Osteoarthritis

Pain.  In every joint.  All the time.  Especially acute when you kneel, and then try to stand up again…or when you sit, and attempt to get up from that chair you’re sitting in…or when you try to roll over in bed, or get out of bed for that matter.  Even when you walk.  Every step you take.  Hurts.  Fingers, toes, ankles, knees, hips, back, elbows, shoulders, neck, feet.  You name it, it hurts.  Constantly.  Oh, and then there are the steps leading to my basement apartment.  Yeah.  Ouch.  The wind’s blowing today, gusting at 40 mph, sustained at 25-30 mph.  It’s sunny.  It would be a good day for a walk outside with a light jacket on, as it’s about 50 degrees Fahrenheit…  It would be a fantastic day to go climbing!!!  I certainly have the energy to go climbing!!!  And the desire, oh boy, do I ever have the itch to go climbing!!!  The pain, though…the pain.  My body’s screaming at me, pleading with me to just take the meloxicam that makes the joint pain go away.  If I do that, the swelling in my lower legs, ankles, and feet will come back (this has been observed in three separate trials, now, performed during three different time periods) and I won’t be able to get my climbing shoes on comfortably, correctly, or perhaps at all.  No climbing shoes = no climbing.  Climbing shoes = climbing.  No swelling in feet, ankles, or lower legs = climbing shoes = climbing.  No meloxicam = no swelling in feet, ankles, or lower legs = climbing shoes = climbing.  With pain.  PAIN.  The chronic type.  No, I don’t want to be on opioids.  I don’t need an addiction to pain meds to accompany the rest of what goes on in my life.  That’s not what I’m saying here.

What I am wondering is if this could be a mental game – a mental challenge to overcome, this pain.  All kinds of people live with all kinds of chronic pain.  One thing I have seen is that they either let it beat them or they beat it somehow.  It has to be in the mind.  That’s the only thing I can figure out.  Somehow, through the strength and fortitude of their mind and their will, people with chronic pain can remain active despite that pain.  Not that people who don’t remain active are weak-willed.  I am definitely NOT saying that!  There’s something to the psychology of pain and how we perceive, experience, and respond to it that comes into play here, though.  There has to be.  Mine is a rage against it.  I sit with it, and it with me, and we stare each other down mentally – Pain and I – until I just snap and do one of two things: I either take some Tylenol and lie down in bed to let it beat me up some more, or I really let it wail on me hard by going and seeing how much pain I can take by fighting back, attacking it head-on.  I see how bad I can make it hurt!  I push myself to my physical, emotional, and psychological limits doing an activity such as some all-out, full-throttle bouldering or something like that.  I don’t care if I fall, or how many times I fall.  I don’t care if it hurts, because it always hurts.  I wake up in the middle of the night, grinding my teeth because of the pain of just lying in one position too long and having to move.  I wonder then, why did I do all of that?  Because I have to live somehow…

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