Rheumatoid Arthritis

I lay in bed and as I woke up, I became aware of the familiar soreness I’ve felt since February.

I stared at my hands and the swelling in my fingers. “This little piggy is useless, this little piggy can’t bend.”

As the frustration welled up inside me, I bent my knees and took my feet from under the covers. I ripped my socks off and stared at the protruding toe joints.

After about 10 minutes contemplating going back to sleep I decided I should probably get up and about. Standing for sure makes you more aware of how sore and stiff you’ve become throughout the night.

It’s as if the hours of laying there slowly begin to turn you to stone. A kind of statue-like feeling. But not some regal marble looking statue, it’s something more like a creepy gargoyle.

Rheumatoid Arthritis pain in the feet, for me, kind of feels like I’ve been trekking Bolivia’s La Muela del Diablo in stiletto heels. The pain in the hands is most comparable to the feeling of when you get a sprain. So kind of like spraining every joint in your hands and wrists. The other pain, like your shoulders, legs, and stuff just feels like the day after a car wreck, or maybe when you’ve had too much to drink and you take a tumble down the stairs… you’re gonna feel that shit the next day for sure haha

Being Hispanic or Latina or whatever it’s being classified as in government forms today… I typically am not offended when people ask me questions or make comments that are way off or considered racist (I said typically). I mean why would I be? Do I know everything about other countries and their culture? Nope. Def not. I don’t expect others to know about where I’m from and I’d happily explain!!

But with rheumatoid arthritis it’s different. I’m not happy to explain that I’m not “too young” to have an immunological disease”, that it can happen at any age. I’m not too pleased to explain the reason of why I’m limping like an old hag when the reason will most likely be dismissed with an incredulous face saying, “arthritis?!” And no, you dumbass, your great grandmother probably has osteoarthritis. It’s not the same…

I feel like a self-entitled asshole when I get pissed about it. I’m thinking, if it didn’t physically hurt it probably wouldn’t bother me so much to explain what it is or how it’s not your grandparents arthritis.

My dad keeps telling me, and I’ve thought about it a lot too, “it could be worse, at least you’re still alive, at least it’s not cancer, at least we can manage it”. And he’s completely right. But when I can’t make the few steps to the bathroom or when I can’t tie my shoes, or when it used to take me 20 minutes to limp over to Elder from the Lodges, I sincerely couldn’t give two shits that “it could be worse”.

I’ve always been quite an active person. One of the reasons I’ve looked forward to graduating is so I can fully pursue some of those activities. Doing silks is something I can’t wait to do again, but holding onto two silk ribbons with my whole body weight sounds awful for now. I wince when someone gives me a firm handshake.

It’ll be ok though and I’ll definitely stop being an asshole about it. Now entirely, but I’ll be chill about being an arthritic old hag… for the most part.