On Friday evening, I found the mother lode of pain located – conveniently enough – in my right wrist. The most intense episode lasted about an hour. When it passed, I proudly reminded myself about how such episodes in the past used to emotionally knock me down for days, which did not seem to be the case anymore. Sure, these episodes continue to be difficult to get through, but at least I seem to be a little more “prepared” for them.
Yesterday afternoon, when I was at physical therapy, we once again reached the point where the maximum electrotherapy current was being delivered to my ankles, and I couldn’t feel a thing. In the past, I used to break down right at that moment, as it served as a objective and stark reminder of exactly how much pain I was in. Yesterday, I held my head up high as I remembered this, and told myself that I would get through this episode as I have gotten through other episodes.
Later during the day, I completely lost the use of my left hand for more than an hour. As luck would have it, this coincided with the time when we sat down to eat a meal. In the past, I would have have been reluctant to ask for help and would have instead struggled to cut my own food, resulting in even more pain. Yesterday, I calmly asked for help, and even through I am left-handed, I used my right hand to lift my fork. When a small glass of jello was served for dessert, I propped it up in between my knees and scooped it up with a spoon – without so much as a second thought. I once again felt proud of myself.
And as evening came, I continued to marvel at how well I seemed to be coping with all of my latest challenges.
But when nighttime arrived, and when all of my joints (including my shoulders – those have not been affected in months) were simultaneously experiencing intense pain and inflammation, my wall of cheery thoughts and personal pride came tumbling down. All of a sudden, it was once again just too much to handle.
So I cried. (Sobbed, actually.) My mind raced around, and I barely knew up from down. I tried reminding myself that the worst would eventually pass (which it did), but during those many minutes the pain seemed to be more than I could bare, and all of my connections with the world around me seemed to disappear.
Little by little, they started to come back. My partner ran around in the way he knows how to during moments like those, and plugged in the aromatherapy machine (whose scents always give me a sense of balance during crisis moments like this), heated up a buckwheat pillow to wrap around my ankles, and prepared a cup of hot tea.
So yes, I crumbled pretty hard last night. I used to be ashamed of moments like the one from last night, but not anymore. I got through it, as difficult as it was. And in the end, isn’t this something to be proud of?
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!