No More All-Nighters for Me…

June 30, 2013

I think one of the hardest things about the realities of living with a chronic condition, and multiple ones at that, is just realizing I’m not as young as I was or that I don’t have the stamina any more.

I’m in the process of telling my cousin who went through all the trouble of trying to plan a family reunion that none of my branch of the family will be making it. And the guilt is killing me.

There was a time when I wouldn’t have thought twice about doing a week at camp, throwing the girls in the car with me and driving 4 hours to spend 1 day with family I barely knew, spend the night in a hotel, and drive 4 hours back to drop one of the girls back off at camp.

Now? Now I have to really gear up for it. I have to plan it. I have to make sure I’m not at camp the week before such a big drive & day. Now I need more than one night to recover.

I just drove T2’s scout troop 5+ hours to their 3 day trip. I had time to relax and recover on the trip so the drive home wasn’t too bad. But even just a few days later my sleep is off and I’m struggling with just hour-long drives. I could have gone to bed tonight at 7 PM!

I know one thing I need to do is get extra sleep to recover. I won’t have that chance working at camp for a week prior to this. I spent 2 hours in a parking lot on the interstate yesterday and let me tell you it was a dangerous experience. (I know staying up till 1 AM and having to get up at 7 AM did not help.)

I will have to say that since giving up caffeine, the fatigue has actually lessened. My E.o.t.T. workouts don’t leave me totally drained.

I think that is something that bothers me–I have the energy and the strength to push through 90 minute gruelling workouts, bench pressing and running but then I would go home and sleep for three hours. As I said, giving up caffeine has helped.

This week though, following the trip I struggled through the workout and the aftermath.

My cousin isn’t the only one I’ve had to let down. The camp needed teachers and kitchen staff the week before my assigned week. I love camp so much but not being prepared for house sitters etc. made it a difficult choice. Then all the teaching positions were filled and they wanted me in the kitchen–ok, cooking is not my strong suit but then with the schedule the kitchen keeps I was really worried I’d be burned out and not able to teach the following week. I turned them down–but I found them someone MUCH younger to go in my place.

The day the Chief went back to sea was T1’s orchestra trip to the amusement park 1 1/2 hours away. I was truly worried about the drive and the long day. Would I be able to drive home safely? The beauty of not being a chaperone meant if I felt tired I could sleep in the car before driving or just leave early altogether (but at those ticket prices I was loath to do that!). I ended up going and didn’t push myself but again, if the drive had been any longer than that, that late at night, it wouldn’t have been safe.

The fatigue is a new thing in recent months. Before I started the Enbrel I did drive all the way to Florida (15 hours), spent 2 1/2 days at Universal Studios, and drove all the way back (not letting my friend do ANY of the driving on the way home). I go for blood work next week and I will ask for some additional tests to make sure nothing else is going on.

On this trip I loved (read with dripping sarcasm) listening to 10 & 11 year olds complain about the heat, the sweat, walking 3.3 miles … Seriously? I have a 39-year-old body that is acting like it is 60 years old at times and I appreciate every step.

I also just don’t want my girls to have to slow down or give up things because there are just days when it is a struggle. I don’t want them to see me as weak (that’s for a whole other post). I don’t want limitations … but then when I waste time or stay up to late I’m not exactly being responsible for the time and the needs of my body. And I don’t want the girls to say “ah, do we have to?” I want them to embrace life as “Oh, I get to!”

On a side note about this reunion: my children are not too disappointed to not go. Their grandparents and own aunt and cousins won’t be able to go or don’t want to go so they wouldn’t know anyone … I know the Chief would not have particularly wanted to go and is secretly happy he is at sea.

But I feel guilty nonetheless. What will my cousin think when I post that I’m going to visit the Chief’s family in August? Will he understand that I will have two weeks to recover from camp before going, that I’m flying and not driving, and I’m not going alone–and I will have three weeks to recover before school and sports start?

Yeah, I feel guilty. And my family made me the lucky one to deliver the negative RSVP.

UPDATE (7/1): based on the reaction of some, I no longer feel guilty.


One comment

  1. That is funny that you heard the girls say that they were tired… I had a 20 something engineer last assignment say he really had to work to pace himself because of the long 75 day trips… I had to remind him we used to do 90-115 day trips, and it was 12-15 hour day 7 days a week, not 11 hours a day with usually 4 off on Sundays…..

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