Black-DragonHe’s awake.

Sure, he’s still sleepy. He’s clumsy, a little disoriented, his dreams only partly shredding away as he stretches his limbs and slowly uncurls his long, spiky tail, which he switches back and forth like a cat when he’s alert and hunting.

He has outrageous morning breath. Dragon-breath. It burns.

The dragon yawns. Snaps his jaws. A hot bolt flashes through my knee, causing me to cry out in pain and surprise. Then, just like that, the pain is gone. I flex the joint, shake my head and go about my business, and I soon forget the incident. But in the back of my mind, a few levels down and out of sight, I’m wary. Once upon a time, a long time ago, I’d have blithely gone on my way, carefree and unaware of the danger ahead. When the dragon ambushed me and attacked, I’d fight him and come out alive but wounded.

See, I’ve been this way before. Here there be dragons.

Am I being childish, giving my rheumatoid arthritis a tangible form, however imaginary? Maybe so, but it helps me cope with the fear, reducing this incurable, dreadfully painful and disabling disease down into a monster of more reasonable, less frightening proportions. Today, when the rheuma dragon tries to bite, I’m ready. I’m wearing a fine, strong coat of mail made of interwoven molecules of adalimumab, leflunomide, plaquenil, and sulfasalazine. Over it I wear the hardened armor of knowledge. My sword is light and strong, forged out of hard-won experience.

But most important, my spirits are high. I’ve streaked my face and body with the woad of hope, mixed liberally with laughter. There is no better weapon against the rheuma dragon than this. It’s the first defense—and the last. As long as I wear my blue woad, he cannot penetrate the stone castle of my body.

Yes, the dragon can hurt me. He can scar my ramparts and dig at my foundation with his thick, sharp claws, but he cannot get in, ever, unless I lose my hope and quell my laughter.

12 thoughts on “Dragon

  1. Really wonderful. Just perfect. I hope the humira puts the dragon into hibernation for a good long time.


  2. Love this! Exactly how I am feeling Hope both our dragons fly far far away and sleep for a long time!


    • Oh, me too, Carla. So far–and it’s only been about four days since the first injection–the only difference is that my normal clogged sinuses from allergy have turned into a raging torrent, requiring many tissues and muttered epithets. Wrists, ankles, feet, and fingers remain, well, bleh. But hey–I know the stuff is working, at least. 😉


  3. Hi, Wren. Thanks for adding a word to my vocabulary, woad. Blue at that, my favorite color. Wonderful allegory of what RA is truly like. You are always on guard. Always prepared to engage in battle. And that’s what lets us get, and keep, the upper hand. I’m hoping the Humira hurries up and delivers what it promises! Sending you good thoughts.


    • Hi, Irma!
      The ancient Picts and the Celts (maybe others, I’m not sure) streaked and decorated their bodies with blue woad before battle, hoping to scare their enemies, so outlandish and barbaric did they appear. Great idea, actually. 😉 Thanks for the kind wishes; the Humira can get to work anytime now, far as I’m concerned.


  4. I loved the way you weav your words describing your enemy in the best way to conquer it. I hope that your dragon goes into hibernation for a very long time and you don’t have to contend with its prickly scales and fiery breath. Wishing you health and wellness.


  5. Wren, I love this post. Hope the Humira works for you, it has done a pretty fair job for me. The stand out portion for me was, “my spirits are high”. The dragon can’t win against that my friend!


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