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Lupus fatigue: From "Not Tired" to "Tired" in Sixty Seconds

Posted Sep 28 2011 8:00am
I know I'm prone to fatigue, and I know it can come on fast - but sometimes I forget how fast.

Lately - I've been pretty good about starting my nap at a decent time every afternoon. It helps that the girls start their afternoon siestas around 1:00 or 1:30pm - I have no excuse but to find my way into bed at least by 2:30pm. I can lollygag for only so long - the quiet house, the still children - it really does make for a great napping environment.

That said, Deirdre and I decided to push the envelope one day this past weekend. Her sister went down around 1pm, but she and I were feeling good. Not a sleepy eye in sight - and we decided to capitalize on it. At about 1:30pm, I suggested we take a walk. She decided to ride her bike, and we took Darwin and set out for a leisurely stroll. I figured we'd return by 2pm, and I could have Deirdre down by 2:15pm. I could still make my 2:30pm goal without any trouble at all. In fact, my energy level when we walked out the door was so good, I even thought about what I would do when we returned - I figured I'd have a few minutes after I put Deirdre down to fit in just a quick to-do. Nothing fancy - I still knew I had a 2:30pm deadline to make.

But I didn't make it until 2:30pm. I didn't even make it until 2:15pm. At 2:05pm, it was like I just crashed. It was that wall of fatigue that we lupus patients talk about so often - that wave of complete exhaustion that washes over you in a way that almost debilitates and suffocates. It was and is an awful feeling - particularly with little Deirdre at my side - but thankfully, we were already home from our walk, and her Dad was able to step in and take over.

That fatigue just came on so fast -it was like instant deflation - like I'd suddenly taken my foot off the gas, and I just...stopped...moving...forward.

Of course - fatigue comes with the package. I know this. I take my nap because of it. But I didn't see this wave coming - and I didn't like being blindsided. But - I knew I was pushing the limit. I knew it was a risk taking a walk at 1:30pm. Deirdre and I could have just laid low, done a puzzle, flipped through some magazines, or read a book or two. We could have sauntered upstairs, and she could have been in bed by 2pm. I might or might not have have felt that fatigue come on - who knows? Maybe I would have hopped into bed, and never felt the wave of exhaustion, or maybe I would have felt it, but from beneath the covers, snuggled up in my bed with my eyes closed.

Either way - I won't forget the error of my ways. It's not a big deal - but I could have made it a lot less of a deal, had I just played it safe. It does remind why I take a nap in the first place. If I didn't, I would feel that wave of fatigue every single day. And it wouldn't just be once a day, it would be multiple times a day, which would eventually run together so much so that it would feel like I was fighting that debilitating fatigue every moment of every day. And who wants that? Who needs that? Who can function like that?

If there's something I can do to prevent myself from ever feeling that constant fatigue again - you better believe I'm going to try. Bring on the napping hour - I'm a believer!
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