Many of you who read my reflections, or listen in when I share thoughts know that I have Long Covid.
For the uninitiated this the the long-lasting after effect of the virus. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; post viral fatigue - call it what you like, Long Covid is utterly debilitating. For the past several months I have been trying to manage my time more carefully; working out what the triggers are, trying to predict when a wave of exhaustion will hit, finding ways to protect myself and conserve what energy Have.
For short amounts of time I can act like a "normal" person; I can deliver a sermon, smile and chatter, maintain conversations, go about like life is normal. But I have discovered that the payback comes in a wave of overwhelming fatigue that will wash over me, threatening to drown me. As a result I may go to bed; or I may just sit, and basically do nothing. Not a thing. At its worst I struggle to climb the stairs to even get to my bed.
Last week, in a checking in appointment my doctor extended the "Reduced Hours Note" to the end of the year. The End of the Year. He suggested it will be at least this long before I really get well - but, and here's the rub, he also admitted they have no clue. They are going on similar post viral illnesses, and for now simply collecting data from each person who is displaying these symptoms to work out exactly what Long Covid really does.
Dogs exercising selfcare...
This morning I am beyond tired; yesterday we were in person for worship; it was great to see a few folks; the phones didn't record so well, so I did not have anything I could cut together to share more widely; I thought I might do a wee live reflection later - but an hour or so in bed, and preparing dinner was actually all I did yesterday afternoon. Today I am still tired. So I have decided it is time to exercise some self-care.
I am supposed to be reducing my hours, so I am going to do that - intentionally now, not just piecemeal. I will block out days, and on a "work" day, be very strict about not more than two things - two is my absolute limit, when I go over I have discovered I lose another day in recovery. People are kind, and ask how I'm doing, am I getting better? My answer varies, some days I feel well, other days dreadful. truthfully, I don't know if I am improving, I am just keeping moving, looking after myself, trying to guard my time.
The bonus is time for quiet reflection; time to talk with God; time to pause and simply be. I have discovered God is never far, I am aware of the Holy in everyday things, I am aware of God's presence, alongside me... waiting for me to regroup, no pressure, just love and presence. for me, for my time, this is my self care, God with me.