Life Hacks for Chronic Fatigue: Laundry

rolling cartFatigue is a bitch. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. When you deal with chronic fatigue, it’s the bitch’s bastard  on crack. I hate it and I don’t know anyone who actually likes it. My entire body feels like adamantium was injected into me in my sleep, only I don’t get the benefits that Wolverine does. Everything is heavy and the ability to lift my arms without the accompanying muscle fatigue is an astonishing circus feat. It doesn’t matter whether fatigue is caused by a chronic illness, autoimmune disorder, weak adrenals, or a vitamin deficiency, it all feels the same in the end and even I can’t tell what is causing it.

When this all started over five years ago and I was stuck in bed when not at work the only things I could force myself to do was fix dinner and do the laundry, with some help and shortcuts.

We have rolling hampers which I bought at a big store that is now out-of-business. I used one of the hampers as my laundry basket so I could push it instead of having to lift it. Even with that “hack”, Chaz had to start switching the laundry out for me and bring me the laundry himself.

When the fatigue creeped back in full-force after my car accident in December, I knew I needed to make alterations again because needing a nap in the middle of folding laundry is not normal. Not normal for healthy people that is.

I considered using one of the hampers again but the act of stooping over to push the hamper would wear me out. So, I went searching stores for something I could use. One of those rolling baskets at the laundromat would have been great.  I found one like it at The Container Store, but it was too small. One of the sales people stopped to help me because I was obviously looking for something I couldn’t find.

I explained to her what I wanted, but never explained why. I don’t need to tell everyone I meet the multiple reasons why I get fatigued. I didn’t need to justify why I need a cart to push my laundry around. I refuse to explain myself to complete strangers. I don’t care if I left that store and she thought I was lazy because she doesn’t matter. My health and how I take care of myself does.

I left the store with the above rolling bar cart that she showed me last because all the other options would be too taxing on me. The bonus of the cart is that it folds up when I’m done and while doing laundry, I can use the bottom and the basket to store folded items.

Economy of motion is something I learned in Aikido. Use the least amount of movement/energy in a fight because you don’t know how long the fight will last. I use this principle a lot in my daily life, even when fatigue is not an issue. When it is an issue, I will sit at the dryer and fold the clothes as they come out then add them to the cart. Why pull everything out, wheel it somewhere to fold, and fold it all when you can save some energy when you need it? I’d like to say I do this all the time, but I don’t. It’s just helpful when I’m too exhausted to do much.

Sometimes you just need to think outside the laundry basket to find ways to help you deal with the constant fatigue.



Damn Lucky

car accidentThis happened two weeks ago.

My car spun and a semi-like blue delivery truck loomed large in my windshield then the headlights of oncoming traffic in the morning hours. I collided with the back of the delivery truck in the spin and glass flew through the inside of the car. Cold air bit through me while adrenaline pumped like mad through my system.

I could not form a full thought and my fingers shook while trying to dial my phone. Who was I calling again?

Thankfully, a witness pulled over, checked on me, and called 911 before leaving with her young daughter for an appointment. The driver of the truck and the guys that were with him were fine.

My brain was so frazzled I did not think to check the damage on the car other than the two windows. My body was stiff and sore for several days and my adrenals crashed, but not too hard. Traveling to Las Vegas for my family reunion was not easy, but I did it.

I caught a gastrointestinal virus while with my family and spent two days holed up in the hotel room. As I type this, I am plagued by something respiratory less than a week later. Weakened immune system to go along with my weakened adrenal state.

Insurance is totaling my car and I am now faced with the decision to look for a new car or to make do with just Chaz’s car. I do not like buying cars. It tries my patience. The whole idea of looking for a new car stresses me out, a stress I most definitely do not need. However, sharing a car has its own stressors.

Then I look at this picture of my car that I took when Chaz and I returned from our trip and removed all my stuff from the car and I think, I walked away from that in one piece. As big as the truck was and given the road conditions I could have gone through the guard rails, the car could have flipped, and/or other cars could have hit me after the collision.

I am damn lucky. Everything else will take care of itself in time.

Pumpkin Millet Porridge with Fresh Figs

Pumpkin PorridgeIf you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter then let me preface this by saying Pumpkin Palooza is going on in my kitchen. What I truly love about eating as seasonally as I can is that by the time pumpkins show up in the grocery store, I am ready.

This porridge does not need the figs. I saw them in Whole Foods one day looking so plump and ripe that I was compelled to pick some up despite not having them for ten months thanks to adrenal fatigue. High potassium fruits like figs, dates, and bananas are recommended to be avoided. Along with dried fruit. Coffee is another no-no for those of us with adrenal fatigue, but I’ve been tolerating it without the heart palpitations so I decided trying fresh figs would be a good next step. No reaction.

Oh, figs. How I have missed thee.

I did not try this with dried figs but if you’d rather use dried figs, use less. And if you don’t like figs, omit them. I’ve made this without the figs and it is just fine without them. Also, if you can, keep the maple syrup. It pairs better with the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Millet Porridge with Fresh Figs – serves 1

1/4 cup millet

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup dairy-free milk

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

4 figs, chopped

Combine all ingredients except the figs in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower heat. Simmer and stir occasionally. Remove from heat once the millet absorbs the liquid to a creamy consistency. Stir in figs and cover for five to ten minutes before eating.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekend at Ricki Heller and Whole Food Fridays at Allergy-Free Alaska.