heartsongs

Weaving my way around Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Some days you just have to rant

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Two more days of storms, two more days of stiff achy joints. My symptoms are mild, maybe a 2 or 3 on my scale, not a true flare, more like a kiddy roller coaster, but heading into week two, I’m more than ready to exit.

And, I’m filled with fear. Fear that doing too much will kick this into a real flare. Fear that not exercising enough is bad, too. Fear because I just don’t have enough experience to know what causes the flares to move from mild to bad.

Then there’s the boredom that comes with inactivity.

And there’s a constant push-me pull-me conversation in my head about how much to do or not do, what if I do and it makes it worse, what if I don’t do and it never gets any better than this, each day is precious and a lost day is gone. Life slips away so fast.

And I’m tired of focusing on me, needing to care for me, needing to put my needs first. It’s not who I’ve ever been, not who I think I am.

I’m working from home today. I just couldn’t face another day of insincere hallway greetings. How many times a day do I have to smile and say “Fine, how are you today?” in response to the “Hi, how are you?” proffered by everyone I pass by on the way down the hall. I never noticed this greeting until I started flaring. I don’t really want to tell them how I am, they don’t really want to know, they would be astounded to get anything but the broad smile and routine response; but somehow, I don’t like responding fine, when it’s not true. I don’t like to deny my reality. So, I need to come up with something clever, truthful, yet socially acceptable. Any ideas out there?

When I walk down the hall and the balls of my feet hurt with every step, my baby toe aches, I have to be conscious of every move, to not tweak my ankle, or my knee ,or whatever is talking the loudest today – how do I ignore all that and smile and say I’m fine?

And my family and friends are another story. They don’t need to know every day, or with every phone call, how I am. They can’t do anything, it doesn’t make it any better. I get bored with telling them how I am, yet feel isolated if they don’t know.

I’m getting skilled at adapting, so they don’t see the stiffness when I move, the subtle things I do to make my joints happier, the careful maneuvers to get out of a chair, don’t notice that I seldom sit on the floor any more, shun the couch because of its soft depth, use scissors to open everything, change how I get into and out of the car, to protect my knees, pack the grocery bags half full, and on and on and on. The constant vigilance around how I use my body is exhausting, in it’s own way.

I head for the mountains for a four-day weekend with my gal friends tomorrow. I’m hoping the cool, fall weather will bring a reprieve after the stormy sultry stuff we’ve had in the low lands. And I try to remember that my FIRST AND WORST EVER flare started this time last year, and the current flare is negligible compared to that one. So, all in all, I’m doing better than a year ago.

And ranting sometimes helps!

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Written by wovensongs

September 28, 2011 at 9:06 am

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