Monday, January 25, 2010


Even though it's been almost three years since my chronic health adventure began, I still bump up against old ideas and expectations for myself on a pretty regular basis. I guess I haven't truly accepted yet what it means to have a chronic disease.

My most disabling issue, the one I've been struggling with for a couple of years now with no success, is my constant fatigue and lack of energy. I know that it's caused by the Crohn's and Fibro. I know it's not because of any particular action or inaction on my part. But every once in a while I twist it around in my mind again. If only I tried to be more active, I'd feel better. If only I lost some weight, I'd have more energy. When someone who doesn't have these health problems says something like this, I can smack them upside the head, or call them idiots, or choose to ignore them. But what do you do when it's the little voice in your head telling you these things?

My latest plunge into crazy is the Wii. Don't get me wrong, I love my Wii. I'm having a blast playing games on the Wii Fit, unlocking stuff in Walk it Out, and in my latest acquisition learning dance routines in We Cheer 2. It gets me up off the couch and moving a bit. I can do 10-15 minutes of something, sit down for a couple of hours, and then do a few more minutes later. Unlike going to the gym, I don't spend more time driving back and forth than I do in the actual exercise activity. And it's really fun- I can laugh and be silly in the privacy of my own home.

But what I'm finally realizing is that this activity comes at a cost. For normal people, three weeks of regular, moderate exercise would probably be paying dividends by now- they'd probably be sleeping better and feeling more energy during the day. Not me. I looked around the apartment over the weekend and realized that all the energy for Wii-ing had to come from somewhere, and it came out of all the other things I have to do to take care of myself. I haven't done laundry in at least two weeks. I've been eating take out off paper plates for the last two weeks. My Christmas tree is still standing and the lights are still on it. I haven't even taken down the stockings yet! The exercise from the Wii hasn't given me more spoons- I've just used the spoons I had on that instead of all the other things I need to be doing.

So what's the solution? Giving up the Wii? I don't think so. All the doctors and websites say that gentle exercise is good for Fibro and should eventually help with pain levels. (Although my pain and use of pain killers has increased significantly in the three weeks since I started Wii-ing.) Plus, it's fun, and there's precious little of anything in my life these days that's fun. But woman cannot live on take out alone. And eventually I'll need clean underwear. (Eventually is coming quickly. I have an appointment with a social security doctor on Wednesday, and I'd rather not go commando.) That means I'm going to have to find a new balance. More spoons on cleaning, fewer spoons on Wii-ing.

It's not easy facing crappy realities while at the same time holding out hope for improvement and better tomorrows. I wonder how many more times I'll have to trip over these realities before it finally sinks in? Does it ever?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Sometimes I hate living in an apartment complex. I was sitting on the couch, watching a cheapo Lifetime movie, when I started smelling smoke. I looked around the apartment first and didn't see anything, so then I put on some outside clothes and checked around outside. My next door neighbor is burning paperwork in a grill on their patio. Jeez. They weren't even outside with it- they just lit it up and went back inside. The way the wind was blowing, it looked like the smoke was coming off the roof. Give me a heart attack why don't you? I lived in an apartment building that had a fire a few years ago, and now I'm super paranoid about it. Can't you find a better way to get rid of sensitive documents?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From Cheer to Drear

The time has finally come. I'm taking down the Christmas decorations. The ornaments came off the tree a couple of days ago. (All but the one little candy cane ornament that I somehow missed, and spotted as I was lying on the couch last night.) The lights are still on the tree, but they'll probably come off tomorrow or the day after. Just now I took down all the Christmas cards. It's all very sad.

It's always fun and exciting to put up decorations, but after a while you just stop seeing them. And then when they come down everything looks so blah. I'm thinking that I might start putting up decorations for all the little holidays. Nothing super major- just some garland and a few window clings or something. I sit around looking at these four walls 24/7. I think it's reasonable to do something to perk the place up a bit. And $10 every month or so is a small enough amount to pay.

Right now it's Mardi Gras time, I guess. Or I could go for Valentine's Day. After that would be St. Patrick's Day and Easter, and then I guess it's into the patriotic summer holidays of Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. I need to come up with some other stuff to put up between those holidays though, because I'm not decking the apartment out in red, white, and blue for four months straight. Can anyone think of any more obscure summer holidays I should celebrate?

Friday, January 15, 2010


So, the Wii thing is still working for me. A friend sent me a new game called Walk it Out, and I've been spending way too much time playing it. No, really. Not like gamer too much time. More like, my body is falling apart and that's too much exercise for me too much time. I hurt. Everywhere. Walk it Out is, as you might guess, a walking game. There's no reason for my shoulders to hurt, but they do. My whole body hurts. I think the over doing it, combined with all the rain, has caused my Fibro to flare up. (This is not like exercise soreness. It's been a while, but I do remember what that feels like. This is an entirely different, miserable animal. Ugh.)

But I'm having fun playing the game! It's not exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but it's fun to collect points as you walk around the island and then use the points to open up new walking trails, earn new songs, and add new features to the landscape. Most of the new features are pretty mundane, like trees and lamp posts. But there are also buildings and even suspension bridges to build. The most exciting things I've unlocked so far are a car and a vendor's cart. It's funny how stuff like that can motivate you to keep going just a little bit longer!

Today I'm taking the day off, and then tomorrow I think I'll go back to the Wii Fit. I've been neglecting it for the new game. Maybe after a day of rest (and please god, a good night's sleep for a change) a little bit of Wii Fit yoga will help my cranky muscles.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Baby it's cold outside!

I don't know if you've noticed, but it's been a little chilly lately. According to the last weather report I saw, this is the coldest we've been in Houston in 14 years. Brrr! I'm currently wearing hand knit socks, flannel pants, a long sleeved t-shirt, a sweatshirt, and the comforter off my bed. And my toes are still cold. In a little bit I'm going to get up off my nice warm spot on the couch and get out the down comforter to put on the bed. I'm also going to get out a spare set of flannel sheets and hang them over the bedroom windows to block drafts. I tried the other day to get the window seal stuff that you put on with a hair dryer, but couldn't find it anywhere.

One good thing about nasty weather, it encourages you to stay inside where it's warm. I'm still working my way through my Doctor Who/Torchwood marathon, plus I have new copies of the latest Harry Potter movie, Veronica Mars season one, and Glee that I haven't watched yet. So plenty of stuff to keep my butt glued to the couch. I have a half dozen library books to read. I have ham and potatoes au gratin in the crockpot, and fixin's for tortilla soup and brownies. I have a new, secret knitting project that I started last night and will probably be working on through the early part of next week. I have hot cocoa mix and a cat to sit on my feet. So really, what more could one person ask for?

But it's still too cold outside.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

My New Toy

I went a little cuckoo crazy this week and bought myself a Wii. I was a little nervous about setting up, thinking it might be confusing or hard. And I did have technical difficulties- all my stuff is ancient, and there weren't any extra a/v inputs available. So yesterday I went out and got a new rf modulator, and now everything is working fine. I spent some time playing it last night, and I love it!

I tried the tennis and bowling games on Wii Sports, and I'm actually pretty good at them! I've never had a gaming console before, and I haven't played a game with any regularity since the original Super Mario Bros. 25 years ago. So I wasn't sure if I'd be any good at it or if I'd struggle. I think it will take a while to feel really natural with the controller, but it's pretty easy to use.

To get started I bought a used copy of Endless Ocean, and I played that for a while last night. I'll fiddle with it a little more today, but I think I'll be returning this one and trying something different. It was described in some of the reviews as being a relaxing and scenic game. So far it seems kind of nebulous and dull. But it sounds like some of the more interesting creatures don't show up until later stages, so I'll play for a little while longer and see what I see.

In a bit I'm going to set up the balance board for the Wii Fit Plus. That's the real reason I bought the system. I need something to inspire me to get up off the couch occasionally before my butt becomes permanently attached. Water aerobics was doing that for me for a while, but I'm a wimp. The class is still going on, but I won't be back until it warms up again. (It won't be long. March, April tops.) For now, anything that gets me moving a bit is a good thing. I'm also itching to try Just Dance (a dance game should be good exercise, right?), but I think that one might be a little too, um, energetic for me right now. Maybe someday.

The other game I really want to check out is Rabbids Go Home. I don't know if it will give me much exercise, but it looks entertaining. I'm keeping an eye out for a used copy. I'll let you know what I think when I find one. In the meantime I'll be golfing on my Wii.