What an odd feeling.
The sore muscles in my hips and legs, the consequences of walking a little further Sunday and Monday than I should have, given my general out-of-shape-ness, are fine today. This I expected. Disused muscles tend to yelp for a while after being forced to do more than they’re used to, but they heal and get stronger fairly quickly. De nada.
However, both my hip joints are still vaguely achy and feel, when I stand up fromsitting and go to walk, like they’re loose and shifting a little with each step. I feel (and probably look) like a chubby Pinocchio whose strings are being moved by a half-drunk puppeteer.
While the pain level is quite low and tolerable, that strange, shifty feeling is really disconcerting. When I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I very nearly stumbled over myself and had to grab blindly for the edge of the desk to keep from pitching forward onto my face. Of course, I was sleepy, still half in a dream, but by the time I got down the hall to the bathroom, I was wide awake, stumping along and muttering “ow” with each step.
I’ve written recently about how there are moments when the joints in my fingers feel as if they shift a bit sideways when I grasp and lift things. It doesn’t happen every time, but when it does the sensation is unmistakable. And it’s new. In the early years after I was diagnosed with RA, I had frequent pain. Sometimes it was so severe that I could barely tolerate moving the involved joint; at times even touching it made me wince. But I never felt disjointed.
It’s cold and raining/sleeting/snowing again today, so Finny and I won’t be taking another long tramp on the trail. Instead, I’ll do the exercises I was taught by my physical therapist, including the ones she gave me for the hips. When I asked for her to teach me those, I was thinking in terms of an amorphous “someday,” when it was possible my hips would join my hands, ankles and feet in the RA free-for-all. But I didn’t think I’d need them so soon.
Ah, well. This is something to ask my rheumatologist about when I see him in mid-May. But I’ll be honest: It’s times like this when I wish I could reach him by telephone or e-mail for a quick answer. But the VA medical system is such that I can’t do that. I can call the general health advice nurse, but I already know she can’t tell me much about this situation, and will only advise me to visit the VA’s version of the emergency room if it continues to bother me. I won’t do that. While shifty hips are an odd feeling, and worrisome, they’re not an emergency. I truly hate to waste an ER doctor’s time when there are so many vets that need her help far more urgently than I do.
I’m guessing that my long walks stretched the ligaments holding my hip joints in place a bit more than expected; it seems my RA is now affecting my joints in a slightly different way than it did in the past.
Like the spring weather in the mountains, RA is always changing. I guess there’s comfort to be had in knowing that change, however surprising at the moment, is always a certainty with this disease.