My body is too weak and I think I’m too stubborn

Yesterday I pushed my body further than I should have. I didn’t do anything extraordinarily difficult or exhausting, it’s just that my body has become more limited causing me to get creative in the way I do things which is not always a good thing. I think yesterday’s creative had a bit too much stubborn mixed in with it.

Everything was going great. I took my morning shower, had my coffee, read a bit online then went out to do a little work in the yard. I was pulling some weeds out of the garden and found myself fighting with a stubborn vine I wanted out of there. It wasn’t moving but I thought I wasn’t pulling hard enough on it since my hands are weak and I couldn’t grab it properly.

I wrapped the vine around one of my hands and pulled on my arm to try and free the vine from the dirt. By this time I was leaning over the right side of my wheelchair as I pulled. It was then that I heard my body crack. I don’t have much feeling in my upper torso but I knew that sound when I heard it. I cracked a few ribs and can feel the aftereffects quite well now…ouch!

Later, I realized I was leaning on the arm of the chair and must have been putting too much pressure on my ribs with the pulling motion on the vine causing them to crack. I knew at the time I was in an awkward position and shouldn’t be leaning over like I was but I didn’t think I would break my body like I did.

I know I need to be more careful when I’m out doing things by myself, but somehow my stubbornness wins those arguments and I end up paying for it later. Why do I have to be so stubborn?

The good thing is my ribs aren’t broken. The bad thing is there’s nothing to do about it other than wait for them to heal. Breathing hurts, moving hurts and even sitting up hurts right now. It would be wonderful if the numbness in my torso also numbed the pain.

Later in the day, I went to pour of cup of coffee knowing that I’m even more limited now than before because everything I do seems to be causing my ribs to ache. I tried to be careful but my hand slipped while pouring and the entire pot of hot coffee spilled all over my right hand, the counter and the floor. I immediately put my hand under cold running water and grabbed some ice but can definitely see the blisters now.

If that wasn’t enough, somehow during this whole fiasco my suprapubic catheter (that’s the tube coming out of my belly attached to a urine bag) got a kink in it and I ended up having an accident all over myself.

Bad thing about it all was that my ribs were so sore that it took much longer than usual to clean up. It wasn’t something I could simply leave for the magic cleaning fairies to clean up for me. I think they are away on vacation right now anyway. Eventually I got everything cleaned up, took a second shower and climbed into bed calling it a day.

Ugh, it’s going to be a down day for me today.

I’m actually laid up in the bed right now doing absolutely nothing. No laundry. No trips to the store. No shower. Just me, my pillows and my TV remote…and I’m okay with that. I’ve learned to enjoy the journey even when I end up in places I don’t want to be.

I’m not sure I have learned my lesson of not pushing myself too much. I have a feeling I will end up in more predicaments as time goes by, but I will try to limit them to when other people are around to help me out just in case my bright ideas fail. And I’ll laugh about it all later. That’s a guarantee.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

About the Author

Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

52 replies
  1. Jo Sandeman
    Jo Sandeman says:

    I can totally relate. I am too stubborn also and push myself, stupidly, too much at times, only to pay the price dearly afterwards. I too have had to become rather creative in the way I do things due to my increasing limitations and it’s not always a good thing! But I find that this
    MS journey I am on challenges me daily and as stubborn as I am, good thing or not, I will not back down, I will not give in. Keep up the fight!!!!

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Well I had an ‘interesting’ visit to the washroom and toilet yesterday. After getting the work done there I decided to empty my catheter and got it done but ended up on the floor. I managed to empty the bottle I had filled and from there took about 2 hours to get out of there. It’s not a big place but nothing was working for me and I got more and more frustrated with myself at not being able to get up. But I did manage to get up with the help of m walker and gain a seat on it. Then I was to worn out to move for a few minutes. But it was a hard time I had not noticed that no one were around to help and I had not thought this action would present a problem. At least there were no messers to clean up.

  3. Debbie Owens
    Debbie Owens says:

    That sounds like an absolutely horrific day. I don’t know you, but feel the need to send you huge extra tight (wait scratch the “extra” tight) viral hugs. So about the time you found yourself untangling the catheter tubing did you have the ability to send an SOS? Having the ability to send an SOS to someone that can come in and clean up the messes and tuck us in on those especially rough days is super wonderful.

    My wish tonight is for those that don’t have a family member or friend that can arrive when you send out an SOS…may you soon have one!! Sending positive, happy, and hopeful vibes out into the universe!! As for stubborn, keep it up. That’s what gets you through when others would fold.


  4. Glenys Jackson
    Glenys Jackson says:

    You obviously know how to make the best out of the bad, so that helps. Enjoy this bout of unplanned ‘time out’! I don’t even try to bend down for gardening these days and just look forward to having the small raised garden I’ve been told I can have – though I’m not hiding y breath. That could be an option for you as well. Take care and get better soon!

  5. Marian Fuller
    Marian Fuller says:

    Yesterday, for me, was so much like Yours, Penelope!
    I prayed right before I fell asleep that today would be a better day!
    Today, the top of my head hurts. I had my Tysabri infusion last Wednesday. I do not think it is related to how my head feels. This is an added prayer, For me; Now up to Six Prayers being lifted up to the Lord!
    I Pray for all of You, “US”,
    To Stay Strong, and that there will be a cure within my lifetime!!!…. I am now sixty six years old.

  6. Stephanie Beck
    Stephanie Beck says:

    My stubbornness and determination to prove I can still do things gets me in so much trouble, not to mention that it drives my husband and my best friend absolutely crazy. Several years ago I had a really bad flare that left me numb from the waist down in my right leg. I finally graduated from my wheelchair up to a rollator walker. Yard work had always been my escape zone and one particular day I was determined that I was going to mow the grass. I sat on the steps and eased my way down to our basement where I used another walker to get myself over to our riding mower. I managed to get myself and the bad leg positioned on the mower and thought “ok, the hard part is over”. I was so happy to be out of the house and mowing my yard even though it was way too hot for me to be out there but the feeling of independence out weighed my concerns for the heat. (I forgot to mention that I was home alone at the time hence the reason I decided to exercise my independence.). Anyway, I was riding and mowing round after round, singing at the top of my lungs and talking out loud to God, I was so elated. I knew that there was no way I could weed eat so I was getting as close to the trees as possible when all of the sudden a huge thud and jolt almost threw me off the mower as I came to a sudden stop. The mower was kinda jacked up on the left side but I couldn’t see anything wrong when all of the sudden I remembered that there was a huge piece of root that our dog had dug up right about where I was sitting. The root was stuck up under the mowing deck and I knew I couldn’t go anywhere until the mower was lifted off the root. I had to sit there in the very hot direct sunlight for 3 & 1/2 hours until my husband came home. I was so excited about my adventure that I had forgotten to put my cellphone in my pocket before I eased myself down the basement stairs and my walker was still in the basement. When I saw Jeff’s car coming through the neighborhood I was so thankful but also knew he was going to be very very angry at me. When I heard him pull into the driveway and shut the car door, I started yelling for him because he couldn’t see me. Oh Lordy, the look on his face and the way he was kinda stomping toward me let me know that this was probably not one of my better decisions but I just wanted to feel like the old me, feel like I was still able to help out around the house and to prove that MS wasn’t going to continue to rob me of things that I enjoy doing. He was very angry with me but he also seen how defeated I felt, how exhausted I was from being in the heat and he knew that I was just trying to find the old independent me.
    I, or rather, we can laugh at that day now and truth be told my husband would probably love to see me exert some of that determination and stubbornness right now. I’m kinda in a limbo place right now and I’m just too tired of fighting this MonSter after 29 years and it taking so much of my life away. I was diagnosed at 18 and I’ll soon be 47, I’ve fought this battle for more than half my life and since there’s no cure, somedays it’s hard to keep pushing through when I know that I’m never going to defeat the MonSter and he’s going to continue to take more things away as time marches on.

  7. Vickie Bowler
    Vickie Bowler says:

    I am 64 this year with ms. I lucky I don’t have the flair ups I did when I was first dx. However I have notices my energy level is going down. It takes me twice as long to do things like vacum or fix dinner I have to take more breaks for my energy to come back. My regular pcp doesn’t seem to be interested.

  8. Mary Devereux
    Mary Devereux says:

    Know that feeling but never until the job is done and all the pain kicks in and I am howling like an animal I hope you find relief some how thinking of you

  9. Tracy Weaver
    Tracy Weaver says:

    Well that’s over and done with, the bad came you made it through, that being said is remains true that stubbornness keep us going and determination gets us through the pros and cons can be what’s gotten us in the end. Every situation got them, just not apparent every time especially with us that MS interferes with seeing the whole picture. May you heal quickly from this vine tragedy. If they could only come up with an inexpensive wheelchair to garden with…..

  10. Kathy Hamilton
    Kathy Hamilton says:

    Oh, dear. 🙁 It must have been something in the air yesterday. I decided to take a dining room chair outside, on which to stand in my attempt to hang a new wind chime from the eaves trough. It didn’t go well. My new wind chime is now hanging from the deck railing. Why are we SO darned good at being stubborn?!

    • Geraldine Lowrey
      Geraldine Lowrey says:

      The last time I used a step stool to reach a pitcher in the cupboard, I landed face up on the floor – and had no idea how I got there! My neurologist scolded me, said “no more climbing!”. Sooo…I don’t do windows…or curtains or anything higher than my shrinking 5-foot -2 body can reach. Plus, I’m constantly off balance, like being on a boat in choppy water. If I wanted to be on a boat, I’d book me a cruise – then forget I booked it! have memory issues, too. But, Kathy Hamilton. I would take the wind chimes, sit in a chair, waving them back and forth creating my own pleasant sounds. MS breeds creativity, sometimes insanity; but after all my years on earth I find everyone has a little crazy in them.

    • Kathy Hamilton
      Kathy Hamilton says:

      Oh, Geraldine, I love your attitude! This school year one of my students told me that the reason she likes me so much is that I’m weird like her. I think it’s one of the highest compliments I’ve ever heard! We celebrate our lives, however physically limited we may be, by celebrating with our own kind of crazy. 🙂 One of my favourite memes reads, “In our family, we don’t hide crazy. We put it on the front porch and give it a cocktail!”

  11. Debbie Greene
    Debbie Greene says:

    Oh my! I’m sorry to hear the fiasco that happened to you. I will say a prayer that your soreness goes away soon and that your hand will not get infected. Enjoy your bed; you deserve it.

  12. Ann Osterberg
    Ann Osterberg says:

    I know the feeling . Then the next few days are spent on the couch. I hate when it’s a beautiful day and I just can’t do anything. If feels like I waste the day away.

  13. Leslie Beaver
    Leslie Beaver says:

    Been there and done that. I am always my own worst enemy but am getting better at hearing what my body is telling me. And respecting that message. Because the argument between the reality of my body versus my mind can only ever end in one winner. And that winner will never be anything other than my body.

  14. Helen Rowan
    Helen Rowan says:

    I’m always doing that‍♀️just because you can do do something doesn’t mean you should. And I don’t mean that in a negative way but it’s important to know your limits. I can do stuff but I pay for it later in the day with aches and pains.

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