This quiz did the rounds a few months ago and I really liked it. It explained a few of the quirks that I was aware of, as well as some of the subconscious ones that I didn’t even realise.
So pop over to the Arthritis Canada website and try the quiz. It’s only 8 questions and they’re multiple choice. Hopefully I’ve given you a bit of insight.
I scored 8 out of 8, but I cheated… I used my unfair advantage of knowing what it’s like. It would, of course, be wrong of me to help you to cheat. So don’t worry – I won’t tell you that the answers are C.
Now, promise that you’ll come straight back? (D’ya see what I did there? I made a funny! I’m wasted I tell you, wasted!)
Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
… Everyone made it back? Nope, just waiting for one…
Bugger it, let’s just carry on. Someone can catch them up later. 😀
Firstly, I’m sorry about the horrendous over use of the word “persons” rather than “people”. It made it feel a bit like an episode of CSI:Canadia. But hopefully it was useful. It was for me. It covers a lot of the things that I do, often without even realising I’m doing them.
Firstly, pain. You know when you’re in pain for a long time it starts to numb? Yep, that’s still a thing even with AS. (There are lots of people out there with other conditions on top of AS that might disagree. But this is my blog, my opinion, and I’m the Queen here!) One second while I pick up my tiara…
I usually describe my pain as discomfort when I’m having a normal day. I save the word pain for the sharp, burning agony that flies through my body when I misstep. (36 years old and I still don’t know how to walk!) Or the dull, throbbing agony that runs through my body first thing in the morning before my drugs kick in.
Actually, let’s just discuss the pain for a second. Because I’m writing this to help people who don’t have AS understand, but also for people who do have it and are sick of the dry, medical sounding leaflets. Yes the ache is there constantly – that’s what chronic means. But it’s manageable at the start, do your exercises, follow your doctors’ advice as soon as you’re diagnosed and it still will be.
But even if your diagnosis takes a while don’t forget that there are still some great drugs to help. Anti-inflammatories are your best friend (get medical advice first though, long term use can damage your digestive system). They will help to make you comfortable enough to start getting moving and that’s what helps. Oh! And a nice long soak in a hot bath. Try it. And if your partner, kids, or flatmates complain just tell them it’s medical.
Wow, that was a longer tangent than I expected. Sorry. So yes, pain and the likelihood of causing more makes someone with AS hyper-conscious of their surroundings. I’m usually more aware of sleeping policemen (speed bumps), potholes and the like when in the car than my partner is (because I have to add extra shock absorption using my arms). It’s also why I try to get a seat at the back of the bus, I can feel the front wheels judder and have a second to prepare.
Then there’s the fusion. Mine is relatively advanced (as you’ll know from my last post. If you didn’t read it then shame on you! What do you think this is? A self-indulgent opportunity for a horrendously verbose puff with a penchant for the dramatic to release some frustration? Oh. Wait…)
There are some things that I physically cannot do because of the fusion. I can’t reach a shelf above head height comfortably. I can’t see anything to the side of me without shuffling around. And I can’t finish a can or bottle without doing a foot pop and stepping back.
Actually, I think that my partner finds my lack of high reach entertaining. He’s 6’5″ (now that may put yesterday’s picture into perspective – I’m a shortarse, but he’s a giant) and uses high shelves in the kitchen cupboard as well as opening the windows fully – I’m sure it’s just to annoy me. So I bought a little step ladder. Ner ner to him!
I can however be placed on my side and reach around corners. I can also be used to draw an arc (not a circle or semicircle, I’m not that bad!) And I can play the wicked witch in a pantomime of Sleeping Beauty. What!? Drag Queens with a beard are a thing now!
So yes, whenever I go into a room I try to figure out where everyone is likely to sit and then where is likely to hurt less. (Because being rude is worse than being in pain – I’m British!) So if you’re not in front of me and I seem to be ignoring you it might just be that I’m not aware of you. Or it could be that I’m an ignorant arse, that’s entirely possible too. Please don’t just tap me on the shoulder though, if I jump then I might jar my back and my pain face isn’t a pretty one to say hello to.
And finally (is that a sigh of relief I hear?), alternative treatments. I think that it’s great that people have found relief in taking obscure herbs, changing their diets, drinking magical snake oil from a silver goblet by the light of a full moon. I’m pleased that they don’t have to suffer. But I want to know why it’s done that. How often it works. And I want reproducible results.
Yes, my GPs missed the signs for years. That doesn’t mean that they’re incompetent – they have to have a working knowledge of everything that could possibly go wrong with the human body, in a very small window of time. This just means that we need to raise awareness (something that NASS is doing a fantastic job with).
But I’m still going to take the advice of my Doctors, Rheumatologists, Nurses and Chemists because they’ve spent years studying this. They won’t prescribe costly medication without evidence that it works, the NHS doesn’t give bonuses for spending more with a particular drug company. They’re going to do their best to get the biggest bang for their buck because then they can use the money saved to help more people.
I’ll say no thank you to the Gin (teetotaller). I’m sticking with science. (And maybe offering people apples…)