It comes without warning, creeping through your body, diminishing your energy, shutting down your mind. It begins with eyes drooping beneath heavy lids, your rhythm slackens and an all-consuming cloud shrouds your body. Instead of the daily tasks at hand, we dream of a soft pillow, a light blanket, and our body sinking into the plush comfort of our mattress. Before we know it, we succumb to the irresistible power of the nap attack.
Along came old lady RA and with her, one of her many minions – the nap attack. I’ve read about this phenomena in the classic Garfield comic, about the lazy orange tabby who declared the arrival of a nap attack before falling into his food bowl. I’m grateful for not flopping into a plate of food, but there are some days when the fatigue comes sweeping over me like a thick fog, and I find myself collapsing on the bus, or catching my head before it tumbles onto my desk. The effort our bodies put forth in fighting the pain and inflammation of arthritis takes much more than we realize – once this energy is expended, we are left at the mercy of the nap attack.
I’ve learned that sometimes the nap attack is nature’s way of letting me know when I’ve been working too hard; it’s time to rest and recharge the batteries. The fatigue that comes with battling arthritis may be frustrating, but, unfortunately, it’s part of the package, and many suffer from its dogging presence. I try to reduce my fatigue by making sure I take care of myself. I exercise, eat healthy, and try to get enough sleep; it helps me break up the erratic pall of the nap attack. There are days when it’s necessary for me to listen to my body, and like a dozy cat, I surrender to the sway of the nap attack to refresh my energy; other days, when I feel the fatigue tiptoeing in, I slow down to prevent the fatigue from taking over so I can get on with my day.
Nap attacks are not always convenient, but sometimes they help me rekindle the energy to fight the disease in my body. Nap attacks – not just for cats.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.