Now it’s no new news that my body has slowly (err…somewhat rapidly) begun to fail me over the last few years. The efforts I’ve made to prevent further complications or to reverse already problematic areas has paid off some… but not enough. For the most part, it’s just adapting to the new me. The parts that work different (if at all), the things I have to do differently or avoid as often as possible. Now that there are so many different seemingly unconnected pieces in the ‘puzzle of pain’ each day can be quite the challenge to figure out exactly how to cope with everything that’s flared up and problematic.
When my SI is bad I know I have to have a heel on. When my feet are swollen I know I can’t be spending time upright. When my gut isn’t digesting I know I have to stick with pureed goodness (NOT). For each of my body’s messed up actions I have to have a way to still function, at least for the basics. Food, clothes, shelter…bath. Everything may be more difficult and on the worst days a lot of things may still be next to impossible, but most of the time I managed to make due.
That is until my hands really started being more of a problem and not just one problem, no a mix of a few different ones all at once creating a trifecta of fucktardable nonsense. Just pain I could handle (already do everywhere else…so why not). Just weakness I could handle (again…following suit with everywhere else a lot of the time). Lack of movement and a whack of swelling on top of it all… come on now.
I will admit, I was probably spoiled up until this point that considering how bad many of my other joints and complicated body parts were that the arthritic part of my lupus had left my hands mostly well alone. Apart from some stiffness and soreness after overuse or the usual morning nonsense, they felt ‘mostly’ OK. I may not have been able to do a lot of the bigger, grander things like kneed dough, lift weights, play sports with my kids or carry groceries but I could manage most of the everyday self care stuff that we really don’t think about.
Now my hands just don’t work, particularly my right one (possible stress fracture, X rays done and now we wait). Which you’d think for a lefty wouldn’t be so much of a fucking problem, but you know what. Us lefties are living in a righty world and a lot of things still need to be done that way. There are so many little things that I never assumed would cause me pain or I would be unable to simply do without thinking about.
- Pouring coffee. The lack of ability to do this without pain or spillage first thing in the morning definitely does not get the day off right.
- Putting on socks or pulling up zippers. Due to the spot of the stress fracture (or whatever other problem) I am unable to pincer grip anything between my thumb and forefinger.
- Cutting food. I don’t have the dexterity and grip to use my chef’s knifes and my hands are too tender to use the slap chop. I’m useless in the kitchen.
- Opening….anything. From cans to jars to envelops to bottles of wine…yup, useless.
- Going to the fucking bathroom. What a shit show this is (HA). Oh how I wish I was a dude and I could just point and aim for a simple #1, but no… pants down, toilet roll, wipe, pants up, flush, soap, tap on, wash, tap off, towel. OUCH. Not to mention that having IBS/IBD means constant runs to the bathroom…. even in yoga pants (omitting the need for the zipper issue) this is a lot of pants up and down action on the hands. Really shitty deals.
- Showering. Out of all the things that hurt the most, washing my hair is probably it. The movement, the pressure, the fact that there really is no way to stop early once I’ve started…another area where maybe being a dude wouldn’t be so bad, a lack of personal hygiene wouldn’t be so frowned upon. Just a quick in and out with a squirt of body wash and that’s all about I can handle.
- Sleeping. It’s hard getting comfortable (more like impossible) when you’re in pain, it’s true, but when its your extremities, there’s something else added to the mix. They are these awkward ends that just can’t be put anywhere and they’ve been used all day and now are at their worst. All night I spend actively thinking about where I have to place my hands to try and be as comfortable as possible…and that’s anything but relaxing.
These 5 fingered arm ends of mine better get a handle on themselves soon because it is December 1st and I have a shit load of Holiday baking to get to and how to do that without hands I don’t know how to do.