Friday, May 11, 2007

Joy of new life

I'm away running training, and yesterday there I was, in between greeting the trainees and inviting them to sign in and have a cup of tea, chucking up in the Ladies of the Best Western Nambour.

I'm reading May Sarton's Encore, written when she was 79, tired and in a lot of pain. She is such an observer of the small things, and despite struggling with depression for many years, manages to sound supremely grateful for her many friends and the wonders of the natural world. She's an avid gardener and describes each small change in minute detail:
Because the deer eat all the tulips, I do not plant them anymore, but there were two surprises, one lavender and one slightly pinkish tulip that I suddenly saw at the side of the fence. I picked them because I was sure the deer would come and eat them, and they are beside me with another dark purple, tipped-with-pink hyacinth and two pale, almost white daffodils, the very last of those. It is the end of one phase of spring, an opening measure; now come, very soon, the iris, the lilacs, the peonies and then the roses. On it goes, in incredible sequence...

She worries about the Iraq war, and homeless people, and her constipation, and lists 'delightful dinner parties', and grumbles about fan requests for autographs, 'It is maddening. I have energy for only about two hours' work at my desk. If I give fifteen minutes to signing the book, that leaves only an hour and three quarters. People do not realise.'

This journal is much more repetitive than her earlier ones, focusing as it does on her physical deterioration. But a book written by a cranky, ill, exhausted old woman whose body is simply not up to her demands is resonating with me strongly at the moment. Quite suddenly, I feel like I have chronic fatigue syndrome, not like I am busily creating new life. I wake up at four o'clock, and am sharply alert. I do some work until six - it's my best time of day - then the nausea come on. Breakfast and a shower keep it at bay, and I lie down for an hour. Then I feel like crap most of the morning, bilious, but work until about twelve. Sometimes I have meetings, and work hard to control my resentment that I have to do some work that requires being vertical and socially acceptable for an extended period. Around lunchtime,as if some somnolent gremlin has taken over my body, I simply must lie down for at least an hour. After this, my body, although still slightly queasy, has eased off a little and I can do some admin until about four. Then my brain shuts down, I tidy the house then have to lie down again. About seven-thirty I totter off to bed.

Lovergirl is simply amazing and cooking dinner most nights after getting home from her studies into the human psyche. All of a sudden I'm very fussy. No oil. No dairy, except yoghurt. No coconut milk or anything greasy, like pesto. No spices. This from the gourmand who usually eats everything in sight!

How do people do this when they already have a small child or two running around? I can't believe that women continue to work full time in this condition. I'm all for a period of 'confinement' where I take to my boudoir for nine months. At least working from home I can control my pace. My sister-in-law Mandy, nine weeks ahead of me in the pregnancy stakes, works night shifts as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant. I'm sure I would be vomiting all over the customers' meals.


ThirdCat said...

Hang in there. Mashed potato is good too.

suzoz said...

This is good news! The pregnancy is real.
I worked fulltime though that phase. I'd come home and lie on the couch for about three hours then go to bed. I felt like I spent weeks horizontal. Then at about 12-13wks gestation, it's true, you suddenly feel normal again (the new normal).

Mikhela said...

Mashed potato?!!
Intellectually this strange new body does make me feel a bit better - I've either got Ross River Fever or I'm properly pregnant. But it's hard to see the evolutionary advantage in feeling like crap. I suppose it means I simply must slow down and allow the bean to grow.

JahTeh said...

I remember the walk home from work when every house would have 'cooking tea' smells and my stomach would start to revolve. Being brung up a lidy, I carried a plastic bag so as not to throw up in the gutter.

ThirdCat said...

Yes, mashed potato. Why the exclamation marks? It is a most excellent queasy stomach food. As are mint slice biscuits (tho my thighs still have not recovered from that indulgence).

elsewhere said...

I find it hard getting all the daily stuff done without a baby -- good luck!