The mountain of laundry was looming at me. I knew I had to do it, burning arms and all. You see, that is what happens...the burnig arms was one of the first signs to me that I had fibromyalgia, but I did not know it at the time. thought I just has so much laundry to fold that I was getting a good arm workout. I would fold laundry and my arms would burn. Now they always burn when I fold laundry if I’m in a “fibro-flare”.
I had two babies when I first noticed it. I remember mentioning the arm burning thing at a La Leche League meeting. The other moms looked at me like I had two heads when I mentioned that I got lots of exercise from laundry folding. I’m sure they thought I was delusional. Maybe one could define it as such. All I knew is how I felt when I exercised...that’s when your muscles burn, right? That’s how it feels, but instead of lifting weights, you are folding a dish rag. That’s fibro. And instead of dumping the dumb-bells back in their racks and being done with the workout, and feeling pride, you just have another pile of laundry to fold. Chances are you folded the same items two days ago. It’s SO not exciting. I know you know this. You have laundry, too.
Fibro can sure change your day. I thought I was going to get twice as much work done today as I did. I planned on going to Costco this afternoon. I’d already taken two kids to the dentist this morning, and while they were busy getting their teeth polished, I ran over to the Walmart by the dentist’s office in order to grab my “Walmart items”...you know, the stuff that is cheapest there like garbage bags and cat food... So I felt like my day was moving along nice and efficiently. I was in control. After dropping off the two dentist kids at home, I zipped over to the Walmart near my house because I still needed gluten free pasta and some yarn and the other place did not carry those items. Then I swung by the library, picked up M from work and it was home for lunch. I was so grateful to have B, because when I dropped her off at the house after the dentist, she put some sweet potatoes in the oven to bake for lunch. I was on top of things, getting things done and looking forward to more shopping in the afternoon.
I was going to go to Costco for the meat and fruit and lemon juice, olive oil and butter. Except I didn’t. Suddenly after lunch I was very very tired, and I stayed tired for the rest of the day. I knew I could not drive safely. There’s tired and then there’s the kind of tired that tells you you should not drive the car. That’s the kind of tired I’m talking about. The kids did their school work and I stupidly vegetated. I did a bit of laundry and eventually threw some frozen vegetables and a chicken into the oven for dinner. Dinner was late, and tasted about as exciting as the amount of effort I put into it. The day felt wasted. Now it means tomorrow will be extra busy. So that is how I came to the end of my day with a mountain of laundry that needed to be folded. And only me, with my burning arms, to do it.
It’s called asceticism. It’s called “death to self”. Those of us who are married-with-kids don’t get it in very glamorous forms. And no one remembers our ordinary lives. There’s only one way to get through a mountain of laundry with burning fibro arms: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”