The good news is the apple kicks your ass

an apple on the grass

Pulling out of a flare is a tricky business.

You get better on a very slow upward trajectory, with occasional “two-steps-back” days from eating too volatile a mix of ordinary ingredients (oh, BOY, do canned tuna and hard-boiled eggs not mix) or too “advanced” of an item. Yesterday, after weeks of not tasting an uncooked vegetable or piece of fruit, I broke down and got jiggy with half an apple. Look out, world! I’m eating an entire HALF of a raw apple!

A half-hour later, I was soaking in a hot Epsom bath to ease the cramps shooting across my lower back.

What’s really odd about this particular flare is that while I wouldn’t say I’m overjoyed to be dealing with it, neither is it bothering me as much as the past few have. For whatever reasons, age? wisdom? resignation?, I’ve adopted an attitude that much more closely matches that of my initial recovery, back in the fall of 2002. Or maybe it’s just that this time, I’m back to me being able to rest on my own in my sweet little apartment, all tidy and peaceful and filled with the comforts and treasures that soothe me. While I no longer have the huge financial cushion I did (not to mention the assumed easy earning power of a robust economy once I was well enough to rejoin the living), I have enough, thanks. (And I’m probably even more deeply grateful to have it.)

Work is another thing, and an exceedingly interesting one. I haven’t not been working; I’ve just been working very carefully, chipping away at things here and there in the background. Pulling things off the home page of the site. Tweaking things quietly, in the background. Writing, writing, writing. There is more time for this because I am not getting out much right now, but I’m still capping things at a reasonable (for me) 7 or 8pm and climbing into my salty tub. On top of a, shall we say, leisurely-paced day. The work comes more slowly when I’m impaired, but I am able to pay closer attention to the way it comes as well as the words themselves, if that makes any sense.

For instance, I notice myself getting upset over getting stuck in certain places (a “way” thing) and I notice myself (over)using the same words or construction (a “word” thing). Slowing down to see this has created room for me to relax and let some other solution bubble up, getting up and moving to my analog desk, or grabbing a stack of index cards to do my version of my friend Daphne Gray-Grant’s excellent advice to mind-map pre-writing. (If you sign up for her newsletter, you’ll get a copy of her mind mapping instructions. It’s plenty to get started, and the newsletter is consistently useful if you do any sort of regular writing, or just want to understand how writing works.)

Slowing down is just outstanding for noticing things, period. Those of us who operate in overdrive probably do so at least partially to blow past certain parts of the scenery we find a little unattractive. My personal adopt-a-highway program has made great progress along certain stretches of road, but when I slow down, I’m embarrassed to see the junk I’ve allowed to accumulate near certain scary underpasses and dark tunnels.

I feel a little guilty bringing up the feeling poorly. I find myself impelled to do so, though, because I’m not good enough at saying “no” sans explanation; I almost always feel like “no” is not enough, that “no” needs some accompanying excuse. (And I know that’s not true, I’m just saying that so far, that’s how I’ve operated.) Inevitably, it brings up expressions of sympathy, because people are kind and empathetic and such.

I am coming around to the idea, though, that illness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is just a thing, like tallness or shortness, bigness or smallness, oldness or youngness, singleness or marriedness. There are times when it is better to be tall than short, and being very short, I can enumerate them with alacrity. On the other hand, “tall” is a distinct disadvantage in the context of “commercial aircraft.” I have been single and married and everything in between and guess what: so far, I prefer single. Try traveling back in time and telling 25-year-old me that, though. You couldn’t: she was too busy doing actuarial calculations to avoid ending up chairless when the music stopped. (Hint to 25-year-olds: the music always starts up again, there are all kinds of nice chairs nowhere near the ring, and you may not be the sitting type.)

Do I very much look forward to having a great deal of energy again? I do! Even more, I look forward to using it wisely, so that it comes in a steady, sustainable flow, not pedal-to-the-metal bursts followed by a blowout. I look forward to it so much so that I am moving hyper-slowly now. It is not exactly pleasant, all this noticing, but it is one of the most fascinating shows in town…

xxx
c

P.S. One of the crazy little things I did was to put up an FAQ, something long, long on my to-do list. More on that later, but man, do I ever see how a well-done FAQ might significantly reduce drag on the average one-woman operation. Talk about enhancing sustainability!

Image by iMaffo via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

9 comments

  1. Hope you feel better soon, kiddo … sounds like no fun at all.

    And yes, a half-apple is a very seductive item. Madonna could take lessons from it. Lady Gaga? Probably not.

  2. “…she was too busy doing actuarial calculations to avoid ending up chairless when the music stopped.” Ha! What a great line.

    Thanks for posting even when you’re moving slowly. And here’s hoping you’re back to full (healthy) speed again soon.

  3. @Vivienne – Thanks. And yes, no condemning Eve ’til you’ve walked a mile in her…bare feet.

    @Sarah – Every once in awhile, the writing gods hand out a free gift with purchase. And thanks.

  4. adopt-a-highway. I’m liking the image. What have I left on the side of my road? What scenery do I blow by, too speedy to notice.

    And, yes, noticing is a good thing.

    Energy is great. Gratitude for it greater.

    I’ll eat a half an apple today thinking of you. Grateful for your words, thoughts and essence.

  5. Back pain from an apple???? Woah!
    I’ll have to do some research on that one, I think….

    Hope you are feeling better already, Colleen.

  6. @rebecca — Enjoy your kryptonite! Or I should say, MY kryptonite. (Truthfully? I’m bringing some apples along on this weekend’s work trip to Philly. Pray for me!)

    Sue — I’d be interested to know what’s happening physiologically. I imagine I could do some research and find out, if I ever really, really want to know. But yeah, it’s weird—eat something too “challenging” for your intestine’s current delicate condition, and you get all crampy. Like, period-crampy! Which, for the record, I don’t usually get. (Or didn’t. That’s mostly behind me now.)

    1. Part of my research will be connecting specific foods (plus raw vs cooked, last time tried, etc.) to symptoms. Since one has to track all foods before the symptoms appear, procrastination can interfere! Plus, it doesn’t include “real pain” frequently enough that I think of it as a trackable thing. I think I will need notebooks in both the kitchen and the bathroom, sigh.

      You’re probably really used to doing this already (unfortunately). But thanks so much for the details, it caught my attention and maybe that will help me to actually start watching this stuff. Physiologically, I’d bet one’s particular microflora mix is a big part of the picture.

      1. I kept one notebook, in which I noted (in chronological order, daily):

        + what I ate and how much
        + gas, cramping and poops (how much and consistency)

        I also noted at the top:

        + how much/well I’d slept the night before
        + cycle (I still had one, and they exacerbate symptoms)
        + meds
        + random add’l illnesses (colds, flu, etc.)

        It took a while to get the hang of it, but I absolutely was able to start seeing patterns. Part of it is (sorry, non-sufferers) you become intimately familiar with your transit time from tracking the poops, so you start to have some great insight into what foods are messing with you.

Comments are closed.