About 90% back to normal vitality. With an interesting story.
As you know, I have been sick with a monstrous viral respiratory infection. (Why wasn’t it called “flu”? No idea.) During Ernie’s first week in assisted living (RGT), I was in bed for three days, leaving him on his own. Probably that was good, in that it may have speeded up his adjustment, forced it. After I could get out of bed–still blowing, hacking, and miserable, I got back to work on all the tasks associated with Ernie’s transition from our apartment to RGT.
For one thing, Ernie needed clothes. For the past year, he hadn’t left our apartment except for medical appointments. We’d given away all his clothes except a couple of shirts and pants. He wore the same four scrub pants and three scrub tops exclusively. At RGT he has to go to the dining room for his meals, out in public. So I had to order more changes of clothing for him, plus a bathrobe and slippers. That required ordering several options from which he could choose, then returning the ones he didn’t want.
I had to get a table and chairs for his room, which I found online after futilely shopping locally. I had to meet with various staff members. There seemed to be new chores daily. And I tried to take care of myself by doing things I enjoyed–even though I was feeling rotten. In other words, I was very busy and living as normally as I could.
Last Friday I even went back to visiting my clients in the care center, whom I hadn’t seen in five weeks. After which I collapsed on Ernie’s bed.
Nevertheless, on Saturday I went to Michael’s where we chatted in the hot tub for a couple of hours. Sunday morning I could hardly walk to the bathroom, I was that weak. The cough had subsided quite a bit and I wasn’t blowing my nose, but I was SO weak and shaky. I decided that I’d better try bed-rest to get myself well.
I told Ernie that I wouldn’t be leaving our apartment until I felt better and I put myself on a 45-minute interval regimen–45 minutes on the bed, 45 minutes doing what had to be done, 45 minutes back on the bed, using my timer as disciplinarian. By Wednesday I felt no better, a little less coughing but general malaise and shakiness.
As I had about decided that maybe I should call my doctor, my phone rang. It was the receptionist at the Medical Center. “I’ve been thinking about you,” she said. “Dr. C has two last-minute openings today. Would you like to see her for any reason?” Amazing.
After Dr. C. questioned and examined me, she said, in effect, “You’re not sick.” She told me I had pushed myself too hard when I actually was sick, and that was why my body was taking so long to recover. But, clinically, I wasn’t sick. She ordered bloodwork just to make sure.
When I asked her what she thought about my bed-rest regimen, she said she didn’t think it was a good idea. She said, “Does this remind you of CFS? I’m afraid that if you continue resting, you may relapse back into CFS. Instead, be active, just go a little slower and take a break in the afternoon.”
I went back home still feeling just as lousy, but very intrigued by her speculation that I could return toME/CFS by behaving as though I had ME/CFS.
The next morning, I awakened at 6:30 feeling much better. I went and practiced the piano–just for about 45 minutes, not 90 minutes. Then I walked, not three miles, just one mile. I took Ernie’s laundry and snack foods for him, then went to a nearby piano store and tried out some used pianos. In the afternoon, I watched a movie.
I was feeling so much better. It was as though my doctor had said, “You aren’t sick,” and I stopped being sick! A miraculous cure!
Maybe the four days of bed-rest had something to do with it, but the suddenness of my sense of recovery sure surprised me.
Now here’s the paradox. When I had ME/CFS, I had to spend 14 hours a day in silence on my bed to be able to be somewhat active the other hours and to have enough energy for occasional special events. What Dr. C told me was that I should NOT be resting to get well, that I should be more active. And, sure enough, I’m feeling much better.
As for Ernie, he is adapting wonderfully, graciously, to his new environment. It’s a slow process, getting the staff at RGT to adapt to him, getting his person and his room as we want them, waiting for deliveries and installations and so on. But he just called me to tell me he has passed the test for self-medication. I’ve been working on getting that done for three weeks. Hooray! As of Monday, he won’t have to wait until someone brings him his Tylenol.