Sleep, rest of things, O pleasing Deity,
Peace of the soul, which cares dost crucify,
Weary bodies refresh and mollify.
Yesterday at a little before 4:00 p.m., Rhuematoid Arthritis Guy woke of from a long afternoon nap. The reason I write about this nap is because I had spent most of the morning sleeping in. I started to calculate in my mind how long I had been awake: there was some time in the morning when I woke up to write my blog post and take a bath, there was some time during the middle of the day when I woke up to eat lunch, and there was the time that I had just been awake since waking up from my nap. I figured that I had been awake no more than 2-1/2 hours during the entire day.
In the months right around the time when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I spent a lot of time in bed. The reasons were many. The pain was extreme, and the stiffness in my joints was causing a lot of mobility problems. It was in the middle of winter, and I was dealing with the shock of my diagnosis. (“I am going to have this for life?”) On top of all of this, I was downright depressed. (Coping with the first death of one of my dogs did not make things any easier.) Sleep – and lots of it – seemed to be the answer to all of my problems.
The sleep that I encountered yesterday, however, was none of the above. It was a sleep that I really had no say in. Yes, the pain was bad (which I have experienced many times before), but on top of it I had absolutely no energy – no even enough to stay awake.
Many years into my journey with rheumatoid arthritis, I continued to think of the time I dedicated to sleep and rest as lost time. I was still operating on my pre-RA schedule, which was to squeeze as many activities as possible into my day. I used to feel guilty about needing so much rest.
But not any more. I now know that all of the sleep and rest that I had yesterday was indeed some of the most productive time that I have probably had in a long time. Sure, I was not sitting at my desk working on items on my to-do list, nor was I running errands around town. I was, however, giving my body the rest that it needed in order to deal with the inflammatory process that was taking place. And come to think of it, is there any better definition of productive time?
(Thank you mlwt_lupus, for the following message that you sent me on Twitter: “There are just some things you have to do for yourself – rest is one of them.”)
So at a time of year when most people are starting with the holiday rush that will last for the next five weeks, I too will be joining the madness. I will be busy. Busy resting, that is!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!
Update: Mallen from Making Lemonade also shares her thoughts about Sleep in her blog post today.