Friday, January 4, 2013

The new year, another flareup, and something pretty

Here I sit, at 3 AM on a Friday morning. Last night, I went to bed between 930 and 10, because I was tired. I had a long day of holding down this office chair with my ass. That's a lot of work, I tell you what. (In reality, I had to go to the hardware store for steel wool. Imagine my surprise when the Ace Hardware guy knew what I was going to do when I told him I was using it for photography).

On Wednesday, daytime, around 330-ish, my body decided it was unhappy being upright and fully functioning. I fought the feeling for a while and finally at 4 PM, I had to admit that it was time to go lay down. Some days, my muscles feel electrified, like they're trying to twitch. They feel all tensed up and I refer to it as being "twitchy" although I'm not actually twitching. On those days, I can go lay down for about a half hour and be okay. I set an alarm in case I fall asleep because I don't want to sleep too long and have it screw up my nighttime sleep patterns.

So, I get into bed, fully clothed, shoes and all (my feet were off the edge of the bed). I had the TV on- I'm pretty sure it was a marathon of "NCIS" because, well, it was daytime and it was the USA network. I set my alarm for 430 PM, giving me plenty of time to cook dinner before my friend's radio show came on. Somewhere in that half hour, I got a text message. Then another. Basically, I was awakened about every ten minutes. When my alarm went off at 430, I did something I don't usually do- I hit "snooze" instead of "dismiss". I hit snooze enough times to make me not get out of bed till about 510 PM.

It did help a bit. I wasn't quite so twitchy and I did cook dinner before Shake Hands with Danger Radio came on at 6 PM. And everything was fine, for the most part. I've remained in a state of mild muscle tension. But the out-and-out pain comes and goes. And the freakin' neuropathy in my foot. That shit has got to stop. I can't stand that feeling. I try to describe it but "Numb with pain" makes no sense to the normies out there. Across the top of my right foot, from around the bend of my ankle to the big toe and second toe... that narrow triangle of area is a tingly-not-quite-numb feeling combined with a burning, tense sort of pain. Touching it has no affect (effect? It's after 3 AM, I'm not even sure I'm using "they're", "their", and "there" correctly right now). If I'm wearing a shoe, I have to remove it. Sometimes, sticking my foot up on that bracer thingy on the back of my desk helps, but not much.

My ankle-foot-calf thing is almost gone now. My ankle still hurts when I flex my foot out like a ballerina. Yeah, I can do that. I've never taken a dance class, I'm actually dancing impaired. It isn't pretty. And you can't really make fun of me because the whole spectacle is so frightening and sad to watch. I'm just really, really bendy.

So, what brings this blog post to us in the middle of the goddamn night? The itching. I went to bed tonight and about thirty minutes after I got all snuggly under the covers, with my swollen legs elevated, the millions of hairy-legged spiders started to break-dance under my skin. Combined with the tense muscles, I think I actually did start twitching. I tried to sleep for almost three hours. I finally got up. I stared at the wall, then the ceiling, then the other wall. I turned on the TV, I changed the channel a bit. Then I said, "Fuck this shit" and got out of bed.

I just ate some breakfast and took a couple more Vicodin. I'm tired now and the itching has gone down a bit.

But, let's talk about the something pretty I mentioned in the title. Tuesday, January 1st, I was having a bitch of a flareup. Gravity was harsher than usual. Pain everywhere. Aching joints. Tight muscles. If I tried to flex or stretch at all, I had a muscle spasm. So, I went upstairs, stripped down to naked and crawled under my soft fleece blankets. I watched the "NCIS" marathon and even dozed off for about ten minutes. I stayed in bed for almost three whole hours. And as long as I didn't move, I felt okay. But if I dared to move, even just my arms or a leg, pain would shock through that appendage and then cause the rest of my body to say: "Oh, is that all you got?! How about THIS!?" and it'd spasm something else.

I got up around 3, 330- I don't recall exactly. But it was later in the afternoon, close to sunset. I took the dogs outside and while I was waiting on them and struggling to stay upright and not turn into a human question mark on my deck, I noticed a couple icicles with sunlight glowing through them. After I got the beasts indoors, I picked up my camera. I tried a couple shots with my zoom lens. Terrible. I switched to my macro lens and got these- (and if you're on my Facebook, you've already gotten a look at these).

That's the setting sun behind the icicles.

Icicle in macro and the sunset

Another macro of a different icicle

I went inside and announced: "I can't pass this up. Fibrofuckingmyalgia be damned, I'm going down to the river and taking some photos."

The Disabled Guy said: "Whatever."

He was unconcerned as he was watching "NCIS" and repeats of a show he's seen several times is somewhat more important than his wife. Trust me on this.

So, I threw on some real shoes (I was wearing slippers, I put on my Docs) and headed down to the river. And then this happened....

Sunset down at Rock River

Sunset down at Rock River

Sunset down at Rock River

Wind-bent branches

Sunset through the branches

Don't feed the waterfowl!

Trees at sunset

ABC Supply with the sunset reflected in the windows

Sunset down at Rock River

There are a lot more shots. A lot more. So, despite the flareup and the pain (and the Raynaud's that flared up because of the cold), I call that day a win. Because I got out and I did something productive. I hurt like a sonovabitch for hours after and my Vicodin did very little to help me, but goddammit, I got out there and took photos.

And today? Well, yesterday... you know, THURSDAY... I was going to go take photos of a section of the river that was iced over, but the ice was so flat and smooth it reflected the shoreline and trees like a mirror. Except when I stepped outside with the dogs for the second time that morning, it was snowing. Tiny little dandruff flakes.

How tiny? THIS TINY!

For scale

And these few photos are just a portion of the shots I got from that tiny snowflake flurry.

The snowflake clung to the fuzz on my scarf

I love the background here


Deck rail post

On a red-painted plant stand

One of the two snowflakes

Clusters of snowflakes

So, no matter how bad fibro makes me feel, as long as I can get myself upright and out the door, I know I'm gonna be okay. I know I'm lucky, too. There are people who can't get themselves upright. They can't get up or get out or do anything they enjoy. And sure, I hurt from it, and I pay for it later, sometimes for days. But dammit, I'm lucky. I'm lucky I can escape with that Nikon D5100 in my hands. I'm lucky that I can do this and then share this with all of you. (yes, you! And you too! Yes, even you!)

It has taken my 30-ish minutes to type all this and to get the html for the photos and so on. Even though I had a rough few days this week and tonight has been a terrible sleep night, I know how lucky I am. And I'm grateful that I can lose myself in snowflakes for ten, twenty or even thirty minutes.

I hope you enjoyed my photos. Because I enjoyed taking them.

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