In 2006, I made my maiden voyage back into the library. Walked in, walked around, walked out, fell into Al's car. He drove me home, and I went to bed for the rest of the afternoon.
Wiped, but triumphant. I held onto that triumph tightly. Felt pathetic, but feisty.
A few days later I went back. Al was again posted in the car out front. The plan was, I would pick out some books, and I would come get him so he could carry them out for me.
Sounds romantic, no? No, I'm afraid this was just hard-nosed strategy. My arms and hands were so sore and tender at that time that if I carried more than one book out to the car, the pain would flair dramatically for weeks afterward.
I chose some books, which wore me out. Then I needed to get a new library card. That meant I had to fill out a small form, which I couldn't do. My right hand could barely hold a pen.
They only wanted my address, phone number and signature but this was beyond me. I had to ask the librarian to fill most of it out for me, and then it took everything I had to sign the card.
I signalled Alan, and he came in to get my books. We looked like a couple of sweethearts, though really we were an invalid and a caregiver. Well, yeah, we were sweethearts too, but with more serious things on our minds back then.
He did this for me once a week, for two years. I would take out seven books at a time so I wouldn't have to go through the ordeal more often than once a week. I seemed to be able to handle that.
Eventually I was even able to chat with the librarian, though it took some months before I had that kind of energy and clarity.
A small chunk of my life, arduously reclaimed.
I spent 15 years losing the battle against CFS. Two years ago, I found treatment that worked for me, and now I am making a comeback.