Archives for posts with tag: arthritis pain

This morning I woke to the sound of distant music. I couldn’t place the source. I turned over once or twice, thinking perhaps I might go back to sleep, once I wasn’t hearing it. It was faint. Ambient. Vaguely familiar. I finally sat up, wondering if my Traveling Partner was awake, quietly watching TV or something. There was a hint of light, under the bedroom door, so… maybe?

Well…shit. Now I’m awake. LOL

I got up, and made my way down the hallway in the morning darkness. No lights were on, there was only a hint of light from the front stoop, illuminating my studio through open blinds, which gave some small amount of light and the hint of an appearance (from within the dark of the bedroom) that a light could be on. (No lights were on.) I stood in the darkness, puzzled. The house was quiet. There was no music. I had stopped hearing it, as soon as I opened the bedroom door onto the utterly ordinary darkness of the house in the wee hours. Strange. I turned my head, and thought I heard something, again, like music… I shrugged off the inconsequential mystery and started to get ready for a new day.

I started making coffee, and it was then, while the grinder was running, that I heard the music again. It’s not music. Now I’ve sorted it out. Between my tinnitus, and the sounds of the fridge, and the aquarium, when the heat kicked on, too, I heard it; a hint of an impression of the sound of distant music. Frequencies of noise, blending strangely, and becoming vaguely musical. lol Damn it. That woke me? Wild. I sip my coffee, breathe, relax, and let that go. It’s not really relevant to anything else, at all. 🙂

I dress myself every day. I’m not bragging, most people do. I’m just saying, usually I feel pretty comfortable and satisfied with those choices. Easy enough. Today, weirdly, I just… don’t. LOL I’m not sure what I wanted out of wearing clothes today, but somehow… this isn’t it. LOL I’m feeling my years. I’m feeling my weight. I’m feeling aggravated by the sensations of fabric and constriction and confinement and… wtf? Oh. Hang on.  I breathe and let that go, too. I notice that my tinnitus is pretty loud today, just generally, and allow the awareness to become more real, as I listen to it. Okay, so, a quiet noise woke me, and my clothes “feel weird”. I give myself some self-care and attention. I listen to the woman in the mirror beefing about the weird of the day, and wonder how much is symptomatic of one issue or another. TBI or spinal injury… I guess I can take my pick, or admit that acknowledging the potential is enough to initiate heightened attention to my physical wellness and self-care needs today, and let that be enough.

A few minutes of meditation. More coffee. Neck pain. A headache. More self-care. Appropriate medication. A glass of water. The day, oddly, is beginning pretty well, in spite of whatever bullshit and weirdness is going on with my nervous system today. I’m content to enjoy the parts I can, and nurture the parts that need care, and just let the rest go. It’s enough.

One last swallow of coffee. One more quick scan of this moment, and this space, right here; do I have what I need for the day ahead? I guess it’s time to begin again. 🙂

Good moments pile up, if I let them. It can be a worldview-altering experience, if I’m open to it. 🙂 (Your results may vary.)

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking over last night. I’m awake a bit early. I woke ahead of the alarm, simply aware that I was awake. Wide awake. So… I got up. 🙂

Yesterday’s cold weather was “the first day of arthritis season” in all the worst ways, and I was in too much pain to go out, although I wanted to, and my Traveling Partner was eager to, himself. I hated to disappoint him, and seriously considered just doing it, anyway, figuring maybe the experience would overcome the pain…? I was pretty miserable, though, and thought better of it, choosing better self-care instead, on this occasion. His job may take him out of town again, soon, any time… I worry about “wasting the opportunity”, and then realize how “FOMO” that sounds… lol Adulting is so hard. 😉

I sit sipping my coffee wondering if I am under-dressed for the weather…? I shrug it off; once I’m in the office, I’ll be quite comfortable. 🙂 It’s probably my last good chance to wear this blouse to work before the weather turns “seriously cold” (c’mon, it’s Portland, Oregon, and “cold” is fairly relative – but it is 32 (F) this morning). I’m enjoying the experience of wearing dressier clothes for work… I didn’t think I would. In all the years since I left the Army, I’ve never taken a job that required me to (and am not required to now), and it’s appropriate for the job, my circumstances, all that sort of thing… I just don’t have to, so I hadn’t been. I’m enjoying it way more than I ever expected to.

I chuckle noticing my dress pants already don’t fit as well as they did when I bought them, less than two weeks ago (two weeks? that’s all??). That’s a “problem” I’m okay having. Losing a few pounds would be good, being fitter would be good, and this appears to be heading that direction. 😀

I feel as good, and as comfortable, this morning, as I can imagine feeling. I hope the feeling lasts, but of course “this too shall pass” also applies to this moment, as much as any other. I eye the warm fleece zip-up jacket I’ll wear as a coat this morning, and think about shopping for a new winter coat. Overdue. I check over my everyday carry items, in my head (keys, cards, purse, phone, vape, batteries for my vape, juice for my vape, hey – a lightweight winter base layer I could slip on under dress pants, just in case I am colder than I expect…), then double-check my backpack to make sure I have everything. I’m minutes away from another new beginning, a fresh, unspoiled day, filled with potential.

Sometimes this whole “adulthood” thing is pretty okay… I smile, finish my coffee, and begin again. 🙂

I hurt today. I hurt when I woke up this morning. It’s autumn, leading into winter, the weather is chill and damp, and the arthritis in my spine is delivering on the annual promise of pure nearly unrelenting misery for the winter for the moment.

Perspective is a funny thing; we build our subjective experience on a web of sensations, assumptions, wishful-thinking, and straight up lies we tell ourselves, which, over time seem very convincingly true and real. We rarely pause to reconsider any of it, and sort of just bumble along thinking we’re right, most of the time. So… it’s not true.

I’m not always in pain. I’m not even always in pain all winter, ever winter. I’m certainly in pain more often I’d like. I’m most definitely in pain right now.

Three paragraphs about pain. Not one about pain management. lol Fuck pain. Pain shrinks my world down to the size of wherever it hurts, and keeps my attention there, to the exclusion of most anything else. That, sadly, has a lot to do with how, over time, my implicit experience of my quality of life, and my day-to-day expectations of my experience to be, is about pain. I’m focused on my pain right now, and that pain becomes a defining characteristic of the memory of this moment, and, again, over time, that adds up to a long-term perception that my life, itself, is defined by my pain.

It is not.

Pain is a small wee minuscule tiny barely significant part of my experience when I allow myself to experiences and observe other things besides just my pain.

I’m not suggesting this is easy. I even admit, my results vary; today I am in pain.

So… now what? Take fuck tons of pain-numbing drugs? Not my preferred solution, honestly. Ignore it? That’s far easier to say than to achieve. So… what, then? Other things. 

Yeah…like, I mean a lot of other things. I mean, taking a break from the work routine long enough to really engage a colleague in a great discussion of any other thing than either routine work matters, or my pain. Or their pain. Or pain at all. I also mean, taking a break from sitting at my desk, and giving myself a chance to move and walk around. Have a big glass of water. Read something I’ve never read before. Write love poetry.

It’s about the distraction from being trapped in the wholly subjective experience of the context of long-term pain challenges; it doesn’t have to hurt this much. So, right now, at least for some little while, I put my attention on matters other than pain. It’s not the easy choice; pain makes my world tiny, and utterly self-involved. Looking beyond that is… hard.

I guess I need to begin again. 😉

It’s time to pay the bill. Every fun thing in life, every journey, every dream ever pursued, involved a cost. An investment in time, will, money, effort – coasting through life is an option, of course, but I suggest taking a second very careful look at the lives of those you think may be “coasting” through life. It’s not likely that they actually are, however different their choices may be from your own. 🙂

There’s a place I know, where the rules are different, and the world seems built of love.

I spent the weekend wrapped in love, in the company of friends and my loving Traveling Partner, in a space temporarily re-made for the purpose. DJs, artists, vendors, and fans gathered. Family. Friends. Artists. Musicians. Dreamers. Visionaries. Performers. A small festival of like-minded folk, gathered in the forest to camp, dance, play, and experience life re-made to an alternate purpose. We celebrated. Even in hard times, celebration is a worthy endeavor – perhaps most of all in hard times. 🙂

Put as much effort into celebrating as you do into working – or bitching – the return on that investment is so worthwhile!

I bailed on the fun a bit early. Friday was amazing, if rainy. Saturday was just… wow. Sunshine, forest, good company (a great breakfast) a feeling of purpose… I felt elevated, uplifted, and if not enlightened, surely I felt “made of light”. It was quite lovely – until my arthritis finally reminded me of years and injuries, and my joints began to stiffen quite irresistibly. I grabbed my cane as soon as my mobility became actually impaired. I didn’t really sleep on Friday night, ever, the music went all night, so did the fun, and although I grabbed a couple naps, it wasn’t enough to keep me from becoming fatigued. By late afternoon Sunday, on top of my arthritis, my legs began to remind me of other issues, and my steps and gait became affected, by those, compounded by my fatigue. The cane wasn’t going to be enough to get me through the night. I checked in with my Traveling Partner about “calling it” early and heading home. We were having so much fun it was a hard choice to make, and I wasn’t up to it without a bit of reassurance that he’d also rather I take the best care of myself, versus forcing myself to stick it out, slowly becoming miserable and putting that delicious vibe at risk, or wrecking my own delightful experience of the weekend. We were having an amazing good time together! It was hard to walk away from that. He is ever the supportive partner, and agreed that if I was already feeling worn down or struggling with impaired movement, it made sense to call it good and head out – if I were up to the drive. He offered me his place if I wanted to just go get some sleep and hit the road in the morning. Something nagged at me that it was likely a better idea to make the drive that evening…

What the hell? I hate late evening driving; it becomes night driving, and my night vision is frankly not ideal. Shit. Really? Am I going to do this? Yep. Doing it. I drank more coffee and hit the road.

The drive was uneventful. I took regular breaks at pre-determined times and locations. At the one point that sleepiness started to blur my vision, I stopped, got a big bottle of cold water (once it was clear iced-coffee was not to be had, there) and got back on the road. Water for the win. I didn’t expect that – and now I know to keep it in mind. I was thirsty, more than sleepy, apparently. I made good time, and the drive was stress free. Win and good.

This morning I woke at 4:30 am. I went back to sleep, after bumbling to the bathroom and back rather awkwardly. The somewhat less than 4 hours of sleep I’d had weren’t going to be adequate rest. I woke again around 6 am. Again, I went back to sleep. I finally woke shortly after 9 am or so, and got up. I experienced a moment of immense gratitude as I stood. It was the right choice to have made the drive the night before; it took real effort to get out of bed. Pain. Stiffness. More effort to slowly go through the motions of a morning routine. I’m still moving terribly slowly, with much effort. Everything hurts. Everything is stiff. Nothing is easy. “Freedom of movement” feels like nothing more than an advertising slogan. I feel as if I were the unfortunate recipient of a serious beating I don’t recall getting. lol This morning, I add sore muscles to the arthritis pain. I nonetheless happily “pay the check” for a delightful weekend of music, dancing, and enjoying the company of friends out in the woods. Totally worth it. I knew it wasn’t going to be any sort of “freebie”, and I took the time off I needed to, to make the best possible recovery before work. (I’m off tomorrow, too. 🙂 )

Painfully sore muscles. Aching joints that don’t move freely. Fatigue. A few hours of driving. A few dollars in gas money, meals, and gear. Time. Totally 100% worth the price spent to enjoy the time I did. I focus on that, and try to sort out which is the wiser choice right now; a nap (I’ve only been awake for 2 hours), or a nutritious meal (that it going to be painful to prepare, but I probably should have something…)? Time to get back to all the adulting. lol

I make another coffee, I start another “to do” list. I begin again.

I’m sipping a quiet hot cup of tea. The tea is hot. The room is quiet. The music is quite loud, in spite of the quiet room. I’m enjoying the contrasts. Cool room. Hot tea. Quiet room. Loud music. I am in pain. I feel that too, although I enjoy it less; it is part of my experience. I have mixed feelings about the pain; I am alive. I have survived all I’ve been through so far. My pain reminds me of how strong I can be. My pain is a reminder of my resolve. My pain hints at my pure will; I walk with it, work with it, every day.

…Fuck, I’m a bad ass! lol You are, too. Here you are. You’ve survived. Fuck yeah – all of it. 🙂

Tonight isn’t fancy. I am making time for me. The woman in the mirror needing a little care, getting the care she needs. It’s a nice system.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. That’s soon enough. It’s okay to get some rest.