I have a new empathy for the Gazelle and an even shorter fuse for those people who brush of CFS as some kind of laziness that can be cured by the insertion of a little more gumption and a commitment to pull ones socks up to approximately armpit height.
Despite having promised the universe that yes, I did get the message and that yes, I was working on slowing down, it appears that I need yet another lesson. This month’s lesson has come in the form of a bout of glandular fever. I’ve never had glandular fever before and although, somewhat disappointingly, I seem to have missed out on the hallucinations of elephants that some of my friends managed, I have had a swollen gland the size of a golfball. And while I joked that it was simply my brain had become too big and was now taking up residence in my neck, the blood tests beg to differ.
I was so on track. My supervisor couldn’t quite believe that I had managed to stay on target, to the day, over the last three months. Yes Sir-ee, I was going to submit on the 18th of December. Ahem. After three weeks of doing absolutely nothing, aside from rolling around in the sunshine, watching the Olympics (who ever would have thought that synchronised gymnastics could actually contribute positively to the universal balance of sanity), and half heartedly attempting to read vaguely relevant literature, it appears that I no longer will be submitting this year.
But you know what? The most gloriously wonderful thing about all of this is… I don’t care! I’m not getting stressed! FINALLY! I’m learning something! To accept the slow. To accept it, rather than to panic. And you know what? I’m really proud of myself. I’ve actually learnt something over these last few years of living with the Gazelle and Ern. The trials and tribulations have not been for nothing.
Erh, but don’t look too hard for a halo. While I have yet another insight into the incredible strength of the Gazelle, who has survived and thrived not just three weeks of depleted energy but FOUR YEARS, I’ve also suddenly got absolutely zero time for those who don’t ‘get it’. And even LESS time for the people who, despite knowing the Gazelle and I, seem to feel the need to say ‘look after yourself, you don’t want to end up with chronic fatigue’, or ‘oh surely you are over it by now’, or ‘now you be careful, my brother had it and hasn’t been the same for twenty years’. Oh all kindly meant I know, but GAH!
So as I sit here trying to work out how to re-engage with my PhD, struggling because I am an all or nothing person and an hour of work a day just doesn’t work for me, I marvel once again at the tenacity, the courage and the sheer bloody mindedness that kept the Gazelle fighting for his health. Sure, he lost it sometimes into the deep dark hole of Ern, but even then he didn’t let go.
And now, now its my turn to struggle to leave the house. And he is the one who brings me a cup of tea in bed. He is the one who works out what to have for dinner, brings me home movies, and cheers me up with an out of control double chocolate chocolate cake.
And best of all, although we still don’t have a car, and I’m just not up to riding my bike… three million cheers because dinking on the electric bicycle (to be blogged about very soon) works a treat!
 Not actually recommended as any kind of CFS/glandular fever recovery tool, but the sheer pleasure of being faced with such a dog-poo pile of icing on a cupcake surely helps at least occasionally.