Saturday 27 July 2019

#503 Exhaustion

I was exhausted. For five months I'd been logging my sleep patterns. What time I woke up, when I went to bed and how tired I felt.

I used crayons to shade in the days on the Year Planner at the back of my diary. Green for feeling fine, orange for a bit tired and red for very tired. The first few months had been an even mix of all three.

You could probably extrapolate that pattern back through my whole life. Even when I ran the marathon, I once went to bed at 1am and ran sixteen miles the next day on 6 hours' sleep. I wasn't in my twenties anymore though.

Last weekend, I'd turned 35. I couldn't celebrate. Actually I did meet my dad and sister for pancakes but I'd been trying to think of something I could do for myself. Nothing came to mind. And I was exhausted. I hadn't had a green day since May and had only had one orange day since June. I didn't really know why.

There'd been a run of nights earlier in the month where I'd stayed up later than I should have. Then I'd had a week off work and continued with the late nights. For a week following all that, I'd been really disciplined and had gone to bed at a reasonable time and slept reasonably. Yet I hadn't caught up. For some reason, I was still tired. Physically and mentally. All the time.

After missing two days of work, I decided to see a doctor. I knew she'd suggest a blood test. I feared doctors. I feared blood tests more. But I went and did it anyway. My GP was a real peach. In fact the first two letters of her first name and the first three of her last name actually spelled the word "Peach". It was written on the blood test form. She asked me a few questions, including whether I had any friends, in case it could be psychological. "No", I replied, enthusiastically. I almost wanted to ask Dr. Peach if she'd be my friend but that seemed a little direct, plus I didn't have any energy.

She sent me for three tests. I'd asked her if they could all be done in the same jab and she'd said yes but then later in the hospital, I reacted nervously to the first one. I sweated a lot and my vision went a bit blurry. I had to take a few minutes to cool down. After a while, I went back to the room but couldn't bring myself to get back in the chair. The nurse suggested I come back tomorrow.

So the next day I went back. It was easier the second time. I asked her to draw one sample, just as before, and she agreed but then sneakily took two while I wasn't looking. I felt very pleased. Her explanation was that she didn't want to see me again. Now I was waiting for the results. Googling things like "What if I have severe kidney disease?" and "If I find out I'm terminally ill, is it less painful to starve myself to death?" Apparently the answer's yes.

I'd messaged a few people, including my parents and my boss, to fill them in on how I was doing. My landlord was aware. My chores were taken care of and I seemed to be eating and drinking OK. It wasn't like I had zero energy, just not very much.

The weekend came and as Saturday lunchtime approached, I realised that I had about a day and a half of time ahead of me before Monday, when I would either go back to work if I felt better or continue lying around the house if I didn't. I wasn't quite sure how to spend it. Probably quite unremarkably. I'd watch some YouTube, maybe do some journalling. Perhaps walk to a cafe for some food. I sent my ex-girlfriend a message. It had been over a year since she'd decided to stop contact. I knew she might not reply.