Failing to follow directions generally ends badly.

When people don’t follow directions, things don’t work out as well as they could. This is, of course, generally speaking, and I can already hear the “but this one time, at band camp.”

When you follow the directions, you don’t end up with mystery parts and machines that don’t start. Most of the time. My frustration level stays lower too. If I follow the directions and functional furniture still fails to materialize, I can blame Ikea and an inexplicable personal vendetta. That’s not possible if I chuck the foldout into the bin.

When you follow the directions, you don’t end up with a layer cake that barely tops two centimetres, fully iced. As a random example.

When you follow the directions, you don’t get lost (you can make that as literal or as deep as you like).

I’m good at following directions, and I choose to do so most of the time. When I don’t, the results often suck. One might end up in agonizing pain, night after night, the kind that has you wondering why despair is so easy between midnight and sun-up. As another random example.

I maxed out the daily ibuprofen allowance by eleven a.m. yesterday. It’s easy to do that when you take your first dose just after two in the wee smalls. My sleep is incredibly broken right now; it’s mostly me rearranging heating pads until the next dose of pills or cream is allowed. The flare up of osteoarthritis in my hips-pelvis-back is winning, I think.

I’m not thrilled with levelling up.

This bring us once more to not following directions and natural consequences.

I can’t sit for long periods anymore, or stand up, or lie down. Things got seriously worse in late August when I went against my better judgment and drove for six hours for a weekend with friends. If the information I’ve read holds, it’ll be up to twelve weeks before things calm again.

Mid-body arthritis is very inconvenient. It’s surprising how much you rely on your core. I still exercise because if my strength and flexibility collapse, I’m screwed. I also exercise because I’m working on my recovery from my eating disorder.

“Working” is an important qualifier in this instance: I still make bad decisions because parts of me still obsess about getting/being fat. Walking is good for arthritis, but I’m not sure the treadmill routines my disorder pushes for qualify as gentle. Ditto the floor routines. I suspect that for arthritis, less is more.

There’s also my complete failure to get the hell off my feet and slow down. One would think the sudden and severe increase in pain after I paint/rearrange the furniture/garden would make me stop.

Not so much.

The interesting thing about people is the reasons we often have for the seemingly inexplicable things we do. For instance: I’m not taking very good care of myself. Not taking care of myself is making my arthritis worse. As my symptoms worsen, they get more of my attention. You can’t help but respond – the pain is demanding. As things get worse, my focus narrows until finally, pain is my world.

Pain means I’m not thinking about my mother’s lung cancer or her surgery today. I’m not thinking about absent friends and people who take but never give. I’m not thinking about sexism and ableism in the medical community or men who get CTs when they stroll into an emergency without justifying their pain to the rank and file. Pain means I can procrastinate. Pain means hard feels can be pending.

Let me go grab the vacuum.

My mom, 2009, in front of my son’s science fair project.

By Em

I like writing. Words help me unpack my thoughts so things can start to make sense. Once I have both myself and the universe figured out, I plan to take up macrame. "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing, and learn as you go." E. L. Doctorow

12 comments

  1. Hope the surgery went well.
    The bed has always been my oasis. I get really cranky when I cannot sleep without pain. No other position comes close to the bed… So, I feel you.
    I think I was getting better and then started working out again, and unfortunately, I think I need to take a break again because the pain has come back 😦 But, I should stretch…

    I hope tomorrow is sunnier for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 💗. She made it through and is one lobe lighter. She’s still in recovery, however, since her blood pressure refuses to come up. My mother can be contrary that way 😉 They’re giving her a transfusion: I think that will help a lot.

      I’m sorry you’re in pain too. I get the jumping in too soon. I hate that weird social pressure that exists, that says “perform!” We hurt ourselves because of.

      I’ve come to love stretching. Especially Yin yoga, when you hold the easy-ish pose for several minutes. I do it in a hot bath for a double blessing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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