Wake Up Call

telephoneRheumatoid Arthritis Guy received a wake up call very early this morning – at 4 a.m, to be exact. The funny thing is that I don’t recall having placed such a wake up call with the front desk…but when I stay at the RA Hotel, I never know what might happen!

Sure, I’m quite used to receiving minor disturbances during the night when I stay at this hotel. Sometimes, while tossing around during the night, I realize that RA had a party in my room and didn’t invite me…but definitely left me a big mess to clean up. Last night was different, though. I’m talking full bugle-blaring-in-my-ears wake up call. The Goldberg’esque wake up contraption that starts each episode of Wallace and Gromit couldn’t have done a better job…except instead of being dropped into a chair at the dining room and having my breakfast served to me (as if), it felt like I was dropped onto a concrete sidewalk.

No one ever said that being a superhero was going to be an easy job. The worst part, I have to admit, are the hours. I’ve even tacked up a sign on my home office door that says:

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy
8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

But RA never seems to pay much attention to this sign…it calls whenever it wants to. And last night, it called at 4 a.m.

I guess this is as good a time as any to point out that even though I have made great strides during this past week in regards to my emotional health…my physical health once again seems to be spinning out of control. In addition to appearing where it always shows up first: feet, ankles, knees, hands, wrists, and elbows – this time around it seems to be spreading further. (Unfortunately, RA is not like mayo…the more it spreads, the thicker it actually gets!)

Last week I noticed that it had started venturing into my hips….it never even seemed to have noticed the existence of my hips before, so this was a somewhat ominous sign. And then, two nights ago, it started attacking my shoulders…so much so that for the first time ever, I could see visible signs of swelling and redness in my shoulders. And then last night, my RA must have been like “spinal column and ribcage, what are those doing there? I want to visit!”

During the last five years my (moderate to severe) RA has affected my back and my ribs only a handful of times. Last night was one of this times.

So when I woke up at 4 a.m. with pain absolutely everywhere (actually, “pain” doesn’t even do justice to what it was that I was feeling), for the first time in a long time, I felt myself losing it. Panic. How can I possibly get through this, when even the movement that results from my breathing was creating extreme pain? Before I knew it, I dropped my awareness of everything around me…even my body, to some extent, and focused on my breathing.

Even though reducing my sphere of existence was a frightening experience, it did help. Within a few minutes, the tears (okay, sobs) stopped, and my heart rate lowered. I felt well enough to actually attempt to close my eyes and fall back to sleep. I received hugs from my partner, and I envisioned myself receiving hugs from everyone I know, as I drifted back into sleep.

My last conscious thought was that once the sun came up in a few hours, things were going to be better. I was going to start my day like any other day, and continue to move forward. I would have indeed made it through another very difficult moment.

Here I am.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

*****
Updated: It seems like a lot of us have been having our sleep interrupted recently. Be sure to take a look at Attitude of Gratitude’s Sleepus Interruptus.

11 Comments
11 comments
  1. Rebecca Newport says:

    Wow! I could have written this! My dr. told me at my last visit that RA shouldn’t effect my hips when I told him my hips were bothering me. Since that visit, my hips have gotten worse and worse. It is good to hear someone else having hip problems. Helps me to know I am not crazy. LOL

    Hope you have a better day!

  2. Sara says:

    I had one of those nights, two nights ago…… And like you, my Arthritis seems to have decided to attack areas that previously its left alone….. Namely hips and shoulders! Really hope your flare settles soon. (((hugs)))

  3. Aimee says:

    I keep looking for the snooze button…haven’t found it yet. Whever my RA has a party without me I have my own little party, usually a glass of wine, or hot chocolate, some sinful chocolate cake…nothing big but something that I love and can truly enjoy whether my RA is flaring or not!

  4. WarmSocks says:

    :-(
    That sounds awful! From what you’ve described recently, this sounds more like a worsening of symptoms than a flare. Is your rheumy doing something different with your meds to help? Hope you’re able to get things under control soon!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Yes! I awakened at 5am with shoulders on fire. I finally made it out of bed and discovered I couldn’t reach the coffee filters – YIKES!! Now, can I get on the stool without falling? I managed, but my energy levels were about gone. Managed to make the coffee for the Ol’ Curmudgeon, and I am now going to nap. GAAAAAH! I need a life!

  6. Lana says:

    RA Guy – I know your intention was not a teary-eyed mother with RA and Fibro, and if I wasn’t at work, I would have been crying uncontrollably. I saw your trying to make lemons into lemonade metaphor in your post, but I also saw what some of my days are like as well. Lately, it seems like it is most of my days. Yes, I wake up feeling that my shoulders are on fire or that my hips, yes the doctor says it is not possible, hurt like a 70 year old’s do. RA doesn’t know when to leave me alone especially when I deserve a good night’s sleep after a long day of trying (quite often failing) to be Super Mom. I guess RA expects us to be on-call. All you can do is learn to be positive because all those RA newbies need to see that in us. I hope you start to feel better soon, and keeping making lemonade.

  7. Di says:

    OH how I hate those wake up calls!!! It is very odd to me when I have those nights where excrutiating pain wakes me up….but by mid-day the pain is completely gone to return again in the wee hours in the morn. RA can be SO RUDE!!! My routine is now….roll over and pop a pain pill….turn my hot pad on high…hobble into the bathroom and have a hot shower or bath while I listen to classical, calming music. Head back to bed and to my BF and constant companion – my hot pad!!! I learned long ago that if I just stay in bed and try to fight the pain…I only aggravate it by my stress! Hang in there my friend!

  8. Wren says:

    Your sense of humor is a gift, RA Guy. I’ve done the 4 a.m. wakeup thing too. It’s no fun. And it is odd how many docs seem to think that RA doesn’t affect the hips. I’m here to prove otherwise, like lots of other commenters here. Shoulders, too. It hasn’t (knocks on wood, hard) attacked my back so far, though. I hope your day has improved, friend, and that you’ll be allowed a good, long night’s sleep tonight.

  9. marisa dasilva says:

    I’m so sorry about your terrible night … I know how it is.
    So I’m sending you a big hug ( but not to tight … I know it hurts ) :)
    Just keep your good humor, it definetely helps !!!
    I wish you all the best.

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