Back to basics: Flares

I haven’t been feeling too well lately. A combination of the rise of fascism, and worry about my children, may have been what has sparked up this flare in my symptoms. Or it may be just a totally random occurrence. Who knows?

Anyway, I thought I might write down some of the things I normally do during these types of flare-ups. Both to remind myself, and in case it might be useful for someone.

Sleep: During flares, I’m usually exhausted. Both mentally and physically. Getting enough sleep is often my number one priority. And yet, pain and ‘the jitters’, can often get in the way of enough sleep. I would normally have a bath to help me sleep, but the bath tap is broken. I haven’t been too good at getting to bed early, so instead I’ve been having epic naps when the children are in school. Not ideal, but it still counts as catching up on my sleep.

Limiting activities: I don’t really do too much at the best of times, but during a flare, I put as much as I can on hold. I avoid leaving the house unless I really have to, and the same with doing housework. I do try to do just enough to keep things hygienic, but I know most other things can wait. I try to ask for help with the chores, but if I cant get any, I try not to worry about it.

Nutrition: My diet isn’t great at the best of times, so when I experience a flare, and lose my appetite due to pain, it can be hard to eat enough. When this happens, I rely more on supplement drinks, and other high calorie drinks such a milkshakes. I also rely on meals that don’t need much preparation, such as ready meals and take out. And I buy snacks that are not too messy to eat in bed.

Hydration: This is also very important. I try to kill two birds with one stone by making sure all my drinks also contain calories. So, a lot of smoothies and milkshakes. I also tend to drink more out of bottles, as I’m less likely to spill them, especially if drinking in bed.

Medication: I’m notoriously bad at remembering to take my meds at the best of times. Doubly so during a flare as my memory seems to get so much worse. This is where the medication tracker I made for my bullet journal comes into its own. I can see which meds I’ve taken, which ones I’ve forgotten, and which ones I should give another chance to.

Heat Packs: I have various heat packs. Simple homemade ones that are nothing more than a sock filled with rice and knotted, to ones filled with dried lavender blossoms, to instant ones that I used by the hundreds when I lived in Japan and are thankfully available everywhere now. I don’t have any fancy plug-in ones, but maybe I should invest in one. But heat packs are great for when I’m in pain, and I seem to always have one somewhere on my body during a flare.

Flare kit: Speaking of heat packs, one place I keep them is in a box next to my bed I call my ‘flare kit’. In it I keep heat packs, instant ice packs, massage rollers, eye masks, various lotions and sprays. No medications though, as the children can easily reach inside. I also keep some drinks and snacks in it for when I simply cant get out of bed.

[image shows a photo of my Flare Kit. From top left are: various lotions such as Deep Heat, Magnesium Oil, Deep Freeze etc. An instant ice pack. A pile of instant heat packs. A tub of clove drops. A TENS unit in a blue case. Kinesiotape. More lotions plus a bottle of lavender oil. More massage rollers, that are like spikes balls. A thermometer. A Japanese fan in a cloth case. ]

Good Company: Besides the company of my husband and children, I’m very grateful for all my online friends, especially on Twitter. There’s nothing quite like sending out a moany tweet about all the pain I’m in, and instantly getting a pile of virtual hugs. It may not seem like much, just a few words or emojis, but it really does cheer me up and make a difference. So, thank you for all of you who have shown such support.

And, that’s all I have the energy to write now. Hope you found it useful.


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