Two years ago I had a very good physiotherapist that said one thing more than anything else, “Yes, but what is normal – for you.” It took a while for me to realise that I was looking at the world in entirely the wrong way. I was desperately playing the ‘catching up’ game, trying to get to that picture of ‘better’ in my head that was like a mirage in the desert. It took even longer to finally accept that ‘better’ wasn’t going to happen and that that was not the end of my world. I still revert back to that way of thinking when I get a little tired. Not surprisingly, living with one set mindset for almost thirty years isn’t a mindset I can magic away in two. It fades over time, but it’s still there, underneath, ready to surface when the balance is upset and I stop paying attention what I assume.
Raiding last night was an interesting night. I wasn’t having a bad day, I wasn’t having a good day, but I was having a slightly below par normal day for me. I stayed up late the night before, woke up early and spent the day directing Chris how to rearrange furniture in my room upstairs, dislocating things when I got impatient and tried to move. It wasn’t a good day for moving. I fell asleep late afternoon and woke up later than usual and so I was running behind schedule getting sorted for raiding. I panicked and rushed for twenty minutes, which meant my wrist required putting back in on the first pull. I realised then it was going to be a little less fun than I had hoped it would be.
I’m not amazingly good at my job as a healer, but I’m also not horribly bad at it either. I have learned how to switch fingers, hold my wrist just so if it’s partially out so that I can still play and most impressively to me, I now do pretty well watching both my hands and the screen without missing key warnings or getting overwhelmed by flashy graphics. The clumsiness tend to happen inbetween. I’m more often than not relocating joints as soon as we’re out of combat, splinting and/or taping as required or slipping one hand into a rest cast for a few minutes until the next time we’re in combat. It means that I often fall behind just a little, am one of the last to take a portal, sometimes stand in the middle of the room when everybody else has moved out already and out of combat movement can be clumsy when I’m trying to awkwardly manoeuvre with just the tip of my fingers sticking out of a cast. It’s the compromises I make to play better when it matters, but it’s also the compromises that make me feel like a bad player. It’s a healthy knock to my impulsive perfectionism and so I think, a good thing in the long run, if for now rather frustrating. I want to do better.
I’m always very tired the last hour of the raid and I’m always badly off the last 30 minutes and if I’m going to make silly mistakes, it will usually be during that time. I read up extensively on Anub because I knew we’d get there in that time slot where I feel as if I’m stuck in a thick fog and neurons are sluggishly working under protest. I no longer care how my wrist feels and pain is something that’s been shut away somewhere in the background. I’m just there, in that moment, no longer thinking about how to heal, just thinking about how to press the buttons and how odd it feels when the bones in my fingers slide every time I do.
For a moment, it’s distracting and the idea that after all these years of it happening every day I still find it distracting, my body still tells me that it’s not normal, holds a certain kind of irony. I wish my silly sense of where things are that doesn’t work well anyway would stop telling me that normal isn’t right just because it hurts. I wish that same part which holds a blueprint of what is right had a more accurate version. The blueprint does not correspond with the rest of my genetic make-up. I wonder off-hand if that means that my sense of what’s normal is less a mental construct and maybe part physical, a biological sense of should and shouldn’t that isn’t all in my mind. These thoughts didn’t occur to me last night. In those last thirty minutes, thoughts just aren’t really present. I don’t think. I simply register what’s going on around me and think about reacting so meticulously that everything else moves outside of awareness.
Raid over and it’s one of those nights where it ends on a lower note. I don’t like wiping twice and then stopping, knowing that I won’t be there next time and sometimes by the time I do get back to it, so much time has past that it’s no longer new even though it should be for me. It’s an unpleasant thought that makes me want to say ‘but it’s not fair’. Thankfully I’ve never been prone to tantrums of that kind and so I say goodnight, log out and decide to spend a while immersed watching and probably talking about good TV and it’s a much better thought than getting upset over not being able to play Warcraft to my heart’s content. As I sit quietly contemplating which series/movie would suit my mood, chaos hits. I stopped and in doing so, my body’s decided that now is the time to tell me about all those things I didn’t want to hear before. Fatigue rolls in and I realise how very tired I am. My wrist erupts in a blaze of fire and it hurts more than I’m comfortable with. It’s enough to make me want to give in to pain and fatigue rather than trying to fight it. It’s one of those moments where everything just gets left. I’m too tired and hurting too much to try and do anything other than stop. I get up and stumble into bed.
Chris knows me well enough to know what to do. He turns off the screen, tidies the pillows so that they’re ready for the morning, turn off the lights, fetch painkillers that he feeds me without needing to be asked, grabs my iPod off the desk, finds my audio book, turns it on, hands it over, arranges pillows around me, fetches and fits the night splints and finally climbs into bed with me, stroking my back as I try not to cry too much, knowing that in twenty minutes, pain meds will kick in and minutes after that I’ll be asleep for at least 6-7, maybe even 8 hours. Time speeds up when I get this tired. I sleep for 12-14 hours if not more a day and the awake time in between naps are blurry and can only be filled with one small thing at a time. All I really want to do is curl up in bed with an audio book, an alt and hours of good television and swap in between the three without even thinking about anything else, except maybe talking to someone who knows me well enough to know that even though sometimes I sound confused and not very with it, there’s still me somewhere underneath the layers of fog and listening is clearer than trying to talk. There really isn’t good days or bad, they’re all normal days, each filled with a set level of potential and all I have to do is fill it up with just the right amount of just the right stuff. Sounds so easy when I think of it like that.