It didn’t take long for me to become accustomed to waking in the mornings with the stiffness of RA suffocating my sleeping joints; I wake and move them from their frozen state, my blood flows, beginning the arduous process of rousing them from their spell. On one particular morning, I peeled myself from the bed, and in my first tentative moments, I detected a new entity had entered my body. My lower back felt rigid and hard, as if a board had been hammered across it. I could almost hear the brittle crackle of rusty flakes crumbling away when I bent over. I was baffled – where and when did this sudden new stiffness arrive? This was the first time I experienced the cold stiff presence of old lady RA in my lower back.
I wobbled through a few days, pining at the absence of my flexibility acquired through years of dance training; some days the stiffness abated by afternoon, other times, it stuck around for the whole day. I had difficulty twisting or bending down to pick up dropped objects. I bore the constraint of old lady RA’s rigid grip, feeling a bit like a mannequin in a storefront window. Their plastic bodies stand frozen in the windows, modelling the latest fashion trend, stiff necks and hollow faces staring out at the world bustling past. I hobbled along the sidewalk, a stilted figure crackling along the pavement wondering how much money I could make if I decided to stand in a storefront window wearing the latest fashion. I decided, rather quickly, that I wasn’t cut out to be a mannequin – I had neither the desire nor the temperament for a permanent position in life.
I decided to take action. I started with the soothing heat of a hot water bottle and warm baths to stimulate blood flow; I returned to a daily routine of gentle yoga, conjuring up mental images of a carpenter extracting nails from a rotting board and peeling it away from my back. After a few days, the stiffness relinquished its grip, and I was freed from the old lady’s mannequin curse, changing my position, and my clothes, at my own will.
Leave a Comment
The information on this site are stories based on my personal experiences and is not intended for medical advice. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. All content is original and owned by the author and shall not be used or duplicated without express and written permission.
If You Like What You See
Some people have inquired if there’s a place to donate on my blog. This is for those who would like to offer extra support for my work and I thank you for this.
A bigger thank you to all my readers who offer ongoing support simply by stopping by for a visit. I enjoy writing and interacting with you.
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.
I know this was not funny but I couldn’t suppress a smile as I thought about you contemplating a new career as a mannequin. I hate these new surprises from RA. They’re definitely the gifts that keep on giving. Sending hugs.
Thank you Carla. I’m happy to make you smile even though it’s not a pleasant experience, but I’ve learned I need to keep a sense of humour about my arthritis and the crazy situations it sometimes puts me in. I hope you are keeping well and things are improving for you. 🙂
New reader here — it’s been a challenge to get a hold on my arthritis but your blog gives me another “grasp” of the situation. Thank you for your insight.
Thank you for visiting. It does take some time to find a new way to live with arthritis. I hope you can reign in your “old lady” and keep her on a tight leash. Stay well.
I had no idea about your R.A….I have PSA for over a dozen years now. A lot of my symptoms have improved taking cortesol manager for stress. I take methotrexate too.
Hi Lou-Lou, yes, I was diagnosed over four years ago… it’s been quite a journey. Thankfully, my rheumy hasn’t tried me on Methotrexate. I’m hoping I won’t need it, although, it probably would be the next step. I hope your arthritis does not give you too much trouble. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Cheers.
Excellent analogy. Sometimes I call myself the tin woman. Heat definitely works to oil those flaming joints. Hope you feel lots better now.
Oh yeah, tin woman is a great way to describe the stiffness… there are days I just want to squeak out “oil can, oil can…” 🙂