Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 261-Mama Bears and Hibernation


Clearly I've added another category to rank--exhaustion.  You might be wondering why.  Well, because I'm exhausted, that's why. And I'm not talking about normal, "God I've worked a long day and my feet hurt" exhaustion.  I'm talking barely-get-out-of bed exhaustion.  Sleeping too long exhaustion.  And I've noticed that as my pain gets better, the exhaustion continues.

If I were to describe it, it would be the kind of exhaustion that you can barely keep your eyes open.  You stumble over your feet and into walls.  Your coordination is off and it's all you can do to stay alert.  In fact, your alertness is defined by the fact that your eyes are open, not by your mind being on.  So you think you can take a nap to throw it, but this kind of exhaustion takes more than a typical 90-120 minute nap.  This exhaustion takes a nap that lasts several hours.

I went to bed around midnight last night and had to be up at 7:30 to get my daughter to camp.  I overslept; that is, I slept through my alarm.  Fortunately my mother woke us all up.  I threw on my bra and a pair of shoes to run the kid up there.  After dropping her off (and there was drama that ensued afterward but I won't get into that now), I came home, poured myself a coke zero, and made my way back to my bed.  The next thing I know I'm waking up and it's 2:20.  That was roughly five and a half hours that I slept.  So 7+ 5= 12.  I slept twelve hours, and I've been fighting sleep ever since I woke up.

Amazingly, my pain has all but disappeared.  I'm thrilled with that.  Every once in awhile I have some pain in my shoulder and neck, but not so badly.  My anxiety is still present.  Considering my daughter is camping in the mountains three hours away, on her first real overnight campout with a group other than good friends, I'm amazingly calm.  The anxiety comes and goes, depending on what's going on in my life, like most people.  I'm really excited about getting back to work in another couple of weeks.My biggest worry, however, is this exhaustion.  Work that can be done at home independently is fine,because I can work on my own hours, including the middle of the night.  But work that requires meetings with my teachers will be set in advance, and I'm going to have to figure out how to keep myself alert.

First, I need to really monitor and control my blood sugar better.  I dove into some donuts yesterday and today.  I wanted something sweet and I have a horrible time limiting myself to JUST ONE.  Diabetics with high blood sugar will often experience fatigue and irritability.  Next, I need to build some exercise into my routine.  My experience has been that the more exercise I have, the more alert I am.  All those great things--endorphins and serotonin--work fantastically for me and I feel better.  Third, I need to push for a different antidepressant.  We have tried the classic one for fibromyalgia, which is Cymbalta, and it didn't work for me due to a horrible side effect.  My next option is Wellbutrin.  My psychiatrist has told me this drug helps to boost energy level.  I know that it can be added to one I'm already on, Celexa.  Celexa helps with anxiety while Wellbutrin does not.  Considering the intensity of my anxiety these days, I am hoping I can add Wellbutrin to Celexa, and that it will make a difference in my energy level.  I was supposed to go to the psychiatrist today but slept through my appointment.

So that's my biggest concern with my job.  I feel like it's the kind of job I can make connections and make a difference with, and my biggest fear, as always, is that I will somehow upset my employer or let her down.I truly hope I don't.

I entitled this thread "Mama Bears and Hibernation".  The hibernation part speaks to my exhaustion and how I feel I spend a good amount of time curled up and sleeping.  But the mama bear--if you could hear me suck my breath in over the internet, well, you'd be hearing it now.  My children have been in camp all week, and on Thursdays the camp travels a few hours away to go on a campout for the evening, and then returns the next evening.  My son decided immediately he did not want to participate.  He still has some lingering concerns from his early childhood when he was removed from his mother's care.  I'm not even sure he's aware of it consciously, but I do believe subconsciously he doesn't feel safe in a camp away from home with people he doesn't know.  Heck, I wouldn't either.  So he decided to stay home.  In the meantime, my adventurous one, my daughter, was ready to go this morning.  Last night she had expressed a bit of concern and said she didn't want to go.  Because she had actually chosen this week FOR the campout, I insisted that she go.

So we arrive at camp and I sign her in, then ask for a medication slip.  You see, my daughter is asthmatic and it's fairly well controlled, but there was no way I was sending her into the mountains without an inhaler.  The camp counselor insisted that we needed the original box her inhaler came ine.

That's right.  The original box her inhaler came in six weeks ago.

Now, when she's in school, I provide a brand new inhaler at the beginning of the year, complete with doctor's instructions and the box.  I understand the purpose of the boxes--they are required by social services to ensure the medication is up to date and belongs to the child.  And in any other situation I would have had a box.  But this time I didn't, and that counselor looked at me through her sunglasses and told me, "Sorry, she can't take the inhaler."

I was pissed.  "So you mean she can't go because I don't have the BOX the inhaler came in."

She didn't answer, and I called my daughter to get her stuff and we left.

My child was crying as soon as we hit the car.  So I called the organization and asked for the camp director.  She wasn't in yet, but could I call back at ten?  No, I insisted, and I need to talk to her RIGHT NOW.

So they gave me the number and I called.  I explained who I was and what the situation was.  The director started to laugh and said, "Don't worry, I'll call over and straighten it out."

When I pulled up, sunglass counselor was on the phone and finishing up.  She didn't greet me in any way.  I actually had to say, "So do you want her inhaler for your medicine box?"

They took the inhaler and locked it up, and my daughter went to find her friends.

Tomorrow is the last day of camp.  I have been less than thrilled with aspects of this camp, and I really have been unhappy by sunglass girl.  You can bet that if my daughter was treated any way other that fairly, somebody's head will be on a platter.

What people don't understand (or sometimes forget) is that in most mothers we have a primal instinct that I like to call "mama bear".  People have put down my teaching, my clothes, my way of doing all sorts of things.  They've called me fat and tackily and mean and unfair.  It bothers me, but I can get over it.  But if you pick on my children, Mama Bear will come out and get you.  Mama Bear is not a rationale, reasonable person.  She operates from the gut of emotion and her only concern is to protect her young.  You don't wanna mess with mother bear, and especially one who's been hibernating.

So hopefully tomorrow my daughter will come home exhausted but happy.  I'm fairly certain that will be the case.  But if it isn't, Mama Bear and I will be fighting amongst ourselves to maintain decorum.

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