It’s one of those days. Well, it’s one of those weeks, actually. For now. Because of course I don’t know how long this will last. It could be months or years.
The thing about chronic pain that a lot of people don’t understand is that it isn’t necessarily consistent. For me, I have different kinds of pain to different degrees in different parts of my body at different times.
Maybe one day my knees are brutal but the rest of me feels ok. And another day my toes hurt so much I can hardly stand up and my wrists are just sore. Maybe my knees are on fire while my neck is throbbing. Some of it is predictable and some of it isn’t and that’s just the reality.
For several years now, the variation has always fallen within a certain range. My toes hurt up to a certain point in a certain way, my knees hurt up to a different point in a different way, etc. I got used to that. I knew how to handle that.
I don’t know why, but something changed. My knees have hurt a lot more lately, and in a different way from before. There’s a sort of stabbing pain followed but what feels like a loss of structural integrity, though I usually manage to not fall but shifting my weight briefly.
Even worse, my wrists have started to hurt in an all-too-familiar way. This is the pain that I had 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 9 years. It isn’t quite as severe as it used to be, but it’s the same type of pain. Occasionally (maybe 1-3 times per hour) it gets worse for a few minutes. The only thing that ever helped was a medication that I’d rather not take, but I will if this continues. But it did help. That was 15 years ago (the first time I took it) and 7 or 8 years ago (the second time I took it.) It’s only been about a week, so I’m hopeful it will go away.
Maybe it’s the weather? Maybe I did something to trigger it? Is it a coincidence that my knees and wrists got worse at the same time? Are they related?
All I know is that I’m in a scarier type of pain than I have been for a while now. That’s the thing: it’s emotional. The pain in my knees is bad, but I can walk through it. The pain in my wrists isn’t much worse, but for some reason it’s limiting what I can do. And for many years it limited my ability to write, to type, to cut my meat, to brush my hair, to wipe my ass…. I’d understandably rather not go back to that place.
So now I wait. I wait and hope. I hope that the pain diminishes.
Because I accept that I will be in pain, but I don’t want to be in this level of pain, in this type of pain, in this part of my body.