Oh, that low, mean ache.
It’s like both my hands are nauseated.
Yesterday was not much fun. Hands were ugly-sore. My right shoulder twinged and stabbed when I moved. I’d hoped to go for my workout in the morning, but had to bow to the rheuma dragon once again. Even driving to the gym would have hurt too much.
It was the second day in a row. My hands had been bad on Friday, too, so that day I took a two-mile walk in lieu of my whole-body workout. It felt good. I’d outfoxed the RA dragon. Oh, was I clever!
But I had to concede defeat yesterday. I didn’t berate myself for it (much). After all, I told myself, I’d been busy and productive in spite of the beast for almost two weeks. I’d just take a good rest. So there!
I was pleasantly surprised when I found, as I got out of bed this morning, that my shoulder was once again pain-free and my hands only ached a little bit. In spite of not sleeping very well! I got dressed, trying not to let myself get too excited. But hey, the longer I was up, the better I felt. I started making plans for the day: grocery shopping, some work in the garden (including more leaf sweeping), housework. Strip the beds, do laundry. Carpets need vacuuming and the floors swept. Bathrooms need blowtorched. And when all that was done, I’d put on my walking shoes and set off on another two-mile walk as a reward.
There was a time when a long walk would have seemed like a tedious chore, not a reward. It’s the small things I’m grateful for, you know?
I made breakfast sandwiches for myself and my daughter, Cary, who works on Sundays. It was while I was cooking the egg for the second sandwich that the ache in my right hand suddenly intensified. No warning.
I yelped and swore. It always helps, at least mentally.
I finished making breakfast. The ache persisted. It ramped up. I washed up the dishes using the hottest water I could stand, letting it stream over my hands.
And now it’s nearly mid-day. What I can do is limited. I can type as long as I rest my hands every couple of sentences (and cuss under my breath). I can’t lift the electric kettle to pour hot water for tea, though. Hubby had to do that for me. I can’t open the fridge. Hubby tied a dishtowel around the handle, looped so I can slip my hand through and pull the door open with my arm.
He forgot to do one for the freezer handle. I can’t open it, either, but he’s off to get a couple of quarts of goat milk from a local farm and run a few other errands. I’ll ask him later. I don’ t need anything out of the freezer right now, anyway.
With rheumatoid arthritis you never know what to expect. One of the more frustrating and aggravating aspects of the disease is its sheer unpredictability. One day – one hour, even – you’ll be feeling just fine. The next, not so much. One day – or minute – the pain will be merely an annoyance, a persistent, sharp-toothed rat nibbling on the edges of your consciousness. The next, the rat has turned into a hyena with steel jaws and a sledgehammer.
All utterly invisible, of course. If you’re not careful, people will think you’re being a bit melodramatic. Even slightly nuts.
Still, I’m not in a truly dark mood. To stave that off, I’m forcing myself to look at the bright side. My shoulder IS good today. I can walk without pain, so I’m looking forward to hitting the El Dorado Trail late this afternoon with Cary. The weather is gorgeous – mid-70s, breezy and sunny. Perfect for another two-mile tramp. The crackly dead leaves will still be scattered all over the patio tomorrow (along with about a ton more). Meh. They can wait. So can the housework. I’ve got a couple more days before the mess is so bad that the Housework Police will threaten to shut us down. Until then, we’ll get by.
As soon as I’m finished writing this, I’m going to go dip my hands in hot paraffin, close my eyes and meditate while the warmth soothes their nagging belly-aches. Then I’ll have a nap.
Happy Sunday, everyone.
I think the unpredictability of RA is what’s causing the most problems for me. One hour I’m fine and then the next I’m in so much pain I can hardly move. I completely understand the typing and then taking a break. I just realized last week that my continuous typing is going to be a problem.
I’m glad you have a hubby that’s there to help you. Thank you for all the help you’ve given me with dealing with the RA. I greatly appreciate it.
My hands have always been my worst joints – pain that makes me gasp pulling on gloves and hits suddenly while I’m carrying a carton of milk from the fridge to the counter, so the milk hits the ground and explodes everywhere.
I’m glad you still found things you could do and enjoy, and I hope the parrafin helped. Rest up and go easy on yourself – mentally and physically.
Splinter: The only things predictable about rheuma is that it’s unpredictable and that it hurts. I like to think of that bit of pre-knowledge like ultra-light, invisible body armor that I wear all the time, day or night, just in case of an attack. At any rate, I’m glad to be your ally. It’s nice to have someone on your side, someone who knows the score.
Helen: In the past, my feet were affected more than my hands — at least, that’s how I remember it. So this go-round is striking me where I’m most vulnerable. As a writer, the idea of not being able to use them strikes fear in my heart. But I’m doing everything I can to fight back. Thanks for the kind words. Today IS better than yesterday.