Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Peaceful, pain free times in the garden

Gardening is rough sometimes with chronic illnesses nipping at your hands and making your head spin. Still, I love it and I'm determined to strike a balance between rest, work and play in the garden. So here's the latest fine line I'm walking in that area.

Each of the chronic illnesses I have presents a unique challenge in the garden. With Rheumatoid, my hands are not always capable of gardening every day. With Lupus, I can't garden in full sun, but cold gives me chills. With Reynauds Syndrome, I can't garden unless it's warm, lest the nerves in my hands freeze up and go numb, which also impacts the Rheumatoid.

Oh, and I also have to stick to raised beds and buckets, due to a lack of normal mobility.

Aren't I just a bloody mess, though?

This leaves me with a pretty small window to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies. To reiterate: I absolutely cannot garden on cold days with either Rheumatoid or Reynauds. I absolutely cannot garden then or when the sun is high in the sky with Lupus.

Heat is OK. Sun is not at all OK. Cold sucks. Ground planting is out. And because I live a mile closer to the sun, here in the Denver metro area, the sun shows no mercy. None.

What's a gardening fanatic to do?

Gardening before 8 am, even on a warm day is out. Because it's not warm yet, you know? My hands would freeze up. Afternoon gardening is out because the sun is out. That leaves me seeking mid-morning ground. Sometimes I can start at 8. Sometimes I have to wait until 9. But pretty much always, unless it's a quick run to do a 10 minute job and back into the house, I have to stop by noon at the very, very latest. Eleven is a better plan.

Nevertheless, I am determined to work with my short time and limitations in the garden in order to keep that time peaceful, pain free and low stress. Because what's the point of having a hobby if conducting said hobby makes you miserable?

I refuse to rush through my tiny window of opportunity. But I do have to stick to it, for the most part. Now, I'm stubborn too, so some days in the past, I have ventured out in full sun, with a huge umbrella to work under. But honestly, it's wasn't the best solution as umbrella aside, the sun still managed to get the better of me on those scorching hot days.

So, this year, it's 8-11 in the garden for me. Hey, 3 hours is not too shabby. I'd rather it were 8 hours so my garden could be picture perfect. But I'll take what I can get. Life's a struggle with chronic illness but if you're determined, it doesn't have to be.

You just have to be a stubborn old so and so like me.

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