Archives for posts with tag: osteo arthritis

I woke up easily this morning, a nice change from yesterday. Rather oddly, I woke with the whisper of a dream left behind still resonating in my consciousness. Words lingered, although I could no longer recall the dream. “You’re not the good guy, here.” And, “This isn’t about you, at all.” Interesting observations, suitable for many occasions – but I don’t have any context. The dream had already faded.

I’m not “the good guy” here, though, I’m sure of that; I’m a human being, living my life. Only that. Sure, I like to think I am doing my best. Sometimes I actually am. By many practical measures, it isn’t always the case, though; I could sometimes do more, better. That’s real, and very human.

This isn’t about me, at all. Well, much of it is not, that’s also quite true. Most of it, maybe. Like, seriously, almost any detail of any moment I can be present for, still just isn’t much “about” me. I’m here, living and being, and (in this case) drinking coffee…and even this moment, right here, early in the pre-dawn gloom, isn’t much “about” me. It’s about a typical Thursday morning. It’s about this cup of coffee, and this handful of words. It’s about this headache. It’s about the morning traffic, and the sound of little birds in the hedge beyond the window. I’m such a small part of this moment – and not in any “bad” or diminishing way. It’s just that there is so much more to… all of it. I’m just one consciousness present in this here-and-now. Taken in the larger context of “everything else”, my breath, and my very life force, are minuscule. That’s okay, too; there’s a lot of life to live, and a lot of details to take in. If I spend all of my energy on my small concerns, I’ll miss a lot of other stuff. lol

I stop drinking coffee long enough to meditate. Nice morning for it. Today, it does nothing for the headache. I hadn’t seriously expected that it would, but sometimes it does. If nothing else, it often gives me perspective on life that makes it seem of less consequence.

…I realize rather abruptly that I’d forgotten to take my morning medication when I got up. I go ahead and do that, once I’ve poked around in my recollection of the morning a bit, trying to be sure I’m correct about that (doesn’t do anything good for me to take it twice, I promise you that!) – I wash it down with coffee, feeling vaguely guilty about doing that (it’s supposed to be taken with a glass of water…). I let that petty shit go.

My body is uncomfortable, this morning. This fucking headache. Why do I call it a headache, I wonder? It is also a terrible bit of pain in my neck, and a weird jabby stabby sensation in my ear when I turn my head, sometimes, and also a rather horrible permanently cramped up trapezius, particularly painful along the top, from my neck to my shoulder. These pains all feel related to each other, and nothing much helps, so far. I think I would endure it more easily if I knew what the problem is. I’ve been in significant pain since about 1990, when my osteo arthritis developed, I don’t really expect to ever be entirely “pain free” again in my life… I do my best to care for this fragile vessel skillfully, and ease the pain as much as I am able to without poisoning myself or wrecking my health in some other way. It could be worse. I’d just like an answer to the question “what the fuck??”

Fuck. A glance at the clock reminds me of the work day ahead. Pain and employment are not really the best-ever combination of experiences, and it requires so much to stay ahead of the irritability, the distraction, and the misery of it. I breathe. I let it go. We all walk our own hard mile. We’re each having our own experience. Unavoidably, the pain I live with is the worst pain I can imagine; it’s what I know. Each one of us has our own challenge, and I am certain I have coworkers whose pain is more severe, whose life contains more chaos, who woke this morning frightened, or sad, or angry, or needing a moment of support and consideration. I can, if nothing else, do my best not to add to any of that, myself, and to be considerate, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate. I can, at least, try. Another breath. Another sip of coffee. Another moment to consider how fortunate I am to be mostly fairly healthy, all things considered, and to live with pain that doesn’t debilitate me to the point that I can’t work at all. It could be so much worse.

…Fuck this headache, though! Neck-ache? Whatever. Fuck all of that painful nastiness.

It’s time to begin again. I’ve got to work with “the materials on hand” in this life, and unfortunately, pain is a thing. I breathe through it, finish my coffee, and turn to face the day as the sun rises. 🙂

Well, it’s not yet “officially” winter, but it is clear that my arthritis finds it season enough to deliver the full measure of winter-level arthritis pain. I woke with it during the night, 3 or 4 times, only to return to a restless sleep after discontentedly struggling with pain for some little while. My quality of restful sleep was… meh. I don’t know. Not enough. Fuck pain. I want to “lol” about it and move on from the moment, but it’s got me feeling angry with the world and just generally fairly aggravated just now. It’ll pass. I remind myself, again and again, it will pass.

A quiet evening in late autumn, spent quietly.

Last night I relaxed quietly after work, just sitting, enjoying the fireplace. I left the Giftmas tree dark, and without the merry colored lights it seemed a more somber, still, and serene moment of calm contentment, aside from the pain I’d spent the day in, and which lingered through the night. I took medication for that, even took an Rx pain reliever. It helped some.

I sit here staring at my monitor, still feeling sort of put out and aggravated by being in pain. Shitty start to the day…

…I can’t help notice that I’m not improving things by focusing on the pain, itself, and letting it lead the morning. I had unrolled my yoga mat and taken advantage of a few reliable postures to ease stiff joints before my shower, and I left my mat out because yoga actually helps, and maybe I would want to do more of that healthy stuff to cope with my pain…? Maybe…? I chuckle quietly to myself, aware of all the many verbs, and how much effort life requires to live it skillfully…

I head for my yoga mat, to begin the day again. 🙂

Fucking hell, this is some real shit, right here.

I woke early – 3:38 am – no alarm. Had to pee, not an uncommon mammalian or primate thing at all, it happens. I wasn’t awake enough, quite, to realize that this moment would cascade into other small unpleasant experiences, like dominoes toppling, each less comfortable than the previous moment leading to it. Having to pee was easy to resolve… then it was all about my sinuses draining… then I became aware of the headache… my pounding heart… the breathless feeling… Why the hell was I “holding my breath” like that in the first place??? Right. Pain. I’m betting it was actually the pain that woke me, because as it turned out, I really didn’t have to pee that badly, certainly not badly enough to wake me from a deep sleep. It is, perhaps, habitual to immediately head in that direction if I wake during the night, at all. lol

Fuck, I am in so much pain, already, today. It’s not yet actually even time to begin the day. :-\ The world is quiet, and there is no sound of traffic, or the existence of humanity beyond this keyboard, and this monitor, right here. It is just now 4:30 am, on a Saturday morning. I could be sleeping… if I were not awake. I hurt too much to feel sleepy. I may as well begin the day… for some values of “beginning”. I made coffee. 0_o

Realizing, after the first sip, that coffee does not, in any way, address pain, and pain being, in fact, the issue at hand, I drop an ice-cube in my coffee and let it melt on my way to the shower, and chug it before I step under the steamy hot water…

…A shower, some yoga, and yes, actually, another shower after that… and generous application of medical cannabis (both as a topical balm, where I can reach painful places, and vaporized)… I make coffee number two, and sit down to write, hopeful that I may find adequate relief without reaching for an Rx pain reliever. 5:52 am. Still far earlier than today needed to begin. lol Fuck – how is this much pain even a thing? Is this really fucking necessary? I know I have arthritis – what fucking help is all this pain?? What could it possibly be telling me that has any value, at all? Damn. Well… the coffee, the yoga and the shower eased the headache pain. That’s something. No headache. I pause to sip my coffee and appreciate that for a long moment. I do not have a headache, right now. Nice. I’ll take it.

Next? Distraction. Cognitive trickery – totally fair game, and a worthy practice. 🙂

Yesterday was lovely. I did not shop. I did not buy. I chilled at home, mostly just looking out onto the deck, sipping coffee, or tea, or reading a book. I’ve been somewhat disappointed since I moved in to see creatures so seldom. I mean, I’ve seen bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels, a rather large raccoon, but birds have been fairly rare, aside from seeing them fly by now and then. The one squirrel visitor who seemed to be regular was only interested in the bird seed I had hoped would be, you know, for the birds. lol I switched to putting out a small dish of whole peanuts, on an irregular basis, and an ear of dried corn in a hanging feeder that the squirrel could more safely get to. I haven’t seen the squirrel back, but the dish has often been quickly emptied, and the cob stripped far faster than I had expected, fairly often. Yesterday, spending hours just watching (and hours that are generally spent in the office, far away), I finally got to see how things go, here on the deck. Apparently, things don’t get going until around 11 am, in the late autumn.

A beautiful Steller’s Jay stopped by for a peanut… or… several. lol

I watched the jay coming and going for quite a while. Then, a female jay joined him. Then, a pair of robins stopped by, not interested in the peanuts, but feeling safe to check out the soil in all the pots for tasty things. A hummingbird snacked on each remaining blossom in the garden, which is to say, some nasturtiums in the hanging baskets, and some blooms left on Baby Love, a miniature rose that doesn’t appear to give a damn about the season, and blooms almost year round. A small woodpecker visited a tree just beyond the deck, and the hawk I often hear circling overhead took a seat in a tree top within view. I sat, delighted, for an hour or two (or more…?).

I sat long enough, aware, and patiently observing, to begin spotting dens, nests, burrows, and bowers.

It was time well spent. It was just at the moment I first considered getting up to go “do something” that my last visitor came around.

…my squirrel visitor is nibbling on my tarragon…

I sit quietly, sneaking an occasional picture, hoping not to startle the squirrel, who still seems very shy. Eventually, my wee visitor makes its way to the corn feeder, first checking the empty dish for peanuts (the jays got them all).

…I’m glad to know for sure the squirrel knows the feeder is there. 🙂

The sinking sun was already beginning to change the color of the forest beyond the deck. I smile to myself to see that I’ve used the word “forest”, even now that I can so clearly see it’s really only a strip of trees, a bit of grass, and then the backs of all the houses another street over. lol Those Big Leaf Maples really provide a dense wall of greenery in spring and summer, quite delightfully private.

There are things to love about this place and time. It is worth being here, now.

…And… It’s worked. A bit of distraction, lingering on the recollection of something quite pleasant, looking through the pictures, sharing it with you, in words, here… I don’t hurt as much. I’ve had a chance to benefit from the yoga, the shower, and taking medication. My consciousness isn’t saturated in information to do with pain, or sensations of it. I can move on with the day, and maybe fairly comfortably. It’s not magic. There are verbs involved. My results vary. But… today it is enough, and I can begin again. 🙂

 

 

Most mornings proceed pretty gently for me these days, and even on the worst of them I get by pretty well, and treat myself decently, and with considerable compassion. This morning was less than usually gentle, and although I’ve done what I can, I am less than ideally kind to myself – I am frustrated by my limitations and feeling irked. It’s not the best addition to my morning coffee, which somehow tastes bitter in spite of using the same coffee I find so richly satisfying most other mornings – and in spite of my general lack of ability to detect bitter flavors in the first place. It is one more defining detail of the start of my day.

I woke from a sound sleep, head as stuffy as the room also felt, throat dry, head pounding, and the clock factually admonishing me that it was already 5:30 am, well into the ‘I may as well get up’ time of morning [for me]. I definitely did not want to get up, and I felt groggy and out of sorts. I got up to pee, and opened the patio door to the morning breeze, hoping to cool the apartment down without fully waking up, and noticing my pain well beyond the usual as I did so. (That makes it sound far more efficient than my hapless dizzy clumsy careening around the room actually was.) I took my morning medication, drank a glass of water, and returned to bed, hoping to sleep in spite of the pain. That doesn’t always work out for me, particularly after sunrise, but on this gray overcast moody looking morning, and after considerable tossing and turning trying to find some combination of pillows and posture that would allow it, I slept.

I woke later to a cool room filled with fresh morning air, headache gone, and easily able to breathe. I feel rested. I still hurt. I am in more pain than usual, possibly just the ordinary change in my arthritis pain that comes with a change in the weather. Yesterday, sunny, warm, and clear… today, gray, overcast, cool, and threatening rain – it’s very much the sort of change that comes with more than usual pain, and I feel less cross with myself recognizing that. (At 5:30 am it was less obvious that it would be a cloudy day.) My coffee is still pretty dreadful… and I give some moments of thought to whether it makes more sense to pour it out and make another cup, or just drink it and have a better second cup later? I get up to go pour it out and start over… then remember I am currently getting by on limited income. Shit. I sit down, taking a more practical, frugal approach, and sip my coffee as it is… glaring down into the dark brew now and then, wondering what the hell went wrong with my process this morning to get this result?

Still… pain and a bad cup of coffee isn’t the whole of my day, or of my experience – it’s not even the whole of my morning. I’m barely awake yet, and the day stretches ahead well beyond my ‘now’, unformed, unlived, and largely unimagined. There will be verbs involved, and choices. 🙂 I sip my coffee and wonder whether or not ‘taking care of me’ today is more about yielding to the pain I am in and compromising my loose plans for greater comfort… or refusing to let my pain call the shots, and undertaking the things I am inclined to do, more slowly perhaps and less comfortably, and just understand that the pain is what it is, and it’s part of my experience more often than I’d like… It’s a hard call this morning. If it actually hurt less to just go back to bed and stay there… I probably would. It doesn’t, so that’s not even an option. lol

That’s a funny thing about the vast menu of choices life presents me with, that I don’t consider as frankly as I might, as often as would be helpful… there are some things I want very much to be choices of mine, that are not in fact on my own actual [still vast] menu of choices to consider – when I am honest with myself. I can’t really choose not to be in pain with my arthritis in any realistic way. I can’t choose to be younger. I can’t choose to change the past. I can’t choose to begin somewhere over there, when I am standing right here. I can’t choose for any of the many details of reality to be other than they are – although I can choose to ignore them, or pretend them differently, the consequences of my actions remain tied to the real reality, and the true truth. Reality does not care what lies we tell ourselves. Our truths have very little to do with what we say in words.

So… this morning… pain. I still want to go to the farmers’ market this morning. When I go, some later, I will still have to be mindful that my resources have changed a lot, and being frugal has value – this is a poor time to be careless or wasteful with resources. I will need to slow down a bit, and manage my pain – or my pain will take the driver’s seat and manage my mood. Choices. Always choices. It’s worthwhile to take a few minutes over my coffee to consider what my choices really are – and where they lead me.

I decide on a hearty breakfast at home, accepting as a given that shopping when I am hungry may drive unintended spending. Before breakfast, a walk and yoga. A second cup of coffee. A hot shower. I notice in this one moment, right here, now, I am not actually in pain… I don’t question that, and I do pause everything else (writing, coffee, gazing at the bird feeder beyond the window…) and take some time to be aware that I am not hurting, to savor it, to linger over the sensations of feeling good; doing so is a practice that shifts my implicit memory away from ‘being in pain all the time’ to being aware that I am not always in pain, and improving my day-to-day perspective and sense of my experience. Moment by moment I build my day… the difficult start? Just one moment of many to come, and I let it go. 🙂

Neither a single ocean wave nor one small bird defines a day at the beach.

Neither a single ocean wave nor one small bird defines a day at the beach.

I’ve got a solo weekend. The morning, so far, as been still and quiet…and strange. I didn’t sleep well, but I don’t feel fatigued. I tossed and turned wakefully much of the night, and managed to use the entire area of a king size bed alone…every corner, every side, diagonally, crosswise, splayed like a starfish, curled up like a hedgehog, with pillows, without pillows, blankets, no blankets… which is most peculiar since I generally sleep in just one or two positions throughout a given night, sometimes laying flat on my back throughout, rarely rolling over (it’s a remnant of domestic violence, and nights when any movement might give away that I wasn’t sleeping, or remind my spouse I was there, at all). I sometimes wake in the morning to find that the covers are not even a little disturbed from the night’s sleep, just turned down at the corner from getting up, looking like a dog-eared book page. So…yeah. I didn’t sleep well. I didn’t want to wake early, and went to bed tired, sleepy, and ready to just sleep until waking caught up with me.

As it turns out, waking caught up with me around 2:38 am. I had some fun cat naps between then, and when I finally gave up and got out of bed, around 5:00 am. No nightmares. I feel reasonably well-rested and satisfied with the comfortable knowledge that I can nap later, if I care to. I took my time with my yoga. I had to. I’m stiff this morning and the pain of my arthritis, which is in my spine, is indescribably vast and commanding of my attention. This morning my spine feels like a rigid column of pain, on which my head sits; a first for me, I think, to have continuous arthritis pain from the vertebrae just above the line of my hips, to the second vertebrae above my shoulders. I keep finding room in my experience to be somewhat impressed by the completeness of it. I suppose that’s better than laying in bed crying because it hurts. I don’t really want to waste precious mortal time that way.

Droplets of mist gather everywhere on a foggy morning, each one a tiny universe for life I can't see...or perhaps a miniature gazing ball on the world I can see. I suppose it depends on my perspective.

Droplets of mist gather everywhere on a foggy morning, each one a tiny universe for life I can’t see…or perhaps a miniature gazing ball on the world I can see. I suppose it depends on my perspective.

It’s another foggy morning. I love fog as a metaphor for the unknown, the unseen, the mystery of potential, and choices yet to be made. I enjoy walking in the fog.  I enjoy the whimsy of imagining that as I walk I create the world around me; each step I take revealing some new detail, what is beyond view slowly emerging. Yep. Almost 52, still daydreaming everywhere I go. lol. 🙂 It’s a quality of self that I value a great deal; it has held the power to make the tragic and painful endurable, and it has kept me going long after I would have quit without it.

Tears unexpectedly begin pouring down my face… arthritis pain? No, it’s just old trauma, old hurts; there are things lurking in the darkness that I never really stop crying over. These days I don’t fight the tears that come when my heart is touched by my own hurts; I keep a safe space for myself, in my own heart, to comfort me, to show myself compassion, to recognize that it has indeed been a lot to go through, a lot to survive, and to recognize that these honest tears are no sign of weakness or failure. In a sense they are a strange celebration of strength; I am here, and that’s a pretty big deal, considering what I have overcome. I only need, in this moment, to be kind to myself and let the tears fall without stress, without anger, gently supporting myself on the strengths I have. Tears pass. There’s plenty to cry over, but it doesn’t need drama – only love.

Autumn is a season of change, a good time to break patterns.

Autumn is a season of change, a good time to break patterns.

Today is a good day to take care of me. Today is a good day to be fully present, and engaged in the moment, even if all I do is flip through a holiday catalog, answer my email, or have a coffee in the chilly autumn garden watching the dawn unfold beyond the fog. Today is a good day to appreciate how far I’ve come, and how good things are right now in spite of pain. Today is a good day to make choices that create the world I really want to live in. How about you? What do you think… shall we change the world?