Kickstarting the Chronically Ill

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Most people are unaware of what those with chronic illness go through as they live relatively pain free lives and when they are in pain it’s typically a broken bone or a sprained ankle, something fixable. It isn’t really until people age quite a bit meaning getting into their 60’s and 70’s that they tend to feel more like us with frequent doctors visits, many medications or vitamins, and waking up with different aches and pains each day. Well today I want to talk about how to get yourself or your loved one with chronic illness out of bed for a day of enjoyment. This may seem trivial to most people but to someone who has been limited to 1 or 2 days a month in the sun due to their chronic illness and that has been inside for years this is a true gift. This gesture will mean the world to any good patient and like me they would appreciate this from anyone just a walk or stroll in the wheelchair through a park getting fresh air and letting the sun hit my body is very refreshing and lends me hope that someday maybe I might not wake up in agonizing pain. It tells me that someday I won’t cry in my sleep but have real dream again instead of very realistic nightmares about my mortality. To me getting outside even if you can’t walk or are sensitive to light as I am you take precaution like wearing sunglasses and bringing a wheelchair or walker/rollator and take your time as you mozy about enjoying your day in the fresh air.

It becomes hard to write when nothing new is going on in one’s life it’s as if your mind goes dormant and doesn’t want to awaken to work for you. I find myself in a daze due to pain most of the time in a trance like state just staring through a wall gazing into a miserable future of what looks like much more pain and agony. However this article isn’t about the gloomy days, it’s about the days, however few they may be, that I triumph over my illness. Here are some methods to help you break the cycle of monotony and depression that veils your life:

  1. Find an event you might enjoy at a local park maybe see an outdoor concert if you’re up to it or go sit by a lake in the shade and write as I often suggest. I find parks to be fun as they often have handicap ramps on the sidewalk and offer a variety of activities. I recently found the Scottish Highland Games and the local Mineral fair one at a park, the other in a local recreation center both prime venues to look to for fun events that are often quite affordable! You can often search for local events in the newspaper or even online!
  2. Do something you used to enjoy to see if you can spark some enjoyment out of it again. One example is hiking on a trail you used to enjoy and perhaps going a ¼ of the way or halfway with the help of a cane. Perhaps you enjoyed swimming prior to chronic illness go to the local pool and try your luck see how far you can get heck even if you only go in up to your waist then you can still exercise your legs more easily and get those joints rotating a bit. As I’ve written previously aquatic therapy is great so please try the pool idea if it’s warm enough in your area! Lastly I’d recommend trying a light sport like having a catch with a baseball or football or perhaps shooting hoops with a basketball. All of this can be done without much effort so I encourage you to get your exercise in this manner as it will stave away unwanted cramps and joint issues.
  3. Do something out of the ordinary even if you don’t feel much like it at first play an old board game with the family or buy a model car to put together! This might just bring back some good old memories and get you reminiscing about good times. Sometimes a slow paced game to get your mind off of pain and depression is all you need. Perhaps even just take a ride in the car with some good old music playing and the windows open for a nice breeze on a side road with little traffic! Anything that will relax you and make your day just a little bit more enjoyable.
  4. If you don’t have a pet go to a dog park they’re very in tune with peoples emotions. I can almost guarantee well trained dogs will come up to you and defend you from rough puppies and such probably even lick you and sit against your feet. Dogs are great for the chronically ill that’s why there are dogd trained to help so many in need, They’re smart creatures and form a strong bond with humans. I recommend a dog you might know so maybe this means visiting a friends home which was going to be idea number five, but that is even better because the dog will likely feel more comfortable around you and is more likely to come to your aid. I’ve been extremely sick lately and my dog Loca will not leave my side as we speak she’s sitting at my feet looking at me with her loving brown eyes telling me everything will be ok.

All in all life can be enjoyable for a few hours or perhaps sometimes even a whole day. If you’re someone who isn’t in 24/7 pain then please contemplate making the most of your pain free days! Don’t sit there and post on chronic illness message boards all day long thinking why me? Just get out there and show yourself you can still enjoy what’s out there in this world. You don’t have to sit inside all day! I only made it outside a handful of days this summer, never even a full day before getting sick, but the point is those are the days I remember the best days of summer. The days I was ill are so many they blur together and become blanked out in my mind. I cannot remember most of those days unless something significantly bad happened, but please keep your thoughts on the best of times. I’m not saying this will be easy or even that you’ll be capable of it in the immediate future all I ask is that you try your best to be on the move and do some joyous activities, spend time with family and friends, just be happy for yourself that’s all I am trying to help you achieve in this article even if it’s only short lived I promise you will remember that joy and it’s something you can hold on to when the going gets rough! Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment should you have any tips to add or if you feel something should be corrected, thank you and have a wonderful day!

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