The summer flew by with spectacularly clear days, with little to no humidity. Skies were mottled with wispy clouds, and the ginger glow of scarlet sunsets proclaimed another unblemished day with light breezes, a perfect season of warmth when a rare vitality masked the inflammation of RA. One temperate day I found myself in the pool gently treading water before doing laps. I had gone for a walk earlier in the morning, did some work for a few hours, and still had enough energy for a late afternoon swim. It was one of those rare days where there was no hint of the disease that marked me – minimal stiffness, no swelling, no pain to remind me of the old lady in my bones. I took advantage of the energy I had been granted. And for a while, I forgot…
It was not impossible, on those singular days of nothingness, that I could do two types of exercise in one day – a notable achievement for those marked by arthritis. My former physical proficiency had vanished when the fatigue and discomfort of RA arrived. My muscles wilted under the veil of disease and the imprint of them beneath my skin fueled my determination to keep moving not just for the maintenance of my body, but also for the wellbeing of my spirit. I learned to make adjustments to my usual workouts, discovering alternative methods that would reduce pressure on my battered joints. The pain and inflammation eventually merged into a new state of normal, and I adjusted…and in the midst of my journey, I stumbled upon rare pockets of forgetfulness – minutes, hours, sometimes even a day when I forgot I had RA.
It wasn’t long before I was delivered that indelicate slap on the wrist, reminding me that I am still at the mercy of RA. The return of the relentless click of my shoulder while swimming; the stab of pain in my wrist when lifting a mug of tea; that petulant twinge in my knee when walking; the reappearance of my swollen fingers first thing in the morning. But even these reminders are susceptible to exquisite moments of forgetfulness – my fingers are unnoticeable when I am lost in the world of a book; my clicking shoulder drowned out in the splash of a morning swim; that petulant twinge lost in the iridescent glow of twilight when climbing the sand dunes in the Maritimes.
I am indebted to those pockets of forgetfulness. They are the moments that release me from the constancy of my condition. When the reminders return, which they inevitably do, I am not disappointed – for they inspire me to breathe in the life of those rare days making my moments of forgetfulness the most memorable.