Exhaustion caught up with me.

 Exhaustion is a given when you care for someone 24 hours a day and most of the time I use strategies to cope with it but sometimes those strategies just aren't enough. 

It began on Friday morning when the skin on my face became dry and I was so tired I couldn't think straight.  By evening my eyes felt full of grit and I couldn't keep them open and then, horror of horrors, I woke at 4am to find myself looking like a hamster on steroids.  My face and eyes were so swollen I could barely see.  I took an antihistamine tablet and tried, unsuccessfully, to get back to sleep.  As this was Saturday there were no doctors around so I was at the door of the pharmacy waiting for it to open only to be told I needed to see a doctor (of course). 

By Saturday afternoon my face was bright red and the swelling was only just kept under control by more antihistamine and so it went on.  For the next three days I felt dreadful, waking up every morning at 4am with the hamster impression in evidence and wondering what on earth was wrong with me. 

Each time I woke up looking like the hamster I took a photo which, when seen, stunned everyone, even Jake who tends to err on the relaxed side about life here.

Friends came to the rescue, as my friends always do, with offers of cream, medicine and suggestions most of which told me in no uncertain terms to 'see a doctor!!!'.  One friend handed over cream to another friend who drove through pouring rain to meet me with it and hand it over. 

And through all of this life went on here.  Ash showed no sign of noticing the changes in my face and I couldn't mention it of course.  If I had the only difference it would have made would be to increase his stress levels which, in turn, would just make it all so much worse.  So I plodded on keeping life on track and wonder if I'd ever look normal again.

Then we got to yesterday (Monday).  The hamster impression was still in evidence, the exhaustion was still dragging me down but I had a treat in store.  Friends in the village were away for a few days and had said I could go down to their house and relax.  S had changed her day so I hid my car so as not confuse Ash and then walked down the road and into perfect peace and quiet.  The day passed in a comfortable blur where the only things I did were reading, eating and sleeping, all in front of a cosy log burner and I can't tell you how much better I felt at the end of it.  

I still woke up at 4am this morning and the hamster impression could still be seen but this time I looked more like a normal hamster meaning face and eyes were less swollen and so I was less worried.

Today I've felt more like myself than I have for weeks and I wondered how long it had all been coming on.  Several friends have asked if I know what caused it and all I can say is that the last time I was weirdly ill I spent four days in hospital on a drip with no explanation.  In the end it was put down to exhaustion and stress which all sounds a little too familiar for comfort so I'm currently working on a plan of action to make sure I don't get to that stage again.

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Carol S. said…
Jane I’m so sorry to hear about your weekend. I’ve never had such a reaction so Sorry to have no advice to offer. . I’m sure you are right and it is down to all the stresses living alongside dementia. I’m so glad you have such good friends and have an arsenal of strategies to deal with whatever life throws at you. I hope you are over the worse and that you are feeling back to normal very soon. Best wishes Xx
Jane said…
Definitely feeling better Carol thank you. I have no idea what it was but it seems to have given up trying to attack me and has beaten a retreat instead so, fingers crossed, that's the end of it.