The Thief…part 1
I remember when it first started. Old age, I thought, was a bitch. Little did I know that it was not, in fact, normal aches and pains. The first sign was when my shoulders started tensing up. They hurt so bad I could not cross my arms in front of me. Each day I would get up, put on my “happy face” and work a full day with 18 tiny people staring at me. I sang songs, songs about being happy. I had to force the pain down each and every day. Doctors couldn’t help me. It was just a flare. Bursitis said one. Arthralgia with a question mark wrote another. Cortisone shot said yet another. So I agreed. I had the shot and was in the worst pain I have almost ever felt in my life. It froze my shoulder up even more and then I cried each time I moved. I had to prop my arm on a pillow that night. I couldn’t even change out of the clothes I was in.
Over time, the pain moved to my spine. It started at the base of my neck and went down until I could feel every single vertebra in my entire spine. I was never aware of my bones before. They were simply there. The pain radiated out to my shoulder blades. I became angry and more distant with people. I was coming home from work and just withdrawing into my own shell. I would put blankets all over me because I could not get warm. I had heating pads on my back and shoulders. I’d try to do things, but simply couldn’t function after working all day long.
Whenever I tried to sleep, I could feel the bones. I would toss and turn and try to get comfortable. By the time I got to sleep, my husband was bringing me coffee. Coffee was the only way to get me up in the morning, and yet it felt like I had just gone to sleep. The cycle was horribly draining on my well-being. Not just physical, but mentally as well. There was not one person I could tell this to. Not one. Do you know what they had called me at work? Mrs. Happy. I was Mrs. Freaking Happy.
I’d alternate between praying and being mad at God. He knew what I was going through. He knew, and yet there were no answers. None. One day a co-worker slapped me on the arm and I almost slapped her across the face for touching me. Yup. I did. It took all the self-control I had to say through gritted teeth “Never, ever touch me again.” We were not particularly close, and she had a habit of thinking things were funny and slapping my arm like I agreed. The only thing I thought was funny at the moment was watching her face as I explained how much what she did hurt. Yes, it wasn’t nice, I know. Pain doesn’t care.
Around that time I realized I couldn’t work around people and keep up appearances. That’s when a plan starting forming in my head that I needed to work on getting better if such a thing was possible. The pain, fatigue, and doubt about whether I would be able to hold down a job with my amount of pain wore me down. Every night I would cry. If I wasn’t crying, I was pretending I was fine…until I started getting sick to my stomach almost every single day. At that point, I could no longer pretend I was fine. Food was making me violently ill and I had not been allergic to any food before in my life. A thief came in and stole my youth. I looked like a 20 something year old healthy adult with the body of an 80-year-old woman on the inside.
More to come…