Today is World Arthritis Day. The Empire State Building will be lit up in blue, Massage Envy is donating money from today’s massages to the Arthritis Foundation, and people with arthritis are wearing blue, posting their “numbers” in conjunction with the IAAM – the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement, and talking! Nearly fifty million people in the US alone have arthritis of some type. Please remember that although we take this one day to share about arthritis, for those of us living with it, today is just another day dealing with the ways arthritis affects our lives. Here is how Ankylosing Spondylitis has affected me – today.
I am sleep deprived. So what, you say – so are millions of people. That is true but, sleep for people dealing with chronic illness is currency. It buys us tokens or as many people have come to describe it – spoons – that are vital to how we manage our disease on a day to day basis.
I am dying for some good sleep. Over the last month or so I started to rely quite heavily on Ambien, a medication for sleep. I have been pretty stressed in the last month, so in order to turn off my brain and have a moment away from the details and the worry I have to confess I took more than I would have liked. I have a nightly internal dialog weighing the benefits of “sleeping” to the negatives of the consequences of relying on this medication.
What I find is that although Ambien does help me to sleep through the night, the sleep does not feel restful and healing and since I’m in Maine to recoup and rest, I decided that last night I was going to stop taking it because how do I rest if my rest is not, well… restful. So, I stayed up late hoping to tire myself out sufficiently. I went to bed, read and finally turned out the light when I thought I couldn’t keep my eyes open for one moment more. And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed… I didn’t sleep.
I know that there are a whole host of possible reasons why, the primary one being that my body wanted the artificial help. But, I’m also tapering off of a round of prednisone. I cheated yesterday on my Gluten Free diet and had pizza for lunch. I’m thinking of a whole new set of things to fret and worry over. I’m also in quite a lot of pain lately which was almost all I could focus on as I lay there waiting to drift off. And, then… there was the issue of the ghost.
You didn’t see that one coming now did ya?
The gentleman my parents bought this home from came by yesterday to see all of the changes that they’ve made over the past few years and he started telling stories about his time here and people who had lived in the home over the years. One story led to another and we found out about Pearl Fifeld, our resident ghost, who lived in the home around the turn of the century. Pearl’s presence has been felt by generations as well as by someone since we’ve had the home. So Pearl was on my mind too! I feel a good spirit here, I always have but I did manage to freak myself out last night waiting for Pearl, now named and spoken of, to appear to me.
I eventually slept for a few hours and Pearl never did say hello. I’d love to think I didn’t sleep because of Pearl and not because of dealing with issues surrounding my current flare. Hopefully tonight I’ll find my panacea for tomorrow is another day and I’m looking forward to feeling better. There is so much to accomplish in the world of Arthritis Awareness – every single day. Today was one day in many that we all hope for understanding and a cure!
***Today’s apple was created by Sunita Voluppe. Sunita is the artist who illustrated Henri & The Bee! Thank you Sunita – I love your work but I especially love your apples!
***If you donated to the Apple-A-Thon fundraiser please make sure I have your address so I can send you your originals and posters.