Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On My Own

I'm not going to lie: APL has only been gone for a week and a half, but it has been hard for me to get along without him. 

I've had to find the energy to do everything on my own: get my schoolwork done, get my externship work done, grocery shop, cook all my meals, do laundry, keep the house relatively clean, run errands, walk the dog every day. And if I don't have the energy, I have no choice but to do it anyways or give up on it and rest.

I've also been doing a lot more things with my hands than I usually do: carrying, lifting, loading, unloading, chopping, opening, unscrewing, throwing. Pain and fatigue make my hands weak and clumsy, and I've ended up with cuts and bruises all over my hands just from doing everyday things. And, since it is my immune system we're talking about here, of course some of those cuts are now infected. Awesome.

Speaking of my immune system, my lip has been split for a solid two months now. And, instead of healing, it has decided instead to sprout a cold sore in addition to the cut. But the pharmacy didn't have the generic medicine for this in stock, so I had to pay $50 for four pills of the brand name stuff. But by the time I got it, it was too late to stop the cold sore anyhow. So now my lip will be mangled for at least another month. Excellent.

And, of course, it doesn't help at all that my stopping prednisone coincided with APL being gone. This was a very bad plan on my part. (Note to self: DO NOT REPEAT). In general, my entire body feels like it's been trampled by a herd of elephants on a daily basis. My everything hurts and I literally can't remember the last time I felt so exhausted. The only problem is, I can't figure out what kind of elephants they are! Are they "ENBREL can't stand on it's own two feet without prednisone" elephants? Are they "I'm doing a hundred more things by myself this week than usual" elephants? Are they "it's the middle of the semester and law school sucks so why are you even surprised" elephants? All of the above? Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to tell until I've waited a bit longer. Which makes me feel tired just to think about.

I've also been lonely without APL.

But here's the thing: while I certainly will not say I have enjoyed APL being gone, I will say that I think it has actually been good for me to have a few weeks on my own.

For one thing, it has really opened my eyes to just how much APL takes care of me every day. I've seen with great clarity all the little things he does to make my life easier, because I've had to do them all myself while he's been away. I always knew that APL helped me get through stress and pain, but I honestly never realized exactly how much he does for me every day. APL can tell when I am running out of energy and helps without my having to ask for it. He cooks dinner or goes to the grocery store while I get my schoolwork done. He drives me to school so I don't have to expend time and energy taking the bus when I don't feel well. He makes me breakfast when I feel too weak and sick to eat. He opens jars and carries heavy things and takes out the trash. I don't have to ask him to do these things, he just does. Well, ok, sometimes I have to remind him about the trash! But I now have a much clearer picture of exactly what I have to be grateful for. And it's a lot.  I am more grateful than I can describe.

But, though I'm not sure this will really make sense considering the last paragraph, I think it has also been good for me to realize that I don't need APL to do these things for me. I may struggle, I may be tired, I may be a bit beat up, but I really can take care of myself, all by myself, if I need to. I have cooked and shopped and taken the trash out myself. I have walked the dog every day even when I didn't feel like I had the energy to do so. And I have also managed to ask for help from other people when I needed it. I have even done something about my social life! (In fact, a friend is due at my place for dinner any minute and I'm having lunch with some of those law school girls on Friday!) It's been a hard week and a half, but guess what? I'm ok.

Though I have to admit that I am still grateful I won't have to do it alone much longer!!


J said...

Go get 'em tiger :-) Sometimes when we learn what we're capable of, we may be kicking and screaming the whole way. I'm going to go with option e) options b and c but not a or d (meaning it's not just the prednisone's absence that is making you be trampled by elephants). I shake my fist with righteous indignation at those elephants - RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION.

A said...

I think that's a week and a half well spent! I think it's empowering to realize that, even if you don't want to, it hurts, or even pains you, you can do. Even if you never do it when APL is around!
I think it's also great because it really gives you a chance to see how you two work so well together as a team. I know that when I realize what all B's done "behind the scenes," I go bake him cookies or leave him a note someplace where I know he'll find it. It makes me appreciate him, and showing that appreciation makes me feel even better (instead of guilty or bad) about him doing nice things in the first place.
Here's to APL! Maybe you could make him dinner for when he gets back? What's nice is that you could buy the ingredients one day, make the casserole the next, and simply heat it when he gets home, so you'll still have energy to give him a big hug.
I hope your elephants go away and uncharacteristically forget where you live. :)

~Mariah~ said...

JOANNA: Thanks for the RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION. I highly appreciate it. ~;o)

A: We're already planning a date to go see Alice and Wonderland on Sunday. ~;o)

Helen said...

Though living in my own is really difficult sometimes, I really do feel proud of myself for being able to do it despite illness. It's great that you've accomplished so much this week!

(Also, I feel you on the social stuff - scary and difficult, but worth it.)

~Mariah~ said...

HELEN: You should feel proud of yourself for being able to do this all the time!! It really is amazing what we can do when we don't have a choice. But I think it's also important to remember how to ask for help when we need it. And if there's ever anything I can do to help you please don't hesitate to ask!! ~;o)