Friday, June 5, 2009

Tired, Anybody?

During my three trips to town this week, every women I ran into complained of being exhausted. One of them was ahead of me in a long lineup and had be woken up by the clerk, who called her twice before she responded. "Tired," the woman confessed after that dazed look vanished.

Another lady put two items in my grocery chart and when I informed her of the mistake, she said, "I can't seem to stay focused. For about a month now, my brain's been on vacation."

I sympathize.

At the gym this morning, three separate women brought up the subject of being tired. One lady, who's been a regular for months, said she'd been to the doctor and his advice was to exercise.

Another lady said her doctor told her to cut out all sugar and alcohol from her diet. After 6 weeks, when she was still dragging her butt (her words) she went back. This time he suggested she get outside and spend more time in the sun.

Can all this fatigue simply be a result of a long winter? Today's the third day of 30+ temperatures. (80-90 F) Are we tired because of the dramatic contrasts? Or is the problem even related to the climate?

Yesterday, I drank a large can of Red Bull at 10:30 in the morning, then had a 20-minute nap. After a 30-min-workout in the afternoon, I had a hour's nap. By 3 pm, I tried Tai Chi and then spent the next few hours vegetating on the couch. I watched ... I can't remember.

Over the phone last night, my best-friend said she was given vitamin B shots while she was pregnant (100 years ago) and it made her feel wonderful and very energized. I bought a bottle this morning after I left the gym. When I got home, I looked up tired and vitamins on the internet. Interestingly, vitamins don't yield usable energy. They aid the enzymes that release energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats, while providing no energy themselves. However, the good news: B75 Complex is known as the "energy vitamin".

Isn't the Net wonderful.

But if vitamins and minerals are the solution, what's the problem?

I get it that fighting depression can be exhausting. And nothing should ever been done without consulting a doctor; even if, like the lady above, you need to return again and again until the diagnosis is determined. A physical examination, blood tests and scans could rule out other causes. Apart from the weather, there's anemia (low red cells, an underactive thyroid gland, or liver and kidney problems. Not to mention Menopause.

Or it could be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Something else that would have to be determined by a doctor. Especially if this is a recurring problem over a six-month period or more.

I'm having blood work done next week. Meanwhile, here's some of the symptoms from the CFS website that I found interesting:

In addition to fatigue, other symptoms are also common, although most people do not have all of them. They include:- Muscular pain, joint pain, and severe headaches.

  • Poor short-term memory and concentration.
  • Difficulty organising your thoughts and finding the right words.
  • Painful lymph nodes this is often felt as tender, glandular swelling around your throat.
  • Stomach pain and other problems similar to irritable bowel syndrome for example bloating, constipation, diarrhea and nausea.
  • Sore throat.
  • Sleeping problems, such as insomnia and disturbed sleep.
  • Sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods.
  • Additional, less common symptoms, such as dizziness, excess sweating, balance problems and difficulty controlling body temperature.
  • Psychological difficulties, such as depression, irritability and panic attacks may also occur.
Depending on your symptoms, CFS is often categorized into four categorizes, mild, moderate, severe or very severe:
  • Mild CFS - you are able to care for yourself, but may need to take days off work to rest.
  • Moderate CFS - you may have reduced mobility and your symptoms can vary from time to time. You may also have disturbed sleep patterns and commonly sleep in the afternoon.
  • Severe CFS - you are able to carry out minimal daily tasks, for example brushing your teeth, but occasionally you may need to use a wheelchair. You may also have difficulty concentrating.
  • Very severe CFS - you are unable to carry out any daily tasks for yourself and rely on bed rest for the majority of your day. Often, in severe cases, you may experience an intolerance to noise, and become very sensitive to bright lights.

Most cases of CFS are mild or moderate, but up to 1 in 4 people have severe or very severe symptoms.


  1. It really is quite strange how many people seem to be complaining of tiredness these days, including my husband and me. I don't know what's to blame altho' we've been muttering about getting old! I'd never given much thought to the CFS symptoms before, but it's interesting how many of them are similar to those of fibromyalgia. Both are very elusive ailments to diagnose. I hope your blood tests help. You'd hate to sleep away your short-lived summer!

  2. There must be milder cases of fibromyalgia but I've only heard of the severe ones. Chronic joint pain and tender spots. Thankfully, that's not my problem. Sure I've got those aches and pains associated to my age, but that's to be expected.

  3. My energy level took a hit a coupla years ago when I hit 50, but there are times when the 'Old Dave' can still run & jump like an Olympian. Yesterday I stepped on a rattlesnake - result? - a 6'6" high jump from a standing position followed by a 12' broad jump while still in mid-air. I Kung Fu'd the snake into the woods, walked into the garage & found another one! (Lots of rain - the're coming outta the jungle behind the house.) I let Deb handle snake number 2. I didn't want to pull a muscle. Union rules allow for only one snake handling session per day down here. (Oh Relax! - 2nd snake was dead - Wouldn't matter though, she's not afraid of 'em. She'll do anything to get a good wildlife photo. Check out her gator close-ups.)

  4. Sending you energy, Joylene. I usually have some to spare. Lucky me, right? I am lucky that way, but I feel cycles too. Hope yours is as simple as a cycle that'll be over soon.

    Dave, you should write a exercise book that uses rattlesnakes as a motivational device.
    potential titles:
    Snake, rattle, and run.
    Exercising: it beats a snakebite.
    No fang, no gain.

  5. We don't have rattlers up here in central BC. Darn! hahaha

    Keith, I'm not at all surprised that you have enough energy to spare. You and Judy amaze me. And inspire me too.


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