torquill: Art-deco cougar face (Default)
[personal profile] torquill
I got up this morning at 08:00, after five hours and change. My feet were quite painful to walk on, but I managed to get up and get dressed and go down for breakfast.

I made tea, and oatmeal, because I knew I'd need my strength. I was a little foggy, losing track of my train of thought, having to pause and think before remembering that I had waned to get a bowl. I left shortly before 10 to drive a quarter-mile to a client.

She had a row of fruit trees along the back fence, a pear, figs, an apple, and two oranges. I had to go back home for the folding ladder, which weighs 50-60 pounds, and put it into the back seat, then I lugged it into her backyard.

The first cut I made ended up being a mistake; I had had trouble reconciling her assertion that the tree was an asian pear with the fact that it had thorns. It turns out that the large low branch I sawed off first was indeed an Asian pear; what I had taken it off of was a huge double-trunked rootstock. Given the state of the thing I'm not sure there's any long-term solution other than taking it out and starting over, but I should have been able to tell the difference in the growth habit right away and saved that branch.

It was a theme this morning -- I went out to the street to get the green bin, couldn't find it, and came back to the yard only to find that I had walked right past it. I searched around for the bucket of tools that was five feet in front of me. Apparently my visual processing was not keeping up, because although I was able to prune the trees, I had curious blind spots all through the job.

The pruning took three hours, with another half-hour of cleanup; I think I spent about an hour and a half on the ladder, reaching up with the pole pruner or loppers, then climbing down and moving it again. Cleanup involved a lot of standing and chopping bits in the bin with the lopping shears, and stooping to get more branches. I stood around talking to the client for another five minutes, then loaded my tool bucket, the pole pruner, and the ladder back into the car.

I went home at 14:00 and had some leftovers for lunch. My energy was decent, but I could tell that I was going to be sore and tired later. I made a batch of Rice Krispie treats before heading out to Pittsburg at 15:30. As I drove, I could feel the pain creeping in, especially across my shoulders.

About 40 minutes into my therapy appointment I realized that I was under enough stress that I had the sudden urge to scream. Nothing much had changed, but my ability to cope was eroding, and between that and the physical symptoms I was getting -- fatigue, a sort of heaviness, and other less definable things -- I deduced that my pain level had increased in the last hour. I still couldn't feel it, other than some specific aches in my shoulders, but those were becoming less noticeable (probably because they were getting drowned out). Like electricity, sometimes I have to derive the existence of the pain by the way my systems react, rather than observing it directly.

I drove home at 16:00 and whimpered a couple of times from the invisible pain. I brewed some tea, then waited for a teammate to drop by; I went out into the front yard (she hadn't been to my house before), checked on the herbs, and stopped to pull some easy weeds for a little over five minutes. I could do it, but every action took a little more effort than it should, like moving through water.

When I came in again it was 18:20, and I had the tylenol with some tea. I think I'll just sit here for a while.

I just felt the tylenol kick in. It was a tangible shift, as it sometimes is -- suddenly my focus sharpened a little, and I felt like I wasn't braced anymore. I hope it lasts long enough to give me a bit of a break. I need to go out to get gas for tomorrow, and that's a more bearable prospect now.

Sitting down to write these updates is getting harder -- spending an hour or so every day (over the course of several updates) dwelling on how I feel and what my capabilities are and aren't takes a psychological toll. Most of the time I focus on what I can do, and the positive outcomes of that, rather than the physical cost of my actions and how they're limited by my condition. I don't like thinking about the pain, I prefer to ignore it and distract myself. I don't like thinking about how tired I am after walking only a block or two, I prefer to focus on how it helped my mood and how enjoyable it was. So every day it gets more difficult to sit down and bend myself to the task, and it grows in unpleasantness. Right now it's like cleaning the catbox. At some point it'll be like doing taxes, and I'll have to quit for my own mental health. But hopefully I'll have painted a clear enough picture of what my life is like by then.

I went out around 20:30 (after dinner) to get gas, which took about twenty minutes. When I got home, I sat at the computer for about ten minutes before my brother arrived; he and my dad and I spent about 40 minutes standing and talking. By the time we finished up, I felt a distinct need to sit down. My lower back felt like it had been sandpapered -- I couldn't sit back fully in my chair.

I sat at the computer for twenty minutes or so, and when I got up again my feet were almost too sore to walk on. I hobbled around, sat back down, and rested again for a while. At 22:30 I walked around enough to get myself a snack, carried that and my tea upstairs, and settled into bed. I'll have another dose of Tylenol and brush my teeth, then sleep.
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torquill: Art-deco cougar face (Default)

September 2017

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