Some triggers seem reasonable. If I fall and land with any pressure at all on my hand or wrist, my wrist pain fill flare for days, weeks, or months. If I exercise too much, my pain and fatigue will flare. Some triggers make sense but piss me off: like eating lunch.
Yes, eating lunch is a big trigger if I don’t do it right. As it turns out, eating and digesting food takes a lot more physical energy than I would have every guessed back when I felt healthier.
If I eat standing up, I’ll feel sick. If I eat too fast, I’ll feel sick. If I eat at the wrong time, I’ll feel sick. If I eat and don’t rest afterward, I’ll feel sick. And “sick” can mean a few different things.
Take Wednesday for example. I had a doctor appointment at 1:40. I needed to leave by 12:40. But I wanted to make a quick stop at the library on the way, so I figured I would leave at 12:25. I usually eat lunch around 1pm, but instead I ate at noon, and I ate quickly. The second I finished eating, I ran out the door. Oops. I ate fast *and* didn’t rest afterwards. The nausea and fatigue set in fast. I was in pain. I felt horrible. But I had to get to that doctor appointment.
I pushed through. I didn’t have the strength to multitask, so I didn’t turn on the audiobook I wanted to listen to. I focused. I managed to drive safely but miserably. I went to the bathroom before I checked in, and a lot of my lunch left my system – not properly digested. Then I asked to wait in an exam room instead of a waiting room. Thankfully, they had a room available and I was able to lay down.
After laying down for a bit I felt much, much better. The nausea was gone, the fatigue was improved. Still, I took it easy the rest of the day. My appetite didn’t come back until the following night.
I know that lunch wasn’t the only problem, just the final trigger. My stress about what’s happening right now (Nazi marches!?!) and the weather (very humid) primed me. It was lunch that set me off.
It pisses me off that I can’t eat an early, quick lunch and then run out the door. But then, I also should have known better. I knew that could be a problem, but I did it anyway.
Still, I feel good about one thing: instead of pushing through and trying to “brave it out,” I asked to lie down. And it made ALL the difference.
Learning to ask for what I need has been invaluable. I don’t always do it, but when I do, I feel good about it. Now I just need to find ways to eat lunch before a doctor appointment that don’t have such terrible results. (And yes, eating after the appointment would have been just as bad – I have a very narrow window to work with.)