My parents are back from a lovely vacation in Vegas (YAY!) and that frees up my early mornings for reading and writing in my blogs. I am so grateful that they are able to head out to Vegas or to North Carolina or to California every few months and take time to relax- they deserve that. They have worked hard for many years and have earned every single one of those vacations. It's funny though because I miss them when they are gone- just as much as when I was living a thousand or more miles away. It makes me appreciate even more that we are living just a hundred miles away and can hop in the car and shoot across the state and visit whenever we would like. In fact, I am really looking forward to doing just that as soon as my honey gets out of work this Saturday.
I am one of those people that needs a routine. I don't want to say that I am not at all spontaneous but it is more of a planned spontaneity. What in the world am I talking about, you might ask. Well- for example when we are at my parents house for the weekend or home on a Sunday I am okay with just going with the flow. On a Sunday afternoon before my methotrexate kicks in we might get in the car and drive. No destination in mind- just go until we stop. I actually enjoy that quite a bit- but if my husband suggested it on a Tuesday night at 8 it would completely throw me off.
Having my routine is one of the ways that I am able to mentally deal with the symptoms of my RA and Fibro and not let it get the best of me. I find that for me it is easier to know what I need to accomplish, what I have coming up and how my week will go the best way to face everything. Planning has always been a big part of my life. There was a lot of years that I lived by my day planner in order to know where I was supposed to be when. I booked my time more carefully than most CEO's so that I could be everywhere and do everything that I expected of myself and everyone expected of me. I give thanks on a regular basis that my life is not like that any longer. Now- I use my planner in a way to manage my health and still be productive. When I wake up and am not in a good way, I can look at my planner and see what is planned for the day and for the week, what I can shuffle around to give myself the necessary downtime to recover, what I can delegate or get help with. Having a fairly basic routine also allows me to know that if I just make it through until say 4pm, I can get home and into my pajamas and relax. If I can just make it through till the end of work I can soak in a tub or take a nap or do whatever I need to restore my energy and relieve my aches and pains.
When I was thinking about this post I knew that I could not leave out teamwork. My routine would not work half as well without my husband. When I get home, I take Miss Dog out to wander around the yard for a bit and then most days we sit on the steps and wait for my honey to get home. The little one is very happy to be outside and soak up the sun for a bit and it gives me time to separate myself mentally from work and home. It also gives me time to evaluate how I am feeling and what I can do before bed. Where I am most fortunate is that my honey is always there to pick up the slack for me when I need it and I know that he will always do his part. If I don't feel up to cooking dinner- he is more than happy to take that on. If I don't feel up to taking the dog for her evening walk- he is more than happy to do it. If I start laundry when I get home, he will transfer it to the dryer because I can't always reach the bottom. We do the housework together, we plan our meals together, either I grocery shop (which I LOVE) and he carries it in or we do the whole chore together. I cannot imagine my life without him. I give thanks on a regular basis that I married the kind of man (when I was too young and silly to know better-lol) that is truly my helpmate. If he didn't cook or refused to do housework, wouldn't take the dog for a walk or pitch in and help me when I needed help, or understand when I am tired or hurting it would be so much more challenging to live with a chronic illness. I know that I *could* do what I had to do, but I also know that I am very blessed for having him in my life. I do want to note- that this is not a matter of him stepping up to the plate because I was diagnosed. I saw signs of this when we were young parents. He was always a very hands on, involved father and that has only expanded as we have learned together to deal with these diseases.
I am sure that the way I need a routine would not work for every patient with RA and/or Fibro but I do wish that everyone could have someone in their life that is as loving and understanding as my honey. He really epitomizes what I mean when I call him my "other half". He is the left hand to my right and to be without him is not something I would want to try. Even when we are both tired and cranky and sniping at one another I know how fortunate that I am to have essentially grown up with and made a life with him. When it comes to having created a routine for myself, I give thanks that I have been able to find a way to compartmentalize my life and organize it in such a way that I can handle dealing with the different aspects of my life and somewhat separate it in to manageable pieces.