Friday, July 28, 2017

Redefining Quality of Life

As expected, I spent most of this week lying down.

Even when a down week is planned, (Last week I travelled and knew I would need to recover.) it is tough on me psychologically. Though my brain is muddled by illness or meds, it has not slowed down to match my body. I want to do things.


I so desperately wanted to do things that Monday found me sitting on the shady back porch hand-sanding the edges of cabinet doors we are refinishing. The project is and should be mostly the work of my boys, but my labor often inspires theirs and I was getting impatient.

After about two hours, the sanding was finished. So was I. The resulting heat exhaustion caused vomiting and a three day headache--definitely a setback in recovery.

Back in bed, I inevitably stewed about the quality of my life. So much that I want to do is either impossible (hiking, gardening) or accompanied by high amounts of pain and exhaustion (travel). There is also the realization that my health seems to only get worse.

To curb depression, I have to focus on the little joys. I'm going to share some of those using the five senses, an organization tool I often had my students use when pre-writing.


At my worst, I don't want to see anything. Lights off or dim, eyes closed. But when I am functioning at all I like to dress up. I indulge my magpie attraction to shiny things and wear a ring on every finger (tried thumb rings--didn't like them) and multiple bracelets. I like to decorate my hands and lower arms because I can see them. I like to watch the play of light on stones and silver and imagine how an  artist would reproduce what I see.
Knitting is stimulating visually.Looking at yarn and imagining projects is fun even if I'm not ready to knit.

I also enjoy observing details and color while putting together puzzles. I mostly do this on an iPad app because it works in bed. When I am too tired to knit, too tired to read, I can still match shapes and colors and feel the satisfaction of finishing something.


I don't do well with silence. My brain needs distraction. Sometimes TV is too much work, but so far, I have enjoyed listening to news and stories. I listen to news, history, and science podcasts constantly.

 More recently, I've discovered the LibriVox app, which gives me access to free, high quality recordings of books. Listening to the complete works of Shakespeare is now my goal. Each play requires multiple listenings and concentration, so finishing the cannon will take several years.


Ice cream always improves my sense of well being.

Medicinal use only. May result in light gain.


Knitting is very tactile. No one should be able to go into a yarn store without touching everything. Just holding knitted work is a pleasure to me. Stillness has increased my awareness of tactile sensations. I enjoy the feeling of air moving across my skin. I am very aware of the texture of fabrics in my clothes and my bedding. I feel actual joy when my overheated face touches a cool pillow.


Not my boys. Mine are just as cute, but manlier.

I mostly dislike smells, but there are some comforting ones in my life: rain, fresh-cut grass, the fragrance of mint which has taken over parts of our front lawn. I know Youngest is awake when I smell the grilled cheese sandwich he makes for breakfast. Dinner aromas created by my boys' cooking make me feel pampered.

A wise man in my neighborhood who was confined to a wheelchair for his final years said  seeing individual blades of grass on the football field on a big screen TV made life worth living. Though I can pass on football, I agree that there are many little pleasures that give quality to life even when that life is restricted.


It took a few days to get knitting again this week, but I am making progress. I've knit more than half of the border on the alpaca lace and a big chunk of a tween-sized mermaid blanket.

No comments:

Post a Comment