It starts so simply, with the realization that along with feeling extra tired, my wrists ache.
The pain moves up my arms. It takes my elbows and reaches out to squeeze my shoulders. Closing my eyes I take an inventory; evaluating, calculating, and wondering, how long? How bad? I head to bed.
Experience has taught me there is naught to do but lie down, take the pain killers and get ready to wait it out.
As usually happens, tired turns into the kind of fatigue that dazes. The two always come hand in hand. My back aches. My hips, knees, then ankles. I can feel the joints in my hands, which have gone ice cold.
I let my mind drift, a deliberate separation of self. In this state I can focus on something other than the pain. A sort of half waking/ half dreaming "away" mode. Kids, dogs, dreams, plans, memories. All good things to wander with.
A sleeping pill, and what I suspect is a vain hope that I will wake pain free.
Morning brings little relief, yet I must pack my backpack and change hostels. My new digs of course have a bed, and under its blankets I immediately crawl.
Exhaustion has me asleep in minutes.
I am interrupted by the stabs radiating from my elbows. The pain reaches bone deep. My muscles ache. I can feel my heartbeat, the tempo throbbing in my joints. Even the blood flowing through my veins seems to hurt. I give it an 8 out 10 on the pain scale.
More meds. More sleep.
I wake again, and must make my way to get something to eat. I am completely dazed and sapped of strength, but the pain level has dropped and I know that more sleep will tame the beast once again.
Some call it breakthrough pain. I call it an "off" day... in this case, two.
Whatever you call it, I`ve been taking it easy in the days since.
The piper has exacted his payment, and reminded me of the importance of pacing.