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The Long Day: How We Cope


I wanted to title this “The Long-Ass Day,” but thought Psych Central’s editors might not appreciate that. And it’s not as if it would be a likely search term. I happen to be facing an unusually challenging day tomorrow and thought this is probably a thing for a lot of us—going into a day that will require many more “spoons” than we are usually issued in the morning. (If you’re not up on spoon theory, check out this great article

Tomorrow morning I need to travel to Seattle, 90 miles south, to see my eye doctor. Why travel so far, you ask? Aren’t there excellent ophthalmologists in Bellingham? Yes, there are. But Dr. Kinney is the whole package—she nails my prescription every time, and her amazing frame consultant, Linde Risdon, measures the various angles for my progressive lenses with care, and adjusts my frames perfectly, for the best vision I can possibly achieve. When so much else is wrong with my body, I love being able to take my crystal-clear vision for granted. Every time I come home from my annual trek down, I think this is crazy and I should find someone closer to home. And when I realize it’s time for a visit, I dial Dr. Kinney’s office again, because I know it’s going to go right.

Most of my clients are in Seattle as well, and I like to check in on them in person during the hours I have to kill before the Bolt Bus takes me home. I take the bus because driving for that length of time is hard on me physically (especially all the head turning), and I know I don’t have the ability to track what’s going on around me the way I once did. My bandwidth has narrowed as I expend more energy on my immediate physical environment, and the harrowing chaos of multilane traffic is too much. And the ordeal of finding parking in Seattle! Forget about it.

The Bolt Bus is a fairly new service, so their fleet is in good condition, and the seats are still cushy new. Every seat has two outlets in the console in front of it, a drink holder, a cargo net for your books and whatnot, and there is a restroom on the bus. The whole bus has wifi, but it can be slow for streaming and I download a movie before I go.

I would prefer the train where walking around is possible, but it’s $25 more and there’s no chance of getting an earlier ride home on standby like there is with the bus.

I usually bring a roller bag with me to keep the weight of carried items off my body, but it’s awkward on the bus and my roller bag is in storage, so I’ll carry an African wool market basket with a round flat bottom. I’ll pack light—just an e-reader, my bulk phone charger, and some snacks. My new purse is a fanny pack to keep the weight off my shoulder.

I’ll arrive in Seattle about 10 AM. I’ll have 3 ½ hours before my eye appointment. I plan to visit a client on the waterfront and then have lunch. Then there’s the appointment, with the uncomfortable positions at the phoropter, the dilation and the glaucoma “puff” test, all of which contribute to my pain level.

I’ll leave the eye doctor’s office around 3:00, my usual afternoon nap time. The bus doesn’t leave for home until 6. I’ll go down to the International District where it departs and try to get a standby seat on the 4:00 trip. That will probably fail, and I’ll go to Uwajimaya, the enormous Asian grocery and gift store, and shop and get a light meal to eat on the bus home. I’ll nurse a cup of tea in the food court; my eyes will probably still be too messed up from dilation to read my e-book.

I know from past experience that I’ll be near tears by the time the bus arrives. I’ll wait patiently for my boarding group to be called. I’ll have the third episode of Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” to watch on the bus, but I’ll probably fall asleep before we reach the University District.

It will be light out at 8:00 and my neighbors will probably all be out in our shared garden. If I can manage it, I’ll go say hello and check on my plants. Odds are I’ll try to sneak inside without being noticed, but they’ll probably notice me and bounce me like Tigger, and I’ll try to greet them with some warmth. We’re a close-knit bunch but they’re still learning about my issues.

When I get inside, I’ll have my usual routine to follow—set up the coffee maker to click on at 6:00 AM, change out and wash the cat dishes, and scoop the litter boxes, before I can collapse in my easy chair and catch a TV show before bed. As I do these tasks, I’ll be staggering with exhaustion and pain. I won’t check my work email. There won’t be anything I can do that late anyway.

It will take a day or two to recover from the high pain level tomorrow will bring. I dearly hope that with the improvement of the last 4 months, I’ll have an easier time than I expect.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? What does your long-ass day look like?

The Long Day: How We Cope

Kristin Noreen

Kristin Noreen lives in Bellingham, Washington with two cats and her vintage touring bicycle, Silver. Her triple passions are animal rescue, long-distance bike touring, and writing. Her book, On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed, is about reinventing her life following a catastrophic injury.

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APA Reference
, . (2019). The Long Day: How We Cope. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Jun 2019
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