The calendar tells me that last week happened, but I remember little of it. CF and I dragged ourselves home from California late Monday night and the next thing I knew, we were at a Friday barbeque with her co-workers (note the correct hyphenation). What happened?
Fatigue. Bone-stealing, mind-crushing, life-squashing fatigue.
But before I go any further, I must make it absolutely clear that although this fatigue is the worst part of all the M.S. and post-stroke garbage, it was worth it this time. And for once, CF agrees with me.
It was worth flying to southern California, sitting in the hot, unshaded bleachers of a ball field, cheering my lungs raw, watching my son get the BEST HIT (one of only three his team got) against a far superior team from Hawaii (it SAILED over 2nd base, dropped in neatly for a solid single). It was worth it to see his smile as he stood on first base grinning at himself about it. It was worth it to see him trot onto the field in the next game, against another superior team, to hear the announcer call his name as he modestly scooped up the warm-up balls. It was worth it to see him completely at ease with all of his friends, horsing around in the pool at the hotel, eager to explore the gaudiness of SoCal now that they were out of the tournament of 13-year-old Pony baseball teams.
And now that they were out of the tournament, CF and I could return home with clear consciences. She had to return to work (big deadline) and I had to return home (couldn’t continue without her help). Believe me, we wanted them to win, but we knew, no matter what, we wouldn’t be there to see it if they played past Sunday.
And then came Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and most of Friday, all of which passed without me knowing about them, with me not asleep so much as sprawled across the bed or the floor or some air conditioned horizontal surface relatively close to plumbing (both intake and outgoing) that CF could find and crack open my jaw on a regular basis and pour in a protein source every so often.
I know we drove up to Seattle to pick up NF from the airport on Thursday, but consciousness doesn’t really return until the barbeque on Friday, when we were entertained by a future Olympian named Tom-Tom, toddler son of a co-worker, who will win a medal of some sort in a sport TBA in 2032, as long as it involves kicking, catching, falling on your butt, and making adorable faces, especially if it uses a ball that comes up to your knees.
NF specialized in badminton at the barbeque, which is unfortunately not his sport, which I lament, since I used to be a pretty fair badminton player. Don’t laugh. Badminton is a very aggressive sport, and I have the friends to prove it, one a state champion in college, and she will happily stuff a shuttle down your throat. It’s the second-most popular sport in the world, and that pathetic little plastic thing you use in your backyard is made of ballistic cork and bristling feathers in the real world, and travels at 200 mph on the real courts and makes big, ugly bruises. Backyard badminton is to real badminton as t-ball is to major league baseball.
After the barbeque, I fell back onto the floor or the bed or the bathtub until Sunday morning, when we celebrated our nephew’s 19th birthday, something I very much wanted to do, since I care very much for him, and I think I managed to stay awake for all of the time I was there, but you would have to check with him. I know I haven’t even looked at the Sunday papers yet, normally my preferred form of worship, and it is going on Tuesday evening as I write this.
And it being Tuesday evening, it is over a week since we arrived home and I still want to do nothing but lie on a horizontal surface and close my eyes and will the world away. But I have too much to do, including a major assignment for the college from which I graduated, one that occurs thrice a year, one that I enjoy, although you will probably think I am a bit odd for doing so.
And it being Tuesday evening, it is over a week since I posted my last blog entry, and for that I apologize, but when one cannot move, one cannot write. In fact, one cannot even talk. One cannot even mumble. One can indicate one’s preference for protein source (yogurt vs. cheese, for instance), and one can indicate one’s preference for television source (MSNBC vs. PBS, for instance), with, perhaps, a wobbly wiggle of a finger before lapsing back into another period of fetterless narcolepsy.
One can indicate one’s appreciation for the care one’s partner administers, by casting a wan smile in the appropriate direction at what one hopes is the appropriate time, and one can indicate one’s joy at one’s son’s skill at baseball by casting a weak thumbs-up in the general direction of the blur of one son’s shadow when she hears his voice, and one can indicate one’s anticipation of tomorrow perhaps being the day when at last one can stand on her own two feet and walk about the out-of-doors and perhaps fetch the mail on her own and maybe drive to the store and buy a new basketball net for her son since the rain rotted away the old one (quel surprendre!).
Such is the world of M.S./post-stroke fatigue, which I normally do everything I can to avoid. I usually avoid the sun, and I usually don’t get overheated, and I usually don’t get overtired, and I usually don’t “do too much,” and I usually “take care of myself,” and I usually blah blah blah blah boring boring boring.
But sometimes you just have to say, “Who cares about my health? This is my child.”