Sunday, November 14, 2010

Limping In A Winter Wonderland

patella-fig1I dread this time of year. For many reasons. It is as if Father Time is hell bent on getting to, and then through the fourth quarter while the rest of us are merely innocent bystanders as we slide into the home plate known as New Year’s Day.

It seems like we all get so distracted by getting through the holidays, we completely lose sight of what is important. Even with months of warning, the fourth quarter “sneaks up on me” every year. How many years do I have to live before I will plan better? How many years will I find myself saying “I can’t believe it is almost Halloween”, “Thanksgiving”, and finally “Christmas”.

Nearly a decade ago, I vowed I would not enter Wal-Mart between Halloween and the New Year. I doubt I need to explain the rationale behind this vow but that won't stop me.  It all started one year I was almost assaulted at the Wal-Mart in Roeland Park Kansas during the season of “giving”. That woman was giving all right. She was giving me the what-for when I had the last of an item that she wanted. In addition, the carts are too big and the aisles are too small. To put it simply, there is not enough room for “both” of us there. At this point, people in my life have gotten used to stocking stuffers from the gas station by now.

To add to my bah-hum-bug attitude, I despise cold weather. This is a little more than my constant inner debate with myself about why I moved from the fabulous sunshine state. This is the dread I feel anticipating the first cold snap. The dread I feel from my left ankle all the way to my left hip.

When I was first diagnosed with RA in 2005 I laughed. Don’t get me wrong, I think the world of my orthopedic surgeon and my rheumatologist. I just thought they had the wrong girl, or the wrong chart. Over the years however, I have slowly conceded, much like Wal-Mart in Roeland Park.

I need to make something clear. My pain is nothing compared to some; but it can be everything to me. My first flare up has been the worst to date. I can recall begging Brad to take me to the hospital and have them do something. Anything. At my lowest point, I swore amputation was not out of the question. Looking back, I realize I was being dramatic. In my defense though, my knee was a big grapefruit. A big, black grapefruit.

The worst part about my version of RA is the waiting period; those eight blissful months between “potential” flareups. On the flip side though, their timing and characteristics are pretty predictable, so I can prepare myself.

While I wait in wonder this season, I will focus on stuffing stockings with goodies for the boys and not stuffing a brace with what is left of my left knee.

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