Monday, November 23, 2009

I used to be able to do that....

It's a slippery slope down the "I used to be able to do that" path. One day you can't seem to raise your arms high enough to wash your hair properly and it causes you to think for a moment - I used to be able to wash my hair and now I can't... when/how did this happen?

I also used to be able to stretch my wrists so my forearm and palm made an 90 degree angle, but now I can't. How did that happen?

My fingers used to be straight and now they're not. How'd that happen?

Losing my range of motion happened slowly over time and only after enough time has passed that you notice that can't do what you used to. Fortunately for me, the lower half of my body is pain-free with a fantastic range of motion. My upper half, not so much. I can walk, run a little (should, for some reason, I choose to), skip, tread water and twist into some amazing yoga poses that involve my lower half. I will not, however, be breaking any world records for push-ups. My wrists and shoulders have some significant and permanent damage and just don't move that way anymore.

It's funny about losing your range of motion - the current state of my wrists have become my new "normal" and I accept them as is. I don't really remember the time when they were able to do more for me. I am grateful that I can walk without any mobility aids. I love my independence. I remember when I wasn't so able-bodied, and that makes me appreciate the here and now even more.

With experience over the past 18 years of RA, I'm now more proactive with my health care. I feel that I could have been more on the ball with my wrists, in retrospect. It happens so slowly that you only see it years later. From this experience, I am very aware of how my legs, knees, ankles and feet are doing, and any changes I raise with my rheumatologist. I've learned a hard lesson on early intervention and active care for your joints. They can replace some - but not all - and I'm not aspiring to become the bionic woman!

1 comment:

Helen said...

My wrists have been fused since I was about 11. It does happen slowly. I don't remember them getting that way; in fact, I don't even remember them being "normal". I do remember being able to do cartwheels for some of my childhood, and then no longer.

Strangely, if someone were to offer me the chance to have full range of motion back, I don't think I'd take it. I've been living this way for 15 years - this is me now.

Great post.