Spoke too soon

Naturally, within 24 hours of hooting like a fool in public about my wondrous lack of rheuma pain, I began hurting.

Wouldn’t you know.

I’m not religious, but the words “God is not mocked!” come immediately to mind (A leftover, perhaps, of many wriggly Sundays spent in church with my cousins when I was small. Or maybe it was Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments who said that, and it stuck. Wait. Was it Spartacus? Did Heston play Spartacus? Naw, Kirk Douglas was Spartacus.)

Never mind. Because if there’s really an all-powerful, kindly, loving Supreme Being in charge of Everything in the Universe (including little ol’ me), why would He/She/It be so petty and thin-skinned as to punish me for being happy about not hurting? Do I deserve being zapped for the sin of pride? Hmmm. I can almost hear Her/Him/It: “You think you’re so smart? Well, try a little of this!”

Nah. I think I was simply mistaken. I’d rather not believe in a God who acts like a spoiled 12-year-old when He/She/It gets Her/His/It’s nose out of joint. We’ll just move on.

There is good news. (This would not be a bona fide Wren post if there wasn’t a silver lining, right?) It’s not rheuma pain I’m feeling. It’s that danged bursitis.

Yep. Both hips. It started as a little twinge now and then when I walked. I was determined to ignore it. No, I told myself, that’s not real pain. That’s just a little poke. Nothing to see here, move along! So you just sat on your fat arse for too long, that’s all. Naturally you’d feel like someone put gravel in your hip joints. Shoot, that’s nothing but a little stiffness and … OK, pain. There. I said it. But it’s hardly any. And even if it is actual pain, it won’t last. In fact, as soon as I get distracted by something else (it helps to have the attention span of a crow in a jewelry box. Oooh shiny!) I won’t even feel it anymore. See? What pain? Ouch. Dang … (rubs hip with fingers) …

Of course the little twinge turned into a big one before long, and as of this morning, both hip-joints ache when I’m sitting or laying down, and howl at me when I stand up and walk around. I was convinced for so long that this was rheuma, but no. Both my rheumatologist and my regular doc say it’s bursitis. Fine. Be that way.

So I pulled out the sheet of exercises my regular doctor gave me when I last saw her, the ones that are supposed to help get rid of inflammation in the bursae (which I promptly filed away and did not do because I wasn’t hurting at the time. Smart, right?)

First, I got down on the floor and stretched out on my back. You’re supposed to be on a hard surface. I did the simple stretching exercises (only a little difficult to do while the local Schnottie licks your face and bounces on your stomach, totally delighted with this new game).

Well, that wasn’t too bad. Emboldened, I slipped out to the living room and stole Shadow’s tennis ball. He hadn’t been chewing on it recently, so it wasn’t wet and slimy. Just a little … crusty. No problem, I’m wearing an old t-shirt and jeans today, and I’m not expecting a visit from President Obama tonight. As my daughter would say, “It’s all good.”

I looked at the instructions. “While on your side, place the tennis ball between the tender point on your hip and the floor and relax your full weight onto it. Remain in that position until the pain stops.”

When my cool, hippy-dippy VA primary care doc explained this exercise to me a few weeks ago, I winced just thinking about it. She’d only just pressed two stiff fingers into the tender point on my hip, causing me to jerk and yelp. If she could cause that much instantaneous pain just by pressing that spot for a second, I could only imagine what doing this … exercise … would feel like.

She said it would hurt. But she also said it would help.

So I got down on my side. While Finny wiggled and bounced and barked and tried to take it away from me, I put the tennis ball between my hip and the floor, right at that tender place. I steeled myself and relaxed my weight onto it.

“Oh, holy @*#!”

I mean, !*#@! that hurts! Imagine, if you will, a blunt iron railroad spike digging mercilessly into your hip joint. Imagine just letting it. Then imagine staying in that position until the steel spike doesn’t hurt anymore. When is that? When you pass out from the agony?

I managed about 20 seconds on my right hip. That is not long enough, apparently, for the pain to go away, because it didn’t. In fact, it intensified until I was turning the air blue. I have to admit I chickened out on the left hip.

I’m not beaten, though. The tennis ball is right here on my desk, still crusty with dried Shadow slobber. I think it’s laughing at me. And my hips continue to ache. So I’m going to try again in a little while. You know, once the trauma-memory fades a bit and the tramadol kicks in.

Remind me not to brag about being pain-free again, OK?

14 thoughts on “Spoke too soon

  1. OUCH!

    That sounds awfully painful – and you’re awfully brave to try it! You’re right, of course; it seems we’re always speaking too soon with this disease. I hope, if you try the tennis ball again, it’s easier, and it helps. If not, I’m sure Finny would be glad to put it to another use. 🙂



  2. Yep, never mess with a streak. When I was racing motorcycles, if we won, we didn’t wash our leathers (riding pants). We would just zip them back up in our gear bag and forget about them until the next race. I won four races in a row one year … my buddies were ready to kill me, my gear bag smelled so bad! I washed them after that race and didn’t win the rest of the season.

    Hope you get to feeling better Wren. This disease sucks!


  3. Lay on a tennis ball? That’s crazy! Did either of your docs think to give you a cortisone injection? (or maybe you’re taking pred – I forget)

    I hope you have different exercises to try, Wren. If not, I’d be happy to share the ones given by my PT. Hope you’re doing better soon.


  4. Oh Wren, so sorry you’re hurting again. :o( Does sound like a mad, crazy ‘exercise’ – sounds like all it would do is maybe deaden the nerve if you did to for long enough, which doesn’t sound too healthy! Very weird. Very confusing for poor Finny too!!

    Get better soon!

    P x


  5. Oh no! Poor Wren! Love the bit about “God is not mocked.” I don’t really think of Him as a sulky 12 year old, either, but it does bring a smile to the face, doesn’t it?

    I have bursitis in my hips, too. My exercises are not like yours, apparently. Mine can be done on a soft surface and do not involve tennis balls. That sounds so very painful. 😦 I’m sorry it has to hurt more to get better.

    Hope you get to feeling better soon!


  6. Wren: I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Poor you. It’s weird. I woke up this morning wondering how your hips were doing since you hadn’t posted about them in a while. Ice packs ought to give you some temporary relief, but I agree with Socks that if you’re that sore, an injection may be the right answer — if you can take one with your other meds. I hate those things when I get them, but when they work, they’re miraculous. Keep us posted!


  7. Darn it, Wren…

    I’m knocking on wood for you right now…I hope you start feeling better again soon. I’ve had hip bursitis (from some unusual gym workouts) and it is not fun…

    Hope your day is a good one.


  8. Hope you and your hips are feeling better soon – although sounds like Finny’s getting a whole lot of fun out of the situation! Take care of yourself and keep us posted! 🙂 L


  9. Well, that tennis ball thing sounds like torture. It appears to be like the rollers you can use on your muscles to disperse lactic acid but much worse. At least the rollers spread the load over the whole surface of the leg.
    Funny how no matter how painful something is we are so happy to find out it isn’t RA related. Even if it is a pain that will reoccure just like ra.
    Hope you feel better soon.


  10. Why is it that when we share our good news, it instantly turns around on us? Since announcing my good news, I have had some rough moments – still not as bad as I have had, but not as good either. I am so sorry you are hurting. Feel good soon! I will be sending good thoughts.


  11. I can’t really get behind the vengeful god-thing either. I choose to believe in love, beauty, kindness, acceptance and warmth.

    And, eeek! on that tennis ball incident! Yikes. I like a lot of pressure on the knot of muscle on my shoulder blade, but I would NOT like pressure on somthing sensitive and inflamed. Gentle hugs your way, Wren 🙂


  12. Don’t feel bad Wren. We all hoot about how well we feel then we feel worse in the morning. You should have waited until you had less pain for the exercising – why add injury to insult. 🙂 Feel better soon.


  13. Don’t you know hip bursitis is one of those things brought about by RA, so the only way to fix it is to bring the RA under more control or get those injections.

    Great Post though-
    RA SB


  14. Pingback: bursitis update … « RheumaBlog

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