Happy Friday the 13th! I worked pretty late last night and slept on the futon for the first time in months. It used to be a weekly occurrence back in Sackville. Of course, things were more scrunched up then, sleeping on the futon was mostly just to get a better view of the tv or in hopes that some morning sunshine might creep in through the skylight and hit me the next morning. Now, my tv is in the bedroom and definite walls separate rooms. Still the morning sunshine happens with the futon because the sun rises over the river. So that’s where I laid down for a few hours this morning, so the sun would wake me after a cat nap and I wouldn’t have to deal with a blaring alarm and a comfy bed.
This week’s humidity has wreaked total havoc on my body, inflaming and swelling. Weeks like this it’s hard to work. Everything takes ten times as long because I’m in a perpetual state of pain and fog. My legs have been so swollen! It’s hideous. And it hurts, you know. I sit at my keyboard and I feel a sharp burning in my thighs. My knees ache and lock, like an un-oiled hinge. Calves and ankles disappear as everything swells to the same size. There’s a sharp pain in my hips and I’m constantly fidgeting to try and get into a more comfortable position in my chair. All the little bones in my hands burn, like I jammed my hands in a slamming car door. My wrists ache. Finger co-ordination becomes difficult because my fingers are stiff and swollen. I make more mistakes when I’m typing. I type more slowly. I take more frequent breaks from the computer to stretch and walk around the room. I couldn’t go for a walk outside to the cove or the wharf in this position. It would be too painful. I would swell too much. And I worry about things with swelling, like blood clots, so yes, while I do have a high tolerance for pain and I probably could force my way through it and into a walk, I try not to promote the swelling, I try to keep it to a minimum. So a stiff jaunt down the few stairs to my mailbox, and many slow moving walks about my apartment are all I can do in the high humidity. I’ve spent most of this week in an almost zombie state, never quite asleep, never at full conscious, but in that grey place between life and dreams. Chronic pain puts you there.
I’ve come to realize there’s nothing to be done about these flare-ups. I mean I used to be much worse. I’m doing all that I can and I’ve made huge leaps and bounds. I have movement and flexibility. I can do things I couldn’t before, like walk miles and miles. I no longer take any medication and am mostly pain-free. But when you have arthritis there is no cure, there’s only management, a life without pain no longer exists for you. All my flares are triggered by changes in the weather. When seasons shift from higher to lower to higher temperatures. When summer humidity soars. When freezing winter temperatures rise above zero. I eventually acclimate to seasons changing, to rising winter temperatures. I have a painful week and then my body adjusts. That doesn’t seem to ever happen with high humidity. There is no adjusting to humidity in the 80s and 90s percentile. The agony continues steadily until the humidity breaks. Which can make for the occasional exhausting hell of a week.
Luckily for me, it broke sometime last evening, and now it’s below 60%. I’m still aching, I will ache for awhile until my body readjusts, but every hour it gets a little bit better. As long as it stays relatively steady, I will be right as rain again within a few days, by Monday. So I should be able to make up any ground lost this week on the weekend. And did I ever lose ground?! The perpetually tidy kitchen I’ve enjoyed for the past two weeks seems to have taken its summer vacation . . .
Drinking: coffee, black
Listening To: birds singing, saws whizzing, kids laughing
Hair: pushed up and back in a black/white headband