Has it really been only three weeks?

Yep, I checked. Three weeks today. Just three weeks since I got the bombshell diagnosis. Four weeks of Physio, and four months since the pains started.

From life traveling at the speed of light, I feel like I've lived a lifetime in three weeks. Time has slowed to a crawl. Of course what's really happened is that in three weeks my mind has been bombarded with more experience than it normally gets in a year, there has been a radical shift in how I live, and things will never be the same again.

I've always known - and frequently preached - that anything can happen to anyone at any time. But knowing this doesn't stop you being floored by the surprise when it does. Arthritis isn't something that I would have expected to suddenly happen. I thought there would be a pain that would gradually increase over a year or so. But it wasn't like that! One week life was normal, next week I was in pain. Previous experience had taught that this sort of thing was a strained ligament/cartilage/tendon strain. And that's what it felt like.

But my experience has been updated! You can have arthritis for YEARS asymptomatically. I already knew this to an extent because whilst looking at something else two years ago, an MRI discovered OA in my right knee - and it's STILL asymptomatic. So that's where I was expecting it to strike. WRONG! All that time my hip probably had it as well, and worse. What I now know is that there can be a "tipping point" where the damage gets sufficient to fire up the nerves. Not so much sudden onset as sudden symptoms. How long has my knee got??

To suddenly lose the ability to properly walk, the only exercise I actually ever enjoyed doing, is a hammer blow. If it ever comes back via a new hip, it's years away. Oh the irony - I SAILED through the pandemic and even thrived - right job right place right time - only for it to bite at the back end because of the infinite hip replacement queue it has caused. I wasn't as alright Jack as I thought.

And of course there's the whole new experience of referred pain - see my previous discussions. There's KNOWING that the perception is flawed, but then experiencing that PAINFULLY is a whole new level of wisdom.

And being taken by surprise, all my mental disciplines that kept my issues on a leash suddenly short-circuited. The beasts were unleashed! All my emotions escaped their cages and terrorised innocent civilians in public places. I've had to gather those disciplines all back in like a dropped pack of cards - mind-calming, anger management, grounding, mindfulness, conflict resolution, appropriate response management - all that good stuff. And now a new one - pain management. I already know it and taught it as a therapist, but previously I only needed it myself for when missus has a go at my yellowheads. Now I need it all day.

And ALL THIS has happened in three weeks...

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,704

    This is all new to you and, I guess, you’re still in shock. Arthritis does its own thing in its own time and sticks to no agenda of ours. You’re used to being in control of your body and now you’re not.

    I think it’s not a great idea to zoom ahead and start thinking of a new hip. Much better, for my money, to concentrate on living with the old one. And, if you already know there is OA in a knee, concentrate on that too. Exercise both and you might stave off further problems there.

    I suspect we might all lose first that which we love most. For me it was playing the piano. I was never good but I was good enough to get a lot of pleasure out of it – until I started massacring familiar pieces because my fingers wouldn’t stretch.

    I found, over the years, that the best thing was to always take up something new for everything lost. For me this has involved all sorts of fascinating stuff. When my husband’s hip got so bad he could no longer go for long walks or play golf he bought an exercise bike and gradually built up time on it. He hated it and hasn’t used it since his THR. It was simply a means to an end and how I admired him for it!

    We always say on here that arthritis affects a whole family, albeit in different ways. The trick is to learn how to share things carefully. Stoically soldiering on, shutting out one’s family is no better than whinging and whining and re-distributing the pain that way. I find a simple “I’m not great today” sends Mr SW into chef / cleaner mode. When the kids were young and everything hurt I would score for them and their mates at snooker or table tennis as it enabled me to sit but still be useful and not concentrate on pain. A proud moment was when I overheard one young teenager saying to my son “I like your Mum. She talks to us.” Without arthritis, I’d never have had that moment. I’d have been at work. Arthritis has its good points. Once you’ve accepted and digested the diagnosis do be open to them. There can be quite a lot.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Damned69
    Damned69 Member Posts: 55

    Wow. Thank you for this. I found the last paragraph particularly relevant as after struggling around the lawn with a mower today, the realization dawned that I just can't do this any longer. There had to be a discussion. I have confidence issues with Missus' ability to take over the garden but she was adamant she was the one for the job. Heaven help us.

    I find the idea of Arthritis having its good points a difficult concept but the novice can't argue with the experienced - time will show me.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740
    edited 30. Jun 2021, 16:44

    Yup, arthritis snuck up on just the same. One minute I’m wondering why my leg hurts, three days later I’m being told I need a new hip. I had no idea I had arthritis at all, let alone that it was that bad. Then the pain party really took off. But my way to deal with it was to accept and adapt, I had to keep my life going, so I had to work out how. And I did. And I just got on with it. To do otherwise was never an option, however bad it got, and boy did it get bad.....

    Re asking for help, my husband has had to step in with the gardening. He doesn’t have my green fingers, he’s more of a hedge basher and hole digger, and a rough and ready one at that. His lawn mowing is basic at times, but it gets it done. But he’s learning, and he’s gone up a level in his gardening skills this last week. As will your wife. She won’t do it quite the way you do, but she’ll be doing it, and she’ll learn her own way,

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,704

    Just to pick up on a couple of Lilymary's points.

    Adaptation is, indeed, the key. I've long preached on here that the less flexible our joints are the more flexible our mind has to be.

    Also, the gardening or, to be less exact, the relinquishing of tasks. We have to let our kind helpers do things their own way, not ours. It can be hard. Mr SW often does one job and creates two more but.......

    And often we can take a job/ role from them to compensate. If she's gardening then, maybe, you can eg cook.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Damned69
    Damned69 Member Posts: 55

    @stickywicket I'm a great fan of proverbs (check out my Facebook page GARY'S WORDS OF WISDOM) so your second paragraph/sentence particularly floated my boat. I will remember it always.