Last week, I encouraged you all to play more, in the post A blue chickadee who’s not feeling blue. I accepted my own invitation and went outside to play. In one day, I jumped on a trampoline for 5-10 minutes, and I worked a hula hoop for a couple of minutes. It was a lot of fun and I nearly laughed my face off. At the same time, my muscles reminded me of my years spent in bed. Prior to the sickness, I bounced up and down, on my knees and behind and up again, and now I had to mobilize my energy to pull off one of these “tricks”.
The following day, I was back in staying in bed-shape and I could hardly speak. It’s very difficult to know my limits, even after having M.E. for several years. I keep hoping that I won’t get worse from my activities, but my hope gets it’s feet back on the ground, quite rapidly.
After staying in bed for a couple of days, I yet again went outside to play, with my little sister. First on the agenda, was playing bocce. The balls had bumps to them and one had lost it’s water, so they didn’t roll properly, and it wasn’t all that fun. However, the sun was shining and we were playing in shorts and t-shirts, so playing gave us a colorful and springy feel.
And then we played badminton, which we didn’t ace at first. We only came up to about 6 hits, before the shuttlecock fell down. Since I’m not very mobile, my sister had to pick it up every time, the poor thing. And I had to keep changing between playing with my right- and left arm, since my muscles are working shift schedule.
Despite that I’ve been sick for several years, I haven’t lost my playfulness, nor my competitiveness, which has always been a big part of me. On that note, I set a goal for us to hit the shuttlecock 50 times, without it falling to the ground. My little sister thought that I’d set the bar too high, so I turned on my “bossy voice” and said that “we’ll play until we hit 50, or 25 with the left arm!” And after a few failed tries, we managed to pull an 83, and we got so happy! 🙂 In moments like this, I truely feel like I’m living, and not just surviving.
The rapid pace that we’d kept in these minutes, was apparently too much for me. I was totally beat and I started shuffling my feet, looking like I was high on something more than just life. I had trouble breathing and -barely the energy to lift my glass to drink. Well, that’s how it is when I step over my limits. I was lying on the couch, with sunglasses on and earplugs in my ears and still, I had to smile, by the fact that I’d played badminton!
It’s not everyday you get to spend your energy on something as “unimportant” as playing, when you’ve got M.E. Normally, the energy goes to eating, having a shower, keeping health related appointments, important paperwork etc. So that’s why I can appreciate my active minutes, as much as I do – especially when doing something just for the fun of it, outside the four walls of my house. Also, maybe I should pursue my talent in breakdancing, when I’ll get healthy… 😉
The following day started with my energy account being overdrawn, as I’d expected. Debt collectors knocked on my door, even before I’d woken up. When I refused to pay the debt, they chained me to my bed. What’s next, that the fashion police come and complain about my PJs, hair tangles or fair skin?
I usually get worse for 1-3 days by this kind of activity. When it only lasts for one day, I’m happily surprised. Two bad days is still within my “normal” and the activity still feels worth the hassle. When it lasts for more days than that, the price feels too high to pay. I keep learning from my mistakes, but I’ve yet to become a genius.
The moral is that playing is very fun and important, but that it’s necessary to listen to your body and quit while you’re ahead.