Life is good with happy gorillas, not so much with evil clowns under your bed.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Entering week 4 of the RA flare from Hell

It is cold outside. I'm talking about nose-hair freezing cold. That is never good. I knew this winter would be the template for the rest of my life, and it turned out to be very mild and I really didn't have too many problems. But then winter woke up and arrived a few days ago. Holy crap!

The thing about arthritis in general is cold weather makes your joints stiff and ache, cold and wet is even worse. So I woke up this morning, with my lower back hurting, which it hasn't really done in years, since we got the Tempur-Pedic knock-off bed. I have osteoarthritis in the L4-S2 vertebrae facets. That should have been my clue. I was actually moving around pretty good, and decided to make it to the early service. Got breakfasts going everyone dressed and opened the door for the dog.....cold blast of wind...ugh. Started getting ready myself, and my fingers were starting to hurt at the joints as I applied my make-up. The thing about all this is, if you don't use your joints, they get more stiff and sore. But if you use them, they don't get as stiff but they still ache and hurt. I ended up looking like Lily Munster when it was all said and done, but, hey, she was kind of hot, in a dead sort of way.

Back out into the blast of cold air to start the car to warm up, then back in for some forgotten item, then back out to strap Ian in his seat, then back in for the Bibles and I grabbed the cane, just in case. As it turned out, that was a smart thing to do, because the dumb thing I did was forget to take my prednisone. By the time we got to church, impressively late, even for us, 20 minutes into the service, I was walking like the Tin Man after a rainstorm.

Oh well. Had a lot of people asked me what the deal was, I explained, no biggie, could be worse etc.

So here is the bad joint list for today, elbows, hands, knuckles and the middle finger joints....don't know what those are called, maybe if I took the time to know what they were they wouldn't be so pissed off at me all the time. My lower back, my hips, knees, ankles, toes and the base of my skull...I think that is called the c-spine. The TMJ has settled down, and now only hurts when I chew or talk a lot, which is great because I need to lose weight and that was one of the worst pains I've ever had. The chest wall is still hurting, (where your ribs connect to your sternum) but not as bad, I barely notice the discomfort when I breathe now. Oh yeah, and a pee dip this morning revealed more white blood cells, nitrites, protein, extremely acidic urine, red blood cells and ketones. So the antibiotics didn't really do much of anything last week. At least I know why they still burn and hurt.

We got home, Linus went with George to IT Nirvana (Micro Center) after he finished doing the computer work for the last church service. Ian cried and screamed almost all the way home, until he threw up. Then he fell asleep. I carried him in, could barely make it up the stairs my knees were stiff and weak. But we got there, he never woke up, not even when I stripped him and washed the spew off his chest and neck. His carseat cover needed to be washed anyway, as did my hoodie, which became covered in transfer spew. And I got gas all over my gloves, so I was going to be doing a load of laundry no matter what. bleh.

I have work to do, but Katie needed help making her Valentine's Day box for school. More cutting, folding, taping, twisting and pasting. I began to get wicked cramps in my hands, kind of like those Charley Horse cramps you get in your legs, only in your hands, they bend my fingers in odd ways. Very frustrating, but we got it done. And amazingly enough, she thanked me for helping her even though she knew my hands hurt.

So, in all, it sounds like a pretty rotten day right? You'd think that at some point a person would want to give up and just curl up in bed with a billion heat packs and wait for the pain meds to take over. Two problems with that, they don't have beds at church, and I cannot take NSAIDS (even though on occasion I do when I can't stand the pain) because of how harsh they are on kidney functions. My choices are Tylenol or narcotics. Neither of which are very effective on RA pain. Crazy huh? 800mg of ibuprofen, or 2 Aleve will settle down my joints more than 10mg of Oxycodone. So those choices were out.

We left Ian and Katie at the nursery (she helps out down there, plus Ian won't stay there without her (or me). Linus and I headed to the sanctuary, and took our regular spot up front in the second pew. We came in during a sermon by a guest speaker who is a youth director for Jacob's Porch. They work with at risk youth. Linus listened to the things that these kids were facing and he said he wished he could help them. He had brought his change bag, hoping to go to Target later and buy some decorative glass things that look like flat marbles. To him they are like valuable jewels and he likes to look at them. Whatever. It makes him happy, what do I care? A bucket of these things costs $10. He has been saving and scrounging for loose change everywhere for a few weeks and had a little over $8. I told him that if he gave some of his money to their special collection bucket (a real metal bucket) then I would spot him the money to buy the gems. It came time for communion. He took out a dime and stood up, I figured that was going to be his contribution. We were the second people in line, so the bucket was empty. Linus proceeded to dump his ENTIRE change bag into the bucket. The sound of all that change hitting the empty bucket was unreal, and lots of people took notice, including our pastor, who told him he did a wonderful thing. Linus said he wanted to give what he had, so he gave it all.

What an amazing little guy I have. This is the reason I go on living and doing as much as I can, while I'm still able. No matter how uncomfortable or difficult, BEING in life, instead of watching it go by, will always be worth it. Had I stayed home and skipped the service that moment never would have happened. There will be days when going and doing are impossible, I know. But for now, I'm not giving up. I owe it to my family.

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