Saturday, 24 May 2014

Just Plain Tired

I am tired this morning, exhausted beyond all exhaustion, even after sleeping more than a dozen hours. I am tired enough that my eyes can barely focus, tired enough that even typing these few words seems to take a herculean effort. I did not want to get out of bed this morning, the tendrils of sleep and weariness within my body reaching up and continually pulling down on my eyelids. Even here, as I sit before the keyboard, my eyes want to close and my body wants to rest.

This is not the tiredness that sleep defeats. Sleeping longer does not make it better. Nor is it the tiredness of clinical depression. It's not that I would not get up; it's that my body simply cannot make it. Yet here I am, out of bed, typing on my keyboard, against all odds, awake, barely. I did not get up because I wanted to. I got up because I knew I should, in spite of the defeating combination of fatigue and frustration. My bed continues to call me. I am not yet dressed. I could still go back after typing for a bit.

My tiredness follows me everywhere, from bed to bath, from bath to kitchen, from kitchen to table. As I turned on my coffee maker this morning I looked at the dishes on the counter. I put some in the dishwasher but lack the energy to finish the task. I put a coffee cup under the spout of my coffee machine and hit the start button. Then I rest my head on my hand, elbow on the counter, and close my eyes while I listen the machine gurgle and growl, spitting my caffeine booster into my cup.

When it stops, I open my eyes and languidly lift the cup from machine to the opposite counter where the door of my fridge dares me to open it. I gather the strength, open the door and slide out the nearly empty, small milk jug. I no longer have the strength to easily lift the big ones; I really don't need that much milk anyways. I pour milk into my black potion and put the jug back. With a burst of energy I roll back to this table. While waiting for hot coffee to cool, I type, and every few moments rest my head in my hands, seeking to find energy from somewhere deep within.

This is the exhaustion of ALS. It is nothing else. This disease takes more than just your muscles. It takes your strength and vitality. It forces you to focus the energy that you retain into small accomplishments, doing those things you can still do, leaving behind the things you cannot. For today it means I need to rest. I have cancelled all my social activities for the day. Right now, I am just plain tired.

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