The Day After the Flare

The day after the flare starts promising. Sure, you’ve probably slept most of the day away (and I would have, had I not had a 75 pound German Shepherd wake me up mid-morning). But you feel better. The pain has dropped, perhaps it doesn’t hurt to walk nearly as much as it did the day before. Perhaps you feel like you can start to disassemble the ‘nest’ of pillows, books, remotes, laptops and other various icepak and ointment accoutrements you’ve assembled so you don’t have to move too far. And perhaps you have enough energy that you actually feel like getting some housework done.

And that is when it gets difficult. Sure, you may feel like you can clean up the house, do the dishes and the laundry, and maybe even get a workout in. But all of that will eventually bring the flare back.

The thing to remember about flares is they are a lot like recovering from the flu. You may FEEL like it’s all over, but one false move and you are back in that nest, feeling pain in every joint and muscle, barely able to move.

So now the choices happen. Do I do the laundry? What about the dishes? Can I really make lunches for the week, or do I depend on frozen meals this week yet again, even though they are getting expensive? What about dinner? It was your turn to make it, and here you are considering whether or not laundry is more important (it turns out it was – you need clothes for work). The hubby was OK with picking up takeaway for dinner, but there is yet another expense as that cost a lot more than the chicken chowder you were planning.

It’s really easy to get into your head and stay there when these choices come up in this situation. Yet chronic pain patients need to learn not to feel guilty. We have 40 hour (minimum!) work weeks to get to this week. We have other obligations that we have to be strong for, and if that means we spend another day slowly getting acclimated to life after a flare, then so be it.

It doesn’t mean you can’t be frustrated. I REALLY wanted a run today. It’s been two weeks since I ran last, and since I usually ‘run out the crazy’ by throwing all my frustrations with life into my run, I feel really frustrated. It’s been so long I know the 5K I want would really hurt too much, and be too much pain to recover from. And, I know if I do the 5K today, I may not be able to get to work tomorrow. It’s a choice that is really hard, but I have to be responsible. And I hope that I’ll get that run in next week.

So if you are recovering today, I feel ya. I understand what you are going through. And I hate it right along with you. I want more for myself, for my husband, for my life. And I guess I’ll just start trying to get back to striving for those activities tomorrow.

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