Christmas with Chronic Fatigue

treeWell, it’s been and gone, the awesomeness that is Christmas. I’m a Christmas nut, I walk around tunelessly singing, bake constantly, plan my gift giving meticulously and spend hours gazing at our decorated Christmas tree, sniffing deeply to get that Christmasy smell. So, I was excited for Christmas, but also rather terrified about how grossly tired I’d be on the other side… Let’s just say there’s a reason I haven’t posted this until the 30th December.

So, the week started out with gastro (stomach flu for those overseas), for almost the entire family, but I’ll spare you the emetic details of this, suffice to say it was gross and I barely ate for four days. Dad called it our pre-Christmas cleanse… That sapped me of any energy reserves I had and made me lose more weight as the sight of food repulsed me (even my Instagram feed made me gag) and had me rather unenthused about the mass gorging of food that my family partakes in each year…

But first of all there was the tree! We get a real tree, none of this pretend nonsense, a real tree that drops needles on the ground and smells sooooo good. I almost missed the boat this year as I am normally the procurer of the tree but thanks to gastro hadn’t been in to town the week before. Finally I caved in and decided not to be miss independent and allowed Dad to drive me in to Geelong for Operation Tree Procurement.

My post-gastro self was tired just from this excursion so it took me until the next day to bust out the decorations. I had to take naps in between decorating shifts as I was still pretty wobbly but the carols were blaring, I got to put the ornaments exactly where I wanted them (not having to accommodate my brothers’ questionable placements as they weren’t home) and my Christmas spirit was alight.


napping in between decorating shifts…

We probably should buy some new ornaments as we’ve got one-legged skiers and armless angels from 30-odd Christmases but tradition is tradition (so much so that we put skiers and sledders on the tree in the first month of the Australian summer).

There is a cute little church in the hills near me that host a Carols by Candlelight each year; I’m not remotely churchy but I’ve been going to this for decades and they welcome heathens and Christians alike. The only hitch in the evening was when my body decided to lean towards the wall without my permission (or knowledge). As I said I’d barely been eating and had stood up and sat down for lessons and carols and lessons and carols and suddenly I was about to faint. Thankfully I was close to the wall and managed to put out a hand to stop myself but was very relieved when We Three Kings of Orient Are had finished and I could sit down. Hmmm, should have forced some food down as when I found a glass of cordial at the supper after I felt like I’d been plugged in to a generator and came back to life, low blood sugar me thinks. The other amusing moment in carols was when my stomach muscles started shaking; yes I’m that weak. The thing is I have done a lot of theatre in my life so I’ve been taught to project my voice from my diaphragm. Problem is, the muscles there are totally out of condition from my busy schedule of tv watching.


the view from the church

Then came the actual day, and I must say that I stage managed it pretty well with a later present opening hour arranged so I could get up at my normal time, lots of preventative rest and a rare thing for me in that I made myself not talk too much! (Talking is exhausting, but one of my favourite things to do). From the day I’ve drawn these observations:

  • Listening to carols crooning from my computer definitely increases my rest time
  • Choosing a comfy chair to sit on and getting others to dig in to the sea of presents to find your gifts makes you feel rather regal.
  • Online shopping is the bomb! I’d done almost all my shopping online in the months before as the last thing I wanted to be doing was trawling malls in December – yuck.
  • Much less over-eating as I simply can’t fit it in lots of food and less drinking as the Chambord in the trifle was probably enough to send me sprawling. This leads to priority eating… prawns trump turkey so eat those first and see if there’s room for turkey later.
  • Different present perspective: I don’t think my face fell once as the gifts were unwrapped (I have one of those open book faces) as once you’ve had your health confiscated by chronic fatigue whether or not someone got you your favourite tea is less important…
  • Trifle is most excellent energy food 😉


Then came the inevitable crash which I slightly mismanaged as I didn’t rest properly on boxing day… silly suze. Sweating and aching and fatigue and brain fog and a headache for three days… Well, this wasn’t totally my fault as I spent the morning playing with my four-week old niece who is surprisingly heavy when you hold her for a while and who knew bouncing on an exercise ball is tiring? If the four-week-old baby can do it I should be able to too right?


the exhausting baby Eva, my very special niece

The one dark moment in the week was Boxing Day night as I listened to most of my family play a card game that had them in hysterics and I sat in the other room feeling very very upset that I wasn’t well enough to play. It’s funny that it’s the little things like this that get me, not that I can’t look after myself, not that I can’t drive long distances, not hat I can’t work. Sure, these things are extremely frustrating but they don’t hurt me like feeling left out does, and the thing is I’m a board and card game nut! I would have loved to be involved. And it’s not that I didn’t want my family to enjoy themselves, it just hit home that I’m sick and there’s no time frame for when I’ll be better and that sucks. But, on the bright side, and I do do my darndest to find that bright side, I enjoyed this Christmas the most that I have in years; my big brothers were home, we all got along, my niece is awesome and the prawns were delicious!


3 thoughts on “Christmas with Chronic Fatigue

  1. Pingback: Much better bad days | a snoozie life

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