Chronic Pain and Fatigue – Managing Special Events

Photo (c) Megan S, November 2013
Photo (c) Megan S, November 2013

So this past weekend I had 2 major events in a row…

We had a friends wedding on Saturday and my father-in-law’s 60th on Sunday.

To enjoy both events and not increase my symptoms I had to carefully manage how I engaged with these events and the days surrounding them.

I have to say I didn’t do a perfect job at it, but it was my first try at this since being sick and over all I think I’ve come out fairly well.

Below are my tips for managing major events like these with chronic pain and fatigue…

  1. Decide whether it’s necessary to attend the event.
    I had several people telling me I should reconsider going to 2 events on the same weekend. However, I used the following questions to assess whether I thought the events were necessary (obviously the outcome was that both were):
    Are you, or someone very close to you, the reason for the event? (The wedding was for very close friends and obviously my FIL is a close relative)
    Would you be upset if you missed out on the event? Yes
    Are there any extra reasons for attending the event (other than the main one)? I hadn’t seen many of my close friends in the last 6 months, the wedding was a good opportunity to catch up with a large group of them at once.
    Is there some other way to celebrate without attending? Although I could have just sent E to both events with my well wishes, I felt it was important for me to be there.
  2. Have a plan and stick to it
    I did have a plan for both events, however I didn’t stick to my plan at the wedding and as a result I wasn’t as rested as I could be for the 60th.
    I had two days off from appointments before the weekend and planned to take it fairly slowly (spending time with my sister T on Friday but other than that just resting). I also had today (Monday) off to rest before my next appointments this week.
    I planned to rest between the ceremony and the reception (which I did) and leave around the time I would normally get ready for bed (8.30 pm) from the reception (this didn’t happen, I didn’t end up getting home and to bed until around midnight because I decided at the last minute I wanted to stay until dessert at least).
  3. Ensure you have time to rest BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER the event.
    I didn’t do so well on resting up before the events on the weekend. Although I had Thursday and Friday free of appointments and I did fairly well at resting up on Thursday, I ended up going out to lunch on Friday with T and dad. This ended up being a longer outing than I’d anticipated and so I didn’t get as much rest Friday as I should have had.
    During the wedding I did reasonably well, resting in the morning before the ceremony and heading to a friends house for a rest before the reception. However, plans didn’t go to plan (as mentioned above) and by the time we left the reception I knew I had definitely pushed past my limits for the day.
    I spent all of the following morning resting before the 60th and even went for a rest between the afternoon tea and the dinner. This seemed to help keep my energy levels stable and then I went to bed early that night.
    Today I’m planning to rest and do low level activities for most of the day.
  4. Ensure you have everything you need with you.
    Although I got comments from E, I made sure I’d packed everything I could think of needing into my bag for the wedding. I took a hot/cold pack, a blanket, cardigan, gloves, medicines, water, snacks, money, phone and tablet, lip balm, and meditation tracks. Apart from the hot/cold pack, the blanket and the money, I used all of these during the day.
  5. Relax and Have Fun!
    It’s a celebration, so enjoy yourself and participate to the best of your ability. Take the opportunity to talk to friends you don’t see very often and try to forget about your illness for the day.