English: Guinea pig

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Today, I had a good reminder of how NOT to overdo it. There are times with my RA where I simply cannot push myself too hard. It happened again today while I was helping my children clean out their guinea pig cages, as well as later on when I was helping my youngest clean and organize her room.

I skipped both my Methotrexate and Enbrel shots this week because of the strep-sinus infection-bronchitis situation I am fighting, so I have been feeling extra achy – more than usual. Climbing the steps to start on the guinea pig cages felt exhausting. So, before we began, I started delegating tasks to the children. “Diva” (my 13 year old daughter) was sent to get the cleaning spray and paper towels. “Epic” (which is my 11 year old son – named as his favorite word of the month. Lol). Epic was sent to fetch the crate liners. My youngest daughter (age 9), whom we affectionately call “Cricket”, went to gather the trash bags and pine bedding. I chose to do what any supervisor would have chosen. I sat down, rested and waited for my helpers to return with their tasks completed. It was just about 5 minutes of rest, but just enough to get through the cleaning/refreshing on the second crate. As my children set the cages back up, played with guinea pig #1 (Cody), and enjoyed themselves for about 5 minutes, I was able to rest enough to get through crate number two. We started the process over on Zach’s cage. Cricket “babysat” Zack, Diva, bossed Cricket in her guinea pig style of care, while Epic did all he could do to help, without me having to tell him. So, the last crate change was delegated and it too went fairy smoothly. I was glad to have my helpers!

After that we all sat for about a 10 minute water break. Then, Diva got started on cleaning her room and putting laundry away. Epic was making his bed and straightening up his toys.

Cricket had some cleaning/organizing to do in her room. I took another little break while I assessed her progress and the amount left for her to do.

Me? You probably guessed it :)… I rested a few minutes before entering her room. My husband was already in there sorting things out. When I got in there, I was happy to have found I could sit on her floor and help with sorting clothes into “keep” “throw it out” and “goodwill” piles. Cricket did okay… Just a tear or two over her attachment to toys for younger children… And a couple more tears when her jingle bell monkey slippers were almost thrown away. So, we had to make a couple.compromises.

It went as well as cleaning and organization can go with two tweeners and a teen. Lol

By the time were done cleaning upstairs, my body was “screaming at me.” My joints were hurting everywhere, but mostly in my hips, hands, knees, and fingers. But the rest of my body gave me signals that seem to say, “You worked enough. Now you better rest enough, right now.”

When my body gets to that point, there is rarely anything I can do except rest. When I try to push beyond that, I usually overdo it, hurt myself in some way, making me unable to do the things I would like to on the next day. The kids know it’s a “bad-RA-day-mommy’s-batteries-aren’t- charged-up” sort of day. Sometimes we call sandwich, soup and salad night, or breakfast for dinner night. Or, any easy to prepare meal that I can accomplish with my negative level energy levels. Almost feels like I need to recharge my batteries on those days.

The work-a-little-rest-a-little mentality that I use for this has developed over the years as I began adjusting to how life with RA was going to be.  If I push myself one day, I am knocked out of commission for the whole next day. When I need to feel that I am being productive in the house, as well as with my online work, I MUST be careful to use my work and rest strategy. Trying to pack in 800 things I want to do on one day will cause me to need 1-2 days of bed rest, which is about as productive as a smart phone with a dead battery – the phone would physically be there, but it can’t accomplish ANY tasks. That is what a day of bedrest feels to me.

Ok, long story short here. Don’t overdo things. Listen to your body. If you feel like you need to lay down, that is your body’s cue to tell you that, so you better listen! If you don’t listen or your overdoing it is something you couldn’t help, then be prepared for a day or two of down time, possibly in bed, allowing your body to get the rest it needs, so you can return to your normal RA activity levels.