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  • Writer's picturePapa Bear

Body for Sale, One Careful Owner.....

I've meant to blog more of late but it doesn't seem to have happened. Half term, kids at home, busy with work stuff and trying to write more. I meant to write about this at the time but didn't get round to it but this is about a weeks worth of physical issues that really hit home how fucked my body can be and what you have to look forward to when you suffer from a chronic condition such as arthritis.

I'd been working the night before, physical stuff but nothing heavy. We as a team have got it down to a fine art and no one has to do anything too physically demanding. Having to sit through Mamma Mia is be far the most painful part of the evening and I tend to hide downstairs rather than put myself through such things. So I got home, half past midnightish, went to bed, feeling knackered but physically fine. I woke up on Sunday morning and had horrendous pain in my left knee. My list of achey bits is long and boring, my knees having been the main issue since the arthritis arrived roughly 17 years ago so to have aches when I wake up in either or both knees is nothing surprising. But this was different. I must have slept with my right leg over my left knee joint, putting the weight of that leg directly onto the joint and I must have been so tired, in such a deep sleep that I clearly didn't register it. For the next three days I was walking with a stick, a crutch or both, completely unable to put weight on my left leg due to the pain. Eventually it sorted itself out but I spent the rest of the week driving Baby Bear to nursery, parking in the school car park rather than doing the ten minute hobble from our house, avoiding walking any distance at all. Totally crippled for three whole days simply because of how I slept. Sleeping is the one thing that I am genuinely brilliant at and should be how my body and brain recovers from whatever the day has thrown my way.

Thursday, we got a puppy. Number of weeks old in single figures, seriously cute and apart from the odd bitey spell (he is a puppy after all) he's good natured and a hit with the ladies. With a small furry one comes various paraphernalia, chewy toys, squeaky things, rugs, poop matts and a little gate to stop him getting into the hall way, up the the stairs or at the ever growing mountain of shoes that spill from baskets galore. It's barely shin height on me this gate, being around 5 foot 10 and we all seemed to be able to hop over it apart from BB who pushed it to one side and then back again when he was done.

Friday. Neither of us could be arsed to cook after a week of stuff, fish and chips was ordered from our lovely local place, knock at the door, I got up to answer it knowing it was the chip dude. I came back through the hallway carrying a couple of bags of food in my right hand, cans of pop in a bag in my left and stepped over the gate thing as I had done a bunch of times in the last 24 hours. Not quite clearing the gate the toe of my slipper caught the top, which didn't really move and I was launched into a tumble, no free hands to grab at anything or break my fall as I landed. It was all I could do to spin myself round slightly and land on my left side as I hit the floor. I twatted my knee, twisted my ankle and my left elbow took most of the force of the fall. Mama Bear rescued the dinner, leaving me laying in a heap in the hallway having asked if she could help at all, just leave me here for a bit I answered. Cue another dose of hobbling around, left knee and ankle this time giving me jip.

Generally speaking on a day to day basis I get by OK. There may be the odd thing that crops up but you get on with it because, well frankly, what other fucking choice do you have?! Swear at a jar because your thumb doesn't work, struggle up some stairs if the lifts out of order, put your back through the ringer because you can't crouch down from the knees. But now and again you get a nasty reminder that when you carry something like this around with you every day, a condition that is going to get progressively worse over time, there will be a point where I can't put weight on a knee, an ankle will give up completely, I won't be able to grip stuff in my left hand, walking unaided will be a thing of the past. I've just turned 42. My mum who will be 69 this year is in infinitely better physical health than me. It's scary having this thing looming that will take away your ability to do something, possibly without warning or with a way of being fixed. I've already been retired from being a musician, the thing that defined me from the age of 7 up to 40, paid the bills, went in the 'occupation' box any time I had to fill in a form. My left hand can't cope with was is involved with being a drummer anymore. So what's next? Will driving BB to nursery become a regular fixture? Who knows.

None of this is a cry for help, an old fart looking for sympathy or anything like that. It's simply an honest account of what I am going through at the moment, a look into living with a condition like arthritis for anyone who's interested and hopefully a kick up the arse for you to make the most of what you have while you still have it. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Skateboard, badly if you must but don't just look at it longingly. I need to get my shit together with archery soon if I'm ever going to do it. I don't know how long I have with a fully working right hand and a left hand that is buggered enough only in certain bits where I could still grip a bow. I've already been forced to stop the lightsaber classes that I went to for six months, a combination of getting into more demanding footwork and the thought of taking a hit to my left hand in battle put a stop to that. I genuinely loved the classes, lovely fellow geeks that became good mates, an incredible teacher who really knew his stuff and managed to be a lovely chap and the scariest motherfucker ever all in one go. It got me into cosplaying beyond the odd Joker dress up, took me to a couple of Cons, a first for me and introduced me to the terrifying/ wonderful/ tragic world of duelable lightsabers, beautiful crafted, gorgeous physical items which give you the ability to beat the crap out of someone due to the polycarbonite blades.

So what is it that you've been putting off, have always wanted to try but have never gotten round to or wanted to start again but could never find the time? Take my advice, what ever that thing is make the time. Fate may have another plan for you and in six months you may never able to do that thing again. Get a sitter, leave work early one day a week, find a parent & childrens class and take the kids too. But (in my bestest Arnie voice) do it, do it now or you may find that one day in the not too distant future you don't have any say in the matter.

PB x

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