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Chronic Illness Calendar Hints

March 8, 2013

I am currently on day 9 of a 25-day multi-city (-state, -country) trip.

I was supposed to fly from Utah to Connecticut on Thursday, drive directly to New Hampshire and work there on Friday.  I have done that before.  Fortunately I remembered that I now have Relapsing Polychondritis and require more rest.  I changed the schedule to fly from Utah to Connecticut on Thursday, stay the night with my son, take a leisurely drive to New Hampshire on Friday, go to bed early, and then work in New Hampshire on Saturday.

While working in Utah, I saw weather reports for New England and was not certain that I could even fly to Connecticut on Thursday.  I was shocked when the flights were easy and on time.  I landed as the snow was starting to stick to the roads.  I had a nice visit with my son and daughter-in-law and spent the night at their apartment.

I am still at their apartment, waiting for the storm to pass and for the roads to clear.  I can drive to New Hampshire tonight, or very early tomorrow morning if absolutely necessary.  I am so grateful for that extra day!  I am wasting my rest day as a snow-emergency day, but I am trying to make it as restful as possible.  I am catching up on facebook, am now current with my blog feed, and will crack open a novel soon.

As I am lounging in my PJs under a quilt and watching the snow fall, I am taking inventory of my physical pains.   The day after each travel day, I am stiff and swollen and in pain; today is no exception.  My joints are very achy from wrestling my luggage through the airports.  I will have to remember this and plan an easy day after a travel day whenever possible.  I am also re-thinking my luggage and investigating more ergonomic choices.

On Monday, I will drive ten hours from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania.  That trip takes me within two miles of my house.  My eyes started bothering me the day before this four-week trip and I need to see an ophthalmologist (only three tries to spell that before I looked it up — really?  Two Hs?  Are you kidding me?).  I scheduled an appointment for Monday at the time I think I will be driving by my hometown.  My hope is that nothing terribly serious is wrong and that I will only need some prescription eye drops.

This month away from home is also a month away from my chiropractor.  I see her to control my costochondritis.  For those who do not have Relapsing Polychondritis, costochondritis = RIB PAIN!  The ninjas began their attacks the day after my first missed chiropractic appointment.  My chiropractor is only open late in the day on Monday, but I might delay the second half of my drive to Pennsylvania to visit her as well.  Take that, ninjas!

My nose hurts, and I suspect that this is the beginning of a nose flare.  If my nose truly flares, I have an emergency stash of drugs with me, but I will have to arrange to pick up a prescription while I am near my house.  I could arrange to have it filled once in Pennsylvania, but since I will already be near my home pharmacy, I will work with what is easiest and least confusing to my pharmacy plan.  Those are the “what do I need to do about this?” facts.  The other part of a nose flare is:  my nose is flaring!  After a nose or ear flare heals, I am left with less cartilage where the flare was.  I have a soft spot on the side of each nostril from previous flares and fortunately they are not noticeable to the casual observer.  This nose flare is on the top of my nose.  If I lose cartilage there… well… I may just bring hats with veils back into fashion.  I am doing deep-breathing exercises and ignoring the possibility as much as possible.

I am a time-management junkie.  I read all of the books, know all of the techniques, and am on top of my calendar at all times.  Relapsing Polychondritis is causing me to be much less productive.  That is a hard pill to swallow, especially on top of the 20+ pills a day that I physically swallow.  I need to learn to set my limits lower and schedule buffer days.

To sum up:  as I watch the snow pile up, I feel brilliant today for scheduling this buffer day.  Stress makes Relapsing Polychondritis symptoms worse.  I would be so stressed if I were stuck in this snowstorm and not teaching at the event in New Hampshire!  Buffer days are good and I need to schedule them regularly.

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