It's a rubbish club, but at least it's a BIG club

Has it only been a week or two since the Physio dropped his bombshell? It feels like half a lifetime. I have suddenly been immersed into a new reality that now is the dominant factor in my life. I've learned about parts of me I never even knew existed (because they haven't hurt before) and become press-ganged student of Biology, Anatomy, posture, gait, and worst of all Physiotherapy, which is Greek for "self-torture for your own good"

I feel like someone who was minding his own business who has suddenly been sucked into a parallel universe of pain. I now find myself a member of The Club of Pain. However, it's a Yin-Yang multiverse where even in the lightest places have dark shadows lurking and the darkest places have shafts of light. Several things strike me about my new club. Firstly there are worse clubs, like the Dementia Club, The Cardiac Club, The Cancer Club and worst of all the Motor Neurone Disease club.

Another very noticeable feature of the Club of Pain is the very large membership - there are lots and LOTS of us. (I'm still absorbing "us" meaning I'm in it too - this isn't a dream). There are certain advantages to this, like that's a lot of people sharing a common cause, lots of available information and very importantly lots of people who understand. I've noticed a strong camaraderie - now whenever I see someone with a walking stick, they feel like family.

Human Beings, no matter how introverted they are, are by nature tribal - we need to feel like we belong somewhere - OUR people. To be in a group where we clearly don't fit is a stressful upsetting experience. If you've got a very rare condition, you're then in a world where no one really gets what it's like to be you every day. Arthritis however is like SERIOUSLY COMMON, and with the advent of the communication revolution, I'm a keyboard tap away from advice, company, and new insights. I've already had some transformational advice about gait - it's important to keep back straight at all times - no stooping! This has made hobbling (arthritics don't actually walk) much easier.

Communication Therapy is every bit as important as Physiotherapy and all the other medical interventions. We need other people with whom we have rapport to keep us from going loopy.

Everyone in this club would given the option leave it instantly, but there are lots of good helpful people in it, and I'm really glad they're there.

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Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,271

    I agree with all you say except "We need other people with whom we have rapport to keep us from going loopy." Some of us have achieved both arthritis and loopiness. Unfortunately, it's not an either / or 😉

    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Damned69
    Damned69 Member Posts: 53

    Arthritis and mental illness are of course not mutually exclusive - I will devote articles to this subject soon. However the right support and company can alleviate it.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,318

    The lovely people on this site have certainly massively helped keep my head above water on this journey (despite inherent loopiness). And you’re right, it is a huge club, but one that sometimes feels like a secret society. Since diagnosis I’ve always been open and honest with friends, family and those I encounter in my work, not least because I had to explain my lurching gait, use of a stick etc, and I’ve found them to be kind and sympathetic, and share their experience of friends and family who have had successful surgery.

    We’re all now, rightly, talking openly about mental health. Why is arthritis a taboo? It’s seen as something that’s a normal part of ageing that has to be tolerated and I’m shocked at how many health care professional shrug it off and tell us to just get on with it. Society as a whole has not recognised that we don't have to put up with this in silence any more, and that it is to a large degree treatable, even in our older age. We do not need to be written off. This attitude has to change, and I applaud Versus Arthritis for taking on this challenge. We've got mental health out in the public domain now, let’s do the same for arthritis in all its forms.

  • Tom
    Tom Moderator Posts: 219

    Hi @Damned69 whilst I accept, at least in part, a lot of what you write, I take issue with your statement "immersed into a new reality that now is the dominant factor in my life."

    Surely to think this way is to exaggerate the problem. For my part, I try to not regret the things I can no longer do, but rejoice in what I can.

    Tom

  • Damned69
    Damned69 Member Posts: 53
    edited 17. Jun 2021, 11:28

    @Tom EXAGGERATE THE PROBLEM!!!???? You're kidding right?! No I'm NOT exaggerating the problem!! This is a fundamental life-changing experience up there on a par with marriage, kids, bereavement and so forth. I have just lost, virtually overnight, the ability to be pain-free and to properly walk, the only form of exercise I actually got any joy from, and lots of stuff I could do without thinking, like going to work, mowing the lawn, shopping and PUTTING MY SOCK ON, and personal intimate gratification - all that is suddenly a painful struggle.

    You may be able to play that down dude, but this is a massive loss to me. Exaggerating the problem indeed grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

    The last sentence of this post has been deleted because of its content

    Yvonne_H Admin

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,271

    I think Tom IS fit for the role and made a perfectly valid point. Of course you have lost a lot by developing arthritis. We all have and we can all sympathise and empathise with you but shouting about it (I think the use of capitals, online, is normally regarded as the equivalent of shouting) will not make things better and will simply discourage others. 

    We do care about each other on these forums and we do try to ENcourage. We all have our moany and whiney days and, at the beginning, these will be to the fore but shouting and exaggerating isn't the way forward. Yes, I do believe you have a tendency to exaggerate. In another thread you compared physio to chemo. Because you are new and because you made a clumsy attempt to modify this I omitted to mention it in my reply but, frankly, having relied on one for most of my life and having experienced the other some years ago, I can tell you that only someone with no personal experience of chemo would make even a brief comparison. 

    I'm sure you have a lot to both give to and take from these forums. Please don't diss our hard-working volunteers.

    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Damned69
    Damned69 Member Posts: 53
    edited 17. Jun 2021, 13:48

    Your penultimate paragraph suggests I'm guilty of treading on rattlesnakes. If I'm dealing with a cancer patient, it's hard to argue. I will endeavour to make my modifications, and indeed comparisons less clumsy.

    One sentence deleted because of its content.

    Yvonne_H Admin

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,271

    Thank you. That will be much appreciated.

    I'm not exactly 'a cancer patient' but very much a former cancer patient. It wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs at the time but years of arthritis helped me to deal with it.

    Unfortunately, arthritis and cancer are not mutually exclusive and I can, without trying, think of many people on here who have had it, or, indeed, other life-threatening diseases, some of whom succumbed to them.

    Rattlesnakes are everywhere. We have to tread carefully. as I discovered when I saw the sign 'BEWARE RATTLESNAKES' on the path by the children's playground near my son's house on California. 😮

    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,738
    edited 17. Jun 2021, 13:23

    ...................Unfortunately, arthritis and cancer are not mutually exclusive and I can, without trying, think of many people on here who have had it, or, indeed, other life-threatening diseases, some of whom succumbed to them..............


    Me too @stickywicket me too 😕


    In addition I am a real fan of the 'fumble factor' allowing people to make mistakes in something they say meaning no real harm which might not be entirely PC or unwittingly offend someone.

    Love

    Toni xxx