Monday, 22 August 2011

Rechargable Battery

Over the weekend I managed a couple more little outings. On Saturday I went for a walk to a friends place, who lives quite close, and stayed there for about half an hour. Not sure how long the walk actually was, but did go to a shop on the way to get some more vegetables, so I am guessing about 800m or so for the entire journey. It was good to actually go and visit someone for a change. On Sunday, Patti and Xanthe went out and left me watching a replay of the rugby (for non-NZ readers I won't attempt to explain, except to say this is our national game). Got myself some lunch that day (some cold baked chicken, plus some lowfat Pad Thai that someone had given my sister to give to me). I was about to have a bit of a rest and heard our poor cat getting bullied. She ended up being chased up a big tree, well beyond what she was comfortable with. That began a 1-2 hour drama of trying to get her down with ladders etc (with help from Zeke and some neighbours). She eventually got herself down, but not before I was well and truly tired. I did have a rest that afternoon, but not really enough. Later that day the family and I went round to one of our neighbours house for dinner. This was another first for me on my recovery and it was very nice again to be out, although we did not stay for very long (under 2 hours). The two weekend outings were events I could not gave done even a week ago. Today I went on another outing, driving to pick up Zeke's skis, went to the pharmacy and then the supermarket. It seemed easier than the last time I did this journey. I had hoped to be able to go to another shop in another shopping area, but I was beginning to get tired and I have learnt not to push things too hard.

The analogy I have been using to describe myself a bit is that I am like an interesting rechargeable battery. If I get a good nights sleep, then I wake up with fully recharged, with more charge than the previous day. If I have a very quick rest almost straight after breakfast (part of my routine now) then I will last to the early afternoon, and I can venture out further and further in the mornings. To recharge, I try and get a short sleep in the afternoon, and spend some more time just relaxing - something that I have been told (and I know) is so important to my recovery. I am then usually pretty good until bedtime. Food also helps me recharge. If, for any reason, I do not get recharged enough, then I can crash pretty hard, and pretty fast. At these times, by body seems to just stop - my battery is completely flat. Thankfully a short lie down can perk me up for a while, but I do not like getting to the "flat battery" stage. It is interesting (to me at least) that the tiredness I feel is completely different to what I was feeling before I started my treatment - before I could just not do anything, now I get worn out from doing too much. I take this as a good sign.

I was sent some statistics recently showing me how many times this blog had been viewed and how widely it had been viewed across the world. I had no idea at all that there were that many people out there looking at this. To reinforce how wide the readership is, someone emailed to ask whether we skied in Auckland, as I did not say whether Zeke's skis were for snow or water. It is humbling to know I have this wide a readership. As I get stronger and take more time for myself, I seem to be having much less time for any email correspondence, but I still read email at least daily.


At 23 August 2011 at 07:11 , Anonymous John Wikswo said...

Andrew -
Thanks for sharing your progress report and thoughts with all your friends. I applaud your openness - it really helps the many people thinking of you on a regular basis. It gives us all courage, and I hope you are finding it helpful too! Thank you!

I think your battery charging analogy is excellent. Yes - for me, growing old and being on medicine (in my case, approaching 62 and taking lots of antibiotics for a year for Lyme disease) does feel like being a battery that doesn't hold as much charge as it did a while ago. I am striving to achieve a sense of calmness that doesn't push the battery discharge curve too hard. Hence my finishing the kitchen cabinets is taking a lot longer than I expected - I fear that I have Zeno's kitchen.

Personally, I'm not doing too well on controlling battery discharge, but at least I'm trying. Talking to friends and colleagues about the process of growing old helps - your blog takes it to a higher level. I think that the weekend I spent relaxing with my wife was very much better for us than a weekend spent slaving away in the shop. I think the trick is to end each weekend with a bit more charge than I started it with.

Julia and I think about you often! Keep us posted as you climb over the hill that was just dropped in front of you. We send our very best wishes,

John Wikswo


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