Sunday, February 08, 2004


...I was lucky to get out of town Wednesday. It started snowing the night before and wasn't showing any signs of stopping as the time for my flight to Bismarck approached. I had packed somewhat lightly (sort of an oxymoron considering I had to bring thick winter clothing, all my meds and my own food). Since I had an e-ticket, I was able to use a self-serve check-in where the only thing the desk person has to do is take your bag for you. There was very little waiting to get through security. I even got to sit down on the train. But these things still didn't help the exhaustion factor much as I had to trudge all the way to gate 59! Things started looking a bit iffy for departure as the three flights prior to mine at the gate for Bismarck were all delayed, and several at surrounding gates were cancelled altogether. Departure time came and went as our plane hadn't even landed yet. We did get going about an hour late, not too bad considering they had to re-fuel and de-ice. Amazingly, we were able to make up about half an hour in the air, and the seat next to mine was empty to give me some room, so I wasn't too out of sorts and Dan and his parents didn't have to wait all afternoon for me. Could have been much worse.

Getting in and out of Dan's parents' massive SUV required gymnastics on my part, greatly hindered by the stiffness in my joints. The cold didn't help at all....even with a heavy leather coat and gloves, I was definitely a popsicle. I suppose people must get used to it.

After leaving the airport, we picked up some copies of the local newspaper containing Uncle Mickey's obituary. Then we visited the funeral home to take care of some last-minute details for Thursday's service. We also made a stop at the local market for bottled water, carrots, apples, bananas and nuts. That evening we ate at Red Lobster, my first visit at a sit-down restaurant since going gluten-free in November. I had broiled salmon and a baked potato, which I figure was pretty safe. I remembered to ask them to leave the croutons off the salad and to put the dressing on the side but discovered that the vinegar and oil dressing had malt vinegar, so I just ate the salad plain. One thing that really sucked was the waitress spilled a full glass of Coke all over me, including on my good suede shoes and in my hair. We also went to Mickey's house to clean and look for some necessary documents (Mickey didn't leave a will). I volunteered to work on the bathroom as I figured I wouldn't have to worry about what to save and what to toss (I kept an eye out for any meds that needed to be flushed). I got most of the way through the medicine cabinet and sink items. Then I sorted through several boxes of books and set aside a few I wanted to keep as no one else in Dan's family reads much. Very long day...I was hobbling by the time we got to the motel.

I made a point of taking an Ambien Wednesday night and setting aside plenty of time to sleep. I did actually get some rest in spite of the hard mattress. We left for the funeral home Thursday about an hour and a half before the service to double check everything and to receive the people attending. It was the first funeral I ever went to where I didn't actively cry....I felt like crying, but my eyes were so dry from Sjogren's (and the winter cold) that nothing actually happened. After the service, we did the receiving line and had a small reception in an adjoining room (I brought my own water and gluten-free health bar to take the place of the punch, coffee, cookies and pastries). That evening, I gambled and agreed to go to a buffet-style restaurant for supper. It worked out very well, actually....they cooked steaks, potatoes and chicken breasts on a separate grill from the other food. They also had fresh fruit, and milk so I could drink something besides water. Dan asked me if I wanted to go to a local mall, and I was not feeling too bad, so I agreed to go if it wasn't for more than an hour. Unfortunately, I was there about 30 minutes when the sledgehammer of fatigue hit me especially hard, and I felt like I would pass out if I didn't rest immediately. Everyone was pretty good about it. Even though I was worn out beyond belief, I barely slept because I hurt so badly.

Friday was spent taking care of various matters, mainly having to do with Dan's dad becoming the personal rep for Mickey's finances. We made stops at a lawyer's, a credit union, and a stock broker's. Then it was time to do some serious tidying at Mickey's house. I finished up the bathroom except for the floor. It didn't feel like I was doing too much at the time, perhaps because I was busy being too grossed out by the urine, fecal and other stains I was scrubbing. I also discovered the toilet was leaking and probably had been for some time. The house will need some serious work before it will be in a condition to be sold. Dan was sweet enough to give me a back rub that night....I think it helped me get some sleep.

Yesterday we went to Perkin's after Dan and I checked out of the motel. I was able to order scrambled eggs and fresh fruit ala carte. Then, like a tard, I managed to spill a huge glass of V-8 all over myself, including my shoes and my hair again. I scrubbed off as much as I could and then went back to Dan's parents' room (they hadn't checked out yet) to change. Fortunately, I had brought extra socks, a pair of pants and a sweater in the suitcase, so I didn't have to wear dirty clothes home on the plane. Check-in was pretty routine at the Bismarck airport....they only have two gates. We left right on time, we arrived a half hour early, and I didn't spill any of the tomato juice I drank on the plane.

Last night, it became evident that I had overdone it cleaning that bathroom...my fibromyalgia went into overdrive. Between that and the Sjogren's pain and fatigue, I was practically incapacitated. I found out that a very expensive bottle of mouthwash (to treat dry mouth) had exploded all over my carry-on bag, but I didn't much care about cleaning it up since it involved going back downstairs to get some rags. I soooo badly wanted just to grab something to eat so I would have food in my stomach to take a pain pill with....there was no energy left to eat a meal, much less prepare one. Still, I tried to cook some rice spaghetti and made a mess of things, dropping and spilling stuff because my stiff hands were so clumsy. I suddenly couldn't stand it anymore and announced I was going to bed, leaving the spaghetti half-cooked on the stove and the cold sauce on the countertop after the lid had fallen into the dish. I crawled upstairs and cried for quite some time, still producing no actual tears. I finally limped back downstairs and salvaged something edible and apologized for being a bitch and watched a movie with Dan. Then I took a pain pill and an Ambien and slept for 10 straight hours without even getting up to pee.

I woke up this morning hurting a bit less but even more stiff than before. I forced myself to do some stretches no matter how painful and took a muscle relaxant with some yogurt. I still feel like a zombie, but I guess I'm a bit more human. I plan to watch the Grammys and go to bed early again.

I've forgotten how it is that healthy people cope.

Pain level: 9
Fatigue level: 9

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