My Story -Part 2 (still 2018)

Part 2

Spring 2018.

My car isn't fixed yet. Something mysterious is happening to the battery, and it won't hold a charge longer than 24 hours. The mechanic is still puzzling over it and that means everywhere I go is on "Shank's Pony". That doesn't bother me much. Feet are reliable and don't require batteries.
I told him to put a new one in and be done with it. But that mechanic is overworked and they are shorthanded, so I am looking at another week before the car is returned to me.

I am used to walking for miles, and have been all of my life. When I was four and five years old I remember my Dad saying "Let's blow the cobwebs away!" and taking me for long walks on the Pennines in Derbyshire. I never complained, never threw a tantrum and demanded to be piggy-backed. I just loved it; the outdoors, the wind and weather, the endless rugged landscapes up there. I often imagined cobwebs blowing in long strands from my hair.

But back to Spring 2018.... The snow has gone. The online grocery delivery sent me seriously unripe apples, and no eggs. They do that randomly with no explanation. Sometimes online deliveries work perfectly, and sometimes (especally when I have no car!) -they don't.

I walk three miles to a nearby village where there is a little table outside a house, with eggs from Happy Hens. That's a nice place, as customers can see the hens in their clean large run, and they do truly look healthy and happy. There is no British Lion mark on these eggs and no telling how old they may be, but they cook like fresh-laid and are always tasty with golden yolks.

But now I have no fruit for breakfast, so on the Sunday decide to walk five miles to the garage-store to pick up some oranges. It's a warm early Spring day and on the walk I am soon drenched with an unusual sweat. My clothes become soaked. It doesn't worry me too much, as I will keep moving except for a brief stop in the store, so won't get chilled.
The store is empty. I pick up four oranges, chocolate biscuits, and then look for a bottle of water as I need a drink. But the only water they have is a 2-litre size, and those are heavy, so I choose a non-diet Coca Cola instead. Caffeine, sugar, and lots of chemicals, but at least it's a treat (I haven't drunk one for nine years) It should give me a boost. None of those ingredients has ever given me a bad reaction anyway.

The store is still fairly empty as I go to pay. There's only one person at the checkout, but now I think I could do with maybe a couple more oranges, and at the fruit shelves pick out a small pack of blueberries too....

(It's so strange how one's destiny -for good or bad can hinge on a decision made in a moment; a whim, a coincidence of timing. In later months and years I will look back on the minutes spent choosing those two oranges and those blueberries as the things that seemed to seal my fate.)

By the time I am ready to pay, a small line has formed by the checkout , and I join it. A young woman suddenly comes out of the queue ahead, to grab something extra from one of the shelves, and return to her place. She is coughing harshly and passes within inches of me.
I hope she's a smoker....but my guess is she isn't. She has a "cold" or something. I hope I won't catch it.

So I put on my backpack, drink half the coke outside, carry the rest and walk home again.
It's beautiful countryside and a lovely day but the breeze has picked up and I can feel my wet clothes cooling against my skin. I soon forget the possible "cold".

Monday, I wash sheets and hang them on the line on another perfect Spring day
Tuesday, I visit little Sally cat as usual in the morning. I always stay with her for a while, so come back home around one-thirty.
Logs need to be split, so I set up the machine, and fetch a trolley-load from the shed. I always quite enjoy putting logs through the splitter.
There is no trace of what is to come.

I remember the time this illness began. It was nearly 2pm on Tuesday 27th March 2018 when I suddenly noticed the most odd sensations .
I became lightheaded, mildly nauseous, with slight twinges over my right eye; then shaky, uncoordinated, with an illogical tearfulness. I felt breathless, feverish, and my heart skipped beats, over and over again. The worst thing was that I could suddenly no longer focus on anything meaningful or heart-felt.
I tried to visualise the face or character of a dear one who had died, and that was shockingly impossible. It felt as if an ice cold barrier had come down between my life as I always knew it, and a whole new state which was alien. And it all happened at the flip of a switch.
Nothing -not food or liquids -helped the way I felt. The sensations went on and on, well into the evening, never abating for a moment.

And the next day, I felt completely, absolutely normal!

The following day, it all returned. Now it felt like flu; the exact peculiar malaise I usually got with flu, the tight chest, the aching limbs, the queasiness, weakness, shaking with any attempt to do anything, and that tiny twinge over my eye which made me wonder if my earlier eye injury might have become infected. But the eye looked fine. I also had no fever.

I tried my usual herbal medicine support for if or whenever, I came down with something. The last time had been two years ago when I'd caught a cold. The herbs made no difference.]

So basically, I just soldier on. I've had flu before. This will pass. It might take a week or two, but things ALWAYS go away in their own time. That is what I have known all my life.


Good Morning @Wolfcub......I had trouble finding your comments about becoming ill (is that what we do...."become.") Imagine that you were even able to post the time, let alone the exact date.

Yes, that horrible hot/cold thing is often a harbinger of something beginning, isn't it? As you know, I've had this officially for about 35 yrs. now. However, I have to say this: I take absolutely no joy in hearing that others are beginning their own long, lonely journey into this illness. One just hopes they're able to find something worthwhile to contribute to others, or even learn to live without the illness overtaking their very being as time passes.

I hope you have a good, reliable car now. So no Christmas cookies, I gather. Eggs alone aren't going to be transformed into any sort of cookie....a custard, yes, but no eggs. Grocery shopping is one of the jobs that will turn me into a mess in no time. They're heavy and often have to put away immediately (we're in a very hot climate for mos. of the year). No, not one of my favorite chores in the least.

We'll look forward to hearing how you handled your diagnosis and what you've done to become the @Wolfcub you are today. Yours, Lenora.
This is so beautifully written. I feel like I'm walking through the snow just behind you. I hope you will continue sharing your story.
As I read your story, I'm reminded of how independent, strong, full-of-life we are before this condition hits. And then we see that strength in the courage and stamina to face the extraordinary challenges of this condition. It is amazing that at least for me, staying alert for a zoom meeting is now harder and takes more will than a miles long walk in the snow.
I look forward to part III.
Wolfcub....Hello. I was wondering how your Xmas celebration went? Did you have some delicious nibbles, some cheese, pate or any other special treat? I know you must have had a roaring fire, but was anything going in the kitchen?

Ours was very quiet with family and friends calling in to wish us a Merry Xmas. By noon I could hardly talk to anyone...this happens, and I don't know if it's my first illness (neurological), allergies or simply too much talking, although it never bothered me until about 2 yrs. ago. But after that marathon, I'm finished for the day least this year. I hope you were able to imagine Sidney and all your other loved ones, that their faces and even voices were clear and full of love. Happy New Year...and healthier for all, of course. Yours, Penny
I was alone at Christmas, but there were two most beautiful blue-sky frosty days with a Moon shining at night. Gorgeous.
I couldn't do much feasting. I just had simple cooked food because my belly was a bit off (acid reflux -a new member of my ME/CFS Symptom Brigade !!)
But thankfully a little bit of chocolate after dinner made things no worse, and was much appreciated.
I managed to go for two little walks in the orchard. It's so lovely in there.

Trying herbal bitters for the silly belly, and diaphragmatic breathing exercises.

I'm glad you had a nice quiet Christmas, but yes, socialising (even at safe distances or over the phone etc) is quite exhausting. I can understand 100% how that wiped you out, Hope you could rest or perhaps nap afterwards ?

Wishing you a Happy New Year. :):tulip:
Thank you very much for what you said, @Anncomingtogrips
I am glad I was at least able to take you through a virtual snowy walk. We miss those things so much. It's important to be grateful now for what we CAN manage, but I's tough.

I always find calls quite tiring.
Wishing you good things for 2021 :hug:
Good day, @Wolfcub,

I don't know why I said that I had a hard time finding your "illness as it was stated right beside the date, etc. Selective seeing, I believe it's called. :)

@Anncomingtogrips (Welcome!) mentioned the beautiful writing re: the snow. She's right, it is beautiful. Too bad you had to bump into that woman in the grocery store. I can't imagine having the bad manners to cough in someone else's face...avert it at the very, very least.

It's too bad that you now have acid-reflux on top of everything. That's also called "heartburn" here and it's a rather apt description, isn't it? I hope that things have settled down in that department. It seems to come and go...and there are a number of reasons why (supposedly)., things are never just static in our world, they're forever changing. One symptom for another, a few days of feeling strong and them wham! it's something else. I hope your illness will be short lived. Everyone wonders where "the cure" is and we're very fortunate that we now have Researchers who specifically work on our problem...ours alone.

Personally, I feel that it will be not just one cure, but many problems that will be able to be treated. That's the important thing and I so hope and count on it, that you younger people won't have to wait like we did. As I describe it, in the very beginning I was in a train without a track. We had information, no researchers, the disdain of the public....remember that AIDS wasn't exactly accepted and people were frightened of it so, no, they weren't ready for another illness of anything like it. So, we hopped off the train and built our own track. It took a long time, made much slower b/c there was no computer and everything was done by phone, or Newdletter. Phone numbers were readily exchanged. Information and yes, plenty of guessing. But now....we'll have faster answers, count on it. Your future will be better.

Wolfcub, stay healthy. If we lived close, or I was visiting Bath, I'd make you a huge pot of good chicken soup (the real thing!). As always....Lenora.

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