Saturday, April 21, 2012

What the Devil's Staircase and Chronic Fatigue Have in Common...

There are days when writing a new blog post feels like an uphill battle.  An insurmountable challenge.

Like the portage Papa Bear and I did on our first canoe camping adventure.  For those of you who don't know what a portage its, it is a pathway between two lakes in which one carries EVERYTHING from one lake to the next including all the food the camper is going to need since there are no canoe-through Tim Hortons or MacDonalds in the backcountry, clothing, all gear such as stove, plates, utensils, tent, canoe, paddles and all the miscellenea which would take too much time and space to detail.

This particular route had been billed as easy with only three short portages.  The information failed to mention that the second portage is aptly nicknamed "the Devil's stairway" because most of it is uphill - on the way in.  Try carrying canoe, paddles, backpacks heavily laden with gear and the infamous bear barrel packed with good.  Uphill.  Factor in lack of training for said excursion and you've just about got the gist of it.

I ended up stuck about halfway up, breathing heavily, heart pounding in my chest not from fright but from exertion unable to go any further at any speed, bear barrel lying beside me.  Papa Bear passed me going up, going back down for the rest of our load, and then going back up.

Eventually, I got up and tried again minus said bear barrel.  It would have to find its own way up the Devil's Staircase - or rather another back to go up on.  Actually, I more or less rather up step by wretched step listening for the telltale sound of running water which Papa Bear advised marked that the top of the incline -and torture - was near.  Papa Bear later confided that he was afraid that he was going to have to do the fireman's carry on me and portage me up the incline!  Fortunately, I was spared that indignity.  Thankfully.

That is how I have felt lately when I even think of writing my blog.  No energy.  Stuck on the path.  Gasping for breath.  Every cell in my body crying out for rest.  Sitting up becomes an effort as do most of the myriad of tasks we perform without thinking every day.  Getting out of bed.  Getting dressed.  There have been days lately when I average about one piece of clothing an hour.  And those have been the good days.

The latent effects of the severe stress I endured in 2011 have been manifesting themselves big-time since early February.  Each week getting worse than the week before instead of better.  Concurrently, I have all the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue.  Sigh.  Along with other symptoms of other aspects such as Psychiatric Injury and Hypervigilance.

Manifestations such as lack of balance have become daily occurrences as has the inability to form the right word necessary to form a complete sentence resulting in a weird game of twenty questions to make myself understood.

Yet, even with these altered abilities I cope with on a daily basis, life is worth living - just in a different way than before.  A way that limits physical activity yet maximizes quality time with people including Matriarch Bear and those who live in the seniors' residence with her during my recent trip.  Emotionally, I was doing OK.  Physically?  Another scenario totally.

Personally, at this point if I had my choice, I'd rather face the physical challenge of the Devil's Staircase than the physical challenges of Chronic Fatigue.  At least I'd know where the end is....

More later.

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