A brick wall with a strip of sidewalk at the bottom

Hitting a Wall

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I’ve been racing around for the last two weeks, trying to get everything done in preparation for my Africa trip. Uganda visa forms (all my other countries, I can get a visa at the border, but Uganda needs an advance application), yellow fever vaccine (required for the Uganda visa), arranging sufficient medication with my doctors to carry me through two months abroad. Booking a last-day Covid test for just before I fly out. Packing, and ordering things I forgot, and pulling everything out because it no longer fits after the new things are added, and packing again. Trying to set up my children with all the arrangements they’ll need to do fine without me… because, while my kids have at least three other parents and arguably four (Steve lives with us, so he’s their extra parental figure), I’m only too well aware that I’m the only one of the bunch who routinely keeps track of everything the kids need. For the next two months, somebody else will have to do it, and I’ve been trying to teach them how… while still, for the moment, doing it myself. 

All of which is a fancy way of saying that I’ve been pushing myself way too hard. And it’s finally rebounded to bite me. I’m in a bad fibromyalgia flare. I’ve spent the past two days on three different types of pain medication and it’s not good enough even so. I’m hurting pretty much all the time, and even though I’m spending almost all my time in bed or in the bathtub, the limited movement I’ve been doing has been bad. I’m shaking and nauseated every time I so much as stand up to go to the bathroom. 

The marginally good news is that I’ve still got a week and a half before I leave, and I can afford to take a few days to try and fight this flare before I fly out. And I’ll need to. This isn’t a lazy vacation I’m taking; I’ll be using my body more on this trip than I have at any point since before the pandemic began. I’ll be walking, climbing, sailing, riding for hours in a bouncy off-road Land Rover. Following the gorillas all over the mountains. I’ll be outdoors almost all day in hot weather, which my body doesn’t typically tolerate well. I’m likely to be worn out beyond belief by the end of every day.

And I’m beginning the whole thing with a two-day flight. Even in business class, that’s not exactly a great way to get plenty of sleep during those nights. 

If I start all this from within a flare, I’ll be in trouble before I even begin. I need to arrive in the best condition possible, because I’m hoping to let that carry me over the first couple of weeks of the trip, and then get a day or two of rest in between Maun and Entebbe, before I dive hard into the second part of the trip. This is, I admit, a doubtful notion at best, relying on a degree of precision that bodies don’t normally produce. I’m realistically more likely to need to take a day off someplace within each segment just to stay functional for all of the other days. But I’ve built in enough time that I can afford to do that once in a while.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how exactly I protect my energy levels while I’m on an active trip. I’m going to do a whole post on that sometime soon, but I want to know your advice. How do *you* make sure you don’t wear yourself out, on a trip when you don’t want to miss anything? Please tell me in the comments! 

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