Surrounded by terrible news. On the TV the presenters are asking when will this lockdown stop, can we survive this, or the world is in crisis. The economists are predicting global recession, and some are talking about a depression. There are websites counting the deaths, YouTube has channels urging us to prepare for the worst, stockpiling food, medicines, and advocating resistance. It is everywhere, and it leads to fear, anxiety and depression. It is very gloomy.
Against this backdrop of tales of Armageddon, I, like many others with chronic illness, have to stay at home, avoiding all contact with the outside world. My lungs are ill equipped for congestion brough on by this small virus, SARS-CoV-2. Already I have to use medicines to keep me breathing normally. The prospect of having to go to hospital has added extra grey to my already balding scalp.
Taking a risk, so I can walk again
Three weeks ago I had to go to see a specialist about the worsening of my MS. The solitary journey to, and stay in, hospital has resulted in a significant improvement in my walking. Almost normal, and I can now walk at a pace which is half the rate of someone who has no illness.
For me, this is paradise.
Walking is essential, and the weather in Connemara has been glorious since this confinement started back in mid-March. Every day since I returned I have walked, either with the aid of my FES device, or my new Hip Flexor Assist Device. My hip flexors have been sore (a very good sign) and my legs now have the joyous pain associated with being used, and not the cramping of spasticity.
What can I do now to maintain my mobility?
Knowing I cannot return to the swimming pool soon, I have been thinking what can I do to get some cardiovascular exercise, I must get my heart rate up, and my walking doesn’t achieve this goal. Searching for a recumbent exercise bike which will help my legs I found a lack of supply. This is a consequence of this pandemic. Physiotherapy isn’t an option, the gym is forbidden, and walking doesn’t achieve the goal of a rapidly beating heart.
These restrictions have led me down the path of looking at some equipment to exercise my upper body, which, thankfully, doesn’t suffer from any ill effects from my MS. Again, supplies are limited, and the only one’s available are at the cheaper end of the scale, and my fear (again this evil word) is I would rapidly outgrow the limited weights used by these machines. Maybe dumbbells or kettle bells could be an option. I have one kettlebell and using this I have been able to get my heart racing a little faster. Positive, and it gives me another way of resolving two of my issues, heart health, and upper body strength.
On Friday I was using this orange 8kg ‘bell’ doing an around the world movement, I think I did eight of them, plus some squats using this extra load. I did five, and we also went for a walk. Things are moving in the right way. Much better ability to walk, cardio and strength exercises using weights, I was a happy man on Friday, and I had a plan to buy an exercise bike I found online.
My world falls apart!!
Yesterday this wonderful world I had built crumbled. We started our walk into the wind (so it would push me on the way back), and the ability I had gathered back to me, seemed to be blown away by this westerly wind. I had to stop, and turn around, two-thirds towards my usual turning spot. My partner continued on. Her turning place was in another 450 metres. My 350m return journey took the same time it took my partner to walk 1,250 metres. I thought I would never get back to the car. My shuffle had returned, and I feared the steroids had lost their effect.
This was bad, and then my headache had worsened. That morning was a little worse, but it became so bad I had to go to my bed after lunch. The whole right side of my face felt like the fist of Thanos was closing around it. Crushing my skull. When this pain comes, I cannot do anything. Reading anything more than a few sentences is a struggle, light is like swords in my eyes, food tastes like cardboard. It is horrible and I have nothing which relieves it. I took my Sativex early, and it stopped the escalation. Last night I slept for 11 hours.
The day had stolen all my energy, and more. This morning when I woke it was to a grey, damp day.
Sullen, morose, sad.
Was I back to the person I was before I went to get the treatment?
Start over, again!!
I am still drained, but I had my breakfast, and then I did my meditation, and wrote in my journal. Yesterday is in the past now. Today is a new day and I will not push myself, even a little, just to help replenish my lost spoons. Yesterday was just a day, and I think I had pushed myself too far on Friday. I did too much and my body responded. Today the rebuilding starts again.
At the start of this post I was writing about the fear in society, or maybe it is the fear we are being presented by the media, politicians and the financial world. This illness could infect my life. Stopping me from going to get medical help, either the doctor or hospital, or even to find a way of accessing some therapy to help my body recover. The only way to get physiotherapy is to be admitted into hospital.
In my small world I need to protect myself from this fear, which may be worse than the pandemics cause. I must focus on what I can do and if I must be creative to resolve external restrictions, then that is what I shall do. It won’t be easy, but I need to be physically and mentally fit, to give myself the best chance of maintaining my health, or at least to slow its decline.
I need a vaccine to combat and beat ‘fear’.