Among the advice that FM patients get is to pace yourself and avoid stress. Lets see, how did I do with that? I’d have to say that August was a failing grade for me, but I came through it all right I suppose. So, to lay out the groundwork, what was my August like?
First of all I covered Fandemonium 2012, a local convention. I ran the photo room for the convention and that meant I was taking about 100 pictures per hour for a solid 8 hours a day, yes, about 2,500 pix taken. How busy was I, you ask? Well, at one point I was asked while occupied at the urinal how long before I’d be taking pictures again. So yeah, that busy. Then for a few days after that I was frantically resizing pictures.
A few days later I woke up early to go to another photo shoot, my wife had to run out of town the day before for her aunt’s funeral, when I got a text that my daughter was in labor. So, I tossed my gear into the pickup and ambled the 60 miles or so to the hospital and was half a block away when the kid called to tell me she wasn’t dilated enough yet so they were sending her home. Fair enough, they dosed her up on Ambien so she would rest so I’d be no help anyway, so I went ahead to the shoot. A few hundred more pix later and I was getting back into the truck and I get a text when I get another text from the son-in-law that the kid was feeling like death and they were back at the hospital.
So, paying some heed to traffic suggestions…I mean laws…and I was hotfooting it up to the maternity floor. So, the waiting begins. The nurses were kind enough to show me where the coffee was and I was in business. Then I got to enjoy the spectacle of my daughter’s “Christmas legs” after her epidural. Yes, the Ambien was doing interesting things to her. That’s when I got the call that a lady had turned right in front of my wife and they’d hit at 55mph. So, I’m off and running, 60 mile round trip to get her and get back to see my brand new grandbaby.
Got home very late that night and could have cared less that the car was totaled.
So, we were knee deep in sorting out the car situation when my formerly trusty (very) old laptop finally detonated. So, one more thing to add to the mix, because that’s the computer I need for photos and websites.
Now I can sit back with some sense of peace and make the following observations. First that I didn’t do worth a flip at following the recommendations and conventional wisdom. Secondly that you CAN survive lot of pushing, and a lot of stress; but, there are things you and I can do to mitigate these things.
- Pace yourself and rest every chance you get, even if that isn’t often. I had an amazingly good photo assistant that kept an eye on me and reminded me to do things like sit down or eat.
- Have your meds handy. I only have one a day type meds, but for a three day con I have 3 days worth in my bag in case I forget to take them at home.
- Eat only safe food, especially if you’re prone to IBS. Self-explanatory.
- Sleep as much as you can get away with. On a normal night I average 5 hours and a nap during the day. I got no naps, and managed to get about 6 hours a night.
- Don’t wake up at the last minute and expect to run out the door. I have a real problem with fibro fog, so I need time to get my brain in gear. When possible I have somebody else and catch a nap if the drive will be long to get there. Early also means that I can sit and get my head together before the crowd shows up. People aren’t sympathetic when they show up to a photoroom and find the photographer dragging butt.
- Fluids! I drink a lot of water and sugar free sports drinks during events, usually I’m working under studio lights or hot sunlight, and that means I sweat out a lot of stuff my body needs to function. Replenish! Also, many FM patients have a problem shedding heat, like me, so drinking cold stuff helps keep me from roasting.
- In addition to FM pain I have arthritis, especially in my spine, so Tylenol Arthritis is my friend (in moderation.)
- Be realistic! I know I can only go so long at this pace before I’m done for about a week. During that week I’m going to do things like live on the 2 hour cycle. Sleep for a couple of hours, be up for a couple and so on, until at last I’m on something like a normal schedule. If I am not careful I’ll hit that cycle too early and feel like death while I try and complete my obligations. I’m good for about three 8 hour days in a row, if I pace myself.
So, at the end of all of that I have a wonderful little granddaughter, the car and computer are both replaced, I’m obviously broke and life is getting back to normal. There’s nothing but common sense in my approach, basically the motto for pushing yourself hard when you have FM is that : If you’re going to do something stupid, do it intelligently.
© 2012, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.