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The Old Lady in My Bones


The summer arrived, bringing a dry heat, a welcome ally to my sore stiff joints. I woke in the mornings with minimal stiffness, enjoying the balmy days with walking and swimming. The old lady withdrew into hibernation, leaving me free of her swelling inflammation. The days stretched out into sultry evenings and my energy improved; I was engaged in living my life and it was easy to forget to take my medication every day. The hot dry weather forced the old lady back into the dark cave from which she’d emerged, and I forgot about her stifling presence for a time.

I woke one night, feverish and sore; the weather had changed and a misty dawn greeted me with dense gray clouds layering the sky, reminding me of our cold and damp spring. I was listless; my movements were heavy in light of the swelling crowding into my joints, a painful reminder that the old lady had not moved out, only offered a momentary reprieve. It was easy to forget my pills when I was feeling good, but I overlooked the fact that she was always lurking somewhere in my body; without the protection of my medication, there was no armour against the sudden shift in my disease. The weather, even in summer, is still unstable and one day of rain can arrive out of the blue, bringing the old crow back from her cave without warning.

When the sun returned, I made the effort to remember to take my medications and continue with my exercise routine. I forgot, for a moment, that RA is a slippery foe, and I need to be a constant warrior against the variable traits of my own disease.

About J.G. Chayko

I am a writer living on the beautiful West Coast in Vancouver B.C. I am a poet at heart but also write prose, fiction and creative non-fiction. In my thirties, while working for a Rheumatology clinic, I was diagnosed with early Rheumatoid Arthritis. I created " The Old Lady In My Bones" to share my experience living with this disease and to create an awareness that arthritis touches people of all ages, not just the elderly.


5 thoughts on “Hibernation

  1. I call it insidious. Always lurking waiting. I’m in my patio now, enjoying the heat, a welcome respite for my flare.

    Posted by Irma | August 19, 2013, 11:36 am
  2. Thanks so much Irma. And yes, insidious is a fantastic way to desribe this disease. I hope you have more good days; you deserve a break from that ” insidious” old woman .

    Posted by J.G. Chayko | August 19, 2013, 12:25 pm
  3. You captured it beautifully!

    I always feel like I’ve stepped through a time portal, back three years to RA at it’s worst.

    It is so startling, even after 3 years, to be good one minute, and achy, sore, inflamed, swollen the next.

    I seem to react to weather change, in any direction, hot to cold, cold to hot, wet to dry, dry to wet. If it stays the same, I’m fine, but I know there’s a change coming before the weatherman.

    Wish we could lock that old woman away.

    Posted by wovensongs | August 25, 2013, 5:09 pm

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