Yesterday Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy felt like the ground fell out from underneath his feet. Normally this wouldn’t have been so bad since he has a cape to help him during these exact types of situations…but as luck would have it, the cape was at the dry cleaners.
Following my 4 a.m. wake-up call, the morning continued to get even worse. The pain continued to spread, and my joints got so stiff and painful (all of them, it seemed) that walking became extremely difficult. I wanted to just drop into bed and get away from it all…which I actually did, but after five minutes things just seemed to get worse, so I forced myself to get up and to go back at sit in my office chair.
I felt like I was losing control of my mind…I didn’t know what to do. The pain was so bad, and seemed to have come on so suddenly that once again I just seemed to forget about all of my previous coping tools. But little by little, I started figuring out what to to. I sent an email to my family members, asking them for prayers of support. I called my psychologist, and she scheduled some time for me to visit during the afternoon. I continued to move around – as difficult as it was – and even went outside to get a little sun and some fresh air.
And then when the pain continued to worsen, and my mind began to spiral into confusion, I decided that if I could not get away from this pain, as bad as it might be, that I might as well welcome it and -strange as it may sound – find comfort in it. I begin to envision my pain as a thick quilt that was wrapped around me. (You know, on those cold winter days when you wrap yourself with your warmest blanket, from around your ears all the way down to your feet.)
Once I did this, it didn’t seem as bad anymore. It actually felt better…and somewhat protective. (Odd, no?) The worst was not over, but at least I once again had control of my thoughts. I started looking forward to lunch. I spoke with my sister. I still could not see through to the end of my day, but I started thinking about activities that would get me through the day. Lunch. My afternoon session with my therapist. My evening class. Maybe a movie at home afterward.
I had lunch. I placed my wide-grip handle on my fork. I used my angled knife. I cut my own food and I fed myself. Things were looking up. I reminded myself that it was okay to use both hands to lift my glass of water. I had a warm cup of tea afterward…something that I was unable to lift only a few hours before. Things were looking up!
I eventually made it through the rest of my day. The pain started to decrease. No, it didn’t go away completely, but instead returned to it’s previous “normal” level. All of a sudden, returning to just normal levels of chronic pain seems like a blessing.
Last night I slept well. I slept in late, in order to make up for the tiring and stressful previous 24 hours. Luckily it’s Saturday, so I can take it easy. Maybe read a book or catch some college football. My body has taken a beating and is still in recovery mode…but I’ll be nice to it, and I am sure that it will soon feel much better.
Here’s hoping that everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!