RA infiltrated my body like a sly adversary of war, waking me in the dead of night with scorching fever streaming through my blood; inflamed joints surfaced, swollen in the battle against my own immune system; but the war waging in my body is only a modest scrimmage in the light of the soldiers that fought, and continue to fight, for the life we live today. They faced the horror of gunfire, grenades, death and starvation; they huddled in trenches running with blood,
waiting for the muted step of an enemy compelled to obliterate their existence; and when they returned home, remnants of their life were left behind destroyed by an ego that would never be satisfied. Have I any right to complain of the old lady’s battle within me? I wake to the pain of inflammation in my joints, while hapless survivors wake to phantom pains of limbs they once possessed. My war is trivial compared to the ordeal of the soldiers on the frontlines, travelling to hell and back in order to give us the freedom we have today.
Tonight when old lady RA attacks from the gutters beyond her barricade, I will endure in the face of her inflammation – her insignificant pain will be a reminder of the blessed life I live; and though I may complain over her petty torment, I will be grateful to stand against the marginal difficulty she presents, knowing countries still ravaged by war will continue to struggle to find peace that may never come.
“Lest we forget”.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.