Fibromyalgia, big sailing dreams, and how to kick balls in Norwegian

Spent the day on the couch, doing nothing. Welcome to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Land, where self-care takes on a whole new meaning, and your fears of laziness are the grand pillars holding up your general mistrust of your own self-worth. The last seven or eight days have seen my sleep schedule all screwed up, resulting in less sleep at night: kryptonite for a person with fibro. Some people even think that fibro is basically a sleep disorder. It’s a theory I don’t think is well-researched enough to buy yet (there are others I’m more interested in), but it’s an intriguing path to explore.

The only thing to do when this happens is to have what I call a Couch Day. It’s exactly what you think. Me and my iPad and my corgi unite into a triumvirate of therapeutic lethargy and sloth, that lasts anywhere between 4-6 hours. Today, Finnegan and I took an epic nap. He slept longer than I did. I took photos:

And today in chronic illness couch fashions, Hollie is sporting a sassy but practical travel skirt from, a lovely Cardigan Welsh Corgi who goes by Finnegan (or BABYFURFACEILOVEYOU), and a gorgeous quilt that her mother-in-law made. She is très chic.

One of the things I love about sleeping Finn: his little footpads are so warm. He presses his little footpads against my leg, and then he takes a big breath and lets it out, which might as well be titled The Sigh Signifying I Am Two Seconds From Sleep, and then he presses his eyes shut and goes off to dreamland. For him, my chronic illness is merely his opportunity to sleep on me, for which he seems to express endless gratefulness. He has so much trust in me. I love that. I love him.

I know it’s good to “take care of yourself”, and I did feel much better after the rest, but I hate being unproductive. I guess the day wasn’t a complete waste, we did practice our Norwegian. I practice speaking Norwegian, and my dog practices hearing it. So far he knows God gutt and Jeg er en kvinne, but that’s about it.

I discovered a new podcast, Norwegian Class 101. It’s helpful, I really enjoy it. Gentle comedy, useful information, and the excellent sound quality so you can hear well enough to practice your pronunciation. But I still have such a problem learning even the basics. I do well with French and Spanish, but I don’t like French and I don’t want to learn Spanish yet (that’s coming after Norwegian). Tonight I was complaining to C. about how terrible I am at this.

“I learned how to say monde takk. Mande takk? I can’t remember. SEE? It’s awful! I’m so bad at this! And this Norwegian podcast I listen to is all like, ‘Norwegian is easy for English speakers,’ and I’m thinking, ‘What’s Norwegian for if you don’t stop saying that I will kick you in the balls?”

“Mange takk is the one you are looking for, I think,” she says. “Many thanks, or thanks a lot, it means.”

“Yes, that’s the one!”

And then she adds, “Om du ikke slutter å si det der, kommer jeg til å gi deg et skikkelig ballespark.

I smile. “Does that mean what I THINK IT MEANS?”

I can almost see her nodding. “That’s the shut up/kick your balls you asked for.”

Half a world away from her, I’m sitting with my laptop, laughing so hard. “MANGE TAKK!” I say.

“Det var da så lite,” she replies.

C. is my favorite Norwegian.

It’s good to have friends who understand days like this. I notice people with chronic illness talking about it a lot more on social media, and that visibility feels good. I’m glad to be among them, finally writing about it, even if I do only get eight hits a day. But what a glorious eight hits! You eight people are the crème de la crème of humanity, I’m sure of it.

I have my dream of someday sailing far – all the way across the ocean, in fact, to see C. and to visit the canals of Europe. It’s quite the vision for someone who spent the better part of the day curled up with her corgi because she was too weak to move. But I’ve decided that any dream that makes you happy is a good dream. There are caveats, of course. I think your life plans should not involve hurting people. If your dream is to rid the world of puppies or people who say “irregardless”, then I think you should reconsider your strategies.

I asked Greg once, “Is it crazy to have this dream, that I couldn’t possibly do now, and that in ten years there’s an excellent chance I still might not be able to do?”

Greg said, “If a dream makes it easy for someone to avoid life, to be an escape, then I don’t think it’s a good one. But if a dream helps you live more fully now, if it gets a person off the couch and makes them be more engaged in the present, and makes them happy, then I think it’s a good dream.”

That’s right, I married the Buddha. And he isn’t a fat little bald Indian guy, he’s a tall and skinny part-Native American software engineer with a really nice head of hair.

It is a good dream, I’ve decided. “It isn’t a dream, it’s a plan,” C. tells me. “Yes,” I replied. “That’s much better.” Even if today it didn’t get me off the couch.

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