Over the past week, I have been dealing with a severe case of lumbalgia, or lower back pain. The muscles are so contracted they they are pressing down on the sciatic nerve, resulting in a sharp, disabling pain along the entire length of my left leg. After daily physical therapy session this past week, though, I am happy to share that the healing process is already in progress.
And while I’m definitely not a fan of the immobility and pain that I experience on a regular basis as a result of my rheumatoid arthritis, it was sort of interesting to experience immobility and pain in a situation that was totally not related to rheumatoid arthritis. (I know exactly what caused this injury – last week at the gym, for the first time, I did an advanced form of full-body abdominal exercise…the good news is that my abs were strong enough…the bad news is that my lower back was apparently not strong enough.)
But as Murphy’s law would have it, as soon as my back starts to get better, my rheumatoid arthritis is starting to get worse.
The good news: this flare is relatively limited to my hands and wrists.
The bad news: things quickly get (exponentially) more complicated when I am unable to use my hands.
Case in point – two days ago I was at a restaurant having lunch on my own. I was merrily going on about eating my meal, when all of a sudden my left hand and wrist completely flared up. Within what seemed a matter of only seconds, I could no longer use my left hand. I don’t know exactly how I felt at the moment. I wasn’t angry, or sad, or mad…I was just trying to figure out how the heck I was going to finish my meal. (I ended up using my one good hand and fork to cut and serve the remaining food, which come to think of it was quite an accomplishment.)
Yesterday afternoon, my left hand once again flared up in a matter of seconds. The good news is that this happened only minutes before I arrived to my afternoon physical therapy session. Instead of spending the hour working on my lower back, we had to dedicate all the time to get my left hand and wrist back into working order.
At the moment my hands and wrists are in quite a bit of pain. The good news is that it’s actually a distraction from the lower-level of pain that remains in my lower back. The bad news? They hurt like heck. Will they flare up again later today, resulting in temporary loss of use? I don’t know…but if they do, I’ll get through it and accommodate accordingly.
If I think of these hand flares as a challenge, a new puzzle that I need to figure out how to solve, then maybe I can make these occurrences just a little less physically and emotionally heavy. Does any one have any hints to the answer?
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!