Archives for posts with tag: osteo arthritis

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?