I wake up. I roll over, and grab my phone to check the time. It’s 5 am.

I have to use the bathroom, but I don’t want to get out of my toasty warm bed. Plus, my legs are hurting worse than usual because I walked too much yesterday. I can already feel the sharp stabs, twitches, aches, and throbbing.

I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet, and I’m already experiencing a preview of the painful day ahead.

The urge to go to the restroom grows, so I finally get up. It takes my legs a minute to adjust to being used again. They yell at me silently. I tell them to shut the fuck up for a minute, that I’m working on it.

Sheesh.

I decide to stay awake. There’s coffee, meds to take that will help somewhat, things that I want to do, friends to chat with, especially Alice who will worry if I’m not around.

You can just stay in bed, my mind rattles off randomly. Nobody is expecting you to be anywhere, you don’t have a job anymore. You can just say screw reality, and stay in bed all day, it whispers cajolingly.

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No. I never stay in bed all day, unless I’m feeling extremely ill with a horrific flare.

Even when I was severely depressed, I would force myself to greet the day, albeit not with open arms.


 

Going down the stairs is much easier than going up them. This is a known fact.

I say hi to my husband who is always up at the crack ass of dawn. He likes to do his own thing before he has to leave for work.

Just your typical morning person, something that I’ve never been.

My dogs rush to greet me, tails wagging vigorously. I say hello, give them each a quick pet on the head, and continue my long journey to the kitchen.

The first pill I go for is a Tramadol. I have to try to get this pain under control.

The second one I take is a Flexeril. I need to get these muscle spasms to relax a bit.

The rest are all washed down with a few sips of water.

I make myself a cup of coffee, and then go sit down (fucking finally!) at my 30-year-old dining room table, in front of my equally ancient (but still working) laptop.

I go to light a cigarette, then in a flash remember that I don’t smoke anymore. I sigh loudly, and take a hit off of my vape thingy instead, which tastes like some sort of baked good, giving my body its first rush of naughty nicotine.

Caffeine and nicotine, my only two vices if you don’t count marihuana, and chocolate. (Which I need to chill on, I know that I’ve gained a few pounds.)

It just tastes so much better now that I don’t smoke, like happiness, and sunbeams.


 

I go online, which is where I spend the majority of my morning. I follow my routine, checking Facebook, WordPress, the news, and my email. I’m not awake enough to do anything more than read for at least an hour or so.

The chemicals in my body start to do their jobs. The pain subsides a little, my muscles relax, and I can (if it’s a good brain day) write something that doesn’t totally suck.

I know that I’ll end up going back to bed for a nap, or sometimes just to rest. There are days when I’m out like a light as soon as I hit the pillow. Other days, I can’t fall asleep at all, so I just lay there with my dog Maya, floating downstream with my various thoughts.

Pulling an all-dayer also happens on occasion, like yesterday. I’m always proud of myself when I manage to stay awake all day long, like I should get a sticker or something.

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There is a part of me now, a part of me that has been missing for so long, that feels almost giddy that I am alive. It comes, and goes, like the tide, but it tends to stick around for longer periods of time these days.

Despite the pain, the compromised mobility, the lack of meaningful employment, and all of the other unpleasantness that being chronically ill brings, I am almost me again.

I really missed her.

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