Still 20-something…

In my dreams, I am in my 20s. The good bits of my 20s when I could play netball all day, go for a cross country run, go out and party all night, and still get into work on time…the 20s where I could walk 10 miles up and down mountains every day for a week and still be full of beans. Unfortunately, although my spirit is young, optimistic, and energetic, my physical body is about 90 years old. I’m actually only 60…I’ve definitely packed a lot into my life – netball, trail running, half marathons, more netball, cycling, netball, hiking, ice skating, netball…Oh and that healthiest of jobs – nursing.

I’ve paid the price for mismatching my mental and physical ages. I frequently forget that I need way more sleep than I used to – 3 hours a night just isn’t enough any more. I have to make myself go to bed and be under the covers before midnight, and definitely before 2a.m. Sounds easy – but I’m a night owl and as soon as the dining room clock strikes midnight, it might as well be an electric shock to the back of my head because suddenly, I’m wide awake and wanting to read and write but definitely not relax.

I’m also very good at ignoring all my other physical limitations when I’m planning things or when I’ve got my mind set on something. A few months ago, I planned a walk for a walking group I’m in – Lily Tarn and Todd Crag. Me, Pat and some friends had a practice run last weekend – I wanted to make sure all the paths were walkable and nothing had changed. It had been a while since I was last up there and occasionally, things change – paths are diverted or fenced off – so always best to check first. Last weekend the weather was pretty grim – low cloud base, drizzly showers, no sun. There was lots of mud, lots of surface water and almost no views. Still, it’s always good to be out and in excellent company and we had a very lovely lunch afterwards in the Copper Pot in Ambleside. The halloumi burger is really good, if you’re asking…

So, I was really looking forward to the walk which was planned for yesterday (Sunday). I ignored the warning signs – I did a week’s work, feeling steadily worse and worse…My day off came on Friday and I slept all day. Friends messaged to see if I was ok and still happy to lead the walk on Sunday. Of course I was ok, just tired, and yes, I’d be doing the walk. Of course.

Saturday came along and off I trundled to work. It was a busy day and we didn’t stop all day – no time for lunch, just a few minutes standing up in the kitchen snatching a few mouthfuls of coffee and handfuls of nutritious Bombay Mix. On the way home, I popped into Asda for a quick shop, followed by a stop at the ODG for a quick drink with friends and Mr Pat. By the time we got home, I could barely speak with exhaustion. Still, I ignored the signs…I was not only in bed early, I was asleep well before midnight.

The alarm went off at 8am. Which is a pretty good lie-in after a week of getting up at 5a.m. I’m so very, very definitely not a morning person. I often can’t tell you anything first thing in the morning – I can open one eye after 5 mins when the first snooze alarm goes off, and sometimes I can even open both eyes after the third snooze alarm. I can just about sit up in bed after 20 minutes and after half an hour, I have been known to attempt an actual standing manoeuvre. This doesn’t always work. It’s often 45 minutes before I’m actually out of bed which leaves me just another 45 minutes to shower, get dressed and get out. Even then, I’m not always capable of speaking in whole sentences…

….but on Sunday morning, I knew that something was very definitely not right the second I opened my eyes to the start of a beautiful dawn over Wetherlam…I had a massive headache which started off somewhere in my left brain and then powered down my face, through my jaw into my neck and then up through the back of my head to join the start…

The first sunny day on a day off in weeks! The first day of Mr Pat and I on our week off together! I wasn’t having any of it!

Despite the searing pain in my head and neck, I could see that the dawn was leading swiftly to a beautiful sunny day on a cold and frosty morning. I drank half a cup of tea, popped some painkillers and headed outside…I got as far as downstairs, sat in a chair in a kitchen, holding my head in my hands:

Mr Pat: What are you doing? Me: I’m going to go outside and see if I’m okay. It’s sunny – I don’t want to miss it – I’ll be fine when I’m out! Mr Pat: *snorts*. Well…I headed outside and it was breathtaking – the sort of morning I’ve been waiting WEEKS, if not MONTHS for! There are snowdrops in the garden! Woo Hoo! The sky wasn’t blue, it was turquoise, the air was clear and frostily crystalline, the mountain tops were covered in snow and the sun was shining. My heart soared into my mouth at the sight of such inspiring beauty – which was the moment I realised I was going to throw up….

Back inside in the kitchen, I sat in the chair again. Mr Pat: Go back to bed now. Me: But…But…OK.

And so I went back to bed and I slept nearly all day. I missed all the sunshine and all my lovely friends but I did wake up to 4 cats snuggled on the bed with me and Princess Maisie looking very cute in her igloo. And lots of very kind messages from said friends.

This morning I woke up feeling a lot better – dizzy but not in agonising pain. So, today (Monday) will count as Day 1 of our holiday instead and I’m going to pretend Sunday didn’t happen 😎

Published by Sue Lee

The challenges of living off grid at the top of The Big Hill at Blea Tarn in the Langdale valley with a few furries & my other half, Mr Pat.

2 thoughts on “Still 20-something…

  1. Oh Sue, so sorry you had to miss your lovely anticipated day out. I know all about ignoring the signs and doing way too much! Thankfully I no longer have to go out to work. It took me years to accept the limitations on my life that came with chronic illness and I still live frequently in a pattern of doing too much or recovering from doing too much but I’d rather do that and have a life! Have a lovely week off with Mr Pat xxx


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