Living Well Through A Flare

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On this blog I’m always going on about living the best day I can, every day, not living like every day is my last – which seems to extreme – but consciously planning to live well; to avoid going through life on autopilot; to avoid accepting a gradual decline in my health; to feel grateful and to make a difference.

Flare’s present a particular challenge, when it’s too painful to move, my brain’s too fogged to read, my finger tips hurt to much to type and my throats so sore it makes eating a chore; what’s left to make up a day that I can look back on as a ‘day well lived’?  Over the years I’ve struggled with this, sometimes declining into depression, sometimes anger, all too often feeling sorry for myself.  For several years now and over a dozen flares, I think I have a pattern that works pretty well.

I keep to my morning routine, spending a few hours at Caffe Nero, I can’t read much but I can still process my emails, browse for books, scan my news feeds for things to read later and be around the regular customers that I know well.  It might require hobbling there on crutches or begging a lift from Debbie or Jennie, but I almost always make it.  Being in town means I get to shop each morning, I can’t say that I only shop for the very healthiest foods, but I try to strike a good balance between excellent nutrition and comfort.

When I get home I’m generally exhausted, and good for nothing, but this is where TV comes in.  I love to watch a single long running TV series during a flare, over the years these essential companions have been 24, Battlestar Galactica, Prison Break and so many others.  During this flare my treasured companion has been House of Cards and I’ve watched the first two series, over a period of 5 days, and it’s been a rollercoaster ride.

A compelling TV series, great food, a loving family and 3 cats makes a pretty good day out of a dismal one; but it’s not quite enough.  In between each episode I try and do something constructive, I will stretch, try and climb the stairs, wash the clothes, feed the cats, wash the pots, strip the beds; anything that gets me out of the chair, forces me to move and leaves me at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment.

Of course that’s not the only component in managing a flare, the Prednisolone, the Diazepam, the Co-codamol and the Pregabalin play their part too, but they don’t keep me positive, they don’t keep me moving, they don’t make me feel loved and they don’t give me a sense of achievement; all things that I think speed my recovery just as much.

I’m writing this post in Caffe Nero, it’s a lovely sunny day and my flares is definitely on the wane, my throats much improved and apart from a few joints and some residual aches I’m feeling pretty good.  My brain fog has mostly cleared and I’m feeling positive.  Unfortunately yesterday I wasn’t well enough to enjoy the sunset with Debbie, part of our valentines day plans, so I’ve decorated this post with one instead.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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