I am back. At 8.30pm on Sunday, I conceded that there was no human way I was going to be able to drive to Bath and back, and agreed that Glynis would come with me. And drive. I am stubborn, independent and quite possibly as pig-headed as my friends would say.
It took us just over 3 hours to get there, and then we found that instead of being a bit late for appointment #1, I was actually 3 hours early. They gave me the wrong time. I did actually wonder why it said 10pm. So we popped out for muffins and hot chocolate. Total sugar rush, but divine.
Anyway, I digress.
I saw the doctor in charge first. While she is delighted with my physical side - ie the exercise, aqua, walking etc etc, she is less than enchanted with my failure to pace myself, relax, rest, etc etc etc. LESS than delighted. Not surprised at all, though. I think she knows me quite well. She grinned when I confessed, and said she had a good idea what the physio and OT were going to say to me. So did I. I am apparently doing way too much. When she heard that I had intended to drive there myself, she flipped.
I had many questions. And she gave the answers. We are now at the stage where it is all about managing the CRPS. We are not talking about it disappearing. I am not quite ready for that yet. And there will be no more IVG (worm thingys) because "we are too far down the road for that now". Trying acupuncture is a good idea. I start in July. And I can try coming off the meds, which was my question, and see if I can tolerate the pain. So I will give it a go one of these days.
Then I went to the trial appointment - for research tests. I was a star. Then to the psychologist, who was less than thrilled altogether. Too much stress, too little rest, too much activity, too little asking for help, too much independence, too little pacing blah blah blah. And she said under no circumstances was I anywhere near being able to go back to work. And I need more appointments.
Then the physio and OT. Hahahahahaha. I am walking better, and am very good at desensitisation. But they won't give me any more physio stuff to do because I overdo it all and fail to monitor myself, pace, relax etc. Great to get the one part right, but now have to focus on the other. And they will all see me again in a few months, and I had better be good at pacing. I also forgot that they had told me I had to select one day a week and make it uniquely mine. Spoil myself, do what I want to do, focus on me etc. I forgot it was a whole day thing. Hmmm. I also raced into a shop before I saw them and bought a necklace and scarf for myself. So I had something to show them. They liked them, but saw straight through the fact that I had failed miserably on this front.
It sounds trivial in a way - taking time for myself. But they are aware of the momumental challenges I face, and they are also aware that I am a Type A personality, and that I bury myself in activity till I exhaust myself, so that I don't have the time or energy to think. I focus on this moment, not on tomorrow. Some may call it hiding or denial.
To have a good chance at healing, it has to be an end to the "boom or bust" way I am doing things. The single most important thing is pacing myself. So I need to examine all activities. For example, gardening. I have to time how long it takes for the pain to become dire. Then take that time and halve it. So the maximum time I will be able to garden will be that baseline. Half the time it takes to become excruciating. It makes sense. I will do it. And I have to do that with everything. Even sitting here at the computer. And then I have to sit with a friend and plan the week ahead, making sure that if I have something like aqua, I do not have anything energetic on the day before or after. That I plan in daily relaxation, with cds or things like that. Shut myself away and make it a part of my daily routine.
Anyway. I went, and it was good feedback which I needed to hear. My knuckles are rapped. Fair enough. Weird to be sitting there in front of 2 young women, my daughter's sort of age, being told off. But Glynis sat there and grinned and if I didn't confess enough, she volunteered details. Great friend!
We did have fun looking at some shops, and buying a few bits and pieces, and planning a return for a break there. It is such a beautiful city. And we got home, after one traffic jam, at 7pm. I was totally wiped out. Totally. It had been a long day. But I will be working on what I have been told to focus on.
And I now need a TomTom. My life is incomplete without one. I had such fun playing with Glynis's one in the car. It kept me occupied.
Now I am off to watch Wimbledon. There is no rain! Time to celebrate summer! I will be resting. See - I can do this. I will relax and watch tennis for the next 2 whole weeks. I may sip Pimms and eat some strawberries and cream while I do the resting bit too. It will be a struggle, but I will overcome......!
England in the summer.....