To the question 'how are you?', hands up if the reply is along the lines of 'fine thanks, you?'
No matter if you have the migraine from hell, a broken leg, herpes, an ingrowing toe nail or agonising period pain, the automatic reply tends to be 'fine thanks'.
It is on a par with apologising when someone bumps INTO YOU, queueing patiently, holding doors open for people more able bodied than yourself, and saying 'yes it's lovely' when the hairdresser does that thing with the mirrors, and you look like a scalped scarecrow.
Yes, it's 'fine thanks'.
Then you start ruffling it up as soon as you get outside, go straight home praying that you don't see anyone you know along the way, wet it, try to tug it longer then have a damned good cry and vow never to set foot (or head) in the place again.
Maybe it is peculiar to us Brits. I suspect Canadians do similar.
And so it is with rheumatoid arthritis (insert disease of choice here).
How are you?
Fine thanks. You?
Actually no, not fine thanks. Anything but fine.
I am so exhausted my brain is fuzzy, my eyes sting and I feel spaced out but not in a good way.
The pain in my right knee in particular is so bad I want to cry. It burns, a deep ache that doesn't ease and it is impossible to get comfy. It is very similar to that deep ache of a broken bone.
It is also nigh on impossible to get dressed, so it's another day in loose jimjams and dressing gown. Slippers but not socks, even the old-biddy 'sock putter onner' contraption isn't going to work today.
I feel sick, am hungry but daren't eat in case I need to dash in a Bolt stylie to the bathroom- knees are more up to a sloth-like shuffle.
I feel like I have the flu.
But compared to the hell going on in my left wrist, hand, thumb, elbow, all that pales to nothing.
Absolute sheer agony. I hug my hand to myself, in the pitiful way I used to try to hug away period pain in my teens. I moan out loud at times. The splints for my wrists are too painful to wear; ANYTHING is too painful.
I have taken my maximum painkillers for the next few hours.
The thought of a cold spray makes me shudder; the heat spray is upstairs so tough, knees don't want to go there. Literally.
Thankfully today, right this moment, I would rate the actual pain as a steady 7out of 10. I am trying to avoid taking the Tramadol for as long as possible, it is a high dose and I am only allowed 3 a day, absolute max. The Naproxen used to ease some pain for a while, but after a suspected bleed in my stomache, a horrible endoscopy, a hiatus hernia and erosive gastritis, I am banned from taking it. (I did ask if I could sneak one when the pain is very bad and was told absolutely NO, as the damage it was doing to my stomach was potentially serious).
RA has a nasty habit of lulling you into thinking you are actually having a bearable day, then deciding to remind you that - OUCH - your knees are knackered and - FEKKIN HELL! - you have damaged wrists and - SMASH!!- you also have very little grip strength. Oh yes, and - THERE WE GO - you are going to be exhausted and need a lie down after the slightest exertion.
I had the joys of a tooth abscess recently. Methotrexate not only plays havoc with your teeth but makes any dental work a real issue. The risk of infection is very high. My tooth needs to come out at some point but my dentist is not happy to do it, and will have to refer me to the dental hospital. Thankfully a good GP, a mega dose of anti-biotics and lots of Bonjela seem to have done the trick.
This is not written as a 'pity me' post. Genuinely not.
What it is trying to do is give an idea of what anyone with severe RA is going through.
I have neglected my Ravelry friends a lot lately.
I have had a strange (but lovely) Christmas (more on that later).
I am determined to try and grab back a bit of my life pre-RA, even if takes all year.
I have a fabulous family and wonderful, truly wonderful, friends.
I am determined to make the most of the (very) rare moments when creative ideas in my head coincide with functioning hands.
How are you?