Friday 6 July 2012

Before I forget...

...having mentioned a couple of topics in my last post, I think I'd better cover them before that datum vanishes from my brain.

The slightly quirky features of attention and memory associated with CFS can wait until another time, if that doesn't get forgotten.
It's very likely to remind me, the next time I get the milk out of the fridge and put it away again before I've used it.

I'm one of those people who might just be found dead under a collapsed stack of books.  From a very young age they have been my most reliable companions (less incomprehensible than human beings, and Asperger's syndrome wasn't a possible diagnosis when I was young, to even begin to explain that.)
I have a valued Sandra Boynton mug expressing just that:
"A Book Is A Friend"

I have a few books that happen to be valuable, quite a selection of seriously odd books and a fair number of favourites that have been re-read to destruction and been replaced. 

CFS has almost totally put a stop to my relationship with my books.  It is, for me, almost the worst thing about the condition.   And to rub it in, with CFS the art of relaxing and resting is important: that's exactly where I would normally have turned to a book.

It's not my eyesight that's gone, exactly.  The eyes have sharp focus with good coordination.  As a former optometrist  I can assess these things.  But after only a few paragraphs, even if I'm relatively fresh (for me, now) when I start reading, something further back in mental processing starts screaming that it's had enough,  Words seen clearly are just not being absorbed.  Weird.

So my books are, for now, largely decorative features.
From "Scalded to Death by the Steam" to "The Defence of Duffer's Drift", "The Island of Sodor" to "Truth is Stranger Than it Used to Be."

I miss them, even if they haven't quite gone away.
But reading is too costly and painful on this energy budget.

"...the tale of the Stanley knife and the French motorway" pre-dates my CFS by years.  Probably.  
One run-up to Christmas, a good number of years ago, I was tired and stressed.
Work was not easy, and I was coming home from it not wanting to do much else except rest to be ready to face the next day.
But this evening a parcel had arrived for me, containing some unusual model railway bits and pieces, needed for a competition I was entering.
With a sudden fresh spark of enthusiasm I started to work customising  them.  With a sharp knife.
Now, If I'd been a little more alert I might have thought "now is not a good time, not when I'm this tired."  Or been somewhat more aware of the risks.  But as it happened the blade broke on me, the knife jumped sideways and put a nice deep cut in the heel of my left hand.  
Messy, a bit painful and needing a trip to hospital to get stitches.  I have a distinct scar to this day.
Not exactly front page news.
It was just a prequel.  Can you spot the key factors?  I didn't until afterwards, which is rather the point. 

A few days later I was due to drive to France to spend Christmas with my parents.  I was looking forward to the break, but not to the drive.
But as I certainly didn't like the idea of telling my parents that I was too tired to make the trip, I told myself I'd be OK, and that anyway I'd be careful.  Oh yes.
So, heading due south on a French motorway, I didn't actually fall asleep at the wheel, but I made three small but bad decisions in a row (they always add up in these circumstances, never cancel out...)
which left me bouncing the car off the central reservation at 75 mph.  I caught the skid and didn't roll the car or it would have been awkward.  Or quite possibly fatal.

The point?  And why I remember this pair so well apart from the scar?
Lesson to me:
"You make bad judgements and decisions when you are tired. 
And one of the most critical and dangerous of wrong calls is not realising or correctly assessing just how tired you really are.
Until you get you faced rubbed in it."

Which is something to try not to forget, with CFS.
Lest it or the world bite back.

However also remember that, whatever you do, some days things wouldn't go right even if you paid them:

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