Today I awakened with things I knew I had to get done..had to. I was laying in bed saying to myself, “I must get this, this, and this accomplished today. That one thing has a deadline so I have to! I need to make that phone call, text that person to change my appointment next week, and I need to dust my bedroom badly.”
I did my laying down stretches, repeating each one several times. Hands clenched into a fist, stretch fingers as far as they will go, relax. Wiggle fingers like I’m playing piano, relax. Flex wrists in a circular motion, listening to them crack, trying not to cry at the burning pain that results, relax. Point my toes up and down as far as they will go. Move feet in a circular motion, listen to those cracking noises. Bend knees and point to the left to stretch my lower back and hips, repeat on the right. Rest for a moment to slow down my erratic breathing to get ready for the next chunk of torture.
Now for my upright stretches. First I have to roll onto my right side and, somehow, get my right arm under my torso to try and lift up from the bed. Some days I can do it the first time, other days I have to try, rest a moment, try again, perhaps rest once more, and maybe by the next try I am sitting up.
After I am finally able to sit upright I bend over to try grabbing my feet. Some days this happens, other days it doesn’t. Either way I stretch as far as I can in that direction a few times. I lift my arms over my head. Getting them all the way up the first time almost never happens, this morning I have to try a few times. Then comes the circular arm swings, trying to touch my elbows behind my back without crying, and twisting my torso to the left and right to loosen up my lower back.
I can only imagine what I sound like through my closed bedroom door. A great ape grunting? A rhinocerous warning others to stay away? A person in pain trying to get her body stretched to the point of actually being able to move?
Only after all of this is done do I place my feet on the floor and try to stand up. Right hand on the night stand, left hand on my left knee, and push. Most days I can do this in one try, this morning isn’t that type of morning. I fall back onto my bed while I’m muttering out loud, “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this…” I try again and I am upright, reaching for the next available solid thing, my chest of drawers.
I stand there for a moment willing the pain to go away, for my breathing to calm down, and for a headache not to join in on the fun, before I start lurching towards the bathroom. By lurching I mean a slow, painful shuffle, with my left ankle, right knee and lower back all trying to poke me with their complaints at the same time, mixed with some grunting, heavy breathing, and leaning on everything I can, hoping I don’t stub a toe because I forgot to put on my slippers.
By this point I will be able to tell if this is an “oops, I need to use my cane, but I left it in my bedroom, should I go back to get it or not since I’m already halfway to the bathroom” kind of day. Needing a cane depends on, well, I haven’t yet figured out what causes my legs to not work right on any given day. But I know I’ll need my cane if things are overly painful, my knees or ankles are weak or wobbly, and if I’m having problems standing fully upright.
God forbid if I have to urinate the moment I awaken…it’s not good.
Now, what was it that I had to do today? Aw, (insert cussword here), I can’t remember.
Ain’t this fun!