One of the less frequently discussed but much noticed improvements that I have undergone during the past few weeks has been the fact that my joints are no longer audible.
For the longest time, every subtle movement or change in position resulted in the inevitable popping on my joints – ranging from the deep dull pop in my knees to the high-pitched scale of musical notes that rang out from my fingers and toes.
It even got to a point where I felt like I was my own musical instrument. More than that still, I was an entire collection of musical instruments. Deep down inside, I secretly referred to the constant noise that was caused by my rheumatoid arthritis as “my own personal symphony”.
During those periods where moving my joints proved difficult, these sound effects were sort of like the ball that temporarily bounces back and forth in between the blinking bumpers on the arcade game – ding ding ding! Yes, I finally was able to move my left ankle, and I have the sound to prove it. Score! (Yes Tommy, I too can be a pinball wizard…)
At other times, having audible joints was not always been so welcome. This was usually the case during yoga class. (Well, at least any classmate who had any doubt about the reality of my invisible illness were soon enough convinced, if not by the sound of the words out of my mouth then by the sounds of the shouts that were being emitted directly from my joints!) As we started to slowly rotate our hands and feet as we came out of the deep relaxation at the end of class, the silence in the room was always interrupted by my noisy joints. I felt so embarrassed.
So very zen. I have a collection of Japanese garden bells hanging outside of my house. The noise they make is beautiful. When there is no wind all you hear is an occasional ring now and then. On a gusty day, it seems like they are in competition to see which one can be the loudest. Next time my body is stiff and creaky, I’ll just meditate and pretend that I have the little bells hanging all over me.
I have a pug – Oliver – who is a little over a year old. When he came home as a puppy, I knew next to nothing about this type of dog. I learned soon enough that their flattened noses means they also have a very restricted nasal passage, which causes them to snore, gasp, breath hard, and snort all day (and night) long. One of the benefits of his constant nose is that I always know where he is without having to look up. When he comes into the room, I know he is there. When he leaves the room, I know he is gone.
When my joints are singing their own tune, I have no doubt that other people can easily know when I enter and leave the room.
I am silent at the moment, but I have no doubt that once again in the future I will once again start performing my own personal symphony. Hearing my joints used to terrify me…next time, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the music.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!