I woke in the morning, thick with sleep – beyond my initial drowsiness, a dense stiffness lay siege over my tender joints. I turned my head, cringing at the rigid sensation streaming through the muscles in my neck. I sat up, or thought I did – I only imagined lifting my body from the bed, and I was still lying there wrapped in a strange viscosity. The feeling was unsettling. It reminded me of the time I was hit by a car – allow me to amend that, “hit” is such a weak word – “walloped” was more like it.
It happened a few years ago on a splendid summer morning; I went for a jog around the local park, returned home and got ready for work. I strolled along the sidewalk, enjoying the beauty of the day, stepped off a curb and….wham! The next thing I knew, I was sprawled out on the ground with no idea how I got there; I was treated to a ride in an ambulance, taken to hospital and lucky to leave with only soft tissue injuries. I was discharged the same day, sent home with some painkillers and an appointment to begin physiotherapy the following week. Overnight, the shock against my body diminished, and I woke up the next morning feeling like Wile E. Coyote flattened under a boulder. I never forgot that feeling; I never thought I’d experience it again until old lady RA arrived to resuscitate the event.
I dragged myself from bed, and proceeded to hobble around my apartment hoping to infuse some fluidity into my comatose joints flattened in the wake of the old lady’s road rage. I wished I could blow into my thumb and inflate them with life – but not being a cartoon, that was impossible. I had to find another way to squeeze myself out from under the massive boulder of an arthritis flare. It was destined to be a rough day, but I made my best effort – a warm bath, some gentle yoga, and a short walk – anything to break out of the rigour of my trampled body. The day wore on and, piece by piece, I managed to peel myself off the pavement.
Some mornings with arthritis can make you feel like a cartoon character trampled on the road of life – but with a little patience and some tender care, we can find a way to pick ourselves up and continue on…just keep an eye out for those boulders.