Thursday, June 2, 2011

Preparing to Have a Flare

I've had a backache for a few days. I've set up for the Chattanooga Market twice this month, and gone to a smaller farmer's market once. I figured the pain was from hauling stuff and bending, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, etc. This morning I woke myself up singing the pain song. What I mean is that I was whimpering in my sleep because my body hurt, and the noise woke me. I could see right away that I was in trouble. I got up and began walking and my thighs were stiff. It felt like I was expending major energy to make my legs move. There were annoying little shooting pains in my lower legs even when I sat. This is a flare until proven otherwise.

Obviously I can't prepare for something that begins so precipitously, but I've got some moves for when I recognize the inevitability of the flare. First, I put in a call to my rheumatologist. It's Thursday and I don't want to get caught out on the weekend trying to reach someone. Might as well get some instructions now. Second, I look at my schedule. For the next few weeks I need to determine what is absolutely essential, and cancel everything else. I will need the extra rest and I'm probably going to lack the energy or good will to do more. Third, I rally my moral support. Telling one or two sisters, my daughter, and a few good friends alerts everyone that I may need a bit of help, if only an ear for my complaining. It also lets them know that I'm not turning down activities with them because I've suddenly developed an aversion to their company. Fourth, I start recording my food intake. If I'm going on a higher dose of prednisone it is going to drastically increase my appetite. I need to monitor what I eat and make sure I stay on program. It will be especially difficult with the low carbohydrate plan my new internist wants me to try, as prednisone makes me crave baked goods and other carbs in a remarkable way.
Since my usual day is built around my crafting, specifically knitting and crochet, I don't have to change my basic purpose. I still want to get up in the morning, see what I can learn (reading or on the Internet), do maintenance on my stores, and then work on projects. The flare will put a kink in my ability and energy for photography, so I try and do it in short sessions at the times when my energy is best.
I sat down to record this plan so that I would stop obsessing with what this flare might mean. Yes, it might be a three-month disaster, but it also might respond to steroids right away and be a non-issue in three weeks. Yes, it is going to bring more pain, but my pain tolerance is high and my distraction skills have stood me well. Yes, there's going to be some disappointment in having to give up some activities and adjust my thinking to active illness mode, but that's happened dozens-hell, in 20 years, maybe hundreds-of times and it eventually passes.
Damn. My wrists hurt.

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