merely human- humans that all have lives and issues of their own.
My illness and disability is exactly that- it is mine and not for others to be hurt by, if there is any way at all I can help it! 
My disability is not the primary factor in everyone else's life- that would be weird; to them, it just naturally becomes the thing that irritatingly keeps affecting their social schedules.
I hope that those closest to me who have lived through my becoming disabled with me, will now know that when there is any possible way that I can be somewhere- I will be; however the nature of the beast of chronic pain means that this is all too often not possible. I pray that people can understand this the best that they can.
I am wrapping presents and writing cards this evening, in the hope that I don't have to be that person only capable of giving a one sided relationship this Christmas.
I want to give my loved ones a Christmas period they deserve- one where I sustain my health long and well enough to give them a card and/or a present.
I want to give them a festive period free of periods of immense neurological pain where I am completely stuck to my bed or sofa, incapable of joining in any 'reindeer games', (or more accurately Articulate or Monopoly in our household!), due to the incredible amount of morphine that I have to take just to make those minutes bearable.
I want to pace myself through this marathon of a social season, without having to send too many fateful texts or phone calls to say that once again I will be letting that friend down.
Therefore- I will continue to start Christmas in November in the hope that I will at least be capable of the above to some degree.
Pacing is not easy. I'm failing at pacing right now- my therapist/shrink/counsellor lady told me to scheduler two hours maximum for writing my blog- easier said than done when you are battling immense pain, a cold and sleep deprivation, coupled with being a perfectionist- something that I only realised since starting these sessions in fact!
I'm starting Christmas now, in the hope that I will give my best, (but not too much), into being there for my loved ones over the festive period.
On that note, having exceeded my allotted writing time and consciously leaving the spelling and grammatical errors I know are present in this post, (apologies)- it's off to bed for moi!
Until tomorrow everyone.

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