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Rest: Expectations vs. Reality

A short post portraying the reality of ‘bedrest’.

It sounds lovely to be on strict orders of rest, doesn’t it? When you live with a chronic pain condition, you may find yourself being ordered to rest for a number of reasons - from a swollen knee (such as in my current case), to overwhelming fatigue.

In one’s mind, you may think of ‘bedrest’ orders to mean lie ins, days spent relaxing, with your feet up and being waited on. For RA sufferers, throw in some heat packs, ice packs and maybe some wax baths; all sounds quite blissful.

In reality (for me, anyway), it’s not quite so dreamy.

I find myself getting sick of my own thoughts. I constantly ask myself why the pain and swelling isn’t subsiding, despite the fact I’ve been sat doing nothing, as instructed. I can’t help but think of how my muscles are just wasting away, day by day, hour by hour. I feel frustrated for wasting half the day in bed and think of how this could be a good time to get loads of Uni work done, if only I could concentrate. My body is tired but my mind is awake. Why is this taking so long?!

In simple terms, I get bored! Sure, I can dive into a Netflix binge for a bit, but after a while I want nothing more than to be outside. Out on the farm, helping, walking the dogs, anything really.

This recent ‘bedrest’ order was particularly tough to swallow. Why this month, when I have a target to meet and sponsorship to honour? 10,000 Steps a Day Every Day in October – hmm, maybe more like 1,000.

For much of it, I sat there cursing my body… Why my knees? I can’t walk without them! I can walk without my hands. The finger swelling is fine, it’s annoying, but I can get round it. I don’t have to sit being idle to help it.

So many of my thought begin with the question ‘Why?’

Why is it happening this time? Did I do this to myself?

Is this because I carried on with my swollen knees whilst on placement?

Is it because I didn’t tell the Rheumy nurse how bad I was getting when I was just on the Sulfasalazine?

Is it because I’m stressing too much about it?

Is it because of the weather – the cold winter months?

Or is it because I am resting too much? Because the muscles in my legs are wasting away, leaving nothing left to support my knees?

… and this isn’t the half of it. I have so many questions, ifs and buts.

To cut to the chase – I don’t like ‘rest’ but I wouldn’t be able to cope without it.

Rest isn’t just relaxing, it’s part of my arthritis journey – it’s a requirement.

As always, I’d love to hear from you guys. Please get involved, share your experiences and advice if you have some! Tell me what I’m doing right or doing wrong, and feel free to ask for advice (I’ll try to help best I can).

Orders of ‘bedrest’ don’t just apply to Arthritis, it can be for anything. A number of conditions, physical and mental, can benefit from bedrest; from chronic, long term conditions to high-risk pregnancies. People need rest, but it’s important to remember that bedrest isn’t ‘a nice few weeks off’ or ‘a break from everything’, it’s necessary selfcare and it’s not as easy as it sounds!

Aside from the annoying bedrest order, I have to say I’ve been pretty lucky this October. Our dogs, Gem & Gus have had pups again, and my best friend, Milly got married! As much as I’d usually think these two things would mean all systems go, I’ve actually been able to ‘chill out’ and put my feet up and I’ve been happy. The sense of happiness goes a long way when recovering, and these two wonderful happenings are amongst the top. I want to take this space to congratulate Mr and Mrs Laycock. The wedding was absolutely beautiful, such a lovely day for such a lovely couple. You deserve a lifetime of happiness. I love you lots. Thank you so much for asking me to a bridesmaid and part of your day.

Just before I finish, I am excited to tell you that I am in the ‘Feedspot Top 40 Arthritis Blogs’ – currently at number 21!! I would like to thank ‘Feedspot’ a great deal for even considering me, never mind placing me in the top 40. It’s a huge honour.

You can see the list of fantastic blogs here…

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you all,

Ali x

The beautiful newly weds x

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