“Whatever you do Mum, don’t get post-viral fatigue!” I said this to my Mum when she recently came back from overseas with a combination of the flu and jet lag and was not a happy camper. This was understandable, but as this caged lioness paced around the house waiting to be better it dawned on me that she was really not made for post-viral fatigue.
Because when I look at my family I really am the one best suited to this chronic illness as I have always had the ability to entertain myself; I absolutely love reading, I enjoy baking and I am perfectly content to binge watch a tv series in a day. Yes, I’d prefer this wasn’t all there was to my life, but if this were any other family member with fatigue they’d have gone bat-shit crazy!
At first I couldn’t read as I was so wiped out (when this talkative bookworm stopped talking and reading my family knew something was up) so I watched endless hours of television. I was too mentally exhausted to watch something new so I re-watched my favourite shows (most of which I conveniently have on dvd). What did I watch?
- Three seasons of the awesome if ever so slightly unrealistic spy drama Alias – I now feel confident I could survive interrogation by an evil genius.
- Seven seasons of The West Wing – I am infinitely more informed about the USA’s system of government than Australia’s and have learnt some new big words such as Fiduciary and Salubrious and a scattering of Latin.
- Six seasons (out of 10 and I’m still going) of JAG – it’s less well known and is a mix of action and lawering in the US Navy, as dorky as that is I still love Commander Harmon Rabb Jr and watching things explode…
After I got through these three I had the mental acuity to watch something new – great improvement! I’ve almost watched everything out there I think, but here are some recent favourites:
- The Killing (The Swedish version, could not watch this alone at night)
- Broadchurch (love David Tennant)
- Bones (all 10 seasons – I became alarmingly immune to the decaying corpses on the screen!)
- Longmire (because who doesn’t love a sheriff from Wyoming?)
- Friday Night Lights (Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!)
- Nashville (love all the songs!)
- Rookie Blue (I will never ever become a cop)
- White Collar (or a conman, I don’t have a poker face)
- House of Cards (or a politician, ah!)
- Orange is the New Black (I would be terrible in a prison situation)
- Castle (being a mystery writer looks awesome fun though!)
- Borgen (another Danish gem)
- The Doctor Blake Mysteries (a good aussie show)
- True Detective (ahhhhhhhhhh!)
- Game of Thrones (I only made it through one season of this, far too much raping and pillaging for me!)
After three months my reading ability returned, for a girl who majored in literature at university it was truly alarming that I hadn’t been able to read. But unlike my time at uni I ditched the highbrow writing and returned to spy thrillers, rural romances and ripping good yarns recommended to me by Dad. I got lost in these worlds and forgot about the fact that I had fatigue and didn’t know when I’d get better. I had to read in shifts as my brain gave out after 20 minutes or so, and because my arms got so tired holding up a book I switched to reading on my iPad (something I thought I’d never do) which I slotted in to its special lazy person’s cushion so I didn’t even have to hold it up.
At uni I was forced to read books I didn’t want to turn another page of, but in my fatigued state if something didn’t grab me from the first two chapters I was done. With so little energy I wasn’t wasting it on a boring book!
Then this year my friends from uni decided to start a book club – yes! It’s mostly just an excuse for us to catch up, but we all like reading and have chosen some great books that I’ve devoured. Interestingly I am the only one to have read all the books we have chosen, having endless hours to read comes in handy : )