Monday, June 19, 2006

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

Friday my friend Pat and I had plans to attend a Medical Informatics Conference at Bellevue Community College. I checked the map of the campus before agreeing to attend, thinking we wouldn't have room for a wheelchair in Pat's Toyota Corolla, but the map showed a parking lot that we could use right next to the building where the conference was being held. Perfect! I've gotten a lot better using my crutches and it looked completely doable.

Because it takes me so long to shower and get ready - and because I always end up in a pool of sweat from the exertion anyway - I took a shower the night before and set my clothes out for the next morning. I was able to get up and ready in about 30 minutes, not too shabby, and I was only mildly overheated when Pat arrived to pick me up. I wanted to bring a notebook to take notes at the conference so I packed that with a bottle of water in a small backpack to take along. The extra weight of the backpack almost had me tumbling down the stairs on my way out!

We made it to campus, found great parking, and, as expected, it was a short hobble to the meeting room. We took seats in the front row and Pat found an extra chair so I could put my foot up. She even brought me coffee and a pastry. (Such a great friend!)

Everything was going really well. The speakers were amazing, the facility there is beautiful, and I was so happy to be out of the house with my good friend and doing something that exercised my brain a little. Everything changed when they announced lunch was going to be in the campus cafeteria. A quick scan of the campus map showed that it was quite a long distance from the meeting hall. Uh-oh. There is a lot of construction going on at BCC right now, so the road that normally goes around the outer perimeter - the road that would have taken us right up to the cafeteria - was shut down. The only option was to hoof it. I had been on a "glass-is-half-full" roll for days and summoned all of my positive power as we headed out. I had to stop at least a half-dozen times along the journey. Sometimes to catch my breath. Sometimes to give my arms or "my good leg" a rest. Some of the staff offered to help - they called Security to find a wheelchair but were told there weren't any available. We were the last one's to make it to the cafeteria and I was absolutely drowning in sweat. Nonetheless, we enjoyed a very nice lunch (which Pat graciously carried for me).

The trek back took even longer - even more rest stops. I was exhausted and not at all sure I was going to make it back. At one point I joked about just dropping to the ground and ROLLING my way back to the meeting room. Just as we rounded the corner and the building - our destination - was in sight, a torrential downpour of rain appeared out of nowhere. Pat and I scurried under a tree where we managed to protect ourselves from the bulk of the deluge. Random raindrops would pelt us as the wind shifted, but mostly we just huddled under the tree giggling until it passed over. Then we hobbled back into the building where I was once again completely covered in sweat. We enjoyed the rest of the conference and headed for home.

On the drive home we got stuck in some horrible traffic. I was losing my last shreds of energy rapidly. I couldn't wait to get home and lie down. By 4:30 that afternoon I was tucked into my covers and slept for a solid hour before I had to get up to greet dinner guests. But the rest of the night I fought off the urge to sleep.

Have you ever been so tired that you CAN'T sleep? I can remember my kids being so overtired that they just cried and cried rather than go to sleep. That's how I felt all night Friday - and the bulk of Saturday too. Saturday night I broke down and took a Valium to help me sleep better, but Sunday I still didn't feel well-rested. In fact, today I am having a hard time doing much of anything. And while my foot hasn't really "hurt" much lately, today I can honestly stay the aching has returned. I'm doing my best to not take the Vicodin though. So I'm staying in the supine position as much as possible today - with my foot back on the usual stack of 3 or 4 pillows.

It's the last day of school for my kids. I have always had fresh baked cookies ready for them when they get home - our own little traditional way of kicking off the summer. But not this time. No cookies. No anything for that matter, since I'm essentially a prisoner to the pillows today. And something tells me that if I don't get a really good nights' sleep soon, the depression of week 3 will rear its ugly head again.

1 comment:

Deeders said...

Ahh, Kim, I feel so bad for you. You poor thing. I wish I could do more. You should have told me and I would have baked cookies for the kids and brought it over so it was there for them when they got home. I know how independent you usually are but please don't be afraid to ask for help! Lord know, I have! Hang in there missy...there IS a light at the end of this dark tunnel. (o: