Yesterday morning I woke up feeling good for the first time in over a week. What a relief!
I couldn't honestly tell you what was the matter with me, only that I hurt--all over--and could have slept 20 hours a day if circumstances had allowed. The knee pain that's almost always with me revved up to an overwhelming degree. The right knee, the one I broke in 1968, the one that's so arthritic now I can't even straighten out that leg, screamed at me every time I stepped on my right foot: "Owwww! Stop it! What the hell are you doing? Arrrrrgggh! Don't walk on me!"
The left knee, perhaps sensing that I was favoring its cranky companion, was having none of it. When I stepped on the left foot, the ligaments on either side of the kneecap pinged like razor-wire harpstrings.
But the knees, and their Croc-shodden cousins, the always tender feet, weren't the only source of trouble. All the joints in my body ached, first one, then another, in a kind of traveling pain that had all the intensity of a bad toothache. I never knew where the next attack would come from. It was as if tiny cowboys were herding cattle along the neural pathways of my body, and each time they'd round 'em up near an ankle or an elbow, a finger or a toe, there'd be shouts of "Yee-haw!" that sent me reeling.
My energy level was non-existent. By the end of the second day my sense of humor had died and my ability to concentrate lay in shreds. Standing in one spot long enough to shower was misery. Food didn't appeal to me, and my stomach was upset, either from stress or from not eating properly.
I missed work on Monday. The rest of the week I managed to drag myself there, but what I accomplished in four days should have been done in one. The bright spot of my work week occurred when an elderly client came in, assisted by a walker. The old man looked pretty feeble, but that walker? It was looking good to me. Real good.
The smart thing to do, I suppose, would have been to go to the doctor. Due to the lack of health insurance, that's never my first option. I kept thinking I'd wake up feeling better the next day, or the next one after that. Sure enough, that's what happened yesterday.
Fortunately, I've picked up a number of useful coping skills as I've traveled the path of my life, and one of the best ones is the ability to differentiate between things I have to do (feed the dogs) and things I can put off until another day (answering e-mail). Let's just say that many, many things have been postponed. Some of them (keeping in touch with my cyberfriends, doing a good job at work) were things I value; others (making the bed), not so much.
I've spent the last two days catching up on household chores and projects I've let slide, so I'm back here now with a clean conscience. Thanks so much for the warm thoughts you've been sending my way. I appreciate all of you.