Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Making Lemonade

Fibromyalgia officially sucks. Ok, so I have made it plain in several posts that I’m not appreciative of it’s effects on me and how it messes with my life but I haven’t talked about the very valuable things I have gained from it. It has taught me gratitude. That may sound strange but when you can’t do things you learn to appreciate the times when you can do them. There is a bracha in the morning prayers which reads:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, ha-meichin mitzadei g’veret.
Source of Blessing are You, Adonai, our Source of Powers, Sovereign of the Universe, Who makes firm my steps.

When you spend a few weeks not knowing if your legs are going to hold you when you take the next step, and have no idea of what’s going on and no insurance for those expensive tests to find out, you become grateful for every step that you take without hitting the floor. When the strength in your legs returns to the point where you can count on it, as suddenly and mysteriously as it left, a wise person remembers not to take anything for granted.

Being 1 of the 3 people living in this house and the 3 of us equaling between .75 and 2 able bodied people on any given day, I am grateful for the ability to do simple things when I want or when I need to like making a meal, washing dishes, carrying 5 gallon buckets of water or soil across the yard to tend the gardens or livestock; there are days I can’t carry a gallon of water in each hand or reach above shoulder height without my arms feeling like they’re going to fall off - or rather that I’d like them to. I’d like to blog more often but too often my forearms and hands are screaming at me after too short a period of time working on the computer regardless of mice, keyboards, supports, gloves etc. The inconsistency of abilities and lack of control over the situation is enough to drive someone batty. ARRRGGHHH!!!

One of the things that drives me nuts about how American society views disability is that there is this expectation that one’s condition is a constant thing - in some cases it is but in other cases one can be debilitated one day and not be hardly able to get out of bed or lift anything or type for more than a few minutes and the next be able to garden all day or clean the whole house or type pages and pages of material or carve hard maple with no apparent change in conditions. Now of course, one forgets to take it easy and pace one’s self and overdoes it on the good days partially because you feel guilty for not being able to do stuff at other times (and society expects one to be able to get certain things done regardless) and end up paying for it. Baruch Hashem for affordable strong pain meds and a doctor who trusts your use of them but sometimes the meds just aren't enough and don't do anything to deal with fibro-fog or fatigue.

I can’t find it in myself to condemn people who get end up getting caught by the dragon, otherwise known as addicted to prescription pain meds, because I dance with that dragon. If it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t enjoy being high, except on a rare occasion, and develop a tolerance to pain meds very easily and value having something to kick the pain in the butt when I really need it to, it would be too easy for me to join those ranks. I am grateful for the God/dess given willpower and insight which allows me to dance with the dragon but mange to stay just out of reach of it’s talons.

I have also come to acknowledge and value the strength the Holy One has given me to deal with things and the fact that my symptoms from the fibro, the seizure disorder, or the depression, are not as bad as they could be. That’s not to mention being consistently reminded of those who are there when I just can’t do something or it gets to be too much or I need an understanding ear or a good swift kick to the rear. There’s also the fact that I live in a country and time where I actually have access to care and meds that make life easier, not that life couldn’t be a whole lot better but I’m grateful it isn’t worse than it is.

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