Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Parallel Reality

   
The first time I realized just how different my reality was from that of other people was several years ago when I was recounting a visit to my rheumatologist to a couple of friends. I talked about how one of the assessment tools she used in the physical exam was to press on the sides of the middle joint of my fingers and I forget exactly how it came about, but my friends told me it wasn't normal that this hurt. And I had one of those moments where the world comes to a screeching halt, complete with that needle across-a-record sound and I looked at them, gobsmacked. Really?? Really, they said. And then I squeezed the sides of the middle joint on their fingers and they kept telling me it didn't hurt and I don't think I really believed them, because of course it hurts. This had been the way it had always been for me and although I knew that other people didn't have swollen joints or that particular bone grinding pain, this small aspect of my reality had never registered as being because of the RA. It wasn't until I began taking Enbrel that I checked and lo and behold, when your RA is under control, it doesn't hurt to squeeze the sides of your middle finger joint. Who knew?

This weekend, I had another one of those moments. The Boy and I were having a conversation and I was describing how a specific tendon was giving me problems where it attaches to the bone and he remarked that I had an interesting relationship with my body. Oh? I inquired and he proceeded to tell me that regular people are only vaguely aware of how their body works as they move through their day and certainly not tuned into the exact spot where a tendon attaches unless they had a bad injury. And yet again, I was gobsmacked at this peek into a reality so different from mine. I can't always feel all the places where my body's collections of tendons and ligaments attach to various other bits of me, but there are enough of them that are vocal at one time or another that I am exquisitely aware of the construction of my body. So, seriously?

It must be so wonderfully quiet where you people live.
    

11 comments:

liz@millerhousehold.com said...

I guess it is.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people don't even know how to listen to their bodies, unless/ until they've had an injury or an ongoing problem.  I didn't.  And sometimes I still try to ignore it when it's going, "Dude, if you don't do XYZ *today* your back is going to be killing you tomorrow."

Diane said...

Yes it is, almost all the time.  However, when my body does talk back, it's really mouthy!

Bonnie said...

It is quiet.  Thanks for reminding me.  It makes me feel more appreciative for what I have.

Jocelyn said...

I only realized just how quiet it was when I had major back surgery and spent the two years before the surgery and the year after it (which I realize is truly not a serious stretch of time in the grand scheme of a life) in pain.  After a while, I had names for the different kinds of pain in the nerve in my leg and in the donkey-kicked spot in my spine, and for the fear that I had for a while that the surgery had actually made things worse.  I only hurt sometimes now, and I do notice the silence of my body when I don't hurt, which is something I'd never have done before - I just took it for granted that I didn't have to pay attention to the way I turn and bend and twist, or the way I hold myself when I stand, or or or...  I don't take it for granted anymore.   (I do, however, cheer during Enbrel commercials, to my husband's confusion.)

DavidG said...

Now that's not to say our bodies don't do some talking and that we're completely unaware... It's just that most of the time thinks work, don't hurt, and naturally end up unheard or ignored.

Of course what makes your awareness of your body even more unique is that you know enough anatomy to be able to name whatever damn tendon is acting up. For many of us we just know that occasionally there's this thing that we feel around a certain place. Highly specific and scientific huh?

Trevor said...

Since getting my gastric band, I have become much more aware of where my stomach is.  I know that sounds silly to most people, but ask most people where their stomach is and they'll point to a much lower spot on their torso.  I have also become very aware of every little bit of pain and discomfort that my stomach might experience.  Painfully aware (HA!).

Julia said...

Yes, when it works correctly, it's pretty silent. And I don't pay much attention. I wonder if that is true for people who use their bodies professionally--dancers and acrobats and other atrhletes?

AlisonH said...

My inner response was such a loud screaming Yes! that I couldn't give voice to it yesterday--too much, too many things, too many stories and memories to give adequate voice to or to handle.

My ongoing physical pain is not what it once was. But I once happily accepted an invitation to a baby shower given by a friend I hadn't seen in far too long. I knit something for the baby, showed up--and it was being held in the woman's lovely garden. Outside. At noon. Oh, but we have umbrellas, see? (And a white concrete patio, very good for reflections.)

It never occurred to her that it might be a problem, it never occurred to me that not everybody has to have a wall of glass between them and the UV, not everyone has lupus, and I spent most of the party in the kitchen pretty much by myself.

I did finally go outside for awhile, knowing how stupid that was but needing fervently to show support to a woman who was celebrating the coming birth of a grandchild after the death of a child, and then I had the eye damage to show for it.

k said...

Thanks. I needed that.
My pain isn't anywhere near yours, and I've knocked it way back, But I was starting to think everybody else was like this and I was a wimp.
I've been on break from school, and sleeping 10-12 hours a day. I had a couple of pain-free days. That was a nice break.

Knitnana said...

Well, you brought me right up straight! OMG - they don't know? Really? Fibro and MCTD (or maybe Lupus, it's been back and forth now) and having been a dancer (which was MY explanation till I read your post!) I FEEL everything, it seems...

And my pain isn't as loud as yours, because I'm not using a chair yet. Still...it's pretty vocal.
Sending you warmth and hugs.